The regular season for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is a quarter of the way done with seven of the 26 races completed. Let’s take a look at how Joe Gibbs Racing has done so far this season.
Best performance: Daniel Suárez, Fontana
If you were to say before the season that Suárez would finish higher than all of his teammates in one of the first five races, then I, like many others, would have said Daytona as the track. Well, it was actually California.
Suárez finished seventh in the race, the highest JGR car. Kyle Busch finished eighth and the only other Toyota to finish better than Suárez was Martin Truex Jr. in fourth place. What was more impressive about his seventh place finish was it was his second straight race finishing in seventh.
Worst performance: Matt Kenseth, Fontana
With 16 laps left in the race, Kenseth crashed out as he was running in the top-five. After a hard crash at Phoenix, Kenseth followed it up with another hard crash a week later at Fontana.
Although the crash was caused by a tap from Martin Truex Jr., it resulted in Kenseth’s third 35th place or worse finish during the season. Kenseth’s luck has turned around with a 9th and 16th place finish at Martinsville and Texas respectively.
Overachieving driver: Kyle Busch
There is no doubt that the JGR cars are off to a slow start and are not as strong as they were for the duration of the 2016 season. That makes what Busch has done through seven races pretty impressive compared to his JGR teammates. Busch has more top-fives than his other teammates do combined and has led more laps by a margin of 413-28 compared to the rest of his teammates.
Underachieving driver: Matt Kenseth
This might seem like the obvious choice given his current position in the standings, 22nd, but that’s not the only reason. Kenseth has not shown the same speed as the rest of the JGR drivers so far this season and has yet to find himself in position for a solid top-five performance.
Best team: Kyle Busch
It’s a surprise Busch has gone seven races without finding victory lane, but with Bristol and Richmond as the next two tracks on the schedule, that could change very quickly. For the time being though, Busch and his No. 18 team have been the fastest and most consistent of the JGR bunch.