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Sunday’s Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway looked ever-so promising for the Joe Gibbs Racing stable, only for a late-race caution to leave the night ending in utter disappointment.

Everything came crashing down with just eight laps to go when Josh Bilicki lost an engine, which triggered diverging tire strategies that shook up the entire running order. Unfortunately for JGR, three of the team’s four drivers elected to pit for tires which proved to be the losing strategy, effectively erasing an otherwise outstanding team performance.

Throughout the majority of the night, JGR had an upper hand on the competition. The team led a combined 251 of the race’s 300 laps to go along with a 1-2 sweep of the first two stages courtesy of Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin. Adding to their momentum, their teammate Kyle Busch battled his way back from a last-place starting position to join in on the domination and take the lead late in the race, while Christopher Bell ran comfortably within the top-10 throughout the entire event.

Despite the domination, Chase Elliott found speed late in the race as the night set in and the track cooled down. After taking the lead and running away from the JGR crew, it looked as if the team may not go home with a trophy but could still go home with their heads high.

That is, until the final caution came around.

At the time of Bilicki’s blown engine on lap 293, JGR had three cars in the top four with Busch, Hamlin, and Truex Jr. running second, third, and fourth respectively. However, when pit road opened, all three drivers risked their strong runs for a chance to win.

The move to pit was questionable considering the minimal advantage that fresh tires provided throughout the race, but understandable considering that nobody seemed to have enough speed to challenge Elliott.

With only five laps to go at the restart, the three most dominant cars of the night had their work cut out for them, as they restarted just outside of the top-10. Yet, it was not long after the green flag waved before their joint decision proved to be too risky and too late.

While Hamlin frantically made his way through the field to finish sixth, the best of all the JGR cars that took tires, Busch and Truex Jr. found themselves moving backwards. After hoping to get a run on the outside going into Turn 1, the two drivers ended up getting mired back in traffic instead. Their aggression and urgency did not mix well with the tightly packed field, and they ultimately fell back to finish 21st and 22nd.

With the night looking so fruitful just minutes earlier, the results were a heart-wrenching letdown for the teams and fans of the drivers. They went all-in on a risky bet and left the table empty-handed in the end.

Meanwhile, their teammate Christopher Bell was the lone JGR driver to stay out during the caution. The move paid off as he leapfrogged from 16th place before the caution to a respectable 8th-place finish. The strategy call at least salvaged some success for JGR, which still went home with two top-10 runs, but still far from the three top-fives that they seemed destined for.

The team eyed Nashville as a rebound race after an uncharacteristically poor showing at Sonoma two weeks prior. Out of the four playoff-caliber drivers on their roster, their best finishing driver on the California road course was Truex Jr. in 26th. A showing like that is virtually unheard of for an illustrious organization like JGR, and it seemed like the organization came back from the off-week with vengeance as a result.

With the insanely fast fleet that the team brought to Nashville, the weekend was supposed to signal a momentum shift. Instead, JGR went home wondering what could have been if the race finished without the late caution.

As we often say in Breaking It Down, that’s racing for you.

At any moment, the entire outcome of a race can completely shift. It's what keeps fans on the edge of their seats and drivers going home sick to their stomachs. Even though JGR bore witness to racing’s ugly side this weekend, the speed they showed is nothing to take lightly. Expect them to put all the pieces together sooner or later, as the organization is no stranger to team success over the years.