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Fuel Pump Issue Starves Coughlin From a Strong Run in Irish Hills

Confidence was high at Michigan Int’l Speedway this weekend for Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Cody Coughlin. Coughlin was fast in “race-runs” during practice on Thursday and that led the Venturini Motorsports team to believe the 19 year-old had a great shot at victory when the Corrigan Oil 200 took the green flag Friday in Brooklyn, MI for the ARCA Racing Series. Unfortunately for Coughlin and the team, a fuel pump issue relegated the teen to a 14th place finish.

While charging to the front of the field, the issue began near the midpoint of the race. Coughlin was forced to relinquish his sixth place spot and make a pitstop for the team to change the fuel pump during a green flag run. The time to make the change put Coughlin seven laps down. It was the second time in as many days that the number-55 car suffered the same fuel pump problem.

“Things didn’t go as we’d hoped they would, but there were still positives,” said Coughlin, who has six top-10, and four top-five finishes with a pole award in the last eight ARCA races. “I learned a lot about how to run this race track and I should be better here the next time I come back. My spotter, Scott Wimmer, and I worked hard throughout the weekend and the race to learn the right line to take, as well as how to set someone up for a pass, which are both things that will help me in the future.”

After the pitstop, Coughlin continued to run hard for the remainder of Friday’s race to help his race team add to their notebook moving forward.

“My crew chief, Dave Leiner, said he gained a lot of information on this chassis and what to do when we get to Chicago next weekend, so I’m really happy about that,” Coughlin said.

Coughlin had his parents, John and Di, at the racetrack on Friday to cheer him on, as well as many friends and family since Michigan is only a few hours away from his hometown of Delaware, OH.

“I love racing in front of friends and family, but I just wish we could have had a better result,” said Coughlin. “But the big thing is the Lord kept us safe today. I’m fortunate to have people like Kevin Hamlin (Team Manager) and Dave Holt (crewmember), so now we’ll all move on to Chicago and look for a strong there.”

Coughlin finished fifth at Chicagoland Speedway in his one start at the 1.5-mile track last year, so now he’s hoping he can find similar success in the Windy City when the ARCA Racing Series visits it next Saturday, June 20th.

For more information on Cody Coughlin and Team JEGS, visit www.teamjegs.com and follow Cody on Twitter, @cody_coughlin. You can also follow Team JEGS on Twitter, @TeamJEGS and “Like” < a href="http://www.facebook.com/jegsperformance" target="_blank">JEGS Performance on Facebook.

Denny Hamlin to drive the SunEnergy1 No. 20 Toyota in the XFINITY Series

NASCAR XFINITY Series at Michigan International Speedway

Continuing their support of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) for the second consecutive season, SunEnergy1 will sponsor five NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) races in 2015 with Denny Hamlin and road-course veteran Kenny Habul sharing the driving duties of the No. 20 Toyota Camry.

After sponsoring four NXS races last season, SunEnergy1, one of the largest solar companies in the world, will kickoff their continued partnership at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. Hamlin will be behind the wheel during Saturday’s NXS race and will return at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 18. Accomplished road-course racer and Australia-native Habul will pilot the No. 20 SunEnergy1 Toyota for the remaining three races at Watkins Glen on August 8, Mid Ohio on August 15 and Road America on August 29.

“I’m really excited for this opportunity,” said Habul. “The partnership between SunEnergy1 and Joe Gibbs Racing continues to be successful and allows us to align with talented drivers like Denny Hamlin. I’m very proud to be driving on the road courses and to be a part of the Joe Gibbs family for the second year.”

Habul raced open wheel in Australia from 1997 to 2005, competing in the Australian Formula Ford Championship, along with a three-year stint in the Australian Formula 3 Driver’s Championship Series with Piccola Scuderia’s Ferrari Team in Sydney.

While continuing a career as a competitive road-course driver, Habul received an opportunity to make his stock-car debut in one of NASCAR’s top national series at Road America in 2012. Since then, Habul has made nine-career starts, scoring his best-career finish last year while racing in a JGR Toyota Camry at Road America.

No. 20 SunEnergy1 Toyota News and Notes:

  • BACK IN ACTION: Denny Hamlin returns to the No. 20 SunEnergy1 Toyota Camry this weekend after scoring his first NXS victory of the season with the No. 20 team at Richmond International Raceway, followed by a runner-up finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the No. 54 Toyota Camry. Although Hamlin hasn’t competed at Michigan International Speedway in the series since 2009, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular has two Cup wins with crew chief Mike Wheeler, as his race engineer, in 2010 and 2011 at NASCAR’S fastest two-mile speedway.
  • JOE GIBBS RACING AT MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY: JGR has 34 total NASCAR XFINITY Series starts at Michigan International Speedway, debuting at the track in 1998 with Bobby Labonte. The team has claimed two wins, one pole, 12 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes. The team has an average start of 14.2, an average finish of 11.0, has led 178 laps at the track and completed 4,125 of 4,204 total laps (98.1%).
  • RACE INFO: The NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Michigan International Speedway is scheduled for Saturday, June 13, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Watch and listen live on FoxSports1, Sirius XM Channel 90 and PRN Radio.

Hamlin’s 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Season Stats:

Starts Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles Poles Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
6 1 3 4 1 301 5.8 10.5

Hamlin’s Career NASCAR XFINITY Series Stats:

Starts Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles Poles Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
148 12 53 88 17 2,789 9.5 12.1

From the Cockpit:

Denny Hamlin: “Saturday’s race should be a good one for us. I have a lot of confidence in Wheels (Mike Wheeler, crew chief) and the No. 20 team. Having extra track time will be really beneficial this weekend. I’m looking forward to having SunEnergy1 on our car. Kenny (Habul) is a great friend of mine and I’m proud to represent SunEnergy1 this weekend and again at New Hampshire.”

From the Pit Box:

Mike Wheeler: “Racing at Michigan with Denny should be a good time. We’ve raced up front and won two Sprint Cup Series races together at this track a few years back, but haven’t had success since it’s been repaved. The track changed a good bit since the repave, but we’ve gained on it each time we we’ve gone back. Track position is a big deal at Michigan and the passing is hard. The tires don’t give up very much either. We’ll have to fight all day, but we’re really looking forward to getting Kenny Habul and SunEnergy1 a finish they can be proud of.”

Race Report: Pocono Raceway

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Matt Kenseth led Joe Gibbs Racing with a sixth-place finish in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Axalta 400 at Pocono Raceway. Teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin joined Kenseth in the top ten taking the checkered flag in ninth and tenth respectively, while Carl Edwards finished 15th.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota from the 19th position and patiently worked his way into the top 15 over the course of the opening green flag run. Kenseth would be ruled speeding entering the pits and was forced to serve a pass-through penalty on lap 31 causing him to drop back outside the top 25. Fortunately the No. 20 Camry was fast and able to remain on the lead lap as he raced his way back inside the top 20. He was back to 15th by lap 60. He would continue his climb and was back inside the top ten to stay shortly after lap 100. He would go on to finish sixth.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota from the 10th position and was able maintain the ninth position over the course of the opening green flag run despite reporting loose handling conditions. He would continue to run near the top ten and some pit strategy helped him jump into the top five by lap 100. He would run fifth with 30 laps remaining and jumped to second a restart with 27 to go before dropping to third when another caution came out with 25 laps remaining. He would lose a few spots on the final restart of the day on lap 144, but still managed a solid top ten finish taking the checkered flag in ninth. The finish allowed Busch to gain positions on standings as he attempts to make the top 30 and earn a victory to ensure a spot in the Chase. He is currently 39th and 151 points outside the top 30.

Denny Hamlin, started the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota from the eighth position and was able to gain a couple spots to run sixth on lap 5. He would hold a spot in the top ten for much of the first half of the race and then varying pit strategies would shuffle the field a bit and Hamlin was running back in 15th at lap 100. He would manage to work his way back into the top ten over a series of late restarts and finished in the tenth position.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota in the second position and was able to go right to front to lead the opening 14 laps of the race before giving way to the 78 car on lap 15. Edwards would run in the top five throughout the first half of the race and then varying pit strategies found him shuffled back to 15th as the race approached the 100-lap mark. The 19 team would try some different pit strategy hoping fresh tires would make the difference back in traffic. Edwards would manage to regain the lost track position from the additional pit stop and was 15th when the checkered flag dropped.

Martin Truex, Jr. captured the win and was followed by Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions on the afternoon for a total of 31 laps and 12 lead changes among six different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Michigan next Sunday, June 14. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 1 PM ET (race begins at 1 PM ET).

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Ill-Handling Car Results in Coughlin’s Top-10 Streak Being Broken

Joe Gibbs Racing Development driver Cody Coughlin has turned plenty of heads already in 2015. A front-row start at Daytona (FL) and a top-five finish; the pole at Talladega (AL) and a second place run; and then a top-10 result in his first start on a road course (New Jersey Motorsports Park) helped boost Coughlin’s confidence going into Saturday’s Pocono ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. Unfortunately, an ill-handling race car resulted in a twelfth place finish.

Coughlin’s streak of six-straight top-10 finishes in ARCA (including four top-five finishes in that span) was snapped. The 19 year-old knows, just like in the biggest leagues of NASCAR, those results are part of the game on occasion.

“We just never got the car close to where it needed to be on Saturday,”said Coughlin, who qualified sixth for the race and finished just behind his teammate Frank Kimmel, a 10-time ARCA champ. “It was really loose and many of the changes just made it worse in other areas. But, it’s not from a lack of effort from anyone at Venturini Motorsports. The entire team worked so hard this weekend, I’m disappointed for them; we are so close to getting that win. This is just one of those week’s where we have to pick up the pieces and start concentrating on the next race.”

That next just happens to be next week when the ARCA Racing Series does battle at Michigan Int’l Speedway in Brooklyn, MI. The Corrigan Oil 200 will go green next Friday, June 12 at 5:45pm.

Just like this past weekend at Pocono, Coughlin will be joined by his Team JEGS crew members Kevin Hamlin (Team Manager), Scott Wimmer (Spotter) and Dave Holt (crew member).

His parents, John & Di, and his sister, Kennedi, will also be there with a large contingent of fans from their home-state of Ohio.

“We are looking forward to Michigan and having a bunch of people there to help support our team. My family means so much to me; we are blessed beyond measure to be able to do what we do have have such good people around us.”

For more information on Cody Coughlin and Team JEGS, visit www.teamjegs.com and follow Cody on Twitter, @cody_coughlin. You can also follow Team JEGS on Twitter, @TeamJEGS and “Like” JEGS Performance on Facebook.

Race Report: Dover

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It was an afternoon of great promise at Dover International Speedway for Joe Gibbs Racing with all four teams starting today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 in the top ten. At times it appeared that all four teams would have the opportunity to hold a spot in the top ten at the finish as well, but it was not to be on this Sunday afternoon as trouble found all four teams at the Monster Mile.

In the end Carl Edwards led JGR with a 19th-place finish, while late-race accidents left Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch back in 21st and 36th respectively and a broken track bar mount placed Matt Kenseth in 39th.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota in the eighth position was able to maintain a position in the top ten through much of the first third of the race. Edwards would lead during a round of green flag pit stops before coming to pit road on lap 162. The team would attempt a wedge adjustment during the stop, but the wrench became stuck causing him to come back down pit road. Complicating matters for Edwards and the Stanley team is that a caution would come out while Edwards was on pit road. He would have to serve a penalty for leaving his pit stall with equipment still attached to the car and he would drop back outside the top 20. He would go on to finish the day in 19th.

Denny Hamlin, started the No. 11 FedEx Cares Toyota from the pole and led the opening 41 laps before relinquishing the lead to the 78 car. The FedEx crew would hand him the lead back on the opening round of pit stops following a caution and Hamlin would prove to have a strong Camry all afternoon as he led a total of four times for 118 laps. Only the 78 would lead more laps. A caution for a wreck that involved his teammate Kyle Busch would bring the No. 11 FedEx machine back down pit road one final time and crew chief Dave Rogers would make the call for four tires. Hamlin would line up fifth for the restart with just under 20 laps remaining. The 15 would get into the 11 sending Hamlin up the track and into the path of the 41 car. The damage would dash any hopes of a trip to victory lane on this afternoon. Hamlin would go on to finish three laps down in 21st position.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Skittles Toyota from the 10th position and it was obvious from the outset that he had a strong Camry for this afternoon’s 400-mile battle at the Monster Mile. Busch raced nearly all day in the top five and even led for three laps at lap 250, but was running third late in the race when trouble would strike. Busch was in the process of lapping the 33 car when the 33 came down unaware that Busch already had position underneath his car and the result was an accident that took both cars out of the race. Busch, who is hoping to earn a win and a spot in the top 30 in points to become Chase eligible, would finish a disappointing 36th.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota from the fourth position and battled for a position in the top five for the opening 300 laps this afternoon at the Monster Mile. Kenseth raced as high as second but shortly after lap 300 he would radio into the team that something felt like it had broken on the car. He would fall back outside the top 20 and was forced to make unscheduled stops on pit road in attempt to fix the issue. Unfortunately the problem only got worse and Kenseth would be forced to the garage on lap 347. The issue would ultimately prove to be a broken track bar mount and resulted in a disappointing 39th-place finish despite a strong showing for much of the afternoon.

Jimmie Johnson captured the win and was followed by Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Kasey Kahne and Aric Almirola rounded out the top five. There were seven cautions on the afternoon for a total of 40 laps and 15 lead changes among nine different drivers. The race was extended by five laps for a green-white-checker finish.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Pocono Raceway next Sunday, June 7. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 12:30 PM ET (race begins at 1 PM ET).

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