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NASCAR

Jul 28 - 2019

Toyota sweeps the podium in Pocono

July 28, 2019, Denny Hamlin won his third race of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season with a fuel gamble that paid off from crew chief Chris Gabehart.Toyota sweeps the podium in Pocono

Denny Hamlin won his third race of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season with a fuel gamble that paid off from crew chief Chris Gabehart. Hamlin led his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr. across the line to score Toyota their second top-three sweep of the 2019 season. 

Hamlin was strong throughout the 160-lap race, but due to the size of Pocono Raceway, teams deployed a multitude of different pit strategies throughout the race. Hamlin was a solid car through the first two stages as the Camry-driver scored points at both stage breaks.

Hamlin took the lead for the first time on the restart of the final stage, but when a caution came out with 45 laps to go, Hamlin and most of the field chose to pit. It looked like they were all going to be a few laps short, but Hamlin, Jones, Truex and several others started saving as much fuel as they could. When fellow teammate Kyle Busch was forced to pit with 27 laps to go, Jones took the top spot and led 10 laps before giving way to Hamlin on lap 144. Two late cautions and an overtime finish could not deny Hamlin, who scored his fifth-career Pocono Raceway win. 

“He (Chris Gabehart, crew chief) said we were good to the checkered (flag), but not the green-white checkered, so he said we were going to have to have a different conversation if it went into overtime, but I knew with all those caution laps with about six or seven to go, it helped us out,” said Hamlin. “I knew that – honestly, I knew that I did everything I could to save fuel there once I got out front. If it was going to be not enough, it was going to be not enough, 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. We really identified our weaknesses from the first race, and we went to work as a driver and a team and I think we’re better for it.”
July 28, 2019, Hamlin was strong throughout the 160-lap race, but due to the size of Pocono Raceway, teams deployed a multitude of different pit strategies throughout the race.

With his runner-up finish, Jones scored his best finish of the season and third straight top-three result. 

“Wish we could have gotten up there and challenged Denny (Hamlin),” said Jones. “Martin (Truex Jr.) gave us a great push on the final restart. The bottom just doesn’t have what the top does here on restarts, so we did all we could. The Reser’s Camry overcame a lot. We were pretty far off at the start of the race. We got it way better and had a chance to win had things worked out a little differently. We are close every week. So, it’s going to turn our way one of these times.”

Truex Jr. completed the Toyota sweep of the top-three positions, while Busch, after leading 56 laps, settled for ninth.
July 28, 2019, Truex Jr. completed the Toyota sweep of the top-three positions, while Busch, after leading 56 laps, settled for ninth.