Denny Hamlin picked up a record seventh victory at Pocono Raceway Sunday afternoon at the HighPoint.com 400, but his celebration in Victory Lane came at the expense of Kyle Larson.
Hamlin and Larson were racing hard with a few laps left. In Turn 1, Hamlin appeared to be carrying Larson with him up the racetrack. The No. 5’s momentum appeared to carry him into the wall. Larson retaliated down the front stretch by pushing Hamlin into the wall as the race went to caution.
Larson fell all the way to 20th by the end of the race. As Hamlin came to the start-finish line to celebrate the win, NASCAR fans booed him.
“I love it,” Hamlin said. “They can boo my rock out of here in a few years.”
Of the incident with Larson, Hamlin said he never touched him.
“I’m not here to defend anything,” he said. “How can you wreck someone you don’t touch?”
Larson expressed his frustration with the No. 11 driver after the race.
“I’ve never had to apologize to him about anything, anything I’ve done on the racetrack,” Larson said. “I can count four or five times where he’s had to reach out to me, ‘Oh, man, I’m sorry I put you in a bad spot there.’ Eventually, like he says, you have to start racing people a certain way to get the respect back.”
Hamlin’s return to Victory Lane came a year after his first-place finish was thrown out over aerodynamics violations.
Tyler Reddick picked up a second-place finish. Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick were third and fourth respectively. Ty Gibbs came out in fifth place.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.