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Matt Kenseth Wins at Michigan!

It was another strong performance for Joe Gibbs Racing with Matt Kenseth dominating from the pole for his third win of the season in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

JGR narrowly missed securing four top-ten finishes today with Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch spending a good portion of the afternoon toward the front of the field. Hamlin would finish fifth, while Edwards was sixth, and Busch worked his way through a tricky final restart to finish 11th.

A new aero package made its debut today at Michigan and although teams were able to gather a good deal of information over the course of the previous two days of practice there remained a good deal of unknowns under race conditions. JGR appeared to have the answers for those unknowns with Kenseth leading a race-high 146 laps after starting from the pole.

Matt Kenseth captured the pole in his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota enabling him to lead the field to the green flag for the start of this afternoon’s race in Michigan. Despite several early race restarts Kenseth was able to maintain the lead through the opening 22 laps before a competition caution was displayed. He would restart second when the 3 car decided to remain on the track and held that position through the next green flag run until the leader was forced to pit for fuel on lap 41 giving the lead back to the 20 car. Kenseth continued to hold onto the top spot through the next two rounds of green flag pit stops and was the leader on lap 121 when a caution came out. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff would bring the Dollar General Camry down pit road for a two-tire stop on lap 123. He would lineup third for the restart behind two cars that elected not to pit. Kenseth would use a great restart to reclaim the lead on lap 126 just before another caution came out. He would hold the lead again through the lap 130 restart and again on another restart on lap 142. Kenseth would come down pit road under green on lap 164 and once the field cycled through he was back on point with 25 laps to go. He would restart on the point again with 13 to go and never looked back on his way to the victory.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the second position and had to endure several early race restarts from the inside lane which proved to be a disadvantage all afternoon. He would drop back to run sixth when a competition caution was displayed on lap 22. He would get shuffled back on the ensuing restart and ran 11th on the next green flag run. Hamlin held on to the 11th position at lap 67 following a round of green flag pit stops. The FedEx Camry was running fifth following another round of green flag pit stops when a caution came out on lap 121. Crew chief Dave Rogers would make the call for a two-tire stop on lap 123 allowing Hamlin to restart fifth on lap 126. Another quick caution would follow and Hamlin would run fourth under the green flag on lap 130. He would fall back two slots to run sixth following a lap 142 restart. Hamlin would pit under green on lap 164 and once the field cycled through he was fourth once again with 25 laps to go. He would line up behind his teammate Kenseth for a final restart with 13 to go and was able to help push the 20 to the front before dropping back to finish fifth.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota in the third position and had to endure several early race restarts from the inside lane which proved to be a disadvantage all afternoon. He would run seventh when a competition caution was displayed at lap 22. He would continue to run seventh at lap 43 and was running ninth at lap 67 following a round of green flag pit stops. Edwards had the ARRIS Camry in eighth when a caution came out on lap 121. Crew chief Darian Grubb would make the call to have Edwards remain on the track under the caution allowing him to restart as the leader on lap 126. He would fall back to third on the restart when another caution came out. This time when the race restarted on lap 130 Edwards would make a bold move to the bottom of the track to take over second. While under caution on lap 141 Edwards would lose power while attempting to save fuel. That would cost him several positions and left the 19 to restart 11th instead of second on lap 142. Edwards would use a great restart and was back up to fourth by lap 146. He would run sixth with 25 laps remaining following another round of green flag pit stops. Edwards would continue to run sixth following a restart with 13 laps remaining and was able to hold that spot to the finish.

Kyle Busch qualified the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota in the sixth position but an accident in Saturday’s final practice forced the team to move to the backup car resulting in having to start from the back of the field. Busch would make the call to hang off the back of the field for initial start of the race and that proved to be a good decision as he was able to avoid a wreck on the opening lap of the race. He would survive several early restarts in fact, and was up to 33 by lap 20. He would climb his way inside the top 30 following a restart on lap 25 and was running 20th just 30 laps into the afternoon. Busch was up to 15th on lap 43. He would lead during a round of green flag pit stops and then settled in to run 14th once the field cycled through. The Interstate Batteries Camry would enter the top five for the first time following a restart on lap 77. He would run as high as third on that green flag run and was back into third again on lap 118 following another round of green flag stops. Crew chief Adam Stevens would make the call for a four-tire stop on lap 123. With several other leaders making the call for just two tires or electing not to pit at all, Busch would line up 14th for the restart on lap 126. He would be back in the top ten following another restart on lap 130. Stevens would bring him back down pit road for fuel only on lap 137 and the Interstate Batteries Camry lined up 14th for the restart. He would climb into the top 10 to run ninth at lap 146. He would hold that 10th position with 25 laps to go following yet another round of green flag stops and was up to ninth when another caution came out with 18 laps remaining. He would restart ninth with 13 to go but was forced into the middle of a three-wide situation and had to drop back into 13th to avoid any big wrecks. Busch would gain two spots to finish 11th. The solid finish moved Busch into 29th in the point standings and he is now 18 points ahead of 30th, which is needed to secure his place in the Chase for the NASCAR Championship.

Kenseth captured the win and was followed by Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr., Austin Dillon and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions on the afternoon for a total of 31 laps and 16 lead changes among eight different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Bristol Motor Speedway next Saturday night, August 22. NBCSN will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 7 PM ET (race begins at 7:30 PM ET).

Race Report: Watkins Glen International

It was another strong performance for Joe Gibbs Racing with three top-ten finishes in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International.

Kyle Busch was just one spot short of claiming JGR’s fifth straight victory. He led the team with a second-place finish this afternoon at the Glen and was followed by Matt Kenseth in fourth and Carl Edwards in eighth, while Denny Hamlin fell just short of fuel at the end and finished 27th.

The second-place finish by Busch provided enough points to secure the 30th position in the standings. Having already amassed four wins, as long as Busch remains in the top 30 he will have secured his position in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota from the eighth position and quickly moved into the top five just two laps into the afternoon. Fuel strategy is often a factor on this road course and Busch would line up 11th for a restart on lap 29 following his first pit stop. He would race his way toward the front and ultimately claim the lead on lap 56. The No. 18 M&M’s Crispy Camry would pit on lap 58 after another caution. That would shuffle Busch back in the field when several other cars that pitted seven laps prior made the call to remain out on the track. He would restart 21st with 31 laps remaining but managed to race his way back in the top 15 to run 12th just six laps into the next run. Busch continued to climb his way through the field and was back inside the top 10 and running seventh with 20 laps remaining. He was back in the top five with 12 to go, took over fourth with nine laps remaining and was up to third with five laps to go. Busch managed to make a final pass at the finish line when the 4 car ran out of gas just before the end. He would earn a strong second-place finish and is now six points in front of the 31st position.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota from the 23rd position and held that spot through the first five laps before patiently working his way inside the top 20. He would restart 18th on lap 29 and the team played fuel strategy with a trip down pit road on lap 51. That would allow Kenseth would restart from the lead with 31 laps remaining after all the other leaders had to pit under the next caution on lap 58. He would give up the lead on the restart but settled in to run second on the next run as he looked to save enough fuel to the finish just as he had done one week ago in his victory at Pocono. When the race stayed green all the way to the finish he would have to give up a couple spots on the track to make it to the finish, which he managed to do to earn a strong fourth-place effort.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota in the 15th position and raced near the top 15 through the early portion of the race. Crew chief Darian Grubb would implement a pit strategy that brought the No. 19 Camry down pit road on lap 25. That proved advantageous when a caution came out just a couple laps later. Edwards would restart inside the top five on lap 29. Edwards restarted 24th with 31 laps remaining and was back inside the top 20 and running 17th with 25 laps to go. He would continue to climb through the field on the ensuing run and was up to 13th with 20 laps remaining and raced eighth with five laps to go. Edwards would hold that eighth spot to the finish.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota from the 13th position and maintained a spot inside the top 15 through the opening laps of the race. He would come down pit road for the first time on lap 26 while under caution and NASCAR ruled that he was too fast entering forcing the No. 11 Camry to restart at the back of the field. Contact on the ensuing restart would cause damage to his hood pins which resulted in Hamlin’s hood flying up and covering his windshield. Somehow Hamlin managed to navigate the road course and return to pit road where the hood was removed. The FedEx team would make repairs under the next caution which allowed Hamlin to remain on the lead lap. Fuel strategy would play a major factor once again at The Glen and Hamlin was able to line up seventh for a restart with 31 laps to go. He would run eighth with 20 laps to go while seeking to save enough fuel to make it to the finish. Hamlin would fall just short on fuel however, taking the checkered flag back in 27th.

Joey Logano captured the win and was followed by Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five. There were five cautions on the afternoon for a total of 16 laps and eight lead changes among eight different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Michigan International Speedway next Sunday, August 16. NBCSN will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 1:30 PM ET (race begins at 2:30 PM ET).

Coughlin Leads and Learns a Lot at Auto City

Cody Coughlin led over 60 laps in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour 100 on Saturday night at Michigan’s Auto City Speedway, and he and his JEGS.com team learned a lot of valuable information for going forward.

Coughlin qualified sixth, but started second courtesy of a seven-car invert. However circumstances gave Coughlin a 16th-place finish after a very strong run.

Coughlin wasted no time in getting out front on the start as he took the lead off of turn two on the first lap of the race.

From there Coughlin built up multiple big leads. Every time he’d build up a big lead, the caution would come out and bring the field back to him. But he’d quickly stretch things back out after each restart.

“We had a great car tonight,” said Coughlin. “I’m very thankful that my crew chief, Nick Easton, my spotter, Scott Wimmer, my team manager, Kevin Hamlin, and crew member, Dave Holt gave me an awesome car. I think we learned a lot for the future.”

Coughlin led most of the race but contact on successive restarts resulted in what he believes was a flat tire. He spun out with five laps to go and finished 16th.

“I wish we got the result that we deserved,” said Coughlin, “but it was still a great job by my team all weekend long.

“I’m glad that we could lead a lot of laps in front of my parents, John and Di, and my sister, Kennedi. I’m very thankful that the good Lord gives me this opportunity to race and do what I love.”

Coughlin is off to the Michigan International Speedway where he’ll make his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start, and first with Kyle Busch Motorsports.

For more information on Cody Coughlin please follow him on Twitter (@cody_coughlin). Please also visit Team JEGS on Twitter (@TeamJEGS) and on the JEGS Performance Facebook page as well.

Matt Kenseth Wins at Pocono!

Matt Kenseth continued Joe Gibbs Racing’s winning ways with a thrilling last lap victory in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway. It was another strong day for JGR with all four teams racing a majority of the day inside the top 10, but it would come down to fuel mileage over the final couple of laps and Kenseth proved to have just enough to claim the checkered flag. This was JGR’s fourth consecutive win and fifth out of the last six.

Meanwhile Kyle Busch, who was attempting to win his fourth straight race, would run out of fuel from the lead on the final lap and finished 21st. Denny Hamlin also ran out of fuel before finishing 22nd and Carl Edwards pitted for fuel with two laps to go ensuring him enough to earn a 10th-place finish.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota from the seventh position and held a spot in the top 10 through the early going. Today’s race saw several early cautions which led to several different pit strategies. The Dollar General Camry would maintain a spot inside the top 10 throughout the first half of the race and he patiently worked his way inside the top five at the halfway point. He would lead a lap during a round of green flag pit stops on lap 88. Kenseth was up to fourth with 20 laps remaining. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff would call for Kenseth to bring the Dollar General Camry down pit road on lap 124, which was one lap later than the others in the top five. That proved to be a big factor as that one lap and Kenseth’s ability to save fuel allowed him to race all the way to the finish. When his teammate Busch in the 18 ran out of gas on the final lap Kenseth was able to make the pass and pick up his second win of the season in dramatic fashion.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota in the eighth position but dropped back on the initial restart to run 11th when the day’s first caution came out just five laps in. Today’s race saw several early cautions resulting in a number of different pit strategies. However Edwards kept his No. 19 Camry inside the top 10 throughout the first half of the race. He was running ninth with 20 laps to go. The race would come down to fuel mileage with the majority of the leaders pitting with 37 laps remaining. With no late cautions to help stretch the fuel to the end many teams would fall short before the finish. Crew chief Darian Grubb would make the call for Edwards to bring the 19 down pit road for a splash of gas that enabled him to race to a 10th-place finish.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota from the pole and led the opening 16 laps of the race before crew chief Adam Stevens made the call to pit on lap 17 during a competition caution. Several other teams made the decision to remain out on the track and Busch was 11th for the restart on lap 20. However it wouldn’t take long for him to work his way back inside the top five and Busch was running second at the halfway point. He would continue to run second as the laps ticked off to the finish and when the leader ran out of gas with more than two laps remaining the No. 18 would assume the lead. Busch would attempt to extend his fuel run to the finish and nearly pulled it off for his fourth straight win. Unfortunately he would fall just half a lap short and was scored 21st at the finish. He still managed to make up points on 30th place which he needs to be inside to solidify his position in the Chase for the NASCAR Championship. He is currently 13 points out of 30th.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota from the 11th position and was able to race inside the top ten before an early caution just five laps into the race. Several early cautions resulted in a number of different pit strategies but Hamlin was able to race his way into the top five and even led two laps during a round of green flag pit stops. He was running third at the halfway mark despite reporting some issues while attempting to shift. Hamlin was running sixth with 20 laps to go. With no late cautions it would come down to fuel mileage and the FedEx Office Camry, like many others in the top 10, would fall just a bit short. Hamlin would officially finish 22nd.

Kenseth captured the win and was followed by Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Greg Biffle rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions on the afternoon for a total of 32 laps and 18 lead changes among 13 different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Watkins Glen International next Sunday, August 9 for the second road course test of the season. NBCSN will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 1 PM ET (race begins at 2 PM ET).

Kyle Busch Sweeps Indianapolis!

Kyle Busch completed another NASCAR weekend sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing with a win in today’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The win was Busch’s first Sprint Cup Series victory at the famed Speedway and also gave Toyota its first victory there. Toyota has now won a Sprint Cup Series race at every track on the current NASCAR circuit.

Meanwhile teammates Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, and Carl Edwards also had strong runs racing in the top ten for the majority of the afternoon before finishing fifth, seventh and 13th respectively.

Busch has now won three consecutive races and four out of the last five. He is now just 23 points out of 30th-place in the standings which he needs in order to secure his spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

Even more incredible is that for the second consecutive weekend Joe Gibbs Racing swept everything in both the XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series. JGR started Saturday off by qualifying all three of their XFINITY Series cars 1, 2, 3 and Kyle Busch then won the race from the pole. Carl Edwards earned the Sprint Cup Series pole for the second consecutive week and then Busch capped it all off with another win this afternoon.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Skittles Toyota from the ninth position and showed speed early as he quickly moved into the top five on the opening green flag run. He was running third on lap 40 following the first round of pit stops. A variety of pit strategies shuffled the field and the No. 18 was running 10th at the halfway mark. He would lead on lap 86 during a round of green flag stops. He would give up the lead on the next caution to come to pit road but it didn’t hurt his track position all that much as Busch utilized a great restart to jump into fourth which is where he ran at lap 100. He would run fifth at lap 114. A caution with 40 laps to go brought the majority of lead lap cars down pit road and Busch was the first off allowing him to restart fifth behind only those that made the call to stay out. Crew chief Adam Stevens would make the call to remain on the track following a caution with 20 laps to go leaving the Skittles Camry to restart third with 14 to go. Busch would gain one spot on the restart and then grabbed the lead away from Kevin Harvick on lap 153. He would have to withstand a flurry of late cautions and ensuing restarts that led to two green-white-checkered attempts, but he once again rose to the occasion and claimed his first Brickyard 400 victory.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota from the 17th position and was able to drive his way into the top 15 to run 11th on the opening green flag run of the race. He would run 14th on lap 40 following the first round of pit stops. A variety of pit strategies shuffled the field over the next portion of the race and Hamlin was running 19th at the halfway point. A caution would bring him down pit road and he would put the No.11 FedEx Camry back inside the top 10 at lap 100. Another caution on lap 107 put Hamlin seventh for a restart on lap 111. A caution with 40 laps remaining brought most of the leaders down pit road and he restarted 11th. Hamlin was running seventh with 25 laps to go. Crew chief Dave Rogers made the call to remain out on the track following a caution with 20 laps to go and Hamlin lined up sixth for the restart with 14 laps remaining. He would move into fifth and managed to hold that spot through a flurry of late cautions.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the 23rd position and was able to drive his way into the top 15 over the course of the opening green flag run. He would run ninth following the first round of green flag pit stops. A variety of pit strategies shuffled the field and Kenseth was running 12th at the halfway point. Kenseth would use a great restart to run third at lap 100. A caution on lap 107 would allow Kenseth to restart third on lap 111. A caution with 40 laps to go brought most of the lead lap cars down pit road and the Dollar General Camry lined up 13th for the restart. Kenseth would run ninth with 25 laps to go. He would pit for four tires and fuel following a caution with 20 laps remaining and lined up 14th for the restart with 14 laps remaining. He would gain four spots before another caution came out just a lap later. A series of late cautions would allow Kenseth to advance back into the top ten and he would finish in seventh.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota on the pole and settled into second on the opening lap but then re-established himself at the front of the field on lap 12. He would lead the next 20 laps. A variety of pit strategies played out over the next portion of the race and Edwards was running fourth at the halfway point. Edwards would use a great restart to run second at lap 100. Another caution on lap 107 would allow Edwards to restart second on lap 111. A caution with 40 laps to go brought the majority of leaders back down pit road and the No. 19 STANLEY Camry lined up eighth for the restart. He would run third with 25 laps remaining. Crew chief Darian Grubb would make the call to remain out on the track when a caution came out with 20 laps to go and Edwards restarted second with 14 laps remaining. Edwards would get loose while racing the 22 for second place on the restart and the two made contact causing the 19 to fall back in the field. A caution followed a lap later and the STANLEY Camry would hit pit road for fresh tires. A series of late restarts would allow Edwards to race his way back into the top 15 and earn a 13th-place finish.

Kyle Busch captured the win and was followed by Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr. and Hamlin rounded out the top five. There were nine cautions on the afternoon for a total of 36 laps and 16 lead changes among six different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Pocono Raceway next Sunday, August 2. NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will provide live coverage starting at 1 PM ET (race scheduled to start at 1:30 PM ET).