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Denny Hamlin Wins at Watkins Glen!

Denny Hamlin captured his second win of the season and claimed his first ever road course victory in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth joined Hamlin in the top ten with sixth and 10th-place finishes, while pole-sitter Carl Edwards took the checkered flag in 15th.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the sixth position and held steady in the top ten prior to his first round of pit stops. With various pit strategies at play Hamlin would drop back outside the top 15 and was running 18th at lap 30. He would race his way back to 14th by lap 42 and found himself in seventh at the halfway mark of the race. Crew chief Mike Wheeler would make the call to remain out on the track and attempt to save enough fuel to make it to the end. Several late cautions would help that cause. Hamlin lined up third for a restart with 10 laps to go and he took advantage of the battle between the 18 and 2 to move to the lead before a caution came out. He would manage to maintain the lead through two more late restarts and several late challenges to earn his first career win at Watkins Glen International.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Snickers Crisper Toyota from fifth position and raced his way into second early on behind his teammate and pole-sitter Carl Edwards. There are always a number of pit strategies at road course races and today was no different. The 18 Camry would pit for the first time on lap 26 leaving him to run eighth at lap 30, but Busch would maneuver his way back to second just six laps later. He would take the lead on lap 45. Busch would pit and lined up ninth for a restart with 34 laps remaining. The Snickers Crisper Camry would make its way back into the top five and lined up second for a restart with 10 laps to go. Busch would make a strong move in an attempt to wrestle the lead from the 2 car, but the two would get loose with the 18 getting the worse end of it and dropping back outside the top five. He would go on to finish sixth.

Matt Kenseth made his 600th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start this weekend at Watkins Glen International. He started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the fourth position, moved up to second over the opening ten laps of the race and battled inside the top five for much of the first third of the race. He would pit for the first time on lap 26 and with various pit strategies at play he would shuffle back outside the top ten. Kenseth would race his way back into the top five at the halfway mark. The 83 car would run Kenseth off the track on a lap 60 restart costing the Dollar General Camry several spots. He would manage to battle his way back over the course of a few late restarts to finish 10th. The top-ten finish was the 300th of Kenseth’s career.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota from the pole position after earning the top spot in yesterday’s qualifying session. He would lead the opening 25 laps of the race. A pit road penalty would drop Edwards back in the field and the loss of track position would prove difficult to battle back from. Pit strategy would help put the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota back inside the top five just halfway through the race. He would run second when the race was red flagged on lap 53. Edwards would have to pit once the red flag was lifted dropping him back to 23rd. He would get caught up in an accident on the ensuing restart, but fortunately the damage wasn’t too severe. He would restart 29th on lap 59. Edwards would and the STANLEY team would battle back to finish 15th.

Hamlin captured the win, followed by Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, AJ Almendinger, and Tony Stewart rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions for a total of 20 laps and nine lead changes among eight different drivers. There were also two red flag stoppages for a total of 30 minutes.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take its final week off of the 2016 season before returning at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, August 20.

Coughlin Scores Another Top 10 as Marathon Week Continues

The penultimate event of Cody Coughlin’s marathon week saw him score another top 10 and extend his points lead in the ARCA/CRA Super Series. Coughlin started 11th and finished seventh in the ARCA/CRA Super Series Circle City 100 at Indianapolis, Indiana’s Lucas Oil Raceway.

Coughlin battled a loose race car, a greasy race track, and extremely hot temperatures on his way to his seventh top 10 finish of the season.

The Delaware, Ohio native’s seventh-place finish also was better than that of the driver chasing him the points, which helped Coughlin widen points lead.

“Another top-10 is good, and increasing the points gap is even better,” Coughlin said. “The goal this year is to win the championship and a run like this helps us do that. We made some good passes, even while battling a loose car and the bright sun, so it was still a good day.”

Coughlin’s marathon week of four races in seven days is coming to an end on Saturday, July 22 with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Model feature at Anderson Speedway in Indiana, the same place his week began.

The Joe Gibbs Racing Development driver scored a win in the Super Late Model at Anderson back in May, and is now searching for a second win on the high-banked quarter-mile, but this time in the Pro Late Model.

“I really want to add Anderson to the list of tracks that I’ve won at multiple times, and I know that we’ll have a great chance to do it on Saturday,” said Coughlin. “I know that Jack (Smith, crew chief), Kevin (Hamlin, team manager), Scott (Wimmer, spotter), and Dave (Holt, crew member) will give me another great race car. Hopefully my mom and dad (Di and John), Kennedi (sister) and all of us can take a picture in victory lane.”

Coughlin will hit the track on Saturday for practice beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET. Qualifying will take place at 6:30 with the Pic-A-Part 100 to begin at approximately 9 p.m. ET.

Kyle Busch Wins at Indianapolis!

Kyle Busch led a record 149 laps and dominated today’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to repeat as Brickyard 400 champion and in the process swept the weekend of NASCAR racing. It was a strong day across Joe Gibbs Racing as well with teammates Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin joining Busch in the top five with second and fourth-place finishes respectively. Meanwhile a late-race accident took Carl Edwards out of the top five to finish back in 35th.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Skittles Toyota on the pole and was fast from the outset leading the opening 26 laps before a round of green flag pit stops allowed others to take the point briefly. However once the round of green flag pit stops concluded he would quickly ascend back to the lead where he continued to run through the halfway point of the race. He continued to lead when a caution with 40 laps remaining brought the leaders down pit road. The Skittles crew would keep him on point and Busch restarted as the leader with 33 laps remaining. The defending race champion would hold the lead through the restart when another caution came out with 29 laps to go. He would restart as the leader again with 26 laps to go. Busch would have to battle through several late cautions and restarts including two green-white-checker attempts to earn the hard fought victory. The win is JGR’s fifth Brickyard 400 victory.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in 18th and patiently raced his way toward the top ten which he entered shortly after the opening round of green flag pit stops. He was all the way up to sixth by lap 50. Kenseth continued his climb into the top five and was running fourth before lap 70. Kenseth moved into third just after the halfway mark. He continued to run third when a caution with 40 laps remaining brought the leaders down pit road. The Dollar General Camry would restart fourth with 33 laps to go. He would drop to fifth before another caution but used the ensuing restart to gain back those spots. Kenseth would hold the third position with 25 laps remaining. He would go on through several late restarts to finish second behind only his teammate Busch.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota from the fourth position and was able to race his way up into second where he remained at lap 50. Hamlin continued to run well and was in the sixth position at the halfway mark. A pit road speeding penalty during a round of green flag pit stops on lap 86 would force Hamlin to serve a pass through penalty dropping him back outside of the top 15. He was up to 14th when a caution with 40 laps remaining brought the leaders down pit road. Hamlin would line up 11th for the restart with 33 laps to go. Another caution would set up another restart with Hamlin in 10th with 26 laps remaining. Crew chief Mike Wheeler would bring Hamlin down pit road for four fresh tires following a caution with 10 laps to go and that move would pay off over the course of several late restarts as he managed to drive all the way up to finish fourth.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota from the second position but dealt with tight handling conditions early on and settled in to race just outside the top five on the opening green flag run of the race. He would re-enter the top five following the first round of green flag stops and was running third at lap 50. Edwards was up to second running just behind his teammate Busch at the halfway mark. He continued to run second when a caution with 40 laps remaining brought the leaders down pit road. Edwards would line up second for the restart with 33 laps to go. Another caution would set up another restart with 26 laps remaining. Edwards would get tight on the restart and drop back to run fifth. He was lined up fifth for a restart with six laps to go when contact from behind set off a chain reaction accident that left Edwards with major damage. His day would end back in 35th.

Busch captured the win, followed by Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Hamlin and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions for a total of 34 laps and four lead changes among three different drivers. The race was extended 10 laps for a green-white-checker finish.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Pocono Raceway next Sunday. Live coverage of the Pennsylvania 400 will be carried by NBCSN on Sunday, July 31 starting with its pre-race show at 1 PM ET (race starts at 1:30 PM ET). Live coverage will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Matt Kenseth Wins New Hampshire!

Matt Kenseth patiently raced his way to the front of the field and led the final 31 laps to capture the win in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin earned top-ten finishes crossing the line in eighth and ninth respectively, while a late-race accident left Carl Edwards back in 20th.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in 18th but showed speed from the outset of today’s race as he began to climb his way into the top 10. Last fall’s New Hampshire race winner was up to eighth by lap 50 and was into the top five by lap 72. Kenseth would remain in the top five for the majority of the afternoon from that point. He would restart third with 75 laps remaining and was able to move into second on the restart and pressured the leader Martin Truex, Jr. for the next 30 laps before finally make the pass for the lead with 44 laps to go. A caution with 37 laps remaining would bring Kenseth down pit road for two tires and he would restart second behind Hamlin who did not pit. Within a couple laps he would have the Dollar General Camry back on point before another caution fell with 29 laps remaining. He would restart in first with 24 laps to go and drove away before another caution just four laps later. Kenseth would hold off his competitors through a couple more late restarts before earning his second win of the season.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota in second and wasted no time moving around pole sitter Jimmie Johnson for the lead on lap two. He would go on to lead 86 of the next 87 laps. Busch was never far from the front of the field this afternoon and he would take over the point again on lap 172 for 11 laps and then again on lap 185 for another 36 laps. A caution would set up a restart with 75 laps remaining and Busch would line up second for the restart after adjustments made to loosen up his Interstate Batteries Camry for the long run. He would drop back to run third shortly after the restart before a caution with 37 laps remaining. After another couple of cautions, Busch lined up third for a final restart with 11 laps remaining. Contact from several cars on the restart would shuffle the Interstate Batteries back outside the top five. He would finish eighth despite leading a race-high 133 laps this afternoon.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota from the fifth position and was up to third for a lap 40 restart following a two-tire pit stop under the day’s first caution. The 11 would lose a few spots on pit road causing him to restart eighth at lap 108 and he would run 10th at the halfway point. Hamlin would move into sixth on lap 248. A caution would come out with 37 laps remaining and crew chief Mike Wheeler would make the call for the FedEx Camry to remain out on the track while many of the other leaders pitted for fresh tires. That would put Hamlin at the point for the restart with 33 laps remaining. He would hold the lead through the initial lap but he couldn’t hold off his teammate Kenseth for long. Hamlin would restart second with 24 laps to go but this time he couldn’t get going when the green flag dropped and was shuffled back to fifth just a couple laps later. When a caution fell just four laps later Hamlin would bring his Camry down pit road for fresh tires leaving him to restart back in 25th with 17 to go. An accident in front of Hamlin on the restart would allow him to jump all the way into 15th for another restart with 11 to go. He would drive his way back into the top ten to earn a ninth-place finish.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 Sport Clips Toyota from the 13th position but was able to drive his way toward the top ten and an early two-tire pit stop following a competition caution on lap 36 would move him up to fifth for a lap 40 restart. He would continue to battle inside the top ten through most of the first half of the race and was ninth at the midpoint. Edwards would fall outside the top ten for much of the second half of the race, but managed to regain track position toward the end of the race and lined up eighth for a restart with 17 laps remaining. However contact from the 31 sent him up into the 5 car causing a chain reaction accident. The Sport Clips Camry would have to come down pit road for quick repairs and fresh tires. He would line up 25th for another restart with 11 to go before going on to finish 20th.

Kenseth captured the win, followed by Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle rounded out the top five. There were seven cautions for a total of 36 laps and 13 lead changes among six different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway next Sunday. Live coverage of the Brickyard 400 will be carried by NBCSN on Sunday, July 24 starting with its pre-race show at 2 PM ET (race starts at 3 PM ET). Live coverage will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Coughlin Keeps Points Lead After Redbud 300

When Cody Coughlin left Indiana’s Anderson Speedway in May, he left a winner, and now, despite a race that ended early for the 20 year-old, he is still the ARCA/CRA Super Series point leader. Coughlin will head to Indianapolis on Friday night on top of the standings after an early race parts failure resulted in a 19th-place finish for the No. 1 JEGS.com Toyota Camry.

The day started off about as well as it possibly could for Coughlin and his Team JEGS crew. They were near the top of the board in practice, they qualified second and ran in the top five for much of the early part of the 300-lap affair.

During a restart on lap 54, the Ohio native and another driver bounced off of each other numerous times on the first lap after the restart. During the confrontation the the driveline broke on his Super Late Model. As a result, Coughlin’s car spun to bring out a caution.

The JEGS.com crew, led by crew chief Jack Smith, quickly went to work to try to get the the car repaired and back out on track, but the car wasn’t fixable on this night.

The Joe Gibbs Racing Development driver finished 19th after starting fourth and is already looking forward to the next event with how well the team was performing.

“It’s a real shame, because we had a car that definitely could have won tonight,” Coughlin said. “Thankfully, we should still have the points lead when we head to Lucas Oil Raceway on Friday night. I know that my crew will give me a car that can win there too, so we’ll rebound there.

“I’m just thankful to have a great crew. Seeing them quickly jump to work the way they did to see if they could fix it was really cool. Jack, Kevin (Hamlin, team manager), Scott (Wimmer, spotter), and Dave (Holt, crew member) always work as hard as possible for me. It’s a shame we couldn’t get the win for them tonight. Even though we didn’t get the win, I’m still really thankful for my parents (Di and John) and my sister Kennedi for their endless support, and for the good Lord for keeping me safe.”

Coughlin is back in action on Wednesday night in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on the dirt at the Eldora Speedway for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Then he’ll be back in the Super Late Model at Lucas Oil Raceway on Friday. He’ll close out his week at Anderson Speedway on Saturday night in the Pro Late Model in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour where he also leads the points.

For more information on Cody Coughlin and Team JEGS, visit www.teamjegs.com and follow Cody on Twitter, @Cody_Coughlin. Follow Team JEGS on Twitter, @TeamJEGS, and “Like” JEGS Performance on Facebook. Also be sure to check out Cody’s new website, www.codycoughlin.com.