Martin Truex Jr. used strategy on Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway to win the Pocono 400 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Truex elected to stay out during a set of pit stops under a caution for debris with 20 laps remaining. MTJ held his ground, and on a restart on Lap 153 of 160, Truex got a strong jump in the Restart Zone, allowing him to pull away and secure the victory over runner-up, Kyle Larson. The 2017 Cup champion led 31 laps, overcoming a slow pit stop earlier in the day that dropped him from the front to 14th position. After winning Stage 1 and rallying to victory, The Furniture Row Racing driver put himself solidly in the 2018 championship conversation, as Truex and his team hunt for back-to-back championships.
“It’s been a really good weekend overall,” Truex said. “I feel like we’re getting back to where we were last year.” In 2017, Truex won eight races heading toward his inaugural championship.
Truex, Harvick and Bush have combined to win 11 of the 14 Cup races this year.
“It’s always fun to win, but especially when you beat the best guys out there. These two guys (Busch and Harvick) were so fast today. Honestly, we were all really equal. It was a matter of who could get out front. The 4 (Harvick) and I stayed on tires. We felt like in practice we were really fast on scuffs. (Crew chief) Cole (Pearn) made a good call to stay out, and once I got in clean air, this thing was a rocket ship,” Truex said.
These three drivers, with Larson included, set themselves up in Pennsylvania to be the “hunted” for the Championship 4 from Homestead in November. Bush ran third and Harvick, who won Stage 2, ended the 400-miler in fourth on Sunday.
Larson is still searching for his first win of 2018. The MENCS heads to the “Irish Hills” at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. Larson’s going after four-in-a-row at MIS, a record for consecutive victories at the speedway.
The MENCS will be off next weekend, but back in action at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 24th.
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