The NASCAR doubleheader at Pocono made the weekend one to remember. Both races came down to fuel strategy and tire maintenance. In a surprise to many, myself included, neither winner’s names were Kyle Larson! I go through both races in the NASCAR at Pocono recap!
Going into race one on Saturday, I was sure that it was going to be another Kyle Larson show. In many cases, it was. But not really in the way I thought. Yeah, he was dominant for a good portion of the race. But he wasn’t like the dominant driver we’ve been seeing. William Byron had some speed, even passing Larson at a couple of points. The Busch brothers both had won stages. It was refreshing to see a non-Hendrick car upfront.
In the end, it came down to tire maintenance. Kyle Larson and Alex Bowman were battling in the closing laps. Larson finally got around Bowman but had driven too hard to do so and had a tire blow out in the last corner. Bowman swooped in to steal the win and simultaneously brought Larson’s win streak to halt.
The second race is what really brought some excitement. The 1-20 invert brought Michael McDowell and Chris Buescher to the front. McDowell had a pretty good car, he stayed in the top ten for the first stage. Even giving Martin Truex Jr. Some trouble when he got up towards the front.
William Byron had a rough start to the day in stage one, going a lap down for a moment but managed to get back on the lead lap by passing Truex in the final corner of the stage. An impressive feat alone but then continued to improve as he went on to win the second stage.
Kyle Busch had a good running car all weekend but disaster struck in race two. His gearbox got stuck in fourth gear and no matter what the pit crew did it wouldn’t budge. With that, and the ever-looming thought of running out of fuel. Busch went on to save enough in the closing laps to pass Byron, Brad Keselowski, and teammate Denny Hamlin to grab the win!
This weekend held a ton of great racing. Taking away the strategy aspect of it all, we still were treated with great side-by-side action, especially on restarts with drivers going three, four, even five-wide down the front stretch. I’m actually surprised at how many strategy races we’ve seen this year. More and more races are coming down to strategy than trying to gain track position in-between stages which, in my opinion, is great for the sport. It gives us actual racing especially in race two which could’ve been won by any of the five or six drivers in the top ten.