Race Report: Pocono Raceway

5-7 June, 2015, Long Pond, Pennsylvania USA Matt Kenseth, Dollar General Toyota Camry ©2015, Matthew T. Thacker NKP

Matt Kenseth led Joe Gibbs Racing with a sixth-place finish in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Axalta 400 at Pocono Raceway. Teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin joined Kenseth in the top ten taking the checkered flag in ninth and tenth respectively, while Carl Edwards finished 15th.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota from the 19th position and patiently worked his way into the top 15 over the course of the opening green flag run. Kenseth would be ruled speeding entering the pits and was forced to serve a pass-through penalty on lap 31 causing him to drop back outside the top 25. Fortunately the No. 20 Camry was fast and able to remain on the lead lap as he raced his way back inside the top 20. He was back to 15th by lap 60. He would continue his climb and was back inside the top ten to stay shortly after lap 100. He would go on to finish sixth.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota from the 10th position and was able maintain the ninth position over the course of the opening green flag run despite reporting loose handling conditions. He would continue to run near the top ten and some pit strategy helped him jump into the top five by lap 100. He would run fifth with 30 laps remaining and jumped to second a restart with 27 to go before dropping to third when another caution came out with 25 laps remaining. He would lose a few spots on the final restart of the day on lap 144, but still managed a solid top ten finish taking the checkered flag in ninth. The finish allowed Busch to gain positions on standings as he attempts to make the top 30 and earn a victory to ensure a spot in the Chase. He is currently 39th and 151 points outside the top 30.

Denny Hamlin, started the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota from the eighth position and was able to gain a couple spots to run sixth on lap 5. He would hold a spot in the top ten for much of the first half of the race and then varying pit strategies would shuffle the field a bit and Hamlin was running back in 15th at lap 100. He would manage to work his way back into the top ten over a series of late restarts and finished in the tenth position.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota in the second position and was able to go right to front to lead the opening 14 laps of the race before giving way to the 78 car on lap 15. Edwards would run in the top five throughout the first half of the race and then varying pit strategies found him shuffled back to 15th as the race approached the 100-lap mark. The 19 team would try some different pit strategy hoping fresh tires would make the difference back in traffic. Edwards would manage to regain the lost track position from the additional pit stop and was 15th when the checkered flag dropped.

Martin Truex, Jr. captured the win and was followed by Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions on the afternoon for a total of 31 laps and 12 lead changes among six different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Michigan next Sunday, June 14. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 1 PM ET (race begins at 1 PM ET).