It was a troublesome Daytona Speedweeks for Joe Gibbs Racing as they lost three motors in the two biggest races of the weekend and had troubles with two more in the Nationwide Race on Saturday.
Both Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch blew engines on consecutive laps while running 1-2 in the Daytona 500 last Sunday. They looked dominant all day and were getting close to coming down for their final pit stops of the afternoon. Kenseth, led the most laps of the race and if he could have been around in the end him and his JGR teammates could have swept the podium.
The day prior, Busch blew an engine again getting close to the end of the race while his JGR teammates Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers had engine overheating issues all day.
Both JGR and Toyota weren’t sure all week if it was issues the Toyota engines or something they had done to them. They hopes to turn those misfortunes around this weekend at the Phoenix International Raceway for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races.
The first part of the weekend look good for them as they qualified fourth, eighth and ninth for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 on Sunday then swept the first three starting positions for the Dollar General 200 Nationwide Series race Saturday afternoon.
Then, the bad news came that Denny Hamlin had to switch motors after the first practice session Saturday morning and start dead last in the 43 car field tomorrow after qualifying eighth yesterday. He was frustrated after the qualifying session as he felt he had a faster car but blamed the bad draw for that. He did say he’d have a great car for Sunday and be a factor hoping to back up last year’s win in this race.
Now, the No. 11 FedEx Toyota will have a lot of work cut out for them tomorrow and hope that JGR’s engine issues stop here.
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