Bad luck brings an early end for polesitter Martin Truex Jr.
NASCAR Wire Service
— Same car. Vastly different result.
For the first 15 laps, pole winner Martin Truex Jr. looked every bit as if the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing chassis he drove to a dominating victory at Charlotte in May might pull off a duplicate performance in Monday’s Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Truex was the class of the field for the first 15 laps, pulling out to a lead of almost three seconds before NASCAR called a planned competition caution on Lap 16. Almost immediately, the day went sour for the No. 78 team.
After a restart on Lap 20, the right front tire on Truex’s Toyota deflated, sending the car hard into the outside wall in Turn 2.
The culprit was a broken valve stem on the inner liner of the tire.
“A lug nut bounced off the ground, fell in behind the wheel on (the first) pit stop,” Truex said.
LONG POND, PA.
“It’s just bad luck, honestly. I knew something wasn’t right in (Turn) 1, and I got real tight on that restart and went down the back and was like, ‘Ah, it feels okay.’
“And as I got closer to the Tunnel Turn, I felt it start to go down and by the time I let off and tried to slow down it was just going straight for the fence.”
Truex got back on the track and hit the wall twice more before retiring the car in 38th-place after completing 82 laps. It was a far cry from the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, where Truex led 588 of 600 miles, a NASCAR record for a single race.
Runner-up Keselowski doesn’t begrudge Buescher’s win
Even though Brad Keselowski was running second when severe weather at Pocono Raceway forced NASCAR to call Monday’s Pennsylvania 400, Brad Keselowski was happy for first-time winner Chris Buescher.
“I think it’s a great moment, not just for him but for his team,” Keselowski said. “He’s done a lot. I think he’s a pretty good driver that is in line to get an even better opportunity in his career.
“I’m proud of him. He’s done a great job. He’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to do — and that’s make the most out of every opportunity and graduate to the next one.”
Keselowski is a four-time winner this season, tied for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series lead with Kyle Busch. Keselowski won his first Sprint Cup race in his fifth start in the series, driving for James Finch’s Phoenix Racing.
Buescher’s maiden victory comes in his 27th start. It’s the second win for his team, Front Row Motorsports.
Logano’s strong effort ends in Turn 2 wreck
Joey Logano had one of the strongest cars in Monday’s Penn- sylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway, but his winning chances came to an abrupt end in the Tunnel Turn on Lap 106.
The No. 24 Chevrolet of rookie Chase Elliott got loose underneath Logano’s No. 22 Ford, knocking Logano’s car into the outside wall.
“It was good for a while,” said Logano, who led a race-high 38 laps before the accident. “The team did a great job. … There were a lot of positives today. We just ended on a negative note racing hard and trying to get back up there after that caution. We all had to pit because we tried to win the race when it rained and we lost our track position and then the 24 got loose under me. It is just part of racing. It stinks to be on this end of it. It is just part of it.”
NASCAR impounds six cars for further aalysis
Following Monday’s race, Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing de- velopment officer, announced that NASCAR will take six cars back to North Carolina for further inspection — a practice typically done this time of year.
“It’s really a mid-season evaluation for us,” O’Donnell said. “Pocono presented the best opportunity for us to really evaluate where we are from both an aero and engine standpoint. … We will have them go through the wind tunnel and we’ll also evaluate the engines, as well. It was something we took the initiative to do ... This was our first chance to really take a look mid-season, get the cars exactly as they were on the race track, take them from here, and then perform the analysis postrace.”
NASCAR took two cars per manufacturer: From Toyota, the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin and the No. 18 of Kyle Busch; from Chevrolet, the No. 4 of Kevin Harvick and No. 5 of Kasey Kahne; and from Ford, the No. 16 of Greg Biffle and No. 2 of Brad Keselowski.