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Kevin Harvick finally closes on a victory at Pocono Raceway

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Photo by Justin Melillo / TRE

LONG POND, PA –– Coming into the Pocono Organics 325 on Saturday afternoon, Kevin Harvick was 0-for-38 in finding victory lane at Pocono Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series.

It took a little longer than anyone would have hoped due to a few weather delays before hand, but when it was all done, Harvick finally closed the deal and claimed the victory.

Harvick only led the final 17 laps on the day, but it came from out-pitting his teammate, Aric Almirola on the final round of green flag pit stops, and from holding off Denny Hamlin during that final run to the finish.

“We weren’t where we needed to be to start the race, and lost a bunch of track position, but we came back and made some great strategy calls to get in clean air and get out front and make some good laps,” Harvick said post-race. “It is great to finally check Pocono off the list.”

There was no celebratory burnout for the No. 4 Busch ‘Head for the Mountains’ Ford, and on Sunday, Harvick will start back in the 20th spot, but for now, Harvick and his team can hold their heads high having finally closed the deal on a Tricky Triangle win.

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Photo by Justin Melillo / TRE

Saturday started off pretty wet. It was supposed to be the first of two doubleheader race days, with the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series scheduled to go off at 12:30 pm ET on Saturday, but that was postponed to Sunday morning due to the inclement weather.

The NASCAR Cup Series race was also affected by the weather, originally delaying the start of the Pocono Organics 325 by almost an hour. The drivers were just about to take the initial green, but a few pop-up sprinkles delayed it even further, but the cars never had to come back down pit road again, and finally, the race went green.

Aric Almirola started on the pole by virtue of the random draw, and led early and often. A competition caution at lap 13 switched up the strategy early, and that became the theme throughout the majority of the event.

A quick caution for a Quin Houff spin in the tunnel turn brought the field back together one last time before the stage end, and this time, Joey Logano was able to seize the opportunity, taking the lead on the restart and taking the Stage 1 victory.

Logano, Almirola, and a few others opted to continue staying out through the stage break yellow, and on the ensuing restart, Almirola took the advantage back.

Many of the non-pitting cars had to come early in the second stage, including Almirola and Logano, and that gave control over to Martin Truex Jr.

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Photo by Justin Melillo / TRE

Denny Hamlin, on the same strategy as Truex Jr., eventually took the lead from his teammate, but the lead was short-lived, as a debris caution threw a wrench into all of the  differing strategies.

Many opted to pit here, but track position was king throughout the day. Almirola cycled back to the lead, and after a final restart following an incident involving Tyler Reddick and Erik Jones, Almirola outlasted Logano this time to take Stage 2.

The final stage began, and Almirola was still up front. It didn’t take long though for his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Kevin Harvick, to finally show up to the dance. Harvick moved into second, and the pair moved away from the field.

On the final round of pit stops, Harvick was able to gap Almirola by a couple of seconds. Hamlin rejoined the battle for the lead, but clean air was king. Harvick outlasted Hamlin, Almirola, and the rest of the field to claim his third victory of the 2020 season.

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Photo by Justin Melillo / TRE

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Sunday introduces a new challenge, a triple-header raceday at the same venue. Never before has there been a NASCAR Truck, NASCAR Xfinity, and NASCAR Cup Series race on the same day at the same track, but due to the postponement of the NASCAR Truck race scheduled for Saturday, weather permitting, race fans will be able to enjoy three Pocono Raceway events on Sunday.

The weekend was already unique in the fact that there would be two NASCAR Cup Series races back-to-back this weekend, and now it has become even more unique with having the triple-header.

The Pocono Organics 150 Truck Series race is rescheduled for 9:30 am ET.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Pocono Green 225 is scheduled to start at 12:30 pm ET.

Finally, the second leg of the NASCAR Cup Series double-header, the Pocono 350, is scheduled to start at 4:00 pm ET.

 

SOURCES:
Ford Performance
NASCAR Media

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Justin Melillo View All

Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com

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