ADDS HAMLIN LATER DISQUALIFIED -- Denny Hamlin (11) celebrates after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Pocono Raceway, Sunday, July 24, 2022, in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  NASCAR stripped Hamlin of his victory when his No. 11 Toyota failed inspection and was disqualified, awarding Chase Elliott the Cup Series victory.  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

ADDS HAMLIN LATER DISQUALIFIED — Denny Hamlin (11) celebrates after winning a NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Pocono Raceway, Sunday, July 24, 2022, in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. NASCAR stripped Hamlin of his victory when his No. 11 Toyota failed inspection and was disqualified, awarding Chase Elliott the Cup Series victory. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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Chase Elliott left Pocono Raceway in third place and learned when he landed at his home in Georgia that he had been declared the winner of the race.

Whether NASCAR’s most popular driver wants to celebrate victory or not is up to him – Joe Gibbs Racing has refused to appeal NASCAR-imposed penalties that robbed Denny Hamlin of his Pocono win and cost Kyle Busch his second place.

Hamlin was the first Cup winner to be disqualified since April 17, 1960, when Emanuel Zervakis’ victory at Wilson Speedway in North Carolina was canceled due to an oversized fuel tank.

The Toyotas were sent to NASCAR’s North Carolina Research and Development Center for further evaluation, and additional points or monetary penalties could still be issued against JGR.

Elliott earned his fourth win of the season, without the Hendrick Motorsports driver leading a lap on Sunday in his No. 9 Chevrolet. get there without a checkered flag.

“I was probably a little more surprised than anything,” Elliott said Monday. “I don’t think any driver wants to win this way. Certainly not.

Hamlin – who had already spun his young daughter around the track on a victory lap – and the rest of the field had long since left Pocono when the NASCAR inspection team discovered problems in the two Toyotas that were affecting aerodynamics.

“There really was no reason for there to be any material that was somewhere it shouldn’t have been. And it basically comes down to a DQ,” the NASCAR Cup general manager said. Series, Brad Moran, Sunday night.

Team owner Joe Gibbs said Sunday he was “shocked” by the decision and that his organization planned to “review every part of the process that led to this situation.”

Pushing the boundaries of the rulebook — creatively or illegally — has been part of NASCAR’s culture since its inception. But NASCAR toughened its penalties entering the 2019 season in a bolder attempt to crush cheating. The biggest change came in inspections, which nailed the JGR riders on Sunday. NASCAR assured post-race inspections would take place at the track rather than midweek at the sanctioning body’s research and development center outside Charlotte, North Carolina.

Winning teams found in violation of the rules prior to 2019 were sanctioned with post-race fines, point deductions and/or suspensions. But the drivers haven’t been stripped of any wins so far.

For example, Joey Logano held on to a 2017 win at Richmond even after a midweek teardown of his car at the R&D center showed his team Team Penske had broken the rules. Logano, however, couldn’t count the victory into playoff consideration.

Hamlin won’t be so lucky. He lost that third win of the season, his record seventh victory at Pocono and a 49th career win that would have tied him on NASCAR’s career roster with three-time champion Tony Stewart.

Elliott now gets the winner’s purse, but Hamlin will be the winner among most major gambling sites. FanDuel Sportsbook said on Monday that house rules state that bets are settled on the outcome of the podium presentation, regardless of subsequent disqualifications. Where things get murky is with fantasy players.

FanDuel said all NASCAR fantasy contests are settled the next day.

The failure went like this:

– Elliott received 43 points for finishing first after post-race inspections.

– Busch received five points for finishing in 36th place due to failing post-race inspection.

– Hamlin got a fantastic six points for finishing 35th.

NASCAR could hit JGR with stiffer point penalties and fines than Zervakis faced in 1960. The Associated Press reported that officials withheld Zervakis’ purse of $1,275 after winning the race nonstop at the stand and “carried about a half gallon of gas more than is considered stock in the technical ratings of his 1960 Chevrolet.” Joe Weatherly took the win.

Elliott, 27, the 2020 Cup Series champion and NASCAR’s most popular driver for four consecutive seasons, said he was leaving Pocono as if he had indeed finished third. And he said he wouldn’t ask for the trophy.

“I’m not going to celebrate someone’s misfortune,” Elliott said. “It doesn’t feel fair to me. I crossed the line in third. That’s kind of how I see it.”

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