OVERTON’S 400 (COURTESY OF NASCAR): Kyle Busch took advantage of Kevin Harvick getting loose, passed him on Lap 144 of 160 and drove away with the victory in Sunday’s sun-drenched Overton’s 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Busch ended a winless streak that stretched back to Indianapolis in 2016 (a stretch of 36 races) and captured his first career victory at the Tricky Triangle. Busch now has 39 wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and has won a points race at every track in the series except for Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch, in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, overcame a competitive field and rebounded from last week when he and Martin Truex Jr. wrecked on a restart while both cars were on the front row with less than 50 laps remaining.
Harvick came home second in his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford, with Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski rounding out the top five.
It was the 100th win for Toyota in the Monster Energy Series, and it was JGR’s second win this year.
The day started off inauspiciously for JGR when Matt Kenseth ignited an eight-car wreck on the race’s opening lap. His No. 20 Toyota spun in Turn 3, sending Aric Almirola and Matt DiBenedetto off with damaged vehicles.
Later, Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne brought out a caution flag on Lap 57 with an accident in Turn 3. Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet went backward into the wall, and he had to exit the race.
Then, Kyle Larson went to the garage after the drive shaft shot out from underneath the No. 42 Chevrolet, leading to a caution on Lap 69. Larson returned 12 laps down and in 34th place.
Busch won Stage 1, his eighth stage victory of the season. Clint Bowyer benefited from Truex Jr. and Hamlin pitting just before the end of Stage 2 to get his first stage win of the year.
The Monster Energy Series returns to action Aug. 6 at Watkins Glen International (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
OVERTON’S 150 (COURTESY OF NASCAR): Christopher Bell’s strong 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season continued with his victory in the Overton’s 150 at Pocono Raceway. The victory was his fourth of the 2017 season in his No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota and sixth of his Truck Series career.
The win was the third straight at Pocono for Kyle Busch Motorsports; William Byron won here in 2016 and team owner Kyle Busch won in 2015.
In addition, Bell now holds the points lead over Johnny Sauter by 18 points.
Polesitter Ben Rhodes took the runner-up spot in his No. 27 ThorSport Racing Toyota with Ryan Truex (No. 16 Hattori Racing Toyota) coming home in third. John Hunter Nemechek (No. 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet) and Sauter (No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Busch won the first two stages in his No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, but some contact with Justin Haley’s No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet on Lap 36, saw the No. 51 truck go into the way and end Busch’s day.
Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Noah Gragson (No. 18 KBM Toyota) saw his streak of seven top 10s end following a Lap 40 wreck with fellow rookie Kaz Grala (No. 33 GMS Racing Chevrolet).
The Truck Series will be back in action at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 12 for the LTI Printing 200 (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
MODSPACE 150 (COURTESY OF ARCA): Three days before the race, Justin Haley had no idea he’d be racing in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards at Pocono Raceway. As it turned out, he’s glad he did, especially after winning the ModSpace 150 Friday afternoon in the No. 78 Mason Mitchell Motorsports Chevrolet.
“I got a call from Mason (Mitchell) Tuesday afternoon,” said Haley. “He told me to bring my seat over…we mounted it up Tuesday night, and here we are. Just so thankful we could piece it together so quickly.”
In the end, Haley had to work hard for it with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Riley Herbst in his rearview mirror over the last two laps.
“We knew he was coming,” Haley said. “My spotter Kevin Hamlin did a great job keeping my moral boosted but I spent a lot of time looking in the mirror those last few laps.”
Haley had to give it all he had to keep Herbst behind him.
“When you’re going 200 mph on a flat track you tend to burn off the right front (tire)…I was having to run the car hard to stay up front. Managing lapped traffic was challenging, and we fired off on a green race track. Fortunately, the General Tires were amazing.”
After Herbst cleared Zane Smith for second in the closing laps, he shaved a full second off the leader, catching Haley less than two laps from the finish. But where clean air means everything, Herbst could not find a way around the eventual winner. Herbst, in the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink-UFC Gym Toyota, had to settle for second, nearly a half-second back.
HONORING DALE JR: Pocono Raceway altered its start/finish line to read DALE JR in honor of his last scheduled Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway. In addition, both scoreboards will feature his No. 88 and the infield paint will show a Thank You message. On Lap 88, all fans are encouraged to show their support for Earnhardt Jr. as well.
Earnhardt Jr. is the last driver to sweep both Pocono Raceway races in the same calendar year when he did so in 2014. He is the last driver to secure the Pocono Sweep.
Earnhardt Jr. has made 35 starts at Pocono Raceway with two wins, 11 top-five finishes and 15 top-10 finishes.
FANFEST AT POCONO RACEWAY: Pocono Raceway hosted its FanFest on Friday, July 28 featuring nine Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers
The three-hour event was held at the Infield Block Party Stage.
Pocono Raceway FanFest Driver Lineup
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Suarez
Hendrick Motorsports’ Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Leavine Family Racing’s Michael McDowell
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson
Roush Fenway Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Front Row Motorsports’ Landon Cassill
Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kurt Busch
Furniture Row’s Martin Truex Jr.
Wood Brothers Racing’s Ryan Blaney
Pocono Raceway FanFest Activities
- Hungry Fan Throwdown with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Blaney and Landon Cassill and Martin Truex Jr.
- NASCAR Champion Story Time with Kurt Busch.
- Name That Tune with Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Lip Sync Battle with Michael McDowell and Daniel Suarez.
With qualifying and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pennsylvania 400 all on Sunday, July 30, Pocono Raceway added a FanFest to a weekend full of fun activities.
FLYING BY: Sunday’s flyover featured a KC-135 “Tiger Plane) from the 108th Air Refueling Wing of McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.
KID’S DAY: Pocono Raceway hosted its 10th annual Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital Kid’s Day during the Overton’s 400 race weekend, July 28-30.
Children 12 and under will be admitted free of charge Friday and Saturday with a paying adult and select grandstand seats are half-price for those 12 and under on Sunday.
A host of kid-friendly and fan-focused activities are planned for the weekend as the Kids Drive NASCAR campaign gets underway.
A number of free activities, including face painting, bounce houses, clowns, photo booths, education and community activities were offered. The Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital Kids Zone and Tricky’s Kit Kamp were be active as well.
Kids Drive NASCAR is an industry platform that introduces young fans to NASCAR and engages them through the sport’s unique attributes and personalities. The three-week activation kicks off July 24 and provides fun at-track activities, events, and an expanded Kids’ Takeover.
Last year, Kids Drive NASCAR introduced the Acceleration Nation app as a fun and easy way for kids to learn about drivers, play games and stay up to date on the latest news. The app is available as a free download in the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play Store.
TRACK HISTORY: Pocono Raceway was founded in 1968 by Dr. Joseph Mattioli and Dr. Rose Mattioli. Since then, Pocono Raceway has hosted 79 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and 24 Verizon IndyCar races. The first race held at Pocono Raceway was a USAC (current IndyCar) race in July 3, 1971, won by Mark Donohue. Three years later, the first 500-mile NASCAR race was held at ‘The Tricky Triangle’ on August 4, 1974, where “The King” Richard Petty took the checkered.
HOME GIVEAWAY: The Military Warriors Support Foundation, in conjunction with Pocono Raceway, presented the keys to a house to Anton Slobodnik prior to Sunday’s race. Slobodnik, a retired Army Corporal, served for six years, including tours in Iraq. He received his first Purple Heart in Nov. 2006 and his second in March of 2007 after he was medially retired following an IED explosion which led to nine fractures in his left arm, both hands blown open and damage to his facial bones.
#WHATTURN4: All three turns at Pocono Raceway are unique.
Turn 1 is modeled after Trenton (N.J.) Speedway and features 14 degrees of banking. Turn 2 is similar to Indianapolis Motor Speedway with 8 degrees of banking. The third turn is similar to The Milwaukee Mile and is 6 degrees of banking.
The front stretch at Pocono Raceway measures 3,740 feet while the backstretch is 1,780 feet.
COLOR GUARD: The Color Guard will be provided by the Pennsylvania National Guard on Friday, Ligonier Valley High School Air Force Junior R.O.T.C on Saturday and U.S. Army Recruiting Services on Sunday.
SPECIAL GUESTS: Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, was one of Pocono Raceway’s Distinguished Visitors. A native of Palmerton, Pa., Dailey enlisted in the Army in 1989 and had four tours of duty in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn and was deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield. He was decorated with Bronze Star with Valor in 2008 and in January 2015 he was sown in as the 15th Sergeant Major of the Army. He has held every enlisted leadership during his position and is the Army’s chief of staff’s personal adviser on matters affecting the enlisted force. He devotes the majority of his time traveling throughout the Army to observe training and talk to Soldiers and their families.
Air Force Lt. Gen. James McLaughlin, Deputy Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, Fort Meade, Md., is also a Distinguished Visitor.
A 1983 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he has commanded at the squadron, group, wing and numbered air force levels and has served on the staffs at major command headquarters, combatant command headquarters, the National Reconnaissance Office, Air Force headquarters and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Lt. Gen. McLaughlin will lead the Delayed Enlistment Program for all branches of the military at 2:20 p.m. on Sunday.
WELCOME: Pocono Raceway will host Survivor Outreach Services and Gold Star Families in Chalet Village on Sunday. In addition, 100 members of the Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors will also be in attendance.
BRONZE PLAQUE: The Union League of Philadelphia presented Pocono Raceway with a Bronze Plaque, dedicated to Gold Star Mothers and all families of the Fallen.
PA PARTNERS: Pocono Raceway is proud to partner with these local Pennsylvania companies: Axalta (Glen Mills), Comcast (Philadelphia), Mod Space (Berwyn) Sunoco (Philadelphia), Lehigh Valley Health Networks, Unique Pretzels (Reading), Kovatch (Nesquehoning), Lehigh Valley Health Network, Pennsylvania Lottery, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions (Pocono Manor), Independent Graphics (West Wyoming), and Stock Car Racing Experience (Long Pond).
ANTHEM SINGERS: Sunday’s National Anthem was performed by Robin Smith. Blessed with an awe-inspiring gift, Robin Smith commands a crowd with her voice. She is a singer/songwriter. Robin has a love for God and country. She sings the National Anthem at events all over, including recently for President Donald Trump at his rally in Harrisburg, commemorating his “First 100 Days” in office. As the Pocono’s are Robin’s home, she is proud to be returning to sing the anthem at the Pocono Raceway.
TRICKY TRIANGLE CLUB: Sunday’s sold-out Tricky Triangle Club featured Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Dr. Rose Mattioli and the Wood Brothers and Rusty Wallace.
UP NEXT: The Verizon IndyCar Series will visit Pocono Raceway August 19-20.
2018: Pocono Raceway will host Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races June 2-3 and July 28-29 in 2018.