Something good happened to Denny Hamlin on Sunday at Pocono Raceway – nothing happened.
Hamlin had an uneventful time in the Pocono 400 and ended the day in sixth place.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is perfectly content with an uneventful, yet successful day at the track after he failed to finish inside the top 15 the previous four races.
“It was a good run. We didn’t hit the wall, that’s about the first (time) in about a month, didn’t blow a tire, that’s about the first in a month,” Hamlin told FS1 after the race. “The positives are we got a decent finish out of it there.”
Hamlin entered Pocono with a best finish of 16th (Kansas) in the last four races. He crashed out at Talladega. At Kansas he cut a tire and then had to pit multiple times to fix a damaged crush panel. He was marred by contact with the wall twice in last week’s Coke 600 before he crashed on the backstretch on the final lap while running 10th.
Hamlin and the No. 11 team got themselves “back on the train” with a clean day at Pocono, a track he’s won at four times.
With Erik Jones finishing third, JGR had three cars in the top six.
“Had a pretty good car in clean air,” Hamlin said. “(Race winner Kyle Busch) was definitely substantially better, (Kevin Harvick) was pretty good as well. But I thought we could hold our own there. We were running third, got four tires there at the end and track position was really such a huge deal. Didn’t see many cars out there passing and we were one of them that couldn’t. You got stuck behind guys, didn’t matter how old their tires were in front of you, just got stuck behind them … Had an inside lane restart at the end that cost us a spot or two. Overall, a decent day. At least back on the train of a good run and not tearing our car up.
“So we’ll build from there and go to Michigan next week.”