Better late than never; I’m sure Matt Kenseth would concur. All four drivers for JGR have visited victory lane this season with the 2003 champion’s win at Dover. The win also gives JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) their sixth win in their last seven races. The victory ties JGR for third in all-time team Cup wins (135) with Roush Fenway.
Don’t look now, but Toyota currently leads in the manufacturer’s points. Joe Gibbs Racing is a huge part of that, as is the solid season of Martin Truex Jr. with Furniture Row. Could this be the year that the manufacturer’s championship will be wrested away from Chevrolet? Historically, the numbers are against them, but just on the basis of JGR’s performance, they’re putting as good fight as anyone to be the first non-Chevy manufacturer to come out on top since Roush Racing’s performance put Ford over the top in 2002.
Of course this won’t play well with everybody. There is still widely held animus against Toyota as a “foreign” nameplate. Remember how everybody said the fix was in for Hendrick Motorsports because they “won all the time” Times have changed, and now it appears Joe Gibbs, that born-again Christian NFL Hall of Fame football coach is now greasing the palms of Brian France. We won’t waste space here arguing against the ridiculousness of conspiracy theories. I’m as tired of it as I am all hand-wringing over Toyota’s presence as a “foreign” make.
The recent run of success is something Gibbs does not take for granted. ” The hardest thing in pro sports is to stay up because you know it’s so easy to slide back down. That certainly has happened to us. You go against such good people each week, it’s very hard to do.” Things run in cycles. Whereas those cycles were elongated in the days of Holman-Moody, Petty Enterprises and Junior Johnson, now it seems as there are several cycles within a season.
Like them or not, JGR is solid with all four of their cars: Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Kenseth and Denny Hamlin. While the crazy playoff format offers no sure thing (just ask Kenseth), you can be sure at least one of these four will be contending fiercely for the 2016 title. Busch has been the most consistent, Edwards had a little hot streak going for a bit, and though Hamlin has had some stumbles, the 11 car is a weekly contender.