NASCAR: Denny Hamlin is the Pocono favorite after his disqualification in 2022

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This year, perhaps, the Pocono winner will truly be the first to cross the finish line.
Despite finishing third a season ago, Chase Elliott will start Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the 2.5-mile triangle (2:30 p.m. ET, USA) as the reigning champion. Elliott came in second to Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, however after the race, during post-race inspection, both drivers were disqualified for having illegal tape on the front of their vehicles.

Before the 2019 season, NASCAR Denny Hamlin, made the announcement that winners who failed post-race inspection would be penalized. But until Hamlin (and later Busch) at Pocono, no Cup Series driver had lost a win as a result of a disqualification. Since 1960, a winning Cup Series driver has not been disqualified due to a technicality until the double DQ.

Hamlin the Favorite at Pocono, Elliott Looking to Rebound

In advance of Sunday’s race, NASCAR Denny Hamlin is the Bet MGM favourites at +500 thanks to his “win” from a season ago and his prior performances at Pocono. Martin Truex Jr., a colleague of Hamlin’s at Joe Gibbs Racing and the winner on Monday. The No. 2 favourites, while Kyle Busch and Kurt Larson are locked for third.

Since his recovery from the fractured leg he sustained at Martinsville, Elliott has been reliable but unspectacular. In that time, he has only had one finish below the top 13 (34th at Charlotte), and four top-five finishes. However, he has only led a total of 37 laps in those 11 races, and he hasn’t proven he has a car that can challenge for victories.

Hamlin has six official victories at Pocono, and in 21 of his 33 races, he has placed in the top 10. Although Truex has two victories at the track. His most recent triumph was in 2018 and he hasn’t achieved a top-five result since. While Larson has nine top-10 finishes in 15 outings, Busch has four wins and 11 top-five finishes. Despite having no victories and just two top-five finishes in nine starts. Byron has the highest average finish of any active driver (9.4).

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