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Joe Gibbs Racing: 2014 Sprint Unlimited preview

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Each year, NASCAR kicks off the Sprint Cup Series schedule with a special no-holds-barred, non-points race at Daytona International Speedway, most recently known as the Sprint Unlimited. In its most recent incarnation, the Sprint Unlimited goes back to the days of the Busch Clash, allowing the previous season’s pole winners to duke it out for supremacy. For 2014, all three Joe Gibbs Racing Cup Series drivers will be participating after a particularly fast 2013.

Matt Kenseth will drive the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry during the race, taking place Saturday night, February 15th (green flag flies at 8:15 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1). Kenseth took the fastest time three times in 2013, at the early races at Kansas and Richmond and ending the season at Homestead-Miami. He’s been in the Sprint Unlimited seven previous times, with a best finish of third in his first time out in 2003. Don’t count Kenseth out of victory lane though – he’s got two wins in the Daytona 500.

Kyle Busch will start the race in the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota after capturing three poles of his own in 2013, at the first Bristol race, the first Texas race and the second Daytona race. Busch is fast at Daytona, having led laps in five of the seven Sprint Unlimited events he’s participated in. He won the event in 2012, putting on a show after coming out of two should’ve-been wrecks to slingshot past Tony Stewart.

Denny Hamlin brings the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota to Daytona having picked up five poles in 2013: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, the first Charlotte and Dover races, the second Bristol race and the second Martinsville race. Hamlin is one of five drivers to win the first Sprint Unlimited he appeared in (the list also includes former JGR driver Dale Jarrett), back in 2006; Hamlin has appeared in the last eight events for JGR.

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