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Texas Race Report

Kyle Busch led Joe Gibbs Racing with a strong third-place run in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, while Joey Logano came home 11th and Denny Hamlin finished 20th.

Busch, started the No. 18 Snickers Peanut Butter Square Toyota in third and settled into the second position behind pole sitter Jimmie Johnson through the early portion of the race. Busch would lose a few spots on the first round of pit stops when he had to back up to get into his stall, but that did little deter him on this day, as he began to work his way back toward the front of the field yet again. The first caution of the race would come out on lap 100 and when the field was set to restart on lap 105 Busch was back inside the top five running fourth. Busch would remain in the top five the remainder of the day and would take his first lead of the race just prior to the 200 lap mark. He would drop back to fifth until a tremendous stop by his M&Ms crew and a great restart allowed him to regain the lead. He would hold the lead until the next round of pit stops when the No. 2 car would make the move for two tires allowing him to restart first. Busch would battle hard over the final two restarts, but wasn’t able to get around the two championship contenders and finished with a strong third-place finish.

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Logano started the No. 20 Home Depot/Redbeacon Toyota in the sixth position and was able to battle just inside the top ten through the early going while battling tight handling conditions. The Home Depot/Redbeacon team would continue to make adjustments to the No. 20 Camry, and indeed Logano would find that his car had loosened up and was easier to turn. A great stop by Redbeacon team allowed Logano to restart sixth on lap 103. He would spend the remainder of the race battling for a spot in the top ten, but his No. 20 Camry proved too loose and he was unable to improve his position. He would go to battle for a solid 11th-place effort.

Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota 12th and battled to remain inside the top 15 for much of the race as he struggled with the handling on his car. Hamlin was able to hold his starting position through the early going but handling conditions would persist as he would report that he was mostly loose in and on the exit of the turns, while being tight in the center. He would get contact from the No. 16 car while pitting under caution just prior to lap 200, but fortunately the damage proved minimal and he was able to race in 11th on lap 208. The No. 11 Camry would just not cooperate on the track however as the car remained loose causing Hamlin to drop back outside the top 15. He would battle overheating issues over the final portion of the race and would restart 24th with two to go, but managed to gain several spots late to finish 20th.

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Jimmie Johnson captured the victory, while Brad Keselowski was second, Busch third, Matt Kenseth fourth, and Tony Stewart rounded out the top five. There were nine cautions for a total of 49 laps with 20 lead changes among seven different drivers.

With just two races remaining in the season, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Phoenix for the Advocare 500 next Sunday with live broadcast coverage by ESPN starting at 2 PM ET (race begins at 3 PM ET). Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90 and MRN Radio will also provide live coverage.

Follow all the action via twitter @joegibbsracing.

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