Hamlin holds off Harvick to win Sunday Pocono Race

Winner Hamlin gets quick work from his Joe Gibbs pit crew
Winner Hamlin gets quick work from his Joe Gibbs pit crew
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

On Saturday, in the first half of the Pocono NASCAR Cup doubleheader, it was Kevin Harvick beating Denny Hamlin, but on Sunday, with darkness falling over the 2.5-mile tri-oval, Hamlin reversed the tables in his #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to beat the #4 Stewart Haas Ford of Harvick by 3-seconds in the 2nd Pocono 350.

It was the 6th Pocono win for Hamlin, typing Jeff Gordon for the post wins at the track, and his 41st Cup win. It was also Hamlin's 4th Cup win of the year.

Erik Jones (Toyota), Chase Elliott (Chevy) and Aric Almirola (Ford) rounded out the top-5.

Sunday’s race — the second of two Cup Series events on back-to-back days — was delayed 30 minutes by lightning before the start and then for an additional 50 minutes, 50 seconds after just six laps were complete.

The race didn’t resume in earnest until nearly 6:15 p.m. ET, and the laps wound down as darkness neared.

Kyle Busch crashed late in Stage 2, ending the day for the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota with a 38th-place finish.

The incident pushed the defending Cup Series champion’s winless streak to 15 races to start the season.

More to follow…..

Quotes

Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

What can you say about Chris Gabehart’s strategy for today’s race and victory?

“He’s (Chris Gabehart, crew chief) just unbelievable. He’s done a great job with this race team. This is work that happens in the shop, this is way beyond what happens on race day. Can’t say enough for FedEx, Toyota, Coca-Cola, the Jordan Brand. I mean six (career wins at Pocono), I can’t even put it into words, how much it means to me."

What is the moment like when you were getting nervous about the strategy and Kevin Harvick’s position on the track?

“I was just hoping for no cautions, I knew we had the car. I was just maintaining my gap right there and didn’t want to make any mistakes like I did at Bristol and threw that win away. I just tried to work through the traffic as best I could and obviously Chris (Gabehart) is paying attention to strategy there and made the right call."

How did this race unfold for you today?

“A lot of adversity early. We got some nose damage and had to fix that. Then we just worked on the car and got it better and better. It finished the race there a lot better than we finished yesterday and I thought we had a race-winning car yesterday. We knew after yesterday’s race and showing the speed that we had, just don’t mess it up and we’ve got a good shot today and that’s what we did."

How patient are you with strategy races?

“You have to work it, but ultimately the two fastest cars finished one-two both days. I think that there’s no secret there and this team has been strong every week. We’re in contention to win every single week and that’s all you can ask for as a race car driver and we’re just on a roll right now."

How do you feel about your race team at this stage of the season?

“Working to keep getting better and keep getting faster race car and giving me a bigger box to work in. If we don’t have the exact right setup or the handling isn’t perfect, we’re still going out there and winning races because we have decent car speed. We’re just continuing to make ourselves a little bit better and it’s making that room for error just a little bit bigger."

Results

POS CAR DRIVER MANUF BEHIND LAPS
1 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 0.000s 140
2 4 Kevin Harvick Ford 3.068 140
3 20 Erik Jones Toyota 16.756 140
4 9 Chase Elliott Chevy 23.298 140
5 10 Aric Almirola Ford 25.305 140
6 21 Matt DiBenedetto Ford 25.656 140
7 24 William Byron Chevy 27.621 140
8 14 Clint Bowyer Ford 28.385 140
9 88 Alex Bowman Chevy 28.388 140
10 19 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 28.499 140
11 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 29.551 140
12 42 Matt Kenseth Chevy 32.658 140
13 1 Kurt Busch Chevy 34.658 140
14 3 Austin Dillon Chevy 45.599 140
15 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevy 47.996 140
16 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 50.622 140
17 41 Cole Custer # Ford 53.460 140
18 6 Ryan Newman Ford -1 Lap 139
19 38 John Hunter Nemechek # Ford -1 139
20 43 Bubba Wallace Chevy -1 139
21 32 Corey LaJoie Ford -1 139
22 12 Ryan Blaney Ford -1 139
23 13 Ty Dillon Chevy -1 139
24 22 Joey Logano Ford -1 139
25 37 Ryan Preece Chevy -1 139
26 96 * Daniel Suarez Toyota -1 139
27 15 Brennan Poole # Chevy -2 138
28 27 JJ Yeley(i) Ford -2 138
29 66 * Timmy Hill(i) Toyota -3 137
30 77 James Davison Chevy -4 136
31 00 Quin Houff # Chevy -4 136
32 53 Garrett Smithley(i) Chevy -4 136
33 51 Joey Gase(i) Ford -4 136
34 7 * Josh Bilicki(i) Chevy -4 136
35 8 Tyler Reddick # Chevy -5 135
36 17 Chris Buescher Ford -5 135
37 78 * BJ McLeod(i) Chevy -7 133
38 18 Kyle Busch Toyota -66 74
39 95 Christopher Bell # Toyota -101 39
40 34 Michael McDowell Ford -125 15

# DENOTES ROOKIE
(i) NOT ELIGIBLE FOR POINTS
(*) REQUIRED TO QUALIFY ON TIME
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