Matt Kenseth played the fuel-mileage game to perfection Sunday at Pocono Raceway, outlasting Joey Logano and Kyle Busch to record his second victory of the season – snapping Busch’s three-race winning streak but at the same time, extending Joe Gibbs Racing’s run of summertime success. Dating back to NASCAR’s All-Star Race in mid-May, J-G-R has now won seven of the last eleven Sprint Cup Series races.
Kenseth led just two laps Sunday, one at mid-race and the other at the end of the day in notching career win Number-33. Logano led a race-high ninety-seven laps but his fuel tank ran dry less than three laps from the finish.
He yielded the lead to Busch, who took the white flag in first place but the checkered flag in twenty-first place after running out of gas on his final trip around “The Tricky Triangle” and coasting to a stop. Busch was attempting to become the first driver to win four straight Cup Series races since Jimmie Johnson in 2007 and carried a sixteen-second lead over Kenseth into Sunday’s final lap.
Jeff Gordon rode home in third place with Dale Earnhardt Junior and Greg Biffle completing the top five. Johnson’s sixth-place finish gave Hendrick Motorsports three of the top six spots. Busch started from the pole and led three times for nineteen laps.
Despite his late-race misfortune, he is now just thirteen points outside the top thirty – where Busch needs to be in order to become eligible for a berth in the post-season Chase. He remains in thirty-second place. Sunday’s race included eighteen lead changes, six more than in this year’s first stop at Pocono on June 7th.