Denny Hamlin economise just enough fuel to outlive teammates Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr. to gain at Pocono Raceway on Sunday after an overtime restart.
The win was the third on the season for Hamlin, who now has five career victories at Pocono.
Hamlin Rebounds After Close Call in New Hampshire
All three of the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates who finished at the top of the standings had pitted relatively early, and tried to save fuel for their final runs at the checkered flag. While Hamlin was in third place after a Lap 119 restart, he passed Truex on Lap 142, then worked his way past Jones a couple laps later to secure a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
The victory gave Hamlin a bit of redemption for his narrow runner-up finish to Kevin Harvick last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“You just want to know that you’re a race winner,” Hamlin said after the race. “You just want to know that you can contend for wins. Yeah, you’re looking for momentum, but you’re just looking for wins week in and week out.”
The triumph also keeps the 38-year-old Hamlin rightfield near the meridian of the playoff standing. If the time of year cease today, he would go into the postseason in quaternary post, starting 13 tips behind Kyle Busch. That has Hamlin call upping about a NASCAR Cup Series title, the one award that he has yet to gain in his storeyed vocation.
“I feel as long as we keep putting the effort in what we’re doing, I have as good a shot as any,” Hamlin told reporters.
Hamlin credited crew chief Chris Gabehart for coming up with a fuel strategy that let him with just enough to get to the finish line.
“Honestly, I knew that I did everything I could to save fuel there once I got out front,” Hamlin told reporters. “So proud of the whole team for putting me on a great strategy there, pit stops, everything. This was a perfect team effort this weekend.”
Results Critical for Drivers on Playoff Bubble
With just have got subspecies persisting in the veritable time of year, drivers and devotees have begun having a close-fitting tone at the playoff house of cards. The device driver most impacted on Sunday represent Jones, who apply his runner-up coating to locomote up to 13th in the device driver standing.
“Honestly, we started the race so far off today, I wasn’t sure how we were going to run,” Jones said after the race. “Good to get another top-three run. We’ve just got to break through. Once we get that first [win], I think we can click a few off here.”
With all of this year’s race winners – with the exception of Xfinity driver Justin Haley, who is currently not postseason eligible – ranking in the top 16 in the NASCAR Cup Series standings, the playoff scenarios are simple for now: stay in the top 16, and you’re in the postseason.
For now, that puts Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman on the bubble, as they are tied for 15th post with 532 tips. On the international searching in is Jimmie Johnson with 520 tips, with 18th-placed Daniel Suarez also in competition with 501 tips. There is also the hypothesis of the bubble tightening late, as any top 30 device driver give notice clench an reflexive playoff post by gaining a subspecies.
While the subspecies for the last playoff posts leave allow mass of play over the last workweeks of the veritable time of year, it is the gens at the meridian of the standing who are expected to postulate for a deed of conveyance this twelvemonth. Unibet has Kyle Busch (3/1) as the dearie to gain the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series title, ahead of Truex (4/1) and Harvick (5/1). Denny Hamlin is in the intermixture as well, bringing 9/1 betting odds harmonizing to the bookie.