The NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers were going to try their hand at tackling the “Tricky Triangle” for the second time ever in the Pocono Green 250 race. Benjamin would be taking off from the outside and on the pole in his second ever career start after an incredibly impressive qualifying session. Three rookies were also in the top five, whilst the Cup stars were going to be left in the rear-view mirror and outside of the top five. The Cup drivers were in charge of calling the race and it made for an interesting, insight into the mind of the drivers who were out on the track.
Benjamin held onto the top position after a great start to the race, and he was ahead of Allgaier and Suarez. By lap 5, he had gathered a comfortable one second lead ahead of Allgaier and it continued to grow. With 12 laps to go in the Stage, Keselowski had worked his way up to 2nd and was attempting to move in for the kill on Benjamin.
With only 4 laps to go, Keselowski had shortened the gap considerably and now seemed an immediate threat to the rookie. Simultaneously, Custer pitted ahead at the end of the Stage in a huge gamble of strategy and he’d cycle to the front for the Stage 2 restart. With 1 lap to go, Keselowski was able to take advantage of Benjamin’s loss of momentum from turn two, and won the first Stage ahead of Benjamin and Larson.
After a great pit stop, Benjamin was first off pit road and he would join Custer on the front row for the start of Stage 2. Custer held onto the lead from the restart as Benjamin dropped to 3rd with Keselowski just ahead. Keselowski was on Benjamin’s radar as he made sure he stayed close enough to fill Keselowski’s rear view mirror.
Keselowski was on the offence himself, and he snagged the top spot from Custer midway through the Stage. Some drivers took to pit road ahead of the end of the Stage as they emulated the strategy that Custer adopted earlier in the race. Keselowski was the winner of Stage 2–ahead of Benjamin and Custer whose gamble paid off, earning him Stage points and 7 track positions. Menard span out after losing it off the turn. Fortunately, it was in conjunction with the end of a Stage caution.
Keselowski and Benjamin and others stayed out of pit road in different strategies, as the rest of the field headed to pit road. Keselowski was at the front for the restart and Benjamin showed himself to be a worthy opponent when he plucked 1st from Keselowski who soon reasserted his dominance as he accelerated from the inside on turn one and took the lead back from Benjamin.
With 38 laps to go, Wallace Jr pitted and was closely followed by Custer and Keselowski. Strategy was still very much in play and Benjamin cycled to the front briefly before going in for his pit stop a few laps later. There were 27 laps to go and Allgaier was now in the lead ahead of Gaughan and Annett as they were still due to pit before the end of the race.
The first race caution of the day was for Brandon Jones who blew a tyre and ran straight into the outside wall before finishing up in the grass. This opened up yet another hole which could be filled with a myriad of strategies that saw leaders finally go in for their stop, thus allowing other drivers to cycle back to the front.
Custer, who was up front for the restart, lost a lot of spots as Sadler bump drafted Keselowski who got loose and went up the track. Keselowski dropped all the way back to 13th as Larson snuck up on Sadler seemingly out of nowhere and stole 1st.
With 6 laps to go, Keselowski was back up to 3rd behind Allgaier as the pair closed the gap between them and Larson. Allgaier was extremely loose with 4 laps to go and Keselowski jumped at the opportunity and grabbed 2nd whilst turning his attention to Larson. Keselowski moved in for the kill on the final lap and stole the victory from Larson in his first Xfinity win in 5 starts this year. Allgaier was close on his coat tails and finished 2nd, ahead of a disappointed Larson. Also in the top 10 was Sadler, Suarez, Gaughan, Custer, Ty Dillon, Hemric and Tifft.
Speaking about the final laps in the race, Keselowski had this to say:
“I drove by a bunch of cars and just pushed as hard as I could. It looked like Kyle’s car was struggling just a little bit and he was getting tight in the middle, loose off. He was doing a really good job holding it low so I couldn’t get a run. Just on the last lap, I got on his bumper and got him loose. He was trying to do the side draft thing down the backstretch and all the way down the apron. That had to look pretty cool. Hell of a race. Really happy for the 22 team. It’s been a while.”