Denny Hamlin scored his fifth win at Pocono Raceway, and third of the season, in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Gander RV 400.
Hamlin had enough fuel to cross the finish line in overtime and lead a 1-2-3 finish for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I was real worried,” Hamlin said about his dwindling fuel laod. “We just did a great job with the car, once we lost track position there to the 19 (Martin Truex Jr.) and 20 (Erik Jones). Thanks to Pocono for putting in the PJ1 there in Turn 3.”
Hamlin led twice for 32 laps, including the final 20.
Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr. followed Hamlin across the finish line for the JGR sweep of the top three spots.
“There are the end, I wasn’t sure how it was all going to play out,” said Jones. “We were there for a second and the top got rolling and I couldn’t do anything. Good to get another top three run, we’ve just got to break through.”
William Byron and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.
Kevin Harvick, Daniel Hemric, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney completed the first ten finishers.
Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson won the first two stages. Stage Points
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Watkins Glen International next Sunday afternoon.
How Hamlin Won: It all came down to an overtime finish when Josh Bilicki brought out a late caution when he came to a stop on the backstretch. As he was nursing fuel, Hamlin got a great jump on the final restart of the day and once he cleared the field heading into the tunnel turn it was smooth sailing for the Daytona 500 winner to put win number three on the board.
Who Had a Good Day: Jones scored his best finish of 2019 and the best finish at Pocono…Truex Jr. recorded his best finish since winning at Sonoma…Byron notched his second Cup top-five finish and has finished top-10 in his last three Pocono starts…Larson had to start from the rear of the field in a backup car and scored his fourth top-five finish of 2019, three of the four came in the last five races.
Who Had a Bad Day: Chase Elliott made hard contact with the third turn wall when he blew a tire. It marked the seventh straight week he failed to finish inside the top-10…Ryan Preece slammed the wall hard when he had an issue and wound up finishing 37th…Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made contact with the wall and then hit Kurt Busch in the late going to trigger a multi-car accident.
What Else Happened: The application of PJ1 generated a great deal of conversation leading into the weekend in hopes of creating another groove for drivers to use. The reality is the racing at Pocono Sunday was typical of the large and sprawling 2.5-mile track. What was front and center was strategy both of the fuel and tire variety as a number of teams tried to shake things up by making various decisions on pit road.
Quotable: “It’s been a rough month,” Chase Elliott.
Notables: Hamlin’s five Pocono wins are tied with how many he’s won at Martinsville…His 34 wins rank 23rd all-time and fourth among active drivers…It was the 168th win for Joe Gibbs Racing.