WEEKEND NASCAR RACE REPORT -- 7-24-06 Winner: Denny Hamlin, driver of the ...
WEEKEND NASCAR RACE REPORT -- 7-24-06
Winner: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 Federal Express/Kinko's Chevrolet from Joe Gibbs Racing
Top-five finishers: Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers and Kevin Harvick
Race recap: Rookie Denny Hamlin netted a sweep of Pocono Raceway this season, both times from the pole, with his second win on Sunday while leading a race-high 151 laps. It also signaled his second series career win. Hamlin averaged 132.626 mph through seven cautions for 29 laps and 13 lead changes among nine drivers. Hamlin crossed the line 1.510 seconds ahead of Kurt Busch after leading to the close from lap 181.
Close racing and hot tempers prevailed in the 200-lap contest as drivers focused on good finishes to help them lock in a top-10 slot (or be within 400 points of the leader) in the Chase to the Championship that has just six races remaining.
Caught up in the clashes was series champion Tony Stewart, who was black flagged for hitting the car of Clint Bowyer (in retribution for an earlier hit from Bowyer), which also sent Carl Edwards spinning and uncharacteristically frustrated.
Jimmie Johnson still leads the points, with Matt Kenseth back by 97, followed by a gap that finds Jeff Burton in third and back 318. Kyle Busch is behind 357, Harvick 376 and Mark Martin 382. Then in the 400s comes Kasey Kahne, Hamlin, J. Gordon and Stewart.
Hamlin captured the Gatorback Fastest Lap Award with a lap speed of 165.478 mph.
Goodyear comment from Phil Holmer, marketing manager of stock car racing, notes that Goodyear's Eagle racing radial tire recommendation that was adjusted for this race was up to the task: "Our tires produced in a new left-side mold shape held up extremely well to the rigors of a tough event at Pocono, a track which has a history of being hard on left-side tires."
Other NASCAR action:
Saturday's Busch Series Goody's 250 at Virginia's .526-mile Martinsville Speedway saw Kevin Harvick fend off his teammate Clint Bowyer by .271 seconds at the finish. Harvick dominated the day, leading 149 of the 250 laps, even through a track record 19 cautions for 85 of those laps, to capture his 21st Busch career win. Rounding out the top five were Denny Hamlin, Reed Sorenson and Johnny Sauter. In the points run, Harvick leads with Carl Edwards trailing by 348.