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Race Report: Dover

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It was an afternoon of great promise at Dover International Speedway for Joe Gibbs Racing with all four teams starting today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 in the top ten. At times it appeared that all four teams would have the opportunity to hold a spot in the top ten at the finish as well, but it was not to be on this Sunday afternoon as trouble found all four teams at the Monster Mile.

In the end Carl Edwards led JGR with a 19th-place finish, while late-race accidents left Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch back in 21st and 36th respectively and a broken track bar mount placed Matt Kenseth in 39th.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota in the eighth position was able to maintain a position in the top ten through much of the first third of the race. Edwards would lead during a round of green flag pit stops before coming to pit road on lap 162. The team would attempt a wedge adjustment during the stop, but the wrench became stuck causing him to come back down pit road. Complicating matters for Edwards and the Stanley team is that a caution would come out while Edwards was on pit road. He would have to serve a penalty for leaving his pit stall with equipment still attached to the car and he would drop back outside the top 20. He would go on to finish the day in 19th.

Denny Hamlin, started the No. 11 FedEx Cares Toyota from the pole and led the opening 41 laps before relinquishing the lead to the 78 car. The FedEx crew would hand him the lead back on the opening round of pit stops following a caution and Hamlin would prove to have a strong Camry all afternoon as he led a total of four times for 118 laps. Only the 78 would lead more laps. A caution for a wreck that involved his teammate Kyle Busch would bring the No. 11 FedEx machine back down pit road one final time and crew chief Dave Rogers would make the call for four tires. Hamlin would line up fifth for the restart with just under 20 laps remaining. The 15 would get into the 11 sending Hamlin up the track and into the path of the 41 car. The damage would dash any hopes of a trip to victory lane on this afternoon. Hamlin would go on to finish three laps down in 21st position.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Skittles Toyota from the 10th position and it was obvious from the outset that he had a strong Camry for this afternoon’s 400-mile battle at the Monster Mile. Busch raced nearly all day in the top five and even led for three laps at lap 250, but was running third late in the race when trouble would strike. Busch was in the process of lapping the 33 car when the 33 came down unaware that Busch already had position underneath his car and the result was an accident that took both cars out of the race. Busch, who is hoping to earn a win and a spot in the top 30 in points to become Chase eligible, would finish a disappointing 36th.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota from the fourth position and battled for a position in the top five for the opening 300 laps this afternoon at the Monster Mile. Kenseth raced as high as second but shortly after lap 300 he would radio into the team that something felt like it had broken on the car. He would fall back outside the top 20 and was forced to make unscheduled stops on pit road in attempt to fix the issue. Unfortunately the problem only got worse and Kenseth would be forced to the garage on lap 347. The issue would ultimately prove to be a broken track bar mount and resulted in a disappointing 39th-place finish despite a strong showing for much of the afternoon.

Jimmie Johnson captured the win and was followed by Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Kasey Kahne and Aric Almirola rounded out the top five. There were seven cautions on the afternoon for a total of 40 laps and 15 lead changes among nine different drivers. The race was extended by five laps for a green-white-checker finish.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Pocono Raceway next Sunday, June 7. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 12:30 PM ET (race begins at 1 PM ET).

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Carl Edwards wins the Coca-Cola 600!

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Joe Gibbs Racing proved ready for the challenge of the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series endurance test with Carl Edwards claiming victory in tonight’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin joined Edwards in the top ten with fourth and eighth-place finishes respectively, while Kyle Busch narrowly missed out with an 11th-place finish.

Edwards’ win gave Toyota its 300th victory across all three NASCAR National Series.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 Subway Toyota in the third position and proved quick at the drop of the green flag racing alongside his teammate and pole sitter Matt Kenseth and leading the opening two laps. He would spend much of the first 100 laps battling inside the top ten but varying strategies on pit road would shuffle the field and Edwards would drop back outside the top ten. The No. 19 Camry found the handling a bit more difficult back in traffic and Edwards would continue to fight to regain a position in the top ten. With the longest race of the year winding down, crew chief Darian Grubb would make the call to utilize fuel strategy to bring the Subway Toyota back to the front of the field. The call worked to perfection as Edwards managed to hold off the competition while saving enough fuel over the final 64 laps to earn his first victory since joining JGR prior to this season. Edwards, who led the final 21 laps of the night joins teammates Hamlin and Kenseth with victories this season.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 DEWALT Toyota from the pole and after battling his teammate Edwards over the first couple of laps he would settle in to lead the next 25 laps. Various pit strategies would shuffle the field a bit and Kenseth would find himself outside the top ten shortly after lap 100. The DEWALT Camry would make its way back into the top ten and was running seventh with 100 laps to go when Kenseth reported a strange vibration. He would take care of the car until a caution allowed him to bring it down pit road. Kenseth would fall a lap off the pace in the process, but managed to get the lucky dog and earn a spot on the lead lap once again on lap 329. Much like his teammate Edwards, Kenseth and the DEWALT team managed to stretch their final fuel run to the end to earn an impressive fourth-place finish.

Denny Hamlin, who gave Joe Gibbs Racing its first Sprint All-Star Race victory last weekend, started the No. 11 FedEx Office Camry from the fifth position and proved fast throughout the long night. Hamlin would battle inside the top ten nearly all night. He would take his first lead of the night on lap 44 and returned to the top spot again on lap 330. Hamlin, who reported on his radio late in the race to be suffering with a severe headache caused by dehydration, appeared well positioned for a possible win. The No. 11 FedEx Camry would have to relinquish the lead and come down pit road with 38 laps remaining however after reporting a possible loose wheel. The night was far from over however with the majority of lead lap cars still requiring at least one more stop to ensure making it to the finish on fuel. As the leaders began to pit Hamlin began to climb back into contention. Amazingly enough, several cars, including his teammate and race-winner Edwards, would make it to the finish on their fuel strategy. Hamlin would earn an eighth-place finish on the night.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Skittles Toyota from the 17th position and left no doubt that he was fully ready to go in his first points race following an injury in the season opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona that caused him to miss the first 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of the season. Busch wasted no time in moving his way into the top ten and by lap 135 he was in the top five for the first time. He would remain in the top five over the course of the next 150 laps. An amazing restart on lap 292 had Busch move the Skittles Camry from fifth to second, but the handling would fall off a bit over the course of the next green flag run and he would drop back to fifth again with 33 laps to go. Busch would join several other leaders pitting under green for a final time and a final splash of gas that would ensure they would make it all 400 laps. Six cars who had stopped on the previous caution managed to extend their fuel run to 64 laps and that left Busch just outside the top ten in 11th. It was an incredible effort by Busch and a strong performance by crew chief Adam Stevens and the entire Skittles team. The 33 points earned are the first points of the season for Busch who will be seeking a spot in the top 30 with a win to qualify for the Chase. He currently sits in 41st place.

Edwards captured the win and was followed by Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt, Jr, Kenseth and Martin Truex, Jr. rounded out the top five. There was eight cautions on the night for a total of 39 laps and 22 lead changes among nine different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head north up the coast to Dover, DE next Sunday, May 31. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast The FedEx 400 live with coverage starting at Noon (race begins at 1 PM ET).

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Denny Hamlin Wins the All-Star Race!

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A tremendous final four-tire pit stop by the FedEx team vaulted Denny Hamlin from sixth to first for the final restart and he would drive away over the last 10-lap sprint to the finish for Joe Gibbs Racing’s first NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race victory. Meanwhile Matt Kenseth finished fifth, while Kyle Busch earned a solid sixth-place finish in his first start of the season after recovering from injuries suffered at the season opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona, and Carl Edwards took the checkered flag in 17th.

With no points at stake to impact the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, the annual Sprint All-Star Race is a winner take all event showcasing the sport’s best in a unique 110-lap format.

The evening started with a qualifying session that is unique only to the All-Star Race with drivers making three laps that includes a four-tire pit stop. Hamlin would earn the pole thanks to quick laps, the ability to get in and out of his pit box without any issues and of course a great four-tire stop by his FedEx crew. Edwards was able to earn the 10th starting position, while Kenseth was 17th and Busch slid through his pit box causing a delay that left him to start 19th.

This year’s format for the race included five total segments and 110 total laps. The first three segments each included 25 laps with optional pit stops following each segment. A mandatory pit stop followed a fourth 25-lap segment. Order before those pit stops was determined by the average finish from each of the first four segments. Then all teams entered the pits in that order and how they returned to the track after a four-tire stop will determine how they line up for the final 10-lap dash to the finish.

Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Camry on the pole and jumped out to the lead before giving way to the 5 car and settling for an opening segment run of second. He would earn an average finish of sixth following the first four 25-lap segments and that is how he came down pit road for that final mandatory four-tire stop. FedEx delivered again with incredible speed allowing Hamlin to restart in the top spot for the final 10-lap run to the finish. Hamlin would use a tremendous restart to clear the field and then held off the competition to give JGR its first-ever All-Star Race win.

Certainly the biggest storyline entering the race was Kyle Busch, who returned to the track for the first time since suffering an injury in the season-opening XFINITY Race in Daytona. Busch, who missed the first 11 Sprint Cup races of the season, announced earlier this week that he would return to run the All-Star Race and he would not disappoint behind the wheel of the No. 18 M&Ms Red Nose Day Camry. Busch would start 19th but managed to finish 14th in the opening segment, followed with a seventh-place finish in segment two. He would receive a speeding penalty on pit road prior to the third segment and an unscheduled stop for a loose wheel would leave him back in 19th. He would recover to finish ninth in the final segment however leaving him with an average finish of 13th. That is how the Red Nose Day Toyota would enter the pits for a mandatory four-tire stop and his M&Ms crew delivered by gaining five positions. Busch would gain two more spots over the final ten lap run to finish sixth.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in 17th and would earn an average finish of eighth prior to the mandatory four-tire stop after the fourth segment. The Dollar General crew would gain him another spot on pit road and Kenseth would earn two more over the final 10-lap run to the checkered flag claiming a solid fifth-place run.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota in the 10th position and was seeking to earn the best possible average finish and it appeared that he was going to line up in the top five for the final 10-lap run to the checkered flag, but NASCAR ruled he was too fast exiting pit road. That left Edwards to restart back in 18th and he would go on to finish the night in 17th.

Hamlin captured the win and was followed by Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, and Kenseth rounded out the top five. The only four cautions of the night occurred at the scheduled time following each 25-lap segment.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will remain in Charlotte another week for Coca-Cola 600 next Sunday, May 24. Fox will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 6 PM (race begins at 6:15 PM ET).

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JGR Driver Cody Coughlin Scores First ARCA Pole & Best Finish at Dega

Cody Coughlin is so close to his first victory in the ARCA Racing Series that he can taste it. The 19-year-old made people stand up and take notice in his maiden voyage to Talladega Superspeedway Saturday in Alabama. He scored the pole award, led a several laps and finished second in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 at the famed 2.66-mile oval.

The runner-up effort was Coughlin’s best ARCA performance to date. In fact, the Joe Gibbs Racing Development driver now has four-straight top-five finishes in series competition.

Coughlin led he race on three different occasions and was running third when a caution flew right before the white flag was presented. That resulted in a one-lap shootout to the finish.

On the restart, Tom Hessert ran out of fuel while leading and right in front of Coughlin. The Delaware, Ohio native was forced to check up, but coming to the checker, Coughlin was involved in a three-wide fight for second. He just inched his Sport Clips Toyota Camry in front of the challengers for the runner-up spot.

“A green-white-checkered is hectic enough, especially here, but then when we have just one lap, it’s really hectic,”said Coughlin after the race. “We tried to go out there and push as hard as we could to get the best finish for the 55. That’s what we did and we came home with second.

“There was some hope that a win was in the making, but it didn’t line up that way due to what happened on the restart. We couldn’t control that, but we did the best that we could and I’m proud of our second place effort.”

Coughlin also started the day by winning his first career pole in ARCA competition with a speed of 187.883 mph. That feat put a Venturini Motorsports car on the pole at Talladega since 2013.

The second place finish ends his streak of fourth place finishes in his last three ARCA Racing Series events that came at Kentucky Speedway, Kansas Speedway at the end of last season and Daytona International Speedway earlier this season.

Coughlin, his crew chief Dave Leiner and the Venturini Motorsports team continue to improve each time they hit the track, and the teen is grateful for the preparation they put into each event.

“We are definitely knocking on the door to get that win. We as a team get better every week,”added Coughlin. “I’m really excited to get to some of the mile-and-a-half tracks where you don’t have to rely on other competitors in the draft to run well. We have what it takes and that win is coming soon.

He is also grateful to the Team JEGS crew that was there to assist him, including Kevin Hamlin (Team JEGS Manager), Scott Wimmer (Spotter) and Dave Holt (crewmember).

Along with the support his race teams, he is proud of the loving support that he receives from his family that includes his parents, John & Di, and his sister Kennedi.

“Today would not be possible without the support of everyone on the race team and my family,”Coughlin expressed. “Kennedi and my mom couldn’t be here today because Kennedi was performing in a play, but I always feel their support. And my dad was my biggest cheerleader today for sure at the track.

“I also have to thank God for protecting us out there today. Talladega Superspeedway is a fast track and things can happen in a hurry. I am grateful for his blessing over all of us today.”

Cody’s next race will be his first road course race on Sunday, May 24th at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey.

For more information on Cody Coughlin and Team JEGS, visit and follow Cody on Twitter, @cody_coughlin. You can also follow Team JEGS on Twitter, @TeamJEGS and “Like” JEGS Performance on Facebook.

Denny Hamlin Wins the Richmond XFINITY Race and Earns Toyota’s 100th Series Victory

  • In front of his hometown crowd, Denny Hamlin climbed into the No. 20 Hisense Toyota Camry for the Toyota Care 250 at Richmond International Raceway and claimed Toyota’s 100th NASCAR XFINITY Series victory.
  • With a fast car from the start of the day in practice, Hamlin carried the momentum over and claimed his first NASCAR XFINITY Series pole of the season, and the fourth consecutive pole for the No. 20 team led by crew chief Mike Wheeler.
  • Rolling off the grid for 250 laps under the lights at the Virginia short track, Hamlin immediately showed he had speed and a solid Toyota Camry.
  • Dominating from the start, Hamlin pitted for the first time during the lap 49 caution period for four fresh tires and Sunoco racing fuel. Winning the race off of pit road, Hamlin led the field back to green on lap 55.
  • Continuing to show he had the car to beat, Hamlin began to pull away from the field and had a four-second lead over the second-place car when the caution flag waved on lap 109. With concerns of a tire going down, the team took advantage of the caution and pitted for four tires and fuel. With a fast stop by the No. 20 Hisense crew, the race restarted on lap 121 with Hamlin at the front of the field.
  • The third and final caution of the 250-lap event waved on lap 144 and Wheeler made the call for Hamlin to stay on track. Hamlin maintained the lead, and led the field back to green on lap 152.
  • As the race continued under green-flag conditions, teams began pitting for the final time around lap 210.
  • With almost a seven-second lead, Hamlin made his final stop of the race on lap 225 under green for four tires and fuel. After pit stops cycled through the field, Hamlin resumed the lead until the checkered flag waved on lap 250.
  • In dominating fashion, Hamlin won the Toyota Care 250 after leading the lone practice session Friday morning, leading all three qualifying rounds Friday afternoon and leading 248 of 250 laps Friday night.
  • Following the win at Richmond International Raceway, the No. 20 Toyota Camry team gained two positions in the NASCAR XFINITY Series owner point standings and now sit third, 44 points out of the lead.

Denny Hamlin’s Post-Race Thoughts:

How strong was the race car?
“It was a great day – right from the very start I knew I had some great speed. That’s the key to victory. It’s no tricks or anything like that – it’s just you have to have a fast car. Mike (Wheeler, crew chief) and these guys, they gave me something special tonight and we were able to dominate with it. You don’t get these cars that often – almost never. Me and him and a car with Mike Ford (former crew chief) like this in the Cup Series a few years ago and then we had a flat with 15 (laps) to go. Of course, that runs through your mind with how you can mess this up, but luckily everything worked out for us and obviously it was a dominating victory.”

Are you proud to have claimed Toyota’s 100th NXS victory?
“It’s really big. Wheels (Mike Wheeler, crew chief) was actually with us when we won 100 for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Cup program in Loudon (New Hampshire Motor Speedway) and it was a great day and really Toyota has – their unwavered support and what they’ve done, it’s just big when you have the Toyota weekend here at Richmond, you’re able to sweep these practices and win the race in dominating fashion. It’s such a big weekend for everyone at Toyota and I didn’t know that they had 99 wins and they told me before the race, ‘Hey, if things go well, it’s 100.’ I’m like, ‘Whoa, whoa. Don’t.’ I’m very superstitious when it comes to that kind of stuff. I didn’t know when it was 99 on the Cup side for JGR. I’m just happy I was able to do it for them because they’ve been a huge supporter of mine since 2008 when they came over to Joe Gibbs Racing and really they’ve taken both our Cup and our XFINITY program to the next level. It’s good to see Ed (Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A) and a lot of these executives here that don’t get to travel every weekend and it’s obviously big for that reason. By the way, it’s also Hisense’s first race – a new partner for Joe Gibbs Racing – and hopefully we’ll have them back. If you don’t mind, I’d like to run this race in the fall. We’ve got a pretty good setup I’d like to run again. I’m not sure if I’m slated to do that or not. The seat’s taken? Oh well. I’ll work on that.”