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Mixed results for Joe Gibbs Racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway

332 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  jgBowyerfan

Photo: http://www.Thefinallap.com

After dominating the Daytona 500 last week in historic fashion, Denny Hamlin and his teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing headed to Atlanta Motor Speedway with momentum on their side.
Friday, Kyle Busch scored the pole for JGR but after post qualifying infractions, Busch’s pole and time was disqualified and he would start at the rear. Carl Edwards would start fourth,Hamlin would start 12th and Matt Kenseth would start 13th.
For Edwards he was looking forward to what this track could bring in terms of the quality of racing. “I think you’re going to see some good racing,” Edwards said. “I mean, this track is just perfect. There are three, four, five different grooves. The tires are falling off. The rubber lays onto this track really nicely, so that it changes. If you’re running in a groove, five or 10 laps later there might not be grip there, so I think you’re going to see that.”
Those multiple grooves were a great avenue for Hamlin who made his way into the top five within the first 20 laps. The track though began to change and as his teammates made gains on their cars, Hamlin found himself dropping through the grid and barely hanging onto a top 20 position and the lead lap.
Kenseth who found himself on the verge of lapping his teammates just over 100 laps into the race his day looked to be heading to his first ever AMS win but troubles on pit road for improper fueling procedure saw the team not only forced to have a pass through penalty but miscommunication saw Kenseth stay on track while being shown the black flag. Cost them two laps and a chance at victory.
Kenseth commented post race on the black flag and the confusion atop his pit box, “I got black flagged for some type of pit road penalty and I didn’t know it and pitted the lap they told me to do a pass through, but I guess they must have been – I’m assuming they were black flagging us before that and they pulled our card, so I never heard anything about it or at least saw the flag or anything, so I came when they told me to come and I guess they must have penalized us a couple laps or something. I don’t really know. I haven’t really seen it.”
Kenseth’s troubles left Busch who made his way in to the top 10 for much of the second half of the race challenging for a top five finish. With Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson dueling for the win in the closing stages the caution for Ryan Newman closed up the field.
Busch took advantage on the final restart of Harvick’s mishap and found himself in position for the win. The wreck on the backstretch though saw the race which had went into overtime, called as the checkered as Johnson earned the win and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. just got by Busch at the start finish line. Edwards would wind up in fifth after a strong restart as well.
Busch on his day after starting 39th, “Adam Stevens (crew chief) and the guys did a great job. What else could I say? They fought hard to battle back from being at the tail end and got a good points day out of it, so we’ll go on next week and go to Vegas and see if we can’t score a win in the hometown.”
With the new low down force package which Edwards has been a big proponent of even leading into 201 when they made changes from the 2014 package. AMS which has become a driver favorite due to its aging pavement, slick conditions and with the proper tires a place drivers look forward to coming to.
“They just need to keep taking more. This is real racing. We’re driving hard. You can see the guys out here just digging for everything they’re worth. I’m worn out. That’s a tough race and just a lot of fun. I just can’t thank NASCAR enough and Atlanta – don’t ever pave this place – it’s a perfect race track.” Said Edwards post race.
While it wasn’t an overall success for all of JGR but they should be encouraged by their speed all weekend long. The results though don’t show in particular for Kenseth who led 47 laps on Sunday and ended up finishing 19th. Hamlin wound up 16th.

Quotes: Reid Spencer/ NASCAR Wire Service and Toyota Racing
Mixed results for Joe Gibbs Racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway
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I just don't get what happened to Hamlin. He was fast in practice, and was flying through the pack early on. Yet soon after, he was a lap down.
The only one who really struggled was Hamlin. But the rest easily had top 5, top 10 finishes if they didn't make any mistakes and unfortunately they did on the 20 camp.
I was honestly just glad to see JGR not drown out every other team this week. We need some parity, I'd like to see Ford win some in the next few weeks as well.
There were a lot of cars a lap or laps down that usually aren't.
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