NASCAR Cup Pocono: Busch baffled by late pit strategy that cost win

Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch says he was baffled by his pace after a "frustrating" strategy call that cost him a potential NASCAR Cup series win at Pocono

NASCAR Cup Pocono: Busch baffled by late pit strategy that cost win

Busch was leading with 31 laps remaining, ahead of championship rivals Martin Truex Jr of Furniture Row Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick, having stopped for fuel and tyres after Derrike Cope caused a caution.

But on lap 139 of 160, a caution caused by debris led to Busch's crew calling him into a stop while Truex and Harvick remained on track.

He restarted the race in eighth before climbing to the rear of the second-placed car of Chip Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson, but remained third as Truex won.

Busch believed he was "damned" either way on strategy, having lost at Pocono last year by remaining on old tyres in favour of staying in clean air, which was the opposite of his 2018 call.

"We came back down for tyres and I don't know what it was [that prevented similar early race pace]," he said.

"I don't know if it was the clouds or different tyres, but those tyres didn't mean anything.

"We couldn't get back up through there for anything back up to those guys. It [pitting] didn't give any advantage. That was frustrating and disappointing.

"We were on the flip side of that situation here last year where we didn't pit and take tyres and lost the race. You're damned if you do, and damned if you don't."

Busch joked that he hoped Larson would have helped his momentum on the final restart.

"I thought Larson and I had a pretty good run there on that final restart where I pushed him back up to the back of the #78," he said.

"He [Larson] didn't hit him enough in order to get him [Truex] up the track a little farther so I could squeak on under there and have a three-wide battle and probably a whole bunch of fire and flames and parts on the outside of the racetrack in Turn 2. Maybe next time."

Busch now holds an 87 point lead over Harvick in the regular season standings.

shares
comments
NASCAR Cup: Martin Truex Jr holds on for victory at Pocono

Previous article

NASCAR Cup: Martin Truex Jr holds on for victory at Pocono

Next article

How a retiring star exposed NASCAR's big problem

How a retiring star exposed NASCAR's big problem
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR
Author Tom Errington
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

NASCAR
Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

NASCAR
Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

NASCAR
Feb 12, 2021
How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career Plus

How a second-chance NASCAR ace is rebuilding his career

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a shot at redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith

NASCAR
Feb 11, 2021
Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines Plus

Autosport's top 5 NASCAR machines

The American stock car scene is more famous for its close racing and occasional punch-ups, but there have been some fantastic machines too. As part of Autosport's 70th anniversary celebrations in 2020, we picked out five of its best

NASCAR
Jan 3, 2021
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Plus

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future

NASCAR
Nov 17, 2020
Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy Plus

Why Johnson’s playoff failure won’t tarnish his legacy

The last season of a retiring NASCAR great has shown promise, and may have resulted in another playoff push without small issues outside his control. 2020 won't be the year Jimmie Johnson would have wanted, but it won't be what he is remembered for

NASCAR
Sep 3, 2020
Why a Le Mans winner is heading into the “unknown world” of NASCAR Plus

Why a Le Mans winner is heading into the “unknown world” of NASCAR

Comparing Porsche's 919 HYBRID LMP1 to NASCAR is motorsport's equivalent of apples and oranges, but this weekend one of Weissach's top works aces will pit his skills against the regulars and revive the tradition of the 'road-course ringer'

NASCAR
Aug 13, 2020