Ham­lin turns ta­bles on Har­vick at Po­cono

Va. driver’s win re­verses 1-2 fin­ish of Satur­day’s race

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - SPORTS -

LONG POND, Pa. — Vir­ginia driver Denny Ham­lin held off Kevin Har­vick on Sun­day night to win the sec­ond Cup Se­ries race of

the week­end at Po­cono Race­way and flip the re­sult of the opener.

Ham­lin, a Manch­ester High grad­u­ate, raced to his fourth vic­tory of the sea­son — and sixth at Po­cono

— to cap a marathon day at the track, with three NASCAR races and a near­dark­ness Cup Se­ries fin­ish. Po­cono doesn’t have lights, but the pit road num­bers were lit up and glowed as Ham­lin took the check­ered flag for Joe Gibbs Rac­ing.

Ham­lin had a late

vi­bra­tion in his No. 11 Toy­ota on Satur­day that hin­dered his at­tempt to catch Har­vick down the stretch. About 25 hours later, Ham­lin surged past Har­vick and built a nearly three-sec­ond lead; Har­vick’s se­ri­ous run at the vic­tory slowed be­cause of a loose wheel.

The Day­tona 500 cham­pion won the fi­nale of the first NASCAR triple­header at one track. The race was de­layed by light­ning and rain, as much a part of Po­cono as a JGR driver tak­ing the check­ered flag. Gibbs’ ros­ter has six of the last seven win­ners at the 2½-mile tri­o­val.

Ham­lin has 41 ca­reer vic­to­ries to move to 19th on NASCAR’s ca­reer list.

They ran six laps be­fore the race was red-flagged nearly 51 min­utes be­cause or rain. NASCAR ran sev­eral pace laps be­fore the race fi­nally went green around 6:15 p.m. It was a race against dark­ness to com­plete the full 350 miles.

Har­vick won Satur­day’s race and put on the brakes a burnout — he had to save that en­gine for an­other run in the same No. 4 Ford. The start­ing lineup was in­verted for Sun­day’s race so Har­vick started 20th.

The rain wreaked havoc with the third NASCAR race of the day at Po­cono.

Bran­don Jones opened the day with a win in the Truck Se­ries race and Chase Briscoe won the Xfin­ity race.

Po­cono be­came the first track in NASCAR his­tory to hold three na­tional se­ries races on the same day.

NASCAR’s hope to cap­i­tal­ize on be­ing among the few ma­jor sports to run live ev­ery week with sports on pause in the wake of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic has been be­sieged by weather is­sues.

Sun­day marked the ninth race out of 15 this sea­son with a weather de­lay, and three have been moved a full day.

Po­cono is no­to­ri­ous for rainy week­ends. In 2016, two Cup races and an IndyCar race at Po­cono were washed out and run on Mon­day.

It put yet an­other damper on seven-time Jim­mie John­son’s farewell sea­son. John­son, a three-time win­ner at Po­cono, was hon­ored by the track over the week­end. Po­cono painted “Jim­mie” on one side of the start/fin­ish line, added a painted “48 Jim­mie John­son” rock to their in­field col­lec­tion of race leg­ends, and his two young daugh­ters gave the com­mand for the driver’s to start their en­gines.

“Yes I’m bi­ased but... that was the best com­mand to start en­gines. Ever,” John­son tweeted.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Denny Ham­lin ( left) cel­e­brates with crew mates after win­ning Sun­day’s Cup Se­ries race at Po­cono Race­way. It was Ham­lin’s fourth win of the sea­son and 41st of his ca­reer.

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