This week in the NASCAR Fed-Ex 400 Benefitting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing had a very off weekend. So far in the 2013 NASCAR season, Joe Gibbs Racing has become a juggernaut with three powerful and explosive drivers in Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth.
Undeniably, Kenseth joining the JGR team is a huge part of their current success in the field of the Sprint Cup series. Kenseth is the only driver in the series who has three wins for the year at the moment. Unfortunately, several off weeks have left him only in the top five of the points standings instead of at the peak where Jimmie Johnson sits.
In the Fed-Ex 400, it looked like Kenseth had the car to beat when he took the lead from teammate Kyle Busch, but his Toyota engine failed, an occurrence that continues to be close to routine.
Denny Hamlin is the underdog of this team now after the weeks that he missed from his back injury at Fontana. He went to work in his first two starts at Darlington and Charlotte, pulling down solid finishes that let him climb the points ladder to bring him in sight of the top 20 and a possible Chase wild card berth.
Hamlin wasn’t so lucky at Dover, where he lost a right side tire towards the end of the race that sent his car to the pits for many laps and led to him finishing 34th, which didn’t do anything in his desperate trek toward a Chase berth.
The only silver lining that could be found for JGR this weekend was Kyle Busch’s fourth-place finish, which was still a disappointment as Busch had a dominant car for much of the race. To stay on top of the competition, JGR will have to come back with vengeance at Pocono.