The Good, Bad, and Ugly of XFINITY at Pocono

Kyle Busch grabbed the victory in the Pocono Green 250, but it was the new race package that stole headlines. Was it good, bad, or ugly?

The Good: Kyle Busch

While I still don’t agree that Cup drivers should be in the XFINITY Series, it’s hard to deny how talented Kyle Busch is. He’s now won 189 times total in the top three NASCAR touring series, including 92 times in the XFINITY series. His win on Saturday also means he’s won at all 15 tracks where all three national series run, in Cup, XFINITY, and Trucks. That’s a mind-boggling feat. Busch is clearly in the absolute prime of his career, and probably won’t slow down for a while now. While it’s a prickly topic, Busch should be in the conversation right up there with Petty, Earnhardt, and Johnson, by the time his career is finished. It’s hard to dispute that Busch is the best driver racing right now.

The Bad: The Rules Package

The new rules package was something, but it wasn’t all that great. The highlight was the couple of times when there were several cars under a blanket for one position, be it the lead, or a little farther back. Other than that, though, it wasn’t a great race. A few laps after each restart, the field would string out, and the leader would stretch out a significant lead. While the package did allow some gaps to close, the gaps up front didn’t seem so susceptible. It truly didn’t look much different from any old Pocono race. It only had seven lead changes, and only a couple under green. It’s going to take some more experimenting to find the right balance at Pocono.

The Ugly: Lap Cars

While lap cars are always a bit of a pain for the leaders, at the end of stage two they caused a real ruckus. Mike Harmon, running well off the pace in his No. 74 Chevy Camaro, broke up a four-car battle for the stage win between Paul Menard, Cole Custer, Austin Cindric, and Justin Allgaier. Harmon was running the preferred bottom as the field entered turn three. The four battling for the lead (who had been two-by-two) were forced to the outside to avoid contact with Harmon, who almost ran himself into the grass. It’s worth noting that this put Harmon a second lap down. It’s absolutely pathetic that someone who was running 38th at the time ruined what could have been a close stage finish. The only thing I can say is Harmon should be glad that race wasn’t on lap 100.

Teammates Until the Green Flag Falls: Allgaier Beats Sadler in Wild Finish

Justin Allgaier won the OneMain Financial 200 after 104 of 200 laps and winning stage two. The race featured eight cautions and a very close finish.

Polesitter Brandon Jones grabbed the lead on the initial start, but the caution came out on lap two as Matt Tifft went for a spin. Tifft didn’t hit anything. On the lap nine restart, Jones again cleared Elliott Sadler for the lead. By the time the race hit lap 15, Tyler Reddick, who started from the rear of the field after inspection issues during qualifying, was inside the top ten. On lap 23, Elliott Sadler caught and passed Brandon Jones for the lead. On lap 31, the caution came out again when Josh Bilicki had a left rear tire go down and slammed the wall.

When the green flag came out again, there were ten laps remaining in stage two. Sadler maintained the lead despite a challenge by teammate Justin Allgaier, and captured the stage win. On pit stops, Tyler Reddick’s crew had a stellar stop, getting him off pit road first after finishing the stage in fifth. Brandon Jones, however, was busted for speeding on pit road after finishing the first stage third. Ty Majeski and Matt Tifft stayed out after pitting during the lap 31 caution.

The race went back green on lap 53, and Majeski had a transmission issue on the restart, losing fourth gear. He pitted, and was forced to head behind the wall as the team discovered an axle issue on top of the transmission problem. Because of Majeski’s issues, Matt Tifft assumed the lead. Tifft, however, was quickly overtaken by Tyler Reddick. With 12 laps left in stage two, Justin Allgaier took the lead from Reddick. The lap was very eventful, as Ryan Reed and Noah Gragson got together, sending Reed into the wall. The caution came out several seconds later as Kaz Grala blew a tire, spun, and backed into the wall, ending his day. Under caution, Elliott Sadler pitted from fourth place, giving up valuable stage points.

The race went back green with six laps left in stage two, and Justin Allgaier easily jumped away from teammate Tyler Reddick. Allgaier would grab the stage win easily. The field pitted, and Allgaier maintained his position out front. Christopher Bell, who was running inside the top five, was busted for an uncontrolled tire and sent to the rear of the field. Brandon Jones and Jeb Burton stayed out.

Jones grabbed the lead on the restart and got away from second-place Elliott Sadler. Sadler got by Jones, but with 90 laps to go, Justin Allgaier got by Sadler for the lead. With 72 laps to go, Austin Cindric got into the back of John Hunter Nemechek, sending Nemechek into the wall and bringing out the yellow. The two had had contact shortly before the incident as they went three-wide with Johnny Sauter. Under yellow, Noah Gragson had a disastrous pit stop after pitting outside his block.

The restart came with 66 to go and it was Allgaier that prevailed over second-place teammate Elliott Sadler. With 57 laps left, Alex Labbe went around after getting bumped by Ryan Reed. Labbe avoided contact, but his right front tire shredded, destroying the fender and hood.

The race restarted with 50 to go, and Justin Allgaier grabbed the lead, but this time it was Daniel Hemric who got second. With 31 laps to go, Ty Majeski got turned around by Ryan Sieg, collecting Dylan Lupton. This brought out the eight caution of the day, and ended Ty Majeski’s day.

On the restart with 27 to go, Justin Allgaier prevailed, and Elliott Sadler grabbed second back from Daniel Hemric. Throughout the closing laps, Allgaier and Sadler battled, and, in the final corner, they made contact, but Allgaier held Sadler off despite hitting the wall exiting turn four.

The NASCAR XFINITY Series will be back on track on Saturday, May 26th, at 1 p.m. at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Alsco 300.

Here are the full results from the OneMain Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway:

  1. Justin Allgaier
  2. Elliott Sadler
  3. Daniel Hemric
  4. Christopher Bell
  5. Tyler Reddick
  6. Johnny Sauter
  7. Noah Gragson
  8. Matt Tifft
  9. Austin Cindric
  10. Brandon Jones
  11. Ryan Truex
  12. Jeb Burton
  13. Cole Custer
  14. John Hunter Nemechek
  15. Michael Annett
  16. Ross Chastain
  17. Ryan Sieg
  18. Jeremy Clements
  19. Ryan Reed
  20. Joey Gase
  21. Alex Labbe
  22. Vinnie Miller
  23. BJ McLeod
  24. Dylan Lupton
  25. Chad Finchum
  26. David Starr
  27. Ray Black Jr.
  28. Brandon Brown
  29. Josh Bilicki
  30. Spencer Boyd
  31. Joe Nemechek
  32. Garrett Smithley (Suspension)
  33. Stephen Leicht (Vibration)
  34. Ty Majeski (Accident)
  35. Timmy Hill (Transmission)
  36. JJ Yeley (Vibration)
  37. Kaz Grala (Accident)
  38. Morgan Shepherd (Transmission)
  39. Carl Long (Brakes)
  40. Jeff Green (Vibration)

Brandon Jones Wins Pole at Dover

Brandon Jones won the pole for the OneMain Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway with a lap time of 23.102 seconds. It’s his second career series pole. Austin Cindric led the first two rounds, but ended up seventh in the final round.

With three and a half minutes left in the first round, the red flag came out for debris. Austin Cindric was fastest in the first round at a 22.999 second lap. Nine cars were unable to make a lap due to inspection issues, including Tyler Reddick, John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Custer, Michael Annett, and Christopher Bell. Mike Harmon also did not make a lap and will miss the race.

In the second round, Austin Cindric and Justin Allgaier tied for the fastest time, both running 23.183 second laps. Those who failed to make the final round included Ryan Sieg (13th), Dylan Lupton (14th), Kaz Grala (16th), and Jeremy Clements (19th).

In the final round, Brandon Jones grabbed the pole with a lap time of 23.102 seconds. Jones’ teammate Noah Gragson qualified second.

The NASCAR XFINITY Series OneMain Financial 200 will take place at 12 p.m. eastern time on Saturday.

Here is the full starting lineup for the OneMain Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway:

  1. Brandon Jones
  2. Noah Gragson
  3. Matt Tifft
  4. Elliott Sadler
  5. Daniel Hemric
  6. Justin Allgaier
  7. Austin Cindric
  8. Ryan Truex
  9. Ty Majeski
  10. Jeb Burton
  11. Johnny Sauter
  12. Ryan Reed
  13. Ryan Sieg
  14. Dylan Lupton
  15. Alex Labbe
  16. Kaz Grala
  17. Brandon Brown
  18. Ross Chastain
  19. Jeremy Clements
  20. JJ Yeley
  21. Joey Gase
  22. Timmy Hill
  23. Garrett Smithley
  24. Jeff Green
  25. Vinnie Miller
  26. BJ McLeod
  27. Spencer Boyd
  28. Morgan Shepherd
  29. Ray Black Jr.
  30. Chad Finchum
  31. Josh Bilicki
  32. Carl Long
  33. Tyler Reddick
  34. Christopher Bell
  35. John Hunter Nemechek
  36. Cole Custer
  37. Michael Annett
  38. David Starr
  39. Joe Nemechek
  40. Stephen Leicht