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JGR Race Report — Pocono 500 — HAMLIN WINS
Date: June 11, 2006
Event: Pocono 500 (Round 14 of 36)
Series: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Location: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile triangle)
Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing
JGR Finish: Tony Stewart (Third Â¿ running) J.J. Yeley (15th Â¿ running) Denny Hamlin scored his first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points-paying victory by winning Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Ground Chevrolet won the non-points-paying Budweiser Shootout in January at Daytona. Hamlin led 49 of the first 50 laps after starting on the Bud Pole at Pocono, but suffered a tire problem, which caused him to spin in Turn 2 and damage the rear part of the car. Throughout several pit stops in the next few laps, crew chief Mike Ford and the FedEx Ground team managed to make repairs to the No. 11 Chevy Â¿ without losing a lap. Hamlin then charged from 40th to first to score the win, the 93rd professional racing victory for Joe Gibbs Racing. Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet, toughed-out a solid third-place finish as he continues to recover from a fractured right scapula sustained in an accident two weeks ago at Charlotte (N.C.). J.J. Yeley, driver of the No. 18 Husqvarna Chevrolet, finished 15th. Stewart continues to lead the trio of JGR drivers in the championship point standings. Stewart gained one spot to fourth in the championship point standings, 257 markers arrears series leader Jimmie Johnson. Hamlin and Yeley occupy the ninth and 27th positions, respectively. Hamlin picked up two spots while Yeley maintained his position. Kurt Busch finished second behind Hamlin and ahead of Stewart, while Brian Vickers finished fourth and Matt Kenseth finished fifth. The next event on the Nextel Cup schedule is the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. The race begins at 1:10 p.m. (EDT) June 18 with live coverage provided by FOX and MRN.