Other than Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing has struggled for much of the 2020 season. Erik Jones missed the playoffs and Kyle Busch went winless still and was eliminated in the Round of 12. Yes, Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. take two of the eight spots in the Round of 8, but Truex, Jones and Busch have combined for one win in 32 races run this year. Hamlin, has seven by himself.
Still, that’s only eight wins in 32 starts. This group combined to win 19 of the 36 races run a year ago and put three cars in the Championship 4.
Jones noted earlier this year that it’s not that they are lacking speed, it’s just that everyone else has caught up to them.
But, the first Kansas race back in July showed some promise.
All four cars finished with points in both stages including a 1-2-3 result in Stage 1. For Stage 2, they went 4-5-7-8. In the end, Hamlin notched another win while Truex and Jones came way with top five’s. They led a combined 153 of 267 laps that night.
Busch’s incident late in the race derailed his race winning hopes but he still finished a respectable 11th in the end.
So, can they do it again on Sunday?
Hamlin and Truex hope so in hopes that they can automatically advance to the Championship 4 as a result. Hamlin, has four top five finishes in his last six Kansas starts including two straight victories.
Truex, swept the 2017 races, was second and fifth respectively in 2018, 19th and sixth in 2019 and third back in July.
Jones, has five straight top seven Kansas finishes and a top 10 in all but one playoff race while Busch has seven top five finishes in his last 11 overall Kansas starts.