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2014 Quicken Loans 400: Tough start, tough finish for JGR

Matt Kenseth makes a pit stop at Michigan
Matt Kenseth makes a pit stop at MichiganNASCAR via Getty Images: Jonathan Moore

After a tough day of qualifying at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, Joe Gibbs Racing didn’t fare much better on Sunday afternoon, as Matt Kenseth led the three-car team with a 14th-place finish in the Quicken Loans 400. His JGR teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch finished 29th and 41st, respectively.

Kenseth, who started 21st in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry on Sunday, had a relatively uneventful day, as his climb and fall through the field was the result of pit strategies and inopportune caution flags. He ran in the top 15 for much of the afternoon, and led briefly during late-race pit stops.

Hamlin, in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, started 29th and battled handling issues through the race, only to end up where he started in 29th. Contact with Aric Almirola on Lap 123 brought Hamlin’s car to the attention of his crew, who got him back on track for the end of the race.

Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota in 14th place and at the end reversed those numbers for a 41st-place finish. After running in the top 10 early on, Busch radioed in to his crew with a possible tire issue on Lap 72; a caution one lap later brought Busch into the pits for new rubber. Busch restarted fifth, but immediately called the crew again, as the issue had not solved itself with new tires. He went to the garage and the team discovered an issue with the left rear wheel hub; after repairs, Busch returned to the track 26 laps down.

Jimmie Johnson went to victory lane at Michigan, followed by Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard, and Kasey Kahne.

The Sprint Cup Series heads west to Sonoma Raceway in California for the Toyota/SaveMart 350 on Sunday, June 22nd. Keep up with the action at joegibbsracing.com.

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