NASCAR AMERICA: Crew chief Darian Grubb on working with Carl Edwards (VIDEO)

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How does one assess Joe Gibbs Racing’s 2014 season?

On one hand, Denny Hamlin nearly won the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship for them. But on the other, they only got two victories last year – Kyle Busch at Fontana, followed by Hamlin’s own at Talladega in the spring.

Perhaps with the latter issue weighing most heavily, JGR has opted to shuffle its crew chiefs for 2015. As part of that series of moves, Hamlin’s old CC, Darian Grubb (pictured, right), is now joining the team’s new No. 19 program as CC for Carl Edwards (pictured, left).

There’s plenty of intrigue surrounding JGR in its expansion to a four-car operation. With the CC shake-up, the team has shown that it won’t settle for mediocre performance. And Edwards is surely hungry to contend for a title after seeing his former Roush Fenway Racing team decline in recent years.

If he is to contend, he’ll need to have a good relationship with Grubb, who won the Cup as CC for Tony Stewart in 2011.

The driver that Grubb and Stewart beat that year? None other than ‘Cousin Carl’ himself. And on a tiebreaker, no less.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA, Grubb told NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast that he and Edwards have gotten along well early on in their partnership. The pairing officially got started with last month’s Goodyear tire test at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“Luckily, we’ve known each other for a while,” Grubb explained. “Our kids are about the same age, so we spend a lot of time in the motorhome lot and on the playground. I feel pretty comfortable with him already. He’s really got a good personality, so it’s pretty easy to talk to him. We’ve learned a lot [from each other] already.”

For more of Grubb’s thoughts on working with Edwards and having to start with a new team after almost winning the 2014 title with Hamlin and the No. 11 squad, check out his full interview above.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.