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.
|1||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||160|
|2||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||160|
|3||Martin Truex Jr.||Furniture Row Racing||Toyota||160|
|4||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||160|
|5||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske||Ford||160|
|6||Clint Bowyer||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||160|
|7||Daniel Suarez||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||160|
|8||Erik Jones||Furniture Row Racing||Toyota||160|
|9||Matt Kenseth||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||160|
|10||Chase Elliott||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||160|
|11||Kasey Kahne||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||160|
|12||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||160|
|13||Kurt Busch||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||160|
|14||Ryan Newman||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||160|
|15||Danica Patrick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||160|
|16||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||160|
|17||Ty Dillon||Germain Racing||Chevrolet||159|
|18||Michael McDowell||Leavine Family Racing||Chevrolet||159|
|19||Paul Menard||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||159|
|20||Trevor Bayne||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||159|
|21||Austin Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||159|
|22||David Ragan||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||159|
|23||A.J. Allmendinger||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||159|
|24||Cole Whitt||TriStar Motorsports||Chevrolet||159|
|25||Corey LaJoie||BK Racing||Toyota||159|
|26||Jamie McMurray||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||159|
|27||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||159|
|28||Chris Buescher||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||159|
|29||Landon Cassill||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||158|
|30||Ryan Blaney||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford||158|
|31||Gray Gaulding||Premium Motorsports||Chevrolet||157|
|32||Stephen Leicht||BK Racing||Toyota||153|
|33||Kyle Larson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||148|
|34||Derrike Cope||Premium Motorsports||Toyota||85|
|35||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||57|
|36||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Circle Sport / TMG||Chevrolet||24|
|37||Matt DiBenedetto||Go FAS Racing||Ford||1|
|38||Aric Almirola||Richard Petty Motorsports||Ford||0|