Hamlin captures history at Pocono
LONG POND, PA - Denny Hamlin endures contact with the outside wall on lap 1 after losing grip from the resin laid down on the race track, a spin on lap 41, contact with Ross Chastain, and multiple late-race restarts to hang on and win the M&M's Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway - his third win of the season.
"[the resin] just wasn't burned in. We had no weather overnight, so I assumed it was in whatever condition it was after yesterday's race. I just went in there normal as I did before, but I guess the combination with the tires that probably weren't burned in good enough and the resin not being hot, it was just ice."
Hamlin was able to save just enough fuel to hang on to win his record-setting seventh time at the Tricky Triangle, beating a previous record held by Jeff Gordon.
"It means a lot to me honestly. It's hard for me to believe because there's so much that goes into winning at this track. Having the fastest care is only 20% of the equation that it takes to win, so today was a prime example of where you need all of it. The strategy worked out, the car got better, I did my job when it really counted and screwed up in other times. It all came together, it was truly a team win. The pit crew did a phenomenal job today."
Hamlin's win did not come without controversy, however. After a restart with 18 laps to go, Hamlin made contact with then-leader Ross Chastain sending him up the race track and into the outside retaining wall, ending his day.
"...We're just going to keep racing hard until we get the respect back from these guys. It's not just that, we've been wrecked four times, twice while leading in the last 10 months. I'm at the end of it"
After the race, Hamlin was asked for his perspective on the contact, " I mean, what did you want me to do? What did you expect me to do? We got position on him, and he just ran out of racetrack."
When asked if his rivalry with Chastain is over, Hamlin said "I mean, we're just going to keep racing hard until we get the respect back from these guys. It's not just that, we've been wrecked four times, twice while leading in the last 10 months. I'm at the end of it"
NASCAR returns to the track next Sunday at 2:30 pm at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of Bob Giaquinto. Any opinions expressed are his own.
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