Denny Hamlin was the first NASCAR Cup Series winner to be disqualified since 1960. Which is why it took him so long

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Denny Hamlin beat a record The seventh NASCAR Cup Series at Pocono Raceway on Sunday only claimed victory when his car failed a post-race check.

Hamlin and runner-up Kyle Bush Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas It was found to violate the rules governing the aerodynamics of their bodies and both were stripped of their finishes.

It was the first time a race winner had been disqualified in decades, but not because everyone has been racing so cleanly all these years.

there A saying in NASCAR The world that “if you don’t cheat, you don’t try,” teams have always pushed the boundaries of the rules.

Denny Hamlin celebrated his win in Pocono before his car was disqualified.
(Logan Riley/Getty Images)

The difference is that while NASCAR has long had points penalties and fines for winners whose cars turned out to be shoddy, for more than half a century it has been reluctant to disqualify them entirely.

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That changed in 2019 when it decided to crack down on the issue and warned teams that they would receive the final penalty if their cars weren’t about to break down after the race.

The Toyotas of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch broke the rules of aerodynamics for the NASCAR Cup Series.

The Toyotas of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch broke the rules of aerodynamics for the NASCAR Cup Series.
(Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“We’re changing the culture. We’ve tried doing one way, and it hasn’t worked,” said NASCAR COO Steve O’Donnell, who was executive vice president and head of racing development at the time.

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Hamlin is the first Cup Series winner to be penalized under the new rules. He has the right to appeal, but he would be the first driver since 1960 to drop a win if the penalty is upheld.

Emmanuel Zervakis, who appeared in the Daytona race, was disqualified after his victory at Wilson Speedway in North Carolina in 1960.

Emmanuel Zervakis, who appeared in the Daytona race, was disqualified after his victory at Wilson Speedway in North Carolina in 1960.
(ISC Photo Archive via Getty Images)

At the time, Chevrolet Emmanuel Zervakis turned out to have an oversized fuel tank after winning at Wilson Speedway in North Carolina, and the win was handed to second place Joe Weatherly, according to Racing Insights.

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Weatherly was previously part of the first- and second-only disqualification before Hamlin and Bush, when he and Jim Reed had selected DQ for illegal drives.

Glen Dunaway, the first NASCAR Cup Series winner in 1949, was DQ'd after the race.

Glen Dunaway, the first NASCAR Cup Series winner in 1949, was DQ’d after the race.
(ISC Photo Archive via Getty Images)

Fittingly enough, the winner of the first NASCAR Cup race, Glenn Dunaway, called off his victory at Charlotte Speedway due to a rear suspension setup that used “diffusing” springs, which the Warriors did to improve their car’s performance, but wasn’t allowed in the Strictly Series Stock.

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Hamlin and Bush have been this way before, too, and not just in the Trophy series.

Busch was the DQd after racing the Truck Series at Texas Motor Speedway in 2022 for a ride height violation, while Hamlin lost his Xfinity win in Darlington in 2019 for the same reason.