Race report

NASCAR Cup Pocono: Kyle Busch wins while low on fuel, stuck in fourth

With a shifter stuck in fourth gear and a car quickly running out of fuel, Kyle Busch survived to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway.

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Mini's celebrates his win

At one point in the race, Busch was dejected and ready to call it a day but he and his #18 Joe Gibbs Racing persevered, emplyoing a fuel-mileage strategy that ultimately provided him his second win of the 2021 season.

“Yeah, stuck in fourth gear. About out of gas. Just saving, just riding, playing the strategy the best we could with what was given to us,” Busch said of his race.

“Just can’t say enough about everybody on my team, everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota, TRD, all the work they’re putting in.

“Sometimes these races aren’t always won by the fastest car, but I felt we had the fastest car.

"Even though we were in the back and behind and having to come through and persevere through being stuck in fourth gear, no clutch, all that stuff. It’s all burned out. Nothing left.

“It was awesome today. Feels good.”

Busch had earlier picked up the lead in the middle of Stage 2 but, on making his pitstop on the 74th lap, his transmission was stuck in fourth gear and struggled to get going again.

Another stop gave one of Busch's crew members the chance to try and fix it, but to no avail - leaving the two-time Cup champion stuck in gear for the rest of the race.

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Axalta Color of the Year and Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Ground

William Byron, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Axalta Color of the Year and Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Ground

Photo by: David Rosenblum / NKP / Motorsport Images

With five of 140 laps remaining, William Byron was leading, Denny Hamlin was second and Busch third – but all close on fuel.

With two laps remaining, the picture began to change dramatically as first Byron was forced to pit for fuel and Hamlin had to do the same with just over one lap remaining.

Kyle Busch inherited the lead and was able to coast to the checkered flag with a more than 8-second lead over Kyle Larson.

“I don’t even know how we ended up second,” said Larson, who started from the rear of the field because of using a backup car. “I was pretty slow after (running into Hamlin early in the race) then are team clicked.

“We were able to stretch it out until the end. Great effort by our team.”

Brad Keselowski, who made a late stop for a splash of fuel, ended up third, Kevin Harvick was fourth and Bubba Wallace finished fifth – his first top-10 of the season.

Completing the top-10 were Ryan Blaney, Saturday’s winner Alex Bowman, Ryan Preece, Tyler Reddick and Joey Logano.

Byron swept to victory in the second stage, after capitalising on a number of green-flag pitstops, while Martin Truex Jr crossed the line first at the end of the first stage.

NASCAR Cup Series Pocono II results - 140 laps

Cla Driver Manufacturer Time Gap
1 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 2:26'49.797  
2 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 2:26'58.451 8.654
3 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 2:27'00.940 11.143
4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 2:27'01.602 11.805
5 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 2:27'04.225 14.428
6 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 2:27'05.076 15.279
7 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 2:27'05.885 16.088
8 United States Ryan Preece Chevrolet 2:27'07.522 17.725
9 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 2:27'08.659 18.862
10 United States Joey Logano Ford 2:27'12.340 22.543
11 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 2:27'14.989 25.192
12 United States William Byron Chevrolet 2:27'16.076 26.279
13 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 2:27'16.679 26.882
14 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 2:27'17.362 27.565
15 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 2:27'21.873 32.076
16 United States Aric Almirola Ford 2:27'22.694 32.897
17 United States Michael McDowell Ford 2:27'23.786 33.989
18 United States Matt DiBenedetto Ford 2:27'26.835 37.038
19 United States Chris Buescher Ford 2:27'27.160 37.363
20 United States Kurt Busch Chevrolet 2:27'30.420 40.623
21 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 2:27'31.551 41.754
22 United States Ryan Newman Ford 2:27'34.628 44.831
23 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 2:26'59.917 1 Lap
24 United States Cole Custer Ford 2:27'04.601 1 Lap
25 United States Justin Allgaier Chevrolet 2:27'12.146 1 Lap
26 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 2:27'19.324 1 Lap
27 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 2:27'22.171 1 Lap
28 United States Cody Ware Chevrolet 2:27'33.486 1 Lap
29 United States B.J. McLeod Ford 2:27'35.898 2 Laps
30 Australia James Davison Chevrolet 2:27'41.338 3 Laps
31 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 2:27'19.776 4 Laps
32 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 2:27'03.779 5 Laps
33 United States Quin Houff Chevrolet 2:27'23.629 5 Laps
34 Anthony Alfredo Ford 2:27'32.215 6 Laps
35 United States Josh Bilicki Ford 2:27'19.490 8 Laps
36 United States Garrett Smithley Chevrolet 2:14'08.243 18 Laps
37 United States Timmy Hill Toyota 2:11'26.694 27 Laps
38 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 2:00'45.288 29 Laps

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