Jan 10, 2013; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch during Preseason Thunder testing at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR: Joe Gibbs Racing On The Verge Of A Championship


Now that Joe Gibbs Racing has a deal in place with Kyle Busch for 2013, are they on the verge of forming a super team that can compete with the Hendricks guys? With the addition of Matt Kenseth to the race team, all that was left, was getting Kyle Busch, and the M&M Toyota back to his former wining ways.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Ford EcoBoost 400

Nov 18, 2012; Homestead, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch before the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The younger Busch brother had the worse year of his career in 2012, and everything that was done prior to last year’s Daytona 500, was done to free up the 27 year old driver so he could concentrate on his Sprint Cup schedule, and possibly wining a Sprint Cup Championship. It didn’t work.

Kyle won the Bud Shootout in February, and the Capitol City Virginia Is For Lovers 400 at Richmond, and that was it. He finished the pre-chase schedule in 13th place, and was edged out of the chase by Jeff Gordon, who had won more races. On top of that, Kyle couldn’t buy a win in the Nationwide or The Camping World Truck Series. He came close a couple of times, but couldn’t get either one of his rides to Victory Lane. That’s a huge let down for a driver who has 105 wins in his career spanning all three of NASCAR’s main series’.

I have a different opinion from the JGR approach for the younger Busch. The kid loves to race, and I think to keep him in focus, they need to let him race as much as he wants, instead of limiting his time on the race track. Kyle Busch has the same talent, and intensity that the late Dale Earnhardt had, and I can’t imagine anyone doing things to keep The Intimidator out of races where he wanted to run.  Maybe it will take another season mired in mediocrity for them to figure it out.

Denny Hamlin had a great year in 2012, it just didn’t culminate with a Sprint Cup Title. With his new crew chief coming over from Tony Stewart’s Cup winning 2011 team, The FedEx Toyota was set to repeat his 2010 effort that just came up short. Hamlin typically runs well at all of the Chase venues, and did so in 2012. His Achilles heel, are the super speedways. Denny has never won a race at Daytona or Talladega, and with Talladega being on the Chase schedule, his effort needs to improve in Alabama.

The Wild Card in the JGR stable for the 2013 season is the newly signed, Matt Kenseth. Kenseth has for sure looked good in the early testing. He looks to be very comfortable in a Toyota, and the new Gen 6 Race Car. Matt is the only driver in the stable that has a Cup Title on his resume, and should provide the guidance and leadership that can help his younger teammates to success down the stretch this year.

Joe Gibbs Racing hasn’t won a championship in the Toyota and COT era. Not since he fielded Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte in Pontiacs has the former Washington Redskins coach won a championship. I think 2013 may be the year for them to get it done. They have a good handle on the new race cars, and three of the sports more talented drivers. All they need to do is Git Er Done!

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Tags: Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Kyle Busch Matt Kenseth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series