Kyle Busch takes first NASCAR win of 2017 at Pocono

Autosport

Kyle Busch took a long-awaited NASCAR Cup Series victory of at Pocono, pulling clear to secure his first win of the 2017 season and effectively secure his playoff place.

Having won the first stage after taking pole position earlier in the day, Busch dropped down the top six when he had to catch a near spin.

Gambling on a caution towards the end of the race, he stopped later than the other frontrunners and on fresh rubber was able to carve his way past Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Denny Hamlin, before barging his way past Kevin Harvick at Turn 3 with 16 laps to go.

With a significant grip advantage, Busch had the opportunity to stretch his legs and crossed the line over six seconds ahead of Harvick, taking his first win in 36 races and his first at Pocono Raceway.

Harvick crossed the line in second, having battled in the latter stages with Martin Truex Jr and Hamlin.

Truex was without two of his regular pit crew after they were suspended by Joe Gibbs Racing – which employs them on Furniture Row’s behalf – following an altercation at Indianapolis, but was ultimately thrust out of contention after getting boxed in with traffic and losing out to Harvick.

Brad Keselowski – days after tying up a new Penske deal – finished behind Hamlin in fifth, seven seconds clear of sixth-place Clint Bowyer.

Bowyer was the winner of the second stage, inheriting the lead as then-leaders Truex and Hamlin pitted with three laps left of the stage to run.

Daniel Suarez was the highest-placed rookie, finishing seventh ahead of Erik Jones.

Matt Kenseth recovered from a spin on lap one to finish ninth, staying out long in the first stage to thrust himself back into contention for a good haul of points.

Kenseth spun at Turn 3 and brought out the race’s first caution, collecting a number of cars and ending the races of Aric Almirola and Matt DiBenedetto.

Just under two months after getting his first Cup win in the last round at Pocono, and in the week he was announced as a Penske driver for 2018, Ryan Blaney had to settle for 30th due to two unscheduled pitstops to attend to bodywork rubbing on a tyre.

Reigning champion Jimmy Johnson retired early following contact with Hendrick Motorsports team-mate – and Indianapolis winner a week ago – Kasey Kahne, who survived to finish 11th.

RESULTS:

POSDRIVERTEAMCARLAPS
1Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyota160
2Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFord160
3Martin Truex Jr.Furniture Row RacingToyota160
4Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota160
5Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFord160
6Clint BowyerStewart-Haas RacingFord160
7Daniel SuarezJoe Gibbs RacingToyota160
8Erik JonesFurniture Row RacingToyota160
9Matt KensethJoe Gibbs RacingToyota160
10Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet160
11Kasey KahneHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet160
12Dale Earnhardt Jr.Hendrick MotorsportsChevrolet160
13Kurt BuschStewart-Haas RacingFord160
14Ryan NewmanRichard Childress RacingChevrolet160
15Danica PatrickStewart-Haas RacingFord160
16Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Roush Fenway RacingFord160
17Ty DillonGermain RacingChevrolet159
18Michael McDowellLeavine Family RacingChevrolet159
19Paul MenardRichard Childress RacingChevrolet159
20Trevor BayneRoush Fenway RacingFord159
21Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet159
22David RaganFront Row MotorsportsFord159
23A.J. AllmendingerJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet159
24Cole WhittTriStar MotorsportsChevrolet159
25Corey LaJoieBK RacingToyota159
26Jamie McMurrayChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet159
27Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord159
28Chris BuescherJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet159
29Landon CassillFront Row MotorsportsFord158
30Ryan BlaneyWood Brothers RacingFord158
31Gray GauldingPremium MotorsportsChevrolet157
32Stephen LeichtBK RacingToyota153
33Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi RacingChevrolet148
34Derrike CopePremium MotorsportsToyota85
35Jimmie JohnsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet57
36Jeffrey EarnhardtCircle Sport / TMGChevrolet24
37Matt DiBenedettoGo FAS RacingFord1
38Aric AlmirolaRichard Petty MotorsportsFord0

Kyle Busch takes first NASCAR win of 2017 at Pocono

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