A week after barely falling to Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin wheeled his No. 11 Toyota Camry to vindication at the same track where he made his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut in 2006. Playing a long game of fuel mileage, Hamlin managed to conserve just enough to pass teammate and race runner up Erik Jones and pull off the win. The Pocono win is Hamlin’s third of the 2019 season.
“We really fought for it last week and came up short, so it feels really good to kind of redeem ourselves this week and have such a strong car. Once we got behind there, we were able to make up positions on the 19 (third-place finisher Martin Truex Jr.) and 20 (Jones),” Hamlin said.
For Jones, the second-place finish marked his third consecutive finish inside the top three, having notched back-to-back third place finishes at Kentucky and New Hampshire. Fellow young gun William Byron followed Jones in fourth, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five after going to a backup car and starting from the rear.
Hamlin’s Daytona 500 win had already qualified him for the Monster Energy Series Playoffs and this week’s win gives him valuable playoff points to carry into the postseason. Harvick, Kyle Buch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman have all also locked in with a win in 2019. Meanwhile, Larson, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, Byron, Jones, Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman are currently on pace to make the playoffs on points.
The NASCAR Playoffs come to Kansas Speedway October 19-20 with the NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400.