Denny Hamlin earned his fourth win of the season in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Pocono Raceway. It also marks the fourth win for Hamlin at the 2.5-mile triangular track and the 12th victory of his career. Hamlin led five...
Denny Hamlin earned his fourth win of the season in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Pocono Raceway.
It also marks the fourth win for Hamlin at the 2.5-mile triangular track and the 12th victory of his career.
Hamlin led five times for 88 (of 204) laps in the No. 20 FedEx Freight Camry to earn the sixth Camry win in 2010 and the 27th win for Toyota since joining the series in 2007.
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and Toyota have won six of the last nine NSCS races. Kyle Busch has also earned two races.
Busch led four times for 88 laps to finish second, earning his eighth straight top-10 finish in his 200th career start to become the youngest driver in series history to reach the 200 starts mark at 25 years, one month and four days. Brian Vickers previously held the record at 25 years, 11 months, three days.
Camry drivers Joey Logano (13th), David Reutimann (15th), Scott Speed (20th), Casey Mears (23rd), Martin Truex Jr. (25th), Marcos Ambrose (30th), Max Papis (34th), Joe Nemechek (39th), Todd Bodine (40th), Michael McDowell (39th), Dave Blaney (40th), Chad McCumbee (42nd) and Joe Nemechek (43rd) were also in the field.
Busch remains in second-place in the unofficial NSCS point standings following the race at Pocono -- 19 points behind leader Kevin Harvick. With the win, Hamlin moved up to third in points, with Truex (15th), Logano (17th), Reutimann (19th) also in the top-20 for Toyota.
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
What was going through your head when you saw the yellow flag come out instead of the white flag? "I probably could've got to that white flag in time, but I started backing off just incase we needed it -- fuel mileage -- and he (Mike Ford, crew chief) said, 'No, get that white as soon as you can.' I literally just kept focusing on that light and I saw it turn yellow right before I got to the line. We just flat out drove through those guys. It was similar to what our win was last year and it was just a great car. The best it was all day was that last run. Just can't thank everyone from FedEx and all the employees, FedEx Freight, JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), the whole 11 team, Sprint, Gillette, Coke. Gillette -- I need a clean shave here for this. Thank all of them and Toyota. It's just been a great year so far."
What was your mindset today with the rain delay? "Just trying to be patient. I've got to push it on my dash this week, I said, 'Conserve.' I knew I just had to conserve my car the first half and we rode about third for most of the race up until the halfway point and then we just turned it up when we needed to and it just was a great feeling. I hated to see that last caution -- really got my nerves going. But, I'll tell you, I can't thank this FedEx team enough. Just great stops on pit road all day and everything just went out way."
How close were you on fuel coming down the stretch? "I don't know. It was fluctuating on the last lap and I was so scared we weren't going to make it. To be honest with you, it's probably a good thing that there was a big wreck at the end and I had to check up because I'm not sure I would've made it to the line." Where was your car the best on the race track? "It really bounced around for most of the day, but we were really good off the tunnel turn. It seemed like that was our strong point. It's just certain points of the run we were better at different places than others. We got to work on the bottom side right there in (turn) three and I just found a little speed there. It was one of the days that you planned out in your mind, but you don't ever think it works out this way."
MIKE FORD, crew chief, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How was the race from your view? "That was an extremely long race for us. The first hundred laps went pretty eventless. I knew Denny (Hamlin) was making laps, trying to work on our car, wasn't really pushing the car, but made it difficult to adjust knowing that he was leaving a little bit out. But, you get the first half of the race here at Pocono clean, you know the second half is going to get pretty active. I was real concerned about that. It turned out to be that way. You had different tire strategies, fuel strategies, then you had guys on three different sequences of tires at the end of the day to add for a pretty eventful end to the race. Track position was key. I think the key for us winning that race was two restarts that Denny made when we gave up track position. You didn't want to give up track position, but you needed fuel at some point."
JOE GIBBS, team owner, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How excited are you about the success that Joe Gibbs Racing has had in the last few months? "I think what's happened to us, our drivers and our teams have done a great job of working together. As an example, I think here obviously Denny (Hamlin), this is his favorite race track. If you would have asked Kyle (Busch) last week, he probably would have rated this the toughest race track for him. Joey (Logano), very similar statements would come from him. I think they've kind of fed off of Denny and Mike (Ford, crew chief). Crew chiefs Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, 20 crew chief) and David (Rogers, 18 crew chief) over there, have fed a lot off the 11 car. Such an example of teamwork. People say you have three different cars, but really truly it takes great teamwork at this level. I think it's been Kyle at some mile-and-a-half stuff helping Denny. So, I think right now both of them have really helped Joey. Joey, I thought this was probably his best race today. We were extremely disappointed with what happened there. I also think right now teamwork has been the key for us. We've got all three of our guys right now, we're thrilled about where we are. Now this can all turn on a dime. We know how pro sports are. I'm never confident or I don't think anybody on our team feels like we've arrived for sure. It's just the last seven, eight weeks, we've had a very good seven, eight weeks. That's very hard to do in pro sports."
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M's Pretzel Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
Are you happy with your finish today? "Real proud of the way that Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and these guys gave me a great race car. That M&M's Pretzel Camry was good. We kept messing with it all day, trying to make it a little bit better. I think it's just driver here that you can make up so much with lap time. Denny (Hamlin) has this place figured out. I did the best I could. I went from about an F at knowing how to get around here today to about an A, and an A didn't get it done. Really happy for the 11 (Denny Hamlin) guys. Good to see them win another one. For us to run as strong as we were running, same about the 20 (Joey Logano), the 20 was running really good there until his whatever happened. It was good to see JGR running good like that here."
Did you think you could win with the green-white-checkered finish? "It gave me an opportunity to get by the 14 (Tony Stewart) but nobody had anything for the 11 (Denny Hamlin) after halfway. Those guys got going really good. I can't say enough about Dave Rogers (crew chief) and all of these guys on this M&M's Pretzel team. They gave me an awesome Camry today to go out there and race with and have fun. I tried to ruin it a couple times, but we made it happen there at the end and got it up to second."
Is it bittersweet or a little heartbreaking seeing your teammate Denny Hamlin spoil your chances at the win today? "It's great for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). That's what teammates are all about, is to help one another, to see one get to victory lane. It's cool to have us all running like that where we can do it and have a shot to win every week. Yeah, it's bittersweet we didn't get a victory. If you're going to lose to anybody around this place, it's certainly going to be the 11 (Denny Hamlin). I would have hated to see it be that big of a fuel mileage race, no offense to Sam Hornish, but to see the 77 win it because of that. I felt like the 11 and 18, along with the 33 (Clint Bowyer), were the best cars today."
What do you think about the strength of Joe Gibbs Racing team right now? "I think it's really good. I'm really, really proud of not just my guys but the organization as a whole with the way that Joey (Logano) was running today, Denny (Hamlin) won and we finished second. We could've came out of here with a one-two-three finish or a one- three-four or something like that -- I don't know where Joey (Logano) was when he was battling there -- real unfortunate (for him) to get dumped like that."
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 Home Depot Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 13th
What happened with you and Kevin Harvick? "It's disappointing to be honest with you, we had a top-five run going with the Home Depot Toyota. I was pretty pumped up about it. Racing the 29 (Kevin Harvick) and he let me go in the middle of the straightaway and then decided to dump me in the next turn. I don't know what his problem is with me but it's probably not his fault. His wife wears the fire suit in the family and tells him what to do. It's probably not his fault."
What will it take to cool this feud down? "I don't know. I'm going to go to the NASCAR hauler and I guess they are going to tell me what I'm supposed to do. We will just have to see."
What did Coach Gibbs and J.D. Gibbs say to you? "They just said to calm down, you know we finished 13th. We rallied back from 30th in two laps so at least we got something out of it. Not a top-five like we should have finished, but it is what it is. I don't know what I ever did to (piss) him off, but he is apparently stupid."
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Michael
Finishing Position: 15th
How was your race today? "The Aaron's Dream Machine had a pretty rough day. We struggled and just couldn't get a handle on it. We got into someone early with it and it knocked the quarter panel loose. Everything is so aero-sensitive that it just made us bad, bad loose all day. We lost a lap before we were finally able to come in and fix it. Then I got back in the fence again with it. To come home 15th is a lot better than we were looking at most of the day. The No. 00 crew worked on the Aaron's Dream Machine all day and did a great job. It was just a rough day."
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip
Finishing Position: 25th
MARCOS AMBROSE, No. 47 Little Debbie Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing
Finishing Position: 30th
MAX PAPIS, No. 13 GEICO Toyota Camry, Germain Racing
Finishing Position: 34th
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 55 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports
Finishing Position: 39th
DAVE BLANEY, No. 66 Toyota Camry, PRISM Motorsports
Finishing Position: 40th
CHAD McCUMBEE, No. 64 Little Joe's Autos Toyota Camry, Gunselman
Finishing Position: 42nd
JOE NEMECHEK, No. 87 Toyota
Camry, NEMCO Motorsports
Finishing Position: 43rd
-source: toyota motorsports