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Matt Kenseth and Erik Jones Win at Dover!

Matt Kenseth punched his ticket to the Chase with a victory in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

Kenseth’s victory means all four Joe Gibbs Racing teams have essentially earned their spot in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series just 12 weeks into the season. In fact, JGR has won six of the last seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and has captured an incredible seven of the first 12 point races of the season as well as eight of 13 events overall (Denny Hamlin also won the season opening Sprint Unlimited all-star race in Daytona). The win was the 135th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory for Joe Gibbs Racing, tying the organization with Roush Fenway Racing for third-most wins in NSCS history.

Kenseth’s teammate Denny Hamlin finished seventh today, while separate accidents took out Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch leaving each to finish 28th and 30th respectively.

Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the 10th position and was able to work his way toward the top five during the course of the opening green flag run. Great work by the Dollar General crew would allow Kenseth to restart fourth following a competition caution on lap 44 and he would settle in to run third. He would lead a lap on lap 131 and was able to remain in the top ten despite battling a tight handling race car midway through the race. A caution on lap 344 would set off a chain of events that Kenseth and the Dollar General team was able to use to their advantage. Track position was a major factor this afternoon and crew chief Jason Ratcliff would make the call for a two-tire change that allowed Kenseth to restart in second to the inside of leader Jimmie Johnson. That proved to be a key strategy play, because when the 48 car was unable to get up to speed on the restart, a major wreck would collect nearly 20 cars including Johnson. That put Kenseth out as the leader on the ensuing restart and he would manage to avoid being collected in another accident that involved his teammate Edwards. He would restart as the leader again with 34 laps remaining and despite being on two tires managed to hold off two hard charging competitors over a thrilling final green flag run. It is Kenseth’s 37th career victory.

Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the sixth position and would race near the top ten for much of the opening 100 laps. The 11 team would get hit with a pit road penalty on lap 118 that ultimately led to Hamlin falling a lap down to the leaders. Pit strategy would help Hamlin make his way back to the lead lap and actually back to the front of the field on lap 219. He would lead 15 laps before giving way to those on fresher tires, but the strategy paid off. Although he would get caught up in the day’s major accident on a lap 356 restart, the damage to his FedEx Camry would not end his day. He was able to go on to complete an impressive comeback and finish seventh.

Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota from the fourth position and was strong throughout the afternoon. Edwards was near the front of the field most of the day leading four times for 27 laps. He appeared well positioned for a win late in the race after clearing the afternoon major’s wreck during a lap 356 restart. The accident collected nearly 20 cars in the field and brought out a red flag caution for cleanup. Edwards would restart third as the first car with four tires on lap 361 but this time the 42 would make contact with the left rear of the STANLEY Camry sending the 19 car hard into the inside wall. Fortunately Edwards was okay despite the hard hit, but his afternoon was over and with it the chance to add one million dollars, on top of the already donated $100,000, for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as part of the annual Racing for a Miracle Program with STANLEY, DEWALT and ACE Hardware.

Busch started the No. 18 Pedigree Toyota in the third position but tight handling conditions dropped him back outside the top five through the early going. Track position was a key factor this afternoon in Dover and a two-tire pit stop allowed the Pedigree Camry to restart second on lap 219. He would remain in the top five for about 25 laps but the tight handling conditions remained and Busch reported that something might be wrong with the rear end of his car. He lined up 12th for a restart on lap 354 and was collected in a multi-car wreck which occurred after race leader Jimmie Johnson failed to get started when the green flag dropped. The accordion style wreck piled up the field and the No. 18 would receive major damage forcing Busch to the garage for the remainder of the afternoon. He would go on to finish 30th.

Matt Kenseth captured the win, followed by Kyle Larson in second, Chase Elliott third, Kasey Kahne fourth, and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five. There were 12 cautions for a total of 65 laps and 19 lead changes among 10 different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads returns home to Charlotte next Saturday night for the annual Sprint All-Star Race from Charlotte Motor Speedway. Live coverage on Fox Sports 1 will start Saturday night, May 21 at 7 PM with qualifying (race starts at approximately 9 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Coughlin Claws His Way to a Top Five Finish at the Masters of the Pros

Cody Coughlin fought tooth-and-nail to a fifth-place finish in one of the crown jewel Pro Late Models races in the county, the Champion Racing Oil Masters of the Pros at Lebanon Missouri’s I-44 Speedway. The Joe Gibbs Racing Development driver started 11th on Saturday night in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour event and fought his way to his third consecutive top-five finish in Late Model competition.

Coughlin, who was riding a streak of two consecutive Late Model victories heading into the event, fought an ill-handling race car much of the day. Yet, Coughlin and the Team JEGS crew never backed down in the fiercely contested 144-lap showdown for the Pro Late Models on the 3/8-mile high-banked oval.

“Tonight was about what it looks like; it’s an okay run,” said Coughlin. “We weren’t very good, but we made the most of it and brought home a top five. It’s not a win, and anytime you don’t win it’s disappointing, but we’ll get them again next time.”

Coughlin methodically made his way through the field from a starting spot just outside the top 10. He passed cars wherever he could on the race track, using both the inside and outside grooves.

The 20-year-old Ohio native was rarely in the outside groove for restarts, which is preferred line. On the final restart Coughlin used the outside groove to get back into the top five where he would finish.

For Coughlin, it’s now back to the Super Late Model and back to Indiana, the state in which he got his most recent victory (Anderson Speedway). Coughlin will look to pad his ARCA/CRA Super Series points lead at Baer Field Speedway in Fort Wayne, IN, on Saturday, May 21.

“I’ve never been to Baer Field before, but I’m confident my crew chief Jack Smith will give me a great car like always and we’ll get another win,” Coughlin said. “I’m really thankful to have a my great crew of Kevin (Hamlin, team manager), Scott (Wimmer, spotter), and Dave (Holt, crew member) who put in so much hard work. I’m also really thankful to have the love and support of my parents, Di and John, and my awesome sister Kennedi. I’ve just really been blessed by the Lord above for the great success we’ve had lately.”

Kyle Busch Wins Kansas

Kyle Busch captured his third win of the season in tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway. It was a strong night across Joe Gibbs Racing with all four cars showing speed. Matt Kenseth earned a fourth-place finish, while Carl Edwards rebounded from being two laps down at one point to finish 11th and a late-race accident left Denny Hamlin back in 37th.

Busch started the No. 18 M&M’S Red Nose Day Toyota from the sixth position and was strong from the drop of the green flag as he raced his way into the top five. He would take his first lead of the day during a round of pit stops when crew chief Adam Stevens made the call for a two-tire stop on lap 26. Busch led the next 32 laps and he would race primarily inside the top five the remainder of the night. He would regain the lead with 37 laps remaining and held it through a couple of late restarts including the final one with 19 laps remaining. He would manage to hold that top spot through the restart and all the way to the finish despite pressure from the 4 car. The win was Busch’s third of the season and his first ever at Kansas Speedway.

Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the second position and was able to hold that spot through the opening green flag run of the race. He would battle a mostly tight handling race car much of the evening but crew chief Jason Ratcliff and the Dollar General crew would make the adjustments needed for Kenseth to compete with the leaders. He was running second on lap 148 and remained inside the top five the remainder of the evening. He would restart second to the inside of his teammate and race leader Kyle Busch with 19 laps remaining but wasn’t able to make the pass for the top spot as the outside lane was the preferred line on this night. Kenseth would drop back two more spots on the final run to finish with a strong fourth-place effort.

Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota from the 12th position and was able to race his way into the top ten through the early portion of the race. He would make contact with the outside wall on lap 74 which caused his right rear tire to start to go down. Edwards tried to make a quick move down the track several laps later to get to his pit stall for new tires, but as he hit the brakes he began to spin on the apron forcing him to come back onto the track to regain control and miss his entry onto pit road. Edwards would have to slowly make his way around the track and onto to pit road. By the time the sequence was over he was back in 35th and two laps down. The STANLEY team never gave up however and Edwards would fight his way back to the lead lap. He would go on to finish the night in 11th.

Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the third position but battled early handling conditions and dropped back outside the top five during the opening green flag run. He would lose track position during a round of pit stops when he entered the pit stall with the steering wheel slightly off center making it a bit more difficult to make the necessary tire changes. He would drop back outside the top 15 but the FedEx Freight crew would continue to work and Hamlin managed to drive his way back toward the front of the field and into the top ten. The 11 would be working his way back toward the top five with 27 laps remaining when he was caught in the middle of a three wide situation that ultimately sent several cars spinning and led to an accident. Hamlin would have to take the car to the garage and he would finish the night in 37th.

Kyle Busch captured the win, followed by Kevin Harvick in second, Kurt Busch third, Kenseth fourth, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five. There were six cautions for a total of 30 laps and 16 lead changes among 10 different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Dover International Speedway next Sunday afternoon. Live coverage on Fox Sports 1 will start Sunday, May 15 at 12:30 PM (race starts at 1 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Coughlin Goes Back-to-Back and Scores a Big Win on Mother’s Day Weekend

ody Coughlin winning an ARCA/CRA Super Series race is starting to become a familiar sight. For the second straight race, Coughlin and the Team JEGS crew ended the day by celebrating in victory lane with a race win.

The Joe Gibbs Racing Development Driver had one of the fastest drivers all day long. His car, prepared by crew chief Jack Smith, was near the top of the charts in practice and Coughlin barely missed out on the fast time award.

After starting in the fourth position, Coughlin quickly but methodically worked his way closer and closer to the front. The 20 year-old driver took the lead for the first time on a lap 42 restart, and started to drive away from the field.

The Delaware, Ohio native dealt with multiple restarts thanks to the double-digit cautions that marred the event, but he held strong on almost all of them. With about 40 laps to go he was passed, but he remained calm and eventually worked his way back into the top spot near 25 laps to go.

From there it was Coughlin’s race as he drove away to almost a 20 car-length lead to take his second straight win and further pad his series points lead.

“I want to win everywhere I go, but especially at this place because it’s given us fits in the past,” said Coughlin. “There was some hard racing, which is really the root of the sport, so she’s got some bumps and bruises on her, but we got the trophy and we’ll move onto the next one.”

On Friday night Coughlin made his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start of the season for Kyle Busch Motorsports and after a flat tire and trip to the garage, he finished 27th. Coming back to a Super Late Model race and winning the next day he said is great for his confidence moving forward.

“I couldn’t be happier right now,” said Coughlin. “I love running Super Late Models and being able to win two in a row is fantastic.”

This win is one of the more special ones for the whole Coughlin family. His parents, Di and John, were in attendance to watch him score the victory on Mother’s Day weekend.

“That was super fun,” Coughlin said. “She’s (mom) my biggest supporter. I thank God for her. Getting this win for her makes me really happy and I can’t wait to bring the trophy home to share it with my sister (Kennedi) and my whole family.”

Coughlin’s next race is one week from now on May 14. He will return to the Pro Late Model ranks in the Mercy Masters of the Pros 144 at Lebanon I-44 Speedway in Missouri. After two straight Late Model wins Coughlin believes he can make it three in a row.

“I know that Jack (Smith, crew chief) will give me another great car, Kevin Hamlin (team manager) will get those tires right, Scott Wimmer (spotter) will keep me out of trouble, and Dave Holt (crew member) will work as hard as always, and we’ll be able to contend for another win.”

Race Report: Talladega

It was a battle for survival in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

When it was over Kyle Busch was the only Joe Gibbs Racing to survive without major damage. He would lead the four-car team with a second-place finish, while separate accidents collected Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards at various times resulting in finishes of 23rd, 31st, and 35th respectively.

Busch started the No. 18 Skittles/Marvel from the 17th position and was able to race his way toward the front of the field to race with his teammates through the early portion of the race. He would take his first lead of the day on lap 40 and would lead 12 laps before a caution would bring the leaders down pit road. Busch continued to race patiently and continued to avoid being caught up in several big wrecks. He maneuvered his Skittles/Marvel Camry to the outside following the final restart of the afternoon with four to go and managed to slide up into second behind the 2 car. He was hoping to make one final push to the front when an accident behind the leaders brought out the checkered flag a few hundred yards prior to the line. Busch was scored officially in second.

Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the fourth position and spent the majority of the afternoon toward the front of the field racing in the pack with the leaders. Kenseth would take his first lead of the day on lap 14. At the halfway point he was the lap leader with 30 total laps at that point. He would continue to keep his Dollar General Camry at the front of the field and made his way back to the lead with just over 40 laps remaining. Kenseth continued to ride up front with the leaders as the race neared its conclusion. He was third in line on the bottom of the track behind his teammate Busch with less than 10 laps to go when a car from the outside came down the track and into his right side resulting in the No. 20 Camry going airborne. Fortunately the Dollar General Camry would come to rest on its tires and Kenseth was okay. He would go on to be scored in 23rd at the finish.

Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota from the eighth position and chose to join the majority of his teammates running at the front of the field. He would come down pit road following a lap 49 caution and contact with the 16 car while attempting to exit his pit stall would force him to back up into his box once again for repairs. That would put Hamlin to the back of the leaders on the restart, but he would find his way through the pack once again to race with the leaders. In fact, he would lead several laps starting at lap 83. More trouble on pit road would occur during a round of stops following a caution with 60 laps remaining. This time Hamlin was spun by the 38 car while entering the pits and once again he would restart at the back of the pack. Another accident with 28 laps to go would set off a major chain reaction and although he managed to avoid most of the cars that were spinning around him he would have to come down the track and into the grass. The damage resulted in a trip to the garage. He would return with nine laps to go but was scored 18 laps down and ultimately finished 31st.

Edwards started the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota from the ninth position seeking a third straight win. Edwards ran much of the first half of the race toward the back of the pack. In fact, he would race toward the back of the main pack for much of the first half of the race managing to avoid several accidents. He would find trouble however when several cars wrecked in front of him on lap 96 and contact with the 46 car as it came down the track resulted in damage to the right front of his ARRIS Camry. Edwards would bring it down pit road for repairs and was able to remain on the lead lap. Trouble would strike again however on lap 111 when it appeared his right front tire went down causing him to swing up into the 88 car and the outside wall. This time the damage was major ending the day for the ARRIS team. He would be scored in 35th.

Keselowski captured the win, followed by Kyle Busch in second, Austin Dillon third, Jamie McMurray fourth Chase Elliott rounded out the top five. There were 10 cautions for a total of 41 laps and 37 lead changes among 17 different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Kansas Speedway next Saturday night. Live coverage on Fox Sports 1 will start Saturday, May 7 at 7 PM (race starts at 7:30 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.