Analysis: Passing by Joe Gibbs Racing at New Hampshire

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A Joe Gibbs Racing driver was passed for the win in seven of the last eight Cup Series races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The streak dates back to 2016, when the Cup Series raced in Loudon, New Hampshire, twice a season; that stopped in 2018. The one instance that doesn‘t fit the scenario was just last year. So, really, there were seven consecutive races where a Joe Gibbs Racing driver lost the final lead.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Weekend schedule | Paint schemes | Betting odds

Take a look. Races go from past to present.

Joe Gibbs Racing stats at New Hampshire.
Joe Gibbs Racing stats at New Hampshire.

There are some caveats here.

Matt Kenseth is no longer a full-time competitor, though he was with Joe Gibbs Racing in those 2016-17 races. Martin Truex Jr. was technically competing for Furniture Row Racing in 2017, but that now-defunct operation was an affiliate of Joe Gibbs Racing, and Truex moved to the larger team after the other closed.

And then there‘s the fact that three of the instances saw a Joe Gibbs Racing wheelman win regardless. Can‘t say the organization failed.

Well, it has still been since 2017 that a Toyota from the Joe Gibbs Racing camp (which really was the only one until 23XI Racing was introduced in 2021) has landed in New Hampshire‘s Victory Lane. The four-car shop‘s next opportunity is Sunday with the Ambetter 301 (3 p.m. ET on USA Network, NBC Sports App, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). According to BetMGM, as of Friday, Kyle Busch (13-2) has the best odds to win out of his teammates. Denny Hamlin (17-2) is the next-best bet, followed by Truex (9-1), then Christopher Bell (16-1).

Busch and Hamlin have three wins apiece at the “Magic Mile,” their latest both coming in 2017. Bell and Truex have none in two and 28 career starts, respectively. Bell was runner-up last year while Truex has finished third three times.

The win trend tracks to overall present day, too. Hamlin has two victories this season. Busch has one. Bell and Truex are still winless through 19 races.

All of them are currently qualified for the 16-driver playoff field. Hamlin and Busch earned provisional berths with their wins. Bell and Truex have accumulated enough points to sit above the cutoff line. Truex is 62 points safe in 15th. Bell is 19 points OK in 16th, the last spot.

There have been 13 different winners, though. If that trend continues in the seven remaining regular-season events, and neither Truex nor Bell join the crowd, then they‘re at risk of not having a shot at the title.

“With the playoff picture being as tight as it is, every point matters,” Bell said. “Loudon is a great track for us and we need a good showing. I‘m ready to see what we can do this weekend.”