There are just six races remaining in the regular season of the Monster Energy Cup Series, and despite seeing a new winner last week in New Hampshire, an all too familiar name is likely to take the checkered flag at Pocono Raceway in the Gander RV 400.
Kyle Busch leads the field of favorites as he looks to repeat the winning success he had on this track in June. Busch, who sits second in the Cup Series standings, has won two straight at Pocono Raceway and three of the last four. His win in the Pocono 400 was his fourth of the season, but also the last time No. 18 crossed the finish first.
Typically a track that’s produced fast and furious finishes, the new 2019 aero package led to some rather anticlimatic final laps in June. NASCAR has spent more than a week adding heavy amounts of a traction compound to the 2.5 mile, triangle-shaped track, hoping for a more dramatic finish.
Kevin Harvick, who finally recorded his long-awaited first win of the season last week, is likely to compete with Busch for the win. Harvick has four runner-up finishes in his last 10 races at the Tricky Triangle, and overall has had a great season – he sits third in the standings – despite going winless until New Hampshire. He will start from pole position.
Sporting News is tracking live lap-by-lap updates and highlights from the Gander RV 400. Follow along below.
NASCAR at Pocono: Live updates, highlights from Gander RV 400
(All times Eastern)
Caution flags: 5
Lead changes: 7
Lap leaders: Kevin Harvick (63), Kyle Busch (39), Denny Hamlin (12), Jimmie Johnson (3)
5:22 p.m.: Back under green with 41 to go and Busch in the lead.
5:17 p.m.: Who’s pitting? Everyone. With 44 laps to go, everyone will likely still need to cylce through again.
5:13 p.m.: Caution. Ryan Preece’s rear right tire literally just falls off and he hits the wall really hard. His No. 47 is demolished.
5:08 p.m.: Sounds like most drivers will be pitting around Lap 125.
5:04 p.m.: Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano quickly pass Harvick.
5:03 p.m.: Green flag for the final stage. Every car will have to pit before the finish. Harvick is in first with Kyle Busch in 15th.
5:00 p.m.: Ten cars pit, and Brad Keselowski beats them all off pit road.
Stage 2 winner: Jimmie Johnson
4:56 p.m.: Johnson is the beneficiary of the late caution. Unbelievable stat, but it’s just his second career stage win.
This *should* give the Stage 2 win to Jimmie Johnson as he got the lead when Busch hit pit road.
4. Truex Jr.
– PRN (@PRNlive) July 28, 2019
4:53 p.m.: Daniel Hemric and Blaney make contact, spinning Blaney into the wall. Caution is out with two laps remaining. Busch entered pit road simultaneously. Jimmie Johnson take the lead.
4:50 p.m.: Back under green. Five laps to go in Stage 2.
4:46 p.m.: A few cars roll into pit road, but Busch is not one of them. He must feel he can make it to the end of the stage with seven laps remaining.
4:43 p.m.: And the caution is out for precipitation. Should be fairly quick.
4:42 p.m.: A few drops of rain have reportedly begun to fall.
4:40 p.m.: Green flag with Busch in the lead. It’ll be interesting to see how the lack of fresh tires affects No. 18.
4:35 p.m.: The caution couldn’t have come at a better time for Harvick. He’ll stay on the track as most other cars pit. Busch, however, will stay out.
4:33 p.m.: Elliott immediately takes his car back to the garage. His day is over.
4:32 p.m.: Caution is out. Chase Elliott blew a front right tire, hit the wall, and took some pretty heavy damage to the entire right side of that No. 9 car.
4:29 p.m.: Kyle Larson’s impressive day in a backup car continues, as he is now third.
4:27 p.m.: Harvick now goes to pit road with 21 laps left in Stage 2. He takes four new tires.
4:21 p.m.: Busch makes a huge move on Turn 3 and blows by Harvick.
4:20 p.m.: Harvick is having some difficulties passing Blaney in lap traffic.
4:18 p.m.: Kevin Harvick is radioing about when to pit. He’s concerned about the tire advantage Busch may be gaining on him
4:12 p.m.: Ryan Blaney opts for the early pit method as he gets two fresh tires.
4:10 p.m.: Kyle Busch passes Ryan Newman and is inching on Hamlin for second place.
4:06 p.m.: Green flag on Stage 2 with Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin in the front row.
4:04 p.m.: Daniel Hemric made a two-tire stop and won the race off pit road.
Stage 1 winner: Kyle Busch
3:57 p.m.: Kyle Busch wins his eighth stage of the season, picking up valuable points over Cup Series leader Joey Logano.
3:52 p.m.: Five laps left in the stage. Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. are in a back-and-forth battle for fourth.
3:47 p.m.: Harvick and Denny Hamlin have now pitted from first and second.
3:44 p.m.: Every single car (10 of them) in front of Kyle Busch will have to pit before the end of the stage. Busch is in prime position to win this stage.
3:41 p.m.: Jimmie Johnson is up to eighth after starting the race from the back.
3:36 p.m.: Harvick is one of the few drivers yet to hit pit road. Possibly hoping for a caution with 22 laps left in the stage.
3:31 p.m.: Kyle Busch pits from a very close third-place position. Erik Jones follows.
3:27 p.m.: Kyle Larson is flying by drivers. He’s up to 11th after starting in the rear with a backup car.
3:23 p.m.: Alex Bowman is the first to head to pit road for a scheduled stop. He takes two tires.
3:15 p.m.: Brad Keselowski hit the wall and his tire is smoking. The No. 2 already has to head to pit road. Disastrous start.
3:12 p.m. Green flag!
3:08 p.m.: Drivers have hit the track. Details of the race layout are below.