Denny Hamlin survived fuel worries and a late charge from teammate Erik Jones to win the Gander Outdoor 400 at Pocono Raceway.

The win is Hamlin's fifth at the 2.5-mile triangular-shaped superspeedway and his first since 2010.

The 38-year-old from Chesterfield, Virginia started the 400-mile event in ninth place and was a top ten contender throughout the race's opening two stages while his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch had the dominant.

Busch claimed the opening stage win but was forced out of the lead late in the second stage which handed the victory over to Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson relinquished the lead to Kevin Harvick during the stage break ahead of Joey Logano, Martin Truex, Jr, Hamlin and Austin Dillon.

Hamlin roared past Truex and Logano and passed Harvick with ease to pick up the lead. He grew his lead out to two seconds over Logano while Harvick dropped to third ahead of Erik Jones and Kyle Larson.

His lead evaporated on Lap 114 when Ryan Preece smacked the wall in Turn 1 which brought out the yellow flag.

Hamlin brought the field down pit road while Kyle Busch stayed out. Jones won the race off pit road with a two tyre stop followed by Hamlin, Truex and Daniel Suarez.

Busch set sail on the restart and grew a 1.4 second over Jones by Lap 130 but saw his chances for a win disappear when he was forced to pit on Lap 135 for fuel and tyres and fell to 25th.

That moved the rest of the JGR Toyota train back to the lead as Jones commanded with Truex, Jr and Hamlin.

Hamlin felt that it was a formative time to turn up the wick and blasted past Truex and Jones to retake the lead on Lap 144.

With fuel woes on most everyone's mind, Hamlin looked like a sure pick for the win while Kevin Harvick pressured the Gibbs trio as he was good to go to the end.

The fuel qualms cooled down when Josh Bilicki stopped on the Long Pond Straight on Lap 153 which brought out the yellow flag.

Hamlin broke away on the restart, but the action was truncated again when Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. turned Kurt Busch into Michael McDowell and forced the race into overtime and re-ignited the fuel concerns.

The anxieties proved to be all for naught as Hamlin cleared Jones on the restart and took the chequered flag .341 seconds ahead.

Having fallen short at New Hampshire last week, Hamlin felt relieved to collect the win in the Poconos amidst the concerns regarding fuel.

"I was really worried," Hamlin said. "We just did a great job with the car. Once we lost the track position there to (Truex) and (Jones), I thought it was over, we weren't able to pass them.

"You want to know that you can contend for wins. Yeah, you're looking for momentum, but you're just looking for wins week in, week out," he said. "So proud of this FedEx Ground team for giving us yet another winner two weeks in a row.

"I tell you, we really fought for it last week and came up short. Feel goods to redeem ourselves this week and have such a strong car."

Jones took his first runner up finish of the season with Truex, Jr. completed a JGR sweep of the top three.

William Byron clawed to fourth after starting 31st to become the highest placing Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and Kyle Larson rebounded with a backup car to finish fifth.

Harvick led the most laps but wound up sixth ahead of Daniel Hemric in seventh while Brad Keselowski recovered from an early cut tyre to finish eighth.

Kyle Busch ended up ninth while Ryan Blaney rounded out the top ten.

 

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