Denny Hamlin takes his fifth NASCAR Cup victory at Pocono
Denny Hamlin had enough fuel in the No. 11 Toyota to pull away off the final restart in an overtime finish Sunday for his fifth victory at Pocono Raceway.
Hamlin raced to his third victory of the season and 34th overall in NASCAR Cup Series race, giving Joe Gibbs Racing its 11th win in 21 races this season.
Hamlin held off teammates Erik Jones, who needed a win to secure a spot in the playoffs, and Martin Truex Jr. to secure the victory that eluded him last week at New Hampshire.
With the leaders running low on fuel, Hamlin had enough left to get a good jump off two late restarts that made the difference.
“I was really worried,” Hamlin said. “We just did a great job with the car.”
Hamlin seemingly had the race won in regulation when he took the lead off a restart with four laps to go after Kurt Busch slammed into the wall to bring out another caution. Hamlin, Jones and Truex made it a 1-2-3 running order for JGR as the race headed into OT. That’s the way it shook out after three extra laps.
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Hamlin swept Pocono as a rookie in 2004 and won two straight races over the 2009 and 2010 seasons, but often struggled in recent seasons to seriously compete for a win on the tri-oval track.
In Sunday, the Daytona 500 winner had the right combination and figured out how to conserve his gas to the very end.
“We’re running our best right now,” Hamlin said. “There’s no doubt about it.”
William Bryon was fourth, and Kyle Larson finished fifth.
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