The #18 Toyota of Kyle Busch is finally locked into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs now that Busch secured the team’s first win of 2017 in Sunday’s Overton’s 400 at Pocono.
Busch, who started from pole position and won Stage 1, pitted from the lead with 25 laps to go and was able to drive his way back to the lead, winning the race by a margin of over five seconds. It is his first win at Pocono and 39th overall in the Cup series.
Kevin Harvick remains winless at Pocono after finishing second. Martin Truex, Jr. was the primary threat to Busch all day but wasn’t able to get any closer than third. He still leads the championship standings with five races remaining until the Playoffs.
Busch is the 13th different winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this year, leaving only three spots remaining for winless drivers to qualify on points. Chase Elliott is in the best spot of these three, with a tenth-place finish providing some cushion.
Jamie McMurray is still in one of those spots right now, but lost a lot of ground by finishing 26th due to mechanical issues producing smoke in the cockpit. Matt Kenseth maintains a 17-point advantage over Stage 2 winner Clint Bowyer for the final playoff spot; though Bowyer managed a sixth-place finish, Kenseth took home ninth position.
A disastrous sequence of events put Joey Logano even further back in the points race. He was penalised for speeding on pit road, then illegally added fuel while serving his penalty, drawing another pass-through penalty. He would finish 27th and now sits 69 points behind Kenseth – effectively putting him in a must-win situation.
Rookies Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez stayed out of trouble and finished in the top ten. Danica Patrick scored her fourth straight top-15 finish, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 12th with a car that qualified 23rd.
The series heads to Watkins Glen, New York for the I Love New York 355 next Sunday.
1 – Kyle Busch
2 – Kevin Harvick
3 – Martin Truex Jr.
4 – Denny Hamlin
5 – Brad Keselowski
6 – Clint Bowyer
7 – Daniel Suarez
8 – Erik Jones
9 – Matt Kenseth
10 – Chase Elliott