When his Hendrick Motorsports Kyle Larson punctured a tire and hit the wall as the race leader on the last lap of the Pocono Organics CBD 325 on Saturday, Alex Bowman took the lead to win the first race of a weekend. double end Cup Series at Pocono Raceway on Saturday. The victory was not Bowman’s third of the season and the sixth in a row for Hendrick Motorsports. It was HMS ‘ninth win, overall, so far in 2021, but broke Larson’s winning streak to three in a row.
“Yeah, I hate to win one that way, but damn it, yeah, I’m gonna take it.” I’m super proud of this Ally # 48 team, ”Bowman said.
Kyle Busch was second, William Byron third and Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five.
“It was difficult to start a long time ago and try to put in place some strategies that could help us. I thought our strategy was really good, ”said Blaney. “We were very quick for this last caution. I got very tight after that. We needed a good day in our Menards Ford Mustang after last week for sure. It’s definitely something to learn for tomorrow and make some changes and hopefully a great race. “
Larson was ninth at the checkered flag.
“I guess the disbelief remains. I don’t know, kinda laughable just because I can’t believe it, ”Larson said. “I hate that we didn’t get another win. It would have been cool to win five times in a row. It just wasn’t meant to be, I guess, today. Yeah, I felt something like right in the middle of the tunnel. I wasn’t sure what it was yet. He finally sort of shredded halfway down the short chute over there. Impossible to turn.
“I hate that we didn’t win. Cool that Alex always did, a Hendrick car with another win. Cool to continue the MH streak Yeah, I hate that we didn’t have HendrickCars.com in Victory Lane, but we’ll try to start another streak tomorrow.
After the final pit stops and a final warning on lap 108, Busch was the race leader, with Larson in second. When the race last resumed on lap 112, Bowman took the lead and Larson followed him by Busch and in second. Both teammates fought for the lead and final victory for the remaining laps of the 130-lap race. Larson took the lead from Bowman on lap 127.
“Dude, we kind of gave the advantage,” Bowman said. “We were on two tires and we just got super tight. I tried to hold him back as long as possible. I can’t say enough about everyone at Team Hendrick right now, body shop, engine shop, chassis shop. From top to bottom, everyone is putting racing cars on the race track. Gregory [Ives, crew chief] and all the guys did a really good job. We didn’t run very well all day so I’m a bit in shock. I don’t know what to tell you guys. Hell, yeah, so cool. To see all the fans here. I always love coming to Pocono. It’s a cool place, great weather, a great day for a race. Damn, yeah, I’ll take it.
Pit strategies varied throughout the race, including a strategy of dividing the race into thirds and making only two pit stops – a strategy used by Kurt Busch and Joey Logano. This strategy meant that both drivers did not make their first saves until lap 45 and came back on time with the last round of saves. As part of the two-stop strategy, Busch and Logano stayed on the sidelines late in the 52-lap second stage of the race, allowing Busch to win the second stage on lap 77. Logano finished third on the stage behind Larson.
The Busch brothers combined for both stage wins, as younger brother Kyle Busch won the shorter first stage on round 25. The Hendrick duo of Larson and Byron combined to lead the first 17 laps, with Larson starting on pole and leading the first four laps, before Busch took what would be his stage lead on lap 18.
Logano and Kurt Busch then lined up on the first row to restart for the second stage, having yet to make their first pitstops.
After Kurt Busch won his second stage, Larson passed him to return to first place on lap 84. When most of the leaders pulled up under the green before the last warning, Kyle Busch took only fuel and one of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Denny Hamlin, took just two tires against four for Larson. As a result, Busch edged out Larson and Hamlin in a close pursuit.
The yellow flag was waved eight times throughout the race, including a warning for Cole Custer on lap 14 when he was wrecked due to contact from Brad Keselowski. Keselowski went on to finish the race in 10e. Custer was the first driver out of the race, credited with a 38e-placing the finish.
“Yeah, those restarts, you’re trying to get up into those tight holes to make sure you don’t get the freight dragged down by five cars right away,” Custer said. “I don’t know. I haven’t seen a replay. I don’t know if it was just too tight or a lack of communication or what. I really wanted a good day today. I thought we had a good day. good car these early laps with our Mustang HaasTooling.com but we’ll move on to tomorrow It’s frustrating. I can’t tell you how frustrating this year has been. We’ll just have to keep moving forward and go to tomorrow. “
After the two-stop strategy, Kurt Busch and Logano finished sixth and seventh respectively.
“We were doing fine. We were probably a car in fifth place, ”said Logano. “We ran about fifth for most of the race. The car was pretty good the last round. I just lost too much position on the track on the final restart. We were able to get decent stage points. I think we were fourth and third in both stages and then we finished seventh. It’s not what we want, but it’s a gain on our 550 package if you look at where we are at. We were able to run forward, see the front and overtake cars. It’s a good sign. Progress is underway. “
Kevin Harvick was eighth.
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