Monday, August 6, 2012

Gibbs Garage: Logano finishes lucky thirteenth but JGR teammates not so fortunate

The No. 18 crew repairs damage to the M&Ms Toyota.
Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images
Denny Hamlin’s week included football and a family announcement but ended with frustration.

Early in the week he visited the Eagles training camp with fellow drivers Nelson Piquet Jr. and Joey Coulter. On Friday, Hamlin announced that he and girlfriend Jordan Fish are expecting a baby next January. But Sunday’s race at Pocono ended badly, at a track where his record includes four Sprint Cup wins, eight top fives and two poles.

Hamlin started second in the Pennsylvania 400, then scooted past polesitter Juan Pablo Montoya and led three laps. Unfortunately, they were the only laps he would lead. Hamlin lost a number of spots on the first caution when other cars stayed out and once he was stuck back in the pack, he struggled with loose conditions on his racecar.

On the restart after the second caution, things got dicey. Jimmie Johnson got loose in turn 1 and tapped Matt Kenseth. The No. 17 car smacked the wall and then skidded down the track into Hamlin. The front end of the FedEx Toyota was smashed beyond repair, ending Hamlin’s day. Hamlin experienced abdominal discomfort after the crash, but was evaluated and released from the care center.

Kyle Busch rolled off 18th and picked up spots quickly, breaking the top ten by about Lap 17. Just before the competition caution was to come out on Lap 20, Busch blew a left rear tire and hit the wall, bringing the caution out early. Busch told his crew something on the car broke to cause the incident, so he took it to the garage. The problem turned out to be a damaged rear brake rotor and caliper.

After repairs, Busch got back on the track, 23 laps down but with top-notch speed. After a round of green flag pit stops, he had to serve a pass-through penalty for speeding on pit road, but didn’t lose another lap. Busch finished 33rd in the rain-shortened event.

As the winner of the June Sprint Cup race, Joey Logano came to Pocono hoping for a sweep. His race was rather uneventful, and he earned the best finish of the JGR drivers.

After starting 14th, Logano quickly climbed into the top ten. But around the first caution, he radioed in that his car was “junk,” as he dropped back to around 20th. After adjustments on his first green flag pit stop, the car improved, but he still spent most of the race around the same place in the pack. When the wreck occurred that took out his teammate, Hamlin, Logano made it through and finished 13th.

Points standings after Pocono:
Denny Hamlin – 8th (-3)
Kyle Busch – 15th (-4)
Joey Logano – 17th
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Beth Bence Reinke writes "Gibbs Garage," Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup team recaps, for the 2012 season. Her Skirts and Scuffs column, “Faith on the Frontstretch,” explores the role of faith in motorsports. Beth is the author of Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a devotional book geared toward female NASCAR fans. Follow Beth on Twitter at @bbreinke or reach her at bbreinke@skirtsandScuffs.com

2 comments :

  1. We love you Joey, keep the faith!!!! You are awesome!!!!

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  2. I wonder how happy M&M is about reining in Kyle this year. It appears he's like a race horse that when reined to tight just goes through the motion of racing. It's really appeared that he's going through the motion of racing and is more concerned with his Nationwide team, where he isn't under the thumbs of a team owner and sponsor. This is probably the least amount of TV time the M&M car has had on TV. And I doubt he'll make the Chase which means even less TV time for the car. Good job boys.

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