Kyle Busch gets his fourth win of the season in a snoozer at Pocono

Nick Bromberg
Kyle Busch won for the fourth time in 2019 at Pocono.
Kyle Busch makes the one pass that he deemed consequential on Sunday in his fourth win of the season. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Kyle Busch is again the winningest Cup Series driver in 2019. And if you missed Sunday’s race at Pocono and you aren’t a Kyle Busch fan, well, you didn’t miss much.

Busch led a race-high 79 laps, took the lead after green-flag pit stops cycled through in the final stage of the race and easily drove away from Brad Keselowski after a restart with nine laps left.

“I passed one guy on the outside of turn three and that was the only guy I needed to pass I guess,” Busch said.

The pass Busch references was of Clint Bowyer in the first half of the race. The quote speaks volumes about the entertainment quality of Sunday’s race, which was roughly the racing equivalent of spending a Sunday afternoon as a child at a distant family member’s house without access to any toys or internet or television.

[Takeaways from Pocono: Austin Dillon’s had a bad run]

Busch was beaten off pit road on the race’s final pit stop cycle by Kevin Harvick, but the potential late-race drama fizzled soon after that. Harvick’s team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire and Harvick soon started suffering mechanical problems anyway.

The win is Busch’s fourth of the season and breaks a tie with teammate Martin Truex Jr. and Keselowski. Truex won last weekend’s race at Charlotte to tie Busch and Keselowski had won the most recent points race before Charlotte.

It’s also the 55th win of Busch’s Cup Series career and ties him with Rusty Wallace for the ninth-most in history.

Erik Jones finished third while Chase Elliott and Bowyer filled out the top five. Harvick ended up outside the top 20.

Kyle Larson won the first two stages of the race but finished 26th after he hit the wall exiting turn one after the race’s final restart. Larson slid up in front of Bowyer but wasn’t clear and clipped Bowyer’s bumper. The contact sent Larson into the wall and forced him to head to pit road to fix the damage and change tires.

Why was the race so boring?

In addition to NASCAR’s rules for 2019 adding downforce and cutting horsepower compared to 2018, the gear rules for Pocono made it impossible for drivers to shift down to third gear over the course of a full-speed lap at the 2.5-mile track.

Drivers have previously gotten runs on the straightaways at Pocono by being able to shift down to third gear in the corners. With the gear rule prohibiting that, drivers weren’t able to accelerate as quickly thanks to higher RPMs to try to pass each other.

Couple that with the added significance of clean air at high speeds and Sunday’s race was the worst display of NASCAR’s new rules to date. While the series’ rules provided a good display at night at Kansas in May, it’s clearly not a good fit for a day race at Pocono. Drivers were on the throttle too much and traveling through the corners too fast to make the race entertaining for fans at home.

Full results

1. Kyle Busch

2. Brad Keselowski

3. Erik Jones

4. Chase Elliott

5. Clint Bowyer

6. Denny Hamlin

7. Joey Logano

8. Daniel Suarez

9. William Byron

10. Aric Almirola

11. Kurt Busch

12. Ryan Blaney

13. Daniel Hemric

14. Chris Buescher

15. Alex Bowman

16. Ryan Newman

17. Matt DiBenedetto

18. Paul Menard

19. Jimmie Johnson

20. Michael McDowell

21. Bubba Wallace

22. Kevin Harvick

23. Ryan Preece

24. Ross Chastain

25. Bayley Currey

26. Kyle Larson

27. Ty Dillon

28. Reed Sorenson

29. Quin Houff

30. David Ragan

31. Landon Cassill

32. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

33. Matt Tifft

34. JJ Yeley

35. Martin Truex Jr.

36. Corey LaJoie

37. Austin Dillon

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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