LONG POND, Pa. — Kyle Busch got his groove back, finding his winning ways again at Pocono Raceway.
The 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion was strong on Sunday, leading 79 laps, almost half of the total 160 lap distance en route to Victory Lane.
“We had a really, really fast car,” Busch said. “I mean this M&M’s Hazelnut Spread Camry was flawless.
“Overall, a huge thanks to everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing. Everybody has done a phenomenal job building us some fast Toyota Camrys.”
The race was moved up to take the green flag at 2:00 pm ET due to the threat of inclement weather. The rain never interrupted the event, and all 160 laps were completed.
William Byron started on the pole position, and led until lap 22 under the competition caution.
Kyle Larson used pit strategy to take over as the leader.
On lap 28, Austin Dillon spun off the nose of Paul Menard to bring out the second caution of the event.
Larson led the field back to the green, and held off the field to take the Stage 1 victory.
Brad Keselowski led the field to the Stage 2 restart, but Busch was able to take over the lead before the next caution flew for a spin by Matt DiBenedetto.
Matt Tifft brought out the next caution, spinning off the same corner as DiBenedetto the following restart.
The sixth caution of the day was brought out after Corey LaJoie smacked the wall and dropped debris.
On the following restart, Clint Bowyer showed some muscle and took the lead from Busch, but Busch wasn’t ready to give it up.
Busch made an impressive move to the outside of Bowyer in Turn 3 and cleared him before the start-finish line.
Pit strategy played a hand in the results of the second stage, as many drivers had to pit before the lap 100 break. This handed the lead back to Larson, who went on to sweep the stages.
The third stage had a long green flag run, and after pit stops had cycled through, Busch found himself in a familiar place, back in the lead.
It wouldn’t stay green, however, as the final caution flag flew after Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. hit the wall in Turn 2 on lap 146.
Some drivers took the opportunity to pit, but Busch stayed out.
On the final restart, Larson smacked the wall, but the green continued on. Larson had to come in to fix damage, and the stage sweeper was relegated to a 26th place finish.
“I tried to be really aggressive and fit in that hole,” Larson said. “I haven’t seen a replay, but am assuming I just wasn’t clear and I turned myself in the wall.
“I hate that I did that, but I felt like that was a good opportunity to fit in that hole and just get the run and maybe get by whoever was in front of me because I feel like I had a really good car at the time. So, I’ve just got to be smarter.”
Meanwhile, Busch was able to hold off Keselowski on the final run to take home the victory, the 55th of his career.
After going winless at “The Tricky Triangle” in his first 25 attempts, Busch now has three wins in the last four races in the Pocono mountains.
Busch maintains his point lead over Joey Logano by four points as the series heads to Michigan International Speedway next week.
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