Gibbs working to identify cause of engine problems

Joe Gibbs Racing officials are scrambling to uncover the cause of an unusually high number of engine issues during the first five races of the Sprint Cup season. JGR had two issues this past weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California. The engine in #20-Joey Logano's Toyota had to be replaced on Saturday when valve leakage was discovered following the final practice. #11-Denny Hamlin's engine failed 105 laps into the race due to an unrelated value train issue. In all, JGR has had three engine failures in races and three more engines replaced prior to a race because problems arose.

Last season, the organization had only two DNFs due to engine failure between Hamlin, Logano and #18-Kyle Busch. "Is there concern? Of course," said Jimmy Makar, JGR's senior vice president of race operations. "We've had a lot more issues than we'd like to see, this early in the season especially. Probably the bigger issue is for the most part they are non-related. That makes things harder to figure out. If you had the same thing happening over and over again you could focus on it." Makar said only Hamlin's failure on Sunday showed signs of a potential bad part. More alarming, Makar said there were very few changes made to the engines during the offseason. He said the organization purposely left things the way they were, with minor adjustments to improve fuel mileage that may have cost Hamlin the championship last season, before experimenting with new ideas.

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