Kyle Larson takes Stage 1 win at Pocono over Byron
Kyle Larson held off William Byron to win Stage 1 of Sunday’s Pocono 400.
As several drivers elected to pit right before the stage break, Larson remained on the track and fended off Byron for his second stage victory of the 2019 season.
It was a nice pit call that we made to get out in clean air and get that track position. It's almost impossible to pass," Larson said during the break. "As long as you hit your marks, you can hold people behind you.
Brad Keselowski was third, Kevin Harvick fourth and Aric Almirola completed the top-five.
Rounding out the top-10 were Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Paul Menard.
Byron, who started on the pole, remained out front at the start and had built about a 1-second lead over Erik Jones after five laps.
With 40 laps remaining in the first stage, Byron continued to lead his fourth consecutive race. He was followed by Jones, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin.
On Lap 16, Kurt Busch fell off the place, and reported the possibility of a tire going down. He attempted to remain on the track until the competition caution.
On Lap 21, Harvick elected to pit just before the competition caution to take four new tires but was not allowed to take fuel. The competition caution was displayed on Lap 22.
All of the lead-lap cars elected to pit with Larson the first off pit road with a two-tire pit stop. On the restart on Lap 25, Larson led the way followed by Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson. Harvick, who was running 11th before his strategy play, lined up ninth on the restart.
On Lap 29, Austin Dillon hit the wall off Turn 3 after contact with Paul Menard to bring out another caution. The damage to Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet was too extensive to allow him to continue in the race.
The race returned to green on Lap 34 with Larson leading the way.
Byron dove to the inside on the restart past Keselowski to grab the second position as Harvick moved up to fourth.
With 11 laps to go in the first stage, Ty Dillon tagged the Turn 2 wall and suffered some damage on the right-side of his No. 13 Chevrolet.
With three laps remaining before the stage break, several drivers elected to pit, including Kyle Busch, Jones, Chase Elliott, Hamlin and Bowyer.
Before the race, two drivers had to start from the rear of the field – Matt DiBenedetto for an engine change and J.J. Yeley for unapproved adjustments.
William Byron earns Pocono pole over Kyle Busch
Kyle Larson completes sweep of stage wins at Pocono