NASCAR at Pocono: Hamlin win pole, Gragson outduels Gibbs

Denny Hamlin Earns Pole for M&M’S® Fan Appreciation 400

For the third time in 2022, Denny Hamlin will lead the Cup Series field to green as he won the pole at Pocono Raceway on Saturday afternoon with a 169.991 mph lap. It’s the 36th career pole award for the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway on July 23, 2022 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

A balanced field will make up the first three rows for Sunday’s M&M’S® Fan Appreciation 400 (3 p.m. ET, USA Network, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) as two Toyotas, two Chevrolets and two Fords make up the top six positions.

Kyle Busch will join Hamlin on the front row after completing a 169.498 mph lap. Cup Series champions and Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson locked out Row 2 while Chris Buescher and Ryan Blaney will start in Row 3.

Toyota landed all cars inside the top 11 with five cars inside the top 10, but not all is golden for the manufacturer as Kurt Busch spun and crashed coming off Turn 3 and suffered heavy damage that will likely force him to a backup car for Sunday’s race.

Busch’s 23XI teammate Bubba Wallace earned his second-straight start inside the top 10 while Martin Truex Jr. will start eighth. Daniel Suárez will start ninth.

M&M’S® Fan Appreciation 400 Qualifying Results


Noah Gragson Outduels Ty Gibbs in the Explore the Pocono Mountains 225

Noah Gragson earned his third victory of the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season at Pocono Raceway Saturday evening.

Across the Final Stage of the Explore the Pocono Mountains 225, the driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet passed his JRM teammate Josh Berry for the lead and out-dueled Ty Gibbs in the closing laps to grab the checkered flag.

Noah Gragson, driver of the #9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/BRCC Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 at Pocono Raceway on July 23, 2022 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Gragson led three times for a race-high 43 laps. Saturday’s win is a rebound for Gragson after having his result disqualified at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend and is JR Motorsports’ seventh win over the last 11 races.

After two-consecutive results outside the top 20, Gibbs finished runner-up for the second time this season. Berry crossed the stripe in third place after leading early in the Final Stage, settling for his fifth top-five finish in the last seven races. AJ Allmendinger and Sheldon Creed rounded out the top five.

Sam Mayer, Justin Allgaier, Austin Hill, Daniel Hemric and Cole Custer finalized the top 10 with Allgaier leading 23 of the 90 laps.

On Lap 46, a multi-car wreck involving Santino Ferrucci, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jeb Burton, Jeremy Clements and Ronnie Bassett Jr., brought out a red flag after Burton’s car went airborne and slid down the frontstretch upside down. Burton was checked and released from the infield care center.

Explore the Pocono Mountains 225 Results


Chandler Smith wins CRC Brakleen 150; Zane Smith crowned Regular Season Champion

Chandler Smith earned his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of the season, taking the trophy in the CRC Brakleen 150 regular-season finale at Pocono Raceway Saturday afternoon while another Smith — Zane — coolly collected his first Regular Season Championship.

It marked the seventh race win for a Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team in the last eight Pocono races with Smith leading a commanding 49 of the 60 laps in the No. 18 KBM Toyota Tundra. The 20-year-old Georgia native held off a final-lap charge from Ryan Preece by .262 seconds to hoist his fourth career trophy.

“We’ve been going through a little bit of a struggle here recently, but just when we needed to shine and we started shining,” Chandler Smith said of the victory — his first since a win in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Front Row Motorsports driver Zane Smith finished a distant 13th in his No. 38 Ford F-150 after dealing with throttle issues early in the race. But with the regular-season title in hand, the series-best three-race winner will start the playoffs with the all-important 15 bonus playoff points. He’s hoping to become the first Regular Season Champion to win the season title since 2017.

“Man, today was a major struggle,” Zane Smith said. “Started out from the green flag to pretty much the end of Stage 2 our throttle was sticking and everything we were doing wasn’t fixing it. Glad we’re on to the playoffs and ready to get this postseason started.”

Last year’s Regular Season Champion John Hunter Nemechek was third, followed by rookie Corey Heim and Carson Hocevar. Austin Hill, Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes, Kraus and Tanner Gray rounded out the top 10.

Former two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Todd Bodine finished 36th in his 800th and final NASCAR national series start. He was collected in an accident on Lap 13.

CRC Brakleen 150 results


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