NASCAR World Cup 2014 Week 2: The JGR cars are in trouble

Nick Bromberg
June 25, 2014
STP 500 - Practice
MARTINSVILLE, VA - MARCH 28: (L-R) Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, talks with Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Matt Kenseth, you're Spain. Denny Hamlin, you could be England. Kyle Busch you could be Italy.

Like the European soccer teams above, the Joe Gibbs Racing trio is are in World Cup trouble. Kenseth is already out, while Hamlin and Busch are longshots to make it in.

It hasn't been a pretty stretch for JGR. Busch lost to Kevin Harvick by five spots at Sonoma, Kenseth lost by 23 to Tony Stewart and Hamlin lost by 18 to Marcos Ambrose.

All three drivers are 0-2, but Busch could sneak in by beating Jamie McMurray by more than 21 spots at Kentucky and with a Kevin Harvick win over Casey Mears. It's not impossible, but it's not likely. Same goes for Hamlin. He'd have to beat Marcos Ambrose by 33 spots at Kentucky while Greg Biffle beats Cole Whitt.

The drivers through two rounds guaranteed to make the knockout round are Jimmie Johnson (Group A), Kevin Harvick (Group B), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Group C), Tony Stewart (Group D), Joey Logano (Group D), Greg Biffle (Group F), Jeff Gordon (Group H) and Kyle Larson.

The drivers already eliminated are Aric Almirola (Group A), Busch (Group B), Kenseth (Group D), Justin Allgaier (Group D), A.J. Allmendinger (Group H) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Group H).

The group in the biggest state of flux? That's our now-official Group of Death Group E, which has all drivers at 1-1 and within 15 positions of each other on finish differential.

Here are the final round matchups. The standings are embedded in the post below

Group A: Jimmie Johnson vs. Aric Almirola, Brian Vickers vs. Danica Patrick

Group B: Kyle Busch vs. Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick vs. Casey Mears

Group C: Dale Earnhardt Jr. vis Michael Annett, Austin Dillon vs. Martin Truex Jr.

Group D: Matt Kenseth vs. Justin Allgaier, Joey Logano vs. Tony Stewart

Group E: Brad Keselowski vs. Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard vs. Kurt Busch

Group F: Denny Hamlin vs. Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle vs. Cole Whitt

Group G: Carl Edwards vs. Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman vs. David Gilliland

Group H: Jeff Gordon vs. Kyle Larson, A.J. Allmendinger vs. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

NASCAR World Cup Sonoma

World Cup Sonoma

*Earlier, we said Hamlin was eliminated from the competition. We were incorrect. Chalk that up to FIFA corruption.

- - - - - - -

Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!