The news surfaced after Hamlin, Joe Gibbs, and crew chief Chris Gabehart celebrated what had been a record-setting win. This victory would have been Hamlin’s seventh, which would have been the most all-time after he entered the weekend in a tie with Jeff Gordon. However, the situation changed with a brief announcement from NASCAR.
“Unfortunately, we were doing our post-race inspection, which we do,” said Brad Moran, managing director of the Cup Series. “There were some issues we discovered that affect aero of the vehicle. The part was the front fascia, and there really was no reason why there was some material that was somewhere it shouldn’t have been.”
Moran continued and said that both JGR Toyota Camry TRDs were loaded on the hauler so that they could go to the R&D Center for further evaluation. He said that there won’t be any additional points penalties or suspensions.
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Instead of finishing first and locking up another five playoff points, Hamlin ended the day with two points. Similarly, Busch dropped from second overall to the bottom of the leaderboard with his teammate. He also left Pocono Raceway with one point after the two drivers combined to lead 84 laps.
A Chevrolet Driver Celebrated a Surprising Win
With NASCAR disqualifying both Busch and Hamlin, this moved everyone else up two spots. Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott become the de facto winner after he originally ended the day third overall.
This win was Elliott’s fourth, and it further expanded the lead between him and Ross Chastain in the championship standings. His original third-place finish resulted in him building up a 100-point lead over the Trackhouse Racing driver. Adding the win only increased this lead.
Elliott is now well on the path to becoming the regular-season champion, which would give him 15 bonus points entering the playoffs. There is no guarantee that he will continue to maintain his run of consistency and achieve this goal, but he is now the only driver in the Cup Series with four wins.
Since coming back from the off-week, Elliott has not finished outside of the top two. He won at Nashville Superspeedway, finished second at Road America, won at Atlanta Motor Speedway, finished second at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and won at Pocono Raceway.
Joe Gibbs Racing Can Fight the Penalty
When Moran met with media members to provide more information about the penalties, he provided one important piece of information. Joe Gibbs Racing will have the ability to appeal the disqualifications.
If JGR goes this route, the team would likely make its appeal in the coming days as part of the expedited process. There would be an answer prior to the trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 31, the race that will mark Hamlin’s 600th start in the Cup Series.
JGR did not provide any information in the immediate aftermath of the disqualifications. The team could choose to appeal and present its case, or it could simply accept the punishment and move forward.