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Denny Hamlin disqualified at Pocono, giving Chase Elliott the win


After finishing one-two in a Cup Series race Sunday, Denny Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch had their cars disqualified. The decision, which followed a post-race inspection by NASCAR officials, gave the victory to Chase Elliott, who had crossed the finish line in third place.

In comments afterward to reporters, Cup Series Managing Director Brad Moran didn’t specify the infractions at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway, but he revealed there were “some issues discovered that affect aero” in the front bumper fascias of Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota and Busch’s No. 18 Toyota.

“There really was no reason why there was some material that was somewhere it shouldn’t have been,” Moran said. “And that does basically come down to a DQ.”

Moran said the Toyotas were being hauled away to NASCAR’s research and development center in North Carolina. He added that Hamlin and Busch would have opportunities to appeal and that final decisions would be “sorted out by next week.”

“We were shocked to learn of the infraction that caused our two cars to fail NASCAR’s post-race technical inspection,” Gibbs said in a statement. “We plan to review every part of the process that led to this situation.”

The ruling against Hamlin wiped away what would have been his third Cup Series win of the year. With 48 for his career, the 41-year-old remains in 16th place on the all-time list, one behind Tony Stewart.

It was the first time in 62 years, per Fox Sports, that the winner of a Cup Series race was disqualified. In that 1960 race, Emanuel Zervakis was found to have driven with an oversize fuel tank, at which point Joe Weatherly was given the victory.

On Sunday, Elliott was handed his fourth win of the year, all in the past 11 races, despite never leading a lap.

It was a tough day all around for the Busch family. Kyle’s older brother, 2004 Cup Series champion Kurt Busch, did not receive medical clearance for Sunday’s race after suffering concussion-like symptoms following a crash during qualifying Saturday.

Ty Gibbs drove the No. 45 car in his place for 23XI Racing — co-owned by Hamlin and Michael Jordan — and ended up in 16th place after the top two finishers were demoted to the back of the field.

Asked if the disqualifications were related to NASCAR’s introduction this season of its “Next Gen” car, Moran acknowledged that inspection “rules have tightened up” in the wake of that vehicle’s debut.

“We just saw a great race, and the last thing we want to do is be here afterward talking about this problem,” Moran said. “But the teams and the owners and everybody was well aware that this new car was going to be kept with some pretty tight tolerances. There’s some areas that all the teams are well aware that we cannot go down the path that we had in the past with the other car.”

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