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Erik Jones Drives the No. 20 NarcolepsyLink.com Toyota at Chicagoland Speedway

No. 20 NarcolepsyLink.com Toyota News and Notes:

  • JONES LOOKING TO CARRY MOMENTUM FROM TRUCK SERIES WIN INTO NATIONWIDE SERIES DEBUT: 18-year-old Erik Jones will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) debut behind the wheel of the No. 20 NarcolepsyLink.com Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing in Saturday night’s EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. The Michigan native will be looking to carry the momentum of his hard-fought victory in the American Ethanol 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway last Friday night into a successful debut in NASCAR’s second division this weekend. Jones, driving the No. 51 Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports, led a race-high 131 laps and held off a hard-charging Ryan Blaney in the closing laps to pick up his second career Truck Series victory in just his ninth series start. Last November at Phoenix International Raceway, Jones became the youngest winner in the history of the Truck Series when at the age of 17 years, five months and nine days old, he led a race-high 84 laps en route to the victory.
  • LUCKY SEVENTH: Jones will be the seventh different driver to make a start behind the wheel of the No. 20 Camry in 2014. Matt Kenseth has made 11 starts for the team this season, while Darrell Wallace Jr. has two starts and Kenny Habul, Sam Hornish Jr., Michael McDowell and Daniel Suarez each have made one appearance. This weekend’s event is one of three scheduled for Jones this season with the No. 20 team. He will also be behind the wheel for short track-action at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 22 and at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 8. The three-race Nationwide Series gig for JGR compliments his limited schedule in the Truck Series, where he has eight races remaining on his 12-race schedule in the No. 51 Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
  • JGR AT CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has 35 starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Chicagoland Speedway, with four wins, nine top-five finishes, 20 top-10 finishes, an average start of 9.3 and average finish of 11.8. The team has four poles and has led 867 laps on their way to completing 6,880 of 7,008 attempted laps (98.2%). Kyle Busch has collected three of JGR’s wins (2008, 2010 and 2013) and Joey Logano scored the other (2009).
  • POINTS UPDATE: After 17 races this season, the No. 20 Camry team currently ranks seventh in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner Point Standings, 132 points out of first. The team has produced six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 2014. Sam Hornish Jr. registered a season-best second-place result for the team at Michigan International Speedway in June.
  • KEEPING UP WITH JONES: Keep up with Jones’ latest happenings through social media on both Twitter and Instagram via @erik_jones and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ErikJonesRacing.
  • RACE INFO: The EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway is scheduled for Saturday, July, 19, 2014 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Watch and listen live on ESPN2, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
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Race Report: New Hampshire

Joe Gibbs Racing brought three extremely fast race cars to Loudon, New Hampshire this weekend, with each taking a turn at the front of the field during today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway. All three spent the majority of the race inside the top five and when it was over Kyle Busch would lead the team with a second-place finish, while Matt Kenseth came home fourth and Denny Hamlin eighth.

Busch set a new track record during Friday’s qualifying session to place his No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota on the pole for the start of today’s race. Busch was fast from the outset leading the opening 62 laps before giving way to his teammate Denny Hamlin. Busch would spend the majority of the day inside the top five and was running fifth when the race reached 200 laps. He would pit for four tires on lap 214 and lined up 15th for the restart a few laps later after many chose to take only two or fuel only. Busch would race his way into 11th by lap 245. The Interstate Batteries team would make the call to stay out under caution on lap 251 allowing him to restart third with 45 laps to go. He would drop a couple spots on the next run while attempting to save enough fuel to ensure he would make it to the end. He would run sixth with 20 to go and continued to hold that spot when a caution came out with four to go setting up a green-white-checker finish. Crew chief Dave Rogers would make the call to remain on the track and attempt to stretch their fuel run into overtime. He would take the green flag with two to go from the fourth position and managed an impressive second-place finish. It was Busch’s third consecutive second-place finish in New Hampshire.

Kenseth started his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the 15th position but wasted no time in moving into the top ten to race eighth by lap 25. He would move into the top five for the first time on lap 61 and continued his climb toward the lead. Kenseth, who won in New Hampshire last September, took the top spot on lap 127. He would hold the lead for 12 laps before giving way to the 2 car. The No. 20 Dollar General team would elect to take four tires during a round of stops under caution shortly after the midpoint of the race and he would restart 11th after many others on the lead lap made the decision for just two tires. Kenseth would work his way back inside the top 10 and into sixth over the course of the next run and continued to hold that spot at the 200 lap mark. He would pit on lap 214 for four tires while many others elected just two tires or no tires and he would line up 17th for a restart on lap 219. He would race his way back into the top 10 by lap 245. He would take fuel only on his next stop with 51 laps remaining and lined up eighth for the restart when several others elected not to pit. He would run seventh with 20 to go and held that position when a caution came out with four laps remaining to set up a green-white-checker finish. He restarted fifth with two to go and took the checkered flag in fourth.

Hamlin started his No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota in the third position and immediately moved into second. He would settle into that position for the first 62 laps before finally tracking down his teammate Kyle Busch and claiming the lead. Hamlin would lead twice for a total of 20 laps through the first round of green flag pit stops. He would continue to run inside the top five much of the afternoon and was in fourth when the race reached the 200 lap mark. The FedEx Freight Camry would pit under caution on lap 214 for four tires and lined up 13th for a lap 219 restart after many others elected to take only two tires or fuel only. Hamlin would climb his way back into the top 10 in less than 10 laps and was running seventh on lap 245. He would remain out on the track during the next caution which allowed him to restart second with 45 to go. He would drop to third, but eventually earned the second spot back with 19 laps to go despite having to save enough fuel to make it to the finish. A caution with four to go would hurt the FedEx team’s fuel strategy and crew chief Darian Grubb called the 11 car down pit road for tires and fuel. He would restart 20th but managed an impressive drive back into the top ten and earned an eighth-place finish.

Brad Keselowski won the race, followed by Busch, Kyle Larson, Kenseth and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five. There were seven cautions for a total of 35 laps and 18 lead changes among nine different drivers. The race was extended four laps for a green-white-checker finish.

Race Report: Daytona

Rain managed to delay the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway from its scheduled Saturday night start to this morning. The wet weather also shortened the scheduled length of the race today, but it did nothing to dampen the overall excitement with two large accidents taking its toll on many of the cars in the field.

Joe Gibbs Racing was certainly not immune from the accidents with Matt Kenseth involved in the day’s first wreck on lap 21 and Kyle Busch being knocked from the race on lap 98. They would finish 20th and 28th respectively. Meanwhile Denny Hamlin also picked up damage from the lap 98 accident but managed to remain on the track and on the lead lap to earn a sixth-place finish.

Hamlin started his No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota in the 37th position and slowly climbed his way toward the front of the field. He was into the top 15 when the day’s first accident struck on lap 21 and somehow he was able to steer the No. 11 Camry through a field of damaged cars. Hamlin was inside the top five at the halfway mark and hoping to survive and be in a position to win at the end. The FedEx Toyota would take a ride through the infield during a lap 98 accident, but once again Hamlin managed to avoid any major damage and lined up sixth for the restart. He would remain sixth when the rain began to fall again and the race was red flagged once again on lap 112. NASCAR would eventually call the race and Hamlin would officially be scored at the finish in sixth.

Kenseth started his No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Toyota in sixth and took the lead early on lap five and held the top spot for the next 12 laps. He remained toward the front of the field when the day’s first big accident struck on lap 21. Kenseth was forced to bring the No. 20 Camry down pit road for repairs and although he managed to remain on the lead lap his temperatures ran high and he was forced to bring it down pit road for more extensive repairs under the next caution. Kenseth would eventually fall a lap off the pace. He would continue to run a lap down hoping to pick up the lucky dog position when another big wreck on lap 98 would result in further damage to the Home Depot/Husky Toyota. The team was able to keep the car on the track however and Kenseth restarted 20th. Rain would quickly follow and the race was red flagged on lap 112 with Kenseth in 20th, which is where he would officially be scored when NASCAR called the race due to continuous storms.

Busch started his No. 18 Interstate All Battery Center Toyota in the 39th position and was content through the early laps to race near the back of the field. He would slide into the top ten following a caution for the day’s first accident on lap 21. Kyle would remain near the front of the field but was caught in the day’s big one on lap 98 when the 5 car was hit from behind and spun down in front of the 18. Kyle nearly managed to avoid major damage when he steered the Interstate All Battery Center Camry down into the infield grass, but the heavy rains over the previous 24 hours left the No. 18 to sink down in the mud and ultimately spin back up the track where it picked up additional contact and ended up on its roof. Busch would be fine but his day was over. He would be scored in 28th.

Aric Almirola won the rain shortened race after just 112 of the 160 scheduled laps. He was followed by Brian Vickers, Kurt Busch, Casey Mears, and Austin Dillon to round out the top five. There were six cautions for a total of 29 laps and 21 lead changes among 14 different drivers.