The Final Race of 2012
Kyle Busch led Joe Gibbs Racing in today’s season finale with yet another strong performance and top-five finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Busch would start his No. 18 M&Ms Toyota eighth and as was the case throughout much of the Chase he would prove to have one of the best cars on the track. Busch wasted no time in making his way to the front of the field as he had the lead by lap 15. Once again the M&Ms crew provide Busch with the dominate car today which would lead six different times for 191 laps. With only three cautions on the day it would come down to the final fuel run. Busch would cycle through as the leader but he would need one more stop to make it to the end while others who pitted later would be able to make it to the end. With no caution to help Busch would pit a final time with 14 laps to go and come back out 13th with 12 to go. He would impressively drive his way back toward the front of the field one last time to earn the fourth-place finish.
Logano earned the pole position for his final race with Joe Gibbs Racing, but an accident during Saturday’s practice would force him to take the green flag in his No. 20 Home Depot/Redbeacon Toyota at the back of the field after the team made the decision to pull out the backup car. Logano would manage to get around half the field through the early laps. A two-tire stop later in the race would allow him to restart fifth, but the strategy for improved track position didn’t work out as planned as Logano drifted back in the field once again as those with four tires proved to have the advantage on the green flag run. Logano would battle for a spot in the top 15 the rest of the way and went on to earn 14th in his final start for JGR.
Hamlin qualified the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota 41st and would have had to start at the back of the field anyway following an accident during Saturday’s practice session that forced the team to bring out the backup car. He was able to drive up through the field through the early going to race in 20th after 30 laps. The FedEx crew would make several adjustments to Hamlin’s Camry as they attempted to improve its handling through the turns of the mile and a half track. Hamlin would find himself just inside the top 20 much of the day, but he would eventually fall a lap off the pace and finish the final race of the season in 24th.
Jeff Gordon got the win, followed by Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, and Greg Biffle. There were three cautions for a total of 17 laps with 19 lead changes among eight different drivers. Brad Keselowski captured the 2012NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Hamlin would finish the year sixth in points.
Joe Gibbs Racing would like to thank all of their partners for their outstanding support throughout the 2012 season.
Continue to follow us on twitter @joegibbsracing throughout the off-season for updates, pictures and stories as we prepare for Daytona and the 2013 NASCAR season.