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Joe Gibbs Racing
Manufacturer: Toyota Engine manufacturer : TRD Debut season: 1992 Owner standings Joe Gibbs Racing was launched in 1991 by former NFL head coach Joe Gibbs. As Gibbs looked to move from coaching to a new chapter in his career, his friend Don Meredith was looking for opportunities to race in NASCAR, and the team was born with its first season of premier series competition coming in 1992. In 1993, driver Dale Jarrett won the Daytona 500 for JGR's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. Bobby Labonte took to the drivers seat, replacing Jarrett, in 1995. Since then, the team has claimed three championships in the series: in 2000 with Bobby Labonte and '02 and '05 with Tony Stewart , who became the team's second driver in 1999. The team expanded to a third full-time car in 2006 with J.J. Yeley behind the wheel. 2012 brought Joe Gibbs Racing its 100th Cup win, when Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . In 2015, JGR expanded to a fourth full-time car with Carl Edwards behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota. JGR is based in Huntersville, NC, with over 450 employees in a facility of 250,000 square feet. Visit the team's web site here. Follow Joe Gibbs Racing on Facebook and Twitter . Driver: Denny Hamlin Car Number: #11 Hometown: Chesterfield, VA Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie Year: 2006 Primary team members: Crew Chief: Mike Wheeler " Hometown: Southold, NY Car Chief: Leo Thorsen " Hometown: Stoughton, WI Spotter: Chris Lambert " Hometown: Kannapolis, NC Over-the-wall crew: Gasman: Caleb Hurd " Hometown: Pulaski, VA Front Tire Changer: Dustin Necaise " Hometown: Gulfport, MS Front Tire Carrier: Brandon Pegram " Hometown: Statesville, NC Jackman: Nate Bolling " Hometown: Swanton, OH Rear Tire Changer: Mike Hicks " Hometown: Salisbury, NC Rear Tire Carrier: Heath Cherry " Hometown: Belmont, NC Pit Crew Coordinator: Paul Alepa " Hometown: Vienna, VA JGR Athletic Director: Mike Lepp " Hometown: Charlotte, NC Road crew members: Truck Drivers: Frank Hodel " Hometown: High Bridge, NJ, David Ott " Hometown: St. Mary's, PA Tire Specialist: Kerry Ferris " Hometown: Perry, NY Shock Specialist: Drew Bible " Hometown: Coldwater, MI Engineer: Matt Beckman " Hometown: Glenview, IL Engineer: Sam McAuley " Hometown: Huntersville, NC Mechanic: Troy Welty " Hometown: Manchester, PA Mechanic: John Furino " Hometown: East Meadow, NY Interior Mechanic: Sean Kerlin " Hometown: Marysville, PA Driver: Kyle Busch Car Number: #18 Hometown: Las Vegas, NV Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie Year: 2005 Primary team members: Crew Chief: Adam Stevens " Hometown: Portsmouth, OH Car Chief: Nate Bellows " Hometown: Fairfax, VT Engine Specialist: Mike Johnson " Hometown: Bozeman, MT Spotter: Tony Hirschman " Hometown: Northhampton, PA Over-the-wall crew: Gasman: Tom Lampe " Hometown: Beatrice, NE Pit Support: Marcus Bonicelli " Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO Pit Support: Jeff Koons " Hometown: Greenfield, IN Front Tire Changer: Josh Leslie " Hometown: Mount Clemens, MI Front Tire Carrier: Brad Donaghy " Hometown: Orange County, VA Jackman: T.J. Ford " Hometown: Charlotte, NC Rear Tire Changer: Jake Seminara " Hometown: Steubenville, OH Rear Tire Carrier: Kenny Barber " Hometown: Hoosick Falls, NY Road crew members: Truck Drivers: Brendan “Slim” Greene " Hometown: Midland, NC, Jamie “Montana” Price " Hometown: Choteau, MT Tire Specialist: Gregory Katzke " Hometown: Wausau, WI Shock Specialist: Chris Chase " Hometown: Nichols, NY Engineer: Ben Beshore " Hometown: York, PA Engineer: Gene Watchtel " Hometown: Clearwater, FL Front End Mechanic: Brandon Griffeth " Hometown: Pittsfield, IL Rear End Mechanic: Chris Jones " Hometown: Smith Mountain Lake, VA Mechanic: Todd Foster " Hometown: Birmingham, AL Interior Mechanic: Wesley Lape " Hometown: Sinking Spring, PA Driver: Carl Edwards Car Number: #19 Hometown: Columbia, MO Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Primary team members: Crew Chief: Dave Rogers " Hometown: Marshfield, VT Car Chief: Eric Phillips " Hometown: Canton, IL Engine Specialist: James Dudley " Hometown: Porterville, CA Spotter: Jason Hedlesky " Hometown: Clinton, MI Over-the-wall crew: Gasman: Kenneth Purcell " Hometown: Savannah, GA Windshield: Zack Miller " Hometown: Vista, CA Front Tire Changer: Clay Robinson " Hometown: Simi Valley, CA Front Tire Carrier: Kevin Harris " Hometown: Sanford, FL Jackman: Trey Burklin " Hometown: Charlotte, NC Rear Tire Changer: Matt Ver Meer " Hometown: Montezuma, IA Rear Tire Carrier: Kip Wolfmeir " Hometown: Kingdom City, MO Road crew members: Truck Driver: Kyle Bazzell " Hometown: Fairbury, IL Truck Driver: Bob Hannigan " Hometown: High Bridge, NJ Tire Specialist: Jamie Turski " Hometown: Trumbull, CT Shock Specialist: Ron Denton " Hometown: Bristol, VA Engineer: Lee Hallman " Hometown: Claremont, NC Engineer: Kenny Oates " Hometown: Miami, FL Mechanic: Matt Tyrrell " Hometown: Ft. Lauderdale, FL Fuel Runner: Ben Surface " Hometown: Pulaski, VA Driver: Matt Kenseth Car Number: #20 Hometown: Cambridge, WI Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie Year: 2000 Primary team members: Crew Chief: Jason Ratcliff " Hometown: Sumter, SC Car Chief: Jeff Meendering " Hometown: Concord, NC Engine Specialist: Gregg Wilson " Hometown: Charlotte, NC Spotter: Chris Osborne " Hometown: High Point, NC Over-the-wall crew: Gasman: John Eicher " Hometown: London, KY Front Tire Changer: John Royer " Hometown: Otis, KS Front Tire Carrier: Joe Crossen " Hometown: Salisbury, NC Jackman: Jason Tate " Hometown: Statesville, NC Rear Tire Changer: Adam Hartman " Hometown: Oxford, NC Rear Tire Carrier: Blake Haugland " Hometown: My. Ayr, IA Road crew members: Truck Driver: Dennis Valverde " Hometown: Albuquerque, NM Truck Driver: Tom McCrimmon " Hometown: Mount Pleasant, NC Tire Specialist: Jerold Shires " Hometown: Waiteville, WV Shock Specialist: Scott Myers " Hometown: Modesto, CA Engineer: Michael Lorusso " Hometown: Asburn, VA Engineer: Levi Porter " Hometown: Wyben, MA Mechanic: Alan Buzze " Hometown: Onondoga, NY Mechanic: Jason Overstreet " Hometown: Clearwater, FL
Ron Bouchard passes away at age 67
RELATED: Bouchard's standout Modified career Ron Bouchard, winner of the 1981 Talladega 500 and the premier series' rookie of the year that same season, passed away Thursday. He was 67. A family friend and close pal of my fathers Ron Bouchard passed away today. My thoughts and prayers go to his family. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) December 10, 2015 NASCAR made a statement on Thursday regarding the news, "Ron Bouchard's passion for racing was evident from his very early years in NASCAR. Competition fueled Ron, whether racing modifieds at short tracks across the Northeast or winning rookie of the year honors in NASCAR's premier series. He loved this sport, and made an indelible mark on it, one that won’t soon be forgotten. "NASCAR extends its condolences to the friends and family of Ron Bouchard, a true racer." A native of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Bouchard pulled off one of NASCAR's most stunning victories when he shot from third to first on the final lap at Talladega (then known as Alabama International Motor Speedway), passing Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte to score his lone premier series victory. The win came in his 11th career start. He was driving the Jack Beebe-owned Race Hill Farm No. 47 Buick, with crew chief Bob Johnson. Bouchard had taken over the ride earlier in the season following the departure of driver Harry Gant. Bouchard became the 13th different winner in the 13-year history of the summer race at the 2.66-mile track. "Coming off the fourth turn … I was behind Waltrip and Terry when Terry decided to pass Darrell on the outside," Bouchard told reporters following his Talladega victory. "When he moved up, Darrell moved up to get in front of him. When I saw that, I just shot down to the inside … and moved up fast." A standout Modified driver, Bouchard won track championships at Stafford Springs, Thompson and Seekonk speedways before moving up to what was then known as NASCAR's Grand National division. He made 160 starts at NASCAR’s top level, finishing a career-best eighth in points in '82. In addition to his one win, Bouchard scored 19 top-five and 60 top-10 finishes. He won the series' rookie title in a class that included Morgan Shepherd , Tim Richmond and Joe Ruttman . Seven years later, his brother Ken Bouchard captured the series rookie of the year award as well.
Tifft, Wallace top XFINITY practices at Talladega
Practice 2: Results Matt Tifft has kicked off the weekend strong, topping final NASCAR XFINITY Series practice at Talladega Superspeedway . Tifft, who is wheeling the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, earned a fastest lap of 181.918 mph. Next was last the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ty Dillon (181.515 mph), last week's Dash 4 Cash winner. Rounding out the top three was the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Brandon Jones (180.346 mph). The No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Daniel Suarez , the current points leader, and No. 51 Jeremy Clements Racing Chevrolet of Jeremy Clements were fourth and fifth, respectively. The defending race winner Joey Logano finished the 55-minute session 33rd (153.787 mph). Coors Light Pole Qualifying will be Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET. The session is scheduled for broadcast on FS1. Practice 1: Results Darrell Wallace Jr . scooted to the top spot in opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice Friday at Talladega Superspeedway . Wallace wheeled the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford to a best lap of 192.413 mph around the 2.66-mile track. He vaulted to the top of the leaderboard with an aerodynamic boost from teammate Ryan Reed , who clocked the second-fastest lap at 192.355 mph in Roush Fenway's No. 16 Ford. Ty Dillon , last week's winner of the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus from the series sponsor, was third-fastest at 191.827 mph in the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet. Matt Tifft (191.670 mph) was fourth-best in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota with Austin Dillon (190.601) completing the top five in Childress' No. 2 Chevy in early prep for Saturday's Sparks Energy 300 event (3 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Series points leader Daniel Suarez , in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota, wound up 10th of the 43 drivers to turn laps in the opening 55-minute session. Sprint Cup regular Joey Logano , the defending race winner, was 18th-best in Team Penske 's No. 22 Ford.
Logano leads final practice, No. 14 team practices switch
Practice 2: Full results Joey Logano launched to the fastest speed in final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway . Logano, winner of the series' most recent race here last October, posted a best lap of 196.290 mph in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. He was just .013 seconds ahead of Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Ryan Blaney , second-fastest at 196.238 mph in the Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford. Fellow rookie Chase Elliott was third-fastest at 196.185 mph in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet. Danica Patrick (195.094 mph) and rookie Brian Scott completed the top five in the final 55-minute prep for Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Few drivers participated in large packs, with most spending time concentrating on single-car runs to prepare for Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying (12:30 p.m. ET, FOX). But with inclement weather in Saturday's forecast, several drivers attempted to better their position in the practice order should qualifying be washed out. Among those was Blaney, one of five drivers attempting to qualify for the four starting berths reserved for open, non-chartered teams. He received aerodynamic help from Logano, whose Penske team shares an alliance with the Wood Brothers, a fellow Ford operation. Ty Dillon , on standby for Tony Stewart in his second race back from a back injury, was 16th-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet. The team spend the majority of the session practicing in the garage for a quick driver change, something the team plans to do midstream in Sunday's 500-miler as Stewart eases his way back from his injuries. Defending race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . was seventh-fastest at 193.584 mph around the 2.66-mile track. Practice 1: Full results Two-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Jamie McMurray topped opening practice. The wheelman of the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet posted a fastest lap of 199.737 mph. Rookie Chase Elliott was second-fastest during the 55-minute session, propelling the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet around the 2.66-mile track at 199.729 mph. Stewart-Haas Racing 's Kurt Busch rounded out the top three with his No. 41 coming in at 199.409 mph. Busch's teammate Danica Patrick was next in her No. 10 Chevrolet (199.384 mph) while the No. 6 of Trevor Bayne earned the fifth-quickest lap (199.317 mph). The back-to-back race winner of 2016, Carl Edwards was 23rd (196.552 mph) in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Tony Stewart and Ty Dillon took turns wheeling the No. 14 throughout practice and earned 29th (195.884 mph). Dillon will fill in as a relief driver for "Smoke" during qualifying and the 500-mile event. Six-time Talladega winner, and defending race champ, Dale Earnhardt Jr . finished practice 32nd (195.150 mph).
Edwards: 'Kyle and I haven't talked' since Richmond
RELATED: No team orders for Edwards, Busch " Vote: Clean or dirty move? TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Following last weekend's thrilling finish to the Sprint Cup series race at Richmond International Raceway in which Carl Edwards bumped teammate Kyle Busch from the lead to pick up his second straight victory, the lingering question in the days leading up to this weekend's events at Talladega Superspeedway was if the Joe Gibbs Racing duo would bury the hatchet. According to Edwards, the two drivers have yet to speak to each other. "No, Kyle and I have not had a chance to talk yet," Edwards said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway . "I was testing at ( Indianapolis Motor Speedway ) for two days. I missed the meetings. This weekend will require us to all get together as a group and work well together. I'm sure we'll have a chance to talk." Much was made of the move that saw Edwards nudge his teammate Busch, the reigning series champion, up the track in Turns 3 and 4 on the final lap to beat him by .675 seconds on the Virginia short track. RELATED: Cain: Edwards' move is what racing is all about Was it clean? Was it dirty? Should it matter that they're teammates? Should it matter that they're both already virtually locked into the Chase for the Sprint Cup by virtue of their early-season wins? (A NASCAR.com poll revealed that 76 percent of our readers deemed it a clean, racing move, for what it's worth.) But it all boils down to how the pair -- who've been racing against each other full-time for over a decade, but have been teammates for just over a year -- will handle things moving forward, both on and off the track. Busch was understandably terse in his post-race press conference at Richmond on Sunday, deflecting questions about the incident and instead noting how good of a car his team gave him. The two-time 2016 race winner has yet to offer any comment since. RELATED: Recap all of Edwards' wins " All of Busch's wins
Tire failures trip up three Joe Gibbs Racing teams
RELATED: Full results from Bristol BRISTOL, Tenn. – While Carl Edwards was celebrating in Victory Lane, the rest of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates were left trying to decipher what caused multiple tire failures during Sunday’s running of the Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway . It also left Goodyear officials more than just a bit interested and by the end of the day, the official tire supplier had obtained tires from the teams of Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth to evaluate further. Busch, the defending series champion and winner of back-to-back Sprint Cup races heading into Bristol, was the first to have a tire issue, his No. 18 Toyota breaking loose in Turn 2 barely 50 laps into the 500-lap event. "Blew a right-front (expletive) tire," Busch relayed over his team's radio. A second No. 18 spin was the result of contact from another car, but when a third incident unfolded at Lap 259, also for a tire issue, the car was too damaged to continue. "I'm not sure what started it, but we were a little snug early on in the first run of the race," Busch said. "As the car would run more and more laps it would get tighter and tighter, that's the weirdest thing that I've felt all day and all weekend we haven't had that problem. Not sure what happened." Kenseth led three times for 142 laps and appeared to be a favorite before his No. 20 Toyota slid up into the wall after a second tire problem on Lap 323. He was in third at the time of the Turn 2 crash. The team was able to make repairs, but he finished 36th, 40 laps behind the race winner. RELATED: Kenseth's rough 2016 continues after tire problems "We just keep blowing right front tires, I don't know why," Kenseth said afterward. "The first one was a little confusing, I knew I blew a right front, but I thought they were telling me it wasn't flat so I was a little confused. "This one just blew a lot earlier and the angle was a lot worse hitting the wall." Hamlin eventually had a tire go down, too, and got into the wall with less than 100 laps remaining. Jason Ratcliff, crew chief for Kenseth, said it didn't appear to be a wear issue and the bead temperatures weren't overly concerning. "But evidently it was just hot and we were working it hard and it just could't take it," he said. "That's all I know." If the failure was a result of excessive heat, Ratcliff said, his team would have to do a better job of cooling its tires in the future. "I can try to take some camber out to transmit the heat across the tire better – it's not like it's wearing out," he said. "But the thing was, in practice we kept an eye on it and things looked really good. Same settings we ran last year with it and it was fine. It kind of caught us by surprise." Greg Stucker, Director of Race Tire Sales for Goodyear, said officials obtained tires from the three JGR Teams. The tires will be transported back to Akron, Ohio, for "thorough" analysis. "Obviously, we're working with the team to try to understand what it might be and solve the problem together," Stucker said. "The important thing is to try to help the team understand what is going on, and ourselves, as well. "Until we get the tires broken down and get a good look at them [we won’t know]. They (JGR) understand nobody else is having the same issues. We need to try to understand that." Busch finished 38th while Hamlin wound up 20th. His teammates' tire issues didn't go unnoticed by Edwards or his crew, but the race winner said crew chief Dave Rogers kept him abreast of the situation. "I was nervous about it, but Dave did a good job of talking to me about how hard we were pushing the tires and what we had going on there," Edwards said, "So I felt pretty comfortable."
H2H: Will Hendrick or JGR win at Talladega?
This weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway will bring new excitement, drama and possibly a surprising race winner. Hendrick Motorsports is typically known as the organization to beat at the 2.66-mile track, but the recent domination of Joe Gibbs Racing 's four-car team may threaten the HMS quartet in the battle to top the leaderboard. In the latest Head-to-Head, NASCAR.com's Taylor Starer and Maggie MacKenzie debate which team is more likely to prevail at Talladega. Read their thoughts and vote in the poll below with your opinion. MACKENZIE: Let's get the Talladega weekend going. There's something about 'Dega that makes it so intriguing, from big wrecks to big wins. Now, if there's one thing certain, it's that Hendrick Motorsports and the superspeedway go together perfectly. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., for example, goes into every 'Dega race as the clear favorite thanks to his six wins there -- his winningest track to date. And let's not forget his 12 top fives and 16 top 10s, either. Junior has led multiple laps during each of the last five Sprint Cup races at the Alabama track, so expect the No. 88 to be up front once again and lead. STARER: Dale Jr. always brings it at Talladega, that's no secret. But the success Joe Gibbs Racing has seen this season is proving to be unmatchable. For starters, the four-car Toyota team just swept the month of April, with Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards dominating races at Martinsville, Texas, Bristol and Richmond. Junior and the rest of the Hendrick Motorsports wheelhouse have a strong history at 'Dega, but JGR has some serious momentum this season. I'd be interested to see if Junior's Talladega knowledge is enough to outsmart everything JGR has learned so far this season. MACKENZIE: There's no doubt that the JGR foursome has been on fire lately and whatever ingredients it has been mixing up make for one sweet concoction. With that being said, don't forget that Hendrick has been having success thus far, too. "Six-Time" added two wins to his resume this year at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway , while Kasey Kahne earned a season-best, fourth-place result at last week's Richmond race. And let's not count out rookie Chase Elliott . Elliott is the best newcomer in the Cup field and his back-to-back top-five finishes at Texas and Bristol proved he can outrace the veterans. It's only a matter of time before the 20-year-old wheels that iconic No. 24 to Victory Lane. STARER: All valid points, Maggie. But let's not forget who won this year's Daytona 500 , the only other restrictor-plate race that the Sprint Cup Series has run this season. That's right, Denny Hamlin . And it wasn't Hamlin's first show of superspeedway success. The No. 11 JGR driver saw Victory Lane at the Talladega spring race in 2014, and his teammate Matt Kenseth won there in 2012. You make a good argument with Elliott, but this will be the rookie's first Sprint Cup Series attempt at Talladega, a track known to eat newbies alive. Let's just hope the No. 24 Chevrolet makes it till the end of the 188-lap event with few scratches. MACKENZIE: You make a good point there about Hamlin and the Daytona 500 , Taylor. My mind, however, keeps going back to this race last year. Hamlin earned a respectable ninth-place finish, but who got the 1-2? That would be Junior and Johnson, who led a combined 117 of the 188 laps run that day. Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards finished 25th and 32nd, respectively. Talladega is quite unpredictable, but my money is on a similar finish to 2015. STARER: Ah yes, I was at this race last year and the No. 88's dominance was tough to beat. There's no doubt that Junior's chances of running up front are strong -- I just think JGR's are stronger, especially since Busch is back after missing this race last year. Despite what went down last week at Richmond, the Toyota team seems to be learning as a unit, hence why this team has compiled multiple wins, top-fives and top-10 finishes in 2016. There's not just one superspeedway star at JGR, which improves its odds, and that's what matters most. But, we'll just have to see where the cards fall. After all, it's 'Dega, baby.
Cain: Edwards' move is what racing's all about
RELATED: Re-watch Edwards' bump-and-run from Richmond Carl Edwards was still smiling when he walked into the Richmond International Raceway media center to talk about his thrilling Sprint Cup Series win an hour earlier Sunday afternoon. He surveyed the room of reporters and had a little small talk with his crew chief Dave Rogers and team owner Joe Gibbs. Then, to his credit, he got right to it. "First off, if my cat ever gets sick, I don't care how much it costs, I will take it to the Banfield Pet Hospital if that helps," Edwards said allowing a wide smile after immediately plugging his teammate Kyle Busch 's race sponsor even before his own, XFINITY . Earlier, Edwards landed his trademark victory back flip after the checkered flag. But what happened on the white flag lap with Busch may require some additional cordial contortions as well. And that's OK. That's racing. The kind that pumps hearts and generates excitement. Edwards' bump-and-run pass -- importantly not bump-and-wreck -- of his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Busch on the last lap of Sunday's race capped off an intriguing day of competition and amazingly marked the first time in the Richmond track's long and storied history that a race was won with a final-lap pass. The crowd was thrilled with the finish. The media was abuzz with the drama. And somewhere in heaven, Dale Earnhardt was having a good "attaboy" moment too. Lug nuts, schmug nuts. There was no talk of that Sunday afternoon. The week's earlier dramatic obsession with pit stops was completely overshadowed by what makes this sport so good: actual close and dramatic racing on track. And daring last lap passes as Edwards had just executed. It probably wouldn't have mattered if it were Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski , Greg Biffle versus Ricky Stenhouse Jr . or Jimmie Johnson blowing by Dale Earnhardt Jr . -- well, OK maybe on that one. It was good stuff. The reason people like this sport. So, while Edwards was grinning after the race, his JGR teammate Busch was understandably not, his Toyota having been carefully rearranged by Edwards last charge for a victory. Busch, clearly and understandably unhappy with his "adjusted" finish went into a bit of the NFL' s Marshawn Lynch mode in the media center afterward – repeating the same answer to all the questions about the last lap contact with Edwards. It was the second time in the season's nine races that team owner, Joe Gibbs has had to address this kind of situation -- which, if you think about it, isn't a super bad thing. Denny Hamlin 's win in the season-opening Daytona 500 came on a last lap blow by of JGR teammate Matt Kenseth . Gibbs was honest when asked about the team dynamics after such dramatic finishes between teammates. "It's a tough thing because it's certainly painful for one side," Gibbs said. "You're on such a high with the other side. It's tough. You kind of know what we'll do is kind of go to work and work our way through it." Edwards said he and Busch did not speak after the race, but also anticipated some discussion before this week's stop at Talladega Superspeedway , which interestingly enough so often relies on drafting "partners." "I wish it was anybody but my teammate that we had to race like that with,'" Edwards said. "Big picture to me, we both got wins (already) and we're both in the Chase and it’s fun to race your teammate for the win.'" Edwards' crew chief Dave Rogers -- who is also Busch's former crew chief -- was direct with his assessment. And he said what most race fans feel. "If we look at the big picture, today was a great day for NASCAR," Rogers said, reiterating that he and Busch are still close friends. "Our fans don't want to see teammate orders. They don't deserve teammates to fall in line. They deserve good, hard racing. "So, I think today was a great day for the sport. It stinks that we had to move a teammate. I'm sure (Busch's crew chief) Adam (Stevens) and I will talk about it and Carl and Kyle will talk about it. "But I think it would be very disappointing to our fans if Joe imposed a team order and told us, 'Hey, have a parade instead of a race.'" If Edwards hadn't have made the move, we'd be having a whole different, much more difficult conversation. Instead, NASCAR has another shining example of what draws people to this sport: close racing, dramatic finishes and lots of "can-you-believe-that?" instances. Truly last lap passes are what people want to talk about. Not lug nuts, driver councils or pit road penalties. That's not where the authentic action is. Busch will have a chance to "equal the score." It's called intense competition. Would Busch have done the same thing on Sunday? Of course he would. Will he if some opportunity presents itself in the future? You bet. And Edwards knows its coming. And so do we. That's why people love this sport.
Stewart, others to partake in two-day Indy tire test
Tony Stewart , fresh off his return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, is among the four drivers scheduled to take part in a two-day Goodyear tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Tuesday and Wednesday. Stewart, who missed the first eight points races of the 2016 season due to a back injury, made his first start of the season in this past weekend's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway . He finished 19th in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. He is currently scheduled to qualify and start this weekend's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) but will turn over the driving duties to NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Ty Dillon at some point during the race. Drivers expected to join the three-time series champion for the Goodyear test on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis track are Aric Almirola (No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford), Carl Edwards (No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) and Chase Elliott (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet). Edwards enters this weekend's race at Talladega with a two-race win streak, having won at Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway . Because it is a Goodyear test, the grandstands will not be open. However, fans may view the action from the Turn 2 viewing mounds located adjacent to the Hall of Fame Museum. This year's Crown Royal Presents the 'Your Hero's Name Here' at the Brickyard 400 is scheduled for Sunday, July 24 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Stewart completes tire test at Indy; Edwards, more join
Four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers concluded a two-day Goodyear tire test Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway . For three-time series champion Tony Stewart , it wrapped up what he said would be the final tire test of his career. Stewart joined last weekend's winner Carl Edwards , Aric Almirola and rookie Chase Elliott among drivers involved at the Brickyard, helping Goodyear officials determine the proper tire compound for the Sprint Cup Series' annual visit on July 24. Stewart was fresh from his season debut at Richmond International Raceway , where he placed 19th after missing eight races with a broken back suffered in an all-terrain vehicle incident Jan. 31. As was the case Sunday at Richmond, Stewart was in good spirits as he eased back into full-time racing in what is scheduled to be his final NASCAR season as a driver. RELATED: Stewart eager for more after Richmond return "I'm actually having fun up here," said Stewart, an Indiana native. "This is my last tire test as a driver, so I've been having fun working with the Goodyear guys and it's been kind of fun because three of the main guys here when I started here are at this test, which they don't always get to come to the same test together. It's kind of nice to be working with them one last time. "It's nice to be home and I think any chance, any time that we've had an opportunity to go test here, I always jumped on it. I don't like to go test -- it's boring to me -- but I've always liked any chance I got to come up to Indy and test. That's something I always wanted to do." Stewart's next NASCAR appearance at the venerable Speedway is scheduled this summer, when he'll compete in what will likely be his final Indianapolis race. The 44-year-old Stewart said he's had less chance to reminisce about his memories of the home-state track than to get accustomed to the reduced-downforce aerodynamics package that made its debut this year. "It's probably more just fresh on my mind of being back in the car. I haven't driven with this low-downforce package other than just Richmond last weekend, which you aren't really going to see a big effect of it. Being here and seeing how much different it feels, it's fun to kind of get acclimated again and that's the big thing that I wanted to leave here with was just feeling like that I was up to speed with what the aero package was and knowing what the feel is like." Edwards has won the last two Sprint Cup races, including last Sunday's bump-and-run past Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch to prevail at Richmond. Edwards said he hadn't had a chance to speak with Busch about the incident with his quick transition from the Virginia short track to Indianapolis before heading to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. RELATED: JGR orders? Edwards-Busch bump say it isn't so Edwards' more immediate focus was to provide feedback to Goodyear engineers after a battery of tests at the historic 2.5-mile track. "There's a lot of stuff to learn here," Edwards said. "This track, it's difficult for a number of reasons, but really for me, just the weather today versus yesterday, it's hard to determine how much of it is the weather. As the track changes, the Goodyear rubber lays down, it changes. The challenge for us is as we make these changes with the car to try to separate the track changes and the temperature changes from the actual changes to the car. "So it's a pretty difficult place to test and to figure things out, but that kind of makes it fun. We've got my crew chief and my team of engineers over there, and I mean they are going through every … I mean, they're really over there thinking and working hard, and those kind of challenges are fun."