NASCAR notebook: Blaney perseveres for strong finish

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

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

That could make things interesting even if the race itself gets strung out and uneventful, which sometimes is the case in the Pennsylvania mountains.

Clint Bowyer showed a ton of speed last August behind the wheel of the Nature's Bakery machine at Pocono, and on Sunday, that momentum maintained into this race.

Harvick and Busch have won nine of 13 Cup races this season and each have earned enough playoff points that they're already stout favorites to race for the championship in the season finale at Homestead.

"Our team is very similar and has a lot of respect for their team and the things they do on the race track", Harvick said.

Four times in the last seven Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races here, he has finished second, including both races a year ago.

He led 24 of the first 26 laps and the final 40 to win for the 92nd time in Xfinity to add to his series record.

Busch also has 47 Cup wins and 50 in the Truck Series to become perhaps the most dominant driver across all three national NASCAR series in history. We ran well there the first race and I really think because we ran well, we went back and worked harder to try to run better.

"I think three out of the four have definitely been the best", Larson said of Harvick, Busch and Truex.

"I mean, if you're looking for the banging doors and fenders and things like that and running one another hard for a win, there's too much to lose in auto performance in doing that sort of stuff", Busch said. Truex, a Mayetta, New Jersey native, was honored last week by Gov. Phil Murphy and he declared May 31 as Martin Truex Jr. Day.

"I feel like we're getting back to what we were doing past year", Truex Jr. said.

But what Igdalsky and Co. can't control is the core product and ultimately, that's the excitement on the track where there was little this time around.

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Blaney, son of former NASCAR driver Dave Blaney, grandson of dirt track star Lou Blaney, has led 418 laps this season and is 11th in the points standings.

On Friday, Busch bristled at a comment about him having never won an Xfinity Series race at Pocono Speedway. Pollex was a fixture in victory lane last season but scaled back her travel schedule as she continues her battle with ovarian cancer.

Johnson finished eighth and extended the longest losing streak of his career to 37.

The anticipation Bubba Wallace felt on returning to the track where he made his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut last season soon turned to disappointment when the engine in his No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet expired after 108 laps, the result of a missed shift.

"I made a mistake on pit road speeding again here at Pocono", Wallace said ruefully after steering his vehicle to the garage.

The series will shift to MI where Larson is the defending race victor. Larson is winless this season and is trying to make it two straight at the track. "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". Somewhat quietly third in average FanDuel fantasy points per race behind you know who.

Chase Elliott, another Cup Series regular, finished second, 2.852 seconds behind Busch.

Caution Flags: 6 for 23 laps.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K. Harvick 4 times for 89 laps; M. Truex Jr. 1 time for 4 laps; J. Johnson 1 time for 2 laps.

For as much as they have dominated, though, Harvick and Busch haven't really duked it out for a win.

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