Joe Gibbs Racing enjoying the view from the top
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Championships are nothing new for Joe Gibbs Racing . The organization won three premier series titles during a six-year stretch with drivers Bobby Labonte (2000) and Tony Stewart (2002, '05). But domination? Now, that's something different. "It's one of those deals where you pinch yourself to try and find out if it's real," said Jimmy Makar, Senior Vice President of Racing Operations for the four-team outfit on Tuesday. Makar, along with driver Kyle Busch and other team principals, was on hand at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to unveil the No. 18 team's throwback paint scheme for this year's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The look harkens back to 1993, when driver Dale Jarrett earned the organization its first win with a victory in the Daytona 500 . But while the focus was on the past, the present couldn't be ignored. JGR folks tread lightly around the subject. But the numbers say what officials won't -- that since the midpoint of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season, no organization has been as consistent or as successful as Joe Gibbs Racing . The four-team effort with drivers Busch, Denny Hamlin , Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth won 11 of the final 21 races of the '15 season, a year that ended with Busch claiming the championship. Through this year's first 12 races, those drivers already have won seven times, including six of the last seven. As a result, all four drivers are all but guaranteed a spot in this year's 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup . It's no overnight success story, Busch said, noting that the organization didn't sit idle in early 2013 while engine supplier Toyota Racing Development (TRD) sorted though various engine issues. "We worked on our cars, we worked on our setups, we worked on driver-crew chief communications," he said. "We worked on all that stuff to get our cars better. And when the engines came, then it was all there. We had the total package. "I feel like we've been able to take advantage of all that the last couple of years, of having all the right pieces in place." The 2013 season was the first that TRD began supplying engines to JGR teams. That was also when Kenseth came on board, winning seven times during his debut season in the No. 20 Toyota. Edwards won twice in '15 after the Mooresville, N.C.-based organization expanded to four teams with the addition of the No. 19 entry. For the better part of the past decade, it has been Hendrick Motorsports setting the standard among NASCAR's competitors. So it's not surprising that both Makar and Busch referenced HMS on Tuesday when talk of domination surfaced. "You think about their runs that they have had over the years and how we've always tried to get like that," Makar said. "Here we find ourselves in not exactly the same position but something where we seem to be on top of our game right now and people chasing us. It's kind of fun." Busch was a part of the HMS program while it was the leader of the pack, earning the first four of his 37 career victories with Hendrick. "This sport goes in cycles," Busch said. "Hendrick was on top for a long, long time. I don't want to hear about complaining that we're on top and dominating and bad for the sport because I remember years that Hendrick won 12, 13, 14 races, whatever it was. And they won seven out of eight championships or something like that." Having top-shelf parts and pieces and some of the most talented drivers isn't always a recipe for success. The difference today at JGR, it seems, is the willingness among the four teams to share information as well as opinions. Each driver has a distinct personality, from fiery to subdued, as well as a different approach to racing. "But the thing of it is, they work so well together," Makar said. "That's the one common thing that we've got going on -- they share information with each other, they don't hide things. "The crew chiefs do the same thing. We try to emphasize that. Sometimes you can talk about it all day long but if the guys don't want to do it, it doesn't work." How long will it last? How long can it last? "You always think about, when you're on top, what's it going to take to stay there," Makar said. "It's the hardest thing in the world to stay on top once you get there. Everybody's working even harder to try and beat you. You have to make sure you don't get any sense of overconfidence and quit pushing the limits … that's the only thing you worry about, is if complacency sets in. "Other than that, it's what more can we find? How can we get faster and better, make our cars better and compete better? That's what we do every day … whether you're running 10th every week or first. The whole goal is to get better as a team. Make our race teams better from the inside and keep trying to push ourselves to be better." Gibbs , a Super Bowl-winning coach as well as a championship-winning car owner, perhaps understands the pitfalls better than most. That, and the drive to be on top. "If you get to thinking you're pretty good, that goes against you," he said. "It takes hard work. The other teams are looking at you and they're coming. … There are so many cars that are strong right now." Kenseth's win at Dover on Sunday, he said, was a perfect example of the level of competition. An exciting battle between the veteran and youngster Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing ) left the final outcome in question in the final laps. "It came down at the end there, we're (side-by-side) with the 42. Who's going to win? The 42 or us?" Gibbs said. "I do think that's what is exciting about our sport. People love that. It's the greatest reality show in the world because we don't know what’s going to happen." Busch doesn't know what the summer months will bring, but he's confident that the JGR group "is the strongest one." "I say that because I think Toyota is the best manufacturer in the sport," he said. "I feel like all four drivers are probably among the best six or seven drivers in the sport, and we're all on the same team working together. … You've got Joe, who is one of the best bosses in the sport, who pushes all of us, is a real people guy and he knows about putting the right people in the right places. "Then too, the things that we all do to work together, not hide anything, share anything we possibly can." These days, that includes trips to Victory Lane. Editor's note : Table shows victories by organization from the 2015 Coca-Cola 600 through Sunday's AAA 400 (does not include non-points events).
Locked in: Gibbs gets milestone win, fourth Chase spot
Joe Gibbs Racing celebrated its 135th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win Sunday in Dover when Matt Kenseth found Victory Lane. Kenseth’s win also guarantees all four Gibbs drivers a spot in the 2016 Chase.
Joe Gibbs Racing confirms No. 18 pit crew replacement
RELATED: No. 18 team fined; two suspended The Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team was given a P3 penalty Wednesday regarding lug nuts and improper procedures during the last pit stop at Kansas. Included in those penalties were the suspension of crew chief Adam Stevens and front tire changer Josh Leslie. The big question on pit road is who will replace Leslie at Dover, and how that will affect the No. 18 pit crew. JGR confirmed to NASCAR.com and PitTalks that Brian Eastland will replace Leslie. Eastland was the front changer on the No. 78 of Martin Truex Jr . early in the year before being replaced by Chris Taylor. Eastland still is at JGR as a backup and should fill in nicely. The No. 18 crew was tops on pit road at Kansas and will still be very good at Dover. Yes, they will potentially have some chemistry and timing issues, but they still are a talented crew and Brian Eastland is a very good tire changer. For more pit-crew news, visit PitTalks.com .
The Rundown: Charlotte driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings Breaking down the full field for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway : 1. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . A historic win. Truex set so many records, we can't list them all. So we'll settle for this one: He led a Sprint Cup -record 588 miles. Oh, and his 392 laps led ... taken alone, they would rank 121st all time in series history. Grade: AAA+ (and that might be a tad low) 2. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Another second-place finish for Harvick (47th of his career). One more and he ties Lee Petty for 10th all time. Grade: A 3. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson sniffed the lead after the final restart, but Superman said no. Instead, Johnson will be the answer to the trivia question: Who led the second-most laps (five) of the 2016 Coca-Cola 600 ? Sort of like: Who was the second-leading scorer the night Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game? And, no, I don't know. Grade: A 4. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin picked up 5 seconds on leader Martin Truex Jr . on the night's second pit stop ... and still lost by 6.4 seconds. That'll happen in a 600-mile race. Grade: A 5. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski and Kevin Harvick raced so close to each other for the first half of the race, you'd have thought a big ol' magnet in one of the cars was keeping them side by side. Grade: A 6. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch increased his series-leading top-10 finishes to 11 and also moved up a spot to second in the standings behind Kevin Harvick . Grade: A 7. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Disaster came knocking on a green-flag pit stop late in the first half of the race when Austin Dillon fired out of his pit stall and went way wide into Kenseth. Fortunately the impact was minimal. Grade: A 8. Chase Elliott , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Elliott was running eighth when he was hit with a speeding penalty on the first pit stop; 373 laps later he finished eighth. Nice job. Grade: A 9. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Not that Logano would have been able to run down Martin Truex Jr ., but any chance at the win went away during green-flag pit stops around Lap 254 when a crew member was over the wall too soon. After serving the penalty, Logano was 21st, one lap down, which effectively ended his night. The team battled back, but that's a mistake that can't be made, especially with your driver running so well in such a big race. Grade: D 10. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman was penalized for speeding on pit road during the third caution but battled back to post his fourth top 10 of the season and move up a spot to 16th in the standings. Grade: B 11. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle posted his best finish of the season but couldn't end his drought of top-10 finishes. His previous top 10 was last September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when he finished fourth. Grade: B 12. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon started 28th and needed all 400 laps to claw his way up. Grade: B 13. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson made a lot of noise early and was running fourth at the halfway point before fading. Grade: B 14. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Junior was on pit road when the final yellow flag came out, and he took the wave-around to return to the lead lap ... albeit a little deeper in the field for the final restart with 56 laps to go. He was never vying for a win, but that cost him a higher finish. Grade: B 15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse was the lucky dog on the final caution, enabling him to score his sixth finish in the teens (13th through 16th) in the past seven races. Grade: B 16. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger's 19.3 average running position was highest among drivers finishing in the top 20 and his 10 laps in the top 15 were the lowest. Grade: C 17. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard's 11th-place-finish at Dover coupled with his 17th Sunday gave him his second-best back-to-back finishes of the season, behind his 15th-8th at Auto Club and Martinsville. Grade: C 18. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards was a fixture in the top 10 and running third when he was hit with two green-flag pit-road speeding penalties. The first came when he was too fast entering the pits on Lap 298. The second came when he was too fast entering pit road to do his pass-through penalty, which required him to do a stop-and-go on the next lap. That put a fork in any chance for a decent finish: Grade: D 19. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray's average running position was 19.1, and that's exactly where he finished. Grade: C 20. Ryan Blaney , No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . Not a bad finish considering Blaney was hit with his first pit-road speeding penalty of the season on the competition caution, had to return to pit road because of a loose wheel during the third caution and had his right rear tire go down with three laps to go. Grade: C 21. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Danica's consistent: Sunday's finish was her eighth in the 20s this season. Grade: C 22. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne's right front tire went down early putting him two laps back, and he spent the rest of the night slowly making up ground. Grade: C 23. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Bowyer was never a factor and saw his string of top-20 finishes end at three. Grade: C 24. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart qualified 21st but rolled off the grid 39th when NASCAR caught a crew member making an unauthorized change to the car on pit road before the race. A pit-road penalty for speeding during the third caution didn't help things, either. Grade: D 25. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Since getting his first top 10 of the season at Bristol, Bayne has had a top-10 finish every other race. If the pattern holds, he'll get his first top 10 at Pocono next week. Grade: C 26. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola finished outside the top 10 for the 14th consecutive race, the fourth-longest such streak of his Cup career. Grade: C 27. Landon Cassill , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Of the season's 13 races, Cassill has finished 25th, 26th, 27th or 28th six times. Grade: C 28. Regan Smith , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Smith posted his second-best finish in his past eight races. Grade: C 29. Brian Scott , No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Scott finished in the top 30 for the fourth race in a row. Grade: C- 30. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears' finish is his worst in the 600 since a 33rd-place finish in the rain-shortened 2009 race while driving for Richard Childress Racing . Grade: D 31. David Ragan , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan finished seven laps back but was running at the finish; he had DNFs in both Charlotte races last year. Grade: D 32. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . Although he finished 32nd, DiBenedetto was running at the finish, unlike in two of the previous three races. Grade: D 33. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch was running 10th and flirting with a top-10 finish when he cut a tire with seven laps to go and smacked the outside wall hard. Instead, he finished with his second straight DNF. Grade: B- 34. Michael McDowell , No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . McDowell posted his worst finish of the season. Grade: D 35. Cole Whitt , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Whitt was running at the finish, nine laps back. Grade: D 36. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett finished 10 laps back. Grade: F 37. Chris Buescher , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Buescher could not build on his career-best 18th-place finish at Dover. Grade: F 38. Josh Wise , No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. Wise finished 13 laps back but was running at the finish for the fourth time in the past five races. Grade: F 39. Jeffrey Earnhardt , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing . Earnhardt's finish was a season low. Grade: F 40. Reed Sorenson , No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson completed 200 laps before clutch issues ended his night. Grade: F
Four teams participate in New Hampshire tire test
Goodyear officials and teams from four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organizations are slated to travel to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this week for the final regularly scheduled tire test of 2016. The two-day test, set for Tuesday, May 31 and Wednesday, June 1, will include the following drivers and teams: Dale Earnhardt Jr . ( Hendrick Motorsports No 88 Chevrolet), Denny Hamlin ( Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota), Aric Almirola ( Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr . ( Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford). It is the season’s eighth tire test. Organizational tests currently are scheduled for Kentucky Speedway (June 13-14), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 12-13), Watkins Glen International (July 26-27), Chicagoland Speedway (Aug. 23-24) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 18-19). Organizational tests are limited to one team per organization, meaning likely no more than 20 teams would take part in any single test.
Pit road miscues cost Logano, Edwards
RELATED: Results " Standings " At-track gallery CONCORD, N.C. -- Joey Logano 's crew was in a rush to service the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Carl Edwards was in a rush to get onto pit road in his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Separate incidents. Similar outcomes. Both were flagged for infractions during Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Both were costly penalties. Logano was running third when he hit pit road during a round of green-flag pit stops that began on Lap 252 of the 400-lap, 600-mile race. But a crewman was across pit wall and inside the pit box too quickly, and during a green-flag stop that meant another trip down pit road for the driver. He was 21st after returning to the race, battled his way back onto the lead lap and eventually finished ninth. A week earlier he had won the series' Sprint All-Star Race, a non-points event that included a $1 million winner's purse. "You're trying to have these really fast pit stops and you've got to push everything," Logano said of the miscue. "Green flag penalties are tough to overcome. We were down a lap (but) we raced to get our lap back, which was pretty cool. We didn't have to get a (free pass) or anything like that, we just raced up in front of the leader, so that was cool." It was Logano's seventh top 10 of the season, but he's still searching for his first points win of the year. "Once you get on these restarts, after about 4-5 laps … it was just hard to pass," he said. "A lot harder than in the All-Star Race." Edwards' gaffe came a bit later, but likewise occurred during a round of green-flag stops. A pit road speeding penalty on Lap 297 brought his No. 19 Toyota back to pit road; a second speeding penalty while serving the first compounded the problem. The defending winner of the series’ longest race, Edwards wound up 18th in the final rundown. "I just got greedy," a sheepish Edwards said afterward on pit road. "I was doing really well getting onto pit road and I thought, 'All right, I'm going to get a little more,' and that didn't work. Then I let it snowball. I made a rookie mistake of trying to make my pass-through as fast as I could and I sped by, I think, a half a mile an hour. If I'd known I was going to speed I would have gone a little faster and gotten my money's worth." Edwards won consecutive races earlier this year. In the three races since his last victory, he's yet to finish inside the top 10. "I screwed it up," he said. "I think we had a solid top-four car, maybe a top-three car so it's really tough to swallow that one. It's a mistake; I better learn from it. … "We didn't quit; I'm proud of my guys for sticking behind me. ... That's just tough." Logano lost one position in the points standings, falling from eighth to ninth. Edwards fell a spot as well, from fourth to fifth, but with two wins is assured a slot in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup .
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Owner Standings
After Race 13 of the 2016 season at Charlotte Motor Speedway Pos Owner Car # Points Ldr Nxt PPos G/L Attempts 1 Stewart-Haas Racing 4 457 0 -- 1 0 13 2 Stewart-Haas Racing 41 421 -36 -36 3 1 13 3 Hendrick Motorsports 48 409 -48 -12 5 2 13 4 Joe Gibbs Racing 18 405 -52 -4 2 -2 13 5 Joe Gibbs Racing 19 404 -53 -1 4 -1 13 6 Team Penske 2 404 -53 0 6 0 13 7 Furniture Row Racing 78 381 -76 -23 9 2 13 8 Hendrick Motorsports 24 374 -83 -7 7 -1 13 9 Team Penske 22 373 -84 -1 8 -1 13 10 Joe Gibbs Racing 20 347 -110 -26 12 2 13 11 Joe Gibbs Racing 11 345 -112 -2 13 2 13 12 Richard Childress Racing 3 344 -113 -1 10 -2 13 13 Hendrick Motorsports 88 341 -116 -3 11 -2 13 14 Chip Ganassi Racing 1 318 -139 -23 14 0 13 15 Wood Brothers Racing 21 309 -148 -9 15 0 13 16 Richard Childress Racing 31 309 -148 0 17 1 13 17 JTG Daugherty Racing 47 308 -149 -1 16 -1 13 18 Roush Fenway Racing 17 299 -158 -9 19 1 13 19 Roush Fenway Racing 6 291 -166 -8 18 -1 13 20 Hendrick Motorsports 5 290 -167 -1 20 0 13 21 Chip Ganassi Racing 42 271 -186 -19 22 1 13 22 Stewart-Haas Racing 14 263 -194 -8 21 -1 13 23 Richard Childress Racing 27 257 -200 -6 23 0 13 24 Roush Fenway Racing 16 245 -212 -12 25 1 13 25 Stewart-Haas Racing 10 236 -221 -9 24 -1 13 26 HScott Motorsports 15 229 -228 -7 27 1 13 27 Richard Petty Motorsports 43 228 -229 -1 26 -1 13 28 Front Row Motorsports 38 216 -241 -12 28 0 13 29 Germain Racing 13 195 -262 -21 29 0 13 30 Richard Petty Motorsports 44 190 -267 -5 30 0 13 31 Circle Sport-Leavine Family 95 172 -285 -18 31 0 13 32 BK Racing 23 171 -286 -1 32 0 13 33 BK Racing 83 161 -296 -10 33 0 13 34 Tommy Baldwin Racing 7 161 -296 0 34 0 13 35 Front Row Motorsports 34 145 -312 -16 35 0 13 36 Premium Motorsports 98 108 -349 -37 37 1 13 37 HScott Motorsports 46 108 -349 0 36 -1 13 38 GO FAS Racing 32 99 -358 -9 38 0 13 39 Premium Motorsports 55 53 -404 -46 39 0 8 40 The Motorsports Group 30 47 -410 -6 40 0 13 41 Circle Sport - Leavine Family 59 26 -431 -21 41 0 1 42 Front Row Motorsports 35 24 -433 -2 42 0 2 43 BK Racing 93 5 -452 -19 43 0 2 44 BK Racing 26 3 -454 -2 44 0 1 45 Hillman Racing 40 0 -457 -3 45 0 1
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
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."
Ty Dillon, Erik Jones top Friday practices at Charlotte
PRACTICE 2: Results Richard Childress Racing 's Ty Dillon topped the board in the XFINITY Series' final practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Sitting behind the wheel of his No. 3 Chevrolet, Dillon laid down a field-fast lap of 181.342 mph. Landing in the runner-up spot was Joe Gibbs Racing 's Daniel Suarez in the No. 19 Toyota (181.056 mph) with his teammate Erik Jones -- who topped opening practice -- right behind him to take third in the No. 20 (180.379 mph). Defending race winner Austin Dillon , who is pulling double duty this weekend, was fourth-quickest on the speed charts at 180.210 mph. Rounding out the top five was the No. 48 Chevrolet of Brennan Poole , who wheeled his Chip Ganassi Racing entry around CMS at 179.958 mph. Next on the agenda for the XFINITY Series is Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying (11:15 a.m. ET, FS1) for the Hisense 4K TV 300 (2:30 p.m. ET, FS1). PRACTICE 1: Results Two-time 2016 XFINITY Series winner Erik Jones scored the fastest lap during the series' opening practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing wheelman topped the leaderboard at 181.159 mph. Next on the speed charts was fellow JGR driver -- and Sprint Cup Series regular -- Denny Hamlin , driving the No. 18 Toyota at 180.584 mph. This weekend marks the first XFINITY Series start of the season for the Daytona 500 winner. Fellow Sprint Cup regular Ryan Blaney was third-quickest after propelling his No. 12 Team Penske Ford around the 1.5-mile track at 179.874 mph. Daniel Suarez 's No. 19 JGR entry (179.826 mph) and the No. 3 of Richard Childress Racing 's Ty Dillon (179.468 mph) were fourth and fifth, respectively. Defending race winner Austin Dillon was right behind his brother in sixth (179.378 mph).