Event: Overton’s 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)
Start/Finish: 6th/ 17th/2nd (Running, completed 160 of 160 laps)
Point Standing: 3rd (726 points, 97 out of first)
Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Clint Bowyer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):
- Kevin Harvick started sixth, finished third and earned eight bonus points.
- The Mobil 1 driver surrendered the fourth position on lap 16 to take four tires and fuel. Harvick returned to the track in 17th.
- He climbed back to the sixth position on lap 40, to fourth on lap 42 and to third on lap 46.
- Came to pit road for four tires, fuel, air pressure adjustments and a wedge adjustment following the conclusion of Stage 1.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):
- Started fourth, finished 17th.
- Climbed to second from fourth on a lap-62 restart.
- Closed on leader Kyle Busch for the next eight laps before a lap-70 caution.
- Pitted for four tires and fuel, and reported that the balance of the car was “really good” prior to the caution.
- Raced inside the top-five and held fourth late in the stage behind SHR teammate Clint Bowyer.
- Came to pit road for four tires and fuel on lap 96, and was credited with the 17th position at the end of the stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160):
- Started third, finished second.
- Crew chief Rodney Childers called for Harvick to pit on lap 124, so he surrendered the fourth position while getting four tires, fuel and wedge and air pressure adjustments.
- He held the 18th position on lap 128 and steadily climbed back into contention as the rest of the field cycled through pit stops.
- Harvick pitted one lap after Denny Hamlin and one lap before Martin Truex Jr., and the threesome worked their way back to the top of the leader board. By lap 140 the trio filled the podium positions.
- On lap 144 Harvick took the lead from Hamlin coming out of turn two, but he wasn’t officially scored a lap leader because a hard-charging Busch passed Harvick for the lead coming out of turn three.
- Harvick briefly dropped to third when Hamlin got by, but Harvick drove back around Hamlin and held second for the final 15 laps of the race.
- Harvick scored his eighth top-five finish of 2017.
- The result was his ninth top-five finish in 34 career Cup Series starts at Pocono and fourth runner-up finish in his last eight starts at that track.
- Harvick finished third in Stage 1 to earn 8 bonus points and 17th in Stage 2.
- There were five caution periods for a total of 21 laps.
- Only 16 of the 38 drivers in the Overton’s 400 finished on the lead lap.
- Busch won the Overton’s 400 to score his 39th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Pocono. His margin of victory over second-place Harvick was 6.178 seconds.
- Truex leads the championship standings with 823 points, holding an 85-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Larson.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Can you talk about the battle with the 18?
“Well, the only chance I had (to keep the 18 behind me) was to get into the corner correctly. I got in there and was loose all the way through the corner on entry and just kept holding the brake down, holding the brake down, holding the brake down, and finally I’m sure he thought I was going to go and I didn’t accelerate. I was trying to stay on the bottom to park the thing to get going, and he had a good run. Guys on the Mobil 1 Ford did a great job. Kyle (Busch) had the class of the field all weekend. His car was really, really fast. He got the pole. Got the win. Pretty much just charged through the field. We definitely have a little bit of work to do. I feel like we got closer and closer. I feel like we raced around all the Toyotas all day. Just proud of everyone on the Mobil 1 Ford.”
How big is your smile knowing all the hard work the Stewart-Haas team has put into this car?
“I wish I could explain to everybody how big the workload has been switching to Ford and doing all the things we’ve done and trying to race and progress at the same time. They’ve done a really good job. Luckily we have great people to help that progression. It covers up a lot of things going on. We keep getting better. I know we’ll get better as we go into the playoffs. Just keep battling, that’s all you can do.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the I Love New York 355k at The Glen on Sunday, Aug. 6 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN, MRN Radio and SiriusXM Radio channel 90.