When you win your first NASCAR race of the season, you celebrate accordingly. Joe Gibbs Racing went wild after Denny Hamlin won today. The No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry had a great plan today. That pit crew worked for this win just as hard as Hamlin did on the track. It all came down to the tire strategy and to see their plan work out in the end, sent this crew up a wall.
Check out the joy and exhilaration of the JRG team when Hamlin crossed the finish line below.
Short tracks mean careful pit stop planning. Each driver had their own plan today, and some worked out better than others. William Byron ran a strong race. However, he was running on some weak tires by the end of the race. It became clear in the last 20 laps that he was slowing down and guys like Hamlin and Kevin Harvick were hot on his trail.
His pit crew was a big part of the win and he was sure to credit them in his postrace comments as well.
“Just great strategy there and just drove, drove as hard as I could. Just so proud of this FedEx Camry team,” Hamlin said after the race.
This is going to go a long way to improving Hamlin’s place in the Cup Series. At 41-years-old, he is by far the oldest driver to win a race this season. A year that has seen more first-time winners in the first seven races than some seasons have had in the past. After struggling to get a fast car, struggling to finish strong, there was no struggle today. He made the right moves and now Toyota has a winning car in the Next Gen era.
NASCAR Has First Toyota Win with Joe Gibbs Racing and Denny Hamlin
When it comes to the Cup Series, Joe Gibbs Racing is the top of the Toyota teams and Denny Hamlin proved that yet again. With Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. on the roster as well, this is an experienced team that has won a lot of races. Christopher Bell is one of the best young drivers in the Cup Series and is coming into his own.
The Next Gen changes have not been the best for Toyota. They have had trouble getting cars into the top-5 and hadn’t won a race through the first six weekends of the year. However, today was a lot different. The 23XI Toyota drivers didn’t do well. But, JGR more than made up for it. The team placed all four drivers in the top-10 today.
Behind Hamlin in first was Truex in fourth. Then Bell came through in 6th place with Busch finishing in 9th. Busch wasn’t entirely happy about the end of his race. However, that’s how things go sometimes.