By admin | May 14, 2013
By Richard Allen
One unmistakable trend throughout this NASCAR Sprint Cup season has been that the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas have been strong in virtually every race. The three cars driven by Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin(who was replaced by drivers Mark Martin and Brian Vickers for four races) have spent a great deal of time leading the pack around every speedway used to this point.
All together, JGR cars have led a total of 1,677 laps this season. To put that in perspective, there have been just over 3,500 laps run in 2013 in all races combined this year. That means the three drivers listed above have led almost half of circuits in the Sprint Cup division. Consider that this dominance has occurred even with one of the JGR drivers(Hamlin) having missed four races and his replacements did not lead a single lap.
To offer some comparisons to show how strong JGR has been relative to other teams, powerful Hendrick Motorsports has led 855 laps this season. That means the Gibbs cars have led almost twice as many laps as the generally acknowledged strongest team in the NASCAR garage area. And keep in mind, HMS has four cars compared to JGR’s three.
Further, Kenseth has been at the front for 781 circuits while Busch has led 740 laps. The next closest driver to those numbers is HMS pilot Jimmie Johnson who has led 455 laps.
Even more telling is the comparison of JGR to other so-called mega-teams. Roush Fenway Racing has led 214 laps this year while Stewart-Haas Racing has showed the way for only 33 circuits. Meanwhile, Richard Childress Racing has led just 16 laps all season.
While leading laps does not necessarily equate to victories(although they have won 5 of the 11 races) or any other form of success, they do serve as an indication of overall strength.Â The ability to lead directly relates to factors such as horsepower and handling that eventually provide the opportunity to win.
Whether it be from the horsepower provided by their TRD Racing engines, their engineering work in developing the new Gen-6 car, or their impressive fleet of talented crew members and drivers, JGR is proving to be a force this year on the Sprint Cup Series.
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