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: Phoenix

It was a strong day for Joe Gibbs Racing at Phoenix International Raceway with all four teams earning a spot in the top seven of today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Good Sam 500k.

Carl Edwards led JGR finishing just .010 seconds behind race winner Kevin Harvick, while Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were close behind in third and fourth respectively, and Matt Kenseth earned a seventh-place finish.

Carl Edwards qualified the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota in the second position and settled in that position behind his teammate Busch through the opening green flag run. Edwards would continue to run second until a tremendous pit stop by the 19 crew allowed him to restart from the lead on lap 113. He would continue to lead through the next caution and round of pit stops. Edwards would run second on lap 175 and continued to run in that position with 100 laps remaining. A caution with 87 laps remaining would bring the field down pit road once again and once again the STANLEY crew delivered with an impressive stop that gave the lead back to Edwards for the restart on lap 234. The 4 car would manage to get around the 19 on the restart and Edwards settled back in to race second. A final caution with four laps remaining would leave the leaders with a final big decision to make and crew chief Dave Rogers made the call to bring the STANLEY Camry down pit road for two fresh tires. He would restart fourth but quickly moved into second behind the leader Kevin Harvick. Harvick was still on older tires and Edwards was the faster car at this point. He would catch Harvick on the final lap and the two would make contact coming to the finish line. They would end side by side in a photo finish that showed Harvick barely edging out Edwards by just .010 seconds. The finish is the closest in Cup Series history at Phoenix.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the third position and raced inside the top five throughout the opening green flag run. NASCAR would issue the team a penalty for an uncontrolled tire during the day’s first round of pit stops under caution on lap 53. That penalty forced Hamlin to the back of the field for the ensuing restart. He would battle his way back inside the top 20 and was running 16th on lap 116. He would run 13th when another caution came out on lap 163. Hamlin would climb back into the top ten on lap 178. A caution with 87 laps remaining would bring the field back down pit road and the FedEx crew would deliver putting him back out eighth for the restart on lap 234. Hamlin would use the restart to gain two more spots and was running fifth with 70 laps remaining. A final caution with four laps remaining would leave the leaders with one last decision and Hamlin joined his teammates by coming down pit road for a two-tire change. He would restart sixth but managed to gain three more spots before the checkered flag to bring his FedEx Camry home in third.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Skittles Toyota from the pole position and was fast from the drop of the green flag to start the race. Busch would lead the opening open 74 laps of the race. The Skittles team would elect to make a two-tire change on the first round of pit stops following a caution on lap 53 and the 18 car was able to maintain its spot out front for the next 15 laps or so before having to relinquish the lead to those who took four tires. Busch had dropped back to fourth on the next run but a tremendous pit stop by the Skittles crew put him back on the front row for the ensuing restart on lap 113. The Skittles Camry would continue to run second prior to the next caution on lap 163 but he would fall back to 16th for the next restart after overshooting his pit box. He would quickly gain ground to run 12th at lap 180 and was back into the top ten by lap 185. Busch was up to eighth with 100 laps to go. A caution with 87 laps remaining would bring the field back down pit road and the Skittles crew would put him back out fourth for the restart on lap 234. He would gain one spot on the restart to run third. A caution with four laps remaining would leave the leaders with a final decision and Busch joined his teammates by coming down pit road for a two-tire change. He would restart fifth and gained one spot over the course of the green-white-checker finish to cross the line in fourth.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the sixth position and was able to run inside the top ten for the first third of the race. He would get caught up in traffic during a restart on lap 113 forcing him to back out of a three-wide situation to avoid an accident as he battled a tight handling race car. Kenseth was running 15th at the halfway mark and was 14th with 100 laps remaining as he and the team worked to improve the handling on his No. 20 Camry. A caution with 87 laps remaining would bring the field back down pit road and the Dollar General crew put him out 12th for the restart on lap 234. Kenseth was running 11th when the day’s final caution came out. The team would bring him down pit road for two tires and Kenseth lined up 10th for the green-white-checker restart. He was able to gain three spots over those final two laps to earn a seventh-place finish.

Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing captured the win just inches in front of Edwards, with Hamlin third, Kyle Busch fourth and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top five. There were five cautions for a total of 30 laps and seven lead changes among four different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series remains out west for the final leg of the three-race west coast swing next Sunday with a trip to Auto Club Speedway. Live coverage on Fox will start Sunday, March 20 at 3 PM ET (race starts at 3:30 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Race Report: Las Vegas

A wild weather day that included a little rain, heavy winds and even sand storms ended with Kyle Busch leading Joe Gibbs Racing with a fourth-place finish during today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Meanwhile Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin finished 18th and 19th respectively, while a late race accident left Matt Kenseth back in 37th.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota from the 23rd position but patiently worked his way toward the front at his home track as he moved into the top 15 prior to a competition caution on lap 31. Busch would enter the top ten for the first time shortly after the restart. The heavy winds would add to the challenge of finding the proper handle on the racecar, but crew chief Adam Stevens would continue to make adjustments to help the M&M’S Camry turn better in the corners. He would line up sixth for a restart on lap 223 and used an amazingly aggressive move first to the top of the track and then to the bottom to vault his way into the lead. He would go on to lead the next 38 laps of the race. As the laps began to wind down Busch would radio in to his team that the car had become tight and he was experiencing a significant vibration that might indicate he had a tire going down. With just five laps remaining Busch would have to give up the lead to the No. 2 car of Brad Keselowski and he would drop back a couple more spots over the final laps to finish the day in fourth.

Carl Edwards qualified the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota in the 24th position but an accident during the second round of qualifying Friday evening left the team no choice but to bring out the backup car resulting in a start from the back of the field. Edwards wasted no time however in making his way through all the traffic as he was up to 30th by lap 15. He would continue his climb through the field and shortly after lap 100 he would find himself racing in the top 10. Edwards was racing in the top 10 late when he would get spun from behind while checking up to avoid an accident in front of him on lap 226. The No. 19 ARRIS Camry would come down pit road and the loss of track position would prove costly as Edwards lined up back in 22nd for the restart. He would gain four spots prior the checkered flag to finish 18th.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota from the ninth position and was running in the top ten prior to a lap 32 competition caution. Crew chief Mike Wheeler would make the call for two tires on the first change of the day allowing the FedEx Camry to restart first. Hamlin managed to make the most out of the track position for a few laps at least. He would lead 10 total laps before the older two tires began to prove detrimental. Hamlin would end up falling back outside the top ten on the ensuing green flag run. He would battle tight conditions for much of the remainder of the afternoon while racing for a spot inside the top 15. Hamlin would go on to finish the race in 18th.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 DEWALT Toyota in the third position and was strong throughout the day. He would get the opportunity to lead for a total of nine laps just past the 200-lap mark of the race. Kenseth was running fifth on lap 225 when he was spun and then took a hard hit from the 24 car. It was a disappointing finish to an otherwise strong afternoon for the DEWALT team. Kenseth would have to take the car to the garage and his day was over. He would be scored back in 37th position for the day.

Brad Keselowski of Penske Racing captured the win, followed by Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Austin Dillon rounded out the top five. There were six cautions for a total of 26 laps and 20 lead changes among 10 different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series remain out west next Sunday with a trip to Phoenix International Raceway. Live coverage on Fox will start Sunday, March 13 at 2 PM ET (race starts at 2:30 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Denny Hamlin Wins the Daytona 500!

Joe Gibbs Racing opened its 25th Anniversary season with a win in the sport’s biggest race when Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag in today’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

JGR was strong throughout speed weeks at the famed 2.5-mile speedway and today was certainly no different with all four JGR teams running inside the top five late in the race with an opportunity for a win. But in the end it was a bold last lap move to the outside that propelled Hamlin and the FedEx team to the win. Fittingly enough it was the first Daytona 500 victory for JGR since Dale Jarrett captured the organization’s first overall win at the race back in 1993.

Meanwhile Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards joined Hamlin in the top five with third and fifth-place finishes respectively and Kenseth led 40 laps at the end of the race before being passed by Hamlin on the final lap and losing momentum causing him to drop back to a 14th-place finish.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Express Camry from the 11th position and patiently drove his way to the front and was running second behind his teammate in the 18 prior to the first caution on lap 20. He would restart in the top spot on lap 24 and hold the lead until the next caution on lap 58. Hamlin would dominate much of the first half of the race, leading a race-high 39 of the opening 100 laps. That dominance would continue through much of the second half of the race as well. The FedEx Camry would hold the top spot for a total of 95 laps on the day, but it was a strong move to the top of the track that allowed Hamlin to lead the most important lap of the day. Hamlin was running fourth late when he moved up in front of the 4 car who was trying to make a late race run to the front of his own. The move worked perfectly as he built momentum on the outside and when his teammate Matt Kenseth, who was leading at the time moved up the track in an attempt to block, Hamlin dipped to the middle to make the pass. He would have to edge out Martin Truex, Jr. at the line to earn the win, which he managed to do by the slimmest of margins. In fact, it was the closest Daytona 500 finish in the history of the event. The win was not only Hamlin’s first Daytona 500 victory, but also the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win ever for rookie crew chief Mike Wheeler. Of course the two combined to win last week’s Sprint Unlimited non-points event as well.

Kyle Busch, who enters the 2016 season as defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion after an incredible 2015 campaign, qualified for today’s Daytona 500 in the fourth position and was able to slide up one spot into second when his teammate Matt Kenseth had to go to the back of the field for the drop of the green flag. Busch would patiently navigate the opening laps behind the wheel of the No. 18 M&M’S 75th Anniversary Camry, before moving around the 88 to lead for the first time on lap 18. He would restart third following the day’s first caution on lap 26. Busch was strong all afternoon as he remained in the top five. He was running third following the final restart with 12 laps to go and he settled in hoping to make a last lap move to the front. However that opportunity never came as he his teammate Hamlin got to his outside with momentum to make the pass for the win. Busch would go on to finish third.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota from the 10th position and was patient through the early going before contact with the 24 car on lap 20 brought out the day’s first caution. Edwards would avoid major damage but crew chief Dave Rogers would bring him down pit road for some repairs to the nose of his ARRIS Camry. He would restart toward the back of the field on lap 26. Edwards would once again show patience through the early stages of the race, but when the 14 car spun on lap 58 he was forced up the track to avoid contact and the 6 car made contact from behind sending him into the wall. He would bring his ARRIS Camry down pit road for additional repairs, but this time the damage was more severe the lengthy repairs dropped him a lap down to the leaders. Another caution on lap 92 would provide another opportunity for the ARRIS team to work on the car prior to a lap 99 restart and the team’s efforts paid off when a lap 120 caution provided the 19 team the lucky dog designation to put him back on the lead lap. From there Edwards would begin to climb his way back toward the front of the field and was back inside the top ten by lap 160. He would enter to top five for the final 12 lap run to the finish. Edwards’ fifth-place comeback finish was a strong start to the season for the 19 team.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the back of the field after an accident in Thursday’s qualifying race forced the team to move to a backup car. Kenseth had earned a spot on the front row when he qualified second in last week’s qualifying session. It didn’t take long for him to move his way back into the top 20 and he would restart in the top ten on lap 26. Kenseth would make his way to the front with his teammates and was running in the top three throughout the midpoint of the race. He would get blocked in his pits on a lap 120 pit stop causing him to drop back to run seventh and once again he would have to show great patience in his efforts to return to the front of the field. On the next round of stops his Dollar General crew put together an amazing green flag stop that put him out front once the field cycled through. Kenseth would go on to lead the next 40 laps and appeared set to win his third career Daytona 500. However his teammate got an amazing run after jumping to the high line on the final lap and managed to make a thrilling pass. Kenseth would lose momentum momentarily in the process causing him to drop back to 14th at the finish.

Hamlin captured the win and was followed by fellow Toyota drivers Martin Truex, Jr. and his teammate Busch. Kevin Harvick was fourth, while teammate Carl Edwards rounded out the top five. There were six cautions for a total of 31 laps and 20 lead changes among 15 different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway next week with live coverage on Fox starting Sunday, February 28 at Noon ET (race starts at 1 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Denny Hamlin wins the Sprint Unlimited!

Denny Hamlin continued Joe Gibbs Racing’s winning ways from the 2015 season with a trip to victory lane in tonight’s Sprint Unlimited, NASCAR’s annual all-star race to open the new season.

Tonight’s race was split into two segments with an opening 25-lap run and a final 50-lap battle to the checkered flag. Hamlin’s win was his third in the annual event and it was JGR’s fourth win in the last five years. Meanwhile Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch were caught up in accidents that ended their night prior to the checkered flag. Kenseth finished 12th, Edwards 16th, and Busch 17th.

Hamlin started from the 15th position on the grid and was content to ride in the back of the pack in hopes of avoiding any early-race accidents. The strategy didn’t work out quite as planned however when the 17 car spun down into the FedEx Express machine on lap 14 causing right side damage. But first-year crew chief Mike Wheeler showed no panic and the FedEx team was able to make the necessary repairs to keep Hamlin on the lead lap. Hamlin would go on to lead a race high five times for 36 laps and won a tight battle over a final green white checkered two-lap finish to earn the win.

Hamlin’s teammates were also strong on the 2.5-mile superspeedway tonight. In fact, all four JGR Camrys could be found at the front of the field and racing in the top seven late in the race. Unfortunately the 2 car would set off a major accident in the final laps when he turned the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota which creating a chain reaction that also collected Busch and his No. 18 M&M’S Toyota. Meanwhile Kenseth was hoping to put the No, 20 Dollar General Toyota in victory lane for a second consecutive year, but he would get caught in the night’s final accident when the 78 car spun down in front of his path. He would go on to be scored in 12th.

The starting front row for the Daytona 500 will be decided Sunday during a qualifying session at 1:30 PM. The rest of the line up for the Daytona 500 will be decided by a pair of Duel races on Thursday evening. Sunday’s qualifying session will be broadcast live on Fox at 1:30 PM, while the Duel races can be seen on Fox Sports 1 starting at 7 PM on Thursday.

The Great American Race will once again provide the official start to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season when Fox broadcasts the Daytona 500 live from Daytona International Speedway next Sunday, February 21 at 1 PM ET. The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Kyle Busch and NOS Energy Drink Together Again

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced today a partnership with NOS Energy Drink, as primary sponsor of the team’s No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Camry in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch, the all-time race winning driver in the history of the XFINITY Series with 76 wins, will drive his first NOS program race at Atlanta (G.A.) Motor Speedway and in subsequent races that total 16 XFINITY Series events this season.

To kick off the 2016 race schedule at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing and NOS Energy Drink are excited to announce they are also bringing back another champion for the XFINITY series program start, longtime race winner and past Joe Gibbs Racing veteran racecar driver Bobby Labonte.

“We’ve always sought out the most determined, fearless and committed athletes to represent our company and brands,” said Vice President of Sports Marketing, Mitch Covington. He commented further, “With Kyle (Busch) in the seat most of the year and a strong Daytona start with Bobby (Labonte), we have every reason to believe our program will win.”

The NOS Energy Drink brand is no stranger to victory lane with Busch. A partnership between the two earlier in his career afforded them much success together. Between 2011 and 2008 (Busch’s first season with Joe Gibbs Racing) the orange and blue NOS colors were represented across 25 races in the XFINITY Series when Busch earned seven victories and three pole-position wins to further their brand exposure. Also in 2008 Busch represented the NOS Energy Drink colors with one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entry, in which he earned a second-place result.

Newly minted 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Busch remarked, “I’m pumped to be back with NOS Energy Drink, a brand that supported me initially when I came to Joe Gibbs Racing. We had a lot of success together and I can’t wait to win with them again!”

In 311 starts over 13 seasons, Busch has proven himself to be the winningest competitor in the history of NASCAR’s XFINITY Series. In addition to 76 career wins, the 30-year old has recorded 186 top-five finishes, 48 pole-qualifying wins and 15,766 laps led. In 2010 Busch made series history with a record 13-win race season. Past XFINITY Series Championships for Kyle include a Driver’s Championship in 2009 and Owner’s Championships in 2010 and 2008 –- all with Busch’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and XFINITY Series team owner Joe Gibbs Racing.

Labonte proved to be a strong selection to kick off the NOS Energy Drink program for the first race of the season as he rejoins Joe Gibbs Racing while they celebrate their 25th year of NASCAR racing. “I’m excited about the opportunity to drive for JGR again. I didn’t think this would ever happen and when Joe called me about the program, it was a ‘no-brainer.’ Great race team, great cars, the opportunity is a good one. There would be nothing better than to hang a flag in this building too,” said Labonte of the Daytona opportunity in front of him with the No. 18 JGR XFINITY Series team.

A Texas native, Labonte was an early driver of the No. 18 with JGR and earned them 21 victories and a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship in 2000. Labonte is also a NASCAR Champion in the XFINITY Series (1991) and the IROC Series (2001) and has victories recorded in all three of NASCAR’s premier racing series. 2016 marks Labonte’s 30th consecutive year as a professional racecar driver.

The No. 18 team’s goal will again be to capture an Owner’s Championship in the XFINITY Series. With Busch and Labonte confirmed and the recent announcement of Matt Tifft as driver of the No. 18 for races later in the schedule, crew chief Chris Gayle is eager to attack that goal. Gayle remarks, “Owners points matter and it’s important for us to keep striving for that team goal. Looking forward to having NOS Energy Drink back with us and hopefully we are able to give them more trips to victory lane.”

Joe Gibbs Racing and NOS Energy Drink are two brands at the top of the field in their respective industries. With this partnership, the two have positioned themselves for great success together in 2016.

NOS Energy Drink will be featured on the No. 18 XFINITY Series Camry for 18 total races this season: Daytona International Speedway (February 20, Labonte); Atlanta Motor Speedway (February 27, Busch); Las Vegas Motor Speedway (March 5, Busch); Phoenix International Raceway (March 12, Busch); Auto Club Speedway (March 19, Busch); Texas Motor Speedway (April 8, Busch); Bristol Motor Speedway (April 16, Busch); Talladega Superspeedway (April 30, TBD driver); Pocono Raceway (June 4, Busch); Michigan International Speedway (June 11, Busch); Kentucky Speedway (July 8, Busch); Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 23, Busch); Watkins Glen International (August 6, Busch); Richmond International Raceway (September 9, Busch); Chicagoland Speedeway (September 17, Busch); Dover International Speedway (October 1, Busch); Kansas Speedway (October 15, Busch); Phoenix International Raceway (November 12, Busch).