Pocono NASCAR: Kurt Busch stretches fuel to win delayed race

Kurt Busch seized victory in Monday's delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono

Pocono NASCAR: Kurt Busch stretches fuel to win delayed race

The Stewart-Haas racer put in an economy drive at the end of the race to narrowly hold off Dale Earnhardt Jr and Brad Keselowski, with the latter the only one of the three drivers not saving fuel.

It was an incident-packed race with 10 cautions flown, the last of which came with around 40 laps to go. With fuel mileage estimated to be somewhere between 33-37 laps, it was a close call between stopping for a top-up, or lifting and coasting to maintain track position.

Informed by interim crew chief John Klausmeier (standing in for Tony Gibson who was suspended for a lug nut violation at Charlotte) that he was two laps short on fuel, Busch began coasting, even going so far as to push his clutch in through Turn 1.

The strategy worked though, and despite Earnhardt's best efforts behind him, Busch crossed the finish line just over a second ahead.

Rapid rookie Chase Elliott led a large portion of the race, heading the field for 51 laps, eclipsing his previous laps led total (32) over the previous 18 races. He would eventually finish fourth behind Keselowski, whose top three finish was quite a feat in itself.

The Penske driver had run high in the order early in the race, but during the competition caution on lap 16 a pit crew member deliberately dented the side of his car in an attempt to create better airflow, and the punishment was a mandatory stop to fix it as well as a drive-through, which dropped him to 39th.

Another driver who appeared at both ends of the field was Kevin Harvick. He led the race on old tyres up until lap 60 of 160, at which point Matt DiBenedetto spun, prompting Harvick to pit, and rejoin way down the order. He eventually finished ninth.

The race was due to be run on Sunday evening, but torrential rain forced the postponement of the event until noon local time on Monday.

With his win, Busch joins Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, and last week's winner Martin Truex Jr in the provisional Chase field.

RESULTS - 160 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 3h11m15.s
2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 1.126s
3 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 1.402s
4 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 2.727s
5 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 4.614s
6 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 5.593s
7 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 6.304s
8 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 6.441s
9 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 6.981s
10 Ryan Blaney Wood Brothers Racing Ford 19.276s
11 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 24.441s
12 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 25.217s
13 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford 27.240s
14 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 28.986s
15 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 29.228s
16 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 29.291s
17 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 29.377s
18 Clint Bowyer HScott Motorsports Chevrolet 31.946s
19 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota 34.269s
20 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 35.320s
21 Ty Dillon Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet 37.918s
22 Regan Smith Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet 45.496s
23 David Ragan BK Racing Toyota 48.224s
24 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet 55.120s
25 Chris Buescher Front Row Motorsports Ford 1 Lap
26 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 1 Lap
27 Josh Wise The Motorsports Group Chevrolet 1 Lap
28 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 1 Lap
29 Jeb Burton Go FAS Racing Ford 2 Laps
30 Cole Whitt Premium Motorsports Chevrolet Rear Gear
31 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 10 Laps
32 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 15 Laps
33 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 25 Laps
34 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet 29 Laps
35 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Accident
36 Landon Cassill Front Row Motorsports Ford 39 Laps
37 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Accident
38 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet Accident
39 Brian Scott Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 79 Laps
40 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota Accident

LEADING CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Pos Driver Points
1 Kevin Harvick 490
2 Kurt Busch 465
3 Brad Keselowski 442
4 Carl Edwards 437
5 Kyle Busch 416
6 Jimmie Johnson 415
7 Chase Elliott 413
8 Joey Logano 410
9 Martin Truex Jr. 403
10 Matt Kenseth 382
11 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 381
12 Denny Hamlin 372
13 Austin Dillon 348
14 Jamie McMurray 342
15 Ryan Blaney 340
16 Ryan Newman 338
17 A.J. Allmendinger 334
18 Kasey Kahne 325
19 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 325
20 Trevor Bayne 319
21 Kyle Larson 302
22 Paul Menard 265
23 Clint Bowyer 252
24 Aric Almirola 249
25 Greg Biffle 245
26 Danica Patrick 245
27 Landon Cassill 221
28 Casey Mears 212
29 Brian Scott 192
30 David Ragan 189

PROVISIONALLY INTO CHASE SO FAR

Kyle Busch (3 wins), Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski (2 wins), Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr, Kurt Busch (1 win)

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