Sports

NASCAR | Overton’s 400

Kyle Busch snaps drought with win at Pocono Raceway

Kyle Busch celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Pocono Raceway, Sunday, July 30, 2017, in Long Pond, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated press
Kyle Busch celebrates after winning the Overton’s 400 at Pocono Raceway.

LONG POND, Pa. — Kyle Busch used a bump-and-run on Kevin Harvick to take the lead in the Overton’s 400 and then held on to snap a 36-race slide by winning at Pocono Raceway on Sunday.

Busch won for the first time this season in the No. 18 Toyota and won for the first time ever at Pocono. Busch had led more than 1,000 laps this season entering the race.

He was racing for the lead last weekend in the Brickyard 400 when he wrecked with Martin Truex Jr., which led to a pit road altercation between members of both teams.

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Busch won from the pole and gave Toyota its 100th Cup win since its 2007 debut.

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Busch, the 2015 Cup champion, had never gone a full season without winning a race. Charlotte Motor Speedway is now the only track where he’s failed to win.

‘‘I never thought this day would happen,’’ Busch said.

He also won his 176th career NASCAR race over the Cup, Xfinity, and Truck series.

‘‘We've all been fighting all year long and just wasn’t sure why,’’ Busch said. ‘‘This is something I've been waiting for for a long, long time. It’s been a frustrating year but an awesome day today.’’

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Harvick finished second, followed by Truex, Denny Hamlin, and Brad Keselowski. Harvick, who hasn’t won in 34 career races at Pocono, said he had nothing for Busch down the stretch.

‘‘There was no battle. He was way faster than we were,’’ Harvick said.

Busch had seven top-five finishes and was runner-up to Austin Dillon in the Coca-Cola 600.

All the near misses have gnawed at Busch, who won the All-Star race. He won for the first time since the 2016 Brickyard 400.

Busch earned a spot in NASCAR’s playoffs. There are just three open spots and five races left before the field is set.

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An eight-car wreck on the first lap knocked Aric Almirola and Matt DiBenedetto out of the race. Matt Kenseth got loose and spun to trigger the accident.

Almirola missed two months of the season with a fractured vertebra suffered in a race at Kansas.

‘‘Sort of a bummer not to even make a whole lap,’’ he said.

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Joe Gibbs said he never considered disciplining Kyle Busch’s crew chief for his role in a confrontation with another team’s crew.

Gibbs was in a unique position this week when he suspended two crew members for Furniture Row Racing. The FRR members of Truex’s team were each suspended for three races because of the verbal altercation with crew chief Adam Stevens. JGR provides the pit crew for FRR as part of a technical alliance, giving them the authority to suspend members of a competing driver’s team.

FRR had front tire changer Chris Taylor and rear tire changer Lee Cunningham suspended.

Busch and Truex crashed while racing for the lead last week at Indianapolis, which led to the altercation.

Cunningham egged on Stevens on pit road after the accident, saying, ‘‘Tell Kyle way to go.’’

Taylor used profanity when he screamed at Stevens to get out of his team’s box.

Gibbs defended the decision to only discipline FRR’s crew.

‘‘Because of their actions and what they did,’’ Gibbs said Sunday at Pocono Raceway. ‘‘The video didn’t capture everything that happened there.’’

He declined to specify other circumstances that sparked the argument. Busch, won the pole Sunday at Pocono, defended his crew chief.

‘‘I think it was pretty poor reporting by much of everybody with the TV cameras and such by cutting it short. Obviously there was some instigation going on, Adam didn’t feel that was all that necessary and wanted to make sure that those employees knew that, knowing that they were JGR in-house employees,’’ Busch said. ‘‘They wouldn’t have done that if they were in-house Furniture Row employees, so it was just the nature of what all was going on there and who the people were and who they were associated with.’’