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

Martinsville Recap & Photos

Kyle Busch led the Joe Gibbs Racing team with a third-place finish in today’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, while teammates Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano finished 12th and 13th respectively.

Click Here to View Photos at bottom of post.

Busch started the No. 18 Pedigree Toyota in the 11th position but quickly ascended through the top ten to earn the top spot on lap 78. Busch would race inside the top five throughout the day and managed to lead six times on the day for a race-high total of 151 laps. He appeared set to claim his first-ever victory at Martinsville as he led the field to the green flag on the day’s final restart on lap 471. However, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was able to get to his bumper nine laps later and move Busch up the track to claim the lead. Much like last week in California the biggest beneficiary would be Kevin Harvick, who managed to get around both Busch and Earnhardt, Jr. in the closing laps to claim the victory. Busch would finish third just behind the No. 88 car.

Hamlin entered the day as the race favorite having captured the previous three races at the famed short track nicknamed the paper clip. It wouldn’t take long to establish the fact that his No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota would be hard to beat yet again today. Hamlin started in the fifth position but navigated to the top spot by lap 35. Hamlin would race inside the top five throughout the day and would led seven times for 89 laps. Hamlin was racing in the fifth position late in the race when he came to pit road for a final stop under the green flag on lap 458. Unfortunately for the FedEx team a caution flag would come out just seven laps later prior to several cars having made their final stops. The result left Hamlin a lap down. Although Hamlin was able to take the wave around to get back on the lead lap he was forced to the rear of those cars. He managed to pick up a few spots over the course of the race’s final laps to earn a 12th-place finish.

Joey Logano started the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the fourth position and quickly raced his way up into the second spot during the day’s initial laps, but tight conditions would ultimately drop him down in the field. A 25 minute red flag stop on lap 223 provided time for the Home Depot team to strategize over how to help the No. 20 Camry turn better, but shortly after the race restarted Logano was sent spinning in an effort to avoid an accident. Fortunately his car suffered no damage and was able to restart the race on the lead lap in the 26th position. Whatever the Home Depot team came up with seemed to work as Logano began to climb through the field and following a green flag round of pit stops was racing in the 12th position. Shortly thereafter the field came back down pit road under caution and he was able to pick up four more spots to restart inside the top ten in eighth with 142 laps to go. Unfortunately another caution would follow a few laps later and those behind Logano would make the decision to come down pit road for fresh tires. The fresh tires would make a difference as Logano was shuffled to the outside line on the track, which proved to be a disadvantage throughout the day, and soon found himself racing back in the 14th position with 100 laps remaining. Despite the difficulties Logano appeared set to race his way back into the top ten, but fell victim to poor timing when the day’s final caution came just a few laps after he had made his final pit stop under the green flag. The result left him a lap off the pace and he would go on to finish 13th as the first car one lap down.

Kevin Harvick captured the victory, while Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was second, Busch third, Juan Pablo Montoya fourth and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top five. There were 11 cautions for a total of 72 laps, including one red flag stoppage of 25 minutes, and 31 lead changes among 12 different drivers over the course of the 500-lap race.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be in Texas next week for a Saturday night race on Saturday, April 9. The race will begin at 7:30 PM ET with live, high-definition coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 7 PM ET. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.

[nggallery id=22]

Post Race Report from California

Kyle Busch led Joe Gibbs Racing with another strong performance in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Busch dominated much of the day and came away with a third-place finish, while a late penalty left Joey Logano with a 25th-place finish and an engine issue ended Denny Hamlin’s day early in the 39th position.

View 35 Great Pics from California

Busch started the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota in the eighth position and didn’t wait long to show the confidence that he had in his Camry as he shot up into third on the very first lap. Not long thereafter Busch would pass his teammate Hamlin for the top spot and the day would largely belong to the green and white Interstate Batteries car from that point forward. Busch and the 18 team put together an amazing weekend after contact with the wall in a Friday practice session forced the crew to pull out the backup car for qualifying and the race. The setback didn’t deter the team however as they proved strong throughout the day in an effort to give JGR its first ever Sprint Cup victory at the 2-mile track. A late caution forced a major decision by the team on whether or not to relinquish the lead and come down pit road for a final time with 11 laps remaining. Crew chief Dave Rogers and Busch made the call to remain on the track as did the six cars behind him. Busch managed to hold off Jimmie Johnson on the restart, but Johnson was able to come back and get around him with three laps to go. As the two battled, Kevin Harvick took advantage and managed to slide around both for the race win, while Busch and the Interstate Batteries team had to settle for a third-place finish. Busch would lead a race-high five times for 151 laps.

After a strong qualifying effort on Friday, Joey Logano woke up Sunday morning looking forward to starting his No. 20 Home Depot Toyota from the third position, but an engine change prior to the start of the race sent him to the back of the field under NASCAR rules. Logano was able to make up several positions early in the race and then continued his assent up through field as the laps remaining dwindled. He would have his Home Depot Camry up to the 15th position when a late caution flag sent those outside the top seven down pit road for a fresh set of tires. With just 10 laps remaining Logano was hoping to gain several positions on the day’s final restart to vault his No. 20 Toyota into the top ten. Unfortunately his day would end once again in frustration when he was assessed a pass-through penalty for passing prior to the start/finish line on the day’s final restart. The result left him at the back of the lead lap cars and a disappointing 25th-place finish.

Unfortunately the frustration also extended to his teammate Hamlin and his No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota team. Hamlin started in the second position following a superb qualifying effort on Friday and managed to lead early for 15 laps. Trouble began however shortly after the midpoint of the race when Hamlin began to quickly drop back in the field and radioed in to crew chief Mike Ford that he felt there was a problem with the engine or electrical system. Although Hamlin managed to stay on the track until a caution flag came out, he would ultimately have to take the car behind the wall and into the garage where it was determined his day would be over. Hamlin would finish 39th.

Kevin Harvick would win the race, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Ryan Newman to round out the top-five. There were four cautions for a total of 16 laps and 18 lead changes among 10 different drivers over the course of the 200-lap race.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to the East Coast next week with the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 from Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 3. The race will begin at 1 PM ET with live, high-definition coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 12:30 PM ET. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.

Strong Qualifying Run in CA

All three Joe Gibbs Racing entries will start from inside the top ten when the green flag waves to start the Auto Club 400 Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA.

The rains fell early today in Fontana, CA, but when officials were finally able to get the track dry it would be Denny Hamlin leading JGR’s efforts by qualifying his No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota in the second position. Hamlin posted a lap of 39.073 seconds and just narrowly missed the top spot.

“It’s been a good day,” said Hamlin. “Focusing on qualifying and things like that, I’ve really never worked so hard to work on just one lap before as much as I have this week. I’m trying to get better. Last week we had issues at Bristol and that was because we qualified bad. We can’t put ourselves in the middle of the pack every weekend. We’re trying to slowly work to get better at qualifying and I felt like I’m taking steps to do that.”

Meanwhile Joey Logano, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, was just behind his teammate with an impressive lap of 39.102 seconds to earn the third position.

“It was more surprising than anything else,” Logano said of his qualifying lap. “I didn’t think it was that great of a lap. I had a terrible time getting up to speed coming to the green. Thought that kind of set me up for a bad lap. I had a better (turns) one and two than I had in practice — so I’m excited about that. It was good. I’m excited about it.”

Kyle Busch managed an impressive effort despite an accident in the day’s only and abbreviated practice session that forced the team to bring out the backup car. Busch, who had hit a wet spot on the track that would result in contact with the wall, would earn the ninth position for the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota with a lap of 39.241 seconds.

“I just can’t say enough about these guys on this Interstate Batteries Camry this weekend so far,” said Busch. “Just today, I mean we waited (the rain) out. We had the car all ready to go and all of the sudden the first lap out I decided the guys didn’t have enough work today. So, we had to come in and get the backup out and we went through everything trying to make sure we had a good enough car just to get a lap on it at least in practice. Guys did a great job there and hustled along pretty well. Made some changes there for qualifying and got it pretty close to where we needed it. That’s good enough. That’s solid enough that we’ll take that and wherever it winds up and we can race them from there on Sunday.”

Juan Pablo Montoya of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing captured the pole with a lap of 38.992.