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Carl Edwards Wins Bristol

Carl Edwards dominated from start to finish and picked up his first win of the season in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Edwards led a race-high 276 laps today after starting from the pole.

Meanwhile it was a day of frustration for his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates who battled through several setbacks including a series of blown right front tires. When it was over Hamlin would be scored 20th, while Kenseth was 36th and Busch 38th.

Edwards started the No. 19 Comcast Business Toyota on the pole position and led the opening 36 laps. Edwards would remain solidly in the top five for much of the first third of the race and was back at the front of the field by lap 200. He would continue to hold the top spot through a series of cautions and by lap 250 he had led a total of 100 laps. Edwards would continue to lead the field through a series of cautions over the next 100 laps. The 41 car would get around Edwards on lap 365 on a restart, but he would regain the lead prior to another caution with 90 laps to go. The Comcast Business crew would keep him on the lead following pit stops and the 19 car shot to the front once again with 85 laps remaining. Edwards would hold the lead through several late race restarts to earn the win. The victory virtually ensures his place in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship.

Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the fourth position and was able to remain inside the top ten through the first third of the race. Hamlin, who had suffered some right front damage to his FedEx Camry during Saturday’s practice session, would find the situation aggravated after contact with the 44 car on pit road. He would bring the 11 car back down pit road for additional repairs which forced him to restart outside the top 20 just prior to the 200 lap mark. The FedEx crew would make additional repairs under the next caution on lap 222 and Hamlin would restart as the last car on the lead lap in 30th on lap 227. Hamlin was running 24th at lap 250 and was back inside the top 20 by lap 325. A pit road penalty for improper fueling would add to the setbacks and Hamlin would restart 20th on lap 345. A flat right front tire would send the FedEx Camry into the outside wall with 90 laps remaining. Hamlin was able to come down pit road under caution for repairs, but would restart a lap down on lap 415. He would go on to finish 20th.

Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the second position but was able to make the pass of his teammate Edwards for the lead on lap 36. Kenseth would lead 142 laps before a blown right front tire sent him into the outside wall. The Dollar General crew would make the necessary repairs on pit road allowing him to remain on the lead lap and restart just outside the top 20. He would restart 20th on lap 227 and was up to 15th by lap 240 and 14th at the halfway point. Kenseth would work his way back inside the top ten and was back inside the top five by lap 300. He was running third when another blown right front tire would force him into the outside wall once again on lap 323. This time the damage was too great to fix on pit road and the Dollar General team would have to take it to the garage for repair. He would make it back out to finish the race but was 40 laps down to the leaders and would go on to finish 36th.

Busch started the No. 18 M&M’S 75th Anniversary Toyota from the fifth position and was able to race his way up to third over the course of the opening green flag run. Unfortunately the M&M’S Camry would blow a right front tire resulting in contact with the outside wall to bring out the day’s first caution on lap 50. The crew would keep the 18 on the lead lap and Busch slowly began to fight his way back to the front of the field. However contact from the 34 car on lap 117 would cause Busch to spin. He would keep the car out of any additional damage and was once again able to remain on the lead lap. Busch would start the comeback climbing his way back inside the top 20 and back into the top 10 by lap 170. In fact, he was running eighth on lap 175. Busch would face another setback when NASCAR ruled he was too fast on pit road. That sent the 18 to the back of the lead lap cars. Once again Busch would fight back however and he was back inside the top 15 to restart 13th on lap 227. After an eventful first half of the race Busch was running 10th at lap 250. Just 10 laps later Busch would blow another right front tire and this time his hit to the outside wall would cause major damage. Despite the team’s best effort to recover from the setbacks his day would be over and he would officially be scored 38th.

Edwards captured the win, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in second, Kurt Busch third, Chase Elliott fourth and Trevor Bayne rounded out the top five. There were 15 cautions for a total of 102 laps and 16 lead changes among seven different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Richmond International Raceway next Sunday for an afternoon race. Live coverage on Fox will start Sunday, April 24 at 12:30 PM (race starts at 1 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Cody Coughlin Scores Huge Home State Victory at Toledo

Cody Coughlin returned home to Ohio and returned to victory lane in the same day. The Joe Gibbs Racing Development Driver started third in the 7-Up 100 Saturday for the ARCA / CRA Super Series at Toledo Speedway and won the race in convincing fashion while driving the Team JEGS No. 1 Toyota Camry.

“This feels great, especially because we struggled at the beginning of the year,” said the 20 year-old Coughlin. “We made a change and brought Jack (Smith) in to be the crew chief. He and Kevin Hamlin have really clicked so well. They gave me a great race car and that makes my job easier for sure.”

Coughlin did his job to the best of his abilities Saturday afternoon. He fell back to fourth in the early stages of the race, but he stayed patient. The Delaware, Ohio native worked his way back into third and then set his sights on the top-two drivers.

When the leaders encountered lapped traffic, Coughlin pounced. He made an aggressive three-wide move in turn four to take over second place.

“You have to be careful on your tires at this place,” explained Coughlin, who is also racing part-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. “When you do get an opportunity to take a spot, you have to take it and that’s what I did with that aggressive move.”

Coughlin took the lead off of turn two with 35 laps to go and started to drive away until a crash brought out the red flag with about 28 laps to go.

After the lengthy cleanup, Coughlin was able to drive away from the field on the restart to claim the checkered flag at Toledo in just his second race with his new crew chief.

Kyle Busch Sweeps Texas!

Kyle Busch swept back to back weekends with a win in tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The race was delayed nearly two hours by rain but once it started Carl Edwards proved to have the dominate car early leading 124 laps. He would have to battle back from a loose wheel at the end to finish seventh. A loose wheel would also impact Matt Kenseth, who lost a certain top ten finish but still managed to take the checkered flag in 11th. Denny Hamlin also raced inside the top ten much of the night before finishing 12th.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota from the 15th position and was able to drive his way into the top ten prior to a lap 30 competition caution. A traffic jam leaving pit road would result in contact by the 48 car to the right rear bumper of the Interstate Batteries Camry. Although the contact wasn’t severe it appeared to affect the handling on Busch’s car as he battled tight handling over the course of the next run. He would run fifth following a round of green flag pit stops on lap 74 and was seventh once the field cycled through a round of stops on lap 113. Despite running well, Crew chief Adam Stevens made the call for bigger changes to help the handling on the Interstate Batteries Toyota and Busch would restart fourth on lap 222. He was up to third with 100 laps to go and managed to move into second just a few laps later. He would line up fourth on a restart with 42 laps remaining and after a big multi-car wreck behind him he was able to restart second with 33 laps remaining. Busch would go to the lead following the restart and held on to the finish to claim the win. It is Busch’s second win in a row in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after winning at Martinsville last week and he has now swept the previous four national NASCAR touring series races to include the Truck Series in Martinsville last week and XFINITY Series here in Texas last night.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota on the pole position and held that top spot for the opening 59 laps of the race. Edwards would drop to third following a round of green flag pit stops on lap 74, but raced his way back into second which is where he ran at lap 100. He would run third once the field cycled through on the next round of green flag pit stops on lap 113. A caution would bring the leaders down pit road on lap 137 and the STANLEY crew would put Edwards back out as the leader for the restart. Edwards would pit under caution and lined up second behind his teammate Kenseth for a restart on lap 222. A loose wheel would cause him to drop back and return to pit road for fresh tires resulting in the No. 19 Camry falling a lap down in 19th position. Edwards would get back on the lead lap for a restart with 50 laps remaining. Another restart with 42 laps to go would lead to a big wreck and Edwards would have to come to a complete stop to avoid the multi-car accident. He would line up seventh for a restart with 33 to go and managed to hold that position to the finish.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the ninth position and was able to hold a spot in the top ten through the opening green flag run prior to the competition caution on lap 30. The Dollar General crew would put Kenseth out fifth for the restart and he was able to drive his way up to third by lap 50. Kenseth would lead a lap during the day’s first round of green flag pit stops and was running fifth once the field cycled through. He was running fourth at lap 100 and went to second during a round of green flag pit stops on lap 113. He would restart second to his teammate Edwards following a round of stops under caution on lap 137. Kenseth would report that his Camry had turned extremely loose on the next run and he would drop back outside the top five. Kenseth would come down for a green flag pit stop just prior to a caution. He would remain out when the leaders came down pit road allowing him to restart as the leader no lap 222. Kenseth would hold the top spot for the next 19 laps before giving way to the 78. He would drop back to run fourth on the next run before caution brought the leaders back down pit road. The Dollar General Camry was third off pit road but the left rear tire was loose forcing Kenseth back down pit road. That put him back to 13th for the restart with 50 laps remaining. He would restart again from 13th with 33 laps to go and managed to gain two spots to finish 11th.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota from the sixth position and raced inside the top ten prior to a competition caution on lap 30. Hamlin would slow to avoid a traffic jam exiting pit road causing him to restart in 11th. He would battle tight handling conditions on his FedEx Camry over the course of the next green flag run but was able to re-enter the top ten following the night’s first round of green flag stops on lap 74. Hamlin was up to ninth following the next round of green flag pit stops on lap 113 and that is where he continued to run with 100 laps to go. Hamlin would line up seventh for a restart with 42 laps to go. Hamlin would avoid a multi-car wreck following the restart and lined up fourth for another restart with 33 laps remaining. He would have to check up on the restart causing him to lose his momentum and dropping him back to ninth. He would go on to finish 12th.

Kyle Busch captured the win, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in second, Joey Logano third, Jimmie Johnson fourth and Chase Elliott rounded out the top five. There were seven cautions for a total of 41 laps and 17 lead changes among eight different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to short track confines of Bristol Motor Speedway next Sunday. Live coverage on Fox will start Sunday, April 17 at Noon (race starts at 1 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Kyle Busch Wins at Martinsville!

Kyle Busch dominated this afternoon at Martinsville Speedway leading 352 laps en route to his first victory of the season in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ STP 500. Meanwhile Carl Edwards battled back from a lap down to finish sixth, while Matt Kenseth finished 15th and an accident left Denny Hamlin back in 39th.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&M’S 75th Anniversary Toyota from the seventh position but was fast from the outset driving his way to the front by lap 32. Busch would hold the lead through the opening round of pit stops on lap 93. He would relinquish the lead shortly after the restart to the 4 car but the change only lasted a few laps as Busch went back to the front and held the top spot until giving way to his teammate Kenseth on lap 132. He would get that lead back shortly after a restart on lap 148 before giving way again and running third on lap 200. Busch would restart second on lap 227 and was the leader when the race reached the halfway point. He would continue to lead when the afternoon’s next caution came out on lap 312. He would restart second to Kenseth on lap 321 but quickly returned to the lead with 150 to go. Busch continued a dominant afternoon restarting as the leader with 110 laps to go. A final caution with 15 laps remaining left the leaders with a decision and the M&M’S team made the call to remain out on the track. Busch managed to do the rest from there pulling away from the field on the restart with 11 laps to go and holding on to take the checkered flag. The win essentially assures the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion place in this year’s Chase.

Carl Edwards qualified the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota in the 25th position but didn’t have the handling needed early on in the race to drive his way forward. He would fall a lap down to the leaders on the first long green flag run of the afternoon. Edwards restarted 33rd following the afternoon’s first round of pit stops on lap 93. He was up to 26th at lap 130 and was running 20th at lap 175 as he battled for the lucky dog position to try and get back on the lead lap. With the handling much improved on his ARRIS Camry, he would restart 17th as the first car a lap down on lap 227. Unfortunately by the time the caution came out on lap 312 Edwards was no longer in the lucky dog position. He would restart once again as the first car a lap down on lap 321. The caution would finally fall his way with 117 laps to go and the 19 team would receive the lucky dog designation to restart back on the lead lap. He lined up 16th with 110 to go and was running 13th with 50 laps remaining. A final caution would bring Edwards down pit road for fresh tires and he would restart eighth with 11 laps to go. The ARRIS Toyota would come home with a solid sixth-place finish.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the ninth position and was able to drive his way into the top five over the course of the opening long green flag run. Kenseth was running fifth when a caution on lap 91 brought the leaders down pit road. He would restart third on lap 98 and held that spot through the restart before settling in to run second behind his teammate Busch on the next green flag run. Kenseth would move around the 18 for his first lead of the day on lap 132. The Dollar General Camry proved not to be as strong on the short runs as some others this afternoon and he would give the lead back to his teammate Busch on lap 147 shortly after the field restarted from another caution. He would run second at lap 200. Kenseth restarted as the leader following a caution on lap 227 and was running second at lap 250. He was running third when the afternoon’s next caution came out on lap 312. A great stop by the Dollar General crew would allow Kenseth to restart as the leader on lap 321. He would drop a couple spots to run third at lap 150 and restarted from the third position with 110 to go. Kenseth continued to run second through the final round of pit stops and lined up on the outside of his teammate Busch for a final restart with just 11 laps to go. Unfortunately the outside line proved problematic on restarts all afternoon and Kenseth was unable to make his way down into the low line causing him to drop from second to 15th at the finish. It was a disappointing finish for Kenseth who raced in the top five all afternoon and led three different times for a total of 45 laps.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota from the eighth position but didn’t quite have the handling to drive forward at the outset of the race. Hamlin held firm inside the top ten through the first 91 laps before a caution brought the leaders down pit road. NASCAR ruled that Hamlin sped on pit road forcing him to the back of the lead lap cars which left him to restart 18th on lap 98. The FedEx Camry would return to the top ten by lap 150 and was running eighth at lap 200. Hamlin was running fifth when he would get loose on lap 221 and slid up into the outside wall causing damage to the right side of his FedEx Camry. He would drive it to the garage where it was determined that the damage was too severe to repair. He would be scored in 39th for the day.

Kyle Busch captured the win, with AJ Almendinger second, Kyle Larson third, Austin Dillon fourth and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions for a total of 51 laps and 11 lead changes among five different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway next week for the season’s first Saturday night race. Live coverage on Fox will start Saturday, April 9 with begin at 7 PM (race starts at 7:30 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

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.