Quick take: Pocono

Image by Whitton/LAT

Quick take: Pocono

NASCAR

Quick take: Pocono

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Highlights of Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway:

WINNER — Kyle Busch underlined the continuing strength of NASCAR’s so-called Big Three Sunday, posting his sixth victory of the season.

Busch tied Kevin Harvick atop the seasonal wins column. Martin Truex Jr., the year’s other strong-arm driver, has four wins.

Results | Standings

Harvick, Busch and Truex have won nine of the past 11 races.

Busch survived a late-race restart to score the win. He had a lead of several seconds when a brutal Turn 1 crash by Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. put the field under caution with five laps to go. Wallace’s wreck, one of the worst of the season, prompted NASCAR to put out the red flag. Wallace was shaken but walked away from the crash site.

The race was red-flagged for 10 minutes before Busch took the green flag in the lead with three laps to go. The dash to the finish was delayed when another caution flew after Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Aric Almirola spun out in turn one, pushing the race into overtime.

Busch quickly took a commanding lead on the final restart and wasn’t challenged at the front over the closing miles. Following him at the finish were Daniel Suarez, Alex Bowman, Harvick and Erik Jones.

Busch, winning for the 49th time in the Cup Series, tied Tony Stewart for 13th on the all-time Cup Series wins list.

“It was just a lot of hard work by smart people,” Busch said. “It’s phenomenal to have those guys. We had speed, raced well and had great pit stops all day. Winning here at Pocono two years in a row is pretty cool.”

One day earlier, Busch won his 51st Camping World Truck Series race to tie Hall of Famer Ron Hornaday Jr.’s record for most in that series’ history.

KESELOWSKI CRASHES — The race’s fourth caution flag appeared when Brad Keselowski blew a tire and backed into the outside wall in turn two, causing extensive damage to his Ford with 40 laps to go. He parked for the day.

LOGANO HAS TOUGH FIRST LAP — Logano, one of the drivers sent to the back of the field for failing qualifying inspection, damaged the nose of his Ford with contact with a slower car on the race’s first lap.

JOHNSON HITS 600 — When the green flag flew, seven-time champion Johnson recorded the 600th Cup start of his career. He entered the race with 83 victories and a winless streak of more than a year.

AN INAUSPICIOUS START — Thirteen cars started at the rear of the field — lined up by owner points — after they failed post-qualifying inspection Saturday night. Among the drivers penalized were Kyle Busch and Harvick.

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