Truex Jr. pulls away late to win at Pocono

NASCAR driver smelled like smoke for days after car burst into flames

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.

Johnson is 42 years old, Alex Bowman is 25, Elliott is 22 and William Byron is 20, making the average age at the start of the 2018 season 27.0. He won the pole for the Coca-Cola 600, won all four stages, led 377 of 400 laps and became the only driver in NASCAR's modern era to win a points race on every track on the schedule.

Busch and Harvick have combined for nine wins through 13 races and led an incredible 39 percent of all race laps this year.

Once the race restarted on lap 143, Truex knew he was in good shape to hold onto the lead.

Kyle Busch had a flicker of concern when a speeding penalty dumped him to the rear of the field.

"We couldn't get back up through there for anything back up to those guys", Busch said.

Added Truex: "Cole said stay out, and I was like, I think this is a good idea".

Kyle Busch was the first driver to elect to take four tires on the race-deciding caution on lap 140.

On Friday, Busch bristled at a comment about him having never won an Xfinity Series race at Pocono Speedway.

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

"After the bad pit stop, I was like, here we go again". But it was really cool being in Victory Lane with those guys.

"It's about the Daytona 500 and trying to get that one", he said.

She was by his side three weeks ago when they were both honored on the South Lawn of the White House.

Each time, however, Truex remained out front.

"Honestly, as insane as it's been, it's been a lot of fun", he said. "So, I didn't think that was the call to win, at least at that point".

"It was really fast out front", he said.

It nearly was game over for Truex earlier in the race.

In the stunning stat department, seven-time Jimmie Johnson led his first laps of the season in the first stage.

Blaney, the victor of this race previous year, started on the pole and led the first 11 laps but Harvick was able to get by easily as Blaney's Ford faded.

"It is always nice to come back to a place you have had success at and won at", said Blaney, who will drive the No 12 Menards Ford this week. He appeared to blow the engine when he missed a shift and his Chevrolet rolled to the garage for his first DNF of the season.

The first serious accident of the day came on lap 146, when Denny Hamlin's vehicle broke loose underneath Alex Bowman, resulting in heavy damage to the front of Hamlin's auto and right rear of Bowman's. "We're going to struggle to finish in the top five again", Truex said.

Petty, of course, won all 200 races in the Cup series and the countdown to The King has irked traditionalists who believe the two drivers should barely be mentioned in the same sentence. "So, it's been a little tougher to come by this year, but I feel like as far as where the team is, the speed of our cars, the job everybody's doing, we're right there and we showed it today".



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