Tire problems plague Joe Gibbs Racing in Coke 600
CONCORD, N.C. -- While three of it drivers have led in the Coca-Cola 600, Joe Gibbs Racing cars have faced misfortune, causing four cautions in the first stage of the race and a fifth in the second stage.
Erik Jones, Matt DiBenedetto, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin each experienced problems with right-front tires, causing them to make contact with the wall.
Jones was the first, with a the tire going down and hitting the wall on Lap 22 and ending his day.
“There was no real warning,” Jones said. “It’s unfortunate. We had a pretty good car. The Reser’s Camry was moving forward and driving really well. I was trying to get some track position and work my way to the front. It sucks. It’s a long race and we are obviously out of it early.”
That was followed on Lap 47 when Leavine Family Racing’s Matt DiBenedetto got into the wall. Leavine Family Racing is in a technical alliance with JGR.
DiBenedetto’s night is over as well.
Truex had led 11 laps when his No. 19 Toyota slapped the wall exiting Turn 4 on Lap 75. Truex’s team was able to make repairs and he remained on the lead lap and finished Stage 1 in ninth.
After the first stage Goodyear executive Stu Grant said it had found the first three tires that went down were a result of over deflection from low pressures and high loads. Goodyear has advised the Toyota teams to increase their tire pressures.
Hamlin then got into the Turn 2 wall on Lap 160 when his right-front tire went down. He has led 21 laps and is now in 19th.
Outside the tire issues, Kyle Busch made contact with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s rear bumper exiting Turn 4 with 15 laps left in the first stage and sent Stenhouse sliding through the infield grass. Busch has led 29 laps so far.