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Victory caps emotional week for Joe Gibbs Racing

Victory caps emotional week for Joe Gibbs Racing

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MARTINSVILLE, Va.— After an emotional middle portion of the week, Denny Hamlin's victory in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway was just what everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing needed.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Joe Gibbs' son, Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs, would begin treatment for an undiagnosed ailment in his brain that has altered his speech and processing functions.

The issue has left doctors with very few answers so far.

Before Sunday's race, Joe addressed the media and tried to provide an update.

"We've been dealing with this for about six months," Joe said. "Basically, what the doctors say is that they really don't know."

Joe added J.D. would still continue his role as the organization's president, but he would not be able to attend events.

"The good thing there is that J.D. and I share the same responsibilities," he said. "If I'm not there for a particular reason, J.D. will be there, and if J.D. is not there for some reason, I'll be there. As he goes through treatment, he will probably be doing less at the race track, because he has a full week that demands quite a bit from him as he goes through treatment."

Joe acknowledged the outpouring of support from fans, media and other members of the NASCAR community that has come in since the announcement on Wednesday.

"Certainly everybody in the community out there, we've got so many different things and people praying for us right now," he said. "It's real encouragement for us, and I think that's one of the thrills that we love about what we do and being a part of your family."

Racing at Martinsville has been known to produce some pretty emotional moments, and emotions were high when Hamlin held off Brad Keselowski for the win.

"I was honestly thinking that down the stretch with Denny, man that would be awesome to have Denny be able to win this," Joe Gibbs said. "But for me it was emotional thinking about J.D. and all that he means to our team. What a great finish to a story there."

For Hamlin, who is one of the senior drivers in the Joe Gibbs Racing stable, a win for the Gibbs family took him back to when J.D. gave him his first NASCAR ride.

"It was about 12 or 13 years ago really when J.D. happened to just show up at a Hickory test where we were running some late models," Hamlin said. "J.D. made a phone call to his dad and thought maybe he had something there that was special. They signed me up, and J.D. was the key to making that happen."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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