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Race Report: Pocono, August

Denny Hamlin led Joe Gibbs Racing in today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GoBowling.com 400 from Pocono Raceway with a ninth-place finish. Meanwhile an accident and engine failure left his teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch to finish 34th and 42nd respectively.

Hamlin started his No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota in the 13th position and with several early cautions fuel strategy would quickly become a factor on this Sunday afternoon. Hamlin would battle his way into the top ten and battled much of the first half of the race to remain in the top ten while battling mostly loose handling conditions. Hamlin would get caught in the middle of a three wide situation on lap 117 causing his No. 11 Camry to get loose and up into the wall. He would manage to save the FedEx Toyota from major damage however, while many others wrecked behind him in what was the day’s big one. For a moment it appeared fuel strategy was going to play out perfectly for Hamlin who was running third with under 30 laps to go, but an untimely caution would allow the rest of the field to catch the leaders with fresher tires. Hamlin would battle to remain inside the top ten over the course of the final two restarts and took the checkered flag in ninth.

Kenseth started his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the 18th position and was patient through the early going battling his way inside the top 15. With several early cautions fuel mileage would become a factor early this afternoon with many in the field utilizing a number of different pit strategies. Kenseth would enter the top five several times over the course of each fuel cycle and took his first lead of the day on lap 103. He was running just outside the top 15 when his teammate Hamlin got loose while running in the middle of a three wide situation. Although Hamlin didn’t spin and was able to save his car from significant damage many others would wreck behind him including Kenseth who was pushed hard into the outside wall on lap 117. The damage to the Dollar General Camry would be too great to continue and Kenseth would be scored in 38th.

Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota from the seventh position and as he had done all weekend showed he had a car capable of battling for a spot among the leaders. Unfortunately Busch would never have the opportunity to display whether or not his No. 18 Camry could win the battle on the tricky triangle. He would radio in after 23 laps that something was wrong with his engine. Busch would bring the M&Ms Toyota down pit road and ultimately into the garage. His day was over early and he would be scored in 42nd place.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the race, followed by Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle rounded out the top five. There were eight cautions for a total of 35 laps and 15 lead changes among 10 different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take to the road course of Watkins Glen International next week. ESPN will have live coverage from Watkins Glen, NY on Sunday, August 10 at Noon ET (race begins 1 PM ET). The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Erik Jones Drives the No. 20 NarcolepsyLink.com Toyota at Chicagoland Speedway

No. 20 NarcolepsyLink.com Toyota News and Notes:

  • JONES LOOKING TO CARRY MOMENTUM FROM TRUCK SERIES WIN INTO NATIONWIDE SERIES DEBUT: 18-year-old Erik Jones will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) debut behind the wheel of the No. 20 NarcolepsyLink.com Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing in Saturday night’s EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. The Michigan native will be looking to carry the momentum of his hard-fought victory in the American Ethanol 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway last Friday night into a successful debut in NASCAR’s second division this weekend. Jones, driving the No. 51 Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports, led a race-high 131 laps and held off a hard-charging Ryan Blaney in the closing laps to pick up his second career Truck Series victory in just his ninth series start. Last November at Phoenix International Raceway, Jones became the youngest winner in the history of the Truck Series when at the age of 17 years, five months and nine days old, he led a race-high 84 laps en route to the victory.
  • LUCKY SEVENTH: Jones will be the seventh different driver to make a start behind the wheel of the No. 20 Camry in 2014. Matt Kenseth has made 11 starts for the team this season, while Darrell Wallace Jr. has two starts and Kenny Habul, Sam Hornish Jr., Michael McDowell and Daniel Suarez each have made one appearance. This weekend’s event is one of three scheduled for Jones this season with the No. 20 team. He will also be behind the wheel for short track-action at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 22 and at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 8. The three-race Nationwide Series gig for JGR compliments his limited schedule in the Truck Series, where he has eight races remaining on his 12-race schedule in the No. 51 Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
  • JGR AT CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has 35 starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Chicagoland Speedway, with four wins, nine top-five finishes, 20 top-10 finishes, an average start of 9.3 and average finish of 11.8. The team has four poles and has led 867 laps on their way to completing 6,880 of 7,008 attempted laps (98.2%). Kyle Busch has collected three of JGR’s wins (2008, 2010 and 2013) and Joey Logano scored the other (2009).
  • POINTS UPDATE: After 17 races this season, the No. 20 Camry team currently ranks seventh in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner Point Standings, 132 points out of first. The team has produced six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 2014. Sam Hornish Jr. registered a season-best second-place result for the team at Michigan International Speedway in June.
  • KEEPING UP WITH JONES: Keep up with Jones’ latest happenings through social media on both Twitter and Instagram via @erik_jones and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ErikJonesRacing.
  • RACE INFO: The EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway is scheduled for Saturday, July, 19, 2014 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Watch and listen live on ESPN2, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
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Darrell Wallace, Jr. Will Drive the No. 20 ‘Share a Coke’ Toyota Camry at Daytona

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today that Darrell Wallace, Jr. will pilot the No. 20 ‘Share a Coke’ Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, July 4, 2014.

The start will mark Wallace’s second NNS race of the season in the No. 20 Camry. His only other start this season was at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3. Wallace started the race from the third position behind Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Sam Hornish, Jr. and Elliott Sadler. After running the early part of the race solidly in the top 10, an incident in turn four on lap 45 collected Wallace and resulted in a disappointing 31st-place finish.

In addition to his NNS starts this season, Wallace has seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) starts this year. The NCWTS most recently competed at Gateway Motorsports Park where Wallace led a race-high 85 of 160 laps on his way to earning his second-career NCWTS win. Overall, he has compiled seven NCWTS starts this season with one win, two top-five finishes, three top-10 finishes, has led 119 laps and has an average start of 10.4 and average finish of 13.7.
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SunEnergy1 Sponsors Four NASCAR Nationwide Races

Matt Kenseth, Sam Hornish Jr. and Kenny Habul to Pilot No. 20 SunEnergy1 Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing announces today that SunEnergy1 will sponsor four NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season with Matt Kenseth, Sam Hornish and SunEnergy1 CEO Kenny Habul sharing the driving duties.

Hornish will pilot SunEnergy1’s debut race next weekend at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, while accomplished road racer Habul goes behind the wheel on the road courses of Road America and Mid-Ohio on June 21 and August 16 respectively. Kenseth will handle the driving duties in Atlanta on August 30. Read more

Matt Kenseth Wins a 2013 Wisconsin Sports Award!

Green Bay Packers, Germantown Boys Basketball, Whitewater Football Dominate List of
2013 Winners at Third Annual Wisconsin Sports Awards

Good Karma Broadcasting’s ESPN Wisconsin announces the winners of the 2013 Wisconsin Sports Awards. The event, which took place Thursday, April 24, 2014 at the Kern Center in Milwaukee, included appearances by Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Mike McCarthy and Bo Ryan. Following are the complete list of winners:
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