Mixed Bag Day for Gibbs at Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. — Joe Gibbs Racing experienced a mixed bag of results in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Matt Kenseth kicked off the race weekend by taking pole position. He lead from the start to the 164th circuit, winning the first stage, before losing the lead to Brad Keselowski and finishing runner-up in the second stage.

With 38 laps to go, however, he and Chase Elliott made contact in Turn 1, leading to his right-rear tire going flat.

He came home 23rd.

Kyle Busch ran a more “under the radar” race until the final stage. He made his way towards the lead for a lap and hung around the top-five, but was busted for a commitment line violation under the final caution of the race.

He finished 16th.

Daniel Suarez, who started 11th and rallied from a three-lap deficit to finish 12th, described his race as “okay.”

“The first half of the race it was very tough,” Suarez said. “In the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, it’s just so difficult. You get behind one or two adjustments and then you get a lap down or two laps down and it’s very difficult to recover that. Luckily we got a lot of cautions right there at the end and I was able to overcome those laps down that I was down. Very proud of the team. They never give up. They were working hard on the race to try to make it better. I just feel like we have to work hard in the first third – first half – of the race to try to stay with the rest of the guys.”

Denny Hamlin was the highlight of the mixed bag.

He put himself in position with finishes of fifth in the first stage and fourth in the second. He first took the lead briefly under the second stage caution break, but lost it to Keselowski on lap 228. He regained it under the fifth caution with 150 to go, thanks to exiting pit road first, and held it until he was edged out at the line by Keselowski with 113 to go.

Hamlin took the lead for the final time under the seventh caution and was passed by Keselowski on the restart with 39 to go.

He brought his car home to a third-place finish.

“We were competitive and our car drove really good,” Hamlin said. “We were just missing some of the speed from the 2 (Brad Keselowski) and the 22 (Joey Logano) – they run a little more sideways than what we run and just they have more grip. I think we optimized our day for the most part and that’s about as good as we could do.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

Tucker White
Tucker White
I've followed NASCAR for well over 20 years of my life, both as a fan and now as a member of the media. As of 2024, I'm on my ninth season as a traveling NASCAR beat writer. For all its flaws and dumb moments, NASCAR at its best produces some of the best action you'll ever see in the sport of auto racing. Case in point: Kyle Larson's threading the needle pass at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2021. On used-up tires, racing on a worn surface and an aero package that put his car on the razor's edge of control, Larson demonstrated why he's a generational talent. Those are the stories I want to capture and break down. In addition to NASCAR, I also follow IndyCar and Formula 1. As a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, I'm a diehard Tennessee Volunteers fan (especially in regards to Tennessee football). If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me, down the road, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a diehard fan of the Atlanta Braves, and I lived long enough to see them win a World Series for the first time since 1995 (when I was just a year old). I've also sworn my fan allegiance to the Nashville Predators, though that's not paid out as much as the Braves. Furthermore, as a massive sports dork, I follow the NFL on a weekly basis. Though it's more out of an obligation than genuine passion (for sports dorks, following the NFL is basically an unwritten rule). Outside of sports, I'm a major cinema buff and a weeb. My favorite film is "Blazing Saddles" and my favorite anime is "Black Lagoon."


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