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With Team Strength Coughlin Looking to Future

Cody Coughlin is already looking forward to his new Super Late Model race. The 20 year-old competed in The Rattler at South Alabama Speedway in Opp, AL this past weekend. Coughlin’s no.1 Super Late Model broke a suspension component just before lap 90, which resulted in a 30th-place finish in Sunday’s 250-lap race.

“Our team worked so hard this weekend. The result didn’t match the effort that was put forth with our team,” said Coughlin, who started 29th. “Sometimes things happen and it’s unfortunate, but we will build on this experience and be even stronger the next race out.”

The next race is in less than a month at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) for the North-South Challenge, a combined CRA Super Series / Southern Super Series event, on April 8-9.

Coughlin will return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports on Friday, May 6 at Kansas Speedway.

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.

Race Report: Auto Club

It was a hard fought battle at Auto Club Speedway in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Auto Club 400. All four JGR teams would battle through adversity with Denny Hamlin leading the team with a third-place finish. Carl Edwards took the checkered flag in seventh, while two late pit road penalties left Kenseth back in 19th and a flat tire with just two laps remaining dropped Kyle Busch from an almost certain second-place finish to 25th.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota from the third position and proved without a doubt to have one of the fastest cars on the track today as the team would battle back from not one, but two penalties that put them at the back of the field. The first penalty was for pitting prior to pit road being open on lap 26 and the second was a pit road speeding penalty on lap 83. Both times Hamlin would have to drop to the back of the field. But the Sport Clips team was resilient on this day and Hamlin would race his way back into contention. A late caution would bring the field back down pit road for a final pit stop prior to a green-white-checker finish. The Sport Clips crew would make the four-tire change and put Hamlin back out first for the final restart. Hamlin would choose the outside line, but unfortunately the bottom line would come together better on the restart with the 48 pushing the 4 car out to the front. The 48 would eventually make a final pass on the 4 for the win, and Hamlin was left back in the third position at the finish line. It was an amazing finish despite the earlier setbacks in the race.

Carl Edwards qualified the No. 19 Subway Toyota in the fifth position and was fast throughout the afternoon as he raced inside the top five for the majority of the afternoon. Edwards would get penalized by NASCAR for speeding on pit road on lap 124 forcing him to the back of the field. But Edwards and the Subway team was far from done on this afternoon as he drove his way back toward the front of the field and in contention to win the race. Edwards was back up into second late before a late caution brought all the teams down pit road one final time to set up a green-white-checker finish. Edwards would restart fifth but was caught in the wrong line on the restart and had to settle for a seventh-place finish.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 DEWALT Toyota in the 20th position but was fast from the outset entering the top ten just 10 laps into the 200-lap battle. Kenseth would race his way into the top five by the 50-lap mark and he would spend the majority of the afternoon racing for the lead. Tire wear was a major issue for many teams on this afternoon and Kenseth would feel a potential flat tire with just over 50 laps remaining. He would come down pit road on lap 149 for a four-tire change, but was ruled too fast entering the pits forcing him to the back of the field. He would work his way back toward the top 15 but NASCAR ruled the team had a uncontrolled tire on the final pit stop prior to a green-white-checker finish. Kenseth would once again be sent to the back of the lead lap cars and once again he would battle back to earn a 19th-place finish.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&M’S 75th Anniversary Toyota from the sixth position and quickly gained a spot to race the top five early on in this 200-lap battle. Shortly thereafter Busch would report loose handling conditions and a possible tire issue. Instead of taking a chance early in the race the team would make the decision to bring Busch down pit road for fresh tires on lap 19. The unscheduled stop pushed the No. 18 Camry back to 38th, but he was able to quickly race his way back onto the lead lap on the fresh tires before a caution on lap 26. From there he was able to slowly make his way back toward the front of the field and was back inside the top ten for a restart on lap 54. He would battle inside the top five for much of the remainder of the afternoon and was running second with just two laps to go when his right front tire blew. Busch would have to bring the M&M’S Camry down pit road for fresh tires and restart from the back of the lead lap cars. He would race his way back to 25th at the finish.

Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports captured the win, with Kevin Harvick second, Hamlin third, Joey Logano fourth and Ricky Stenhouse rounded out the top five. There were six cautions for a total of 33 laps and 26 lead changes among eight different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes a week off before returning on April 2 on the short track of Martinsville Speedway. Live coverage on Fox Sports 1 will start Sunday, April 2 at Noon (race starts at 1 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

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.