Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-30):
● Cole Custer started 38th and finished 22nd.
● After starting near the back as a result of yesterday’s 38th-place finish, Custer quickly moved his way up through the field to break into the top-30 by lap two.
● When the lap-two caution came out, Custer was running 29th in his Ford Mustang. The No. 41 HaasTooling.com team opted to keep him out on the track under the yellow.
● The 22-year-old driver got caught up in traffic as the first stage continued and held steady in 27th for much of the remainder of the stage. As green-flag pit stops began, he was able to make it all the way up to 22nd by the stage end.
● Under the Stage 1 break, the No. 41 HaasTooling.com team brought their driver down pit road for four tires, fuel and a slight adjustment to combat his tight-handling racecar.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31-85):
● The No. 41 HaasTooling.com driver started 30th and finished 18th.
● After the lap-35 restart, Custer quickly drove his way back up into the top-20 by lap 45. Custer reported that his Ford Mustang started off the run tight but loosened up as the stage continued to go green.
● By lap 67, the Ladera Ranch, California, native maneuvered his way into the top-15 as green-flag pit stops got underway.
● On lap 71, crew chief Mike Shiplett brought his driver down pit road for a fuel-only stop to try and save some track position.
● After re-entering the race 23rd, Custer worked his way up to 18th by the end of Stage 2.
● Under the stage break, the No. 41 HaasTooling.com team brought Custer down pit road for four tires and a slight adjustment.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 86-140):
● The 23-year-old driver started 21st and finished 24th.
● During the lap-89 restart, Custer received damage on the right-rear quarter panel and front nose of his No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang. The team was forced to make a long stop on lap 93 to attempt to fix the damage sustained and fill up on fuel.
● The damage didn’t stop Custer, though. He restarted on lap 96 in 30th and found himself in 22nd just 11 laps later.
● On lap 121, the No. 41 team brought their driver down pit road for right-side tires only under green. Custer was 27th when he rejoined the field.
● Ultimately, Custer was not able to come back from going a lap down on his final stop of the race and ended up 24th.
● Kyle Busch won the Explore the Pocono Mountains 350 to score his 59th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his fourth at Pocono. His margin over second-place Kyle Larson was 8.654 seconds.
● There were four caution periods for a total of 15 laps.
● Twenty-two of the 38 drivers in the Explore the Pocono Mountains 350 finished on the lead lap.
● Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Pocono with a two-point advantage over second-place Kyle Larson.
Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Man, we had a fast No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang today and definitely could’ve contended up there in the top-10 if we hadn’t run into trouble at the beginning of the final stage. It was hard to recover from that damage. We’ll learn and move ahead to Road America.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Jockey Made in America 250 on July 4 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.