Inopportune cautions foiled the best-laid plans of drivers Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick â and their respective crew chiefs.
Even though those two arguably had the best cars in Sundayâs Gander RV 400 at Pocono Raceway, neither was in position to challenge for the victory when the race went to overtime and Denny Hamlin ultimately finished in first place.
The winner of Stage 1, Busch, stayed on the track and retained the lead for a restart on Lap 119 of 163. Unable to reach the end of the race on fuel, however, Busch came to pit road on Lap 134 and fell to 26th in the running order. He spent the rest of the event working his way back up to ninth at the finish, while his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates â Hamlin, Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr. â swept the top three spots.
Busch led 56 laps, second only to Harvickâs 62.
Harvick drove his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to third place in Stage 1, second in Stage 2 and led the field to green to start the final stage on Lap 104. But then he lost the top spot to Hamlin on the restart lap and never regained it.
The way Harvick saw it, the pair of cautions in the last 10 laps deprived him of the chance to win in a car that was set up for long runs.
âIf the caution doesnât come out, I think we were in good shape, but thatâs the way it goes, especially at this place,â said Harvick, who was trying to double up on last Sundayâs victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. âYou have to have the cautions fall your way, and you have to have everything go right.
âWe just had a few little things here and there that didnât go our way and wound up sixth.â