Chase Elliott takes Pocono win after No. 11 and 18 cars disqualified
Chase Elliott was declared the winner at Pocono Raceway on Sunday after the cars of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch – which originally crossed the start/finish line first and second, respectively – were disqualified after post inspection -race.
The disqualifications also mean Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick will take second place, and Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suárez is third. JGR driver Christopher Bell (fourth) and Kyle Larson (fifth) of Hendrick Motorsports complete the new top five.
Hamlin was involved in another high-profile incident on a restart with 18 laps to go, colliding with season rival Ross Chastain while battling side-by-side for the race lead. And even then, Hamlin’s crew chief, Chris Gabehart, kept reminding him of a tenuous fuel situation in the closing laps. But Hamlin kept the field at bay on the ensuing restart with 13 laps to go and got through the first before his car broke down after the race.
As for the incident with Chastain, Hamlin was quick to respond. Both riders have been involved in several high-profile run-ins at races this season.
“What did you want me to do? What did you expect me to do? said Hamlin. “I got a position on him, and he just ran out of running track.”
When asked if it’s now over between the two and if the feud is essentially settled now, Hamlin smiled and said, “We’ll keep running hard until we get these guys’ respect. -the. And it’s not just that. We’ve been destroyed four times, twice in the lead in the last 10 months and I’m at the end.
Chastain, a two-race winner in his first season at the wheel of Trackhouse Racing, came out of Infield care center and admitted the situation was not entirely unexpected.
“It’s been something that’s been coming back to me for a few months now,” Chastain said, expecting retaliation. “I am proud of Trackhouse’s efforts. Continuing to bring fast cars like this is a testament to GM and Chevrolet. It was really fast and we’ll be back in Indy.
When asked if he thought the score was now settled, Chastain just smiled.
“That’s what I’ve been owed and probably a little more for a few months now.”
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Busch, who started in the front row with Hamlin, had led a race-best 63 of 160 laps.
It was an important day for Ty Gibbs, 19, grandson of team owner Joe Gibbs. Gibbs was named just hours before the race to replace 23XI Racing driver Kurt Busch, who was involved in a crash during qualifying on Saturday and was not medically cleared to compete on Sunday.
Gibbs, who finished 16th in the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota, was all smiles and gratitude after the race, even taking a moment to thank team co-owner NBA legend Michael Jordan for the opportunity.
“I had a great time and Michael, if you look, I want to say, ‘thank you,'” Gibbs said. “I had a great time and learned a lot.”
With five regular season races remaining, Elliott still leads the points standings with a 100-point advantage over Chastain and a 108-point advantage over Ryan Blaney, who was involved in a late-race crash.
The NASCAR Cup Series returns to action next week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Sunday’s Verizon 200 at The Brickyard (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, IMS Radio Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). AJ Allmendinger is the defending race winner.
NOTE: After completing its post-race inspection, NASCAR disqualified the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Denny Hamlin and the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch. Both cars, along with Michael McDowell’s No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford and JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 Chevrolet, will be brought back to the NASCAR R&D Center for further inspection.
Input: Staff Reports