Chase Elliott wins the Pocono. Denny Hamlin, Kyle Bush disqualified

by Bob Bocras
NASCAR FOX Sports writer

Long Pond, Pennsylvania. – Denny Hamlin He thinks he’s got a seventh Pocono Race Track He triumphed when he crossed the finish line first on Sunday, ahead of teammate Joe Gibbs Racing Kyle Bush.

But in a rare move – the first of its kind since 1960 – NASCAR ruled out the Cup winner. NASCAR has found that both the winning Hamlin and Busch’s cars contain materials in the front end (the front end of the vehicle) that are not permitted under NASCAR rules. The materials in question can affect how the vehicle handles.

Hamlin and Bush were both disqualified, resulting in third place winner Chase Elliott being declared.

The JGR has until noon on Monday to decide whether to appeal, which is highly likely, and the appeal will be heard this week.

“There was no real reason why some of the material was somewhere that it shouldn’t be,” said Brad Moran, NASCAR Cup Series director. “And this is mainly due to a special intelligence … I cannot go into every detail of what these problems are.

“But both cars had the same problem. Unfortunately, they were not accepted to pass the inspection.”

Hamlin’s final finish was 35th, and Bosch was 36th.

NASCAR will return the cars to its R&D center, but at this time, there are no additional penalties or suspensions being issued to the Hamlin and Busch teams.

Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch ineligible after Pocono race

Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch ineligible after Pocono race

Quick thoughts: NASCAR must have thought the JGR violations were egregious to disqualify the top two finish cars on Sunday at Pocono.

Joe Gibbs said in a statement that the team will assess what happened. He did not say if they would appeal.

“We were shocked to learn of the violation that caused our car to fail the post-race technical examination by NASCAR,” Gibbs said. “We plan to review every part of the process that led to this situation.”

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Here are three Pocono takeaways:

Elliot the leader

With Ross Chastain and Ryan Blaney not finishing the race due to accidents, Elliott now has a 105-point lead over Chastain for the regular season title with five races remaining.

The regular-season champion earns 15 playoff points, and the second-placed driver gets 10. These qualifying points are added to the driver’s reset total at the start of the qualifying rounds and can make a huge difference in whether a driver advances through NASCAR’s postseason.

But Elliott wasn’t interested in discussing the regular season title after Sunday’s race, when he thought he finished third and missed his fourth win of the year.

“We were lucky to get third place,” Elliott said. “That means we need to get a little better, and that’s where I focus now: How do we get better, how do we get better than the guys who beat us today?”

Hamlin Chastain Duel

Hamlin took the lead as he battled his opponent Chastain with 18 laps remaining – Chastain spinned and crashed after Hamlin came close to a wall – and Hamlin never looked back crossing the finish line ahead of his teammate.

Chastain said he didn’t think Hamlin would have raced him that way if they hadn’t had squabbles at Gateway and Atlanta.

“That guy was coming,” Chastain said. “If I had raced smarter a couple of months ago, I would have had plenty of room to stop the first turn. I’ve realized that over the past month or two, and it’s too late for that.”

Hamlin said the way Chastain and others race dictates how he races.

“It’s a compliment to say I wouldn’t normally do that,” Hamlin said. “And I won’t. It’s unfortunate because I would have loved racing hard. And I did. I just drove the car on the track, and I ran out of real estate.

“That’s just part of the sport we have. NASCAR doesn’t get into these things because they want the drivers to deal with it.”

Denny Hamlin crosses the finish line first in Pocono

Denny Hamlin crosses the finish line first in Pocono

Denny Hamlin beats Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch to take first in the Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway before being disqualified.

Ty Gibbs For the first time as a subfile of Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch missed the race on Sunday after suffering concussion-like symptoms following Saturday’s crash in qualifying. Doctors at Pocono Raceway refused to let him race after he was re-examined Sunday morning.

This led to Ty Gibbs, grandson of Joe Gibbs and winner of four Xfinity Series races this season, making his trophy debut. Never before racing a next-generation car, Gibbs got some sim time in North Carolina at 1 a.m. on Sunday before returning to Pocono to race.

He finished 16th in the race.

“I felt like I learned a lot,” said 19-year-old Gibbs. “I am so grateful. He was close to the top 15. It was fun racing with Brad [Keselowski]. I never thought I would race with these guys.

“It was great to be next to them on the track. So for my 10-year-old Tay, it means a lot. I don’t think I would ever expect that.”

Bob Pokras has spent decades covering motorsports, including the last 30 games of the Daytona 500. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 after working for ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @Popocras. Looking for more NASCAR content? Subscribe to the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass!


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