Denny Hamlin passed Clint Bowyer with 10 laps to go and held off runner-up Juan Pablo Montoya to win his first race of the season Monday at the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin spent the week mourning the death of his grandmother, Thelma Clark, who passed away at 91 years old. Bowyer finished third and was followed by Sam Hornish Jr. and Kasey Kahne. Tony Stewart, who started from the back of the field in his backup car after crashing in practice, finished 10th. Jeff Gordon was eighth and Jimmie Johnson came from three laps down after suffering carburetor and sparkplug problems to finish 13th.
The race shook up the Chase standings. Stewart remains in first. Gordon passed Johnson for second place. Kurt Busch stayed in fourth. Hamlin passed Carl Edwards for fifth. Kasey Kahne jumped up to seventh. Montoya moved up to eighth. Ryan Newman fell back to ninth. Mark Martin moved back to 10th. Matt Kenseth moved up to 11th and Greg Biffle fell back to 12th. Kyle Busch (13th), Brian Vickers (14th) and Bowyer (15th) all tightened the chase for the 12th and final slot. The big loser of the day was David Reutimann, who was bumped by Hamlin on lap 174. His 29th-place finish dropped him from 13th to 16th in the standings.
Hamlin dominated, leading 91 laps. Three of his five career wins have come at Pocono and this win snapped a 50-race winless streak. Hamlin took some time to compose himself before emerging from his car in Victory Lane. During his post-race interview he said, "We had some angels with us today," as he fought back tears. The interview was cut short when he mentioned his mother, began crying and turned away from the camera.