JGR making progress on track

Monday was one of the longest days of racing NASCAR has had. Because of rain, the sanctioning body had to stack races and run both the Cup race and the Nationwide race on the same day.

The big winner in all of that was Joe Gibbs Racing.

Not only did JGR win the Cup race with driver Denny Hamlin just 2 1/2 weeks removed from surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament, the team now has all three cars in the top 12.

Considering Joey Logano's growth, that is a significant accomplishment.

A few hours later Kyle Busch won the Nationwide race, which is not an unusual sight (Busch has won three this season).

The test for JGR will be how long it can sustain its Cup success.

Nationwide championships are nice, but who really remembers those?

Ten things we learned this week:

1. Monday might be Hamlin's favorite day. This week he won the second consecutive rain-postponed race.

2. All four of Hendrick Motorsports' teams are in the top 10 in points. Jimmie Johnson is first, Jeff Gordon is fifth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is seventh and Mark Martin is 10th.

3. One year removed from the Talladega fireworks, Fox opted for a theatrical promotional ad featuring Carl Edwards' wild ride last season. This is exactly what drivers loathe and understand about this track. The danger element makes the race exciting for fans and scary for those who are in the cars that might fly into the air and into a catch fence.

4. Clint Bowyer was the biggest loser at Texas. He fell eight spots to 14th in points after a late wreck.

5. Hamlin was the big winner. In addition to winning the race, he rose seven places to 11th.

6. The Prelude to a Dream at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway is scheduled for June 9 and will benefit four hospitals: Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Cincinnati Children's, Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

7. Leading races late is no formula for actually winning them this season. In NASCAR's first eight races, the driver leading the race with 20 or even 10 laps to go rarely has won.

8. Mark Martin has no plans to get out of the No. 5 car after this season. Kasey Kahne will just have to wait until 2012.

9. Hendrick Motorsports has gone from discovering stars to collecting them.

10. The "Boys, have at it" system and lack of bump-drafting rules will be very, very interesting this weekend as the series goes to Talladega, where bump-drafting is always an issue.

— Tania Ganguli

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