By Jared Turner
What’s Happened To Joe Gibbs Racing?
Six weeks ago, Joe Gibbs Racing was the toast of the Sprint Cup Series garage, regarded by almost everyone as the clear organization to beat for the 2016 championship. But as the series heads to New Hampshire to kick off the second half of the 36-race season, JGR suddenly finds itself in the midst of a six-race drought. Now, granted, six races aren’t exactly a long time to go without a win. But when you consider that JGR drivers had ripped off six victories in seven races prior to their current dry spell, the absence of a Joe Gibbs Racing driver from Victory Lane the past several weeks is certainly noteworthy. While it’s clear that JGR remains one of the organizations to beat for the title, all signs suggest that the company doesn’t boast the advantage over its competition that it did earlier in the season. In fact, one could argue based on the results of the past month or so that Team Penske is actually performing at a higher level than JGR right now. Don’t be surprised, however, if JGR regains its mojo at some point in the near future. With all four of its drivers locked into the Chase relatively early in the season, JGR could be just biding its time and using this part of the season as a glorified test session for when the races really start to matter again.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Is Really Struggling
How bad has the first half of 2016 been for Dale Earnhardt Jr.? With no wins and just six top 10s in 18 starts, NASCAR’s most popular driver and his second-year crew chief, Greg Ives, have no doubt failed to live up to expectations this season. While Junior and the No. 88 bunch can turn things around and still salvage a great season, the harsh truth of the matter is there’s no reason to believe they actually will.