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Indy takes its toll on Joe Gibbs Racing

By admin | July 26, 2009

By Richard Allen

Joe Gibbs Racing has been one of the most successful organizations in NASCAR over the last decade or so. They have plenty of championship and race winning trophies to prove that. However, the only things they brought back from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was broken parts and headaches.

The trouble began well before the race ever started.

Joey Logano’s #20 Toyota suffered engine problems in practice and was forced to the rear of the starting grid as a result of the necessary engine change.

Logano actually proved to be somewhat of a bright spot for the organization. After starting in the rear of the pack he worked his way up to a 12th place finishing position. As a result, he actually gained one spot in the Sprint Cup standings by moving up to 19th overall.

The day did not go nearly so well for JGR’s more high profile drivers.

Denny Hamlin experienced transmission problems while leaving the pits after a green flag pit stop on lap 32. He was forced to take his Toyota to the garage where he spent 16 laps waiting for his crew to make repairs.

Hamlin finished 34th, which dropped him one position in the standings to 6th overall.

Perhaps most damaging to JGR was what happened to Kyle Busch. On lap 57 he cut a right front tire which sent him into the outside wall. His car suffered extensive damage, but more importantly, his championship hopes suffered even greater damage.

He was able to get back on track but only managed a 38th place finish. That result dropped him out of the Chase for the Championship top-12. He fell four places, all the way to 14th overall. He is 82 points behind 12th place Matt Kenseth.

All in all, this has to be a weekend Joe Gibbs and his racing organization would like to forget. However, when it comes Chase cutoff time it may be one JGR remembers all to well.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

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