Denny Hamlin wins 50th Cup Victory; Can’t Escape Boos at Pocono

Denny Hamlin wins 50th Cup Victory;  Can’t Escape Boos at Pocono


By Dave Hascall


(Long Pond, PA)  Denny Hamlin’s win in the Pocono 400, at the historic Pocono Raceway wasn’t surprising, neither was the aggressiveness shown by the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.   It was Hamlin’s 50th win and he now leads all drivers with seven wins at Pocono.


Last year Hamlin squeezed Ross Chastain aggressively into the wall.  This year, Kyle Larson’s Chevrolet was Hamlin’s target.  With 7 laps to go, Larson led on a restart with Hamlin in second.  As the duo entered turn one, Larson gave Hamlin the bottom but Hamlin crowded Larson into the wall.  Larson dropped back as a caution came out for a Justin Haley spin.  As the cars were bunching up for the caution, Larson moved around the cars now in front of him to bump into Hamlin’s car to show his disapproval.  Hamlin downplayed the contact while Larson felt the winner “used him up.”


Hamlin raced away for an easy (easier?) win over teammate Martin Truex, Jr., Tyler Reddick, Kevin Harvick, and 2022 Xfinity Series Champ, Ty Gibbs.  Hamlin was resoundingly booed in Victory Lane.  The dust-up with the winner wasn’t the only issue for Larson, as he was spun by Bell early in the race.


Last week, we discussed the fight for the regular season championship with just five races left in the regular season.  After the Pocono 400, Truex and William Byron traded the top spot with Truex now edging Byron by a scant 17 points but the race for the final playoff spot is very tight.  Only 3 points separate Bubba Wallace in 15th and Daniel Suarez in 17th.  For now, Michael McDowell in 16th is in.