Pocono Race Storylines: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, et al
Notes and quotes from Sunday’s Cup race at Pocono:
– Kyle Larson got angry with winner Denny Hamlin after a move by Hamlin put Larson back into the wall with 7 laps to go in the race. Larson told NBC Sports’ Kim Koon: “We’re friends. Yes, it makes things sh—- and worse, and no matter what, he’s always right. All friends know that he is always right. So, I’m sure he was right there too. As is. I’m not going to let it spoil the track, but I’m pissed. I feel like I should be angry.” The contact damaged Larson’s car, and he battled with Hamlin to finish 20th.
– Denny Hamlin defended himself. He noted that he didn’t hit Larsen’s car and that he didn’t hit Alex Bowman’s car before Bowman spun earlier in the race.
– Martin Truex Jr. has finished in the top three in seven of the last 13 races. That includes three wins.
– Ty Gibbs had a career high 5th. His previous best finish was a 9th time in the Cup at Atlanta in March
– Daytona 500 winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s seventh-place finish was his 7th top 10 of the season. Last year he managed only five to 10 places. “Guys made some good changes and we got better,” Stenhouse said.
– Eric Jones’ ninth-place finish marks his eighth top-10 finish at Pocono. This is his most at any Cup track. “We’re strategic and ultimately capitalize on some opportunities to get up there,” Jones said.
– Chase Elliott finished 10th. He has 56 points in five more races. He scored four points on Sunday’s cutline. Michael McDowell pursues the final playoff spot.
– AJ Allmentinger is the first driver out of a playoff spot. He is 17 points behind Michael McDowell. Allmendinger finished 17th. McDowell finished 19th.
– Daniel Suarez finished last. He was forced out after a crash on the restart. He entered the race one point outside of a playoff spot. He is now 23 points behind.
– Austin Dillon finished 34th after contact with Tyler Reddick knocked Dillon out. Dillon threw his helmet as Reddick drove off after the incident. “Brad (Keselowski) was on my outside, maybe halfway through,” Dillon told NBC Sports’ Kim Coon after leaving the infield maintenance center. “But Tyler (Reddick) drove it there, and I feel like he drove it deep enough to get into me on the track. We’ll look at SMT and see the little moves we make, but I felt like it wasn’t the time for No. 45 to do that.