Your browser (Internet Explorer 7 or lower) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

X

Navigate / search

Race Report: Homestead-Miami, The Championship 4

With the championship on the line Denny Hamlin led tonight’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with just eight laps remaining, but a series of late cautions proved too much to overcome as Kevin Harvick was able to use fresher tires to make his way to the front for the race win and to claim the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Meanwhile Matt Kenseth finished in sixth-place while a broke axle left Kyle Busch back in 39th.

Hamlin who was confident in his team all week started his No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota from the eighth position and it didn’t take long to understand why the veteran driver was so optimistic. Hamlin maneuvered his way into the top five and led for the first time on lap 64. There was little doubt that the FedEx Camry would be a factor all night. Hamlin would lead five times for a total of 50 laps over the course of the race. He was up front late when the team made the call to remain out to maintain its track position with 18 laps remaining. Hamlin would restart second to Jeff Gordon and would grab the lead and began to drive away from the field. However two late cautions allowed several other teams that had come down pit road for four tires on the earlier stop to gain ground on the ensuing restarts and ultimately the four fresh tires on the 4 car proved too much to overcome. Hamlin would get caught three wide in the middle on the final restart and ended up finishing seventh. He completes his season officially third in the standings.

Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the fifth position and was holding steady in the top five when he would get a bit loose and scrape the outside wall. The 20 team would make an extended stop to work on the car and Kenseth would drop back outside the top 15 for the restart. He would patiently work his way back toward the front of the field over the course of the night and was able to earn a strong sixth-place finish. Kenseth completes the season seventh overall in the point standings.

Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota in the seventh position and was racing just outside of the top ten through the early portion of tonight’s race. The M&Ms crew made adjustments to help the 18 Camry turn better and Busch was able to race his way back into the top five. He would come down pit road under caution on lap 117, but his left rear axle broke as he attempted to exit the pits forcing the team to push the car back to the garage for repairs. He would return to the race 20 laps down and go on to finish the night in 39th. Busch completed the season 10th overall in the points standings.

Kevin Harvick won the race followed by Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top five. There were 13 cautions for a total of 52 laps and 18 lead changes among five different drivers.

Joe Gibbs Racing would like to thank all of our partners for their support throughout the 2014 season. Preparations are already underway for 2015 with the Daytona 500 scheduled to open the season on Sunday, February 22.

[https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152865445149222.1073741893.74504559221&type=1]

Thank You to Our Veterans!

Joe Gibbs Racing is proud and fortunate to have many military veterans on our team. Between them, all five branches of the Uniformed Services are represented. They have served in different capacities all over the world whether in conflict or peacetime. And even though they represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds, they all share a common bond of courage and sacrifice while serving and protecting our country.
Read more

Denny Hamlin Progresses to the Championship 4

Denny Hamlin rebounded from early race struggles to earn a fifth-place finish and his spot in the Final Four Championship Round at Homestead Miami Speedway next Sunday afternoon. Matt Kenseth was strong all day and earned a third-place finish in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to advance to the championship round. Meanwhile a mid-race accident left Busch back in 34th.

Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the fifth position and was consistent throughout the first half of the race as he ran inside the top five. He would restart seventh on lap 192. A flurry of cautions would follow over the next 20 laps but Kenseth would manage to avoid any major issues and remained inside the top 10. He was back inside the top five and came down for a two-tire change under caution which allowed him to restart third with 69 laps to go. Kenseth would report that the car was becoming looser on the track and he dropped to fourth when a caution came out with 25 laps remaining. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff would make the call to remain out and Kenseth restarted fourth with 21 laps to go. He would go to third before another caution came out with 16 remaining. Kenseth would hold that position to the finish but unfortunately with Kevin Harvick’s victory automatically sending him into the finals, the Dollar General team would come up just three points short of advancing.

Hamlin started his No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota from the pole and led the opening 24 laps before relinquishing the top spot to the 4 car on lap 25. A caution on lap 32 would bring the leaders down pit road and Hamlin would come out in third just as he had entered. However as he got back on the track and in position for the restart he would radio in to his crew that he needed to come back down pit road because something was wrong with the car. Once he came back to his pit stall the team found a flat right rear tire as the source of the problem. Hamlin would restart back in 36th and managed to drive his way back up to 28, but his progress would stall out on the long green flag run as the handling on his FedEx Camry struggled back in traffic. Hamlin would eventually go a lap down and although he managed to pick up the lucky dog on a lap-97 caution, he would still struggle back in traffic. He would go a lap down again on lap 163 and was running 22nd at lap 200 when another caution for debris followed. A wreck on the restart would bring another caution out on lap 207 and Hamlin would earn the lucky dog a second time and return to the lead lap. This time Hamlin managed to gain track position and was running 12th when a caution came out with 75 laps remaining. The FedEx team would make a two-tire change and picked up another six spots on pit road to restart sixth with 69 laps to go. He would race patiently in 10th with just under 40 to go hoping to remain inside the top 12 to earn his place into the Championship Round next week at Homestead. He was running 11th when a caution came out with just 25 laps remaining. Crew chief Darian Grubb would make the call to bring Hamlin down pit road for two tires and a chance to loosen up his tight handling race car. While some of the leaders made the call to remain out on the track Hamlin was still able to restart eighth. The FedEx Camry was up to fifth before another caution with 16 laps left. Hamlin would hold that position to the finish to complete an amazing comeback and claim his place into the finals.

Busch started the No. 18 Banfield Pet Hospital Toyota from the sixth position and was consistently in the top ten throughout the first half of the race. Busch worked hard to manage the tires on each run and continued to maintain a spot in the top ten as the race went past the lap 200 mark. He would restart in sixth on lap 212 when he got loose and spun up the track making contact with the outside wall. As he slid back down the track the 15 car would cut across the front of his Banfield Pet Hospital Camry causing significant damage to the front of the car. Busch would come down pit road for repairs. He would go two laps down in the process and was running back in 29th with 75 laps to go. He would go on to finish 34th.

Kevin Harvick won the race followed by Jeff Gordon, Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, and Hamlin rounded out the top five. There were 12 cautions for a total of 58 laps and eight lead changes among six different drivers.

Today’s race was the final of three races in the Eliminator Round of 8 under the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship format. Hamlin’s fifth-place finish secured his position, but unfortunately Kenseth’s third-place effort today was not enough and left him three points shy of advancing. Joining Hamlin to compete for the Championship next Sunday in Miami will be today’s race winner Kevin Harvick, along with Joey Logano, and Ryan Newman.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion will be crowned next Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Live coverage from Miami will begin on ESPN Sunday, November 16 at 2 PM ET (race begins at 3 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Race Report: Texas, Eliminator 8 Round 2

Kyle Busch rebounded from early race struggles to earn an impressive fourth-place finish and lead Joe Gibbs Racing in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Meanwhile Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth battled through a long afternoon in their fight to advance to the Championship round earning 10th and 25th-place finishes respectively.

Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota from the ninth position and dropped back early on the opening run to 15th, before working his way back to 11th prior to a caution on lap 45. Busch would struggle with the handling on his M&Ms Camry over the next couple of runs and eventually he would go a lap down to the leader after brushing the outside wall. The M&Ms crew would take time on pit road under the day’s second caution to make the needed adjustments and Busch lined up 22nd for a lap 183 restart. A right rear tire would go flat on the M&Ms Camry and as it began to come apart on the track a caution would come out on lap 205. Another debris caution would follow just 13 laps into the next run and Busch would restart 20th on lap 227. A couple additional cautions would follow quickly but the M&Ms Camry was not in a position to get back on the lead lap and would continue to run outside the top 20 for a restart on lap 259. He would get back on the lead lap and restart 23rd with 44 laps to go. The 18 team would make the decision to stay out when another caution with just over 35 laps remaining came out allowing him to restart inside the top 10. He would drop back to run just inside the top 10 when another caution came out and this time the No. 18 Camry would come down pit road for four tires with 20 laps remaining. He would restart 21st with 17 to go and amazingly drove his way into the top ten before another caution set up a restart with nine to go. Busch would go three wide from 10th and was up to sixth when another caution came out with four setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Another incredible restart high along the outside wall allowed Busch to jump all the way into third before a spin by the 24 car brought out yet another caution and set up a second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. He would go on to earn an impressive fourth-place finish.

Hamlin started his No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota from the 20th position and was able to make early gains over the course of the opening green flag run driving up to 15th before a caution brought everyone down pit road for the first time on lap 45. Quick work by the FedEx crew allowed Hamlin to gain a few spots on pit road and he would settle in to run just outside the top ten in 11th through the halfway point of the race. The FedEx crew would deliver again under the day’s second caution and Hamlin would enter the top ten for the first time to restart ninth on lap 183. Hamlin would report that the car that was too tight early in the race had moved to handling on the loose side and he dropped back to run 13th at lap 200. He would line up 13th for a restart on lap 212 following another round of stops. Another debris caution would follow just 13 laps into the next run and the leaders would come back down pit road. Crew chief Darian Grubb would call for a two-tire change to improve Hamlin’s track position which allowed him to restart as the leader on lap 227. Unfortunately the need for all fresh tires proved too great and Hamlin dropped back quickly to run outside the top ten. Two quick cautions followed and he brought the FedEx Camry down pit road each time for four tires. He would restart 11th on lap 259. Hamlin would continue to battle in the top 15 and a four-tire stop would leave him to restart 17th with 44 laps to go. The FedEx team would make the call to remain on the track when a caution with just over 35 laps to go came out allowing Hamlin to restart fourth. He would drop back to run just inside the top 10 when another caution came out and this time the No. 11 Camry would come down pit road for four tires with 20 laps remaining. He would restart 11th with 17 to go and was able to work his way into the top ten before another caution placed him seventh for a restart with nine to go. He would hold that seventh position before another caution came out with four to go setting up a green-white-checkered finish. A crazy restart left Hamlin eighth before a spin by the 24 set up a second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. He would go on to finish 10th over the final two lap sprint to the finish.

Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota on the pole after a stellar performance during Friday afternoon’s qualifying session. Kenseth would maintain the top spot through the opening green flag run and the first round of pit stops under caution. He would finally give way to the 48 on lap 54 but remained racing inside the top five through the halfway point. Kenseth lined up fifth for a lap 183 restart after a round of pit stops following just the second caution of the day. The Dollar General crew would gain Kenseth two spots the next time down pit road under caution which allowed him to restart second on lap 212. Another debris caution would follow just 13 laps into the next run and the No. 20 Camry would come back down pit road for another four fresh tires. Kenseth would restart sixth on lap 227 and managed to jump up into second before settling in to run fourth as the race reached 100 laps to go. The Dollar General Camry would hit a piece of debris on the track resulting in NASCAR throwing another caution on lap 240 and the crew would pick up another couple of spots allowing him to restart third. Another quick caution brought the leaders down pit road yet again on lap 253 and a problem with a lugnut on the right front tire created a long stop that forced him to restart back in 18th on lap 259. The pit crew would deliver on the next trip down pit road gaining eight spots with a four-tire stop allowing Kenseth to restart eighth with 44 laps to go. The Dollar General team would make the call to remain on the track when a caution with just over 35 laps remaining came out and Kenseth was able to restart in the top spot. He would drop back to run fourth when another caution came out and this time the Dollar General Camry would come down pit road for four tires with 20 laps remaining. He would restart 10th behind others that made the decision to remain out on the track. Kenseth would get shuffled back in a four-wide situation on the restart with the 31 car coming down and causing contact on both the right and left side of the 20. That cost him several spots and when another caution came out he would come down pit road yet again for tires. He would line up 25th for the restart with nine laps to go and managed to pick up a couple spots before another caution with four to go set up a green-white-checkered finish. He lined up 23rd and a spin by the 24 set up a second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. Kenseth would pit a final time and restarted 27th and managed to pick up two spots to finish 25th.

Jimmie Johnson won the race followed by Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top five. There were 13 cautions for a total of 61 laps and 23 lead changes among seven different drivers. The race was extended seven laps for two green-white-checkered attempts.

Today’s race was the second of three races in the Eliminator Round of 8 under the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship format. The win by Johnson means at least three of the final four spots for the Championship round in two weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be decided by points. Hamlin is currently tied for lead in points with the 22 team, while Kenseth is fifth, but just one point out of the fourth and final position heading into next week’s race at Phoenix International Raceway.

The third and final round of the Eliminator Round will be next Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway. Live coverage from Phoenix will begin on ESPN Sunday, November 9 at 2 PM ET (race begins at 3 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

[https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152835234244222.1073741891.74504559221&type=1]

Race Report: Martinsville, Eliminator 8 Round One

Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin opened the NASCAR Chase for the Championship Eliminator Round of 8 with sixth and eighth-place finishes respectively in today’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Meanwhile, Kyle Busch raced solidly inside the top ten all day before finishing 11th.

Kenseth qualified the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the third position and was able to race his way into second through the early going. Kenseth was running fifth at lap 100 and he remained in the top five and was back up to second for a restart just past the 200-lap mark. He was running sixth following a lap 226 restart when he got loose and the Dollar General Camry jumped to the outside making contact with the No. 4 car which sent both vehicles spinning into the outside wall. The 20 team worked hard on pit road to keep Kenseth on the lead lap while making repairs to the body of the car. He would restart 28th on lap 240 and was up to 25th at the halfway mark. He would stay out under the next caution to gain track position and restarted fourth on lap 260. Restarting on the outside lane with old tires proved difficult and he would drop back outside the top 10 before the next caution. A caution on lap 277 would allow Kenseth to come down pit road for fresh tires and he restarted 29th on lap 283. Several cautions shuffled the field with various pit strategies at play and he would run 16th with just under 200 laps to go. Kenseth would climb his way back through the field on the next run and was running 11th by lap 345. After losing several spots on a long green flag run, he would line up 19th for a restart following a round of pit stops under caution on lap 390. He would line up 12th for a restart with 68 laps to go after another round of pit stops under caution. Kenseth patiently attempted to work his way back toward the front. A late caution would bring him down pit road one final time for a two-tire change and fortunately for the 20 team he would have the opportunity to restart on the bottom lane which had proven advantageous all afternoon. Kenseth was able to gain three spots from ninth and earn a solid sixth-place finish in the opening round of the three-race Eliminator Round.

Hamlin started his No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the fifth position and was able to race his way into third through the early portion of the race. He would remain inside the top ten over the first 100 laps and drove his way up to seventh by lap 120. Hamlin would work his way back inside the top five for a restart just past the 200-lap mark and was running second at the halfway mark. A great pit stop by the FedEx team on lap 257 would allow the 11 to come off pit road first, but he would line up sixth for the restart when several other teams elected not to pit. He would drive up to second before the next caution on lap 277. Shortly after the restart he would drive by the 22 to take his first lead of the day on lap 290. He would give up the lead to pit under caution and the FedEx crew got him off pit road first but many others remained out leaving him to restart 17th. He would make an impressive run through the field to race third by lap 330, regained second on lap 350 and earned his way back to the front on lap 360. On the day he would lead twice for a total of 68 laps. A caution would bring the field back down pit road and Hamlin would remain the leader following a four-tire stop on lap 390. He would hold the lead over the next green flag run and came down pit road for four tires with 80 laps to go. Hamlin would line up fourth for the restart with 72 laps remaining. A late-race caution would bring Hamlin down pit road one final time as the team made the decision for a two-tire stop. Several teams elected not to pit which jumbled the lineup once more. Unfortunately Hamlin had to line up on the outside lane, which was slow to restart all day long and then was trapped by those in front of him that were on the older tires. He would go on to finish eighth.

Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Halloween Toyota from the eighth position and was able to race his way into the top five through the early portion of the race. He would run third at lap 125. The M&Ms Camry would remain in the top ten and restarted ninth on lap 215. A caution would follow shortly after that restart and Busch would be the first to pit from the 10th position. He would restart 17th on lap 226 and was running 13th at the midpoint of the race. He would stay out on the track following a lap 277 pit stop to restart fifth. More cautions shuffled the field with several different strategies at play and Busch was back outside the top 15 at lap 300. He would drive his way back into the top ten and was running seventh by lap 340. He would drop back to run 10th by lap 360. Busch would bring the M&Ms Camry back down pit road on lap 390 while under caution and lined up 15th for the restart. He would come back down pit road with 80 to go and lined up 10th for the restart. A late caution would shuffle the field one last time with several teams electing to remain out on track while others, including Busch and his teammates came down for tires. Busch managed to pilot his M&Ms Halloween Camry to an 11th-place finish over the final five-lap shootout to the checkered flag.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the race followed by Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, and Joey Logano rounded out the top five. There were 15 cautions for a total of 105 laps and 24 lead changes among 11 different drivers.

Today’s race was the first of three races in the Eliminator Round of 8 under the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship format. Earnhardt did not qualify for the Eliminator Round and his victory today means there can only be a maximum of two automatic qualifiers for the Championship Round of four which will compete at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the season finale. Kenseth is currently fourth in those standings just five points behind the leader Jeff Gordon, while Hamlin is just outside of the cut-off line in fifth, but only seven points out of the lead.

Round two of the Eliminator Round will be next Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. Live coverage from Texas will begin on ESPN Sunday, November 2 at 2 PM ET (race begins at 3 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.