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Joe Gibbs Racing: 2014 Pocono 400 preview

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It’s time for the first Sprint Cup Series race of the season at the “Tricky Triangle,” Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania – a track that’s not so tricky for Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin.

Hamlin, in the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry at Pocono, has four wins at the 2.5-mile track, and kicked off his career there in a big way – in his first visits in 2006, he won both the poles and both races; he also added wins in August 2009 and June 2010. In spite of missing the race at Auto Club Speedway with an eye injury, Hamlin sits ninth in points and has a Chase position locked up thanks to his win at Talladega.

Hamlin’s JGR teammate Matt Kenseth, on the other hand, has been tricked enough by the “Tricky Triangle.” It’s one of only six tracks Kenseth has yet to win at on the schedule, and while the driver of the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota has completed 99-percent of the laps in his 28 starts at Pocono (with 10 top 10 finishes), he’s only led 55 laps there. A win at Pocono would not only get that monkey off Kenseth’s back, it would also give him a much-needed win on the season – his consistency has put him atop the points standings, but a win would secure a spot in the Chase.

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Peanut Butter M&MS Toyota at Pocono, is also looking for his first win at Pocono. He has two runner-up finishes at the track, as well as five additional top 10 finishes in 18 starts; he also picked up the pole for the June 2010 race. Last season, he raced to two top 10 finishes – sixth in June and eighth in August. Busch is currently seventh in points, with a win at Auto Club Speedway and five additional top 10 finishes in 13 starts.

Qualifying for the Pocono 400 takes place Friday at 4:35 p.m. ET, with the green flag waving on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Keep up with the action at joegibbsracing.com.

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