Chase Elliott Won At Pocono Despite Not Leading A Single Lap (Including The Last One)

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Two Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas dominated the day at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, as Denny Hamlin held on over Kyle Busch — who led a race-high 63 laps — to give JGR a 1-2 finish for about an hour.

It was supposed to be Hamlin’s 49th career win and seventh at Pocono, as he’s dominated the triangular shaped track over his career, but well after burning the tires down and indulging in the full Victory Lane celebration, Hamlin suddenly found himself 35th on the official post-race standings.

Post-race inspection determined that both Hamlin and Busch’s cars had some materials on the cars where it shouldn’t have been, per NASCAR managing director Brad Moran, and were subsequently disqualified and dropped to 35th and 36th, rather than first and second.

“There was some issues discovered that affect aero in the vehicle,” Moran said. “There really was no reason why there was some material that was somewhere it shouldn’t have been. And that does basically come down to a DQ.”

“We don’t want to be here talking about this problem,” Moran said. “But the teams and the owners and everybody was well aware that this new car was going to be kept with some pretty tight tolerances. There’s some areas that all the teams are well aware that we can not go down the path that we had in the past with the other car.”

As a result the third place finisher, Chase Elliott, who hadn’t led a lap the entire race, was named the official winner while likely already on or getting ready to board a plane.

It’s Elliott’s fourth win of the season and while you don’t normally care how they come, this has to be the least exciting way to win a race ever. It’s not like he even got to find out he won after the race but while still in the car, but I bet the mood on the plane ride was much better once the news arrived.

As for Hamlin, it’s gotta be a brutal way to lose a race on something that likely had nothing to do with him, but NASCAR has really cut down on the ability of teams to modify the new package and unfortunately for Hamlin and Busch, they became the biggest casualties of stricter enforcement yet.


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