As strange as it may sound, Tony Stewart moved up the all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list on Sunday night at Pocono Raceway.
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag on Sunday at Pocono Raceway for what he believed was a record-breaking seventh victory at the Tricky Triangle and a series-high third victory of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.
But he left with a 35th place finish.
Hamlin and teammate Kyle Busch, who finished the 160-lap M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 around the three-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Long Pond, Pennsylvania track in the top two, were both disqualified following post-race technical inspection.
According to NASCAR Cup Series Managing Director Brad Moran, the front fascia on each car was the source of the issues which led to the disqualifications.
Entering Sunday’s race, Hamlin was in a 16th place tie on the all-time Cup Series wins list with Buck Baker. With 48 victories, he trailed Tony Stewart by just one win.
For a little bit on Sunday night, Stewart no longer had sole possession of 15th place on the all-time list; he shared it with his former teammate.
But following post-race inspection, Stewart moved back into sole possession of 15th place on that list, despite having not competed in a Cup Series race since November 2016.
So in that brief period of time on Sunday night, Smoke went from having 15 drivers either tied with him or ahead of him on the list, to having just 14 drivers either tied with him or ahead of him on the list.
With Hamlin having two legitimate wins to his name this season and having won multiple races in each of the last four years, it does seem to be only a matter of time until he catches and passes Stewart on that list.
But for now, Stewart has just broken the tie — without doing anything.