Denny Hamlin — Had to either make up a 20-point deficit or win to advance to the championship race for the first time since 2014. He won and helped erase some of the memories of his ill-fated 2010 race at ISM Raceway that led to him losing the title that season.
Joe Gibbs Racing — Denny Hamlin’s win was the 18th (in 35 races) this season for Joe Gibbs Racing, which ties it with Hendrick Motorsports in 2007 for most wins by an organization in one season. The 1-2 finish by Hamlin and Kyle Busch marked the sixth time this year that JGR has gone 1-2 in a Cup race. And, three of JGR’s four drivers — Hamlin, Busch and Martin Truex Jr. — will race for the Cup title in Miami. Oh, by the way, JGR also will go for the Xfinity title in Miami with Christopher Bell.
Justin Allgaier — After scoring five wins last season, he was looking at going winless this year. Instead, he wins at ISM Raceway and secures a spot in the Xfinity championship race, joining Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer.
Fans — ISM Raceway reported that it sold out its 42,000 grandstand seats for Sunday’s Cup race.
Chase Elliott — Finished last after crashing in a must-win situation to race for a title. His three finishes in the Round of 8 were 36th (Martinsville), 32nd (Texas) and 39th (ISM Raceway).
Joey Logano — How a car that was leading could falter and be lapped was a question Logano and his team had after failing to advance to the championship race and defend their 2018 title.