Photo credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR
How did JGR’s Sprint Cup operations measure up to expectations in 2012?
Was it a year when pre-season goals were met? Or was it a season of relative disappointment?
Motorsports editor Luke Krmpotich and NASCAR lead writer Sam Salo have taken on the task of evaluating last year’s performances by the major teams and drivers from the Sprint Cup garage. Today’s edition features Joe Gibbs Racing.
Stay tuned for more updates over the coming days!
Joe Gibbs Racing
Sam’s grade: B
Luke’s grade: C+
JGR roundup: Only one JGR wheelman made the Chase, as Denny Hamlin led the charge with a sixth-place finish. Kyle Busch and Joey Logano underperformed, finishing 13th and 17th, respectively.
#11: Denny Hamlin
Sam’s grade: A- Hamlin’s 5-win and title-contending season were derailed by season-long mechanical woes. On a positive note, Hamlin and Co. carried the JGR banner in 2012, and they look to do the same in 2013.
Luke’s grade: B The five wins were great, but the sixth-place Chase result was not what the No. 11 team hoped for. Still, a solid bounce-back finish for Hamlin and new crew chief Darian Grubb, and the future is bright for the Virginia native.
#18: Kyle Busch
Sam’s grade: C+ Another year, another season of relative disappointment. While the aforementioned JRG mechanical woes contributed in part, KyBush’s persistent instability in character as a driver didn’t help matters.
Luke’s grade: C On the plus side, Rowdy made it through the season without being suspended. But with just one win, his lowest total in five years, and a 13th-place points finish, tying for Busch’s worst since his rookie season in 2005, the past season was a major disappointment. Perhaps the addition of the veteran and prior champion Matt Kenseth will be what it takes to get this organization firing on all cylinders in 2013.
#20: Joey Logano
Sam’s grade: B- In his fourth full year in Cup competition, Joey won a man’s race at Pocono with a lovetap on Mark Martin, but Logano also failed to make the Chase once again. Now on Penske’s 2013 roster, Logano hopes for a bright future as he presses “refresh” on his Cup career.
Luke’s grade: C- Logano’s time finally ran out at JRG after yet another campaign in which “Sliced Bread” failed to live up to his wonderboy expectations. JoLo can take a few positives heading forward: he earned his second career Sprint Cup win in 2012, he absolutely tore it up moonlighting in the Nationwide Series, and he’s heading to championship-winning Penske Racing next year.
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