NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR M&M's Fan Appreciation 400: Elliott wins after Hamlin DQ'd

July 24

The NASCAR Cup Series' July schedule continued Sunday with the highly anticipated M&M's Fan Appreciation 400, where Chase Elliott was declared the winner after the top two finishers, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, were disqualified in a post-race inspection at Pocono Raceway, also known as The Tricky Triangle.

Hamlin had appeared to pick up his third win of the season and become the all-time winningest driver in Pocono Raceway history with seven wins. But after the race, NASCAR announced Hamlin and Busch had been DQ'd.

Elliott, who had finished third, was granted his fourth win of the season.

Also Sunday, Ty Gibbs made his Cup debut as an injury fill-in for Kurt Busch.

Here are the top moments from Long Pond, Pennsylvania:

Green!

Hamlin took the lead going into Turn 1 but lost it to Kyle Busch after getting into the wall early.

Tricky Triangle

The first caution of the day came out on Lap 7 when Austin Cindric spun off Turn 3 and hit the inside wall.

He suffered extensive suspension damage, which his team quickly started working to fix on pit road.

New leader

The green flag was back out on Lap 13, where Kyle Larson emerged from a three-wide battle for the lead.

Double trouble

Misfortune struck Almirola again when he had to drive his car backward to his pit stall, claiming that he wasn't able to make it back around with the damage that he had sustained. It drew a huge caution.

Stage 1 in the books

Larson took Stage 1, followed by Elliott, Hamlin, Busch and Daniel Suárez.

Meanwhile, NASCAR penalized Almirola for a commitment line violation.

Follow the leader

The leaders on the restart after the opening stage were Harrison Burton and Joey Logano, both of whom came to pit road under the first caution. The green flag was back out again on Lap 35, where Christopher Bell and Bubba Wallace challenged Burton for the lead.

Elsewhere, there was a big crash in Turn 1, as Josh Bilicki spun into the outside wall, drawing a short-lived caution. The green flag returned on Lap 41, but it didn't last long, as Hamlin went for a spin in Turn 2.

Seeing green

The green flag was back out on Lap 45, as the second stage continued to heat up.

First, Ryan Blaney took the lead from Busch. Then, Erik Jones, who started in 34th place, ran down Blaney for the top spot — marking the eighth lead change of the race.

Stage 2 completed

Busch came back to capture the second stage, however, followed by Ross Chastain, Blaney, Jones and Hamlin rounding out the top five spots.

Not how he drew it up

Blaney blew a left rear tire on the backstretch early in the third and final stage.

Money stop

The battle for the lead continued between Chastain and Busch as the third stage got rolling.

Down and out

It was another huge setback for Blaney, who lost control of his No. 12 car after spinning off of Turn 3 and hitting the inside wall head-on. This caused Blaney's first DNF since the Coca-Cola 600 in May.

Back-and-forth battle

Late in the third stage, Chastain and Hamlin were neck and neck for the lead after beginning side-by-side on the restart. The green flag was out with just 18 laps remaining.

Caution returns

Things didn't stay green for long, as Hamlin leaned on Chastain in Turn 1, putting him into the wall hard.

Caught in the crossfire

Chastain got hit by Kevin Harvick in the process, causing Harvick to spin into the wall. Harvick, who was running fourth when the collision happened, suffered extensive right front damage from the hit.

Home stretch

The green flag was back out with 13 laps to go, as Hamlin and Busch pulled away from the rest of the field.

With five laps remaining, Busch came within just half a second of Hamlin, who was running low on fuel.

Winner … or not!

Hamlin appeared to hold off his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate for the win.

Denny Hamlin delivers in Cup win at Pocono

Denny Hamlin holds off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch to win NASCAR Cup Series' M&M's Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway.

But Hamlin's No. 11 car and Busch's car failed the post-race inspection. Both cars were taken to NASCAR's development center for further evaluation. The penalties can be appealed, and final decisions "should be sorted out next week," NASCAR Cup Series managing director Brad Moran said.


Get more from NASCAR Cup Series Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more.


share