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Race Report: Michigan

Carl Edwards led Joe Gibbs Racing with a seventh-place finish in this afternoon’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Meanwhile teammates Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch finished ninth, 13th and 19th respectively.

Carl Edwards started the No. 19 ARRIS Surfboard Toyota from the ninth position but battled loose handling conditions as he dropped outside the top ten to run 13th prior to a lap 20 competition caution. Edwards would patiently work his way back toward the top ten and was running 11th at lap 50. He would make a green flag pit stop on lap 66 and cycled through to run 14th at lap 70. Edwards was running 13th at lap 100 would restart 12th on lap 125 after a round of pit stops under the day’s third caution. He would lead briefly for just one lap during a round of green flag pit stops. Crew chief Dave Rogers would make the call to have the ARRIS Camry remain out under a final caution that allowed Edwards to line up fifth for a restart with nine laps to go. He would go on to finish the day in seventh.

Denny Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota from the third position and would drop back outside the top five prior to a competition caution after lap 20. Hamlin would restart in fourth on lap 25 and following another quick caution he would make his way into second. Hamlin would make a green flag pit stop on lap 67 and cycled through to run seventh at lap 70. He would continue to run seventh at lap 100 and would restart fifth on lap 125 after electing to stay out and not pit under caution. Hamlin was running seventh at lap 150 and held that position on lap 175 following a cycle of green flag pit stops. Crew chief Mike Wheeler would make the call for the FedEx Camry to come down pit road one final time and Hamlin lined up seventh for the final restart with nine laps to go. He would go on to finish in ninth.

Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the 13th position and held that spot through the opening 20 laps prior to a competition caution. He was able to enter the top ten on lap 37 and was running ninth at lap 50 while battling a loose handling race car. He would make a green flag pit stop on lap 66 and cycled through to run 12th. Kenseth was running 11th at lap 100 and would pit for tires under the day’s third caution allowing him to restart 11th at lap 125. He would take the lead on lap 157 and held it for eight laps during a cycle of green flag pit stops. A final caution would come out on lap 188 and crew chief Jason Ratcliff would bring the Dollar General Camry down pit road one final time. He would line up ninth for the final restart with nine laps to go and went on to finish the race in 13th.

Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota from 16th position and was able to gain two positions on the opening green flag run prior to a lap 20 competition caution. He would line up 10th for a restart on lap 25, but was loose and spun down the track and into the grass. Busch managed to limit the damage to his Interstate Batteries Camry and he would restart the race just one lap down in 39th on lap 31. He would pit under green on lap 71 hoping to earn the lucky dog spot as the first car one lap down. Unfortunately, that opportunity would never come and the Interstate Batteries Camry would get locked a lap down the remainder of the race. Kyle would finish as the first car a lap down in 19th.

Kyle Larson captured the win, followed by Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. There were four cautions for a total of 17 laps and 20 lead changes among 13 different drivers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head south to Darlington Raceway for throwback weekend next Sunday. All four JGR cars will carry a special throwback paint scheme. Live coverage of the race will be carried by NBC on Sunday, September 4 starting with its pre-race show at 5 PM ET (race starts at 6 PM ET). Live coverage will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.

Matt Tifft Medical Announcement

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced today a medical update on driver Matt Tifft, who will undergo surgery for removal of a low-grade glioma in the brain.

The slow-growing tumor was found during treatment and evaluation for a recent disc condition in his back. Tifft is expected to undergo surgery and rehabilitation soon and once cleared by physicians is expected to return to racing. The JGR rookie is anxious to return to the race track as soon as possible.

David Ragan has been enlisted to drive the No. 18 Surface Sunscreen/Rugged Maniac Toyota Camry XFINITY series entry for Joe Gibbs Racing on Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

Matt Tifft Grabs 13-Race Opportunity

JGR Confirms 2016 No. 18 XFINITY Series Schedule for Rookie Driver

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (February 5, 2016) – “Names are Made Here” in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and young Ohio-native Matt Tifft will be doing just that in 2016 with a 13-race schedule behind the wheel of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota Camry.

The 19-year old driver has 16-career starts in NASCAR’s top-three racing series over the last two seasons, while running a limited schedule in both the XFINITY Series and in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. In these early stages of his career Tifft has successfully earned six top-10 finishes in the Camping World Tuck Series and a top-10 result from 2015 in the XFINITY Series. Additionally Tifft has raced competitively in NASCAR’s K&N Pro West, K&N Pro East and ARCA Series, as well as the X-1R Pro Cup Series.

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Cody Coughlin Fights to a Solid Finish in Bud St. Amant Memorial at Columbus

The “fight” in a man can reveal true character. The resiliency of Cody Coughlin and Team JEGS was tested several times over Sunday at Columbus Motor Speedway in Ohio. Not once did they back down. Their “fight” turned out a seventh place performance, which was impressive after having to go to the rear of the field early in the Bud St. Amant Memorial 125 for the ARCA / CRA Super Series.

The 19 year-old was fast in practice and found himself in the top-five early in the race after starting eighth. That’s when the test of character began.

Contact from another competitor forced Coughlin to pit road near the one-third mark in the race. After making repairs to the No. 1 JEGS Toyota Camry, the Delaware, Ohio native rejoined the field at the rear. Methodically, he picked off spots in traffic and with 25-laps to go, the Joe Gibbs Development Driver found himself 7th.

There was another challenge that lied ahead. The gap between he and sixth was significant and by the time the caution he needed came to fruition, the sun had baked a glaze over the 4/10′s of a mile track and frozen the advancement of most competitors.

Coughlin and his team never wavered in their effort, which resulted in a seventh place finish.

“Track position is everything at racetracks like this and we lost it after having to come to pit road to fix the car,” said Coughlin. “We fought hard, but by the time I got within striking distance the track lost all grip and we were all just hanging on.

“It’s tough because I know we could have won this one, but my guys (Team Manager Kevin Hamlin, crew chief Nick Easton, spotter Scott Wimmer and crew-member Dave Holt) never backed down. They made changes to the car that helped, but the car lost grip under these conditions.”

Coughlin’s sister, Kennedi, was the honorary starter for the Bud St. Amant Memorial. She threw the green flag to begin the race.

“It was really cool to have her do that. It was really nice to have her, my mom (Di) and dad (John), plus my grandfather (Jeg Sr.) here at the track today. So many family members, friends and employees from JEGS came out to support us and I really appreciate that.”

Cody Coughlin will now travel to Indianapolis, Indiana in just a couple weeks for another Super Late Model race. He will compete in the “Fall Brawl” at Lucas Oil Raceway on September 26-27 with the ARCA / CRA Super Series.

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