Bad luck brings an early end for pole­sit­ter Martin Truex Jr.

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By REID SPENCER

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.

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