Team Gibbs is still looking good
bob ford/times news Kyle Busch's pit crew pushes his car toward the inspection area prior to the race.
LONG POND, PA - Teammate Kyle Busch had a quick car and pit stops that put him in the lead all afternoon. Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, and Sam Hornish Jr. were playing the fuel mileage game. But not even all that and a severe rain storm that delayed the start of the race could stop the #11FedEx car driven by Denny Hamlin.
As he crossed the finish line with the caution and checkered flags waving, Hamlin pinned down his fourth win at Pocono. That number tied him with Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Tim Richmond, and Darrell Waltrip with four wins at the "Tricky Triangle," which is second all-time behind Bill Elliot.
Right behind Hamlin was pole-sitter and teammate Kyle Busch rolling in with his own strong vehicle giving Joe Gibbs racing a 1-2 finish. With momentum the top two Gibbs racers are now sitting just behind point leader Kevin Harvick for the Spring Cup Championship.
Busch, just 19 points behind Harvick, who raced Hamlin in the top-5 all afternoon, was caught in the same situation as Hamlin, but he was unable to pull off the race to the top like his teammate.
"Denny has this place figured out," Busch said. "Nobody had anything for the 11 after halfway. Those guys got it going really good."
Hamlin started fifth and raced in the top three through most of first 168 laps of the race. By the last quarter of the race Hamlin was clearly the strongest car but as his fuel window closed he was forced to pit during a caution caused by the Jamie McMurray-David Regan accident on lap 168.
After coming out of the pits, Hamlin found himself in a hole, sixteen spots down with just 31-laps to go. But Hamlin wove his way through the pack and with another caution he found himself in third, poised to overtake Sam Hornish Jr. and Tony Stewart.
"I was fairly nervous because we had a tight car all day," Hamlin said. "I knew after about three laps [after the restart] when our car was cutting through traffic unbelievably that it was going to be a matter of [time]."
With the white flag in sight, victory was delayed again with a wreck that gathered up Harvick and Gibb's racing teammate Joey Logano.
Gibbs racing is hitting all cylinders coming into the summer months and setting their team up for a great run to get all three racers in the Chase. Logano progressively improved and was running in fifth place when the altercation with Harvick occurred. He currently is just 110 points out side of the chase.
Crew Chief Mike Ford is on a roll getting Hamlin's car ready for every track. Over the past month, Hamlin has jumped into the top-10 and up to third-place in the standings.
"That is what makes it easy for me to look really good," Hamlin said. "I don't have to push my car over the limit and still have speed."
This carries over to all three teams in Gibb's racing as all three are working well. From the Crew Chiefs, to the engineers, and the men who go over the wall, Gibb's racing is racing to forefront of the sport. The former Washington Redskin coach applied aspects of coaching into his job as an owner.
"It's just like football from the standpoint that it's a people sport," Gibbs said. "What you try to do as an owner is surround them with all the things they need ot win races."
The win is Hamlin's third of the year matching Busch giving Gibb's racing six on the year.
"I'm really proud of the organization as a whole," Busch said. "We could hsave come out of here with a one-two-three finish."