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Denny Hamlin wins the Pocono 350 Featured

Sunday, Jun 28 616
Denny Hamlin wins the Pocono 350 Patrick Smith | Getty Images

With the postponement of the NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series on Saturday, it set up for a historic triple-header Sunday with all three of NASCAR’s top series. For the third week in a row, weather delayed the start of the Pocono 350. At the conclusion of the 140 lap race, it was Denny Hamlin who crossed the start/finish line first to win his fourth race of the season.

“Yeah he's just unbelievable. He's done a great job at this racetrack. This work that happens in the shop, this is why this happens on race day” Hamlin said when asked about his crew chief, Chris Gabehart.

With this win, Hamlin tied Jeff Gordon for the most wins at Pocono. When asked about how he feels about that stat, Hamlin said, “Six! I can't even put it into words. I can't even tell you how much it means to me.”

When the weather cleared, it was Austin Dillon leading the field to green, thanks to a top-20 invert from Saturday's race and Ryan Preece, who was supposed to start on pole, having to start in the rear due to an engine change. Other drivers who had to start in the rear included: Byron (engine), Elliott (transmission), Bowman (backup), Reddick (backup), Logano (backup), Jones (backup), McLeod (transmission), Houff (backup).

Four laps into the race, rain started to fall which brought out the first caution and red flag. The race resumed on lap 12 and a battle for the lead ensued between Kurt Busch and last week’s winner, Ryan Blaney; Busch prevailed. 

Lap 16 brought trouble to Michael McDowell as he went spinning in turn two in a single car incident.

Busch went on to lead the entirety of Stage One and pick up his first stage win of the season.

Stage One:

  1. Kurt Busch
  2. Ryan Blaney
  3. Christopher Bell
  4. Kevin Harvick
  5. Brad Keselowski
  6. Matt Dibenedetto
  7. Chris Buescher
  8. Martin Truex Jr.
  9. Kyle Busch
  10. Cole Custer

Shortly after the green flag flew to start the second stage, Blaney took the lead and gapped the pack until Christopher Bell backed into the turn two wall after blowing a right rear tire on lap 38. Bell had a strong run going prior to this incident; he was in the top-five most of the race.

When they went back green, Chris Buescher lost control of his car and hit the wall on the exit of turn three; this brought out the fifth caution of the race.

Various strategies played out in this stage, a few of the leaders cut the stage in half. In the midst of strategy playing out, Kyle Busch wrecked in turn two on lap 75 after making contact with Ryan Blaney. I don’t think anybody could have guessed Busch would be winless this far into the season, but his losing streak continues. 

Four laps later, turn two brought trouble to yet another driver, this time it was Ryan Preece, bringing out the seventh caution.

In a wild Stage Two, it was Brad Keselowski who edged Aric Almirola to the line to win his third stage of the season. 

Stage Two:

  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Aric Almirola
  3. Ryan Newman
  4. Martin Truex Jr.
  5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  6. Kevin Harvick 
  7. Austin Dillon
  8. Matt Dibenedetto
  9. Kurt Busch
  10. Denny Hamlin

When pit stops began in the final stage, both Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano got hit with pit road penalties, resulting in a drive through penalty. A battle of strategies played out between Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. Harvick went to pit road as soon as the fuel window opened, while Hamlin waited until he needed to. When Hamlin got back up to speed, he found himself just over a second ahead of Harvick.

Hamlin was able to use his fresh right side tires and pull away from Harvick to win his sixth win at Pocono Raceway. Rounding out the top five was Kevin Harvick in second, Erik Jones in third, Chase Elliott in fourth, and Aric Almirola in fifth.

When asked about the pit strategy battle with Harvick by Fox Sports, Hamlin said, “I was excited, hoping for no caution. I knew we had the car. I just had to maintain the gap and I didn’t want to make any mistakes like I did at bristol -- I gave that away.”

The NASCAR Cup Series is back in action next weekend for a historic double-header weekend with IndyCar at the prestigious Indianapolis Motor Speedway. You can catch all the action from the Brickyard on Sunday, July 5th at 4:00 EST on NBC.



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Josh Slate

Hello, my name is Josh Slate and I'm from Richmond, Virginia. I'm currently a student at Randolph-Macon College studying Communications with a minor in Journalism. I am following my dream of pursuing a career in the media side of the NASCAR industry. In my free time, I love to spend time with my family, watch sports and explore the outdoors.
 
 

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