To say Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race at Las Vegas was a competitive one is putting it mildly. There were 27 lead changes many of those coming in the first stage. The total for the race was one short of the track record of 28 set in 2007.
For much of that early part of the race it looked as though it would be a Joe Gibbs Racing how as Denny Hamlin who led the second most laps on the day, 47, looked to be in control. Then after a miserable start to the 2021 season Las Vegas native; Martin Truex Jr. was close behind much of the time and JGR driver Kyle Busch was in the mix late in the going.
Busch would have to settle for third when the checkered flag fell his best finish since he won at Texas late last season. Hamlin was 4th.
“We’re close. We just have to fine tune it. We’re gathering up information right now to figure out how we can make our FedEx Camry better in the fall. This is a good start. We got it in the short rounds but not enough long run speed.”
Hamlin said he is looking to the rest of a long season.
“I thought it was a great start for the FedEx Camry team, gathering data trying to figure out what we can do to be better when we come back here when it really counts,” he said. Overall, good start. We will see, gather all the data and I will figure out this week what we have to do.”
Truex finished 6th.
“Ran top-five or 10 pretty much all day long,” he said. “Just never could quite get the balance perfect over the short and the long run. There were a few times where we were probably a third or fourth-place car at best and then towards the end, feeling pretty good.
“We were running fourth there after the last pit stop and then lost the balance again on the last run and dropped to sixth. Not a perfect day by any means, but decent speed and good execution and good adjustments all day for the most part. Just didn’t quite have enough to be better than we were.”
Despite losing out on the win JGR’s four cars did all finish in the top 10 with Christopher Bell, who won on the Daytona road course two weeks ago finishing seventh giving the team four finishers in the top seven. And Truex is confident the team is heading in the right direction.
“These tracks are really tough,” he said. “It’s a real big guessing game on what cars to bring and what kind of approach to take. You kind of get guessing on a lot of different things – the weather, the wind and all this kind of stuff. Overall, I think our cars were decent.
“We definitely have to find some more speed to run with some of those guys. I would say for us, we were probably a little bit off from where we were last weekend. Definitely some stuff to build on for all of us across the board. We’ll obviously talk about it all and figure out what we need to do to be better.”
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