Monday, April 23, 2018

Joe Gibbs Racing Sweeps at Richmond

Joe Gibbs Racing Sweeps at Richmond
Joe Gibbs Racing Sweeps at Richmond #NASCAR

Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell Celebrate Wins at the Short Track

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) signed an extension with Toyota Racing, an agreement confirmed by team owner Joe Gibbs on Saturday afternoon at Richmond Raceway.

That was not the only fact confirmed at Richmond Raceway. JGR established dominance at the 0.75 mile, D-shaped, asphalt race track located just outside Richmond, Virginia with a win in both the Xfinity and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races.

Not too surprising however; over the last 27 seasons, Gibbs' teams have won Cup titles with Bobby Labonte (2000), Tony Stewart (2002, 2005) and Kyle Busch (2015). The organization switched manufacturers from General Motors to Toyota in 2008. Joe Gibbs Racing has served as the NASCAR flagship team for Toyota ever since.

Kyle Busch wins third straight race with late charge at Richmond #NASCAR
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Flavor Vote Toyota, celebrates
with the fans on the front stretch after winning the Monster Energy
NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400.
(Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Kyle Busch wins third straight race with late charge at Richmond

The driver of the No. 18 Toyota got what he needed late in Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway—cautions and short runs in the final 40 laps—to win his third straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, matching Kevin Harvick’s feat from earlier in the season.

Busch streaked away from the rest of the field on a series of late restarts, ultimately beating Chase Elliott to the checkered flag in overtime to record his fifth victory at the .75-mile short track and the 46th of his career, tying him with NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker for 15th on the all-time list.

"I think the difference for us tonight was just the adjustments (to the car)," Busch said. "Trying to stay with the race track all night long. (Crew chief) Adam Stevens and my guys did a phenomenal job. I think one of the other keys to the night was just my guys – my pit crew. They got us out front when it mattered the most those last two pit stops. They were awesome tonight on pit road."

"It’s definitely cool we’ve won three in a row," Busch said. "We did it a couple years ago, and now I don’t know if you can shoot for four in a row. It’s hard to go to Talladega with that much of a winning streak and think that you can go to Victory Lane, but we’re going to go there anyway and give it a shot.

Note: Winning three straight Cup races isn’t a novel experience for Kyle Busch, who scored back-to-back-to-back victories at Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis after missing the first 11 races of the 2015 season because of injury. Busch went on to win the series championship that year…

Race Summary

  • Average Speed of Race Winner: 96.215 mph.
  • Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 08 Mins, 01 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.511 Seconds.
  • Caution Flags: 6 for 46 laps.
  • Lead Changes: 16 among 7 drivers.
  • Lap Leaders:
    • M. Truex Jr. 1-38
    • J. Logano 39-111
    • Kurt Busch 112-169
    • C. Bowyer 170-192
    • J. Logano 193-211
    • Kurt Busch 212-251
    • C. Bowyer 252-272
    • Kyle Busch 273
    • D. Hamlin 274-276
    • M. Truex Jr. 277-323
    • K. Harvick 324-331
    • C. Bowyer 332
    • D. Hamlin 333-335
    • M. Truex Jr. 336-370
    • Kyle Busch 371-390
    • M. Truex Jr. 391
    • Kyle Busch 392-402.
  • Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): M. Truex Jr. 4 times for 121 laps; Kurt Busch 2 times for 98 laps; J. Logano 2 times for 92 laps; C. Bowyer 3 times for 45 laps; Kyle Busch 3 times for 32 laps; K. Harvick 1 time for 8 laps; D. Hamlin 2 times for 6 laps.
  • Stage #1 Top Ten:22,10,41,24,14,18,9,3,78,4
  • Stage #2 Top Ten:22,14,10,41,24,18,31,2,78,4

 Christopher Bell holds off Noah Gragson for Xfinity win at Richmond
Christopher Bell, Driver Of The #20 Rheem Toyota, Celebrates In
Victory Lane After Winning The NASCAR Xfinity Series
ToyotaCare 250 (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Christopher Bell holds off Noah Gragson for Xfinity win at Richmond

In a long green-flag run fraught with spellbinding tension, Christopher Bell held off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Noah Gragson to win Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway.

Bell spoiled Gragson’s prospects for a victory in his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut, passing his teammate for the lead on Lap 172 of 250 and staying in front—if only just barely—the rest of the way.

Bell crossed the finish line .423 seconds ahead of Gragson, after the driver of the No. 18 Toyota got to the bumper of Bell’s No. 20 in the closing laps.

"I had to work for it," Bell said of his second career victory, his first of the season and his first at Richmond. "My teammate was really good. I knew throughout both practices that both of our cars were going to be really strong.

"Joe Gibbs Racing has been producing really, really fast Camrys for the last couple weeks, and it’s really shown… All in all, it was enough to stay in front of him at the end."

Race Summary

  • Average Speed of Race Winner: 93.284 mph.
  • Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 00 Mins, 36 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.423 Seconds.
  • Caution Flags: 5 for 39 laps.
  • Lead Changes: 9 among 6 drivers.
  • Lap Leaders:
    • C. Custer 1-43
    • C. Bell # 44-68
    • D. Hemric 69-79
    • J. Nemechek 80-115
    • C. Bell # 116-131
    • E. Sadler 132-154
    • N. Gragson(i) 155
    • E. Sadler 156-162
    • N. Gragson(i) 163-171
    • C. Bell # 172-250.
  • Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): C. Bell # 3 times for 120 laps; C. Custer 1 time for 43 laps; J. Nemechek 1 time for 36 laps; E. Sadler 2 times for 30 laps; D. Hemric 1 time for 11 laps; N. Gragson(i) 2 times for 10 laps.
  • Stage #1 Top Ten:21,20,00,3,1,2,9,19,42,22
  • Stage #2 Top Ten:1,18,2,20,00,42,19,9,22,11

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