Event: Axalta presents the Pocono 400 (Round 14 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: 5th/4th (Running, completed 160 of 160 laps)
Point Standing: 14th (331 points, 253 out of first)
Race Winner: Ryan Blaney of Wood Brothers Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):
- Kurt Busch started fifth, finished seventh. Earned four bonus points.
- Quickly moved to fourth at the start of Stage 1.
- Made a green-flag pit stop for four tires, fuel and adjustments on lap 16 to correct a tight-handling condition.
- After several cars in front of Busch made green-flag pit stops, he was able to drive his Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion back into the top-10.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):
- Started 12th, finished eighth. Earned three bonus points.
- Car became loose after adjustments made at the conclusion of Stage 1.
- On lap 66, Busch pitted under green-flag conditions for four tires and fuel.
- After a red-flag period, Busch battled his way to an eighth-place finish on a one-lap shootout that ended the stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160):
- Started 15th, finished fourth.
- Busch drove his Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford into the top-four at the beginning of the final stage.
- On lap 125, Busch made a green-flag pit stop for four tires and fuel. He came off pit road in 17th.
- In only four laps, Busch battled his way back into the top-10.
- With 17 laps to go, Busch took his last pit stop under caution for four tires and fuel.
- Busch restarted in the seventh position and moved through the field to secure his second top-five finish of 2017.
- Busch came into the Axalta presents the Pocono 400 as the defending race winner.
- Busch’s fourth-place finish was his 14th top-five and 19th top-10 in 32 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Pocono. It was his second top-five and seventh top-10 of 2017.
- Twenty-four of the 39 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
- There were 13 lead changes among nine drivers.
- There were four caution periods for a total of 18 laps.
- Ryan Blaney won the Axalta presents the Pocono 400 to score his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Kevin Harvick was .139 of a second.
Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was warm and we battled really hard today and had a nice, consistent run. I just didn’t have any special speed, but we ran good lap times, so I’m really proud of our Haas Automation/Monster Energy guys. It’s great to see a Ford in victory lane, so congratulations to the Wood Brothers. To see Ryan Blaney win – he’s going to be a superstar in this sport. He’s a good kid. I’m going to keep pushing hard, though. We’re chiseling away at this and we’re going to get in good position.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Firekeepers Casino 400 on Sunday, June 18 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1.