Denny Hamlin darted away from the field on Sunday’s final restart and then held his ground over the last four laps to win at Watkins Glen International, notching his second victory of the season and clinching a spot in the post-season Chase. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver started sixth and led just ten laps all day … but they were the ten that counted most, at the end of the race. Martin Truex Junior closed in on Hamlin’s rear bumper on the final lap. But Brad Keselowski – who led a race-high twenty-eight laps – pushed Truex out of the way in the final turn and motored on to grab third place behind Hamlin and Joey Logano, who took advantage of the contact between Truex and Keselowski to advance two spots. A-J Allmendinger finished fourth with Tony Stewart completing the top five. Pole sitter Carl Edwards led the first twenty-five laps but none after that and labored to a fifteenth-place finish … With his third-place run, Keselowski unseated Kevin Harvick at the top of the regular-season point standings. Harvick was involved in a late-race accident Sunday that left him with a thirty-second-place finish. He had been Number-1 since a fifteenth-place finish on May 1st at Talladega Superspeedway lifted him into the top spot … Stewart, who won the season’s first road race at Sonoma, California, settled for fifth place in his bid to become the first driver to sweep both road-course events in a single season since Kyle Busch doubled up in 2008.
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Chip Ganassi Racing’s Chad Johnston has become the fourth Sprint Cup Series crew chief to be suspended in eight days. During post-race inspection following Kyle Larson’s eleventh-place finish on Monday at Pocono Raceway, it was discovered that all the lug nuts on his Number-42 Chevrolet were not properly tightened.
Johnston received a one-race suspension, was fined twenty thousand dollars and placed on NASCAR probation through December 31 st . On June 1 st, Cup Series crew chiefs Randall Burnett (who works with A-J Allmendinger), Tony Gibson (Kurt Busch) and Brian Pattie (Greg Biffle) were suspended for rule violations at Charlotte.
In addition to Johnston’s suspension, six Cup teams were given written warnings on Wednesday for a variety of inspection violations at Pocono. Drivers whose teams were warned are Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto, Ty Dillon, Jamie McMurray, Danica Patrick and Regan Smith.
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