Truex pulls away on final restart to win at Pocono

Published 7:29 pm Sunday, June 3, 2018

LONG POND, Pa. (AP) — Martin Truex Jr. pulled away off a restart with seven laps left to win the NASCAR Cup race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday and thrust himself back into the championship picture.

Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick had turned the season into a two-driver show, winning nine of the first 13 races. Each driver spent time in front and battled for the lead over the final laps until the final restart on the 2 1/2-mile track.

Truex showed why he’s still a threat to win his second straight title.

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Truex took the checkered flag in the No. 78 Toyota after two straight runner-up finishes in a season where he was almost an afterthought compared to the Busch-Harvick dominance.

“I think three of those guys are head-over-heels better than the rest of us,” Kyle Larson said.

Larson wasn’t so bad, himself. He finished second Sunday, followed by Busch and Harvick. Brad Keselowski was fifth.

Busch won the Xfinity Series race Saturday to help Toyota sweep the weekend.

But Pocono belonged to Truex and he won his 17th career Cup race.

“I hope they got a lot of Yuengling in victory lane,” he said over the radio about the Pennsylvania beer. “We’re going to drink it all!”

He had it sprayed on him instead in victory lane.

“I feel like we’re getting back to what we were doing last year,” Truex said.  “It’s always fun to win, especially when you beat the best guys out there.”

Harvick led 89 laps and Busch led 13. Truex led 31 overall and the final 20 to celebrate at the same track where he won his first race for Furniture Row Racing in 2015.

Meanwhile, Denny Hamlin had a rough day as he spun the No. 11 Toyota out of control and slammed into the inside wall late in the race and failed to finish a race for the second time this season. Hamlin remains winless on the year but snapped a modest streak of three straight top-10 finishes.