Hamlin, Briscoe and Jones Earn Wins In NASCAR Triple Header At Pocono Racewayby Hunter Thomas June 28, 2020 0 comments
POCONO, Pa. – For the first time ever on Sunday at Pocono Raceway, NASCAR hosted all three national series at the same track on the same day. Brandon Jones kicked off the Sunday’s action by winning the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race, followed by Chase Briscoe earning the victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event. Denny Hamlin capped off the day by holding off Kevin Harvick to win the second NASCAR Cup Series race of the weekend.
NASCAR Cup Series
After finishing second to Kevin Harvick on Saturday at Pocono Raceway, Denny Hamlin outran the Stewart-Haas Racing driver on Sunday to capture his fourth victory of the 2020 season.
With the top-20 starting spots being inverted from Saturday’s results, Hamlin started the Pocono 350 from deep in the pack in 19th; however, by lap 59, the driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota had reached the lead. With pit strategies coming into play, Hamlin led the final 15 laps en route to earning his sixth win at the Tricky Triangle. Hamlin led a race high of 49 laps.
“I was just hoping for no cautions, I knew we had the car,” Hamlin said. “I was just maintaining my gap right there and didn’t want to make any mistakes like I did at Bristol and threw that win away. I just tried to work through the traffic as best I could and obviously Chris (Gabehart) is paying attention to strategy there and made the right call.”
Harvick tried to keep pace with Hamlin in the final laps, but he couldn’t maneuver around the lapped traffic quickly enough to challenge for the win. The runner-up finish marks Harvick’s eighth top-five effort of the year.
“We had a really good car,” Harvick said. “He just did the opposite of what we did. We didn’t want to get caught with a caution and then wind up losing a little bit too much time in lap traffic with all the cars that hadn’t pitted and he was out there running clean laps and waited until right to the very end and wound up in front of us. I’m proud of everybody on our team. Yesterday that won us the race and today finished second.”
Brad Keselowski had the fastest car in the closing laps, but while running third, he had to make an unscheduled pit stop for fuel. Keselowski finished a disappointing 11th.
Finishing behind Hamlin and Harvick was Chase Elliott. Aric Almirola finished fifth. Rounding out the top-10 was Matt DiBenedetto, William Byron, Clint Bowyer, Alex Bowman and Martin Truex Jr.
Kurt Busch won Stage 1, and Keselowski won Stage 2.
Throughout the afternoon, there were eight cautions for 31 laps. The only multicar accident occurred on lap 77, when contact with Ryan Blaney sent Kyle Busch hard into the inside wall just outside of the exit to Turn 2.
“I guess it proves that if you get a little practice time in and we are going to be a force to be reckoned with so hopefully life gets back to normal eventually but we are in 2020, so it doesn’t surprise me getting crashed out of the lead,” Busch said. “The M&M’s Camry was pretty fast today. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys did a great job. It’s just very frusterating and unfortunate. I know what happened but it doesn’t make any sense to talk about it. It will just come across in a bad way.”
Harvick leads Blaney in the series standings by quite a margin of 52 points.
The NASCAR Cup Series will run its prestigious Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 5. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on BCS at 4 p.m. ET.
NASCAR Xfinity Series
In NASCAR Overtime, Chase Briscoe moved Ross Chastain out of the way in the Tunnel Turn to take the lead and eventually go on to win his fourth NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of the season on Saturday at Pocono Raceway.
Briscoe started the Pocono Green 225 Recycled by J.P. Mascaro & Sons in the third position in the No. 98 Highpoint.com Ford, but it took the Stewart-Haas Racing driver 54 laps before he was able to take over the race lead. Briscoe was caught speeding on pit road on lap 37. Once back upfront, Briscoe spun to bring out the eight caution of the day. Briscoe later rallied back to the front of the field once again.
On the final restart in NASCAR Overtime, Chastain led the field through Turn 1, but once into the Tunnel Turn, which is the track’s second turn, Briscoe got to his back bumper and moved him out of the way. Briscoe went on to win with Chastain holding on to second.
“Ross, I felt like if I picked the bottom I could have maybe slid him, but I was really tight and I was worried if I went to the bottom I would get too tight on exit and when I was catching Ross I knew his trouble end was the tunnel turn,” Briscoe said. “He was just so loose, so I just tried to use that to my advantage. I knew that was my one spot where I could probably make a pass and it was fun. We raced clean the whole time and it’s always fun when you can do that.”
South Carolina’s Jeremy Clements finished third, capturing his first top-five of the season. Myatt Snider finished fourth, followed by Michael Annett, Justin Allgaier, Brett Moffitt, Timmy Hill, Riley Herbst and Jesse Little.
There were 12 lead changes among six drivers. Chastain led a race high of 31 laps.
The race saw nine caution for 31 laps.
Briscoe leads the standings by only three points over Noah Gragson.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will visit Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 4 for the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard. Live coverage will broadcast on NBC at 3 p.m. ET.
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Brandon Jones passed Sheldon Creed on the final lap of Saturday morning’s Pocono Organics 150 to benefit Farm Aid at Pocono Raceway to win his first-ever NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race.
Jones, who is a full-time competitor in the NASCAR Xfinity Series finally captured his first win in the Truck Series after 46 starts. The Kyle Busch Motorsports driver started 10th and led 11 laps in the 60-lap race. On the final lap, he battled side-by-side with Creed for the top spot, and once the two drivers entered the Tunnel Turn, it was Jones in the No. 51 DuPont Air Filtration/Menards Toyota with the advantage as he drove away for the win.
“This is big,” Jones said. “That was the only thing I was missing and now that everything I’ve raced in, I’ve got at least one win in. Pretty big, really is. It means so much for me. When I was 13-years-old racing in short tracks, the 51 was at the race track every week in super late models and I knew one day that was what I wanted to be doing was racing with Kyle Busch and now I’m here winning races with him.”
Austin Hill also passed by Creed and finished second. Creed, who led a race high of 31 laps finished third. Todd Gilliand finished fourth, and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 was Ross Chastain, Brett Moffitt, Stewart Friesen, Tyler Ankrum and Derek Kraus.
There were nine cautions for 29 laps. The second and third cautions of the morning brought out red flags for cleanup.
Hill leads Rhodes in the standings by 51 points.
Up next on the schedule for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series is the Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, July 11. Live coverage will broadcast on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 6 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images