Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth provided the lone bright spot in an otherwise trying day for the three-car team, finishing ninth in the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Fellow JGR drivers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch finished 24th and 40th, respectively.
Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry from the eighth position, moving up to seventh in the early going before contact with Brad Keselowski dropped him back a few spots. Kenseth worked his way up to the ninth position when a Lap 57 red flag for an accident involving Ryan Newman and part-time JGR Nationwide Series driver Michael McDowell halted the field for more than 80 minutes. Kenseth was later involved in an incident with Kyle Larson as well as Jimmie Johnson and Regan Smith, but was able to continue on for a ninth-place finish.
Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota from 17th and worked his way into the top 15 in the first third of the 90-lap race. Hamlin remained on-track during a caution period from Laps 52 to 54, taking the restart in third before the long red flag period. After the red flag concluded, Hamlin gave up track position and took two tires and fuel on a pit stop; Hamlin moved back into the top 15 in the closing laps before causing the second red flag period himself, spinning into the sand barrels at the entrance to pit road. He restarted 30th after the red flag, and moved himself up to 24th at the checkered flag.
Busch’s bad Cup Series experience started Saturday with a less-than-expected qualifying run of 19th in the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota. He moved up to 12th place before pitting on Lap 24 – things went downhill from there. The fuel can stuck in the car as Busch left the pit stall, resulting in a stop-and-go penalty that left him down a lap. Just a few laps later, Busch made contact with Martin Truex Jr., receiving significant left front damage that resulted in a trip to the garage. Busch finished 40th, 20 laps down to the leaders.
AJ Allmendinger won his first Cup Series race, beating runner-up Marcos Ambrose and third-place Kurt Busch to the checkered. Larson and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five.
JGR earned three top 10 finishes Saturday in the Zippo 200 at The Glen Nationwide Series race. Busch finished second in Ambrose in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, with Kenseth finishing fifth in the No. 20 Reser’s Toyota and Elliott Sadler finished seventh in the No. 11 OneMain Financial Toyota. Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski finished third and fourth, respectively.
The Nationwide Series visits Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course next Saturday, August 16th, while the Sprint Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 17th. Keep up with the action at joegibbsracing.com.
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