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Denny Hamlin hangs on for Pocono win in two-lap shootout

Denny Hamlin hangs on for Pocono win in two-lap shootout
Jul 28, 2019, 10:22 PM

Denny Hamlin saved enough fuel to fend off his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones in overtime to win Sunday at Pocono.

Race Winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing
 Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry FedEx Ground
Race Winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing
Race Winner Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing

With nearly everyone close on fuel as Sunday’s Gander RV 400 went to overtime, Hamlin was able to fight off a charge from Kyle Larson and Jones and hang on for victory at Pocono Raceway.

The win is Hamlin’s fifth at the track but first since 2010. It’s his third win of the season.

"I was really worried, really worried," Hamlin said of his fuel situation in overtime. "We just did a great job with the car. Once we lost the track position there to (Truex) and (Jones), I thought it was over, we weren't able to pass them.

"Thanks Pocono for putting in this PJ1. I was able to use it there, get around those guys.  Thanks, everyone, for this FedEx Camry. I think we're on a roll this year."

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Asked if he and his No. 11 Toyota were "rising to the occasion," he said: "We're running our best right now.  No doubt about it. We are just going to keep plugging along. That's all I can say.  We're doing the best we can."

Martin Truex Jr. finished third as Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top-three positions. William Byron was fourth and Larson completed the top-five.

Rounding out the top 10 were Kevin Harvick, Daniel Hemric, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney.

Hamlin said heading into the NASCAR playoffs he wanted to know his team was a "race winner" and the last two weeks have answered that question.

"You want to know that you can contend for wins. Yeah, you're looking for momentum, but you're just looking for wins week in, week out," he said. "So proud of this FedEx Ground team for giving us yet another winner two weeks in a row.

"I tell you, we really fought for it last week and came up short. Feel goods to redeem ourselves this week and have such a strong car."

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, some of the lead-lap cars elected to pit but Harvick remained on the track and took over the lead when the race returned to green on Lap 104.

He was followed by Joey Logano, Truex, Hamlin and Austin Dillon.

Hamlin got a big run off Turn 1 and was able to get around Harvick to take the lead in Turn 2 for the first time in the race.

With 50 of 160 laps remaining in the race, Hamlin had built almost a 2-second lead over Logano as Harvick remained in third. They were followed by Jones and Larson.

On Lap 114, Ryan Preece slammed into the Turn 1 wall to bring out a caution. All of the lead-lap cars elected to pit except Kyle Busch and her took over the lead. 


On the restart on Lap 119, Busch was followed by Jones (who was first off pit road with a 2-tire stop), Hamlin, Truex and Daniel Suarez.

After 120 laps, Kyle Busch held a small lead over Jones. They were followed by Truex, Keselowski and Hamlin. 

With 30 laps remaining in the race, Busch had opened a 1.4-second lead over Jones as Truex remained in third, nearly 4 seconds behind the leader.

Jones moved into the lead on Lap 135 as Kyle Busch was forced to pit to get enough fuel to make it to the end of the race. Truex moved into second and Hamlin third. Kyle Busch dropped to 25th after his pit stop.

Many drivers were going to be close on gas as the race wound down to 20 laps remaining. Harvick, who had taken 4 tires on his last stop and was saving fuel, had worked his way back up to fourth.

Hamlin got around Truex on Lap 143 to move into the runner-up position. On Lap 144, Hamlin got around Jones to reclaim the lead.

On Lap 147, Harvick moved into third and was told he was good to go on fuel and to challenge the leaders.

Josh Bilicki stopped on the track on Lap 153 which forced NASCAR to throw a caution. When the race returned to green with four laps remaining, Hamlin led the way followed by Truex, Harvick, Jones and Keselowski.

As the field came off Turn 2 on the restart, Kurt Busch squeezed Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who took advance and got into Busch, turning him into Michael McDowell as the race returned immediately to caution.

The cleanup forced the race into a two-lap overtime. On the restart, Hamlin led followed by Jones, Truex, Larson and Harvick.

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Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Laps Led
1 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 163   32
2 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 163 0.341 10
3 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 163 1.023  
4 24 United States William Byron  Chevrolet 163 1.477  
5 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 163 1.967  
6 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 163 2.524 62
7 8 United States Daniel Hemric  Chevrolet 163 2.774  
8 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 163 3.193  
9 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 163 4.249 56
10 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 163 4.269  
11 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 163 4.317  
12 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 163 4.358  
13 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 163 4.863  
14 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 163 4.867  
15 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 163 5.014 3
16 37 United States Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 163 5.231  
17 95 United States Matt DiBenedetto  Toyota 163 5.893  
18 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 163 5.970  
19 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 163 6.009  
20 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 163 6.039  
21 17 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 163 6.892  
22 43 United States Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 163 7.230  
23 36 United States Matt Tifft  Ford 163 7.240  
24 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 163 7.265  
25 34 United States Michael McDowell  Ford 163 8.390  
26 32 United States Corey Lajoie  Ford 162 1 lap  
27 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 162 1 lap  
28 00 United States Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 159 4 laps  
29 13 United States Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 159 4 laps  
30 15 United States Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 159 4 laps  
31 77 United States Quin Houff  Chevrolet 158 5 laps  
32 27 United States Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 158 5 laps  
33 51 United States B.J. McLeod  Ford 158 5 laps  
34 52 United States Austin Theriault  Ford 157 6 laps  
35 53 United States Josh Bilicki  Chevrolet 146 17 laps  
36 38 United States David Ragan  Ford 123 40 laps  
37 47 United States Ryan Preece  Chevrolet 114 49 laps  
38 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 83 80 laps  

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Erik Jones: "It's a bummer" to come so close to another win
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Pocono II
Drivers Denny Hamlin
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Author Jim Utter