One of the pre-race favourites based on qualifying and practice speeds, Denny Hamlin had to fight for a tenth-place finish after a pit-road speeding penalty early in the Heluva Good at the Glen.
The Pocono racewinner was caught exceeding the pit-lane limit on lap 19 of 90, and the punishment sent him towards the tail of the field, curtailing any thoughts of back-to-back victories.
"That penalty early on really hurt us, but to drop that far back and work our way back into the top ten says a lot about this team,” said Hamlin, “We kept after it and got a good result.
“We were really good at the start [after qualifying third], the car was good, we passed the #48 [of polesitter Jimmie Johnson] and were chasing the #2 [of lap one leader Kurt Busch], but the penalty set us back.
“I feel like we had a car that could win today, but we'll take this top ten and look forward to Michigan.”
Hamlin remained fifth in the Cup standings and holds a 220-point lead over 13th-place Kyle Busch, his team-mate at Joe Gibbs Racing.
by Reid Spencer / Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service