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2016 team preview: Joe Gibbs Racing

This time last year everything was new for Carl Edwards: new manufacturer, new team, new crew chief. A year later, Edwards says he feels a lot more relaxed, feels less pressure, and knows what to expect in 2016.


SPRINT CUP DRIVER LINEUP: Kyle Busch (crew chief Adam Stevens), Matt Kenseth (Jason Ratcliff), Carl Edwards (Dave Rogers) and Denny Hamlin (Mike Wheeler)

XFINITY DRIVER LINEUP: Erik Jones (Chris Gabehart), Daniel Suarez (Scott Graves), No. 18 car (Chris Gayle)

CHANGES: Mike Wheeler moves up from an engineer’s role to lead Denny Hamlin’s team. Dave Rogers moves over to be Carl Edwards’ crew chief. In the Xfinity Series, Chris Gabehart will be Erik Jones’ crew chief, and Scott Graves joins the team to work with Daniel Suarez.

DID YOU KNOW?: Joe Gibbs Racing will spend 2016 celebrating the 25th anniversary of the organization, which was founded in 1991, five years before Xfinity Series driver Erik Jones was born ... Denny Hamlin is the only current JGR driver to spend his entire Sprint Cup career with the team.

EXPECTATIONS: Kyle Busch once again will be in contention for the Sprint Cup title after earning his first championship in 2015 ... Though he has a new crew chief, Carl Edwards likely will perform better than he did in 2015, his first with JGR, when he qualified for the Chase and won two race (Darlington, Charlotte I).

WHAT THEY SAID: Matt Kenseth, a fan of the Green Bay Packers, said Joe Gibbs took 18 people to the playoff game between the Washington Redskins and Packers but didn’t invite him. Gibbs remarked “I took his plane but not him” ... Gibbs joked that when negotiating with drivers he says “My goal is to one day make more money than you do. I have 500 people to pay.”

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