Elliott declared winner, after Hamlin, Busch fail post-race inspection

Chase Elliott wins, after Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch disqualified
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NASCAR disqualified Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch for failing post-race inspection and handed the win to Chase Elliott.

The sunny sky over Pocono Raceway turned grey and shadows dulled the hue of the track surface. If you’ve seen as many films as I have, you’ll understand what that means.

It would’ve matched the rest of the day for Denny Hamlin. He started on the pole, but hit the wall off Turn 1. A quarter of the way in, he spins in Turn 2. He led in the closing laps, but his crew didn’t get his car full of fuel on the money stop.

Luck, however, rolled his way.

LONG POND, Pa. – JULY 24: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&Ms Toyota, Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Duracell Ford, lead the field to start the NASCAR Cup Series M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway on July 24, 2022, in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

A late caution with 23 laps to go and another caution with 18 to go saved him the 2 ½ laps of fuel needed to score his 49th NASCAR Cup Series victory.

But then came the inspection results.

“Yeah, unfortunately, we were doing our post-race inspections, which we do,” Brad Moran, NASCAR Cup Series managing director, said. “There was some issues discovered that affect aero of the vehicle.”

The issue involved material on the front fascia.

“There really was no reason why there was some material that was somewhere it shouldn’t have been,” he said.

As a result, NASCAR disqualified Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch and handed Chase Elliott, who originally finished third, his 17th career victory.

It’s the first time a race winner in the Cup Series has been disqualified since NASCAR instituted post-race inspection DQs in 2019 and the first in a Cup Series race since 1960.

Because this is an appealable penalty, Moran didn’t go into great detail about what he and his team found. Furthermore, the result could change, again, if an appeal succeeds.

At press time, however, Joe Gibbs Racing hasn’t announced whether or not it’ll appeal the aforementioned disqualification.

It did, however, release the following statement.

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

TOP IMAGE: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images