Strategy pays off for Kevin Harvick to score his third win of 2020

On the final pit stop, Kevin Harvick would beat out Aric Almirola off pit road to win the Pocono Organics 325 at Pocono Raceway.

Once again, a NASCAR Cup Series race was delayed by weather. It was the eighth race to be affected by weather this season, which is more than half of the season so far.

The Cup Series hit the mountains of Pocono for a doubleheader race weekend at the “Tricky Triangle”.

The start of the race was delayed by just over an hour after light sprinkles forced the drivers to take numerous pace laps as the track was still damp.

Aric Almirola would lead the field to green and lead the first 15 laps before the competition caution. On the restart, Joey Logano would assume the lead and win stage one for his fourth stage win of the season.

Stage two would play out similar to the first one, but longer. Almirola would lead the early part of the stage before green flag pit stops. Then, as pit stops were occurring, Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr., and Denny Hamlin would battle for the lead for 15 laps. Hamlin would lead until a debris caution came out.

On the restart with eight to go in the stage, Erik Jones and Tyler Reddick would get together and wreck near the restart zone on the frontstretch. Due to the heavy damage, Jones will go to a backup car for tomorrow, which means he will start at the rear because drivers are required to use the same car from Saturday’s race in Sunday’s race.

Almirola would hold serve on the restart with two to go in the stage to score his first stage win of 2020.

The final stage would come down to pit strategy, which Harvick would beat Almirola by a wide margin.

However, current playoff drivers would not fare well with the caution-free final stage. Chase Elliott wound up finishing 25th, while Alex Bowman and Logano would cut tires and finish 27th and 36th, respectively.

No Chevrolet finished inside the top 10. Matt Kenseth would be the highest-finishing Chevy in 11th.

Rookie Christopher Bell scored his first career top-five finish with a fourth-place run.

Michael McDowell finished eighth on Saturday, which is his first top-10 finish since last Fall’s race Talladega Superspeedway, and is first on a non-superspeedway track since the 2016 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Chris Buescher finished 10th, which is his fourth top-10 of the year and ties his career-high for most top 10s in a season (he had four in 2017 and 2019).

The Cup Series will hit Pocono again in less than 24 hours for the second race in the doubleheader weekend. TV coverage will be on Fox Sports 1 at 4:00 p.m. EST. With a 20th-place finish, Ryan Preece will be on pole for Sunday. Austin Dillon will join him on the front row.

Race results:

Driver points:

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