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DAVISON: Pocono Cup No. 2 – Kyle Busch wins as others run out of gas

Long Pond, PA, June 27/21 (by John Davison): In a change of pace, Kyle Busch, not Larson, won the Explore the Pocono Mountains 350 on fuel mileage after overcoming problems that almost led the team to parking the car early in the race. The win broke the Hendrick string of victories at six races, but a Hendrick car somehow still finished second, with Kyle Larson at the wheel.

The race played out in a fuel mileage duel to the last lap, as William Byron, leading at the time, had to pit with two laps left, handing the race lead to Busch and dropping to 12th place. Brad Keselowski had already stopped for a splash and Denny Hamlin had to stop for fuel, with Keselowski coming home third while Hamlin fell 14th.

Earlier in the race, Kyle Busch had pitted with his transmission stuck in fourth gear, even after the crew climbed into the car with him, trying to crowbar the linkage into submission. The transmission problem forced Busch's team to adopt a strategy of timing stops so that he would be exiting the last turn at full speed as the leaders took a restart.

"Yeah, stuck in fourth gear. About out of gas," he laughed after winning the race. “Just saving, just riding, playing the strategy the best, we could with what was given to us…. Sometimes these races aren't always won by the fastest car, but I felt we had the fastest car. Even though we were in the back and behind and having to come through and persevere through being stuck in fourth gear, no clutch, all that stuff. It's all burned out. Really great to pull off another win here at Pocono. Feels good."

Second-place finisher Kyle Larson commented that the finish was a "surprising finish for us. Our Chevy was really loose for a majority of the race, then we got a lot of nose damage there on one of the restarts. Was off on speed. I felt like after that.

"The 18 did pit a lap after us under caution. That actually probably won them the race" Larson added.

The next NASCAR Cup race will be held next Sunday, July 4th at Road America.

• Click HERE for the Race Results


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