Why Joe Gibbs Racing Should Feel Great About Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Race at Road America Despite Wretched Runs on Road Courses in 2022
For the second time in three races and the third time this season, the NASCAR Cup Series will run on a road course this Sunday at Wisconsin’s Road America. Overall, road courses haven’t exactly been kind to the drivers at Joe Gibbs Racing this season. But they should feel pretty confident about this week’s run in Elkhart Lake.
Joe Gibbs Racing hasn’t fared particularly well on road courses during the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season
Thus far in the 2022 NASCAR season, Joe Gibbs Racing has been fairly dialed in on short and intermediate tracks.
While he hasn’t done much anywhere else, Denny Hamlin took checkered flags on the 0.75-mile asphalt track at Richmond Raceway and the 1.5-mile asphalt surface at the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. And while his lone victory translates to no other track, Kyle Busch, who currently sits in fourth in the Cup Series standings, won the Bristol dirt race.
While Martin Truex Jr. and Christopher Bell have yet to win a race, they’ve performed well overall and sit in seventh and eighth in the standings, respectively. And of JGR’s four drivers, they’ve performed the best on road courses this season as Bell finished third at COTA and Truex Jr. finished seventh. Hamlin finished 18th in Austin while Busch placed 28th.
But Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole had a disastrous showing three weeks ago at Sonoma Raceway. It certainly says something when Truex Jr. was JGR’s best that day in 26th. Bell finished a spot behind in 27th, Busch placed 30th, and Hamlin ran 31st.
Joe Gibbs Racing should still feel confident about this week’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Road America
Despite the overall trouble on road courses this year, Joe Gibbs Racing should feel extremely confident heading into Sunday’s Kwik Trip 250 at Road America.
For one, JGR had an excellent showing at this same race a season ago. While they didn’t get the win due to Chase Elliott’s masterful performance — he won by more than five seconds — the team had four of the top nine finishers.
Bell was the runner-up, Busch was right behind in third, Hamlin took fifth, and Truex Jr. finished ninth.
In addition, half of JGR’s drivers know what it’s like to hit Victory Lane at Road America. While last year’s race in Elkhart Lake was the first Cup Series start on the road course since 1956, the Xfinity Series has run on the four-mile track every year since 2010. And Joe Gibbs Racing had two of the last three winners.
Bell took the checkered flag in 2019, a 1.891-second win over Austin Cindric. And Busch won last year’s race by more than 3.5 seconds.
So while JGR may not have the best track record on road courses this year, expect them to be in the mix on Sunday afternoon.
Stats courtesy of Racing Reference