1-2 Disqualifications Lead to Elliott’s Fourth Win – M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400

Yesterday, the NASCAR Cup Series raced at Pocono Raceway for the first time in the new Next Gen car. In Saturday’s qualifying session, Kurt Busch in the #45 23XI Camry took a huge hit while out on his lap. Busch wasn’t medically cleared to race Sunday, so 23XI and Toyota brought in Xfinity regular Ty Gibbs to drive the #45.

The start of the race saw polesitter Denny Hamlin in the #11 drop after scrubbing the wall, allowing his teammate Kyle Busch in the #18 to open up a comfortable lead over second place Chase Elliott in the #9. Hamlin would work his way up to fourth, then the first caution came out for Austin Cindric in the #2 car spinning.

The next stint saw them go long enough under green to begin pit cycles. Towards the end of the stage, Aric Almirola lost control of his #10 car, spinning and bringing out a caution, and ending the first stage with Kyle Larson taking the stage win.

As soon as they went racing again, the #77 of Josh Bilicki spun, bringing out a caution. Another caution was thrown when Hamlin spun a few laps later, and yet another when Corey Lajoie spun his #7 car.

Kyle Busch led much of the rest of the stage ahead of teammate Christopher Bell. After what ended up as the second longest green flag run (35 laps), the caution once again came out during pit cycles due to Ty Dillon spinning. At the green, there was nine laps to go, allowing Kyle Busch to win the second stage. Ryan Blaney in the #12 and Erik Jones in the #43 battled hard for third, with Blaney ending up on top.

A long green flag run followed, leading deep into pit cycles. Blaney had a tire issue, but resolved it quickly with no caution. A few laps later, he spun and hit the inside wall, bringing out a caution. 

Ross Chastain in the #1 restarted near Denny Hamlin, who has a growing grudge against Chastain. Hamlin went to the inside of Chastain, ran him up the track, and caused him to hit the wall. Chastain spun, hit the wall and brought out a caution.

Hamlin drove the remaining 13 green flag laps ahead of teammate Busch, and ended up finishing first at Pocono.

After the race, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were found to have material in an illegal area on the car, breaking the rule which states teams are not allowed to counterfeit or manipulate components of the Next Gen car. The two were then disqualified.

The updated results after any penalties saw Chase Elliott in the #9 win after leading no laps at all, ahead of Tyler Reddick in the #8. Daniel Suárez was promoted to third in his #99 car, with Christopher Bell in the #20 up to fourth. Larson in the #5 was up to fifth ahead of the #34 of Michael McDowell in sixth and the #19 of Martin Truex, Jr. in seventh Bubba Wallace finished eighth in his #23, with Erik Jones behind in the #43 and Austin Dillon rounding out the top ten in the #3.

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