LONG POND, Penn. — Thanks to a fast No. 11 Toyota, a feel for fuel economy and a first-ever application of traction compound to the asphalt at Pocono Raceway, Denny Hamlin rediscovered the magic at the “Tricky Triangle” that marked his spectacular debut in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2006.
Leading a 1-2-3 finish by Joe Gibbs Racing drivers — none of whom, surprisingly, was Kyle Busch — Hamlin passed teammate Erik Jones on Lap 144 Sunday and saved enough fuel to last through an overtime that carried the event three laps beyond its scheduled distance of 160 laps.
Hamlin won for the fifth time at the 2.5-mile triangular track after a nine-year absence from Victory Lane. The victory was Hamlin’s third of the season and the 34th of his career.
Jones notched a runner-up finish after consecutive third-place runs at Kentucky and New Hampshire.
William Byron finished fourth after starting 31st because his qualifying time was disallowed for a post-qualifying inspection failure. Kyle Larson ran fifth after starting from the rear in a backup car, the result of a wreck in opening practice.
Kevin Harvick, Daniel Hemric, Brad Keselowski, Busch and Ryan Blaney completed the top 10. Harvick led a race-high 62 laps, and Busch was out front for 56, but cautions spoiled their respective strategies and left them fighting through traffic to get the results they did.