Kevin Harvick held off a fast-closing Denny Hamlin for his third victory of the season Saturday, scratching Pocono Raceway off his winless list in the opener of a NASCAR Cup Series weekend.
Harvick’s first win at the 2.5-mile Pennsylvania track was the 52nd of his Cup Series career. Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Ford led 17 of 130 laps in the Pocono Organics 325 in partnership with Rodale Institute.
Hamlin battled a late-race vibration to corral second place, .761 seconds behind at the checkered flag. Pole-starter Aric Almirola took third with rookie Christopher Bell and defending Cup Series champ Kyle Busch finishing out the top five.
Joey Logano and Almirola divvied up the stage wins. Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford scraped to pit road with a flat left-front tire with seven laps remaining, relegating him to a 36th-place finish. Almirola led a race-high 61 laps in his third top-five finish of the year.
The 130-lap race began 56 minutes after its scheduled start time of 3:54 p.m. ET because of pesky afternoon rain.
The series’ next race is scheduled Sunday at 4 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM), the back end of a weekend doubleheader. The top 20 finishers from Saturday will be inverted to set Sunday’s starting lineup.
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE GO FAST
Snoopy Dawn and Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff have popped the bubbly and are pounding down a couple of glasses tonight! Each player had shoved all of their chips in for Freaky Fast Kevin Harvick for Pocono 1! In turn, The Closer sent 44 points their way for the Saturday afternoon victory, and made them the highest scorers of the race.
THE MOVERS AND THE SHAKERS
Both Carole, aka Rudy, and Jeremy The Coach were backing Rowdy for the preliminary Pocono race. For their support, Kyle Busch delivered a much needed 42 points for their second segment totals.
Meanwhile, Dan The Numbers Cruncher navigated just below the radar all race. The Numbers Dude was quietly riding shotgun with YRB for the Pocono 1 race. Even though Young Ryan Blaney laid low for most of the race, he made a big charge in the closing stage to finish in 12th place, thereby giving The Numbers Dude 40 big ones.
Carlton The Doorman, Edie The Las Vegas Super Star, as well as Amber The Extremely Lucky Cheddar Head all were cheering on The Delivernator. Each player was looking for a huge return for the risk that they were taking in Pocono 1. Well, they did not receive a huge return on their investment, but it wasn’t too dang shabby. All three players logged 37 points for their Saturday afternoon endeavors.
Lastly, Jim, aka Chiefy, was rooting for the driver formally known as The Outlaw, now wanting recognition only by his given name, Kurt Busch. KuBu hung around all race about mid pack and rewarded Chiefy with 24 points.
This week there was a lot of movement, albeit, moving only a place or two on the scoring pylon. Nine of the eleven players swapped zip codes after Pocono 1, leaving only The Cheddar Head and Snoopy in their previous week’s position.
A quartet consisting of Carlton The Doorman, Bernie The Bay Area Bandit, Jeremy The Coach, and Linda The Cookie Mom moved two places this week. The Doorman and The Coach tippy toed up two positions to land in 7th and 9th places, respectively. However, La Bandita and The Cookie Mom slid down two places to own 8th and 10th positions, respectively.
That leaves five players who moved next door on the leaderboard. That quintet consists of Carole, aka Rudy, Dan The Numbers Cruncher, Leon Your Most Humble Sheriff, as well as Jim, aka Chiefy. Rudy, The Sheriff, and The Vegas Super Star stepped up one place to reside now in a tie for first, 5th, and 6th places, respectively. Whereas The Numbers Dude and Chiefy each slid down one place to occupy 3rd and 11th, respectively.
STRAIGHT FROM THE CRAPPER
Even though the player that won The Crappiest Pick of The Week had a semi decent race, and on most weekends it would be a marginally good score and could escape ridicule, not so this week! Linda The Cookie Mom racked up a nominally good score of 16 points for Pocono 1, however, all the rest of the players did much better than she did, therefore The Cookie Mom gets to cart off this award for 24 whole hours!
We have a new occupant in The Outhouse this week! Jim, aka Chiefy, evicted Edie The Las Vegas Super Star completely out of The Outhouse, at least for the next 24 hours!
Tomorrow, Sunday, there are three races slated for Pocono, Trucks, Xfinity, as well as Cup. Get ya some good snacks and something cold so that you can make it a great day!
TIL NEXT TIME, PULL YOUR BELTS TIGHT AND LET’S GO RACIN’!