Disaster Strikes JGR

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Joe Gibbs Racing suffered through a disastrous day Sunday at Dover International Speedway with Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin taking significant blows to their championship hopes.

Busch followed his 34th place finish in last week's Chase opening race at New Hampshire with a last place finish Sunday thanks to a blown engine in the Interstate Batteries Toyota.

“At this point, it doesn’t matter,” Busch said of his title hopes literally going up in smoke. “The same thing happened two years ago. The exact same thing. We wrecked at Loudon, blew up here. Where’d we end up? Dead last.”

In the 2006 Chase, Busch began with finishes of 38th and 40th which doomed him to a last place finish in the then ten driver field.

After winning eight races in the regular season and entering this year's Chase as a clear favorite for the championship, Busch is now reduced to playing out the string over the final eight races of the season barring a miracle.

"We’ve got to do it as a team -- just step up, go out and we can take chances now and win races and show them that it was just bad parts that got us," said crew chief Steve Addington.

"If I were the 18 team, I’d go out there and just worry about winning races again," advised teammate Tony Stewart. "It’s been a remarkable, record-setting year for that kid, and the best way to finish it off now is to go out there and win three or four races during the ‘Chase’."

"It’s hard to tell him to keep his head up. I mean, there’s nobody who’s going to make him feel better right now, and rightfully so. The kid has worked hard all year. The team has worked hard all year. They’ve just had two bad races in a row, and that’s what you hope doesn’t happen, obviously. You feel for those guys."

Stewart's other JGR teammate Denny Hamlin suffered through a terrible day of his own.

A broken shaft knocked Hamlin down to the rear of the running order and he wound up finishing 38th, which dropped him to 11th in the Chase points standings - 193 points behind leader Carl Edwards.

“We lost a lot of Chase points,” Hamlin said. “Every race in the Chase is so pivotal. We need to go back and run hard next week and put this behind us. It’s time to move on to Kansas and work our way back up in the points.”

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