As the NASCAR Cup Series heads for an unprecedented weekend at Pocono Raceway, Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have a significant streak on the line.
The current JGR drivers have won the last five races at the Tricky Triangle, with Kyle Busch accounting for three of those victories and Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. one each – though Truex’s win was with Furniture Row Racing.
A Saturday/Sunday doubleheader at Pocono presents a unique opportunity to add two wins to the streak. For the first time in NASCAR history, the Cup series will contest back-to-back events at the same track and on the same weekend.
In Saturday’s Pocono Organics 325 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and Sunday’s Pocono 350 (4 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), drivers will race for a combined 675 miles using the same cars and same engines. For Sunday’s race, the starting order will be fixed by inverting the top 20 finishers from Saturday’s event.
With the Cup Series having reached the midpoint of its 26-race regular season last Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, Busch, the reigning champion, is winless this year. Hamlin, on the other hand, has posted a series-best three victories, and Truex has a short-track triumph at Martinsville.
Busch sees the historic doubleheader weekend at Pocono as a chance to break into the win column. He has been especially good at the 2.5-mile triangular track since his pairing with crew chief Adam Stevens in 2015. Busch has notched a victory at Pocono in each of the last three years.
“We’ve run really well there,” Busch said. “It’s a good track for us. I’ve learned a lot from my teammate, Denny Hamlin, who’s won there, and certainly working with Martin (Truex Jr.) and his guys has also brought on some new, fresh ideas, which help.
“It’s been a good track for us, and hopefully we can carry our M&M’s Minis colors to Victory Lane there this weekend.”
Standing in Busch’s way will be his teammates, particularly Hamlin, who won both Pocono races from the pole during his 2006 rookie season. Hamlin also went back-to-back in the second race of 2009 and the first race of 2010. Hamlin is the most recent victor at Pocono, and he’d love to preserve his streak of winning in pairs.
Should he do so, Hamlin would tie six-time Pocono winner Jeff Gordon for most victories at the track.
Ryan Blaney, last Sunday’s winner at Talladega, is the last driver to have taken a checkered flag at Pocono in something other than a Toyota. He and Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have combined for five victories in 13 races this season, and each has won one race at the Tricky Triangle.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!