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Hamlin stays perfect at Pocono.

Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Denny Hamlin sealed a remarkable Pocono sweep with a comfortable victory in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500.

The driver of the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing FedEx backed Chevrolet cantered to his second career Nextel Cup victory at the 2.5-mile triangular shaped circuit to complete a perfect year in the beautiful Pennsylvania hills.

The Bud Pole winner led comfortably at the start, opening up a massive lead in the opening 20 laps before a 'competition caution' from NASCAR to evaluate the new left hand side tyres in place for this event.

The 25-year old Hamlin continued to pace the field throughout the three and three-quarter hour marathon, leading 100 of the final 107 laps to finish a year that has seen him take both pole positions and both race wins at a track he drove for the first time on June 9th.

Penske Racing's Kurt Busch, one of several drivers fighting to keep themselves in touching distance of the Chase for the Championship, emerged as Hamlin's closest competition in the second half of the 200-lap race. However Busch could only get within a second and a half of the leader in the final 20-lap green flag run after battling his way past Jeff Gordon.

Gordon held on for third, like Busch grateful for a good result at a critical time in the season and also thankful for getting through the race unscathed after a massive crash in turn one last month.

Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate Brian Vickers continued his fine run of form with a fourth place finish while Kevin Harvick, points leader Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart rounded out the top seven.

The day was an eventful one for Stewart, who was penalised a lap by NASCAR in the early stages for pushing rookie Clint Bowyer into Carl Edwards on the front straight. After fighting to get his lap back Stewart's recovery was hindered by a retaliatory shove from Edwards on pit road, that resulted in the same penalty for the driver of the #99 Roush Racing Ford.

Bobby Labonte had a fine run for Petty Enterprises to eighth place while Jeff Burton fell back after holding the lead for more than 20 laps in the early stages. Rookies Martin Truex Jr and JJ Yeley finished tenth and eleventh with Kyle Busch recovering from a lap down to take 12th.



Related Pictures

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Denny Hamlin. [Pic Credit Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images]
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, takes the chequered flag ahead of Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota, to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, takes the chequered flag ahead of Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota, to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, poses with the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Axalta `We Paint Winners` 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 5, 2015 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin drives the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota after reparing the roof flap during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 25, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Ditech Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 27, 2015 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, races Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 27, 2015 in Loudon, New Hampshire (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, adds his name to the contender list after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series myAFibRisk.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 20, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series myAFibRisk.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 20, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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