joe gibbs racing

Kyle Busch leaves Talladega outside top eight in points after DNF

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Kyle Busch was one of the 17 drivers involved in a large crash with 16 laps to go in the Alabama 500 at Talladega.

As a result, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver finished 27th, giving him his second dismal race result in as many weeks. He finished 29th last week at Charlotte after multiple one-car incidents.

Busch’s fourth DNF of the season – and his first since the Brickyard 400 –  leaves him seven points behind Jimmie Johnson for the final transfer spot for the next round of the playoffs.

The pileup also included the playoff drivers of Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth.

“I had no clue what happened,” Busch said. “Unfortunately we just got messed up in that deal. I hate it for our situation and what we’ve got going on. That’s not what we needed today, but that’s what we got so we’ll just move on to next week.”

The second round of the playoffs conclude next Sunday at Kansas Speedway, where Busch has finished in the top five in his last five starts. That includes a win in the spring 2016 race.

Watch the above video for more from Kyle Busch.

Christopher Bell will drive in Xfinity Series in 2018

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Joe Gibbs Racing announced Friday that Christopher Bell will compete for the team next season in the Xfinity Series.

Bell is racing for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series. He’s won five Truck races this season.

“Christopher has proven himself at every level of racing and we are excited to have him run full-time in our Xfinity Series program starting in 2018,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, in a statement. “He has shown great maturity both on and off the track and we think he is ready for this opportunity. We look forward to watching his continued progress in the sport.”

Said Bell: “I can’t express how excited I am about the opportunity to drive full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series. This has been a tremendous year for me and obviously I remain focused on finishing the Truck Series season strong and hopefully bringing a championship to Kyle, Samantha and everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports. I don’t think I could ask for a better place to take the next step in my racing career. I’m already comfortable with everyone at JGR and I think the experience I have with them this year should help me at the start of 2018.”

Further details, including car number, sponsors and crew chief will be announced at a later date, JGR stated.

Matt Tifft: Richard Childress Racing will be ‘totally new world for me’

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CONCORD, North Carolina — After two years and more than 35 starts with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series, Matt Tifft will have a new home next season.

It was announced last week that Tifft, 21, will join Richard Childress Racing next season driving the No. 2 Chevrolet.

Tifft said Saturday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway the move will present a “totally new world for me.” The native of Hinckley, Ohio, will drive something other than a Toyota for the first time since 2014 when he competed in three Camping World Truck Series races for B.J. McLeod Motorsports.

“I don’t know how the simulation of the Chevy things work,” Tifft said. “I don’t know what they do differently on the engineering side or the driver development side. All that will be new to me. New crew chief, new guys. That part is always exciting because you have newness around it. Not to say this was bad at all, because I’m really having a great time with my guys right now and it’s been a lot of fun. You have the opportunity to be there for a couple of years and hopefully grow together and get to a place where we’re winning races.”

There are four races left in Tifft’s tenure driving the No. 19 Toyota for JGR. In his rookie Xfinity season, Tifft has two top fives and 10 top 10s following Saturday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Tifft is one of the eight drivers left in the playoffs.

He finished ninth in Saturday’s race, recovering from an uncontrolled tire penalty that sent him a lap down and temporarily outside the top eight in the standings.

No matter the outcome of Tifft’s playoff experience this season, he has multi-year deal waiting for him at RCR’s shop in Welcome, North Carolina.

“It’s something I had to do for my career to be able to hopefully stay around a while longer,” Tifft said. “It’s exciting for sure. Obviously, right now the playoffs matter. This year matters. It’s something for sure to look forward to next year.”

Tifft will be joining a RCR operation that will include at least Daniel Hemric. The driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet was announced as returning to RCR next season in the hours before Tifft’s news was announced.

Next season will be Tifft’s first in NASCAR with a full-time teammate.

MORE: Daniel Hemric moves forward with new RCR contract

Similar to Tifft, Hemric arrived at RCR this year after having driven a Ford for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Truck Series in 2016. But he had driven a Chevrolet the previous year while racing for NTS Motorsports.

“He has so much car knowledge,” Tifft said of Hemric. “He comes from a background of working on and building cars and that’s really cool and it’s really admirable for a driver to do that. I understand the workings of the cars a good bit and I’ve learned a lot more about it. But having someone like that I think will just improve my understanding of these cars and what exactly I need to know about them. It’s nice to have a teammate there that can explain anything going on and you can bounce stuff off each other. That will definitely be a great thing for me.”

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Pole-sitter Denny Hamlin couldn’t overcome track position in Bank of America 500

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CONCORD, North Carolina — Denny Hamlin led the first 40 laps of Sunday’s Bank of America 500, but his No. 11 Toyota didn’t have the speed to challenge Martin Truex Jr. for the win.

Hamlin finished fourth in the race, giving the No. 11 Toyota its fifth top five in the last seven races.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver pointed to struggles on restarts as part of the reason he never consistently challenged for the lead after the opening of the race, though he led five laps during green flag pit stops mid-race.

“Really just couldn’t overcome the track position,” Hamlin told NBC. “I really didn’t think we had much of a faster than where we finished anyway.”

Hamlin was so bad on restarts he had his team ask Furniture Row Racing if he could restart on the inside on one of the final restarts. They declined.

“Just struggled to get through Turns 1 and 2 on restarts and (Turns) 3 and 4 until the (tire) pressures built up ,” Hamlin said. “Like I always say, I’d rather run better and finish worse than the opposite.”

Hamlin’s voice was noticeably hoarse following the 337-lap race on a very humid day at the track. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch suffered from heat stroke-like conditions and elevated carbon monoxide readings, created in-part by damage to his car.

“It’s nothing I haven’t seen before,” said Hamlin of his own physical condition. “You’re prepared for it. We always know the 500 miles here at Charlotte is like 600 somewhere else sometimes.  I think the humidity probably is what drained me the most today. You know, like I say, there’s a lot of salt stains all over my suit, so that tells me dehydration was definitely a factor today.”

Hamlin heads to Talladega Superspeedway fifth in the points standings.

Watch the above video for the full interview.

Ato Boldon goes behind the scenes of Joe Gibbs Racing’s pit crew training (video)

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NBC Sports’ Ato Boldon, a former Olympic runner, recently embedded himself at Joe Gibbs Racing to look at the team’s strength and conditioning practices for its many pit crews.

Boldon talked with JGR’s strength coach Adam Mosher and Jena Gatses, a doctor of physical therapy.

Watch the above video to see what Boldon found.