Pocono/Iowa Weekend Preview: Busch hopes Indy momentum will carry over for first Pocono victory

Kyle Busch (Getty Images)

Kyle Busch (Getty Images)

Last year at Pocono, Kyle Busch had nothing but air between him and the finish line with a half-lap to go. A visit to Victory Lane would have given him his fourth consecutive victory just five months removed from breaking his right leg and fracturing his left foot in an accident at Daytona. Suddenly, Busch ran out of fuel and finished a disappointing 22nd

The No. 18 Toyota driver will attempt to turn his luck around in Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway (1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). The “Tricky Triangle” is one of only two active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tracks – Charlotte Motor Speedway is the other – where he has never won.

“I think when you run well there and have a shot to win and you run out of fuel, when you head back there you still have the same mindset that you have a shot to win there just like we had a shot to win there last summer,” Busch said. “I would definitely like to win a race there, and last year having such a good car I certainly have figured out how to drive the track, so eventually I think we’ll get that win there when you keep bringing back good cars like Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the M&M’S guys have.”

Coming off a victory at Indianapolis, Busch heads to Pocono tied with Brad Keselowski for the series lead in wins with four. He paces the series with 11 top fives and is displaying form that shows he might be the favorite to win his second consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title.

In 23 career starts at Pocono, Busch owns four top fives, eight top 10s and a 19.0 average finish.

“If we could bring home two in a row and our first-ever win at Pocono, that would be something special, especially at a place I have yet to win at, so I would love to cross that one off the list,” Busch said.

Dillon searches for win at Iowa

Ty Dillon is producing another strong NASCAR XFINITY Series season in his third campaign on the circuit.

Ty Dillon (Getty Images)

Ty Dillon (Getty Images)

He currently sits third in the points standings (fourth on the Chase Grid), as he tries to improve on his third-place championship finish from last year and his fifth-place championship showing from 2014.

On his quest for the series crown, Dillon would like to, and probably has to, make a visit to Victory Lane. Dillon has come close to taking the checkered flag since his last win – at Indianapolis in 2014 – with three runner-up, and five third-place showings.

He’ll shoot for a win once again in Saturday’s U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN) where he recorded his most recent runner-up last month.

“We had a pretty good run here last month mainly because we utilized the extra practice time to really work on our balance,” Dillon said. “I have a good feeling about this weekend and our chances. Our short-track program has been solid this season and I hope we can score a victory Saturday night.”

Reddick in rhythm at right time

Tyler Reddick is hitting his groove at the perfect time.

Since starting the season with no top-10 finishes until the fifth race, the No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing driver has produced six top-10 showings in the last seven contests. In the process, he’s vaulted from 14th on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase Grid to eighth – 18 points ahead of ninth-place Ben Kennedy for the final spot in the playoffs.

DOVER, DE - MAY 12:  Tyler Roddick, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, practices for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Dover International Speedway on May 12, 2016 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

DOVER, DE – MAY 12: Tyler Roddick, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, practices for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Dover International Speedway on May 12, 2016 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Reddick will try to solidify his spot in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase in the Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway (1 p.m. ET on FS1) where he finished third last year.

“Pocono is a place I was able to pick up on very fast and a lot of that credit goes to crew chief Doug Randolph and all the guys on the team that bring an outstanding package to that racetrack,” Reddick said. “It’s made my job fairly simple to go out there and put down a good lap right away. I have a lot of confidence in everyone on our team. Brad Keselowski Racing has won there before, so I have no problem driving it really hard into the corners. I have absolute faith in those guys and what they do.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Race: Pennsylvania 400

Place: Pocono Raceway

Date and Time: Sunday, July 31 at 1:30 p.m. ET

Tune-in: NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 miles (160 laps)

What to Watch For: Jeff Gordon subs for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Chevrolet for the second consecutive weekend after finishing 13th at Indy. … Kurt Busch attempts to sweep Pocono. He will also go for the record for most consecutive races running every lap to start the season. He tied the record of 20 races – set by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2012 – last week in Indianapolis … Kyle Larson looks to solidify his spot in the Chase after climbing onto the Grid (16th) for the first time since the second week of the season. … Chase Elliott eyes his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Pocono where he led a race-high 51 laps in June.

NASCAR XFINITY Series

Race: U.S. Cellular 250

Place: Iowa Speedway

Date and Time: Saturday, July 30 at 8 p.m. ET

Tune-in: NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 218.75 miles (250 laps)

What to Watch For: Sam Hornish Jr. attempts to sweep Iowa after winning there in June. This time, he will pilot the Richard Childress Racing No. 2 Chevrolet instead of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. … Iowa Speedway launches a four-race stretch of contests at distinct tracks. Drivers go from Iowa’s 0.875-mile quick short track to road courses at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course before transitioning to the high-banked short-track Bristol Motor Speedway. … Three Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders – Erik Jones, Brandon Jones and Brennan Poole are on pace to make the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Race: Pocono Mountains 150

Date and Time: Saturday, July 30 at 1 p.m. ET

Tune-in: FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 150 miles (60 laps)

What to Watch For: NASCAR Next alumnus Rico Abreu looks to build off his career-best third-place finish at Eldora. … 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Brett Moffitt takes the wheel for Red Horse Racing in the No. 11 Toyota. … Cameron Hayley goes back to Pocono Raceway, where he battled Kyle Busch for the win last year before finishing fourth.

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