JGR Trio Falls One Spot Short Of Perfect Day
INDIANAPOLIS – After watching his drivers finish second, third and fourth in Sunday’s Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner Joe Gibbs had reason to feel good about his operation.
But he is far from satisfied with the result.
“Denny Hamlin did a great job; they called a great race,” Gibbs said of his driver that finished third. “We had a chance with the fuel strategy to win it. We started 27th and almost won it. Kyle Busch fought hard all day long to finish second. Parts of the race he didn’t like the car but kept fighting. And Matt Kenseth was really steady. We couldn’t get going on the restart but after the restart we were all right.
“Two, three and four – I think we are improving. But I’m thinking about what we could do to make up five seconds on Jeff Gordon. I thought we had it figured out for a while.”
Busch’s Toyota was second, 2.325-seconds behind race winner Jeff Gordon’s Chevrolet. Hamlin was third in another Toyota and Kenseth was fourth to give Gibbs an impressive sweep.
During post-race inspect NASCAR confiscated the rear firewall block-off plates from Hamlin’s No. 11 car for further study. Any penalties would be announced early this week.
Kenseth had to fight his way back because his car worked better on the bottom but his restarts were always in the outside lane.
“I would lose five to 10 spots on a restart and would end up making half of those positions back,” Kenseth said. “It’s too hard to pass here. We would pit early and I tried to pass again and the caution would come out and I’d draw the outside lane again. Every time we did that we would lose some time but at the end we were able to get by Kasey Kahne when we got to the bottom.”
Busch’s second-place finish was his eighth top-10 finish in 10 races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and his ninth top-10 of 2014.
“There was no catching Jeff Gordon,” Busch said. “Those guys were really, really fast. I can’t say enough about everybody at Joe Gibbs with all the hard work and everything they’ve done this year. They’re helping give our program a boost and moving forward a little bit. I think this was a really big day for JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and for Toyota. I’m proud of the effort they bring all three home in the top-five. Still know that we have more work to do, but still an opportunity there to gain speed and we obviously got beat by speed today. I still think we have to go to work some, but the last few races have been good for us and we appreciate the support from M&M’s, Snickers, Monster Energy and Toyota, of course. We’ll keep going.
“I don’t think anybody had anything for the 24 (Jeff Gordon). It seemed like anybody that he got behind he was able to pass those guys. At this place aero situations are so difficult that he could handle through it and pass guys in the long run. His car was really good today and that proved just being able to get out there so far and then he was just riding. I was trying to save my stuff so the guys behind me didn’t catch me. It was a great day for Joe Gibbs Racing here finishing two, three, four – real proud of that and having the Snickers Camry come home second means a lot to our guys and looking forward to the next few weeks.