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.

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