NASCAR Cup Series
NASCAR takeaways: Denny Hamlin’s bump leaves Kyle Larson fuming at Pocono
NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR takeaways: Denny Hamlin’s bump leaves Kyle Larson fuming at Pocono

Updated Jul. 23, 2023 9:02 p.m. ET

LONG POND, Pa. — Denny Hamlin won't have any remorse for a move on Kyle Larson for the lead with seven laps remaining Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver earned his 50th career victory — and the 600th for Toyota in NASCAR national series competition — as he got beside Larson, who felt Hamlin doored him, forcing him into the wall to complete the move and ruined his day in finishing 20th.

Hamlin, who a year ago had a win at Pocono stripped for a technical violation, was quite spicy after Sunday's win.

Here's a sample:


"I'm not here to defend anything. ... How can you wreck someone you don't touch?"

"I've been on the s--- end of so many of these results. I am definitely, when it comes to getting 50 for me, 600 for Toyota, I'm going to make sure that I drive as hard as I possibly can, and respectful. That's why I left him more than a lane off of Turn 2."

"We're racing for the win.. ... If I'm going to give anyone the respect, it's Kyle Larson just because I respect him as a race-car driver, and I think he's probably the best. Certainly, he's got my respect. But, damn, we're all racing for a win. I guarantee you, roles reversed, it goes the same way."

Takeaways from Hamlin's victory on a day where Tyler Reddick was second, followed by Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Ty Gibbs:

Larson Frustrated

Larson and Hamlin had contact at Kansas earlier this year with Hamlin emerging victorious. Larson said this was different.

"The Kansas deal was more racing for sure," Larson said. "I didn't get to race him. He ran into me before I ever hit the wall."

Larson compared the move by Hamlin to the one he did on Ross Chastain — who had a few previous incidents with Hamlin — a year ago at Pocono.

"He made it work on Ross last year and he dirtied him up," Larson said. "He knows it. And Ross deserved it last year for all the times that he got into Denny.

"I felt like I didn't. I deserved to be raced with respect, at least through Turn 1. But he knew that was going to be his only opportunity to beat me. ... I got used up." 

Kyle Larson gave his view of the Denny Hamlin move to take the lead and how this was different from their Kansas battle.

The ironic part? Larson and Hamlin are good friends.

"He's still a friend," Larson said. "He races me like an a**hole. But he's still a friend.

"I'm just mad right now. I'm sure he'll say some dumb stuff on Monday night [on his podcast] and I'll get more mad for a little while  — and then I'll eventually get over it."

Dillon Helmet Throw

Austin Dillon was so mad after contact from former teammate Tyler Reddick that Dillon threw his helmet at Reddick's car (who was still running) before getting into the ambulance for the mandatory trip to the medical center.

Dillon felt Reddick was at fault.

"I thought I was doing the right thing just going into the middle lane of the track," Dillon said. "I wasn't on the bottom lane. I was going to hold the middle. He drove up into me from the bottom lane."

Reddick said he was surprised Dillon was mad, but it was a hard hit.

"I knew we didn't have a lot of room, but I definitely wasn't trying to squeeze him or run him up the racetrack or anything like that," Reddick said. "There's plenty of ways to look back at it in an analyze it. ... By the time I realized he was going to be coming down across the race track, the way that he was, I tried to graze the brake pedal, but it was too late."

Dillon bounced his helmet on the throw, which nearly hit the back of Reddick's car.

"I was just trying to hit him," Dillon said. "I'm pissed I didn't lead [the throw]. They were going probably 65 [mph].

"If I had started at the front of the car, I might have got him in the door."

NASCAR will review the incident to see whether to discipline Dillon, who did not immediately go to the ambulance following the accident. 

Logano, Suarez Frustrated Too

Joey Logano and Daniel Suarez were involved in an early chain-reaction accident in the middle of the pack.

Suarez took a big hit in the standings finishing last, dropping to 23 points behind the current playoff cutoff.

"There's nobody to blame but ourselves," Suarez said. "I don't think we should have been racing in the back like we were — we are much better than that.

"We just missed the balance of the car the first stage and were just making some adjustments to try to make it better. Unfortunately, we didn't get to try it."

Full highlights from the 400 at Pocono Raceway, where Denny Hamlin grabbed the win.

Logano was frustrated that his car, with four flat tires, was towed back to the garage with it bouncing up-and-down and doing more damage to the car. He has advocated for NASCAR to have tires and equipment available for a crew to change tires at the scene of an accident so the car can just be driven back to pit road or the garage.

"It's just stupid," Logano said. "It's not fun for anybody — the poor guy driving the tow truck, the poor [race-car] driver getting his head knocked around for two miles and the poor team that's got to fix the underbodies of these things after they get dragged around.

"It's dumb. I don't know. It is what it is, but it seems like it has a very easy fix."

A NASCAR spokesman said the sanctioning body will continue to look at how it gets cars back to the garage and pit road, but Logano's solution isn't practical for all tracks.

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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