By AMANDA VINCENT
Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps for the fourth-consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, leading 97 of the 160 that made up the Axalta We Paint Winners 400 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. But unlike the three races before Pocono, the Pocono race resulted in a win for Truex and his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team.
“Well, we finally got it,” said. “That’s all I can say; we finally got it.”
The win was Truex’s first of the season and third of his career. It snapped a 69-race winless streak for the driver and was the first win for FRR in 147 races. It was also a first-career victory for first-year crew chief Cole Pearn.
Kevin Harvick led 39 laps and ran second to Truex for many of the remaining laps before finishing second. Jimmie Johnson overcame a flat tire that brought out a caution on lap 87 to finish third.
“Just a long day for us,” Johnson said. “We overcame a lot and still got a third-place finish out of it.”
Joey Logano finished fourth after starting in the back for a changed rear gear and a pit road speeding penalty during a green-flag stop early in the race.
“I’m happy with the way it ended,” Logano said. “We didn’t have a very fast Shell/Pennzoil Ford from the get-go when we unloaded here, but we kept fighting hard.”
Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five.
After Busch started on the pole and Carl Edwards led the opening laps, Truex got to the front for the first time on lap 15, and Harvick moved up to second a lap later.
The yellow flag waved eight times, with the first caution coming out for debris on lap 49. Varying pit strategies, especially through the first few yellow flags put other drivers up front temporarily, but Truex and Harvick were on the front row following the seventh yellow flag with under 30 laps to go.
Truex pulled away on the restart, but Harvick lost second to Logano.
“Our Budweiser Chevy was really fast, but we were just terrible on the restarts getting going,” Harvick said.
On another restart a few laps later, Logano lost second to Johnson. Harvick then took third from Logano and second from Johnson.
Matt Kenseth finished sixth, Jamie McMurray seventh, Kyle Larson eighth, Kyle Busch ninth and Denny Hamlin rounded out the toop-10.
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