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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).

Kyle Busch Wins New Hampshire!

Kyle Busch continued his incredible comeback from early season injuries that caused him to miss the first 11 races of the season with a win in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards would join their teammate in the top ten with sixth and seventh-place finishes respectively and Denny Hamlin battled to a 14th-place finish.

Busch has now won back-to-back races after his win last week in Kentucky and he has won three of the last four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races starting with his victory in Sonoma. He is now just 58 points out of 30th-place in the standings to secure his spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

It was an impressive all-around weekend for Joe Gibbs Racing in New Hampshire. Carl Edwards started it off Friday by earning the pole for today’s Sprint Cup Series race, followed by Denny Hamlin winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series race from the pole on Saturday afternoon, and then Busch capping it all off with his big win today.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota from the fourth position and quickly maneuvered his way to the front of the field passing his teammate Edwards for the lead on lap 20. He would lead the next 47 laps before finally giving up the top spot during a round of green flag pit stops. Busch raced all afternoon in the top five and was fourth at lap 225. He would radio to crew chief Adam Stevens that he felt his right front tire was going down on lap 244 and with the team inside the fuel window to make it to the end the decision was made to come to pit road for fresh tires. That put him a lap down as he waited for the field to cycle through a final round of stops. A caution would come out with 51 laps remaining just after Busch made an incredible and aggressive move to pass the leaders to get back on the lead lap. That proved to be an enormous move allowing Busch to lead on the ensuing restart with 44 laps to go once all the other lead lap cars pitted under the caution. He would stretch his lead out after the restart and held off the 2 car to the finish.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the eighth position and was racing in the top ten when he would get hit with a pit road speeding penalty on lap 81. He would serve the penalty on lap 85 causing him to go a lap down to the leaders but Kenseth and the team remained patient and he would get back on the lead lap when he didn’t pit under the next caution. With a fast Camry and solid pit strategy Kenseth worked his way back into the top ten and restarted sixth on lap 204. He would enter the top five and run fourth just a few laps later. A caution with 51 laps remaining would bring the leaders down pit road one final time and a great two-tire stop by the Dollar General crew would allow him to restart third. Kenseth would make a strong move to try and grab second on the restart but wasn’t able to make it stick. He would drop back to run fifth with 20 laps to go. The Dollar General Camry would finish sixth.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 Sport Clips Toyota on the pole and led the opening 19 laps before giving way to his teammate Busch on lap 20. Edwards restarted in the third position on lap 107. Another caution would follow just ten laps later and crew chief Darian Grubb made a call to return to pit road as part of their fuel strategy on the day. That put Edwards back in the field for the next restart but he was able to make his way through back toward the front and ran 11th at the halfway mark. He would remain out through a round of green flag pit stops and when a caution came out on lap 188 he would hit pit road for four tires and fuel before lining up 9th for the restart. He would run seventh at lap 225. A caution with 51 laps remaining would bring the leaders down pit road a final time and the Sport Clips crew would allow Edwards to restart fourth with 44 laps to go after a great two-tire stop. He would run seventh with 20 laps remaining and managed to hold that spot to the finish.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the fifth position but dropped back to run just inside the top ten through the early portion of the race. Hamlin would make the call to pit for adjustments following an early caution putting him outside the top 10 for a restart on lap 26. He would race much of the afternoon just inside the top 15. He was racing 15th when a caution with 51 laps remaining brought the leaders down pit road for a final round of stops. The FedEx crew would deliver as they always do gaining six spots with a two-tire stop allowing Hamlin to restart fifth with 44 laps to go. The No. 11 Camry would not get a great restart however and he would drop back to run 10th. He would go on to finish 14th.

Kyle Busch captured the win and was followed by Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top five. There were seven cautions on the night for a total of 34 laps and 10 lead changes among seven different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway next Sunday, July 26 for the Brickyard 400. NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will provide live coverage starting at 3 PM ET (race scheduled to start at 3:30 PM ET).

Denny Hamlin Wins XFINITY Race at New Hampshire!

TRACK: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon
DRIVER: Denny Hamlin
CAR: No. 20 SunEnergy1 Toyota Camry
START: 1st
FINISH: 1st
LAPS: Completed 200 of 200 laps

Post-Race Highlights:

  • Denny Hamlin returned to the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) on Saturday afternoon for the Lakes Region 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In his last run with Mike Wheeler and the No. 20 SunEnergy1 team, Hamlin salvaged a top-10 finish after battling several obstacles throughout the race. This time around, however, Hamlin dominated, leading 145 of the 200-lap event on his way to scoring his second XFINITY Series win this season with the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team and the first-career victory for SunEnergy1.
  • As soon as the tires hit the track, there was no denying that Hamlin and the No. 20 team had a dominating SunEnergy1 Toyota Camry. After sweeping all three qualifying rounds, Hamlin claimed his second pole of the 2015 NXS season.
  • Shortly after the green flag waved at the Magic Mile, the first caution arose just 25 laps into the event. Hamlin and JGR teammate Kyle Busch were on the front row for the restart, and as the field went green, both drivers got sideways. “I just got impatient on the restart,” Hamlin said, “My bad.” Both cars went to the rear of the field and suffered no serious damage. Just eight laps later, Hamlin gained 18 spots and was back into the top 10.
  • The SunEnergy1 Toyota Camry regained the lead on lap 44 and remained out front until the final restart on lap 174. Side-by-side, Hamlin and Austin Dillon battled for position around the corners until Dillon stole the lead. Hamlin wasn’t ready to settle for second, however, and just five laps later, took the lead back from Dillon. The SunEnergy1 Toyota Camry led the final 22 laps before taking the checkered flag and heading to Victory Lane. Hamlin’s win at New Hampshire makes three wins this season for crew chief Mike Wheeler and the No. 20 JGR team.

Denny Hamlin on his Win at New Hampshire:

“We had a dominant car today. Wheels [Mike Wheeler, crew chief] and the Joe Gibbs team assembled a great race team and it’s just an honor to drive for these guys. I wanted to get a win for them and everyone at SunEnergy1, Kenny Habul and those guys. You drive extra hard when you have your buddy on the hood.”