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Ford Performance NASCAR – Pocono Raceway Advance

POCONO

Friday, July 12 – NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, 5:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
Saturday, July 13 – NASCAR XFINITY Series, 3 p.m. ET (USA)
Sunday, July 14 – NASCAR Cup Series, 2:30 p.m. ET (USA)

Pocono Raceway will host a NASCAR tripleheader this weekend, which will be led off by the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event on Friday evening. The series has only three races remaining in the regular season and currently Ty Majeski and Ben Rhodes are in playoff positions. The NASCAR Xfinity Series will run Saturday with the Cup Series main event set for Sunday afternoon.

BUESCHER ON THE BUBBLE

With six races to go in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season, four Ford drivers find themselves in the playoffs while another, Chris Buescher, is squarely on the bubble. Race winners Brad Keselowski, Austin Cindric, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano have secured their spots while Buescher holds the 16th and final position, 45 points above the cut line.

CINDRIC MAKING 100TH CUP START

Austin Cindric will be making his 100th career NASCAR Cup Series start this weekend at Pocono Raceway. The Team Penske driver, who got behind the wheel of the famed No. 2 Ford at the start of the 2022 season, has qualified for the playoffs in two of his three years. He won the 2022 Daytona 500 in his rookie season and then captured his first pole one week later in Fontana, CA. Overall, Cindric has eight top-5 and 17 top-10 finishes.

BLANEY GETS FIRST CUP VICTORY

Ryan Blaney earned his first NASCAR Cup Series victory in 2017 at Pocono Raceway, giving the Wood Brothers their 99th all-time series win. Blaney held off Kevin Harvick over the final seven laps to win the Pocono 400 after overcoming a loose wheel only 19 laps into the event. He found himself in position to win after the caution came out with 19 laps to go. Kyle Busch opted to stay out while all of the other contenders behind him pitted, including Blaney who got four fresh tires and restarted fourth. A major battle between Busch and Blaney resulted, but the newer tires proved to be too much as Blaney eventually got by with nine laps to go. He couldn’t breathe easily, however, as Harvick started to reel him in, but could never pull alongside to challenge.

BUESCHER JOINS FIRST-TIME WINNERS CLUB AT POCONO

Chris Buescher is another Ford driver who posted his first NASCAR Cup Series win at Pocono when he won the rain-shortened Pennsylvania 400 in 2016. Buescher led the final 12 laps and qualified for the playoffs as the scheduled 160-lap race was called after 138 circuits. It represented the second series win and first playoff qualification for Front Row Motorsports, which Buescher drove for in 2016 after the organization entered into an alliance with what was then Roush Fenway Racing.

ELLIOTT SWEEPS IN 1985

Ford reached victory lane at Pocono Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series for the first time on June 9, 1985 when Bill Elliott beat Harry Gant to win the Van Scoy Diamond Mine 500. Elliott was able to pass Gant with 11 laps remaining, shortly after a restart, to claim Ford’s first win at the facility. Elliott, who also started on the pole, was helped by four cautions over the final 25 laps and won for the sixth time as he led 32 of the 200 circuits. It marked the front end of what would eventually be a season sweep for Elliott at Pocono as he won a few weeks later on July 21.

KULWICKI’S FINAL WIN

When Alan Kulwicki won the Champion Spark Plug 500 on June 14, 1992 it marked the final victory of his NASCAR Hall of Fame career. Kulwicki, who was voted into the Hall in 2019, passed Bill Elliott with 11 laps remaining to cap a day that saw 15 cars drop out before the checkered flag flew, including 11 engine failures. In a precursor to what happened a few months later at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kulwicki and Elliott battled down the stretch as they exchanged the lead multiple times over the final 25 laps. Kulwicki passed Elliott for the top spot on lap 181, but traffic slowed him down to the point that five laps later the two swapped positions. Mark Martin made it a three-way battle, but Kulwicki ultimately prevailed as he got by both drivers on lap 190 and never looked back. Kulwicki, who won five series races overall, went on to win the championship later that year over fellow Ford drivers Elliott and Davey Allison.

CUSTER EXTENDS POINTS LEAD

Cole Custer may still be looking for his first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of the season, but the defending champion’s consistency has resulted in him owning the top spot in the point standings with eight races to go in the regular season. Custer saw his streak of five straight top-10 finishes come to an end in Chicago last weekend, but he was still able to increase his points lead from 15 to 38.

BLANEY MULTI-CLASS WINNER

As previously mentioned, Ryan Blaney earned his first Cup Series victory in 2017 at Pocono. He is also the only Ford driver to win in multiple classes at Pocono, as he earned his second career Truck Series victory there in 2013. Blaney overtook the field during a chaotic restart going into Turn 1 with two laps remaining and held on to take the checkered flag.

FORD’S NASCAR CUP SERIES WINNERS AT POCONO

1985 – Bill Elliott (Sweep)

1988 – Bill Elliott (2)

1989 – Terry Labonte and Bill Elliott

1990 – Geoffrey Bodine (2)

1992 – Alan Kulwicki (1)

1994 – Rusty Wallace and Geoffrey Bodine

1995 – Dale Jarrett (2)

1996 – Rusty Wallace (2)

1997 – Dale Jarrett (2)

1998 – Jeremy Mayfield (1)

2000 – Jeremy Mayfield and Rusty Wallace

2001 – Ricky Rudd (1)

2002 – Dale Jarrett (1)

2005 – Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch

2008 – Carl Edwards (2)

2010 – Greg Biffle (2)

2016 – Chris Buescher (2)

2017 – Ryan Blaney (1)

2020 – Kevin Harvick (1)

FORD’S NASCAR Xfinity Series WINNERS AT POCONO

2017 – Brad Keselowski

2019 – Cole Custer

2020 – Chase Briscoe

2021 – Austin Cindric

FORD’S NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES WINNERS AT POCONO

2013 – Ryan Blaney

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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