LONG POND, Pennsylvania — When Chase Elliott wins a race at Pocono Raceway, the siren at the Dawsonville, Georgia, pool hall goes off, and Elliott didn’t lead a lap.
Winner, Joe Gibbs Racing cheats!” A tweet from the Dawsonville Pool Room can be seen here.
Denny Hamlin, of Joe Gibbs Racing, lost his Pocono victory and teammate Kyle Busch, who finished second, were both disqualified when their Toyotas failed inspections in an unusual move for a NASCAR Cup Series race.
Hendrick Motorsports driver Elliott took the lead from third place and went on to win the race for the fourth time this season. His No. 9 Chevrolet was inspected by NASCAR and he never led a lap.
Hamlin’s record seventh win at Pocono and third of the season were snatched away from him. 63 laps into the race, Busch was the race leader.
According to NASCAR, the last time an apparent winner was disqualified was on April 17, 1960, when Emanuel Zervakis’ victory at Wilson Speedway in North Carolina was thrown out due to an excessive fuel tank.
Both Toyotas have been transferred to NASCAR’s research and development center in North Carolina for additional evaluation pending an appeal of the penalty. Due to the wrap not being removed from the cars until after the race, NASCAR claims that the infractions were not discovered during pre-race inspection.
NASCAR Cup Series executive director Brad Moran remarked, “There were some concerns uncovered that have an impact on aerodynamics in the vehicle.”. “There truly was no reason why some stuff was located in a place it should not have been. ” It all comes down to a DQ in the end, after all.”
“The front fascia,” or nose cone, is the part in dispute, and final decisions “should be made by next week,” according to Moran.
With the advent of a new car this season, Moran claims that the inspection “rules have been tightened.” Essentially a kit vehicle, NASCAR’s latest iteration is an improvement. Teams get the identical parts from different vendors and full instructions on how to put it together.
Moran stated, “We don’t want to be here discussing this issue.” This new car was kept to a very tight tolerance by the teams, the owners, and everyone else.” Everyone knows that we can’t travel down the same path as we did before with the other car..”
It was a disappointing end to a successful day for JGR.
Jeff Gordon had previously held the record for most wins at Pocono, with seven, but Hamlin had seemingly surpassed him this season. Aside from the two wins in his first season in 2006, Hamlin has claimed victories at Pocono in 2009, 2010, 2019 and 2020. He is now tied with NASCAR’s four-time champion.
Hamlin had his work cut out for him when pole sitter Kyle Larson ran into the wall on the opening lap. To make matters worse, he was forced to watch Kurt Busch take the lead for the remainder of the race, which was 400 miles into the 2 1/2-mile tri-oval race. Of course, Ross Chastain’s unresolved grudge had to be addressed.
Earlier this season, Chastain crashed Hamlin twice in a month, and Hamlin was fed up with the watermelon farmer’s aggressive driving. With 16 laps to go, Hamlin slammed Chastain into the wall at Pocono after refusing to give his competitor an inch off the restart. Several drivers were involved in a multi-car pileup after Chastain slammed into the wall, including winless Kevin Harvick.
You asked me to do what? Hamlin inquired in the immediate aftermath, “What did you expect me to do?”
Two-time Trackhouse Racing winner Chastain humbly accepted the fact that punishment was coming.
I think that’s been owed to me for quite some time now,” Chastain remarked.
Hamlin has the final say, or at least the most recent one. But does that put an end to their spat? The wife of Justin Marks, the owner of Chastain’s race team, tweeted, “Game. On,” suggesting otherwise.
On the NASCAR all-time wins list, Hamlin lost his 49th-place tie with his old teammate Tony Stewart.
When asked if he looked up to Hamlin because of his talent, Hamlin stated, “We’ve just been good friends.” In 36 races, he had the potential to win, and that’s what I aspire to be.
Hamlin is a three-time Daytona 500 winner and a co-owner of 23XI Racing with Michael Jordan, so he’s a good comparison point. There’s only one blemish on his record: the championship he didn’t win, and his first Cup DQ.
He dispatched his small daughter to get the checkered flag when she broke down in tears of delight. While her father drove her around Pocono Raceway, Taylor Hamlin gripped the flag she’d won as she slipped through the passenger side window.
“Yeah, good luck getting it back,” Hamlin commented beside a photo of his daughter holding the flag he shared on Twitter.
As he holds up his championship trophy, NASCAR might say the same to him
Clash of Clans
In his first career Cup appearance, Ty Gibbs finished 16th for 23XI Racing after filling in for an injured Kurt Busch.
NASCAR’s medical staff refused to allow Busch to compete in the race after he sustained a head injury during qualifying on Saturday. The door was now open for Gibbs, who was then just 19 years old. The grandson of Joe Gibbs wore Busch’s firesuit and Hamlin’s sneakers when he was forced to make a substitution.
As Gibbs put it, “I never believed I’d be racing with these guys. On the track, it was just a thrill to be close to them. That means a lot to Ty, who is only 10 years old.”
Joe’s grandpa was really pleased.
Gibbs claimed Gibbs was “disappointed that he couldn’t get more out of it.” “I’m sure he understands how difficult it is.”
THERE IS NO RESPONSE
Kyle Busch has not to be contacted by JGR, and Gibbs is concerned about this.
“We had a number of firms that we thought (were in) that finished up being disappointments for us,” Gibbs said. “However, it is difficult and demoralizing.”