Seven different organizations have won NASCAR Sprint All-Star Races since 1997. Amazingly enough, Joe Gibbs Racing is not among them.
Over the years, JGR has come close, just not close enough.
Kyle Busch finished second in 2011 and fourth a year ago.
Denny Hamlin posted fourths in 2009-10 but was 20th in 2012 after starting third.
A driver change – veteran Matt Kenseth joined the team this year – may be the tonic that Coach Gibbs needs to celebrate his first All-Star victory. A silly aside: Gibbs is also 0-for-1 in the NFL’s all-star version. His NFC team lost to the AFC 10-6 in the 1987 Pro Bowl.
If current form is any indication, the three Gibbs drivers may battle each other for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star hardware. Kenseth, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winner driving for Roush Fenway Racing, is the season’s first three-time winner. He won last weekend’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Busch has led seven of 11 races, including the most laps at Darlington.
Hamlin appears fully recovered from injuries suffered at Auto Club Speedway in March, finishing runner-up to teammate Kenseth at Darlington – his first full race since returning to competition.
Kenseth is the only current JGR driver with a points-paying victory at Charlotte. He won the 2000 Coca-Cola 600 and the track’s 2011 fall race.
Ironically, Gibbs is no stranger to Charlotte’s Victory Lane. JGR has four wins in Charlotte, the most recent by Tony Stewart in the fall of 2003.
A Toyota has yet to win the Sprint All-Star Race.