Kyle Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has been flawless so far in today's Auto Club 400, giving him a great shot to sweep the weekend for the second week in a row. There may be cause for concern, however.
After teammate Joey Logano was forced to change engines this morning, outside polesitter Denny Hamlin's day has come to an end due to an engine failure. There have been engine failures across the three Gibbs cars every race of this season.
The JGR engine drama started pre-season, when an engine on a dynometer exploded and caused a fire in the engine shop. Logano blew a motor in the second race of the year, while Kyle Busch blew up at Las Vegas after Hamlin had changed motors.
As Busch leads, Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman run second and third. Stewart won here last fall.
Kurt Busch, the point leader entering today's race, brushed the wall and runs well outside the top-20. It appears that for the sixth consecutive race, dating back to last November at Homestead, the point lead will change hands once again. Jimmie Johnson overtook Hamlin to win the title in that race before crashing in the Daytona 500. Carl Edwards was second in the 500 to take the lead, but he crashed after contact with Kyle Busch at Phoenix. Busch's runner-up effort gave him the point lead, but his aforementioned engine failure gave joint custody of the point lead to Stewart and Kurt, with the tiebreaker going to Stewart based on best finishes of the season. Stewart finished 19th last week in Bristol to give Busch sole possession of first.