The nightcap of NASCAR’s Cup Series weekend doubleheader at Pocono Raceway ran until just before nightfall Sunday. There was still enough sun to finish all 350 miles, however. The first-place car won by daylight, to borrow a horse racing term.
It was the 11 of Denny Hamlin, who had redemption on his mind after coming home second to Kevin Harvick in Saturday’s 325-mile opener. This time, Hamlin’s team won the pit strategy battle and bested runner-up Harvick.
Hamlin pitted 15 laps after Harvick did in Stage 3 of the 140-lap race, which enabled Hamlin to build a large lead that survived his late green-flag stop.
“I was hoping for no caution,” Hamlin said of the final 51-lap green-flag run and the winning strategy. “I knew we had the car, and I was just kind of maintaining my gap right there — didn’t want to make any mistakes like I did at Bristol and gave that win away.”
Denny Hamlin earned his series-leading fourth victory of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season (breaking a tie with Kevin Harvick) and his record-tying sixth victory at Pocono Raceway (Jeff Gordon also has six). As sweet for Hamlin, he and his team turned the tables on Harvick’s team with a winning pit strategy.
“Yesterday, (strategy) won us the race, and today we finished second,” Harvick said.
Denny Hamlin topped Kevin Harvick in a reversal of Saturday’s results at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones came home third, followed by Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola to complete the top five.
# Rookie. (i) Ineligible for series points.
Average speed of race winner: 122.879 mph.
Time of race: 2 hours, 50 minutes, 54 seconds. Margin of victory: 3.068 seconds.
Caution flags: 8 for 32 laps.
Lead changes: 12 among 8 drivers.
Lap leaders: R. Preece 0; K. Busch 1-35; R. Blaney 36-56; K. Busch 57-58; D. Hamlin 59-76; K. Harvick 77; B. Keselowski 78-79; A. Almirola 80-83; B. Keselowski 84-94; K. Harvick 95-104; D. Hamlin 105-120; M. Truex Jr. 121-125; D. Hamlin 126-140.
Leaders summary (Driver, times led, laps led): Denny Hamlin 3 times for 49 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 35 laps; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 21 laps; Brad Keselowski 2 times for 13 laps; Kevin Harvick 2 times for 11 laps; Martin Truex Jr. 1 time for 5 laps; Aric Almirola 1 time for 4 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 2 laps.
Stage 1 Top 10: 1,12,95,4,2,21,17,19,18,41.
Stage 2 Top 10: 2,10,6,19,47,4,3,1,21,11.
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