It was an afternoon of great promise at Dover International Speedway for Joe Gibbs Racing with all four teams starting today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 in the top ten. At times it appeared that all four teams would have the opportunity to hold a spot in the top ten at the finish as well, but it was not to be on this Sunday afternoon as trouble found all four teams at the Monster Mile.
In the end Carl Edwards led JGR with a 19th-place finish, while late-race accidents left Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch back in 21st and 36th respectively and a broken track bar mount placed Matt Kenseth in 39th.
Carl Edwards started the No. 19 STANLEY Toyota in the eighth position was able to maintain a position in the top ten through much of the first third of the race. Edwards would lead during a round of green flag pit stops before coming to pit road on lap 162. The team would attempt a wedge adjustment during the stop, but the wrench became stuck causing him to come back down pit road. Complicating matters for Edwards and the Stanley team is that a caution would come out while Edwards was on pit road. He would have to serve a penalty for leaving his pit stall with equipment still attached to the car and he would drop back outside the top 20. He would go on to finish the day in 19th.
Denny Hamlin, started the No. 11 FedEx Cares Toyota from the pole and led the opening 41 laps before relinquishing the lead to the 78 car. The FedEx crew would hand him the lead back on the opening round of pit stops following a caution and Hamlin would prove to have a strong Camry all afternoon as he led a total of four times for 118 laps. Only the 78 would lead more laps. A caution for a wreck that involved his teammate Kyle Busch would bring the No. 11 FedEx machine back down pit road one final time and crew chief Dave Rogers would make the call for four tires. Hamlin would line up fifth for the restart with just under 20 laps remaining. The 15 would get into the 11 sending Hamlin up the track and into the path of the 41 car. The damage would dash any hopes of a trip to victory lane on this afternoon. Hamlin would go on to finish three laps down in 21st position.
Kyle Busch started the No. 18 Skittles Toyota from the 10th position and it was obvious from the outset that he had a strong Camry for this afternoon’s 400-mile battle at the Monster Mile. Busch raced nearly all day in the top five and even led for three laps at lap 250, but was running third late in the race when trouble would strike. Busch was in the process of lapping the 33 car when the 33 came down unaware that Busch already had position underneath his car and the result was an accident that took both cars out of the race. Busch, who is hoping to earn a win and a spot in the top 30 in points to become Chase eligible, would finish a disappointing 36th.
Matt Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota from the fourth position and battled for a position in the top five for the opening 300 laps this afternoon at the Monster Mile. Kenseth raced as high as second but shortly after lap 300 he would radio into the team that something felt like it had broken on the car. He would fall back outside the top 20 and was forced to make unscheduled stops on pit road in attempt to fix the issue. Unfortunately the problem only got worse and Kenseth would be forced to the garage on lap 347. The issue would ultimately prove to be a broken track bar mount and resulted in a disappointing 39th-place finish despite a strong showing for much of the afternoon.
Jimmie Johnson captured the win and was followed by Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Kasey Kahne and Aric Almirola rounded out the top five. There were seven cautions on the afternoon for a total of 40 laps and 15 lead changes among nine different drivers. The race was extended by five laps for a green-white-checker finish.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Pocono Raceway next Sunday, June 7. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race live with coverage starting at 12:30 PM ET (race begins at 1 PM ET).