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2014 STP 500: Kenseth leads JGR with sixth-place finish

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Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth led the team with a sixth-place finish at Martinsville Speedway, site of Sunday’s STP 500. JGR teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin finished 14th and 19th, respectively.

Kenseth started sixth in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, eventually moving up to lead the race for the first time on Lap 17; Kenseth went on to lead five times for 36 laps. Thanks to some untimely problems on pit road, including an incident with Carl Edwards, Kenseth was running as far back as 24th with 100 laps to go, but worked his way back into the top 10 to finish sixth.

Busch, who started from the pole in the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota, led the first 16 laps of the race, eventually leading twice for 22 laps. Handling problems dropped Busch back in the field, forcing crew chief Dave Rogers to make adjustments to assist Busch in the corners. After racing outside the top 30 for a time, Busch made his way back to the top 15 with less than 200 laps remaining; he maintained a top 20 spot for the rest of the race, settling into a 14th-place finish.

Hamlin started the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota from the outside pole, but loose conditions dropped him back in the top 10. Other problems plagued Hamlin throughout the race, including an apparent electrical problem, a tear-off sticking to one of his brake ducts and getting caught too many times in the outside lane. Hamlin came to the line 19th at the end of the race.

Kurt Busch won the STP 500, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano and Marcos Ambrose. Kevin Harvick finished seventh, while Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard rounded out the top 10.

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series head to Texas Motor Speedway for this weekend’s races. Keep up with the action at joegibbsracing.com.

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