With 59 career victories and two championships in the NASCAR Cup Series, Kyle Busch has earned the right to be called a modern day legend of stock car racing. As his second win of the 2021 season was, indeed, the stuff of legends -- as they'll long be talking about the time Busch won Pocono with only fourth gear.
Despite major transmission issues, Busch was able to save enough fuel over a long green flag run to the finish to win the Explore the Pocono Mountains 350. Busch had suffered a major transmission issue during the day, as he had lost the clutch in the No. 18 car and only had fourth gear at his disposal. But in having to try and fix his transmission under caution, Busch was able to top off on fuel, putting him prime position as the rest of the leaders had to either go into hard fuel conservation mode or come to pit road over the final 10 laps.
Unofficial top 10
- #18 - Kyle Busch
- #5 - Kyle Larson
- #2 - Brad Keselowski
- #4 - Kevin Harvick
- #23 - Bubba Wallace
- #12 - Ryan Blaney
- #48 - Alex Bowman
- #37 - Ryan Preece
- #8 - Tyler Reddick
- #22 - Joey Logano
"Just playing the strategy the best we could with what was given to us. Sometimes these races aren't always won by the fastest car, but I still felt like we had the fastest car. Even though we were in the back and behind and having to come through and preserve through behind stuck in fourth gear, no clutch, all that stuff -- It's all burnt out," Busch told NBC Sports. "Nothing left in this M&M's Mini's Camry. It was awesome today."
As the final green flag run unfolded, the altering fuel strategies throughout the field began to play out over a dramatic final 10 laps. As Brad Keselowski was forced to pit for fuel from the race lead, William Byron held a comfortable lead as he tried to conserve fuel, but his pace allowed Denny Hamlin and Busch to close in. Byron then had to pit for fuel coming to two laps to go, and Hamlin had to peel off for fuel coming to the white flag.
With his fuel mileage win, Busch earned his second victory of the season and snapped a six-race win streak by Hendrick Motorsports drivers. Busch is now one of four drivers to have earned multiple wins this season, joining Kyle Larson (four), Martin Truex Jr. (three), and Alex Bowman (three).
With the doubleheader at Pocono Raceway now complete, the NASCAR Cup Series will continue northwards next week with their inaugural race at Road America in Wisconsin.