NASCAR Pocono: Hamlin leads JGR 1-2-3 ahead of Jones and Truex Jr

Denny Hamlin prevailed despite fuel worries in a tense overtime period to lead home a Joe Gibbs Racing 1-2-3 in the NASCAR Cup race at Pocono

NASCAR Pocono: Hamlin leads JGR 1-2-3 ahead of Jones and Truex Jr

Hamlin and his team-mates Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr were leading the race with a handful of laps of the scheduled 160 to run, while deploying the lift and coast technique in their Camry machines to keep going on their slender reserves of fuel, when a caution was issued due to the stricken car of Josh Bilicki.

Once the race resumed in overtime, Hamlin fended off Jones and Truex to claim his third victory of the 2019 campaign, with Jones just pipping Truex to secure the runner-up spot.

With a fuel-window of around 40 laps, the JGR fleet's final fuel stops came early in the final 60-lap third stage, when a caution for Ryan Preece hitting the wall prompted a round of pitstops.

Kyle Busch was running off-strategy and cycled to the lead at this point, but he fell away after pitting on lap 133 for his final stop, which allowed the JGR trio to break-away from the pack, with Hamlin lurking behind Jones and Truex and making the ultimately decisive move for the lead on lap 145.

William Byron ran a prudent race to secure fourth for Hendrick Motorsports, just ahead of fellow Chevrolet Camaro driver Kyle Larson.

Larson, who had started at the back of the field after requiring the use of a back-up car following a practice crash, stormed through the field early in the race, rising to 11th from 28th after 20 laps.

The 2019 NASCAR All-Star race winner was then a fixture inside the top 10 for the majority of the race, coming home ahead of polesitter Kevin Harvick.

Harvick had seemed best placed to take the challenge to the JGR contingent after a pitstop meant he did not have the fuel worries affecting his rivals late-on, but a poor overtime restart left the Stewart-Haas driver in sixth, although he was the highest placed Mustang finisher.

Daniel Hemric was seventh for Richard Childress Racing ahead of Brad Keselowski, who recovered from striking a wall on lap five to take a solid finish in eighth for the Team Penske.

Busch, who had won three of the previous four races at Pocono, lead 56 laps, second only to Harvick's 62, looked strong, but his off-strategy gamble was torpedoed by the Preece caution, although he did win the 50-lap first stage.

He cycled into the lead but required an extra stop, which he took on lap 134, and ended up ninth, with Ryan Blaney rounding out the top 10.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson secured just his second career stage win when he inherited the lead of the 50-lap second stage as Busch pitted late on, but he fell away to 15th by the finish.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 163
2 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 163
3 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 163
4 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 163
5 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 163
6 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 163
7 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 163
8 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 163
9 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 163
10 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 163
11 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 163
12 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 163
13 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 163
14 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 163
15 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 163
16 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 163
17 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 163
18 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 163
19 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 163
20 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 163
21 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 163
22 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 163
23 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford 163
24 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 163
25 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 163
26 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 162
27 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 162
28 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 159
29 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 159
30 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 159
31 Quin Houff Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 158
32 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 158
33 B.J. McLeod Petty Ware Racing Ford 158
34 Austin Theriault Rick Ware Racing Ford 157
35 Josh Bilicki Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 146
36 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 123
37 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 114
38 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 83

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Joey Logano 824
2 Kyle Busch 818
3 Kevin Harvick 739
4 Denny Hamlin 722
5 Martin Truex Jr. 701
6 Brad Keselowski 695
7 Kurt Busch 650
8 Chase Elliott 616
9 Aric Almirola 614
10 Ryan Blaney 599
11 Alex Bowman 596
12 William Byron 582
13 Erik Jones 559
14 Kyle Larson 557
15 Clint Bowyer 532
16 Ryan Newman 532
17 Jimmie Johnson 520
18 Daniel Suarez 501
19 Paul Menard 464
20 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 444
21 Chris Buescher 439
22 Austin Dillon 404
23 Ty Dillon 350
24 Matt DiBenedetto 349
25 Daniel Hemric 339
26 Ryan Preece 268
27 Michael McDowell 266
28 Darrell Wallace Jr. 262
29 Corey LaJoie 247
30 David Ragan 220
31 Matt Tifft 218
32 Reed Sorenson 66
33 Quin Houff 58
34 Jamie McMurray 19
35 Andy Seuss 9
36 Austin Theriault 5
37 Stanton Barrett 2
38 Casey Mears 1

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