NASCAR: Jeff Gordon loses all-time record, then gets it back

Jeff Gordon, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, NASCAR (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Jeff Gordon finds himself in possession of a NASCAR Cup Series record that, for a brief time, he and everyone else had thought he lost.

By winning one of the two races of the doubleheader back in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin became just the second driver to win six times at Pocono Raceway.

The only other driver to do so is four-time series champion Jeff Gordon.

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Hamlin didn’t win either of the two races of last year’s doubleheader at the three-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Tricky Triangle in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, keeping him and Gordon tied atop the track wins list for another year.

For the first time since it 1981 season, Pocono Raceway only had one race date on this year’s Cup Series schedule, a move that many saw coming once its two dates were condensed into one weekend after 2019. That race date was this past Sunday.

Hamlin, who started the race from the pole position, didn’t look great at the start, even spinning out at one point. But he rebounded to take the checkered flag and earn what he believed was a series-high third win of the 2022 season and a record-breaking seventh win at one of his best tracks.

Post-race technical inspection, however, had other ideas.

Hamlin’s #11 Toyota failed post-race inspection, and he was disqualified from the race as a result of it.

Teammate Kyle Busch, who initially finished in second place, was also disqualified after his #18 Toyota failed inspection, giving the victory to Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott.

Elliott originally finished in third place and didn’t lead a single one of the race’s 160 laps.

It was the front fascia on each of the two Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas which was the source of the issues that led to the disqualifications, per NASCAR Cup Series Managing Director Brad Moran.

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As a result, Gordon is once again tied with Hamlin for the Cup Series wins record at Pocono Raceway.