Good Day for Joe Gibbs Racing

David Reutimann Nabs Top 5 at Kentucky

Zephyrhills native David Reutimann slipped past five-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson to record his first Top 5 finish of the season (photo courtesy: Sean Gardner, Getty Images Sport)

Last year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship runner-up Denny Hamlin had to start in the rear of the field for the inaugural race at Kentucky because of an engine change, so he couldn’t really complain about his 11th-place finish.

That 11th-place finish moved him up one spot in points, and back in the Top 10. There are eight races left to determine those drivers eligible for the Chase For The Sprint Cup which will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 20. The Chase will consist of the Top 10 drivers in points plus the two drivers from 11th to 20th with the most wins. Tickets for this year’s Ford Championship Weekend—Nov. 18-20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway—are on sale NOW. For ticket information, click [HERE] or call (866) 409-RACE.

“A lot of guys would say it was decent, but I consider it average at best,” Hamlin said. “It’s tough, though, because me and the team were put in a box with no practice to try and guess on a setup.

“We did the best we could. We didn’t have time to tune it and obviously [that] was about the best we could get.”

With Clint Bowyer being involved in a crash to fall from ninth to 12th, Hamlin moved up to 10th in the standings, two points ahead of two-time Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart.

Hamlin has one win this year, so he has a chance at one of the wild-card spots if he falls out of the Top 10, but he wants to be solidly in the Top 10 so he has no worries about making the Chase For The Sprint Cup. The Top 10 get automatic bids to the 10-race Chase, then the two drivers 11th-20th with the most wins also qualify. NASCAR’s Chase For The Sprint Cup Championship 10-race “playoff” system—the winner of which will be crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway during Ford Championship Weekend for a 10th consecutive season Nov. 18-20.

“When some guys around us [in points] had some problems, at that point our job was to salvage the day,” Hamlin said. “It seemed cautions kind of fell our way.

Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch rolled to victory in the inaugural Sprint Cup race at Kentucky, pulling away from Jimmie Johnson on a restart with three laps to go to collect his third victory of the season and jump into the points lead with two months to go before NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup begins. The winner of which will be crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway during Ford Championship Weekend for a 10th consecutive season Nov. 18-20. Tickets for this year’s Ford Championship Weekend—Nov. 18-20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway—are on sale NOW. For ticket information, click [HERE] or call (866) 409-RACE.

''This is cool man,'' Busch said. ''This is right up there with the best of them.''

Busch moved into the points lead as the season reached its halfway point. He leads Carl Edwards by four points heading into next week's race at New Hampshire with about two months to go before the Chase begins. There are eight races left to determine those drivers eligible for the Chase For The Sprint Cup which will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 20. Tickets for this year’s Ford Championship Weekend—Nov. 18-20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway—are on sale NOW. For ticket information, click [HERE] or call (866) 409-RACE.

Kevin Harvick began the night with the points lead, but slipped to third in the standings after finishing 16th.

''It's certainly good to know we're figuring things out,'' said Busch, who has 99 career victories across NASCAR's top three series.

David Reutimann slipped past Jimmie Johnson to finish second. Ryan Newman was fourth, followed by Edwards and Matt Kenseth.

''He was strong all night long,'' Johnson said of Busch. ''Spent a lot of time chasing him (and) watched him inch away from me the longer the run went on.''

Busch won the Camping World Truck Series race on Thursday despite starting from the back. He wound up on the pole for the Cup race after rain washed out qualifying, and he didn't let the advantage go to waste as he moved within one victory of becoming the third driver in NASCAR history to collect 100 wins across the sport's top three series. Busch has 22 career Cup wins, 48 in the Nationwide Series and 29 in the Camping World Truck Series.

''I'm hoping (No. 100) comes at Loudon (next week),'' Busch said.

There are eight races left to determine those drivers eligible for the Chase For The Sprint Cup which will culminate at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 20. The Chase will consist of the Top 10 drivers in points plus the two drivers from 11th to 20th with the most wins. Richmond’s September 10th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event marks the 26th race of the season. Once the checkered flag flies at Richmond, the field will be set for the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Tickets for this year’s Ford Championship Weekend—Nov. 18-20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway—are on sale NOW. For ticket information, click [HERE] or call (866) 409-RACE.
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Next up for the Sprint Cup drivers is New Hampshire on Sunday, July 17 (1 p.m. EDT, TNT). Tickets for Ford Championship Weekend—Nov. 18-20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway—are on sale NOW. For ticket information, click [HERE] or call (866) 409-RACE.

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