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Hamlin Remains The Man At Pocono Raceway

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, June 6 2010

Denny Hamlin won at Pocono on Sunday. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Denny Hamlin won for the fourth time in nine tries at Pocono Raceway when he captured the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 on Sunday afternoon.

Hamlin, who dominated the second half of the race after Clint Bowyer had dominated the first half, took the lead for the final time when he passed Sam Hornish Jr. with 12 laps to go.

Hamlin also had to survive a green-white-checkered restart, which was forced when Joey Logano was crashed by Kevin Harvick to bring out a caution just as Hamlin was about to cross the start/finish line and take the white flag which would have eliminated the possibility of extra laps. Hamlin had a 2-second lead at the time.

“Yeah,” Hamlin said, “I mean, believe me, I think that they have the yellow flag in their hand instead of the white. They’re just waiting on something. There’s no way they switch flags that quick. I think they had it, were ready to go with the yellow.

“For the show purpose, it was good. But it was a legitimate caution. I was just looking around, all around that racetrack, for any debris. I was going to call BS if they had a debris caution right there. I was glad that that didn’t happen.”

In order to get to Hornish, Hamlin had to fight his way from ninth place after a restart with 22 laps to go. He led 88 of the 200 laps.

“We just flat tore throurgh those guys,” Hamlin said.

The victory was a series-best fourth of the season for Hamlin.

Kyle Busch, Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate who was the polesitter and led 32 laps, finished third second.

Tony Stewart was third and Harvick was fourth. Fifth was Jimmie Johnson while Kurt Busch was sixth.

A huge crash erupted behind the leaders as they headed for the checkers. It started when Kasey Kahne was forced into the grass by A.J. Allmendinger. Kahne’s car came back onto the track and went airborne. It collected several other top cars.

“We had a fast car all day; it is just a shame that it had to end the way that it did,” Kahne said. “It was looking like we were going to finish decently, I thought we had a better car than where we were going to end up, but still we would have been better than how it did end up. I don’t know what AJ was doing there. I don’t ever really talk to him much, but you can bet I will be talking to him this week.”

Allmendinger, Kahe’s teammate at Richard Petty Racing, said, “I am not really sure what happened. Kasey had such a run on me and I went to defend. By the time I defended he was in the grass. That is my bad. I feel bad about that, I really do. It is what it is though.”

Greg Biffle stood up for Kahne and took a shot at Allmendinger.

“I don’t know what his deal is,” Biffle said. “He totally caused that whole thing. If he is driving that blue car with the 43 on the side that put Kasey into the grass then yeah, it is on him. He ran him down on the grass. You can’t run a guy down on the grass. You can’t run your teammate down onto the grass. That is horrible. He could have backed out of that before he put him down like that.”

Also adding late-day heat was Logano, who tried to get at Harvick in the pits but could not because Harvick chose to hide behind members of his team.

The confrontation stemmed from Harvick crashing into Logano with two laps to go.

Harvick said it was just two guys going for the same space. Logano said it was just one guy going for the space: Racing the 29 and he let me go in the middle of the straightaway and then decided to dump me in the next turn. I don’t know what his problem is with me but it’s probably not his fault. His wife wears the fire suit in the family and tells him what to do. It’s probably not his fault.”

Logano added, “I don’t know what I did to piss him off. Apparently he’s stupid.”

Hamlin jummped from fifth to third in points with the victory.

Harvick left Pocono with 19-point lead over Busch and a 136-point lead over Hamlin.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, June 6 2010
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