Event: Gander RV 400 (Round 21 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Note: Race extended three laps past its scheduled 160-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Start/Finish: 13th/11th (Running, completed 163 of 163 laps)
Point Standing: 15th (532 points, 292 out of first)
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):
● Clint Bowyer started 13th and finished 10th, earning one bonus point.
● No. 14 Toco Warranty/Haas Automation Ford Mustang moved from 13th to 10th in the first four laps of the 160-lap race.
● By lap 11, Bowyer told the crew his car was a little tight and it was very difficult to pass.
● Bowyer made a scheduled two-tire stop under green on lap 21, dropping to the back of the field.
● As the race proceeded without a caution, cars began to peel off and Bowyer climbed back to 10th in the closing laps of the stage.
● Bowyer pitted during the stage break and dropped to 17th.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):
● Bowyer started 17th and finished 14th.
● The No. 14 Toco Warranty/Haas Automation Ford Mustang didn’t make much progress on the 2.5-mile track in the opening laps of the stage.
● Bowyer said on lap 74 he was tight in traffic and he was experimenting with different lines through the third turn.
● Bowyer nearly pitted on lap 83, but a caution kept him on the track and allowed him to pit during the caution.
● He restarted the race in ninth on lap 85.
● Bowyer pitted again on lap 94 during a caution for light rain. The late stop dropped him in the field but enabled him to stay on the track during the stage break and start higher in the final stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-163):
● Bowyer started 10th and finished 11th.
● Bowyer held his position through the opening laps of the final stage and a round of pit stops for an accident on lap 113.
● He climbed to seventh for the lap-117 restart after a caution and ran in ninth by the lap-120 mark despite being tight off the turns.
● The crew urged Bowyer to save fuel as he ran ninth in the closing laps.
● A caution with four to go saw Bowyer restart eighth, but in some wild racing he dropped to 18th when another caution sent the race into overtime.
● Before the restart, Bowyer ducked into pit lane for four tires and fuel. He restarted the two-lap overtime shootout in 20th and drove to 11th before the checkered flag flew.
● This is Bowyer’s third straight top-12 at Pocono and fourth in his last five outings there. He finished fifth in the series’ previous race at the 2.5-mile triangle in June.
● Denny Hamlin won the Gander RV 400to score his 34th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season and his fifth at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Erik Jones was .341 of a second.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 24 laps.
● Only 25 of the 38 drivers in the Gander RV 400finished on the lead lap.
● Joey Logano remains the championship leader after Pocono with a six-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.
CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Toco Warranty / Haas Automation Ford Mustang:
“That was a long hard day. We were up and down. It was so tough to pass, so everything boiled down to fuel and tire strategy. I’m glad we got the No. 14 Toco Warranty/Haas Automation Ford up there for an 11th-place finish at the end.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Go Bowling at The Glen on Sunday, Aug. 4 at Watkins Glen (NY) International. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.