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Kyle Busch Wins at Richmond! JGR Sweeps Weekend

Joe Gibbs Racing continued its dominance at Richmond International Raceway tonight with Kyle Busch capturing his second victory of the season, followed closely by Denny Hamlin in second and Joey Logano in 11th.

Click Here to view photos from Richmond

Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Pretzel Candies Toyota in the 20th position and proved strong from the outset once again on the Virginia short track, wasting very little time making his way toward the front. Busch would enter the top ten by lap 31 and was inside the top five just thirty laps later. He was running second when he entered the pits for the first time and great work by the M&Ms crew on the green flag stop gave Busch his first lead on lap 91 once everyone had cycled through the stops. He would swap the top spot several times with his teammate as the race progressed but it was obvious throughout the night that he and his teammate Hamlin were the class of the field as the two battled back and forth at the front of the pack. The night’s final restart would come on lap 313 and an impressive move by Busch to the outside sent him to the front of the field one final time. From there he was able to extend his lead and conserve just enough fuel to capture the checkered flag. It was another dominating performance for Busch and JGR as he would lead a race-high four times for 235 laps en route to victory.

Hamlin entered the night seeking a weekend sweep after winning his own Late Model charity race Thursday night and then dominating the NASCAR Nationwide Series in the No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota on Friday. Hamlin wasted no time moving to the front of the field after starting the No. 11 FedEx Freight in the 11th position. He would move into the top five within the first 50 laps and claimed the top spot on lap 73. Although Hamlin would drop back into the fourth position following the race’s first round of green flag pit stops, he managed to settle into the second position behind his teammate Busch through the midpoint of the race. He would retake the top spot on lap 274. Pit sequences would shuffle the field a bit, but it never took long for Hamlin to weave his way back to the front. Hamlin would settle in behind Busch on what turned out to be the final restart of the night on lap 313 and as the two weaved their way through lapped traffic he was unable to challenge his teammate for the win. The FedEx team would settle for an impressive second-place finish after leading three times for a total of 38 laps.

Joey Logano started the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the ninth position and struggled through the early portion of the race to find the proper handle on the car. With few cautions in the first half of the race there was limited time for The Home Depot crew to work on the car. Adjustments by the team at the midpoint of the race made The Home Depot Camry handle better on both the entry and exit of the turns, but he was still unable to drive forward through the field. Logano was running 18th on lap 255 when Jimmie Johnson slid up the track and spun his No. 20 Camry. It took four trips down pit road and outstanding work by the team, but Logano was able to remain on lead lap to restart in the 21st position. A series of cautions allowed the team to continue to work on the handle of his Camry, but a big accident in front of Logano with 100 laps remaining would cause a little further damage despite an impressive display of skills that kept the No. 20 clear of anything major that might have ended his night early. The perseverance shown by The Home Depot crew would pay off as the No. 20 was at its best on the race’s final run to earn an 11th-place finish.

Kasey Kahne finished third behind Busch and Hamlin, while David Ragan was fourth and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions for a total of 60 laps and 14 lead changes among 10 different drivers over the course of the 400-lap race.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Darlington next Saturday night. The race in Darlington 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.

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Gresham Notches Top Finish In SOBO

NASCAR K&N Clash

 

SOUTH BOSTON, VA (April 18, 2011) – There’s something about South Boston Speedway that brings out the best in Max Gresham.

“I really don’t know what it is about South Boston that I like,” said Gresham after wheeling his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Toyota to a third-place finish in the South Boston 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event Sunday afternoon. “I like the feel that it gives me. I can really abuse the track. It reminds me of some of the places I have raced on back home in Georgia. You are always going to drive well at the places you like. I’m three-for-three with top-five finishes here, so there’s obviously there’s something about this place that agrees with me.”


Gresham made his NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut at the tiny four-tenths-mile Virginia oval in 2009 finishing fifth. Last year, the 17-year-old JGR development driver won his first-ever NASCAR K&N race at ‘SOBO.’ His third-place run Sunday now gives him a 3.0 finishing average at the track in just three NASCAR K&N events.

Sunday’s solid finish took a little extra work as Gresham had to overcome an early qualifying draw sent him out fifth in the time trial session. His lap of 16.040 seconds (89.776 miles per hour average) was still good enough for seventh in the 32-car starting field.

Gresham quickly showed he was one of the top contenders for the win working his way to fifth within the first five laps telling his JGR crew that his Toyota Camry was ‘on rails’ over the team radio.

By Lap 100, Gresham was in fourth place trailing leaders Brett Moffitt, Sergio Pena and Matt DiBenedetto. Over the next 40 laps, Gresham nipped at the heels of DiBenedetto and Pena for position while Moffitt apparently checked out for his second NKNPSE win in a row.

Then on Lap 141, Moffitt crashed after tangling with a lapped car forcing the field to a red flag condition. When the race got back underway with just four circuits remaining, Gresham was third and poised to make a run at the win.

The soon-to-be Woodward Academy high school graduate wasted little time muscling his way inside of DiBendetto for second on the restart. While the pair raced side-by-side over the final laps, Pena slipped away leaving the two black and orange Toyotas to battle for the runner-up spot.


At the finish, it was Pena by four car lengths with Gresham and DiBenedetto in apparent dead heat for second. Initially, Gresham was declared the runner up, but later NASCAR changed the final finishing order giving placing Gresham third.

“We ran good, in the top-five all day long,” Gresham stated. “We had a chance to win, but we brought the car home in one piece instead. I think I could have won, but there was no reason to wreck two other cars just to try to win. I’m happy with where we finished and I’m pleased that our car is in one piece. It won’t take much work for my guys to turn it around.”

The good finish – coming on the heels of a disappointing 21st-place effort when tire issues in the final 10 laps ruined a possible top-five run in the season-opening race at Greenville, SC two weeks ago – boosted Gresham back into 2011 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship hunt.

Gresham is now ninth in the standings with 265 points, just 66 markers out of first.

“Today was my mom’s birthday,” said Gresham in Sunday’s post race interview. “I really wanted to have a good day for her and I was really happy that she was here today. I was also racing in memory of my good friend Beau Slocumb. He passed away after his long battle with cancer last week. He’s in a better place now.”

Sunday’s South Boston 150 will be telecast on a tape delayed basis on Thursday, May 12 at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.

Gresham will get additional ‘TV time’ the next time he hits the track when he competes in the Fourth-Annual Denny Hamlin Short-Track Showdown on Thursday, April 28. Before the live event on SPEED rolls off, Gresham will wheel his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at RIR.
For more information about Max Gresham, please access www.MaxGresham.com. You can also follow Max Gresham on Twitter @Max Gresham and on Facebook at Max Gresham Fan Page.

Additional information about the Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR K&N Pro Series effort can be viewed atwww.JoeGibbsRacing.com.
For information about sponsorship of or partnering with Max Gresham’s 2011 NASCAR racing efforts, please contact J.R. Longley at

Talladega Tandemanium

The two-car draft was back Sunday afternoon at the Talladega Superspeedway. Along with it came the unique challenges it presents to drivers as they try to push their drafting partners to the front with limited visibility and the risk of hitting them off-center and spinning them out. Throughout the day, all three Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas took their turn at the front of the pack as they worked together in the draft.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota in the 29th position, but quickly made it to the front early in the day. As was the case for many drivers, Hamlin would charge to the front, then drop to the rear as other cars found momentum in the two-car tandem draft. He found himself working with the No. 39 car for much of the race, which proved successful until the No. 39 had trouble late in the event. Hamlin avoided several incidents, but received minor damage to his car in the final incident of the day with roughly 15 laps to go. The FedEx Office crew was able to repair the car sufficiently for the final run at the win. With four laps remaining, Hamlin was hooked with JGR teammate Joey Logano in 12th place, but lost the draft when he got out of the throttle to avoid the No. 34 car who almost spun ahead of him. Hamlin would end up 23rd. The finish enabled Hamlin to gain three spots in the point standings, moving to 17th.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Pretzel Candies Toyota in the 34th position and made it clear that he had a car capable of running up front and winning the race. Busch led several laps and spent many more pushing other cars to the first position. On lap 140 misfortunes struck Busch while he was being pushed by teammate Joey Logano. As Busch and Logano shot to the high side in tandem to pass another pair of drivers, their bumpers made contact off of center sending the No. 18 car spinning into traffic in the low line and eventually into the wall down the backstretch. The incident is often unavoidable given the type of racing seen at restrictor plate races with the current rule package. Neither driver considered the other to be at fault. The crew was able to make enough repairs to the car to return to the race for a few laps before finally settling for a 35th place finish. His troubles relegated him to 6th place in the series point standings.

Joey Logano started the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the 36th position and was able to clinch his first top-10 finish of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Logano showed patience and skill on Sunday. At times he would suggest to his veteran drafting partners that they hold steady together at the back of the pack to avoid the mayhem of the lead group. Other times during the race, Logano charged to the front, leading laps and gaining one bonus point in his Race to the Chase. Near the end of the race, Logano had positioned himself perfectly to make a charge for the win with teammate Denny Hamlin. However, when Hamlin became disconnected from the draft, Logano’s momentum was interrupted and he was forced to pair with the No. 34 car. When the checkered flag flew Logano was in 10th and had gained four spots in the point standings to 24th.

In one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history Jimmie Johnson captured the victory, while Clint Bowyer was second, Jeff Gordon third, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fourth and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. There were 6 cautions for a total of 24 laps and 88 lead changes among 24 different drivers over the course of the 188-lap race.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take a week off to celebrate the Easter holiday, before returning to Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, April 30. The race in Richmond 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 NASCAR Nationwide Series will run next week in Nashville on Saturday, April 23 at 3 PM televised live on ESPN starting at 2 PM.

Incredible Comebacks at Talladega!

Kyle Busch wins his first race at Talladega!

It appeared that Kyle Busch’s day was over. After being involved in a multi-car accident on lap 89 of Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Busch’s No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota was a mangled mess, so much so that he was ready to take his car to the garage area so that his crew could load it up and get a head start on their trip home.

But crew chief Jason Ratcliff had other ideas. The veteran race-caller brought Busch to pit road where a swarm of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) crewmen went to work on repairing the Z-Line Designs Camry. Quick and tenacious effort during a series of stops allowed Busch to rejoin the field without losing a lap. And with 32 laps remaining in a car seemingly held together with duct tape and sheer will, Busch rallied his way to the front with JGR teammate Joey Logano pushing him from behind.

With a shove from Logano, Busch took the lead down the backstretch of the 2.66-mile oval and kept it when a melee erupted behind him that sent Mike Wallace’s car airborne. With NASCAR having already attempted to finish the race under green twice before, this caution provided the third and final strike. The race ended under caution with the field frozen just before entering turns three and four. Busch was clearly the leader when the caution flag waved, and after leading only three laps on three separate occasions – all before lap 36 – Busch was the leader on the lap that mattered most, allowing him to secure his fourth Nationwide Series win of the season and his second Nationwide Series win in a restrictor-plate race.

“That’s why you never give up,” said spotter Eddie D’Hondt as soon as Busch crossed the start/finish line.

“I got hit like three times on the left side and I thought it was killed. I said it was killed,” Busch remarked. “These guys did a great job putting it back together with great leadership from Jason Ratcliff. This Z-Line Designs Camry doesn’t look the best, but it was certainly the best right there at the end, especially with the guy that was pushing me.

“Joey was a great teammate today. Can’t thank everybody from the whole JGR organization. They guys on that ‘20’ car (Logano), they deserve to win just as much as we do right here. This is a team win and it’s cool to get it here. Finally, I won a Nationwide race here, so now I completed the sweep at Talladega. It’s cool to run the Nationwide Series. I love doing it and love winning, too.”

Prior to Saturday, Busch’s best Nationwide Series result at Talladega was a third-place finish in 2006. While winless in Nationwide Series competition, he did have two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories (October 2009 and October 2010) and one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win (April 2008).

“We had a steady racecar,” Busch said. “It was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and getting the right push when it mattered most. Fortunately, we got it there with Joey. We were kind of working with some other people throughout the day just to see what we could figure out and what we could learn. When it came down toward the end, it was really good for us to get teamed up and for us to try to keep getting in each other’s lane so we could get the push draft going as soon as we could after the restarts.”

“I was committed to pushing him and we were going to get all the way to the front one way or the other, and then battle it out to the checkered flag,” Logano said. “But the caution came out there at the end, and all I know is I saw a car go upside down in my mirror. We were beating the heck out of these poor cars. I got hit in the door, the A-post is falling apart, the bumper is falling off every car – it was crazy out there.”
“This Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry was awesome today,” Busch added. “We had the wreck on the backstretch and I thought we were done. I said, ‘The only reason I’m going to stop is because you guys are before the garage area.’ I stopped and these guys said we could fix it. They detailed it up for me and gave it a spit shine and threw some duct tape on it and let her eat. Fortunately, it was still fast enough to where we could run up front.”

“Out of all the race tracks you go to, this place and Daytona, you spend so much time getting the bodies right, straight, and you look at this thing and you can’t believe it can even run minimal speed,” said Ratcliff as he surveyed the No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota from his perch in victory lane. “Great job by the guys on pit road. Came in there, three corners were knocked off of it, the crush panels were falling out of it – it was a mess. They did a great job of orchestrating the repairs to keep from losing a lap.

“Like Kyle said, you have to have a teammate and, thankfully, Joey was committed there at the end to stand behind us and push us. He felt comfortable there and that’s the only way we were going to win it. Thanks to those guys and the ‘20’ team for their hard work. If they didn’t have a fast racecar then we wouldn’t have won it either. It was a total team effort.

“This is the ugliest racecar we’ve ever had in victory lane. To think you could do it at a restrictor-plate race – maybe it’s a new car thing. Maybe we need to come down pit road next time on the first stop and knock all the fenders off of it and be done with it. Fun day.”

Busch now has 92 victories across NASCAR’s top three divisions (Sprint Cup – 20; Nationwide – 47; Camping World Truck – 25). He is now just three wins shy of breaking the all-time Nationwide Series win record of 49, currently held by Mark Martin.
Logano came home second to give JGR a 1-2 finish, while Brian Scott, driver of the No. 11 Toyota Camry for JGR, finished 11th. Both drivers overcame incidets and car damage earlier in the race to post these impressive finishes.

Veteran Joe Nemechek secured third place, while Brad Keselowski and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-five. Trevor Bayne, Justin Allgaier, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Reed Sorenson and Aric Almirola comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were 11 caution periods for 38 laps, with 16 drivers failing to finish the 124-lap race, which was extended seven laps past its originally scheduled distance by a green-white-checkered finish.

There was a record 56 lead changes, besting the previous Nationwide Series record of 36 lead changes set at Talladega on April 28, 2007.

The next event on the Nationwide Series schedule is the April 23 Nashville 300 at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by ESPN beginning with its pre-race show at 2 p.m.

Turbulence in Texas

It was a strange night under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway with long green flag runs dictating strategy. In the end, Denny Hamlin would lead the Joe Gibbs Racing team with a 15th-place finish, while teammates Kyle Busch and Joey Logano finished 16th and 24th respectively.

Click Here to View Photos From the Event

Hamlin was running a special March of Dimes paint scheme on the No. 11 FedEx Toyota and started the night in the 23rd position. He was able to make his way forward and a two-tire stop on lap 115 allowed him to jump all the way into the top-five. However the experiment didn’t work all that well thanks to another long green flag run. Long green flag runs would mark this race however and as he battled to find the proper handle on his No. 11 Camry Hamlin would drop a lap off the pace, Despite his best efforts and those of his team, the long green flag runs would make it difficult to pick up the lucky dog or take a wave around and Hamlin was unable to get back on the lead lap. He was forced to settle for a 15th-place finish.

Busch started the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota in the 11th position and quickly raced his way into the top ten. Crew chief Dave Rogers and the Interstate Batteries crew continued to make adjustments to the No. 18 Camry to keep up with the changing track conditions as the day turned into night. The adjustments appeared to be working as Busch had raced his way into the third position and appeared set to compete for the win as the laps dwindled down. Unfortunately not long after a green flag pit stop on lap 251, Busch was forced to come back down pit road because of a left rear tire vibration. That unscheduled pit stop put the 18 team a lap off the leaders and back in the 17th position. Although the 18 team remained on the track for as long as they could hoping for a caution that would put them back on the lead lap – the caution would never come. Busch would have to settle for a frustrating 16th-place finish despite having a solid car throughout the race.

Joey Logano started the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the eighth position and while he was set to battle inside the top ten on the track, it was his competition on pit road that ultimately would set him back. Logano was blocked in his pit stall on the first round of stops causing him to fall back to 21st for the race’s first restart. Then big trouble would come on the next round of pit stops when David Reutimann made a hard right turn out of his stall and directly into the left front end of the No. 20 Camry. The contact caused extensive damage and unfortunately there were very few cautions to allow The Home Depot team the time make the needed repairs. With long green flag runs between the cautions Logano would ultimately fall two laps behind the pace. Despite all the problems however, Logano and the Home Depot team continued to work through the adversity to salvage a 24th-place finish.

Matt Kenseth captured the victory, while Clint Bowyer was second, Carl Edwards third, Greg Biffle fourth and Paul Menard rounded out the top five. There were only five cautions for a total of 24 laps and 31 lead changes among 13 different drivers over the course of the 334-lap race.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to the circuits biggest track next Sunday, April 17 at the 2.66-mile oval of Talladega Superspeedway. The race will begin at 1 PM ET with live, high-definition coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at Noon ET. The race will also be broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio Channel 128.

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