Alex Bowman Capitalizes During Stunning Pocono Race

Getty Alex Bowman (right) races at Pocono Raceway.

The NASCAR Cup Series kicked off a doubleheader weekend on Saturday, June 26, with the Pocono Organics CBD 325 at Pocono Raceway. The top drivers fought for playoff points at the Tricky Triangle, one of NASCAR’s unique tracks due to its three turns based on three different locations. The Busch brothers — Kurt and Kyle — won the first two stages but Alex Bowman captured his third win of the season after an absolutely stunning turn of events.

Bowman had the lead late in the final stage, but teammate Kyle Larson overtook him with mere laps remaining. It appeared that the Hendrick Motorsports driver would capture his fourth-straight win, but a surprise flat tire coming out of the Tunnel Turn sent him hard into the wall. Bowman retook the lead and raced to the checkered flag while Larson finished ninth.

“I don’t even know what to think,” Bowman said on the NBC Sports broadcast after the race. “I hate to win one that way, but hell yeah, I’ll take it.” He acknowledged that he gave the lead away to Larson late and that he was “kind of in shock” after struggling early in the race.

With the Pocono Organics Organics CBD 325 complete, the Cup Series drivers will now prepare for a quick turnaround. They will return to the Tricky Triangle on Sunday, June 27, for the second race of the doubleheader weekend. The race will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

Cole Custer’s Season of Struggles Continues

The defending Rookie of the Year, Stewart-Haas Racing driver Cole Custer has experienced a significant number of issues during his sophomore campaign. He has only two top-10 finishes (Talladega and Dover) after posting seven in 2020. Custer also has 12 finishes outside of the top 20.

The issues continued on Saturday at Pocono Raceway in two different ways. NASCAR announced prior to the green flag that Custer’s No. 41 SHR Ford Mustang had failed inspection twice, sending him to the back of the field.

Once the race began, Custer began fighting for position on the track in order to potentially lock up some points. However, he did not reach the end of the first stage. Brad Keselowski tagged Custer from behind and sent him sideways into the wall, destroying the front end of the No. 41.

With a quick turnaround before the second Pocono race, Custer and the No. 41 team will have to go to their backup car. He will start from the rear of the field once again while trying to rebound from another difficult outing. Larson will join Custer at the rear of the field after going to his backup car.

Matt DiBenedetto’s Playoff Chances Took a Major Hit

Matt DiBenedetto COTA

GettyMatt DiBenedetto prepares for a race in Austin.

A playoff driver in 2020 after accruing enough points, the driver of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Mustang entered the doubleheader weekend in major need of points. He was 48 below the cutline and needed to stack as many as possible with a strong performance.

However, two late-race issues derailed DiBenedetto’s outing and seemingly eliminated the possibility that he will make the playoffs based on points. He left the pit box with the gas can still attached to the No. 21, partially leaving it in another driver’s area. NASCAR issued a penalty for removing equipment from the pit box, forcing DiBenedetto to do a pass-through and fall further back in the pack.

The second issue arose as the pending free-agent driver headed down pit road on his pass-through. NASCAR issued a second penalty, this time for speeding, that forced  DiBenedetto to repeat the process near the end of the race. He fell one lap down and finished 32nd overall.

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