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Race Report: Bristol

Joe Gibbs Racing earned three top-ten finishes in tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Denny Hamlin led the way with a third-place finish, while Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch both rebounded from tire issues to finish seventh and eighth respectively. Meanwhile an engine problem ended Matt Kenseth’s night early leaving him to finish back in 42nd.

Denny Hamlin started his No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota from the pole and led the opening 26 laps of the night before giving way to his teammate in the 18. He would continue to run at the front of the field and managed to regain the lead once again on lap 53. He would lead a total of 54 laps on the night and was running fifth at the halfway mark. The FedEx crew would deliver a great stop on pit road allowing Hamlin to restart second with 135 laps remaining. He would restart second again after another quick caution on lap on lap 379. Hamlin restarted third with 110 laps to go. He would hold that spot through a final round of pit stops all the way to the checkered flag.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota in the third position and was able to hold a spot in the top five through the opening green flag run. Shortly after the first round of pit stops Edwards would report that the car had become tight and he would drop back to run 10th. However, it didn’t take the 19 team long to get the car back to the front of the field and he would eventually take the lead following a round of pit stops after a caution just past the halfway mark on lap 253. He would give the top spot to his teammate early in the ensuing green flag run, but he would eventually reclaim it on lap 303. Edwards continued to lead when suddenly a flat tire forced him down the track and on to pit road. He would have to quickly make his way to his pit stall on lap 343 for fresh tires. A caution would quickly follow allowing him to take the wave around to get one of the two laps back. He would race for the lucky dog position to get back on the lead lap and was able to claim that position when a caution came out with 69 laps remaining. Edwards would manage to drive his way back inside the top ten over the final green flag run to earn a seventh-place finish.

Kyle Busch qualified the No. 18 Skittles Toyota in the second position and was fast from the outset as he assumed his first lead of the night on lap 27. He would run inside five through the first half of the race but found the handling on his No. 18 Camry to drop off a bit during the longer green flag runs. A caution just after the halfway point brought the Skittles Toyota back down pit road and shortly after the restart he was able to establish his position back at the front of the field on lap 281. Busch was running third when he would radio in that he believed he had a loose wheel forcing him to make an unscheduled pit stop on lap 340. He would drop two laps off the pace, but was able to race his way back around the leaders to get within one lap. A caution on lap 360 allowed him to get back on the lead lap. He would restart 12th when another caution quickly followed and crew chief Adam Stevens would bring him down pit road for four tires and fuel. A series of cautions would leave Busch to restart ninth with 110 laps to go. He would quickly move back inside the top five and claim fourth with 100 laps remaining. Busch would come down pit road a final time with just over 60 laps to go and NASCAR ruled that the 18 was too fast. The pit road speeding penalty would send Busch to the back of the field for the restart. He would manage to pass all the cars a lap or more down and then started to pass cars for position. After leading a race-high 192 laps, he would show tremendous resolve to earn an eighth-place finish which improved his position in the point standings. He is now 46 points in front of 31st place.

Matt Kenseth, who won the spring race earlier this year at Bristol, started his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota from the 13th position and showed early speed as he quickly ascended into the top ten. Kenseth was running inside the top five as the race went past the 100-lap mark. Not long after however Kenseth would radio in to crew chief Jason Ratcliff that something appeared to break in the engine. Kenseth would take his Dollar General Camry to the garage and his night was over. He would be scored back in 42nd.

Joey Logano captured the win and was followed by Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions on the night for a total of 52 laps and 14 lead changes among five different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take its final weekend off of the 2015 season before heading to Darlington Raceway on Sunday night, September 6. NBCSN will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 7 PM ET (race begins at 7:30 PM ET).

Kenseth’s Victory in Michigan Earns Bosch Aftermarket Contribution for Motor Racing Outreach Bosch-Supported Teams Win 19th of Season

Matt Kenseth skillfully maneuvered his Bosch-equipped No. 20 Dollar General Toyota to Victory Lane in Michigan on Sunday, dominating the NASCAR® Sprint Cup SeriesTM Race. In recognition of the victory, Bosch Aftermarket NA is making another $1,000 contribution – the third of the 2015 season – to Motor Racing Outreach.

Motor Racing Outreach works to support the motorsport community so that they may enjoy a more wholesome life together, and in turn, become good role models for millions of motorsport fans around the world. Originally founded in 1988 to serve the NASCAR Sprint Cup racing community, MRO has evolved over the years to serve other forms of motorsports such as motorcycle and powerboat racing. A faith-based organization, MRO’s mission includes introducing the racing community to a personal faith in Christ, encouraging active involvement in the church, understanding God’s word and assisting in the development of leadership skills.

“It’s remarkable how strong and dominant Joe Gibbs Racing has been in the second half of this season,” said Tony Pauly, director of advertising and brand management for Bosch Automotive Aftermarket North America. “It takes a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication by a lot of people to win races at this level of competition, and we’re thrilled that Bosch quality parts and systems play a role in helping our supported teams consistently perform at the highest level.”

So far in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Bosch-supported teams have won nineteen races, earning a total Bosch contribution of $19,000 to driver and team charities.

Bosch Aftermarket has a long-standing partnership with NASCAR, providing oxygen sensors to all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. Additionally, Bosch has provided quality parts — including spark plugs, injectors, alternators, coils, filters, fuel pumps, starters and pressure regulators — to multiple NASCAR teams for more than a decade, helping them to numerous appearances in Victory Lane and seven Sprint Cup Series championships since 2001.

Freightliner Trucks, Joe Gibbs Racing Extend Relationship

Freightliner Trucks announced today a five-year contract extension with several of its NASCAR® partners. Joe Gibbs Racing, Penske Racing South and JTG Daugherty Racing have all renewed their agreements with Freightliner through the 2020 NASCAR season.

Through this relationship renewal, Freightliner Cascadia® trucks will continue to transport the teams’ cars, supplies and equipment to NASCAR races and events across North America. Freightliner remains an associate sponsor for these teams competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY series.

“Reliability is critical, especially for a single car operation like JTG Daugherty Racing. We rest easy, as do many of our other sponsor partners, knowing that our precious freight is hauled each week by a Freightliner Cascadia tractor,” said Tad Geschickter, co-owner, JTG Daugherty Racing.

Added Todd Meredith, chief operating officer, Joe Gibbs Racing: “Freightliner provides us the dependability and performance we need to ensure our cars and equipment reach the track safely and in a timely manner. Freightliner has been a great partner to Joe Gibbs Racing and we’re thrilled to announce that we will continue the relationship for many years to come.”

“We appreciate the continued support of Freightliner as we build on this established partnership. They do a fantastic job marketing our team to their vendors and customers and Team Penske is proud to continue to partner with Freightliner,” said Roger Penske.

Freightliner has also renewed its partnership with Motor Racing Network (MRN) – “The Voice of NASCAR.”

Through the five-year contract extension, Freightliner will continue to haul the broadcast trailers for MRN. The trucks are where the radio network manages the broadcasts from during the races, and many broadcasters call this home at the track.

Noted Frank Beers, MRN’s director of operations: “NASCAR fans rely on Motor Racing Network for complete coverage of the sport they love and we rely on Freightliner trucks to get us to the track, so we can serve our millions of loyal listeners. We value our partnership with Freightliner and look forward to continuing the relationship.”

“We are so proud to continue our relationship with these teams. We know they depend on our trucks for their jobs, and these contract renewals reinforce their trust in Freightliner’s dependability and reliability,” said Stacey Premo, motorsports marketing manager for Freightliner Trucks.

For more information, go to www.freightlinertrucks.com.

Matt Kenseth Wins at Michigan!

It was another strong performance for Joe Gibbs Racing with Matt Kenseth dominating from the pole for his third win of the season in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

JGR narrowly missed securing four top-ten finishes today with Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch spending a good portion of the afternoon toward the front of the field. Hamlin would finish fifth, while Edwards was sixth, and Busch worked his way through a tricky final restart to finish 11th.

A new aero package made its debut today at Michigan and although teams were able to gather a good deal of information over the course of the previous two days of practice there remained a good deal of unknowns under race conditions. JGR appeared to have the answers for those unknowns with Kenseth leading a race-high 146 laps after starting from the pole.

Matt Kenseth captured the pole in his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota enabling him to lead the field to the green flag for the start of this afternoon’s race in Michigan. Despite several early race restarts Kenseth was able to maintain the lead through the opening 22 laps before a competition caution was displayed. He would restart second when the 3 car decided to remain on the track and held that position through the next green flag run until the leader was forced to pit for fuel on lap 41 giving the lead back to the 20 car. Kenseth continued to hold onto the top spot through the next two rounds of green flag pit stops and was the leader on lap 121 when a caution came out. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff would bring the Dollar General Camry down pit road for a two-tire stop on lap 123. He would lineup third for the restart behind two cars that elected not to pit. Kenseth would use a great restart to reclaim the lead on lap 126 just before another caution came out. He would hold the lead again through the lap 130 restart and again on another restart on lap 142. Kenseth would come down pit road under green on lap 164 and once the field cycled through he was back on point with 25 laps to go. He would restart on the point again with 13 to go and never looked back on his way to the victory.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the second position and had to endure several early race restarts from the inside lane which proved to be a disadvantage all afternoon. He would drop back to run sixth when a competition caution was displayed on lap 22. He would get shuffled back on the ensuing restart and ran 11th on the next green flag run. Hamlin held on to the 11th position at lap 67 following a round of green flag pit stops. The FedEx Camry was running fifth following another round of green flag pit stops when a caution came out on lap 121. Crew chief Dave Rogers would make the call for a two-tire stop on lap 123 allowing Hamlin to restart fifth on lap 126. Another quick caution would follow and Hamlin would run fourth under the green flag on lap 130. He would fall back two slots to run sixth following a lap 142 restart. Hamlin would pit under green on lap 164 and once the field cycled through he was fourth once again with 25 laps to go. He would line up behind his teammate Kenseth for a final restart with 13 to go and was able to help push the 20 to the front before dropping back to finish fifth.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota in the third position and had to endure several early race restarts from the inside lane which proved to be a disadvantage all afternoon. He would run seventh when a competition caution was displayed at lap 22. He would continue to run seventh at lap 43 and was running ninth at lap 67 following a round of green flag pit stops. Edwards had the ARRIS Camry in eighth when a caution came out on lap 121. Crew chief Darian Grubb would make the call to have Edwards remain on the track under the caution allowing him to restart as the leader on lap 126. He would fall back to third on the restart when another caution came out. This time when the race restarted on lap 130 Edwards would make a bold move to the bottom of the track to take over second. While under caution on lap 141 Edwards would lose power while attempting to save fuel. That would cost him several positions and left the 19 to restart 11th instead of second on lap 142. Edwards would use a great restart and was back up to fourth by lap 146. He would run sixth with 25 laps remaining following another round of green flag pit stops. Edwards would continue to run sixth following a restart with 13 laps remaining and was able to hold that spot to the finish.

Kyle Busch qualified the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota in the sixth position but an accident in Saturday’s final practice forced the team to move to the backup car resulting in having to start from the back of the field. Busch would make the call to hang off the back of the field for initial start of the race and that proved to be a good decision as he was able to avoid a wreck on the opening lap of the race. He would survive several early restarts in fact, and was up to 33 by lap 20. He would climb his way inside the top 30 following a restart on lap 25 and was running 20th just 30 laps into the afternoon. Busch was up to 15th on lap 43. He would lead during a round of green flag pit stops and then settled in to run 14th once the field cycled through. The Interstate Batteries Camry would enter the top five for the first time following a restart on lap 77. He would run as high as third on that green flag run and was back into third again on lap 118 following another round of green flag stops. Crew chief Adam Stevens would make the call for a four-tire stop on lap 123. With several other leaders making the call for just two tires or electing not to pit at all, Busch would line up 14th for the restart on lap 126. He would be back in the top ten following another restart on lap 130. Stevens would bring him back down pit road for fuel only on lap 137 and the Interstate Batteries Camry lined up 14th for the restart. He would climb into the top 10 to run ninth at lap 146. He would hold that 10th position with 25 laps to go following yet another round of green flag stops and was up to ninth when another caution came out with 18 laps remaining. He would restart ninth with 13 to go but was forced into the middle of a three-wide situation and had to drop back into 13th to avoid any big wrecks. Busch would gain two spots to finish 11th. The solid finish moved Busch into 29th in the point standings and he is now 18 points ahead of 30th, which is needed to secure his place in the Chase for the NASCAR Championship.

Kenseth captured the win and was followed by Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr., Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions on the afternoon for a total of 31 laps and 16 lead changes among eight different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Bristol Motor Speedway next Saturday night, August 22. NBCSN will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 7 PM ET (race begins at 7:30 PM ET).

Race Report: Watkins Glen International

It was another strong performance for Joe Gibbs Racing with three top-ten finishes in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International.

Kyle Busch was just one spot short of claiming JGR’s fifth straight victory. He led the team with a second-place finish this afternoon at the Glen and was followed by Matt Kenseth in fourth and Carl Edwards in eighth, while Denny Hamlin fell just short of fuel at the end and finished 27th.

The second-place finish by Busch provided enough points to secure the 30th position in the standings. Having already amassed four wins, as long as Busch remains in the top 30 he will have secured his position in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota from the eighth position and quickly moved into the top five just two laps into the afternoon. Fuel strategy is often a factor on this road course and Busch would line up 11th for a restart on lap 29 following his first pit stop. He would race his way toward the front and ultimately claim the lead on lap 56. The No. 18 M&M’s Crispy Camry would pit on lap 58 after another caution. That would shuffle Busch back in the field when several other cars that pitted seven laps prior made the call to remain out on the track. He would restart 21st with 31 laps remaining but managed to race his way back in the top 15 to run 12th just six laps into the next run. Busch continued to climb his way through the field and was back inside the top 10 and running seventh with 20 laps remaining. He was back in the top five with 12 to go, took over fourth with nine laps remaining and was up to third with five laps to go. Busch managed to make a final pass at the finish line when the 4 car ran out of gas just before the end. He would earn a strong second-place finish and is now six points in front of the 31st position.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota from the 23rd position and held that spot through the first five laps before patiently working his way inside the top 20. He would restart 18th on lap 29 and the team played fuel strategy with a trip down pit road on lap 51. That would allow Kenseth would restart from the lead with 31 laps remaining after all the other leaders had to pit under the next caution on lap 58. He would give up the lead on the restart but settled in to run second on the next run as he looked to save enough fuel to the finish just as he had done one week ago in his victory at Pocono. When the race stayed green all the way to the finish he would have to give up a couple spots on the track to make it to the finish, which he managed to do to earn a strong fourth-place effort.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota in the 15th position and raced near the top 15 through the early portion of the race. Crew chief Darian Grubb would implement a pit strategy that brought the No. 19 Camry down pit road on lap 25. That proved advantageous when a caution came out just a couple laps later. Edwards would restart inside the top five on lap 29. Edwards restarted 24th with 31 laps remaining and was back inside the top 20 and running 17th with 25 laps to go. He would continue to climb through the field on the ensuing run and was up to 13th with 20 laps remaining and raced eighth with five laps to go. Edwards would hold that eighth spot to the finish.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota from the 13th position and maintained a spot inside the top 15 through the opening laps of the race. He would come down pit road for the first time on lap 26 while under caution and NASCAR ruled that he was too fast entering forcing the No. 11 Camry to restart at the back of the field. Contact on the ensuing restart would cause damage to his hood pins which resulted in Hamlin’s hood flying up and covering his windshield. Somehow Hamlin managed to navigate the road course and return to pit road where the hood was removed. The FedEx team would make repairs under the next caution which allowed Hamlin to remain on the lead lap. Fuel strategy would play a major factor once again at The Glen and Hamlin was able to line up seventh for a restart with 31 laps to go. He would run eighth with 20 laps to go while seeking to save enough fuel to make it to the finish. Hamlin would fall just short on fuel however, taking the checkered flag back in 27th.

Joey Logano captured the win and was followed by Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five. There were five cautions on the afternoon for a total of 16 laps and eight lead changes among eight different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Michigan International Speedway next Sunday, August 16. NBCSN will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 1:30 PM ET (race begins at 2:30 PM ET).