#11 Team News Archive

(NOTE: some older links may not work)


2016 News

  • When FedEx Paint Schemes: Express, Ground, Freight, Office are scheduled to run in 2016

    FedEx Express - orange (7+2 races):
    Sprint Unlimited - 2/13
    Daytona 500 - 2/21
    Martinsville - 4/3
    Talladega - 5/1
    Charlotte - 5/21, All-Star race
    Indianapolis - 7/24
    Bristol - 8/20
    Chicago - 9/18
    Kansas - 10/16
    Homestead - 11/20

    FedEx Freight - red (9 races):
    Phoenix - 3/13
    Bristol - 4/17
    Kansas - 5/7
    Charlotte - 5/29
    Daytona - 7/2
    Kentucky - 7/9
    Watkins Glen - 8/7
    New Hampshire - 9/25
    Martinsville - 10/30

    FedEx Office - blue (9 races):
    Las Vegas - 3/6
    Texas - 4/9
    Dover - 5/15
    Michigan - 6/12
    Sonoma - 6/26, FedEx Cares
    New Hampshire - 7/17
    Michigan - 8/28
    Charlotte - 10/8
    Texas - 11/6

    FedEx Ground - green (9 races):
    Atlanta - 2/28
    Richmond - 4/24
    Pocono - 6/5
    Pocono - 7/31
    Richmond - 9/10
    Dover - 10/2
    Talladega - 10/23
    Phoenix - 11/13

    Sports Clips (2) scheduled to be primary sponsor in 2016 at:
    Auto Club - 3/20
    Darlington - 9/4, throwback

  • Why did the #11 FexEx car change the FedEx paint schemes? FedEx has a highly recognizable, iconic logo, but the color scheme across the company's many business divisions varied-until now. FedEx announced back in August (yep, I missed it) that it's consolidating its look by turning all of its logos purple and orange. The simplified visual identity was created after FedEx's research showed that purple and orange is one of the most recognized representations of the logo by consumers. The purple and orange combination was previously used on FedEx's Express and Supply Chain logos and will now run on all of its business division logos, including FedEx Corp., Services, Office, Ground and Freight. FedEx Corp.'s logo will change from purple and gray to purple and orange, for example, while FedEx Ground will say goodbye to its purple and green color scheme (AdWeek), looks like the scheme has stayed the same since Chicago in September. See some of the differences on the #11 Team Schemes page.(11-16-2016)

  • Hamlin could set a record for speeding penalties: #11-Denny Hamlin is one pit road speeding penalty away from tying the mark for the most in a season in the past 10 years. Hamlin, who is among the drivers still eligible for the championship, has been penalized 10 times for speeding on pit road this year. Over the last 10 years, only Ryan Newman and David Gilliland have had more penalties for speeding on pit road in a season, according to Racing Insights Inc. Newman had 11 in 2008; Gilliland had 11 in 2012. Hamlin could tie - or top the mark - this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. He was caught speeding on pit road in this race a year ago. Six drivers - #16-Biffle, #42-Larson, #27-Menard, #31-Newman, #23-Ragan, and #17-Stenhouse, Jr. - have each been caught 7 times this season.(NBC Sports)(11-3-2016)

  • NASCAR: JGR strategy didn't violate 100% rule: NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell, appearing on "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday, said he did not expect the sanctioning body to take action against Joe Gibbs Racing for its strategy of dropping three cars to the back of the pack during Sunday's Chase elimination race at Talladega Superspeedway. O'Donnell said employing that strategy did not constitute a violation of NASCAR's 100% rule. "I would say that they do not fall into that," O'Donnell said when asked about the 100% rule. "The spirit of that rule is really to prevent somebody from intentionally allowing another teammate to do something that would not be really within the spirit of the rules of the race. In this case, we look at the strategy decision that the team made, and they executed it. ... In this case, that wouldn't be something that we look at that violated that rule."(NASCAR). The 100% rule: "NASCAR requires its competitors to race at 100 percent of their ability with the goal of achieving their best possible finishing position in an event" (ESPN)
    AND #20-Kenseth finished 28th, #20-Edwards 29th and #18-Busch 30th at Talladega, good enough to advance to the semifinal round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers never made much of a move, dropping to the rear of the field before the green flag ever fell and staying there throughout the day.(ESPN)(10-24-2016)

  • Dillon fails to advance in Chase due to tiebreaker: Facing an overtime restart with two laps left in the Hellman's 500 on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, crew chief Slugger Labbe reminded driver #3-Austin Dillon of the relevant numbers. Dillon had to finish no more than five positions behind #11-Denny Hamlin to secure a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup's Round of 8-as long as Hamlin didn't win the race. Dillon had done everything right to that point. He had earned a bonus point by staying out for an extra circuit and leading Lap 117 under the second caution of the afternoon. He gained three spots after a restart on Lap 186 and was 11th when the green flag waved for the final time on Lap 191. On the final two laps, he worked his way forward to ninth before the checkered flag ended the race. Only one problem. Hamlin beat #41-Kurt Busch to the stripe by .006 seconds-approximately two feet-to finish third. The two drivers finished the Round of 12 tied for eighth with 3,078 points, but Hamlin won a tiebreaker for the final Chase spot because his third-place finish on Sunday was better than Dillon's best Round-of-12 finish of sixth last week at Kansas.(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-24-2016)

  • JGR cars sent back through Talladega qualifying inspection: NASCAR asked three Joe Gibbs Racing teams to make adjustments on their Toyotas just before Coors Light Pole Award qualifying Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway. The cars driven by #18-Kyle Busch, #11-Denny Hamlin and #20-Matt Kenseth were flagged in the minutes before qualifying. As the cars were being rolled out to the track, NASCAR noticed the right rear quarter panels had been manipulated around the deck lid area. NASCAR inspectors pulled the cars out of line, and the teams corrected the issue before going back through tech. However, #19-Carl Edwards' team did lose its pit stall selection for a fourth warning related to inspections. Kenseth's team lost its pit stall selection for the same reason. "The bodies on these cars can be pushed and prodded and these teams are very smart at the areas ... for a bunch of little gains," NASCAR's Senior Vice President for Competition Scott Miller said. "It's nothing huge but it's our job to make sure it's even across the board and that's what we do. A little infraction is an infraction, right? The quarter panels appeared to have been messed with around the deck lid and we brought them back in and rectified it."(NASCAR)(10-23-2016)

  • Hamlin wins at Richmond: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Federated Auto Parts 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway for his 3rd win of the season, 3rd win at Richmond and 29th career win. Hamlin started from the pole and led 189 of the 407 laps. The race ended with Overtime after a late race caution.
    #42-Larson finished 2nd followed by #78-Truex, Jr., #2-Keselowski, #4-Harvick, #5-Kahne, #1-McMurray, #41-Busch, #18-Busch, and #22-Logano.
    The field for the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup is now set. Drivers that made it on race wins are: #18-Busch, #2-Keselowski, #11-Hamlin, #4-Harvick, #19-Edwards, #78-Truex, Jr., #20-Kenseth, #48-Johnson, #22-Logano, #42-Larson, #14-Stewart, #41-Busch, and #34-Buescher.
    Three drivers that made the Chase on points: #24-Elliott, #3-Dillon, and #1-McMurray.
    There were 21 lead changes among 7 drivers and a record 16 cautions for 89 yellow flag laps. There was a red flag that lasted just over 20 minutes after a large wreck with 37 laps remaining.
    The average speed was 85.778 mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and more [NOTE: money/winnings are no longer reported] at:
    Unofficial Race Results page (pdf)
    Lap Summary Report (pdf)
    Penalty Report (pdf)
    Pit Stop Times (pdf)
    Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and
    Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf)

  • Hamlin's Darlington throwback scheme unveiled: Joe Gibbs Racing unveiled #11-Denny Hamlin's throwback scheme for Darlington on Wednesday afternoon. The SportClips Toyota is a throwback to Darrell Waltrip's #11 1984 race car design.(8-10-2016), see an image of the car on the #11 team paint schemes page.(8-10-2016)
    AND - Hamlin & Sport Clips Honor Military at Ft. Bragg: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Denny Hamlin, and long-time partner Sport Clips, officially unveiled the #11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry "Throwback" edition this past week at the Ft. Bragg Airborne & Special Operations Museum. The paint scheme is modeled after the #11 car driven by NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Darrell Waltrip in the 1980's. The special throwback edition will debut at Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend with Hamlin in the #18 Sport Clips Camry in Saturday's VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200, as well as the #11 Sport Clips Camry in the Southern 500 on Sunday.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(8-28-2016)

  • Kenseth: no talks with JGR about his future, Hamlin in talks: #20-Matt Kenseth has no insight into the news that Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser isn't expecting Erik Jones, who currently drives for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series, to return to his team after his rookie season in Sprint Cup. Furniture Row Racing is expanding to a field a #77 Toyota for Jones, teaming with Martin Truex Jr.'s #78. Multiple sources have told NBC Sports that Jones could return to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2018 or 2019, and that several scenarios are being considered depending on the future status of drivers and sponsors. Gibbs has #11-Denny Hamlin, Kenseth, #19-Carl Edwards and #18-Kyle Busch under contract in Sprint Cup through next season, and the team also has Daniel Suarez running for a second consecutive full season in the Xfinity Series.
    Kenseth, 44, said he hasn't discussed "the master plan for 2020" with team owner Joe Gibbs, though he was made aware of Jones' move to Furniture Row in 2017. "I've been involved in a lot of those talks, so I knew that was happening, but I can't say we've ever sat and had the conversation as to what exactly is 2018 going to look like and 2019," he said. "I don't think anybody probably knows 100% sure." Kenseth is sure he isn't considering retirement. "There's been times where I've been asked about (retirement) a lot," he said Tuesday. "Maybe you're not running as good and then you start thinking about it, 'Well, maybe is it time?' I don't really feel like I'm that close where I really can put a date on it to be honest. I feel great. More times than not, I'm having fun. I feel like we're really competitive more times than not. And we're capable of winning races, and I think we're capable of winning championships. That's just way on the bottom of my list of things to think about or worry about at the moment."
    Joe Gibbs said it's "probably unclear some right now" what will happen with Jones after 2017, but the team owner said Jones would remain in Sprint Cup and wouldn't return to the Xfinity Series with JGR. Could Jones return to Joe Gibbs Racing in a Cup car? "I think Furniture Row wanted to make this step to go to two cars, so their future is going to be two cars," Gibbs said. "And whatever their future is past that, it's up to them. I think it's kind of what Erik does. Does he stay there longer than that? That's the question." Gibbs noted that Jones' 2017 sponsor, 5 Hour Energy, also has a one-year deal. "It's whatever Furniture Row wants to do," he said. "They came up with the sponsor and are going to be footing the bill for everything. They're going to be ramping up out there. I'm sure that 5 Hour is going to have their option of what they want to do. I think Furniture Row is going to try to put together their future. They've done a real good job of putting this thing together." Gibbs said his team is in negotiations on a contract extension with Hamlin, who is signed through next season. "It's still in the works," Gibbs said. "We're talking now."(NBC Sports)(8-17-2016)

  • Denny Hamlin wins at Watkins Glen: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International for his 2nd win of the season, 1st win at Watkins Glen, 1st road course win and 28th career win.
    #22-Logano finished 2nd followed by #2-Keselowski, #47-Allmendinger, #14-Stewart, #18-Busch, #78-Truex Jr., #1-McMurray, #6-Bayne and #20-Kenseth.
    #48-Jimmie Johnson finished last (40th) in a Sprint Cup race for the first time in his career after being involved in a four-car wreck on lap 53.
    #10-Danica Patrick led 11 laps, a career best for a single Sprint Cup event, exceeding the seven laps she had led on two occasions at Talladega.
    Joe Gibbs Racing now has the most wins at Watkins Glen in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with seven.
    There were 9 lead changes among 8 drivers and 8 cautions for 20 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 89.513 mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and more [NOTE: money/winnings are no longer reported] at:
    Unofficial Race Results page (pdf)
    Lap Summary Report (pdf)
    Penalty Report (pdf)
    Pit Stop Times (pdf)
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Watkins Glen Race & Points Report (pdf).(8-7-2016)

  • Hamlin to help with West Virginia flood relief: #11-Denny Hamlin is heading to southern West Virginia to help out after deadly floods ravaged the region. A news release from The Greenbrier resort says that on Thursday evening, Hamlin will hand out toys and school supplies to Greenbrier County students affected by the June 23 floods. He'll be at the White Sulphur Springs train station. Kyle Larson, who competes in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, will accompany Hamlin on Thursday. The floods killed 23 people and devastated homes, businesses and infrastructure. Greenbrier County accounted for 15 of the 23 deaths.(Associated Press)(7-27-2016)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing makes changes to pit crew management: Joe Gibbs Racing announced changes to the management structure of its pit crews with Matt Osborn now in charge of day-to-day operations and former athletic director Mike Lepp assuming new duties within the organization. Lepp has served as Athletic Director for the past 10 years overseeing Joe Gibbs Racing pit crew operations. In his new role as Senior Athletic Advisor, Lepp will assume an increased role in marketing and public relations duties. Lepp will continue to do public speaking events, drawing on his extensive experience in athletics and motorsports, on subjects related to pit crew training and trends related to pit stops. He remains available for media interviews on those subjects and will also be available for public speaking to JGR's sponsors and partners. In his new role, Lepp will also assist in seeking sponsorship opportunities with companies involved in athletic apparel and equipment.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(7-13-2016)

  • The Sprint Cup Drivers Council meets Thursday night: The Sprint Cup Drivers Council will meet Thursday night with large packs and safety on the agenda. That might seem appropriate at Daytona International Speedway, but this discussion with NASCAR officials won't center on the tight clusters of cars clogging the banking of the 2.5-mile track. The topic, instead, will be the large throngs of people mingling in the pits before Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 in the wake of a prerace pit atmosphere at Sonoma Raceway that seemed less than orderly for some. "I thought that the security on pit road (at Sonoma) was pretty bad during prerace, and we'll talk about that some," council member Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Thursday afternoon before practice. "Some of the drivers were concerned with how messy that's getting, considering what's going on and when we're trying to get in the cars. It was pretty crazy down there. It's great to see that much energy, but some tracks seem to be able to corral it and control it better and give the crews their space to work around the cars and so forth. So that's something I think some of the drivers are real concerned with; nothing too out of the ordinary that is going to change the sport too much."
    Fellow Drivers Council member Denny Hamlin also said that Sonoma "was a mess to say the least. It was hard to even just walk to your car, and it's a very small pit road. There's some things that definitely could get done. I think really each team should have a 10-foot square space around their car that is designated for just driver and team. I think we definitely could work on that. I think a lot of tracks are working on that." Hamlin raised the possibility that a fan could put a car out of compliance in a manner that NASCAR might suspect a team intentionally had done.
    Earnhardt said there weren't any "big-ticket" items to be hashed out at the meeting, which was the first since April 29 at Talladega Superspeedway. Also on the docket are the future of the Sprint Unlimited (the preseason exhibition event at Daytona will have a new name at a minimum in 2017 because of a new title sponsor) and the Sprint All-Star Race format (which was met with mixed reviews last month).(NBC Sports)(6-30-2016)

  • Denny Hopes going for the Daytona sweep: Following a slip-up on the final lap at Sonoma that allowed Tony Stewart to pass him for the win, 2016 Daytona 500 champion #11-Denny Hamlin hopes his luck changes when he attempts to become the sixth driver to sweep the races at "The World Center of Racing." The five drivers who have achieved the feat are Jimmie Johnson (2013), Bobby Allison (1982), LeeRoy Yarborough (1969), Cale Yarborough (1968) and Fireball Roberts (1962). In 21 starts at Daytona, Hamlin owns one win, six top fives and seven top 10s. Among active drivers, he ranks third in Daytona driver rating (91.5) and fourth in average running position (14.4). He has finished sixth or better in his last five races at the 2.5-mile track.(NASCAR)(7-2-2016)

  • Hamlin didn't give Stewart the win at Sonoma: Joe Gibbs Racing driver #11-Denny Hamlin was made available to the media at Daytona International Speedway, some of the Q&A's from the transcript:
    : Q) Did you let Tony win at Sonoma?
    HAMLIN: "I didn't let Tony (Stewart) win. I made a mistake and didn't execute good. Ultimately I made a mistake and thought we would maybe drag race to the line because we were in the center of the corner side-by-side and I thought this could be good. Once I saw him steer left, I knew it was over with. He had an opportunity to - if I'm in his situation, I probably would do the same. My biggest mistake I feel like is not recognizing the gap I had behind me. I don't know whether Tony would have gotten there. I thought it would have been very close if you really wanted to carry the car down in there, whether he still would have got to me or not. I still needed to execute to make him make the decision. Instead I made the decision for him." Q) Did you speak to your team after the Sonoma finish?
    HAMLIN: "I did. I talked to the team and said I apologized. I mean, I hate to call one of my crew guys out, but I mean he even had a conversation with my girlfriend (Jordan Fish) and said - she says, 'Hey, we gonna get a win today,' and he says, 'We might want to play the lotto instead.' We hadn't had the best luck on road courses. I think statistically, I'm probably the worst average finish of any full-time Cup driver over the last six years and so it was out of the blue and I don't know. I'm sort of happy with second. I also could have been 32nd after the last corner if he was close enough, so who knows, but I'd love to play it over again and have the experience that I have now knowing what I maybe could have done because I've never really honestly broke down road course races to figure out the proper defensive move in the final corner of the final lap."
    Q) How did you end up designing your own Camry paint scheme?
    HAMLIN: "Yeah, I wanted - it was an awesome thing for me. Obviously after the Daytona 500, they presented my crew chief (Dave Rogers) with a nice gift and everything and I remember my first gift from FedEx and it's material things and it's all great, but they said, 'You know, what else do we give you?' And so they offered me an opportunity to design my own paint scheme for this July race coming back. I didn't think about the temperature with the color choices for sure, but I just wanted it to be like an old school-type car. This isn't really what my late models looked like, but just to me I look at the car and I think old school, short track-type paint scheme that they have on super late models, so it's cool. It's a lot of the colors that I have on my personal logos. It's black, red and white, so I think next year if they let me do it, it's going to be white on white on white."
    Q) Do you provide input on your normal paint schemes?
    HAMLIN: "I get to have a little bit of input for sure, but the people at FedEx are a lot smarter than I am with branding and figuring out what colors pop on certain things and so they're pretty consistent on doing everything and I'm okay with it."(Toyota Racing), see an image of the scheme Hamlin will run at Daytona on the #11 Team Schemes page (7-1-2016)

  • FedEx Cares scheme for Hamlin at Sonoma UPDATE: In May, FedEx asked NASCAR fans to help choose Denny Hamlin's special #11 FedEx Cares paint scheme for the Toyota/Save Mart 350. The winning design, which garnered the most votes on social media and triggered $55,000 in donations to five charitable organizations on behalf of FedEx through FedEx Cares, will be revealed via 360-degree virtual reality experience during the Sonoma Raceway media luncheon on Thursday, June 23 at McCormick & Keluto's in historic Ghirardelli Square in downtown San Francisco. Through the FedEx Cares global giving initiative, FedEx is investing $200 million in 200 communities around the world by 2020. How important is it for you to participate in initiatives such as FedEx Cares? Hamlin: "Obviously for me, being part of such a great company that does so much for communities around the world is very important to me. I've had the chance to volunteer and give back to people and places all over the country, and this weekend in Sonoma will be no different. We helped raise $55,000 for very deserving organizations through our social voting campaign in May, and I'm excited for the #11 FedEx Cares Toyota design to hit the track at Sonoma."(FedEx Racing)
    UPDATE: Revealed! Denny Hamlin is at Fort Point in San Francisco and unveiled the special #FedExCares paint scheme for Sonoma Raceway. - with Safe Kids Worldwide, JA Worldwide, USO, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The National Urban League.(FedEx Facebook page), see an image of the winning scheme as well as the images of the three choices fans voted for on the #11 team paint schemes page.(6-23-2016)

  • All-Star Origins: JGR's Dominance Began Last May: Since #11-Denny Hamlin won the 2015 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Joe Gibbs Racing has been the most dominant team in NASCAR, capturing the checkered flag in 19 of the 36 points races (52.7%). #18-Kyle Busch leads the four-driver contingent with eight wins, followed by #20-Matt Kenseth's five. #19-Carl Edwards has four victories, while Hamlin owns two. Additionally, JGR has won all of the marquee events on the NASCAR schedule since then: Coca-Cola 600 (Edwards), Brickyard 400 (Busch), Bojangles Southern 500 (Edwards), Ford EcoBoost 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship race (Busch) and Daytona 500 (Hamlin).(5-20-2016)

  • Fans can choose Hamlin's Sonoma scheme: FedEx Racing is letting fans decide on Denny Hamlin's special #11 FedEx Cares Toyota paint scheme for the upcoming race at Sonoma Raceway in June. From May 16 - May 22, fans can vote for their favorite scheme by tweeting @FedEx with the corresponding hashtag or at Facebook.com/FedEx. Each vote will trigger a $1 donation from FedEx Cares -- up to $55,000 -- to the five charitable organizations that will be featured on the #11 machine in Sonoma, including the USO, Safe Kids Worldwide, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, JA Worldwide and Urban League. Through FedEx Cares, a recently-launched global giving initiative, FedEx is investing $200 million in 200 communities worldwide by 2020.(FedEx Racing), see the images on the #11 team paint schemes page.(5-18-2016)

  • Logano not angry with Hamlin after Kansas accident: #22-Joey Logano was caught in a late-race accident at Kansas Speedway when #11-Hamlin tried to go between #2-Keselowski and #42-Larson, but spun out. Friday at Dover, Logano was asked if he was mad about the incident:
    Logano:"I feel like I am one of the hardest races out there and I would be quite the hypocrite if I asked why he was racing so hard. If you ask me, that is what fans show up to the race track to see. They come to watch a race. They expect us to race. They don't expect us to just say, 'oh, go ahead'. They expect us to race and that is what they pay money to see. I am going to race hard. I know that. I have done that in the past and I will continue to do that. When Denny made that move I didn't blame him. He made a run on the backstretch and had to do something with it. He got in a bad aero spot and both of them got loose. It happens. It is racing. I am not going to say, 'Hey, why did you do that?' We are racing and these things are hard to drive. We are going to make mistakes. There is a win on the line and it is a big deal, it is hard to do at the Sprint Cup level and anytime you have a shot it is expected out of us, not just from the fans but from the teams to go out and make the most of it and make it happen. When I look at Denny's move, I would do the same thing if I was him so I don't really have any room to speak."(Toyota Racing)(5-14-2016)

  • Hamlin was "going for it" before accident: #11-Hamlin was involved in a late-race accident at Kansas with Joey Logano, Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski:
    What caused the incident?
    Hamlin: "I don't know. I'm looking - I had a huge run off of turn two and I was going to go low on the on 2 (Brad Keselowski), but he went to block, so I went through the middle and I didn't let off into turn three. I went through the middle of them and I either got touched from the 2 or I got loose underneath the 42 (Kyle Larson). I'm not sure really until I get a good look at it honestly."
    What did you see during the accident?
    Hamlin: "I was going in there three-wide. I wasn't letting off and the 42 (Kyle Larson) was just too close up there. It wasn't his fault by any means, but we were both trying to drive in there to clear each other and I just got loose and I mean that's crazy there was no contact, but both me and 2 (Brad Keselowski) got loose there. Shame - I just screwed us on pit road twice. Our car was a fast car today. Just didn't show it. We were just in the back because I sped twice. I've got to get better on pit lane to give us a chance and then I was just going for it there because I knew our car had some speed. I was on two tires and the guys in front of me were on none or two. I was just going for it. I've got the win and that's part of this format is going for it and that's what we did."(Toyota Racing)(5-8-2016)

  • Hamlin comments on driver council's reaction to Stewart fine: #11-Denny Hamlin was made available to the media at Richmond International Raceway Friday afternoon.
    Q: Why did the driver's council make the statement supporting Tony Stewart's comments?
    Hamlin: "I think it kind of shows a unity amongst us. It really has nothing to do with lug nuts or no lug nuts or anything like that, it's more so the drivers believing that they have a right to express their opinion especially when asked in an interview. We try to do our best to give honest answers and sometimes those aren't always the best thing. I know at times I've been very guilty of being too honest at times or too opinionated at times and it costs you a nickel or two. We just think that there should be a little bit of leniency there for someone that knows a lot about our sport and has been in our sport a long time. He gave his opinion and especially when it's something on safety too. I think it's pretty important. As far as what we believe, it's all said in the statement. Everything I'm telling you here is my opinion and my opinion only."
    Q: Where is the line when it comes to comments from drivers?
    Hamlin: "I don't know where the line is, I don't know if there is a line - obviously there is a line, but obviously we just believe that you should be able to express your opinion as long as you're not just totally trashing the sport itself or anything like that. I think every situation is different, but we'll just move forward from it."
    Q: How has the driver's council evolved and what is the direction of the council overall?
    Hamlin: "I think that the driver's interests and the owner's interests is 95 percent aligned most of the time. There's some things that we feel like we would like to see changed, sometimes it doesn't align with what NASCAR thinks or what the teams think, but I think that this was a pretty black and white thing from a driver's perspective to have a guy that's coming back and is in the middle of an interview and gets asked a question and he responds to the question and gets fined for it. That to us was a moment and I think for us it just shows solidarity that we're all in this together as the drivers and we want to have one voice because that one voice is obviously a little louder and clearer to NASCAR when we go into meetings talking about where it's going to head from competition to safety and amongst other things. I think that its grown a lot over the last year and our communication as drivers, the barriers that we have, those have been broken down tremendously over the last year to two. Our meetings with NASCAR have changed the sport and will continue to change the sport for many years. Mostly it's all positive, every now and then we feel like we should show solidarity to a guy whose done a lot for the sport and we still don't want to be so politically correct all the time and have to filter our thoughts and think about it because we have sponsors on our cars or owners we have to answer to or NASCAR, sometimes you just want to say what you feel and we feel like you should be able to do that at times."
    Q: How did the discussion come about to pay Tony Stewart's fine?
    Hamlin: "I think it's more of a council thing. Obviously we chat on a daily basis about issues within our sport or things we'd like to work on or change or stay the same. When Tony (Stewart) informed us of the fine, we didn't agree with it and no one agreed with it and we thought there was something we should do about it. This was a way for us to send a message back to NASCAR, not that we were trying to send any specific message that we just believe that we should have the right to speak our opinion. I don't know whether everyone agrees with the opinion he had or not, but it doesn't matter. It's what he was asked so he answered the question. I think that was the biggest thing for us. We should have the right to speak our opinion."
    Q: Have you heard from the series about the statement yet?
    Hamlin: "Nothing from the series at all, but I'm sure we'll all hear something at some point."
    (Toyota Racing)(4-22-2016)

  • Denny Hamlin, Danica Patrick tangle in Saturday practice: #10-Danica Patrick and #11-Denny Hamlin had had their differences in the past, but what happened in Saturday morning's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at Bristol Motor Speedway had nothing to do with old grudges. Nevertheless, contact between their two cars bent the sheet metal on both vehicles, Hamlin's on the right front and Patrick's on the left rear. Patrick, on new tires, was struggling with the handling of her #10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy and had difficulty holding the bottom. She had just let Clint Bowyer's #15 Chevy pass her to the inside, and as she approached Turn 1, Hamlin was closing fast behind her. Patrick entered the turn low but didn't hold the bottom, and as she drifted up off the bottom lane, Hamlin opted to try an inside pass but ran out of room. The resulting collision, though not a violent impact, was enough to do cosmetic damage to both cars. "I had just come out on tires," Patrick said. "They were cold and I wasn't very good anyway - I was pretty loose. I came down the front straightaway and I put my finger out the window to point him by, but he hit me on entry. I don't know if he... it looked like he came pretty close when he went to go to the inside, too. Man, I love Denny, but he makes a lot of mistakes behind me. I don't know if he misjudged it, or I was going slower than he thought, but I put my finger out the window and pointed him by. I had no intention to race him. I was not fast enough. I don't know, but the guys are going to try and fix it."
    From his vantage point, Hamlin couldn't see Patrick's signal. "I was on the outside of her on the straightaway, so I couldn't see the left side of her car," Hamlin said. "I went to go low, but I don't know if she had stuff on her tires. It looked like she was struggling and had stuff on her tires for a few laps there. I tried to go low and obviously we hung bumpers." Patrick's troubles weren't over. In Saturday's final practice prior to Sunday's Food City 500, she was still fighting a loose handling condition and brushed the wall near the apex of Turns 3 and 4 approximately five minutes into Happy Hour. After repairs, Hamlin's #11 Toyota, on the other hand, was fast enough to top the speed chart during final Cup practice with a lap at 126.129 mph.(NASCAR Wire Service)(4-16-2016)

  • Hamlin comments on Martinsville accident:
    Q Did you wheel hop before getting into the wall?
    Hamlin: "It's my first time ever doing it here, so it's a little embarrassing, but I mean we were the fastest car those last 30 laps and we got back to the top-five and I was making up a lot of my speed on entry. As the tires wear, the rears get hotter, less grip, you can't brake at the same amount and I just - it was really out of the blue. I didn't ever have a hint of it up until that moment, so a bit of a rookie move on my part - been around here too much to do something like that, but learning for the fall and I'm really encouraged about how good our car came up through the pack and I really thought we had a car that could win."(Toyota Racing)(4-4-2016)

  • Hamlin says drivers would like to see race winnings published: The introduction of the new charter system - and the subsequent restructuring and distribution of purse money and other revenue streams - caused some feverish preseason reworking of driver contracts. It also caused some hand-wringing among stars who were accustomed to being paid by a percentage of a purse that was posted publicly in every race box score, along with the winnings for each finishing position. Citing the complicated revenue streams, NASCAR discontinued publishing winnings and races purses as part of the new charter system. Five races into the season, Denny Hamlin said concerns have settled about the latter as drivers are being paid as they'd expected, though the contracts vary much more widely than before when virtually every driver drew a defined percentage of the purse as a slice of the overall salary.
    Hamlin, though, said drivers would like NASCAR to return to including race winnings in box scores, if only in appealing to fans who grew accustomed to the format. "I think some fans like to see that and us drivers I think we like to see purses posted personally," Hamlin said.
    A NASCAR spokesman said the policy of whether to publish purses currently isn't being reviewed, but Hamlin believes officials are "considering it. I think if everyone knows what they're getting, I don't know what the benefit is from keeping it from the public. I don't know but there's probably some sort of reason that I don't know about."(NBC Sports)(4-3-2016)

  • NASCAR's Richest Teams and Drivers: Forbes has released its annual ranking of Sprint Cup teams and drivers based on earnings. Once again, Hendrick tops the charts. The top 10 teams and drivers and their estimated value:
    Highest earning NASCAR teams:
    Hendrick Motorsports $375 million
    Joe Gibbs Racing $256 million
    Stewart-Haas Racing $195 million
    Richard Childress Racing $175 million
    Roush Fenway Racing $155 million
    Team Penske $140 million
    Chip Ganassi Racing $75 million
    Richard Petty Motorsports $55 million
    Front Row Motorsports $26 million
    BK Racing $24 million
    Highest earning NASCAR drivers:
    #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. $23.5 million
    #48-Jimmie Johnson $22.2 million
    Jeff Gordon $21.6 million
    #4-Kevin Harvick $15.5 million
    #11-Denny Hamlin $15.1 million
    #18-Kyle Busch $15.0 million
    #10-Dania Patrick $13.4 million
    #14-Tony Stewart $12.8 million
    #19-Carl Edwards $12.1 million
    #20-Matt Kenseth $11.9 million
    Total earnings equals salary/winnings plus endorsements and licensing
    In addition, Forbes estimates the actual cash value of a NASCAR charter to be $15-$17 million.(Forbes)(4-1-2016)

  • Hamlin's Daytona 500 win means extra value for FedEx: A new study conducted jointly by the Los Angeles-based media agency Wasserman and Buffalo, New York-based Nervve showed that #11-Denny Hamlin's Daytona 500 victory was worth $1.9 million in earned media value for his primary sponsor, FedEx. According to the study, FedEx got nearly 23 minutes of clear exposure during the race, tops among the 40 cars in the field. There were some interesting tidbits from the study:
    -- "For brands seeking to optimize their earned media performance in NASCAR, the wise place to focus initial efforts should be on the hood placement. Consistent with other races we've measured, the hood placement generated the most value of any single signage location," the study concluded.
    -- The study measured clarity of sponsor logos "to help determine the effectiveness of the logo and creative execution." The winners in this category were Caterpillar and McDonald's, which each generated a 92 percent clarity rating.
    -- The winner in the average duration of exposure was Kevin Harvick's #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, which managed an average of 6.7 seconds per exposure, 60 percent above the average for the field.(Fox Sports)(3-6-2016)

  • Daytona 500 winnings released UPDATE: Although NASCAR has stated that it does not plan to list winnings after races, it listed the winnings from Sunday's Daytona 500 in a media packet. The winnings that go to Joe Gibbs Racing for Denny Hamlin's victory is $1,507,592. That's less than what Team Penske received last year for Joey Logano's Daytona 500 victory. Those winnings were $1,581,453. Martin Truex Jr. finished second Sunday and the winnings that went to Furniture Row Racing was $1,201,998. That's more than what went to Stewart-Haas Racing last year when Kevin Harvick finished second and collected $1,157,470. The smallest paycheck went to BK Racing for Matt DiBenedetto's 40th-place finish. Those earnings were $297,128. The smallest paycheck in last year's race went to Hillman Racing for Landon Cassill's last-place finish. Those earnings were $262,390.(NBC Sports)(2-25-2016)
    UPDATE: NASCAR sent a note to Sprint Cup teams Thursday stating that it released incorrect information for Daytona 500 winnings on its media website. NASCAR stated to teams: "The information on 2016 Daytona 500 race team earnings posted (Wednesday) on NASCARMedia.com, our media services website, was factually incorrect. We removed the information, rectified the errors and are providing the correct information to race teams. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and now collectively turn our focus to NASCAR racing action this weekend in Atlanta."(NBC Sports)(2-25-2016)

  • Denny Hamlin Begins Champion's Media Tour: Newly crowned DAYTONA 500 champion Denny Hamlin kicked-off his four-day media tour Monday morning with the annual Champion's Breakfast in the Bill France Room at Daytona International Speedway. Hamlin was presented with the traditional champion's jacket and a steel-and-gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch - which he will need to stay on schedule for the media frenzy ahead of him. In addition, his #11 FedEx Express Toyota was brought to its new home for the next year, inside the speedway's Ticket and Tours Building where it will be viewed by fans.
    "It has been a long day, I haven't been to bed yet," said Hamlin, who took some advice from past winners after his dramatic Sunday victory when he edged Martin Truex Jr. by 0.010 seconds. "The greatest advice that I've gotten is the schedule's [tough] but live in the moment because you never know. Plus, 'this will live with you forever, so enjoy the week.'"
    Hamlin's win not only marked the first DAYTONA 500 championship for him and Toyota, but it also ended Joe Gibbs Racing's 23-year drought in the "Great American Race.". Gibbs was awarded his own Harley J. Earl trophy to bring home with him this time. Crew chief Mike Wheeler received the Cannonball Baker Trophy given to the champion crew chief, in his first year with Hamlin.
    "I think about all the storylines: a first for Denny, a first for Toyota," Gibbs said. "It's a big deal for us. How many times do you lay out a plan, then have the thing actually play out?" During the Champion's Breakfast, DIS President Joie Chitwood III also unveiled the 2017 logo for the 59th running of the DAYTONA 500.
    The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will return for a Saturday night showing of the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on July 2. On Friday, July 1, the NASCAR Xfinity Series returns for the Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or by visiting daytonainternationalspeedway.com.(DIS)
    Hamlin media tour Hamlin will continue to enjoy the spoils of victory in NASCAR's biggest race on Tuesday with appearances on FOX & Friends, Live! With Kelly and Michael and a host of SiriusXM shows. And that's just his morning schedule. On Tuesday afternoon, Hamlin will fly to Bristol, Conn., to take part in an ESPN 'Car Wash' that will include two live SportsCenter appearances, among a number of other hits across ESPN's bevy of platforms.
    On Wednesday, Hamlin will take a breather, returning home to Charlotte, N.C., before flying to Atlanta for an interview on CNN Headline News and a visit to the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday morning.(2-23-2016)

  • Denny Hamlin wins the Daytona 500: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway for his 1st win of the season, 1st win in the Daytona 500 and 27th career win. Hamlin led 95 of the 200 laps.
    It is the 2nd Daytona 500 win for Joe Gibbs Racing and first since Dale Jarrett won in 1993. It is the first career win for crew chief Mike Wheeler.
    It is the 11th straight season Hamlin has won a race (2006-2016)
    #78-Truex Jr. led coming to the start-finish line, but Hamlin caught him and won by .010 seconds in a photo finish.
    #18-Nusch finished 3rd, followed by #4-Harvick, #19-Edwards, #22-Logano, #42-Larson, #7-Smith (kids eat free at Golden Corral on Monday), #3-Dillon and #41-Busch.
    #20-Kesneth led on lap 199 and was quite a bit ahead of the 2nd line which Hamlin was in, Kenseth moved over to race Hamlin and ended up falling back and finished 14th.
    #24-Chase Elliott, the pole sitter, spun on lap 20 while in the middle of the pack and did a lot of damage to the front end. Elliott came back out down 40 laps and finished 37th. #88-Earnhardt Jr., who led 15 laps, and was the race favorite, spun off turn 4 on lap 169 hitting the inside wall and ended his day, finishing 36th.
    There no large wrecks, termed 'the big ones', during the race.
    There were 20 lead changes among 15 drivers and 6 cautions for 31 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 157.549mph.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: Monday, February 22 at 8:00pm/et on FS1
    See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and [NOTE: money won is no longer reported] more at:
    Unofficial Race Results page (pdf)
    Lap Summary Report (pdf)
    Penalty Report (pdf) See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf). (2-21-2016)

  • Hamlin investing in solar farm: SunEnergy1, with an investment by NASCAR racer Denny Hamlin's recently formed Won One Energy, will build a 20-megawatt solar farm in Chesapeake, Va. The project will be the largest solar farm in Virginia. Dominion Virginia Power will buy the power produced by the project under a 20-year contract. One Won, like SunEnergy1, is based in Mooresville. Hamlin registered the company in December. He lives now in nearby Cornelius. He shares a racing connection with SunEnergy1 CEO Kenny Habul. Hamlin drives the #11 FedEx Car for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Sprint Cup Series. Kenny Habul, CEO of SunEnergy1, races the #20 car for Gibbs in the Xfinity Series. This year SunEnergy1 is also the principal sponsor for Chase Elliot's #24 car for Hendricks Motorsposts. There principals did not disclose how much Hamlin is investing. Nor has any information been released about the cost of the project. But based on current prices in the Southeast, the 20-hegawatt project is likely to cost between $30 and $40 million. The project will be built on 250 acres off Ballahack Road and U.S. Highway 17.(Charlotte Business Journal)(2-10-2016)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing makes changes to executive team: J.D. Gibbs will join his father Joe Gibbs as Co-Chairman of JGR with Coy Gibbs officially joining the NASCAR operations as Vice-Chairman/Chief Operating Officer, and Dave Alpern, who has been with Joe Gibbs Racing since its beginning, has been named President of the organization. In addition, JGR announces Tim Carmichael will assume expanded responsibilities in his role as Chief Financial Officer, while Wally Brown will serve as Competition Director and Todd Bowland has been named Technical Director. Todd Meredith has resigned his position as Chief Operating Officer but will continue to consult for the organization over the next several months as he explores new opportunities.
    "The Lord has blessed me and my family with something that is truly remarkable and as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary at Joe Gibbs Racing this year, it is more apparent than ever that our people are responsible for the success we have experienced," said Joe Gibbs. "We feel the timing is right to bring Coy into the NASCAR operations in a more official capacity. He has done an outstanding job with our motocross operations and will continue to provide his leadership there as well.
    Coy Gibbs launched JGRMX in 2008 and has been at the center of every aspect of the operations from personnel decisions to sponsor acquisitions and competition direction. He will primarily be focused on the operations side for JGR's NASCAR team while continuing his daily role with JGRMX.
    "I'm excited to be more involved with our NASCAR operations," said Coy Gibbs. "I take great pride in what we have accomplished with our motocross operations and I will continue to provide direction there, while working more closely with my father and brother on the NASCAR side of the business. I know we have a tremendous team in place already and I'm looking forward to being more involved now in this official capacity."
    Alpern joined JGR in 1992 and has worked in the organization's marketing department since his arrival and most recently served in the capacity of Chief Marketing Officer the past two years. Alpern has been a key figure to JGR's involvement in the RTA and is well respected by his peers within the industry. Meredith joined JGR in 1992 and has spent the past 25 years working in the competition and operations departments of the organization. He was named Chief Operating Office in 2013.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(2-4-2016)

  • Update on Denny Hamlin knee condition: #11-Denny Hamlin was featured on this weeks NASCAR teleconference and answered some questions, a few were about his knee injury, surgery and recovery:
    Q. Saw you last week at the media tour, and you talked about the knee was probably only about 50%. What's the prognosis, and is it getting better this week?
    DENNY HAMLIN: "Yeah, it really has, even in the last week. It's been quite a bit better. The biggest thing is the range of motion has not been very good, and it's kind of behind. But we're catching up to being on schedule here, and just in the last seven days, I think it's amazing how far we've gotten in rehab to getting this thing better. I'm very confident that in two weeks it's going to be a non-issue on track, and really for me it's more like when can I start running again. That's the biggest hurdle mentally that we fight through all this is not being able to do some of these activities that we use to kind of take racing off of our mind because once the racing season starts, any given Saturday I'm kind of looking for a golf course after practice is over to relax a little bit, and right now I'm not able to do any of that."
    Q. Could you compare this rehabilitation to your previous one?
    DENNY HAMLIN: "Well, this one is extensively worse than the first. The best explanation that I get is that the first one I used the cadaver and I needed to get back in the race car right away, so we did a cadaver and we didn't use any parts of my hamstring or any other parts of my leg simply for recovery purposes. It would recover faster, and we didn't think we'd have any injuries to that same leg going forward. But this is kind of a new latest way that they're doing these surgeries. Obviously when players are out in football or basketball, they're out for one year on an ACL, where we don't have that time to recover as race car drivers. Since this has happened in the off-season, they chose to do it this way, which is a little bit longer recovery process, but it should be stronger in the long run. Even if I gain one to two percent more reliability with it, it was worth it to me to go through that extra rehab process to know that it's just going to be a little bit stronger than if I would have done it the other way."
    Q. As far as your knee surgery and coming off of that, and like Kyle came off of his surgery and look how great he did, sometimes -- it's hard to say you guys try harder, but it seems like when you're down, there's just something about your ability to -- for a driver that just seems to come back so much stronger mentally, even working physically to make sure you get it done. Do you have a feeling like that going into this year?
    DENNY HAMLIN: Yeah, I mean, I believe so. There's something to it for sure. I mean, every time that something has happened with myself, it seems like the races that proceed at your level are just raised slightly and your performance seems to be a little bit better. You know, what it is I'm not sure. I don't know if it's determination or what have you, but Kyle was another prime example of that. Once again, another one I can think about is when Brad, when he busted his foot up a few years ago at a road course during testing, he won his first race not too long after that. It's just whatever it may be that we find within us to perform at a high level, it always seems to happen when we're injured. A lot of it probably is because we don't want to be the weak link. We don't want to be the one that is responsible for our team running bad, so we make sure we do all it takes to run good."(NASCAR)(1-29-2016)

  • Sport Clips to sponsor Edwards and Hamlin again in 2016: Sport Clips Racing is excited to enter its eighth season (2016) as a partner with Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin enters his 11th full season with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2016 behind the wheel of the #11 Sport Clips Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2016, following an incredible 2015 season that left him contending in his ninth-career Chase for the Sprint Cup. Hamlin concluded his 2015 season with two victories, including his fifth-career victory at Martinsville and the Chase opener at Chicago, along with fourteen top fives, 20 top tens, three pole awards and 529 total laps led. Hamlin also scored Sport Clips their first-career NASCAR victory at Darlington in the XFINITY Series behind the wheel of the #20 Sport Clips Retro Camry in 2015. Denny Hamlin will continue to have Sport Clips as the primary sponsor of the #11 Toyota in two 2016 Sprint Cup Series races at Auto Club Speedway in March and Darlington in September.
    Carl Edwards completed his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in 2015 driving the #19 Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series. He finished the year by qualifying for his ninth Sprint Cup Series Chase. He scored two wins for Toyota and JGR, celebrating victories in two of NASCAR's crown jewels, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Southern 500. His impressive resume in NASCAR's top Series now includes 25 Sprint Cup victories, 115 top fives, 202 top 10's, and 16 poles. Sport Clips will be the primary sponsor of the #19 in two Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire in July and Texas in November.(SportClips)(1-28-2016)

  • Hamlin makes cameo appearance on 'The Bachelor': #11-Denny Hamlin has a deep, dark secret: He's a big fan of the TV show, The Bachelor. When producers of the ABC show found out, they decided to put Hamlin on an episode. That took place Monday, where the Joe Gibbs Racing driver did about a two-minute cameo. This year's Bachelor, Ben Higgins, asked Hamlin if he is a fan of the show. "Absolutely, of course," Hamlin said via a Skype session. "Girls" star Allison Williams was also on the show. When Hamlin was introduced, Williams went into a typical fan routine. "I can't believe this, I'm such a fan," Williams told Hamlin. "Yeah, it's huge. I have to say Mark Martin in the #6 Valvoline was my main dude, but you're so awesome, I can't believe I'm looking at you."(NBC Sports)(1-27-2016)

  • Hamlin's knee at 50%: #11-Denny Hamlin still is struggling to get back to his old self after surgery Nov. 30 to repair his right ACL, which he injured playing basketball the week before the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He says he is able to get in and out of a car and will be ready for the Daytona 500 when the Cup season kicks off Feb. 21. "I wish it was a little bit better. ... I definitely can get in the car and do what I need to do right now, but I think the challenge of getting in the car was the toughest part. Once I get my range of motion back, it'll be fine," Hamlin said. "I am about 50 percent, but nothing that would keep me out of the race car. I'm not where I want or should be right now, but I'm getting there. I went on vacation, that sort of set me back a little bit."(USA Today)(1-20-2016)

  • Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown will not be held in 2016 UPDATE: Amid uncertainty about Langley Speedway's future, the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, scheduled for the track April 21, has been canceled. Race coordinator Buck Reuss said Denny Hamlin Foundation management informed him Tuesday that the charity race will not be held at Langley or any track this season. "This is due to the situation at Langley Speedway," Reuss said. "I don't blame anyone operating the track, because I think (Victory Lane Motorsports owner) Bill Mullis and (Langley Speedway general manager) Chuck Hall have done more for the track than anyone since Joe Carver (Langley's promoter from the mid-1970s to early '80s). But the drivers needed to set their schedules by Jan. 5 at the latest." Mullis has not been able to purchase the property on which the track sits from the California-based landowner because they disagree on the purchase price. Mullis has leased the track from the landowner the previous six seasons, but has said it would be more viable financially for him to operate the track by purchasing it. Minus a purchase agreement or lease, track management has not released a schedule for the 2016 season and, during the past week, has moved much of its property off of the premises. In addition, Langley Speedway management did not re-sign with NASCAR for three races run at the track annually: one in the K&N Pro Series East and two others in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series. The Hamlin charity race was expected to be one of the biggest events in track history. Reuss said that in addition to Hamlin, he expected his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, 2015 Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch and 2003 Cup champ Matt Kenseth, to also be part of the Showdown field. Previous hosts were Southside Speedway, RIR and South Boston Speedway.(Daily Press)(1-14-2016)
    UPDATE: Due to track operations and schedule uncertainty at Langley Speedway (Hampton, Va.), the 9th Annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown scheduled for April 21st at Langley has been cancelled for 2016. "The event is an around-the-clock, full year in the making," said race coordinator Buck Reuss. "But due to the very unfortunate timing of the property negotiations ongoing at Langley, it left us no choice but to look toward 2017 and bypass this year's running of the event."
    "It is really disappointing as I was really looking forward to returning to Langley to race again, as were so many other drivers that were planning to participate," said Hamlin, who began his stock car racing career at Langley in 1997, winning both the track championship and track rookie of the year honors. "So we will turn our attention to 2017 and wish everyone the best of luck in their racing endeavors this year."(Denny Hamlin Foundation)(1-14-2016)

  • Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam raises over $200,000: The 4th annual Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam hosted by the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation, which was held on October 26-27, was another major success raising over $200,000 for charity. The Lowcountry celebrity charity event has raised over $700,000 in its first four years. The fundraiser again featured the partnership of NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, Hootie & the Blowfish founding member and lead guitarist Mark Bryan and Denis Gallagher, CEO of Student Transportation Inc., and his company's philanthropic arm, the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation. Proceeds from the two-day fundraiser have increased each year and were recently donated to the charitable organizations represented by the three partners, which have a common mission in creating better opportunities for children. The Denny Hamlin Foundation was a beneficiary with the majority of its share being donated to MUSC Children's Hospital for Cystic Fibrosis research. Mark Bryan's non-profit, Carolina Studios, and STAEF, also received their portion of the funds raised that will benefit children throughout the Lowcountry. Each year the event picks out a compelling local charity to support with a donation and this year the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church was selected. The oldest AME church in the south, it is known as "Mother Emanuel" and was the site of a terrible tragedy last June. The Pro-Am Jam showed its support for the good works of the church with a $10,000 donation from the proceeds of a special event T-shirt that incorporated the event logo into an "I Am Charleston Strong" message. The dates for the 5th Annual Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam hosted by the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation are October 24-25.(Empire Sports Management)(1-11-2016)

2015 News

  • When FedEx Paint Schemes: Express, Ground, Freight, Office were run in 2015

    FedEx Express - orange (8 + 2 races):
    Sprint Unlimited - 2/14
    Daytona 500 - 2/22
    Martinsville - 3/29 (WON)
    Talladega - 5/3
    Charlotte - 5/16, All-Star race
    Michigan - 6/14
    Indianapolis - 7/26
    Richmond - 9/12
    Kansas - 10/18
    Phoenix - 11/15

    FedEx Freight - red (8 races):
    Phoenix - 3/15
    Bristol - 4/19
    Kansas - 5/9
    Sonoma - 6/28
    New Hampshire - 7/19
    Michigan - 8/16
    New Hampshire - 9/28
    Talladega - 10/25

    FedEx Office - blue (7 races):
    Las Vegas - 3/8
    Texas - 4/11
    Charlotte - 5/24
    Kentucky - 7/11
    Pocono - 8/2
    Dover - 10/4
    Texas - 11/8

    FedEx Ground - green (10 races):
    Atlanta - 3/1
    Richmond - 4/25
    Pocono - 6/7
    Daytona - 7/5
    Watkins Glen - 8/9
    Bristol - 8/22
    Chicago - 9/20 (WON)
    Charlotte - 10/10
    Martinsville - 11/1
    Homestead - 11/22

    FedEx Cares (1 race):
    Dover - 5/31

    Sports Clips (2) scheduled to be primary sponsor in 2015 at:
    Auto Club - 3/22
    Darlington - 9/6

  • Rogers surprised by crew chief changes at JGR: Dave Rogers will start the 2016 season as crew chief for the #19 of Carl Edwards after spending a season as the crew chief for #11-Denny Hamlin. The move was part of an announcement a couple of weeks ago that also included the return of Mike Wheeler to the #11. Rogers, appearing on SiriusXM NASCAR radio, said he accepts the move even though it surprised him, especially after Hamlin and all four Joe Gibbs Racing teams made the Chase for the Sprint Cup. "Denny's a brother to me," Rogers said. "I love him to death. It caught me off guard, 'You want me to work with someone other than Denny?'" Roger has spent the majority of his career with JGR. Before the 2015 season, Rogers worked on the #18 of Kyle Busch for five years. He said the decision to make the move came down to trying to improve the communication and chemistry of a "true four-car team."
    "A couple of years ago we were tough on ourselves," Roger said. "We openly admitted that we missed the boat on speed, the cars weren't good enough. We were really tough on each other. The guys at the shop rebounded with such character and integrity. You have to capitalize on those situations. It's not every year you get cars like that. Some years you're on. Some years you're off. Coach and the management staff felt there was room for improvement with the 19 and 11 ... and they made some changes. That's one thing that's really complicated about JGR, we're a true four-car team," Rogers said. "We're four cars working together. There's eight race engineers sitting in a cubicle working together. All four crew chiefs sit shoulder-to-shoulder. It's a huge team. I think we work together more than I believe other teams do and that makes it extremely complicated. There's a ton of relationships in that that have to be managed."(In part from NBC Sports / SiriusXM NASCAR radio)(12-30-2015)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Announces Crew Chief Changes: Joe Gibbs Racing announced changes to its crew chief lineup in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the 2016 season. Dave Rogers, who most recently served as crew chief for JGR's #11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, will transition to lead the #19 team in 2016 with driver Carl Edwards. Mike Wheeler, who had spent 10 years with the #11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team before transitioning to crew chief for JGR's #20 XFINITY Series team in 2015, will return to work with driver Denny Hamlin in 2016.
    Darian Grubb, who had served as crew chief on the #19 Sprint Cup Series team last season, is currently exploring several opportunities for the 2016 season.
    Meanwhile Jason Ratcliff and Adam Stevens will continue in their current roles as crew chief of JGR's #20 and #18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams respectively.
    "2015 was probably the strongest season we have ever had at Joe Gibbs Racing," said Joe Gibbs, owner of JGR. "We won more races than we ever have, qualified all four teams into the Chase and were blessed to end it with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. I think every year you evaluate each of your teams however and sometimes during that process you find that a change might be in the best interest for all involved. Mike Wheeler is obviously someone that has a long history with Denny (Hamlin) and that #11 team. After seeing what he accomplished as a crew chief in our XFINITY Series program last year we felt the timing was right to move him back into our Cup program. Dave Rogers has also been successful in every role he has had with us and we think he will work well with Carl (Edwards) going into 2016."(JGR)(12-21-2015)

  • Most-Mentioned drivers of 2015: According to Joyce Julius, a company that tracks media mentions for sport sponsors, #4-Kevin Harvick was the most-mentioned NASCAR driver on TV this year (the same position he held last season) while#11-Hamlin had the most interview time. Sprint Cup champion #18-Busch was the 12th most-mentioned:

    Driver
    Interviews
    Interview Time
    Mentions
    #4-Harvick
    42
    0:35:29
    4,937
    #20-Logano
    31
    0:35:31
    3,726
    #48-Johnson
    26
    0:19:38
    3,038
    #2-Keselowski
    24
    0:15:31
    2,940
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr.
    28
    0:26:05
    2,919
    #24-Gordon
    29
    0:33:10
    2,837
    #78-Truex, Jr.
    22
    0:42:35
    2,629
    #11-Hamlin
    27
    0:42:43
    2,607
    #20-Kenseth
    20
    0:18:53
    2,587
    #19-Edwards
    23
    0:18:12
    2,495
    #41-Busch
    18
    0:16:57
    2,395
    #18-Busch
    18
    0:27:17
    2,276
    #51-Bowyer
    11
    0:12:11
    1,310
    #42-Larson
    12
    0:15:58
    1,241
    #5-Kahne
    16
    0:13:36
    1,201

    Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.(Joyce Julius)(12-7-2015)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing expected to make crew chief changes: Joe Gibbs Racing is changing the complexion of its Sprint Cup crew chief line up for 2016. Sources have confirmed to Motorsport.com that Darian Grubb will no longer oversee the #19 Arris/Stanley Tools Toyota driven by Carl Edwards. Dave Rogers, who is currently crew chief for the #11 Fed Ex team and Denny Hamlin, is expected to move into the role. With Rogers taking over the #19 team, Mike Wheeler is expected to be named crew chief of the #11 crew and Hamlin. "Wheels" was Hamlin's race engineer on the #11 team and even filled in for Grubb for one event before he was promoted to crew chief of the #20 Xfinity Series team at JGR. In Edwards first season at JGR, the Grubb-led crew scored two wins - Charlotte Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway - seven top fives and 15 top-10 finishes. With the exception of earning three poles and finishing fifth in the 2015 standings, Edwards's stats were nearly identical to his last season with Roush Fenway Racing.(Motorsport)(12-3-2015)

  • Hamlin to have knee surgery Nov. 30th UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin is scheduled to have surgery Nov. 30 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Hamlin injured his knee playing basketball in September and opted to wait until after the season to have surgery. He plans to attend NASCAR's season-ending awards ceremony in Las Vegas a few days later. Dr. Patrick Connor, the team physician of the NFL's Carolina Panthers, will perform the operation in Charlotte.(Associated Press)(11-21-2015)
    UPDATE: Denny Hamlin had successful surgery on his right knee this afternoon. Hamlin is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of the 2016 NASCAR season in February. The scheduled offseason surgery was to repair the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in his right knee which he tore while playing basketball in early September. The surgery was performed by Dr. Patrick Connor of OrthoCarolina.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(11-30-2015)

  • More issues with JGR cars thru tech inspection: For the second week in a row, three of the four Joe Gibbs Racing cars have had issues clearing NASCAR technical inspection. Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, the cars of #18-Kyle Busch, #11-Denny Hamlin and #20-Erik Jones went through the tech inspection multiple times without being cleared by the NASCAR officials. The issue with Busch's car was with the rear end skew and the left rear toe, while the issue with Hamlin's car was with the camber. As of 1:05pm/et, the cars of Busch and Hamlin had cleared the inspection process, but crews were still working on Jones' #20 Toyota. By 1:20pm/et, Jones' car had cleared tech and was pushed to the starting grid. A NASCAR official said the three teams would not face a points penalty for Sunday's issue, and they would not confirm how many times the cars passed through the inspection process. Despite the issue, none of the three teams were penalized and were allowed to retain their starting spot on the grid.(FoxSports)(11-15-2015)

  • Hamlin loses rear tire changer for the last two races of the year: The #11 pit crew of Denny Hamlin will be without rear changer Mike Hicks for the remaining two races. Early in the week, Hicks broke a bone in his right foot. From the sounds of it, the injury was kind of a freak accident but doesn't seem to pose any problems for next year. When we asked Mike about the injury this is what he had to say. "It was a weird deal. It happened Wednesday at practice and I was just walking backwards. My ankle kind of gave out and my foot rolled over and popped a bone. Thankfully its not bad and I should be walking in two weeks and good to go in about 4." The good news is that JGR hired long time tire changer David Mayo from HMS a few weeks back. Mayo was the back up for JGR and will now be changing rears for the #11 at Phoenix and Homestead. Mayo was able to practice with the #11 crew for a few days this week and should do just fine.(PitTalks)(11-15-2015)

  • Splitters confiscated from Gibbs cars before Texas race UPDATE: The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas driven by #11-Denny Hamlin, #18-Kyle Busch and #19-Carl Edwards were all forced to surrender their front splitters and replace them with ones that were unaltered as the cars rolled through pre-race inspection for the AAA Texas 500. NASCAR officials said the confiscated carbon-fiber splitters, "did not fit the gauges" and would be taken back to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, N.C. for further scrutiny. The splitter on the #20 car being driven by Erik Jones, who is subbing for the suspended Matt Kenseth, did not have any issues.
    A close inspection of photos taken by Kickin' the Tires appeared to show they were altered in a manner that made them look concaved. A source in the garage, who was watching the situation play out, explained that some type of resin or Bondo was used to misshape the splitters in a manner to let the car run lower to the track. The source said the resin would wear down easier and not impact the handling of the car as it went into the corners.
    The matter is similar to what happened with the Team Penske #2 and #22 cars at Michigan International Speedway earlier this year but those splitters hadn't been altered by adding resin, according to the source.(Kickin the Tires) See several photos at the site. If there are any penalties from NASCAR, they would likely be announced on Tuesday.(11-9-2015)
    UPDATE: No penalties to the JGR teams for the splitters NASCAR took before the race Sunday (ESPN's Bob Pockrass Twitter)(11-10-2015)

  • 2015 Joe Gibbs Racing Fall FanFest Scheduled for October 9: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Fall FanFest will be held this Friday, October 9 from 9 AM to 1 PM at its team headquarters in Huntersville, NC. JGR drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Kenny Habul, and Matt Tift are all scheduled to sign autographs at staggered times throughout the morning. In order to receive an autograph, fans must have a wristband for each respective driver. Beginning at 8 AM on Friday morning, wristbands for each driver will be distributed in separate lines. No wristbands will be required for Suarez, Jones, Habul, and Tift or the JGRMX riders, who will be on hand to sign from 9 AM to 10:30 AM.
    The complete driver autograph schedule for Friday, October 9 is as follows:
    9 AM Kyle Busch
    9:30 AM Matt Kenseth
    10 AM Denny Hamlin
    11 AM Carl Edwards
    9-10:30 AM Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones, Kenny Habul, Matt Tift
    9-10:30 AM JGRMX Riders: Justin Barcia, Weston Peick, Phil Nicoletti
    The fourth annual JGR Fan Fest Car and Motorcycle Show will be from 9 AM until 1 PM (registration begins at 7 AM and judging concludes at 11 AM with awards presented at 1 PM). Categories for the show include street rods, muscle cars, original class, custom, motorcycles, pick-ups, best engine and best in show. Participants can preregister at http://joegibbsracing.com/carshow. For more information and directions for JGR Fall FanFest please go to: joegibbsracing.com/fanfest. Funds raised from JGR Fall FanFest will be donated to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).(JGR)(10-7-2015)

  • Hamlin wins at Chicago: #11-Denny Hamlin won the myAFibRisk.com 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway for his 2nd win of the season, 1st win at Chicago and 26th career win. After starting 29th, the lowest of any Chase competitor, Hamlin spun on lap 2, and lost a lap, and restarted the race in 43rd. He eventually got his lap back and worked his way through the field. The team stayed on track during the final caution and he took the lead with 4 laps to go. He led just 10 of the 267 laps.
    With the win, Hamlin automatically advances to the next round of the Chase.
    #19-Edwards finished 2nd followed by #41-Busch, #31-Newman, #20-Kenseth, #22-Logano, #42-Larson, #2-Keselowski, #18-Busch, and #43-Almirola.
    Polesitter #4-Harvick finished 42nd. He cut a tire down and spun into the wall after contact with #48 Johnson on a restart midway though the race. He had to go to the garage for repairs for more than 50 laps.
    #20-Kenseth now leads the Chase points standings, 2 points over Hamlin.
    There were 17 lead changes among 10 drivers. There were 6 cautions for 28 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 140.117mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
    See UNOFFICIAL drivers championship points standings on the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings (pdf).
    See the UNOFFICIAL owner points standings on the Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).(9-20-2014)

  • Hamlin has begun physical therapy on torn ACL: His pace is slightly slower, while his gait is noticeably stiffer. But make no mistake about it, #11-Denny Hamlin is not going to let a torn ACL in his right knee keep him from winning the Chase for the Sprint Cup. At Thursday's Chase Media Day, Hamlin brought reporters up to speed on his condition, nine days after tearing the ACL while playing basketball. "It's good," Hamlin said when asked how his knee is feeling. "I'm walking a little bit more normal now, so everything's good and everything should be good in the car as well." Hamlin, who hopes to be able to walk without a knee brace by Sunday's MyAFibRisk.com 400 Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway, has begun physical therapy, which could potentially play a big part of his getting to the final round of the Chase. Hamlin hopes the knee-strengthening therapy will get him through the next 10 weeks before he has off-season surgery to repair the ACL. Hamlin said he's ready for nine of the 10 Chase races but admits to hesitancy about racing at Talladega. "Talladega will be the biggest challenge," he said. "It's not the heavy braking race tracks, it's the one where you're holding the throttle wide open the longest. But I've driven many, many laps at Talladega anyway with my left foot hung over there pushing the gas down because you're leg falls asleep there anyway holding the gas down so much."(NBC Sports)(9-18-2015)

  • Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown Proceeds Top $200,000: With Thursday's $50,000 check presentation by Mary Lou Hamlin to Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR), the Denny Hamlin Foundation reached $200,000 in donations to fight cystic fibrosis through proceeds from the annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. The eighth installment of the late model race was held last April at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. The donations help fund the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at CHoR and support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited Therapeutics Development Center at VCU. Former South Boston track champion and current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Timothy Peters won the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown on April 23, beating a celebrity line-up that included Hamlin, NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott and David Ragan, plus Virginia natives Jeb Burton, Gray Gaulding, Hermie Sadler and Peters.
    "The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown continues to be a big success in raising awareness and funding to support Cystic Fibrosis research," said Hamlin. "South Boston has been a perfect venue for us the last couple of years by providing great track and fan support." Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a fatal genetic disease that affects about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. CF causes chronic infections in the lungs and inadequate digestion of nutrients. There is no cure for CF, but medical advances have doubled the life expectancy of children in the last 30 years and increased the overall median age of survival to 40.
    CHoR has a large research staff focused on finding a cure for CF and in developing new therapies for CF. As the only CF Foundation-accredited center in the greater Richmond area, CF patients cared for at CHoR have access to the latest therapies and can participate in groundbreaking clinical studies.
    "Thanks to the generosity of the Denny Hamlin Foundation, we have been able to accelerate the discovery of new therapies for cystic fibrosis," said Bruce Rubin, M.D., professor and chair of the VCU Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of CHoR. "We have been able to enhance research collaboration to increase our understanding of the nature of CF lung disease, and we are excited that a new medication discovered at VCU, is now undergoing testing. Just as important, the Denny Hamlin Foundation funds are supporting a scientist in training to become a CF research scientist. It is through the generosity of the Denny Hamlin Foundation and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation that we hope that "CF" will come to mean "Cure Found."
    The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown began in 2008 at Southside Speedway, a local short track near Hamlin's hometown of Chesterfield, Va., outside of Richmond, before moving to Richmond International Raceway in 2011 to pair up as a doubleheader with the NASCAR K&N Series. For its seventh year in 2014, the race moved just over 100 miles southeast to South Boston Speedway, another Virginia short track with a long history in stock car racing. For 2016, the event will move to Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. as the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown continues its tour of local Virginia-based speedways.
    The success of this event was also made possible by the support of sponsors FedEx, Sun Trust, Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing, Sprint, Danville Toyota, Sport Clips, Denny's Restaurants, NAPA Auto Parts, Stock Car Steel, Mattioli Foundation, Racing for a Reason, and the NASCAR Foundation. The Short Track Showdown is one of two major fundraising events hosted by the Denny Hamlin Foundation this year. The other is Denny & Mark's ProAm Jam concert and golf event, held Oct. 19-20 at Daniel Island Club in Charleston, SC to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) among other beneficiaries.(Denny Hamlin Foundation)(9-13-2015)

  • Hamlin talks about knee injury, plans to wait for surgery: Joe Gibbs Racing driver #11-Denny Hamlin was made available to the media at Richmond International Raceway, some of the Q&A's:
    Q) What happened when you were playing basketball to get injured and what is the pain like inside the car?
    Hamlin: "In the car I'm as comfortable as any place that I am. Obviously the swelling is the biggest issue. It hurts mobility and it kind of shuts down my quad so there's challenges there. But, in the car we ran 15 or 20 consecutive laps which isn't a whole lot but it was fine then. And, what I was doing I was just playing. I play in a league every week and it was just the exact same scenario as it was the first time. I had actually felt that I jarred it earlier in the game and unfortunately I tied the game up with five seconds to go and so it went to overtime and I hurt it in overtime."
    What are you allowed to do and not allowed to do as a driver outside the track and what is the toughest part of the injury?
    Hamlin: "I can do anything I want, just don't break the law. There's really no provisions or anything like that. I think Joe (Gibbs) does a good job of letting us be whoever we want to be outside the race car. My activities really aren't that dangerous that I do. It just seems like I have had some freak accidents over the last few years that's gotten us, but I don't think there's been anything that's kept us from being competitive on the race track. The one time I missed the Chase was from an injury that happened on the race track so I don't think that these side injuries have hurt our performance at all. So, I mean, I'm just going to continue to do whatever it is I want to do outside the car and obviously just try to better prepare yourself and get physically stronger to typically prevent injuries in the future. Other than that, won't change much."
    Q) Are you risking damaging your knee more the next 11 weeks by not having the surgery immediately?
    Hamlin: "I think with that off-week (last time) we had a buffer there of time to recover. I had moments outside the race car where I had buckling moments where my knee would give out and I felt like I was doing more extensive damage to it. So, we had the off-week to play with earlier in the year so we decided to do it then. We don't have that luxury this time around especially with the Chase coming up next week so I think that the best thing to do is just hold off and make sure we're 100 percent in the car and if I'm what I feel like is 100 percent now in the car just three days after then the next 10 weeks I've just got to be real careful outside the car making sure I pay attention to every step so I don't have those moments again. But, it looked like from what the MRI showed it was really I've damaged the same things that I damaged on the left. There was obviously the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) - the ACL gets all of the hype but there's more to it that gets knocked around in there."
    Q) Could you have had the surgery this week and sought an exemption to take Richmond off before for the Chase?
    Hamlin: "Well, I thought about it but I think that we were pretty confident that doing the surgery or not doing the surgery either way I would be the same inside the car. So, why skip a week if I'm going to end up being the same anyway. It's really just to improve life outside the car. Obviously I'm going to go through the next 10 weeks and can't do any running or can't do anything active for the next 10 to 11 weeks so that part of it sucks but other than that there just isn't a benefit to do it right now especially you don't know how you're going to react recovery-wise. I thought I was pretty lucky the last time around. I was back playing basketball really within seven months or so which is pretty fast for an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). And you just don't know how your body will react to the second one so I think it was safer for us to just let it go. There are people that live without ACL's all of the time and walk around and you never know the difference. It's more the other activities that it hampers you with. I thought the smarter thing would be to just fix it when we're done with the season."
    Do you have any limitations with your knee and what was the shot that you hit in the basketball game to tie the game?
    Hamlin: "I don't have any limitations other than I can't fully walk on my own. I think I'm probably about a day or maybe two away from maybe ditching the extra crutch to walk around, so I think I'll get rid of that tomorrow. But other that I've got to start rehabbing as quick as possible to make sure that I can get my leg working properly so I can walk without having those buckling moments like I had in 2010. I'll work on that. What shot was it - just drove into the lane and made a layup."
    If you got eliminated from the Chase would you have the surgery earlier?
    Hamlin: "Good idea, I'll take your advice and use it as motivation to not get it done. Actually had not even thought about being eliminated, that's how confident I am right now that we're not going to. If we do, I don't know. You want to finish the year strong and I think the way the points all work out you still can move up to fifth or something like that. I think either way, off-season is going to be the best option as long as I can make it that long."(Toyota Racing)(9-12-2015)

  • Denny Hamlin Suffers Torn ACL in Right Knee: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that driver #11-Denny Hamlin suffered a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in his right knee while playing basketball Tuesday night. Hamlin had a MRI this morning to confirm the diagnosis and has been evaluated by the medical team at OrthoCarolina. He has received the medical clearance necessary to continue racing activities and is expected to race the remainder of the season and through the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Hamlin will require surgery to repair the ACL damage following the season.(JGR)(9-9-2015)

  • Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown to be held at Langley Speedway in 2016: When Buck Reuss was asked why the Denny Hamlin Foundation is finally bringing the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown to Langley Speedway on April 21, 2016, he got right to the point. "It's Langley's turn," said Reuss, Langley Speedway's pit road race announcer and the race coordinator of Hamlin's annual charity race. "I've been saying for years that the race should come to Langley. Langley is where Denny Hamlin won the 1997 Mini-Stock championship and raced Grand Stocks in 1998. This gives the fans in Hampton Roads a chance to see it and businesses all the way to Virginia Beach a chance to contribute to charities supported by the Denny Hamlin Foundation." The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown is held each spring in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stop at Richmond International Raceway. It annually draws many of the top Cup drivers in a race against some of the best Late Model drivers in the Mid-Atlantic region." The race - held previously at Southside Speedway, RIR and South Boston Speedway - benefits a number of charities supported by Hamlin: the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Kyle Petty Victory Junction Gang Camp, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the VCU Children's Hospital. Reuss says the race raises from $30,000-$100,000 annually for Hamlin's foundation.(Daily Press)(9-6-2015)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Launches Pit Road with Pals Game App: Joe Gibbs Racing announced the launch of their new interactive pit crew competition app: Pit Road with Pals. The new version of the popular pit stop game is now available for download on all Apple and Android devices. Pit Road With Pals App is a free app and provides fans the opportunity to test their skills in all facets of a pit stop. New to this version is the opportunity to play with friends in a best-of-three round competition style similar to many popular word games.(more info and links on JGRs Facebook page)(8-27-2015)

  • Hamlin visits Chicago's James R. Jordan Boys & Girls Club: #11-Denny Hamlin took to the basketball court at the James R. Jordan Boys & Girls Club on Wednesday in advance of the kick-off race to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sunday, Sept. 20. "I love coming to Chicago and today was no exception. It was a great experience visiting with the kids at the James R. Jordan Boys & Girls Club," said Hamlin. "Although I love basketball, fortunately I'm a better driver than jump shot shooter so I'm looking forward to getting back to Chicago to kick off the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup." Joining Hamlin at the Boys & Girls Club was former Chicago Bulls center Will Perdue, member of the '91, '92 and '93 championship teams, along with Chicagoland Speedway president, Scott Paddock, member of the 1995 U.S. Men's National Basketball team. In front of 50 kids ranging in age from 12 to 15 years old, Hamlin, Perdue and Paddock played against each other in a game of 'C-H-A-S-E,' otherwise known as 'P-I-G' or 'H-O-R-S-E.' After close competition which included jump shots, fade aways and lap-ups, Perdue took the victory before the trio went on to lead a group of kids in a dribbling relay race utilizing Goodyear racing tires as cones. Paddock and his team of five James R. Jordan Boys & Girls Club kids took the checkered flag victory. In addition to the afternoon of fun, the James R. Jordan Boys & Girls were provided race tickets to the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Chicagoland Speedway on September 20. Tickets can be purchased online at ChicagolandSpeedway.com, by calling 888-629-RACE, through the Chicagoland Speedway mobile app, or by visiting the Chicagoland Speedway Administrative office Monday-Friday.(Chicagoland Speedway)(8-20-2015)

  • Erik Jones to run some Cup races next season; full-time in future: Coach Joe Gibbs shed light on Erik Jones' NASCAR career arc Tuesday morning, saying that a full XFINITY Series schedule and some Sprint Cup events were planned for 2016. Gibbs, appearing on "The Morning Drive on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, said that advancing the 19-year-old driver through the NASCAR development ladder was a top priority at Joe Gibbs Racing. "We look at Erik as a big part of our future," Gibbs told SiriusXM, "and we've got a plan laid out and it's not something we've talked about in public, but we all kind of know inside of our racing organization, and with his parents and his agent ... is just great. So we've talked over a plan, and basically the plan next year would be a full XFINITY season and try and run for a championship there and also to, in all likelihood, have him in some Cup races so that would be the goal for next year." Gibbs, 74, said plans to get Jones into a full-time ride are taking shape, though his organization currently stands at the NASCAR-mandated maximum of four teams, with Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth on the JGR driver roster. "We've got a plan laid out in the future, and it's something we can't, you know, we don't want to talk about now, but there is no question -- this guy, Erik's headed for Cup," Gibbs said with a laugh. "He's headed for Cup and we've got a path charted that we think is the best to get him ready and to fulfill his goal of being in a Cup car as quick as we can get him there."(NASCAR.com)(8-4-2015)

  • Sport Clips Haircuts Joins Darlington's Tribute to the 1970's: Sport Clips Haircuts unveiled today the #11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry Denny Hamlin will pilot for the September 6 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway. As part of Darlington's throwback weekend to celebrate the 1970's, the #11 Sport Clips Camry in the Cup Series will run a retro scheme inspired by Cale Yarborough. This will not be the first time Hamlin has driven a Camry inspired by Yarborough at Darlington. For the 2012 Bojangles' Southern 500, Hamlin donned a retro firesuit and a retro paint scheme to honor Yarborough's induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Of all drivers who have won in the #11 car, Yarborough leads the list with 55 total wins (see the full list on the #11 Team News & Links page). In addition to Hamlin piloting the throwback schemes, Sport Clips will continue their partnership with Darlington Raceway to raise awareness and funds for their 'Help A Hero' program (Joe Gibbs Racing), see an image of the car on Jayski.com's #11 Team Schemes page.(8-1-2015)

  • Five teams given warnings after New Hampshire: NASCAR issued written warnings to five teams this week for multiple inspection failures last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The cars of #27-Paul Menard, #15-Clint Bowyer, #11-Denny Hamlin and #32-Eddie MacDonald were warned for failing prequalifying inspection twice. #21-Ryan Blaney's team was warned for failing prerace inspection twice. The Sprint Cup Rule Book states in section 12.5.3.1.c that if the same team receives two warnings during two consecutive events - whether a points event or not - then the team faces a P1 penalty that could include one or more of the following: Deduction of practice time, deduction of qualifying time, last choice in selecting pits, delay in order of inspection and/or other penalties.(NBC Sports)(7-22-2015)

  • Drivers met with NASCAR on Saturday UPDATE:In a first of its kind, NASCAR met with a group of Sprint Cup drivers for about two hours Saturday night, discussing safety, competition, attendance and more. #11-Denny Hamlin, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., and #4-Kevin Harvick confirmed they were among about eight drivers in the meeting, which was held in the Kent Room at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. It marked the first time that a council of drivers - selected by their peers - had met with NASCAR in such a formal setting. "The drivers got together and organized a vote and all the drivers voted for the guys they wanted on this council," Earnhardt said before Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway. "NASCAR asked us to do that so we could get together and just have a better ability to communicate. It's just a better way to have discussions." A source told NBC Sports that NASCAR was represented by Mike Helton, vice chairman, and Steve O'Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer, among others. "The drivers, we always talk amongst ourselves anyway, but having that open line of communication to NASCAR has never been this open before," Hamlin said before Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway. "You look around the room and you're like, 'Wow, this is a monumental time to where you've got the powers that be and some of the greatest drivers talking about how we can make this sport better." The meeting comes after a recent spat of complaints from drivers about the rules and racing. So what was discussed? "There was talk of competition," Earnhardt said. "What we think about the new package and the direction that they want to go and what we're doing with tires and testing." NASCAR recently came out with a rules update eliminating the 2016 tire testing at all Goodyear tire tests until October. Hamlin said safety was a big topic discussed. "We talked about a lot of safety issues we want to see changed at various racetracks," Hamlin said. "We went racetrack by racetrack, and I feel like we're going to make our sport better." NASCAR did not offer details of the meeting. Brett Jewkes, NASCAR senior vice president and chief communications officer, issued a statement: "NASCAR meets with drivers frequently on a wide range of topics. As part of our ongoing commitment to foster dialogue between all stakeholders, we've met formally with drivers on several occasions this season, including here at Dover. We'll meet with them again later in the season as normal course of business. The meetings have been productive and we find the dialogue very valuable." Hamlin said he's unsure how often the group will meet but expected it would be "at least a few times a year."(NBC Sports)(5-31-2015)
    UPDATE: Three-time NASCAR champion #14-Tony Stewart confirmed he was among a group of drivers that met with NASCAR officials for about two hours Saturday evening at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino adjacent to Dover International Speedway. Stewart came away impressed by the intent and encouraged by the content of the discussions. He said it was the first time in his 17 years in NASCAR racing he can remember this kind of informal get-together session between the sanctioning body and a group of drivers that also included Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle among others. "They want to sit down, and they want to listen," Stewart told NASCAR.com on Sunday just prior to the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. I think it's just everyone staying on the same page which is good. It was a good thing, it was positive and makes me feel good about our sport that they want to keep everyone staying on the same page. I'd call it very, very positive."(NASCAR.com)(6-1-2015)

  • Hamlin wants to stay at Gibbs long-term: Hamlin's year to date has been a bit of a roller coaster. The Virginia native scored his first victory of the season at Martinsville Speedway, earning his spot in the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup field. However, he has also recorded six finishes of 22nd or worse. Despite the up-and-down results, Hamlin believes his team is headed in the right direction and the poor finished are not indicative of how his cars are running. After his victory in the All-Star Race, questions were raised about Hamlin's contract status with Joe Gibbs Racing. However, the driver of the #11 set the record straight, saying this is not a contract year. "I've still got some time left on my deal," he said. "I've been with Gibbs for really a lot time. I'd hope to stay with them." Would Hamlin ever entertain offers from other teams? "As long as the Gibbs family will have me, I'll stay there," he said.(FoxSports)(5-30-2015)

  • Hamlin says exhaust leak contibuted to dehydration: #11-Denny Hamlin fell ill in his car late during the Coke 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend. He was taken to the infield care center after the race and treated for dehydration. Friday at Dover, he was asked about the incident:
    What happened with the dehydration you experienced last weekend in Charlotte?
    Hamlin: "We also had an exhaust leak in the car. We blew a hole in our header and exhaust system that was leaking in the car. That didn't help at all either. We were also running the XFINITY race the day before -- we're not doing that this week. You just have to be prepared. I felt like I kept up with my fluids pretty well last week, but obviously it wasn't enough. I've got to go above and beyond. The conditions and the car didn't make things very easy for me. The headache had nothing to do with the dehydration. The migraine that I suffered, what I felt like, was from the exhaust inside the car."(Toyota Racing)(5-30-2015)

  • Hamlin Tries To Become Eighth Driver To Sweep May Charlotte Races: #11-Denny Hamlin led the final 10 laps of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race after beating the field off pit road for the Segment 5 restart to give Joe Gibbs Racing its first victory in the event since entering the NSCS in 1992. Hamlin's triumph was JGR's first on a 1.5-mile track since he won the 2013 season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. If Hamlin can parlay his weekend success into a win in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he will become the eighth driver to sweep the Charlotte May races, joining Darrell Waltrip (1985), Davey Allison (1991), Dale Earnhardt (1993), Jeff Gordon (1997), Jimmie Johnson (2003), Kasey Kahne (2008) and Kurt Busch (2010).(NASCAR)(5-21-2015)
    Hamlin finished 8th.(5-24-2015)

  • Did Denny Hamlin jump the final restart of All-Star Race? #41-Kurt Busch and #4-Kevin Harvick weren't exactly sore losers Saturday night, but they did accuse winner #11-Denny Hamlin of bending the rules to win the Sprint All-Star Race. Both Busch and Harvick said Hamlin jumped the final restart of the 110-lap race. Hamlin won the final race off pit road, putting him in the lead for the final 10-lap segment. He jumped out to a quick lead on the final restart while Harvick passed Busch for second. Harvick tried to run Hamlin down over the final 10 laps, but Hamlin was able to hold him off for his first all-star victory. Busch and Harvick said Hamlin took off too soon on the final restart.
    "We'll have to go to the tape to see if Denny went too soon," said Busch, who finished third. "His car went two car lengths before (the line), in my mind. I was asleep at the wheel."
    Harvick, who finished second, also said it appeared Hamlin may have restarted too soon. "It just depended on how everything shook out on the restart," Harvick said. "Denny sped up, slowed down and took off way early."
    Hamlin admitted he might have restarted just a bit early, but not enough to matter.(Sporting News)(5-17-2015)

  • Hamlin wins Sprint All-Star Race: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Sprint All-Star Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway for his first All-Star win, the first All-Star race win for Joe Gibbs Racing and first Toyota team to win the All-Star race. #11-Hamlin is the fourth driver to win from race from the pole and the fifth time it has happened. #11-Hamlin beat #2-Keselowski off pit road during the final pit stops between segment 4 & 5, but Keselowski sped off pit road and had to restart at the rear on the restart. Hamlin held off #40Harvick who put on a charge early in the final segment before fading and finishing 2nd.
    #4-Harvick finished 2nd (for the 2nd year in a row) followed by #41-Busch, #24-Gordon, #20-Kenseth, #18-Busch, #5-Kahne, #22-Logano, #2-Keselowski and #88-Earnhardt Jr.
    The three drivers who transferred into the race via the Sprint Showdown: #15-Bowyer (finished 12th), #16-Biffle (finished 13th) and #10-Patrick (finished 20th/last, had engine problems).
    See the results for each segment Jayski.com's 2015 All-Star Race Page.(5-16-2015)

  • Sprint All-Star Race Fast Facts:
    #11-Denny Hamlin won the 31st Annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, his first victory in the annual non-points race.
    This was Hamlin's ninth start in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. His previous best finish was fourth, in 2009 and 2010.
    This is the first win in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race for Joe Gibbs Racing. The organization's previous best finish was second, four times (1997, 1998, 1999, 2011).
    This is Toyota's first victory in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-16-2015)

  • Hamlin questions NASCAR's delay in throwing caution UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing's #11-Denny Hamlin had a rough couple of laps late in Saturday night's SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway. Hamlin was caught in the middle of a four-wide battle off Turn 2 and was pinched between #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Sam Hornish Jr. Contact with the left rear of Hornish's #9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford cut Hamlin's right front tire and caused him to slow dramatically on the track. With cars racing at full speed under him, Hamlin was unable to make it to pit road initially and had to limp his #11 JGR Toyota around for another lap before hitting pit road for four fresh tires. Once back on track, Hamlin saw his night get worse on Lap 207 when he cut a tire off Turn 4 and slid down the frontstretch before hitting the outside wall. While Hamlin was able to drive his car to the garage, he was not too pleased with NASCAR's timing on the caution flag. "There was no caution there (on the first incident) and then we cut a left rear, blew it off of turn four and spun out, hit the wall at the start finish line. I keep spinning out, I keep hitting the wall and I can't figure out why everyone is still coming at 200 (miles per hour) and I look and the green light is still on," Hamlin said of NASCAR while standing in the Sprint Cup garage. "They didn't throw a caution until seven seconds after I wrecked. Luckily nobody hit us. They'll continue to monitor the situation, I'm guessing is what they'll say." Last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, Hamlin's JGR teammates #19-Carl Edwards and #20-Matt Kenseth both questioned NASCAR's decision not to throw a caution flag when Edwards wrecked on the final lap of the race.(FoxSports)(5-10-2015)
    UPDATE: Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's executive vice president and chief racing development officer, said the sanctioning body plans to reach out to Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Denny Hamlin to discuss safety and the timing of a caution period at last weekend's race at Kansas Speedway. O'Donnell said Monday morning during NASCAR officials' weekly debrief with NASCAR.com that he planned to keep the lines of communication open. "First and foremost, we always talk to our competitors," O'Donnell said. "A lot of times, they'll come up to the hauler after a race with a concern. We didn't see Denny or anyone from the team post-race, so we'll certainly reach out during the week to talk to them, but talking to the folks that were in race control Saturday night, David Hoots, as soon as he was alerted to the incident, looked down and saw Denny's car and threw the caution immediately."(NASCAR.com)(5-12-2015)

  • Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown on NBCSN: The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, presented by FedEx, will air as a primetime, one-hour special on NBCSN this Saturday, May 2 at 9:00 pm/et. Providing commentary and analysis are Rick Allen, Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton. NBCSN will re-air the Showdown broadcast on May 7 at 12:00 am/et, following NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Tucson coverage, and again on May 9 at 12:30 am/et, following NHL playoffs coverage. The Showdown special features top NASCAR drivers competing against the best regional Late Model drivers. The 2015 field includes Hamlin and fellow NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott and David Ragan, plus Virginia natives Timothy Peters, Jeb Burton, Curtis Markham and Hermie Sadler. Previous Showdown winners representing the Late Model lineup are 2014 winner Matt Bowling, a Whelen All-American Series driver, and 2010 winner C.E. Falk. Both are the only non-NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to win the event. Proceeds from the 200-lap Showdown go to support the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which has donated $150,000 in grants to help fund the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU and support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited Therapeutics Development Center at VCU.(DHF)(5-2-2015)

  • NASCAR was willing to approve Jones at Bristol based on experience: Erik Jones had never turned a lap in the Sprint Cup Series when he became a last-minute replacement driver for Denny Hamlin at Bristol last weekend. Jones was flown in from North Carolina during a lengthy rain delay in Sunday's race when because Hamlin had neck spasms. The 18-year-old arrived 5 minutes before the race resumed, and jumped into Hamlin's car for the remainder of the event. NASCAR had to approve Jones as the replacement driver, something that isn't done until the competitor has at least turned some laps. But in the case of Jones, NASCAR was satisfied he was capable of driving. Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck said Friday that Jones was approved "based upon his recent experience at the track, and we had just gotten a fresh look at him the day before at Bristol."(Associated Press)(4-25-2015)

  • Timothy Peters wins Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown: Josh Berry ran into leader Lee Pulliam on the last corner of the last lap, allowing Timothy Peters to win the 8th annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown on Thursday night at South Boston Speedway. The race will air on NBCSN in May. A date is to be announced. NASCAR penalized Berry for aggressive driving and dropped the JR Motorsports driver to 17th, the tail end of the cars running at the end. Pulliam, who hit Barry's car in Turn 2 after the checkered flag, declined to talk to the media but tweeted his displeasure calling Berry the "Biggest joke in racing." Pulliam finished 10th. Peters, meanwhile, celebrated his first victory in the charity Late Model event. Peters started from the pole and led the first 109 laps. He never dropped out of the top five in the 210-lap race, which ended on the second attempt at a green-white-checkered. Denny Hamlin had engine issues and finished 31st in the 36-car field, completing 69 laps. Chase Elliott placed 22nd after engine issues. David Ragan was collected in a late crash and placed 16th. Jeb Burton had engine issues and finished 28th. Proceeds from the event benefit The Denny Hamlin Foundation, which is committed to raising awareness and funds for the needs of children with cystic fibrosis.(NBC Sports)(4-24-2015)

  • Hamlin expects to be fine for Richmond races: Less than a week after neck spasms forced him to hand over his car to a relief driver 22 laps into Sunday's waterlogged event at Bristol Motor Speedway, #11-Denny Hamlin plans to be back behind the wheel for Saturday night's Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Hamlin, who turned over his seat to Joe Gibbs Racing XFINITY Series driver Erik Jones in Thunder Valley, also expects to compete in Friday night's XFINITY race at RIR. Hamlin watched most of Sunday's race at Bristol from the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing team pit box as Jones brought his Toyota home in 26th. "Obviously, getting out of the car on Sunday was a very tough decision, and Erik did an admirable job under difficult circumstances," Hamlin said in a team release issued Wednesday morning. After treatment this week, I feel close to 100 percent, and I'm confident that I'll be good to go this weekend in Richmond. It's a great track for our team, and one that means a lot to me personally. Hopefully, we can go out there and compete for the win on Saturday night."(FoxSports)(4-22-2015)

  • Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown to be shown tap-delayed on NBCSN: The Denny Hamlin Foundation announced that the eighth-annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, presented by FedEx, has partnered with NBCSN to present the April 23rd celebrity Late Model charity race held at South Boston Speedway. Thursday's race is expected to air as a one-hour special in May amid the network's coverage of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Showdown, which features top NASCAR drivers competing against the best regional Late Model drivers, again serves as a weekday prelude to the weekend NASCAR races at Richmond International Raceway. Proceeds from the 200-lap Showdown go to support the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which has donated $150,000 in grants to help fund the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU and support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited Therapeutics Development Center at VCU. Last month, South Boston Speedway announced two new fan-friendly features for the Showdown, including a post-event fireworks show sponsored by Danville Toyota and Scion and a very limited special suite ticket package available to the first 25 people. The $200 package includes a suite ticket, invitation to the driver's meeting and the opportunity to attend a celebrity driver meet-and-greet and autograph session. General admission tickets are still available for $25 and children, ages six and under, will be admitted free with a paid adult.(South Boston Speedway)(4-21-2015)

  • Jones fills in for Hamlin at Bristol: #11-Denny Hamlin suffered a neck spasm Sunday and was replaced by Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Erik Jones for the remainder of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hamlin said he pulled something in his neck during the 22 laps that were run prior to a rain delay of nearly four hours. He was running fifth when the race was halted. The 18-year-old Jones, who has never competed in a Cup car, got in the JGR #11 car when the race resumed Sunday night. "I just pulled something in my neck to upper back about lap 12," Hamlin said during the race telecast. "I started going backwards at that point. ... I stretched it out and we've been working on it the last few hours. I'm not 100 percent. With this format, it's all about winning, and there was no way I would have been able to go out there and compete for a win. It's just doing my team a complete injustice for me to go out there and run a bunch of laps. Instead, I think it's just better to have Erik come here and run some laps, get used to these Cup cars. We know where he is going to be in a few years."(ESPN.com)(4-20-2015)

  • Hamlin wins at Martinsville: #11-Denny Hamlin won the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway for his 1st win of the season, 5th win at Martinsville Speedway and his 25th career win.
    #2-Keselowski finished second, the rest of the top 10: #22-Logano, #20-Kenseth, #18-Ragan, #78-Truex, Jr., #10-Patrick, #4-Harvick, #24-Gordon, and #1-McMurray.
    #25-Chase Elliott, making his Sprint Cup debut, was involved in an early accident and spent some time behind the wall for repairs. He finished 38th.
    #42-Regan Smith, filling in for Kyle Larson, overcame a spin midway through the race to finish 16th.
    Harvick's 8th place finish is his first finish outside the top 2 since Martinsville in October last year.
    Harvick continues to hold the Chase points lead, now 24 points over #22-Logano.
    There were 31 lead changes among 13 drivers. There were 16 cautions for 112 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 68.843mph.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(3-29-2015)

  • JD Gibbs being treated for symptoms impacting areas of brain function UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announces today that J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, is starting treatment for symptoms impacting areas of brain function. Gibbs has undergone a series of tests after experiencing a gradual onset of symptoms that includes speech and processing issues. Gibbs' doctors believe the complications he has experienced were triggered by head injuries likely suffered earlier in life, but no specific injury was referenced or identified. Gibbs has always enjoyed an active life participating in several sports including mountain biking, snowboarding, football, racing, and other extreme-type sports. Gibbs will be undergoing more testing and receiving treatments to help manage the symptoms. During that time, it is expected that his presence at the race track will be limited; however, he will continue many of his day-to-day responsibilities at JGR's headquarters in Huntersville, NC as well as involvement with his various ministry endeavors.(Joe Gibbs Racing)
    Statement from Brian France: "All members of the NASCAR and France family extend our thoughts and prayers to J.D. Gibbs and his loved ones. We've all watched J.D. grow up within our community, and he always has represented himself, his family, the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization and NASCAR with the utmost professionalism, enthusiasm and energy. We wish him the best during this time and eagerly anticipate his recovery."(NASCAR)(3-25-2015)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs addressed the media Sunday morning at Martinsville:
    "J.D. at our team meeting earlier this week, he got up and basically he said, 'I know God has a plan and God puts us through things for a reason.' I think J.D. gains his strength from the fact that he has a personal relationship with the Lord and I have to tell you that he's my hero. I kind of watch him and I don't know if anybody has ever dealt with anything as crazy as J.D. does. He went through a situation with his son Taylor having leukemia at two and we fought through that for about three or four years. By the way, appreciate all of you all's prayers for Taylor and Taylor's doing great today. Like I said, J.D. through his entire life has probably been the craziest person that I've ever been around or knew. Basically, his situation medically - there's very few answers. We've been dealing with this for about six months and basically what the doctor's say is that they really don't know. J.D. has lived a very active lifestyle. All the things that he's done in his life physically he's loved all sporting events and it's everything from football to snowboarding, racing cars, racing motor bikes - he's lived in a lot of ways for him, he loved all those things. We can't point to any one serious thing that happened to him, certainly any injury is a possibility that led us into some of the symptoms that he's experiencing now.
    We've been dealing with this for about six months so as far as the management team for Joe Gibbs Racing, we have a senior management team and most of our people have been in place for the full 24 years - it's amazing really. I think very few people have noticed anything or any difference in the way we operate with the race team. The good thing there is that J.D. and I share the same responsibilities. 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. You will probably see less of him at the race track, but he'll be there on a day-to-day basis with the race team and be in all of our meetings and all of the key decisions that we make, J.D.'s going to have a huge impact on that.(Toyota Racing)(3-29-2015)

  • Hamlin opposed to shifting at Phoenix: #11-Denny Hamlin met with the media Friday at Phoenix International Raceway:
    Are you shifting here at Phoenix?
    "I wish NASCAR would really come up with a ban on that. There is no reason why we should be shifting on a one-mile race track. This is a short track, not a road course. Make the gearing so we cannot shift because it's just dumb for us to have the option to be able to shift. Everything that they're trying to do with the whole gear rule and less horsepower, it throws that all out the window when you're able to go out here and shift. It will be an option and people will try to do it. I'm sure late in the runs it will be effective, but it's just with the gear taken out and the horsepower, we're just lugging off these corners and you're just flat footing it. As a driver, it's tough to be able to race that way so we're having to shift to try to get up off the corner. Hopefully looking forward we can change it to where you don't have to do that."
    If other drivers shift, are you forced to shift?
    "I think on restarts most everyone will shift when you're all bottled up. I think people will be successful both ways, but it's just that option. Come one, we're on a short track, why are we shifting?"(Toyota Racing)(3-14-2015)

  • Hamlin talks about the accident at Atlanta: #11-Denny Hamlin got lose on lap 257 in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, spinning and collecting other drivers in a wreck, including #24-Gordon, #17-Stenhouse Jr and #1-McMurray. Hamlin finished 38th. A comment by Hamlin:
    What happened to cause your accident?
    Hamlin: "I was right on the 19 (Carl Edwards) entering (turn) one and he checked up and if I didn't move to the right, I was going to spin him out. I was going to run right in the back of him and when I moved to the right of him it put me right on the door of the 4 (Kevin Harvick) and I just sucked around and that was it. I apologize to all those cars involved, but it's tough. I mean, we had a good FedEx Ground Toyota for most the day. Just lost the handle there on the last run and kind of put us in a spot where we hadn't restarted all day and just got sucked around and got a little loose."(Toyota Racing)(3-1-2015)

  • Hamlin motorcoach hit by rolling SUV: A driver parking his white SUV adjacent to the driver motorcoach lot mistakenly left his car in gear Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, allowing it to roll backward through a fence and into the side of #11-Denny Hamlin's personal coach. A team spokesman said Hamlin's rolling house sustained superficial damage and that no one was injured.(USA Today)(2-28-2015)

  • Despite Late Crash, Danica Patrick Qualifies -- Then Tempers Flare: #10-Danica Patrick took a long, deep breath and finally exhaled after qualifying for the 57th Daytona 500 on Thursday night. But not before letting #11-Denny Hamlin have it. The two had a lengthy and animated conversation on pit road after Patrick overcame a late-race spin through the field prompted by a nudge from Hamlin in the corner to finish 10th and make the race. It was the second such incident in two days -- Hamlin and Patrick crashed in Wednesday's practice. "I don't want to have these issues, but if we're going to have these issues, we're going to deal with them," Patrick said afterward. "We can't be putting ourselves out of the race on someone else's expense and nothing happens to him. I like to race hard, but there's no point in being out there wrecking each other. I just wanted to let him know I was disappointed, of course." The pit-road conversation lasted at least three minutes, with Hamlin taking an explanatory pose, his arms outstretched and his palms turned up. Hamlin's explanation: He was racing Patrick the same as he would anyone else. "If you're in this Cup series, you earned your way here and you can handle a lot of situations," Hamlin said. "I got close to her and her car got loose again. I just tried to explain that to Danica. I can't just say, 'Oh, it's you, so I've got to stay away 2 feet because your car's loose.' We're trying to move forward." Tony Stewart, Patrick's car owner, apparently wasn't buying it. Stewart appeared to yell something at Hamlin. "Tony came down and said, 'You need to watch the replay,' which is good to hear," Patrick said. "My boss obviously was sitting on the pit box and saw it. We're going to have to figure it out because this isn't going to end well."(ESPNW)(2-20-2015)

  • Quotes about Wednesday's practice crash at Daytona: #10-Patrick, #11-Hamlin, #13-Mears, #16-Biffle, #26-Burton and #46-Annett were involved in a multi-car accident during Wednesday's first Daytona 500 practice session. Patrick, Annett and Burton will go to back-up cars and start at the rear of the field in Thursday's Budweiser Duels. Hamlin, Mears and Biffle sustained minor damage to their cars. Some quotes:
    #10-Danica Patrick's comments:
    Q) WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE ACCIDENT?
    Patrick: "It's unfortunate. I know it was a car. I know it was a good coming from the shop. And with this new format that we have with qualifying and the race and everything, we knew we were going to have to race hard through the Duels anyway. That's not going to change. It just makes extra work for everybody having to get everything ready with the other car. Hopefully we'll get out soon and we'll go make sure everything is all right and we'll make sure it's good on time."
    Q) WE JUST SAW YOUR BACK-UP CAR COMING OUT IN THE GARAGE. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE BEFORE WE SEE YOU BACK OUT ON THE TRACK?
    Patrick: "That's a good question. Hopefully we get out by the end of second practice. If not, we didn't plan on running tomorrow, but I would imagine that would mean we might run tomorrow. But hopefully we should get out here in the second practice and we'll have 40 minutes to make sure everything is okay. We probably won't get through our list of things that we wanted to try to make sure on single car runs that we were getting the most speed out of it. But, at the end of the day when you're in a pack, you see cars with damage all over the place and they manage to hang on just fine. So, we've just got to make sure everything is okay to roll for tomorrow."
    Q) WHAT HAPPENED? ARE YOU OKAY?
    Patrick: "I'm fine. I'm obviously disappointed and I know that it was a good car and it's never a good thing to crash. But, I was just riding along and it turned, so it's the nature of pack racing and that's what makes it challenging, too. Sometimes there's not much you can do about it. I could have collected more people and it wouldn't have been anything that they were a part of. But that's just group racing at Daytona. That's the gamble that we all face. That's what makes it exciting and very frustrating. So, we knew we were going to have to run hard in the Duels no matter what, and that just doesn't change."
    Q) DENNY HAMLIN KIND OF TOOK RESPONSIBILITY. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR CHANCE OF GETTING IN THE DAYTONA 500
    Patrick: "I was following the #6 (Trevor Bayne). He (Hamlin) pulled out in front of me in our lane out of (Turn) 2; I was riding behind him and the car sort of started turning toward the right and the back end was coming around and then it swapped ends. So, it just looked like he was trying to pull out and make a third lane in the middle and it felt like it mush have caught my bumper."(Team Chevy)
    #11-Denny Hamlin's comments:
    Q) How aggressive were drivers in practice?
    Hamlin: "People say in practice that you can't make aggressive moves, but we also have to put ourselves in decent positions where we're going to have to figure out what our car is doing. I went through the middle and it was really wide - it just closed as soon as I had already got inside of her (Danica Patrick) and the lane closed. It knocked me into the 13 (Casey Mears) and we had some attrition after that."
    Q) How much damage was sustained to your Camry?
    Hamlin: "It's nothing that we have to go to a backup car for, but it messed up other cars. That's the tough part about it. You always have to give a little bit extra room in practice. There's typically not a whole lot of blocking in practice and things like that - that you'll see in the race. Also, you do have to go three-wide in those situations because you have to figure out what your car is going to do. That's just a miscalculation one way or another on one of our parts. Unfortunately some cars got torn up."(Toyota Racing)
    #16-Greg Biffle's comments;
    Q) WHAT DID YOU SEE WHEN THAT WRECK WAS HAPPENING IN FRONT OF YOU?
    Biffle: "That wreck wasn't in front of me, it was all over me. It was in front of me, behind me, beside me, and then I got hit in the left-rear. I thought the wreck was done and I still got hit. It scared the death out of me because I already wrecked once pretty good and I don't want to wreck again."
    Q) HOW DO YOU APPROACH THESE PRACTICE SESSIONS?
    Biffle: "We feel good about the way our car drafts and does all that, so we're pretty much done with all that. We're just gonna work on single car speed. It looks like we're off two or three tenths on speed compared to the fast cars, so we're gonna work hard and diligently to see if we can find that little bit of speed left in our Fusion."
    Q) HOW EXTENSIVE IS THE DAMAGE FROM THE WRECK?
    Biffle: "It's very light, just some left-rear bumper cover damage, so it's pretty light."(Ford Racing)(2-19-2015)

  • Earnhardt Jr.'s car fails post qualifying tech inspection: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief, Greg Ives comments on the #88 being too low in post qualifying inspection:
    ON BEING TOO LOW FOLLOWING POST QUALIFYING INSPECTION FOR THE DAYTONA 500:
    Ives: "Obviously NASCAR does a great job inspecting the cars and they found that our ride heights after qualifying were too low. They did their due diligence of allowing us to go through their processes of how they deal with it. In the end we still ended up low. It's unfortunate for the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS team. We were definitely not trying to do anything intentional here. I don't feel it was an advantage that got us to our 10th place position, but it is definitely something that can be frowned upon and not looked as being compliant to the rules and that is what we need to stick to." The #88 Nationwide Chevy will start from the 25th position in Thursday's qualifying race.(Team Chevy), #11-Hamlin's car also failed post qualifying inspection and will start the qualifying race from the rear.(2-15-2015)

  • Jackman for Hamlin re-injured during off season: Last year during the Charlotte race in October, #11 Jackman for Joe Gibbs Racing, Nate Bolling, suffered a torn tricep and was sidelined throughout the Chase. Pit Talks is getting word that Bolling has torn the same tricep during the off season. Details of how it happened are not very clear but talking with guys familiar with this kind of injury suggest that he might be out till mid April and even May. Nate is a top level Jackman on the Cup Series and his absence will be missed. As far as who is going in on the #11 team....not sure yet. When the injury went down last year the #11 team had back up Kenneth Purcell step in and he did a great job. Purcell is scheduled to be the Gasman on the #19 JGR team and Carl Edwards this year. To make the situation even trickier, Jackman Jeff Fender of the JGR #18 just recently retired this year.(Pit Talks)(1-21-2015)

  • Sport Clips to sponsor Edwards and Hamlin: Sport Clips Racing enters its seventh season (2015) as a partner with Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin will continue to have Sport Clips as the primary sponsor of the #11 Toyota in two 2015 Sprint Cup Series races at Auto Club Speedway in March and Darlington in September. Carl Edwards starts a new chapter in 2015 joining Joe Gibbs Racing to drive the #19 Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series. Sport Clips will be the primary sponsor of the #19 in two Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire in July and Texas in November.(SportClips / JGR), see images of the #11 and #19 on the #11 Team Schemes page and the #19 Team Schemes page.(1-14-2015)

2014 News

  • When FedEx Paint Schemes: Express, Ground, Freight, Office were run in 2014

    FedEx Express - orange (9):
    Sprint Unlimited - 2/15
    Daytona 500 - 2/23
    Auto Club - 3/23
    Talladega - 5/4
    Charlotte - 5/17, All-Star race
    Michigan - 6/15
    Indianapolis - 7/27
    Richmond - 9/6
    Homestead - 11/16

    FedEx Freight - red (9):
    Bristol - 3/16

    Martinsville - 3/30
    Kansas - 5/10
    Dover - 6/1, Autism Speaks
    Sonoma - 6/22
    New Hampshire - 7/13
    Michigan - 8/17
    Dover - 9/28
    Martinsville - 10/26

    FedEx Office - blue (8):
    Phoenix - 3/2
    Texas - 4/6, March of Dimes
    Charlotte - 5/25
    Kentucky - 6/28
    Pocono - 8/3
    Chicago - 9/14
    Kansas - 10/5
    Texas - 11/2

    FedEx Ground - green (9):
    Las Vegas - 3/9
    Richmond - 4/26
    Pocono - 6/8
    Daytona - 7/5
    Watkins Glen - 8/10
    Bristol - 8/23
    New Hampshire - 9/21
    Charlotte - 10/11
    Phoenix - 11/9

    FedEx Freight One Rate:
    Talladega - 10/19

    Sports Clips (2) scheduled to be primary sponsor in 2014 at:
    Darlington - 4/12
    Atlanta - 8/31

  • Todd Berrier joins Joe Gibbs Racing: Todd Berrier has joined Joe Gibbs Racing. The veteran crew chief started his new job on Monday and is expected to transition into Jimmy Makar's role. Makar, who has been with JGR since its inception in 1992 as Dale Jarrett's crew chief, is currently the senior vice president of racing operations. JGR president J.D. Gibbs confirmed Berrier's hiring on Thursday but was not certain of his title. Berrier was most recently the crew chief for Furniture Row Racing and the #78 Chevy but transitioned out of his role over the last year. Berrier honed his crew chief skills at Richard Childress Racing starting with truck in 1997. He led Kevin Harvick to the Nationwide Series title in 2001 before graduating to Cup full-time in 2002. Berrier has four Chase appearances, eight Cup wins, six Nationwide Series wins and four truck victories.(Motorsport)(12-5-2014)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Announces 2015 Crew Chief Lineup: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced crew chief assignments for each of its four 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and three NASCAR XFINITY Series teams.
    JGR's 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crew Chief lineup:
    Jason Ratcliff, #20 Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth
    Dave Rogers, #11 Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin
    Darian Grubb, #19 Toyota driven by Carl Edwards
    Adam Stevens, #18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch
    (Rogers moves from #18 Cup team, Grubb moves from #11 Cup team, Stevens moves up from JGR's NNS team)
    JGR's 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Crew Chief lineup:
    Eric Phillips, #18 Toyota driven by Daniel Suarez
    Chris Gayle, #54 Toyota driven by multiple drivers
    Mike Wheeler, #20 Toyota driven by multiple drivers
    "With the expansion of our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operations to four teams next year with the addition of Carl Edwards, we have been able to take a step back and evaluate each of our teams and make decisions that we feel are best for our organization long term," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Like Jason and Dave previously, Adam (Stevens) has clearly proven that he is ready to move into the Cup Series and we feel that his familiarity with Kyle (Busch) provides the opportunity for us to make that move now. We think pairing Dave (Rogers) with Denny (Hamlin) and Darian (Grubb) with Carl (Edwards) will also make each team stronger heading into next season. Jason (Ratcliff) and Matt (Kenseth) came together quickly and we felt it was in the best interest of the 20 team to keep it as is.
    Stevens joins the Sprint Cup Series after spending the previous four seasons as a crew chief in JGR's NASCAR Nationwide Series. Over that time, Stevens has been a part of 31 wins, 73 top-five and 95 top-ten finishes in 124 starts.
    "The XFINITY Series has been very important to us at Joe Gibbs Racing. Not only from a driver development standpoint, but also in the development of crew chiefs and other team members that eventually make their way into our Cup programs. Mike Wheeler has been a vital part of our success with Denny on the Cup side and we're excited that he will have a chance to be a crew chief. It is a similar transition to the one we made with Chris Gayle a couple of years ago, and Chris will remain with us, but move over to the 54 Toyota with Kyle. We're also excited to have Eric Phillips join our operations from KBM to work with Daniel Suarez next season."
    Mike Wheeler has been with JGR since December 2002 and served as the race engineer on the #11 Cup team since that team's formation in 2005. He will now serve as crew chief on the #20 XFINITY team which will run a full season with multiple drivers. Gayle, who has served as the crew chief on JGR's #11 Nationwide Series team the previous two seasons and was an engineer on JGR's #18 Sprint Cup Series team prior to that, will now lead the organization's #54 XFINITY Series team. Eric Phillips joins JGR from Kyle Busch Motorsports where he served as crew chief for the NASCAR Camping World Series Owner's Championship #51 Tundra team. Phillips, who joined KBM in 2010, will work with Daniel Suarez on the #18 XFINITY Series team in 2015.(JGR)(12-4-2014)

  • Hamlin Hopes To Repeat At Homestead: After going winless the first 35 races last year, Denny Hamlin captured the checkered flag in the season finale at Homestead to salvage his streak of notching at least one victory in each of his first eight full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series campaigns. The stakes are higher for the #11 FedEx driver in Sunday's Championship race at Homestead. If Hamlin wins at the 1.5-mile track, or just finishes ahead of Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman, he will capture his first series championship. Hamlin expressed his confidence in a title race at Homestead on Eliminator 8 Media Day, saying: "Truth be told, if you ask me 'you have one race to race heads up for a championship, pick either Martinsville or Homestead?' I'd almost pick Homestead simply because we've just had a lot of success there over these last few years and it's been a great track for us." Hamlin has won at the Miami-area track twice and also claims four top-five and ten top-10 finishes there. In 2010, Hamlin found himself in a similar situation in the biggest race of his life prior to Sunday - the Ford 400 season finale at Homestead. The Chesterfield, Virginia native entered the race 15 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson for the standings lead. With the championship in his sights, Hamlin failed to stave off Johnson. He qualified 37th and spun on the 25th lap, events that culminated in a 14th-place finish. Johnson took second to win his fifth straight title.
    With a new shot at redemption, Hamlin can accomplish two major milestones by winning the championship: Unable to compete at Auto Club in March due to an injury caused by a piece of metal lodged into the back of his eye, Hamlin can become the first NSCS champion to miss a race since NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty in 1971. Petty missed two races that year: A Daytona qualifying races - which was a points race at that time - and a race in Macon, Georgia's Middle Georgia Raceway. Hamlin, 33, can pilot the first Toyota to a NSCS title.(NASCAR)(11-13-2014)

  • Grubb going for 2nd championship, could be with different JGR team next season: Darian Grubb, current crew chief for #11-Denny Hamlin, will remain as a crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing, he just doesn't know which driver he will head up in 2015. In part from a NASCAR Teleconference with Grubb:
    Q. Darian, three years ago you knew for several races that you weren't coming back as the crew chief for Tony Stewart but you held the team together and you won the championship. This year the crew chief lineup for Joe Gibbs Racing hasn't been announced for next year, so I guess a two-part question. One, do you know what you're doing next year yet, and two, does this remind you at all of 2011 and has that experience helped you as you go for the title again?
    DARIAN GRUBB: It doesn't remind me of that situation at all. We're still working towards winning a championship, and I'm going to be here next year doing the same thing. We have had some talks internally about what next year's plans are, but there's nothing that's ready to be announced and/or we're not working towards that for next year, either. I'm sure winning a championship with the team and stuff might have some bearing on some of those discussions and things, as well. We're going to wait until Monday after Homestead to even think about that stuff.
    Q. Are you saying that the difference between like this year and maybe what hasn't been announced in 2011 to what has been announced, is that you and your crew guys, you know you're going to have jobs, you know that you're not wondering where you'll be come next January or February?
    DARIAN GRUBB: Exactly. I'm not updating any résumés or anything like that. We know we all have jobs. There's security. We all know for a fact that we're going to be working together within this organization, so we're going to go out and try to finish the business at hand first no matter what happens and try to win that trophy at Homestead.
    Q. Would you find it ironic at all if you were to win a title, win two championships and then be with somebody else the following year?
    DARIAN GRUBB: To me that doesn't matter. I'm still going to do the same effort and the same work that I do every week regardless of who I'm working for. If it's Denny again next year, we're going to try to win two in a row, and if it's for somebody else, then we're going to try to win together that way, also. It doesn't matter to me. I love this sport and I love my job, and I love all the guys that I work with. FedEx Toyota team is my home for now, and that's what I plan to be working hard on.(NASCAR Teleconference)(11-12-2014)

  • "Bonsai" predicts Hamlin as the champ: The season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 race may be taking place this Sunday, but South Florida got a taste of Vegas when Zoo Miami's "Bonsai," a binturong, became the official Zoo Miami "Wildlife Prognosticator," picking the winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Choosing from the four cars of #4-Kevin Harvick, #11-Denny Hamlin, #22-Joey Logano and #31-Ryan Newman, Bonsai had a tough decision to make as to who he thought would take home the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. After thorough consideration, Bonsai picked the #11 car of Denny Hamlin to take home the Championship. Bonsai is a unique animal found in the tall forests of Asia that can reach a weight of close to 50 pounds. They are primarily arboreal and are excellent climbers feeding on a variety of small mammals, birds, insects and fruits. Commonly called a "bear cat," they have thick black fur and a long prehensile tail with sharp claws. They are active both day and night and give off a scent that smells very much like popcorn. Their biggest threat in the wild is habitat destruction due to deforestation.(South Dade News Leader)(11-12-2014)

  • Hamlin talks about Texas fight and Keselowski: from the NASCAR Teleconference With #11-Denny Hamlin, the transcript, in part:
    Q). Did you have any strong feelings, thoughts about what penalty should be for the fight last week and what are they?
    DENNY HAMLIN: Not really. I don't really have any strong feelings about it one way or another. When things are as tense as they are and your whole season comes down to kind of one cut tire by somebody else, you're of course going to be upset. So who knows what should happen. But definitely it will probably be monetary, if anything.
    Q). Obviously a lot of debate about the move that Brad Keselowski made when he collided with Jeff Gordon near the end of the Texas race, whether there was a hole there or not. I was wondering if you had a chance to look at the replay and what you thought of the move, is it a move you would have made? Do you think there was enough room to justify it and do the circumstances itself maybe sort of justify it?
    DENNY HAMLIN: Well, I think going in, you know, I don't know what Brad thought. But I thought from my perspective, if I was in that car and shoes, that I would have to know that I'm not going to make it through that hole without having contact of some sort. That's fine. But if it costs somebody a bad day, you're going to have to expect retaliation, which I'm sure he did. So you'll have to take it with a grain of salt.
    Q). Would you have made that move?
    DENNY HAMLIN: I don't know. I think about that a lot and whether I would or would not. He was on fresher tires. So saying that that was his only opportunity to get the win may not necessarily be a true statement. He still had two laps to get around. And if you push the 48 there past the 24, it was a battle between him and the 48. I don't know. You know, it's tough for me to say. And his points position, his actual position, I didn't have the tires he had. So everyone has a different way of doing things. But I think a common feel amongst drivers is that what they call that, people are calling that a hole that that was a very small hole. And the car is call it six and a half, seven foot wide, that hole was six foot. It was not enough that a car was going to fit without being in contact. Somebody was going to have to pay the price. It was Jeff Gordon. And it made him have a bad day.
    Q). Of course back to the fight. When you look at the aftermath of what happened, once you got home, what did you see there? What are all the variables involved that made that such an intense moment?
    DENNY HAMLIN: Well, I think it was the moment where Brad kind of blew Jeff off was when it set things off and that kind of goes back to what I just talked about, with Nate. That the times that I've had tussles with Brad and other drivers, it's just oh, well, that's how a race is, just deal with it. As drivers, you're just looking at someone to say I'm sorry I ruined your day, I screwed up, oh, well, I apologize. When that doesn't get said, then immediately it just lights a fire in your stomach that all he cares -- he doesn't have any remorse. It's just like oh, well, it's your problem. And I think that just lights a fire in your insides, especially when you just had a bad day and your season could have just rested on that one mistake or whatever you want to call it. I think that that really set things off. I think if Brad would have talked to Jeff and said, man, I was going for a hole. It was my only chance, you know, I'm really sorry it cut your tire, I think it goes totally different. Instead, it was oh, well, sorry, bud, you left a hole. If he did it to me I would have had the same reaction as Jeff. No question. I think that's what escalated it the most.
    Q). Is it a stretch to say that Brad is the most disliked driver in the garage?
    DENNY HAMLIN: I don't know. I can't speak for many other guys. But I mean it's just -- there's a lot of animosity. And that's all that you can really say. And so I don't know. It's just something that's happened and a lot of built-up frustration over the years.(NASCAR Teleconference)(11-5-2014)

  • 2015 team sponsorships coming together: Some top NASCAR Sprint Cup teams have sold their primary sponsorships for all of next season, but space remains on the cars of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and #15-Clint Bowyer four months before the 2015 season begins. Among the teams that have sold all their primary sponsorship for next year are #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #22-Joey Logano, #4-Kevin Harvick, #20-Matt Kenseth, #18-Kyle Busch and #11-Denny Hamlin. "It's certainly not easy finding a sponsor, but there was an abundant amount of interest in our sport and in our team," said Dave Alpern, chief marketing officer at Joe Gibbs Racing, which expands to four cars next season. Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, says that the three-car organization has fewer primary sponsorship openings then it did at this time a year ago. Ben Schlosser, chief marketing officer at Richard Childress Racing, says that his three-car organization also is ahead in selling sponsorships, noting some companies were willing to start negotiations earlier. "I think the climate is getting better," Newmark said. "It's not where we need to be, but I think the whole sport is doing a better job of marketing." Newmark credits more collaboration with NASCAR compared to when he arrived at Roush four years ago. Newmark also said that the team has made many changes to better serve sponsors. See more team-by team info at Motor Racing Network and check out the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team / Driver Chart.(10-16-2014)

  • Hamlin's jackman injured at Charlotte UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin's jackman Nate Bolling suffered an injury Saturday night that sidelined him for half the race. After stop 3, the #11 car had back up jackman Kenneth Purcell in the race and ended up finishing the race with him. We're not exactly sure what happened to Nate but talking to sources close to the team, it looks like it could be a torn bicep or tricep. Nate is an exceptional jackman and a tuff dude, so if he went out of the race after stop 3 then we can expect the injury is substantial. Filling in for Nate was veteran jackman and JGR back up, Kenneth Purcell. Kenneth has been jacking a long time and has 4 championships to his name with the #48 team.
    AND The MRI came back and it showed a torn Tricep. Nate is obviously out for the rest of this year but should be back for the start of the 2015 season. We've heard he could have surgery as early as this week to repair the tear. Back up Kenneth Purcell will take over duties for the rest of the season.(Pit Talks)(10-15-2014)
    UPDATE: Nate Bolling, the jackman on the #11 FedEx Sprint Cup Series race team had successful surgery on a torn right triceps this morning and is expected to make a full recovery in time for the 2015 Daytona 500.(JGR)(10-15-2014)

  • Tempers flare after race UPDATE: After the race, #2-Brad Keselowski and ninth-place finisher #11-Denny Hamlin traded insults on pit road, as NASCAR officials and their crews kept them apart in the wake of a late race incident between their two cars. Keselowski clipped Hamlin's rear bumper on the cool-down lap, then hit Kenseth's Toyota with his Ford on pit road after the race. After sustaining collateral damage on pit road during the melee, #14-Tony Stewart backed into Keselowski's Ford, crumpling the nose of the car. Keselowski insisted it was Kenseth's car and not his #2 Ford that bumped Stewart's Chevy. "I rubbed into the #20 (Kenseth), and I think he gassed up and ran into Tony, and I don't think Tony knew what was going on," Keselowski said. "He's upset, and he has every right to be. His car was tore up. There was a whole lot of other stuff going on. I'm sure when he sees the whole situation, he'll understand."
    Kenseth, whose #20 Toyota had been damaged by contact from Keselowski's car on a restart with 63 laps left, jumped Keselowski as he was walking between haulers in the garage, and the drivers scuffled before being separated. "I had my HANS (head and neck restraint) off and my seat belts off and everything," Kenseth said of the hit from Keselowski on pit road. "He clobbered me at 50 (mph). And the access we have around here... the race is over, trying to come back to pit road... If you want to talk about it as a man, do that, but to try and wreck someone on the race track, come down pit road with other cars and people standing around with seat belts off and drive in the side of me-it's inexcusable. There is no excuse for that. He's a champion. He's supposed to know better than that."
    Hamlin also had some harsh words for the 2012 champion. "There's a corner there, so you have to back off, and he just plowed into us," Hamlin said. "He's just out of control. He's desperate, obviously, and it's either four or five of us are wrong or he's wrong, because he's pissed off everyone. Just disappointing -- but we're trying to get in this deal. We're sitting in a decent spot, but we've lost six spots or so with the last restart when he ran into us and knocked us up the track. That was unfortunate. Matt (Kenseth) was nearly out of his car and he just plowed into Matt and then ran into Tony (Stewart) and then went in through the garage and cleared out transmissions and did burnouts in the garage."(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-12-2014)
    UPDATE #2-Brad Keselowski met with NASCAR after a cooling-off period. #20-Matt Kenseth crew chief Jason Ratcliff went voluntarily to talk to NASCAR, and Kenseth crew member Jesse Sanders was summoned by officials. It's not clear if Keselowski - or Hamlin or Kenseth - will be punished by NASCAR on Tuesday, the day penalties are traditionally issued. NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said the sanctioning body will review the final on-track laps, and everything that occurred on pit road and in the garage. NASCAR in May fined Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears for fighting in the garage after a race at Richmond. Harvick was fined in 2011 for a pit-road confrontation with Kyle Busch in which NASCAR cited safety concerns of Busch using his car to push Harvick's car away. The next year, Kurt Busch was fined $50,000 for dangerous driving on pit road when he hit Ryan Newman's car during a confrontation. But in the case of Saturday, with so much focus on the new Chase and the attention for the post-race skirmishes, it's not clear if NASCAR will punish those involved or pat them on the back. Harvick said there was no way NASCAR takes any action. "They love it. They were fighting afterwards, that's what it's all about," Harvick said.(Associated Press)(10-13-2014)

  • Gibbs says crew chief changes on hold: NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs told FOXSports.com Saturday that he his holding off on planned crew chief changes with his Sprint Cup team while his drivers battle for the championship and the team finalizes its NASCAR Nationwide Series sponsorship deals for next year. The hot rumor in the garage area is that #18-Kyle Busch's crew chief, Dave Rogers, will become JGR's competition director next year, with Adam Stevens moving to Busch's Cup car from the Nationwide Series. Likewise, Darian Grubb is thought to be in line to move from #11-Denny Hamlin's Cup car to the new fourth JGR Cup car with Carl Edwards for next year. But Gibbs said Saturday those plans are not final yet. "Our biggest concern is, we want to do everything at once," said Gibbs. "We've got a lot up in the air on the Nationwide side, still. And so, I think as soon as we get that settled down, we can kind of make an announcement." Typically, major Sprint Cup primary sponsorship deals are three years or so in duration. But on the Nationwide side, the deals are usually only one year at a time, and often not wrapped up until late January or early February, right before the racing season starts.(Fox Sports)(10-12-2014)

  • Toyota teams have limited time to test new Camry: Toyota unveiled its 2015 Sprint Cup Camry on Saturday with five weeks left in the 2014 season. That means the teams have five weeks to test. With a testing ban going into effect after Nov. 16's 2014 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing will experiment with the car. The 2015 car conforms with NASCAR's new lower horsepower, less downforce rules package. "We'll be at Nashville and things like that," MWR driver Clint Bowyer said. "We have (Goodyear test at) Auto Club Speedway, we have a Phoenix test coming up. We've got opportunities to get in this race car. I really see the new rule package that NASCAR has implemented being a bigger change feel-wise for a driver than this new car. If you're going to unveil a new car, this is a perfect time to do that because it's basically start over from scratch across the board for everybody."
    The 2015 car includes changes to the hood, nose, tail and quarter windows. Both Ford and Chevy racing engineers were present at wind tunnel tests conducted by NASCAR to approve the Toyota design. "We hope it races better," said Dave Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development. "But realistically, practically speaking, it's not outside the box. It's still working with the same set of rules that we've had. We've got until the Sunday of Homestead. We'll test our guts out. We'll have this car on the race track a couple of times." While his drivers will want to test, JGR owner Joe Gibbs said the team must focus on 2014. All three of his drivers remain in the hunt for the title. "It'll be hard" to test, Gibbs said. "Our whole focus is on right now with where we are with the Chase and everything. I can't see us being able to do much."(Sporting News)(10-12-2014)

  • Kyle Busch to get a new crew chief in 2015?: Multiple sources say #18-Kyle Busch and longtime crew chief Dave Rogers will end their long-running association at season's end, as part of a multi-divisional realignment involving both JGR and Kyle Busch Motorsports. While Rogers' departure from the #18 team was announced in-house on Tuesday of this week, no one from JGR has commented publicly on the move. Rogers is expected to remain a part of JGR's Sprint Cup Series operation, possibly as crew chief for newcomer Carl Edwards' and the #19 Stanley Tools / ARRIS Toyota. Sources close to the team say Adam Stevens will move from JGR's Nationwide Series operation to replace Rogers atop the #18 pit box. Stevens has gone to Victory Lane five times this season with Busch, and is the obvious heir-apparent to Rogers. There is no word on the 2015 status of Darien Grubb, who currently serves as crew chief for Denny Hamlin's #11 Fed Ex Toyota at JGR. Jason Ratcliff is expected to return as crew chief for Matt Kenseth's #20 Toyota next season.(Godfather Motorsports)(10-3-2014)

  • Gibbs says crew chief changes coming: Joe Gibbs said he expects to announce multiple changes to the team's driver-crew chief lineup within about two weeks. "We've already decided," Gibbs said Wednesday of the moves, "but we need to talk to the sponsors and have quite a few discussions yet with people." Gibbs said the changes would be for next season. "We're kind of crew chief driven here," Gibbs said. "We spent a lot of time talking to all of our crew chiefs and making sure that we had the right lineup. The other key people you have to have involved in that, it always starts with the drivers. The drivers have strong feelings on who they feel like they can match up with. "That driver has got to believe in that crew chief, and that crew chief has got to believe in that driver. If you look at that over the years, that's a very hard thing to keep together. It is complicated. I think we've talked our way through all that. We've had a lot of intense meetings." The moves come with Carl Edwards joining the organization next year in a fourth car. That will require the team to find a crew chief for him. Kyle Busch has been with crew chief Dave Rogers since 2010 - the longest tenure among JGR's Sprint Cup teams. They've made the Chase four of their five seasons together, placing fourth last year. Frustration has mounted with the team, culminating with a radio exchange last month at Bristol where Rogers told Busch to "park it behind the truck and take your whiny little ass to the bus." Hamlin is in his third season with Darian Grubb. They've made the Chase twice. Hamlin's injuries caused him to miss it last year. Grubb returned last week after serving a six-week suspension when NASCAR discovered infractions with Hamlin's third-place car at Indianapolis. Hamlin is sixth in the points. Matt Kenseth, 10th in the points, is in his second year with Jason Ratcliff. They've made the Chase both years, finishing second last season after winning series-high seven races. Kenseth made the Chase this year despite not winning a race.(MRN)(9-18-2014)

  • Darian Grubb returns to the track: Darian Gubbb, crew chief for #11-Denny Hamlin, returned to the track Friday at Chicagoland Speedway after serving a 6 week suspension handed down by NASCAR following the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He met with the media at Chicago and discussed the penalty and plans for next year:
    Do you know what happened in Indy that took you away from the race track for six races?
    "The same parts that have been in there, it was actually new parts that week on our car. It was a nut plate that is used as an aircraft fastener and it didn't have enough torque on it and backed off and came loose. It's something that we've taken out of the cars and have never seen again and never seen before. It's a 27 cent part that came loose, wasn't torqued correctly."
    Was it intentional or a gray area?
    "No, not a gray area, not anything intentional. There's not any real performance gain there. Everybody in the garage uses those same covers and they came loose the week they shouldn't have."
    Did anything become clearer over the last six weeks? [In regards to plans for next year]:
    "No, we're still working on a lot of things and concentrating on winning a championship for Joe Gibbs Racing in the FedEx Toyota right now."(Toyota PR)(9-13-2014)

  • Short Track Showdown donation to CHoR & CFF: With proceeds from the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown race held last April, Mary Lou Hamlin of the Denny Hamlin Foundation presented a $50,000 check today to Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR) and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The donation represents the third and final installment of the $150,000 grant commitment made in 2012 to help fund the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at CHoR and support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited Therapeutics Development Center at VCU. A sell-out crowd and great racing action once again made the seventh annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown a huge success this year. The celebrity-laden Late Model charity race, held April 24 at historic South Boston (Va.) Speedway for the first time, featured the Virginia-bred Hamlin and other stars of NASCAR against many of the area's top Late Model racers.
    "The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown was a big hit again," said Hamlin, who last raced at South Boston in 2003. "The crew and fans at South Boston really responded and gave us former SoBo regulars a great welcome back. With such great fan and sponsor support of the event, the Denny Hamlin Foundation is able to advance the great work coming from the Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab, and help move vital Cystic Fibrosis therapies forward to help all individuals with CF."
    While Hamlin was joined by fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, and David Ragan, plus former South Boston track champion Timothy Peters, it was Matt Bowling of Ridgeway, Va. who sped past race leader Matt Waltz with five laps to go to take home the checkered flag and the $10,000 winner's check.
    Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a fatal genetic disease that affects about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. CF causes chronic infections in the lungs and inadequate digestion of nutrients. There is no cure for CF, but medical advances have doubled the life expectancy of children in the last 30 years and increased the overall median age of survival to 40. CHoR has a large research staff focused on finding a cure for CF and in developing new therapies for CF. As the only CF Foundation-accredited center in the greater Richmond area, CF patients cared for at CHoR have access to the latest therapies and can participate in groundbreaking clinical studies.
    The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown began in 2008 at Southside Speedway, a local short track near Hamlin's hometown of Chesterfield, Va., outside of Richmond, before moving to Richmond International Raceway in 2011 to pair up as a doubleheader with the NASCAR K&N Series. For its seventh year in 2014, the race moved just over 100 miles southeast to South Boston Speedway, another Virginia short track with a long history in stock car racing. For 2015, the event returns to South Boston Speedway on Thursday, April 23. The success of this event was also made possible by the support of sponsors FedEx, Sun Trust, Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing, Sprint, Danville Toyota, Sport Clips, Steel and Stock Car Aluminum, Inc., and the NASCAR Foundation.
    The Short Track Showdown is one of two major fundraising events hosted by the Denny Hamlin Foundation this year. The other is Denny & Mark's ProAm Jam concert and golf event, held Oct. 27-28 at Daniel Island Club in Charleston, SC to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) among other beneficiaries.(dennyhamlinfoundation.org)(9-7-2014)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing, new air guns? UPDATE same guns all season: Denny Hamlin's #11 team was especially strong at Atlanta Motor Speedway, performing 11-second pit stops every time their driver came to pit road. While no one seemed to be able to get by #4-Kevin Harvick on the track, Hamlin's pit crew successfully gave him the lead multiple times throughout the night. The team's fastest stop of the night came at Lap 174, when the pit crew changed four tires and added two cans of fuel in an astonishing 11.0 seconds. Another thing that helped the JGR teams beat the competition on pit road is a reportedly new generation air gun being utilized by the teams as of late. Though few details are known about the new air guns at this point, their advantage was clear Sunday night. After the race, Kenseth would not go into details about the new technology, saying he honestly had no idea, but credited the organization's training skills for the fast stops.(in part from FoxSports) and see an opinion piece about the air guns at Pit Talks: Gibbs dominance on pit road in Atlanta has everyone talking.(9-2-2014)
    UPDATE: As the JGR team of Denny Hamlin consistently beat the Stewart-Haas Racing team of Kevin Harvick off pit road Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Harvick crew chief Rodney Childers told Harvick that JGR had some new air guns they were using. Mike Lepp, the JGR athletic director who oversees the pit crews, swears that these are the guns that they have been using all year to loosen and tighten lugnuts during a pit stop. He said the team typically has some pit stops under 12 seconds and others over 12 seconds but Sunday whipped off all pit stops under 12 seconds. With JGR not having been in contention to win as many races this year, it just became noticeable Sunday with Hamlin and Harvick battling for the lead. Lepp said he believes it was just Childers trying to calm down his driver. "There wasn't anything new or anything," Lepp said in a phone interview Tuesday with the Sporting News. "It was an attempt to calm his driver down. ... (Like the cars), it's the same thing with these guys, you still have to have good athletes. But there's nothing that we brought to Atlanta that we haven't been bringing. The difference is we were running up front. When you go from 12th to ninth, you're not going to be feature (on TV)." Childers said Monday in an email that he wasn't trying to knock the JGR pit crew ability and talked to Lepp to make sure there were no hard feelings. Childers did say he believes the JGR air guns are better than the current ones SHR uses. But what about the sound of the guns? The guns might sound different depending on the tire changer, Lepp said. Each of the major teams make their own guns, which must be air-powered, and each tire changer is responsible for determining how fast they go. The only rule on air guns dictates that they must be NASCAR approved, air-powered and can only do one lugnut at a time. A NASCAR spokesman said Tuesday that it has "no issue whatsoever" with the air guns that JGR is using.(Sporting News)(9-3-2014)

  • Hamlin has no issue with Harvick after Bristol: #11-Denny Hamlin clearly showed his displeasure with #4-Kevin Harvick Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Racing for the lead early in the race, Harvick came off Turn 4 and clipped the left rear of Hamlin's car, sending it nose-first into the inside wall. Hamlin's car then shot up the track and into the path of Dale Earnhardt Jr., ending both drivers' night. After the incident, Hamlin threw his HANS device at Harvick's car under caution, saying afterward that was as mad as he could remember. Despite the HANS throwing incident, Hamlin told FOX Sports 1 on Friday he has no issues with Harvick, who reached out to apologize shortly after Saturday night's race. "I think it was like eight minutes after the checkered flag he reached out to me," Hamlin told Bob Dillner. "Like I said in my interview (at Bristol), Kevin's a great driver. He knows what he's doing. He just made a little mistake. We all do it at one point or another. I've got no problems at all."(FoxSports)(8-30-2014)

  • Spun by Harvick, Hamlin fires safety device at him: #11-Denny Hamlin hurled his HANS (head and neck support device) up the track toward rival Kevin Harvick's #4 Chevrolet after Harvick spun him. Hamlin was leading the race Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway when the incident occurred on lap 161. Hamlin got the lead through pit strategy, but Harvick had been hounding him for several laps. As Hamlin drove into Turn 1, Harvick lost control of his car and slid up into Hamlin's #11 Toyota, sending him spinning. After Hamlin bounced off the inside wall, he was hit by Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose #88 car lost one of its sides and all its safety foam. Hamlin waited on the safety crew before getting out of the car, following the new protocol set last week by NASCAR. But after gathering items from inside his car, he heaved the HANS device up the track toward Harvick's car as it came back by under caution as safety workers stood by. Hamlin remained on the apron when he made the toss. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said after the race that it's unlikely Hamlin will be penalized for throwing the device. Last Friday, NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton announced the sanctioning body was adding a rule to keep drivers in their cars after accidents and when races were under caution until safety crews arrive. Drivers cannot walk onto the track or toward another car. The rule came in the wake of a sprint car accident in upstate New York on Aug. 9 in which driver Kevin Ward Jr. was struck and killed by Tony Stewart's car when Ward exited his car and walked down onto the racing surface.(USA Today)(8-24-2014)

  • Stewart-Haas lining up test sessions for rest of year: With five races left to make the Chase, Stewart-Haas Racing is doing what it can get to get Tony Stewart a win. One thing the team won't be doing, though, is testing at a NASCAR Sprint Cup track before the Chase field set. It's not that the team didn't want to, it just couldn't make it work, said Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at Stewart-Haas Racing. "We tried to go to Atlanta," Zipadelli said of a track before the Chase. "We couldn't get it worked out. We tried a couple of other places. It's become very difficult getting four drivers on the same schedule to come and test because they've got so many appearance, so much stuff that they do for track promotions and NASCAR. It's insane." With all four tests at Cup tracks available, Stewart-Haas Racing will test test Aug. 25-26 at Chicagoland Speedway and Sept. 2-3 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The team also plans to save a test for the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and is deciding where to have the fourth test, possibly Martinsville Speedway or Texas Motor Speedway.(Motor Racing Network)(8-10-2014)

  • Gibbs will not appeal Hamlin's penalties: Joe Gibbs Racing will not appeal the hefty NASCAR penalties issued last week for not having the firewall sealed in Denny Hamlin's car during the July 27 Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The penalties included six-week suspensions for crew chief Darian Grubb and car chief Wesley Sherrill, a $125,000 fine to Grubb and a 75-point penalty for Hamlin as well as a 75-point reduction in owner points. JGR initially had planned to appeal, but JGR spokesman Chris Helein confirmed Thursday that it will not appeal.(Sporting News)(8-7-2014)

  • NASCAR confiscates parts from #11 Toyota UPDATES: NASCAR discovered "possible issues" with the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin in post-race inspection at Indy. At question were rear firewall block-off plates on Hamlin's car. According to NASCAR the parts were confiscated and taken back to the research and development center in Concord, N.C. for further evaluation. According to one crew chief, If the block-off plates are not sealed off sufficiently, air can flow through the firewall enabling the car to gain anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds of rear downforce. Hamlin qualified 27th. After Hamlin pitted on Lap 55 from the lead, he fell to 13th but quickly made his way back to the front of the back to finish third on Sunday. He led 18 laps.(Motorsport)(7-27-2014)
    UPDATE: The #11 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered in post-race inspection July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This infraction is a P5 level penalty which is outlined in Section 12-4.5 A (9) of the 2014 NASCAR rule book:
    Approved parts that fail or are improperly installed to fail in their intended use of great importance (e.g.; rear wheel well panels that fail and allow air evacuation in the trunk area; oil box cover that fails and allows air evacuation in the driver compartment; shifter boot cover that fails and allows air evacuation through the floor pan).
    This infraction violates Sections:
    12-1 - Actions detrimental to stock car racing;
    20-2.1 - Car body must be acceptable to NASCAR officials and meet the following requirements:
    · K - Any device or ductwork that permits air to pass from one area of the interior of the car to another, or to the outside of the car, will not be permitted. This includes, but is not limited to, the inside of the car to the trunk area, or the floors, firewalls, crush panels and wheel wells passing air into or out of the car;
    · L - All seams of the interior sheet metal and all interior sheet metal to exterior sheet metal contact point must be sealed and caulked. This includes, but is not limited to, floors, firewalls, wheel wells, package trays, crush panels and any removable covers;
    20-3.4 - All references to the inspection surface in sub-section 20-3.4 have been determined with the front lower edge of both main frame rails set at six inches and the rear lower edge of both main frame rails set at eight inches. For driver protection, all firewalls, floors, tunnels, and access panels must be installed and completely secured in place when the car is in competition;
    20-3.4.5 - A rear firewall, including any removable panels or access doors, constructed using magnetic sheet steel a minimum of 22 gage (0.031 inch thick), must be located between the trunk area and the driver's compartment and must be welded in place. Block-off plates/covers used in rear firewalls in place of blowers, oil coolers, etc., must be constructed of 22 gage (0.031 inch thick) magnetic sheet steel. Block-off plates/covers must be installed with positive fasteners and sealed to prevent air leakage. Carbon fiber or aluminum block-off plates/covers will not be permitted.
    Per Section 12-4.5 B, the minimum P5 penalty includes:
    · Loss of 50 championship driver and owner points, regardless of whether the violation occurred during a championship race or not;
    · $75,000 to $125,000 fine;
    · Suspension for the next six series championship races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that period, for the crew chief and any other team members as determined by NASCAR;
    · Probation through the end of the calendar year for all suspended members, or for a six-month period following the issuance of the penalty notice if that period spans across two consecutive seasons.
    Since this infraction is a P5 level penalty and was discovered in post-race inspection, Section 12-4.5 C (1,2) also applies:
    · If the infraction is detected during post-race inspection, then the following penalty elements will be added:
    o Loss of an additional 25 championship driver and owner points; regardless of whether it was a championship race or not;
    o Loss of an additional $50,000.
    As a result of these violations, crew chief Darian Grubb has been fined $75,000 plus an additional $50,000 post-race fine for a total of $125,000. Grubb has also been suspended from NASCAR for the next six series championship events, plus any non-championship races or special events that might occur during that time period. Grubb will also be on NASCAR probation for the next six months.
    Car chief Wesley Sherrill has been suspended from NASCAR for the next six series championship events, plus any non-championship races or special events that might occur during that time period and will be on NASCAR probation for the next six months.
    This infraction has also cost the #11 team the loss of 50 championship driver and owner (Denny Hamlin and J.D. Gibbs) points plus an additional 25 post-race points for a total loss of 75 championship driver and 75 championship owner points.(NASCAR)(7-29-2014)
    Gibbs statement:Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is aware of the penalty issued by NASCAR today regarding the #11 team's post-race inspection infraction following Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race in Indianapolis. JGR will plan to appeal the penalty, however, crew chief Darian Grubb and car chief Wesley Sherrill will begin to serve their suspensions starting this weekend in Pocono.(Gibbs PR)(7-29-2014)

  • Gibbs Hints of 4th Team in 2015: Team owner Joe Gibbs side-stepped questions about Carl Edwards' expected move to his race team. "We don't have anything right now to announce," Gibbs said on pit road before Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Anything that we're going to do will be coming up in the future. I'm not sure exactly what the time line is." Gibbs did allow that his organization is making a more concerted effort this year to field a fourth team in 2015 than has been the case in the past. "We've been (preparing for a fourth team) each and every year," Gibbs said. "But it's so hard to do that, we haven't been able to get it done. But I think we're taking a serious look at it this year." Asked if those efforts involved signing a serious driver, Gibbs replied, "You've got to have a serious sponsor." But he did acknowledge Edwards' star power. "When Carl's name came up during this year ... almost everybody recognizes Carl as being somebody I think is a star," Gibbs said. "Because of that, there are a lot of teams that have tried to entice him."(NASCAR Wire Service)(7-28-2014)

  • JGR plane hits parked SHR plane at Concord airport: A Joe Gibbs Racing plane collided with a parked plane from Stewart-Haas Racing at Concord Regional Airport on Sunday night as the NASCAR teams were returning to the Charlotte area after Sunday's Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, according to the Haas team. A spokesman for Stewart-Haas Racing said the team's empty, parked plane was hit by a Joe Gibbs Racing plane as it was parking. The plane's wing clipped the tail of the parked SHR plane. No one was hurt, the spokesman said.(Charlotte Observer)(7-28-2014)

  • Hamlin, Stenhouse, Waltrip compete on golf tournament: #11-Denny Hamlin, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and #66-Michael Waltrip competed in the 2014 American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe over the weekend. Stenhouse was initially the favorite of the group, listed at 50-1 odds by Harrah's/Harveys Lake Tahoe Race & Sports Book to win. Hamlin and Waltrip were both listed at 200-1. The American Century Championship was celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year with a special salute to America's Armed Forces. As part of that initiative, Col. Chad Pfeifer, three-time winner of President George W. Bush's Warrior Open and the 2011 National Amputee Tournament champion, joined the field. Pfeifer lost his leg in an IED explosion while on patrol in Iraq in 2007.
    At the conclusion of the tournament, Hamlin was 55th, Stenhouse was tied for 56th, and Waltrip finished tied for 71st. The tournament was won by former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien. See more about the tournament on the NASCAR Related Charities Events and News page.(7-21-2014)

  • Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE: A group of nine multi-car teams participating in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) announced today they have formed a collaborative business association called the Race Team Alliance (RTA). The purpose of the organization is to create an open forum for the teams to explore areas of common interest and to work collaboratively on initiatives to help preserve, promote, and grow the sport of stock car racing. The organization intends to open up its membership to all full time NSCS teams in the very near future. In providing a vehicle for the teams to work together, the organization creates for the first time a single entity to engage with stakeholders on creative ways to market and experience the power of the sport's teams and drivers. As part of its focus, the RTA also plans to explore innovative ways to harness the combined purchasing power and scale of the teams' operations to drive efficiencies in costs. Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, has been elected the first chair of the RTA.
    "With the encouragement of NASCAR and the manufacturers, the teams have met in various forms and forums over the years to explore areas of common interest. This simply formalizes what was an informal group." said Kauffman. "The key word is 'Collaboration'. We all have vested interests in the success and popularity of stock car racing. By working together and speaking with a single voice, it should be a simpler and smoother process to work with current and potential groups involved with the sport. Whether it be looking for industry-wide travel partners or collaborating on technical issues - the idea is to work together to increase revenue, spend more efficiently, and deliver more value to our partners."
    The following teams are the executive members of the RTA: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motor Sports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motor Sports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.(RTA)(7-7-2014)
    UPDATE: Statement from NASCAR: "We are aware of the alliance concept the team owners have announced, but have very few specifics on its structure or purpose. It is apparently still in development and we're still learning about the details so it would be inappropriate to comment right now. NASCAR's mission, as it has always been, is to create a fair playing field where anyone can come and compete. Our job is to support and strengthen all of the teams, large and small, across all of our series and we'll continue to do that. NASCAR is a unique community with hundreds of stakeholders. They all have a voice and always will."(NASCAR)(7-7-2014)

  • Special Autism Speaks scheme for Hamlin: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota, will run a special Autism Speaks puzzle piece paint scheme on his car throughout the NASCAR race weekend at Dover International Speedway. This marks the fourth straight year Hamlin will sport a unique paint scheme at the spring Dover event, headlined by the June 1 "FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks" Sprint Cup Series race. This year's design allowed fans to make donations to Autism Speaks and in return have their first name and last initial displayed on a puzzle piece in the car's design. The campaign was a one-of-a-kind opportunity for fans to help in raising funds for the autism community while having something personal take part in the racing action at the Monster Mile. In addition to Hamlin's specialized car design, drivers across all three series - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series - will show their support for Autism Speaks throughout the weekend by displaying a puzzle piece decal on their cars. In total, 28 drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 19 drivers from the NASCAR Nationwide Series and 20 drivers from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series are participating. This marks the eighth straight year that the Monster Mile is partnering with Autism Speaks, and the fourth year in a row that FedEx has been involved. Autism Speaks is the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, to help raise funds and awareness for the cause throughout the weekend. Cup team running the puzzle piece decal include: #1-McMurray, #3-Dillon, #4-Harvick, #7-Annett, #9-Ambrose, #10-Patrick, #13-Mears, #14-Stewart, #15-Bowyer, #16-Biffle, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #20-Kenseth, #23-Bowman, #26-Whitt, #27-Menard, #31-Newman, #34-Ragan, #36-Sorenson, #38-Gilliland, #41-Busch, #42-Larson, #43-Almirola, #47-Allmendinger, #51-Allgaier, #55-Vickers, #78-Truex Jr., #83-Truex, and #99-Edwards.(Dover Speedway PR), see an image of the car on the #11 team paint schemes page.(5-30-3014)

  • Is Joe Gibbs Racing ready to expand? with Edwards? With silly season in full swing, it's not surprising that Joe Gibbs is in the middle of it. Over the last month, the rumors of Carl Edwards considering a move to JGR have picked up considerably. But Coach says it would take a lot for JGR to add a fourth team. "I'm not going to guess on stuff and the rumors and everything," Gibbs said. "We get into this every year and there's a period we kind of got to go through, I've come to feel." When asked specifically about Edwards, Gibbs would not offer a definitive answer. "Anything that's going on right now, to me, is kind of that rumor time - and I don't think I need to be commenting on it," Gibbs said. "So many times when the top guys come up, everybody in the sport kind of looks at it. There's a couple of guys this year - that are on their last year, so it kind of happens." JGR expanded to three full-time teams in 2005, but moved to three full-time drivers with the addition of Denny Hamlin in 2006. Inevitably, it's a question as to whether a fourth team makes sense for JGR. "We have said for the last five years that when things come up we have always looked at it," Gibbs said. "But it's hard to do. Like I've said, it's extremely hard to do cause you've get so many things to work to make it happen. I'd say for the last four to five years we've looked at it, but it's hard to do and we haven't been able to think it's best for us."(Motorsport)(5-18-2014)

  • Win 204 for car #11: #11-Denny Hamlin's win in the Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on May 4, 2014 was car #11's 204th win in the Sprint Cup Series. This win is now five wins ahead of the iconic #43 for all-time wins in Sprint Cup Series history for a car number. Richard Petty, who drove the #43 for most of his 200 wins, actually won 192 races running the #43 and 8 in other car numbers [#41 & #42]. The car number in third is the car #3 with 97 wins. See all kinds of car number stats and records on my Wins by Car Number page.(5-5-2014)

  • Hamlin joins a select crowd, winning in 300th start: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway for his 24th career win in his 300th career start. Four other drivers to have won in their 300th start:
    Ned Jarrett in 1965, Rusty Wallace in 1993, Kasey Kahne in 2012 and Kyle Busch in 2013.(5-5-2014)

  • Hamlin wins at Talladega: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway for his 1st win of 2014, his first restrictor plate track win and his 24th career win.
    #16-Biffle finished 2nd followed by #15-Bowyer, #55-Vickers, #47-Allmendinger, #27-Menard, #4-Harvick, #5-Kahne, #42-Larson and #17-Stenhouse Jr. #40-Landon Cassill scored his career best finish at 11th and #7-Michael Annett scored his career best finish at 16th.
    #33-Scott, who won the pole, was involved in a wreck on lap 137 and finished 42nd.
    #24-Gordon, who came into the race as the points leader, was involved in the first big wreck and finished 39th but still leads the points by 3 over #20-Kenseth.
    #22-Logano leads the Chase Seeding with two wins. #4-Harvick is second, also with 2 wins, but lower in points. They are followed by #18-Busch, #99-Edwards and #88-Earnhardt, Jr.
    There were two big wrecks:
    On lap 137: #2-Keselowski, who was 6 laps down at the time, got loose and spun, involving: #21-Bayne, #24-Gordon, #14-Stewart, #7-Annett, #18-Busch, #20-Kenseth, #23-Bowman, #26-Whitt, #27-Menard, #33-Scott and #48-Johnson.
    On lap 175: #48-Johnson got loose, got into #17-Stenhouse, moved up into #22-Logano who went into the outside wall involving: #41-Busch, #34-Ragan, #95-McDowell and #36-Sorenson.
    There were 48 lead changes among 23 drivers and there were 8 cautions for 31 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 152.103.(5-4-2014)

    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Talladega Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Talladega Penalty Report (pdf).
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Talladega Race & Points Report (pdf).(5-4-2014)

  • Career start #300 for Hamlin: #11-Denny Hamlin will make his 300th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start on Sunday at Talladega. In the first 299, Hamlin has 23 wins, which ranks tied for 30th on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins list.(NASCAR)(5-2-2014)

  • Matt Bowling wins Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown: Matt Bowling won the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown on Thursday night at South Boston Speedway, fighting off Matt Waltz in the seventh edition of the charity race. The event benefits the Denny Hamlin Foundation and raises awareness and funding to support Cystic Fibrosis research and new therapies in the region. Nick Smith finished third. Hamlin was eighth, while defending Showdown champion Kyle Busch ended the night in fourth. Matt Kenseth was fifth, and David Reagan 20th. Truck Series driver Timothy Peters finished 27th after his night was cut short following a tangle with Jeb Burton, who finished 25th after getting into a scuffle with Blake Stallings.(Associated Press/ESPN)(4-25-2014)

  • Sports Clips returns to the #11 at Darlington: Sport Clips Racing is excited to enter its sixth season (2014) as a partner with Joe Gibbs Racing and will serve as the primary sponsor of NASCAR's Denny Hamlin's # 11 Sprint Cup car in Darlington (April) and Atlanta (August). Through their partnership with Darlington Raceway, Sport Clips will be the entitlement sponsor for Friday night's Nationwide Series race, showcasing their support for VFW with the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200. Sport Clips will continue to use its NASCAR partnership to raise awareness about the struggles many military families are facing and the VFW's mission to support active-duty military, veterans and their families. As the "Official Haircutter" of the VFW, Sport Clips has donated more than $2 million to the organization through its annual "Help A Hero" campaign, which was established in 2007.. Eligible service members can now apply through April 30 at www.VFW.org/scholarship.(Sports Clips)(4-11-2014)

  • March of Dimes scheme for Hamlin at Texas: To help raise awareness for the March of Dimes and March for Babies walks around the country, Denny Hamlin and Dallas Cowboys All-Pro tight end Jason Witten will host the March of Dimes national ambassador family for a VIP experience during the race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. For the seventh-consecutive NASCAR season, FedEx is working with the March of Dimes for a special #11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes paint scheme, in an effort to help give every baby a healthy start in life. Aidan Lamothe is the 2014 March of Dimes National Ambassador. Born 12 weeks premature, Aidan weighed just 3 pounds and spent 7 weeks in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU). With the help of the March of Dimes, he is now a healthy 6-year-old.(FedExRacing), see images of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(4-4-2014)

  • Hamlin discusses issue with eye at Fontana: Friday at Martinsville Speedway, #11-Denny Hamlin talked about the series of events that caused him to set out the race at Auto Club Speedway:
    "I literally thought on Friday that I was starting to get a sty. It happened sometime during practice whether it came in through the car or through the air conditioning unit through the helmet -- something, it came in through somewhere, but I don't remember the exact time when it happened. Friday evening I definitely felt an agitation right in the corner to my upper eyelid so I thought I was getting a sty because it just felt like one. Then Saturday, I woke up and it was a little worse. I ran through practice and vision was fine, but just a lot of watering and I didn't see any swelling of the eyelid so I knew it wasn't a sty at that point. I didn't go to the infield care center until late on Saturday. Me and my girlfriend went to the mall -- we were shopping around and it was bothering me so much that I contacted one of the NASCAR liaisons and asked if anyone was still at the infield care center. They said they would wait on me so they waited on me. They looked at it, they dyed it, they put it under a black light -- didn't see any scratches, didn't see anything in the eye.
    Immediately we started trying to figure out what would be causing it if there's nothing in it. The only thing I could think of is I was starting to actually get a little stuffy on my left hand side of my face and my nose was running a little bit. I mentioned to them in trying to cover all the possibilities that I showed them a CT scan from January where I had a really, really bad sinus infection -- it was the worst the doctor has ever seen and Dr. Petty has been around a really, really long time.
    So the only other option, I went to bed Saturday night, woke up Sunday and felt twice as worse -- pain was twice as worse and vision was slightly impaired over where it was Saturday. So I stayed in the infield care center for a couple hours and we tried to go over all the possibilities of what it could be and really since they didn't see anything in it, the only thing we could do was get an optometrist to come to the race track, which it was too late into the day for that, it was too late for me to go to one and come back in time so everyone came to an agreement that the best thing for me was to go to the hospital and get scanned in case.
    There's tons of different possibilities, whether it be a blood clot -- anything that affects because there's more to it, but any time wind would hit my eye it would shoot a pain right to my temple so they thought that there was something really bad going on behind the eye that they didn't have the equipment in the infield care center -- you need some pretty -- you need to get a CT scan. By the time I got to the hospital and the optometrist came in with her microscope, saw the metal, got it out -- a portion of it, she couldn't get the rust out she said -- it would need a couple more days for that to harden to get out. Once the metal came out, I felt a lot better. We went home, the CT scan showed that I was perfectly clear on the sinus part of it.
    Long story short, it won't keep me from going to the infield care center at any point. I wanted to race of course, no matter what. I felt like if I was going to be a liability I would have pulled myself during the race, but there's protocols that we have to go through and it's not just my safety that has got to be taken into account. We're racing around other guys and that's one of the fastest tracks we go to. What if I caused a wreck early on? I don't need to be a liability out there and obviously with this new format we hardly lost anything in points."(Toyota Racing PR)(3-29-2014)

  • Hamlin cleared to return at Martinsville: Joe Gibbs Racing driver #11-Denny Hamlin will race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway after NASCAR received official confirmation from his doctors that he has been medically cleared to return to regular racing activities. Hamlin first visited the infield care center at Auto Club Speedway Saturday night bothered with an irritation in his eye. He returned to the infield care center again on Sunday morning because his condition had worsened. It was at this time that it was determined by the medical team onsite that he would not be allowed to race due to a sinus infection that was impacting his vision. The doctors at the infield care center referred him to the local hospital for further evaluation. During the evaluation at the hospital a small piece of metal was also found to be in Hamlin's eye. Doctors were able to remove the sliver of metal and Hamlin felt immediate improvement to his condition. A CT Scan did not find any other complications and thus it is believed that the metal was actually the source of Hamlin's vision issues. He was released from the hospital Sunday afternoon and was given the doctor's approval to fly home. Hamlin was then evaluated by a doctor in the Charlotte area on Monday and was sent home to rest. He was instructed to return Wednesday for a follow-up examination. Following today's examination, his doctors provided the necessary approval for Hamlin to resume all racing activity without restriction. NASCAR has received official confirmation from his doctors clearing him to resume racing this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-26-2014)

  • More info on Hamlin expected Wednesday: #11-Denny Hamlin, who missed Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway, tweeted Tuesday evening, "With due respect to the Petty family I will send out a update tomorrow. Please keep their family in your thoughts tonight."(3-26-2014)

  • Earnhardt, Jr. wants NASCAR to address Hamlin's issue: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants to know why there hasn't been more information about what caused #11-Denny Hamlin to miss Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin was taken to a local hospital shortly before the race with what Joe Gibbs Racing said was a sinus infection that affected his vision. But Earnhardt wondered aloud why there has been no official NASCAR statement or further explanation from Hamlin on what happened. No further updates were expected from NASCAR or Joe Gibbs Racing on Tuesday and Hamlin has not been officially cleared for this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway. Earnhardt said there were questions because he'd never heard of a driver being pulled from the race shortly before the start after not being cleared to race by NASCAR. "I'm worried the perception is bad for NASCAR and the perception is bad for Denny," Earnhardt said Tuesday. "... If Denny didn't race because his vision is blurred and he had a sinus infection, NASCAR should put out a release and say, 'This is the timeline of the events and this is why we made this choice and this is the protocol for going forward.' That answers everybody's questions. Don't you have questions? I have questions. We shouldn't have questions. We should all feel pretty comfortable with what happened." Hamlin is expected to see doctors in Charlotte this week. He cannot race until he is cleared by a NASCAR-approved doctor. If he does not qualify Friday at Martinsville or race on Sunday, he would need another medical exemption from NASCAR in order to remain eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.(USA Today)(3-26-2014)

  • Hamlin to be further evaluated this week: #11-Denny Hamlin remained in a local hospital Sunday afternoon undergoing a CT scan to see what may be causing severe headaches and vision problems his Joe Gibbs Racing team confirmed. Sam Hornish Jr. substituted behind the wheel of the #11 FedEx Toyota in Sunday's Auto Club 400 because in the hour before the green flag dropped NASCAR did not medically clear Hamlin to compete. "We do (go forward assuming Denny will be back next week.)," his crew chief Darian Grubb said after the race. "But it's going to be touch and go for right now obviously with him still in the hospital getting a CT Scan. Last I heard the vision was getting worse and the pain was getting worse so we're just going to wait and see what happens. Hopefully we'll get some good news this afternoon." Before the race, JGR President J.D. Gibbs said initially the team thought it was a sinus infection that was causing the headaches and vision issues. But Grubb said it soon became apparent, it may be more serious. "For him to go the infield care center, for one thing, it must have been pretty bad for him," Grubb said. "Then it got to where he couldn't see and was having trouble with vision in his left eye with all the pressure that was going on. At that point, NASCAR did some testing and knew he could not follow the finger going by his eyes as he should have been so they knew at that point,they weren't going to let him go. It wasn't just a headache, it was more serious than that. That's why they're doing the CT Scan now. He had them on the whole time and was just holding his head, it hurt him so bad. You could tell by the look on his face he was really worried." Team owner Joe Gibbs confirmed that Hamlin left the track immediately before the race started and that by late afternoon "they are still running tests. It will be later on before we get results."(NASCAR.com)(3-24-2014)
    JGR Statement: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin was not medically cleared in today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway because of a sinus infection that affected his vision. Hamlin was taken to a local hospital near the race track for additional evaluation and released. He will be further evaluated this week in Charlotte.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-24-2014)

  • Hamlin to miss Auto Club race; Hornish to fill in: #11-Denny Hamlin developed a sinus infection while in Fontana that has effected his vision. Doctors have advised him not to race. He was taken to the hospital for further treatment. Sam Hornish, Jr will fill in for Hamlin. Missing the race will not impact Hamlin's Chase changes because he qualified the car and would likely receive a medical exemption from NASCAR if it had been needed. Hornish will start the race from the rear because of the driver change.(3-23-2014)

  • Auto Club Speedway adds SAFER barrier: When #11-Denny Hamlin returns to Auto Club Speedway this week, he'll find more of the SAFER barrier in the area where he crashed last year. The Southern California facility has added an additional 1,000 feet of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction barrier inside Turn 4, according to a track spokesman. The change was made in September, six months after Hamlin sustained a broken back vertebra after crashing into an unprotected area of the wall in the track's Sprint Cup Series event last March. In the wake of the accident, NASCAR officials said experts would reevaluate that section of the wall and recommend changes if necessary. SAFER barriers are typically first installed along the parts of track walls where impacts are most likely to occur, but it's not uncommon for the barriers to be added or altered in reaction to accidents. A Jeff Gordon hit at Las Vegas, an Elliott Sadler incident at Pocono and a Jeff Fuller accident at Kentucky each resulted in changes being made to walls or barriers at those facilities.(NASCAR.com)(3-19-2014)

  • Hamlin, Logano feud still lingers: Their feud started with some Twitter posts about the closing laps of the Daytona 500 and it heightened three weeks later at Bristol Motor Speedway, where an on-track spin nearly led to post-race fisticuffs. Things took a turn for the worse between #11-Denny Hamlin and #22-Joey Logano a week later at Fontana when the two drivers refused to give an inch while attempting to win. It led to a crash, a broken vertebra for Hamlin and a destroyed relationship between the former teammates. As they return this weekend to Bristol a year later, Hamlin has finally put his malevolent feelings toward Logano aside.
    "We're OK," Hamlin said. "We don't talk or anything like that more than we should and really no less than we should, I would say. You can hold grudges all you want, but it's not going to make you any faster and it's not going to get you any closer to a championship. I'm bitter in ways, and in other ways it's been so long ago and there's so many trials and tribulations between then and now, that I think I'm a better person now and I think I'm a better driver now."
    Said Logano: "I feel like we're fine. A year is a long time. It's over now. I feel like we've moved on. Obviously, people were talking about it this week because it's the one-year anniversary of the whole fiasco," Logano said. "But you move on and forget about things. You're supposed to forgive and forget and that goes both ways, so we both knew what we had to do and I feel like we've moved on and we're going from there."
    "As far as my relationship with him, I treat him with respect on the race track, as I should," said Hamlin, who chooses to limit his conversations with Logano because "what do you say? How can you express how upset you are with someone without punching them?"(Associated Press)(3-16-2014)

  • Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kenseth, Ragan running in Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown: NASCAR stars #18-Kyle Busch and #20-Matt Kenseth are joining host Denny Hamlin as headliners for the celebrity-laden Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown scheduled for South Boston Speedway on April 24. The three teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing have a combined 82 NASCAR Sprint Cup series wins among them. Defending champion Busch is the only three-time winner of the Short Track Showdown. Fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup driver David Ragan also confirmed his participation in the charity event. Like Hamlin, another group of drivers is returning to South Boston Speedway, the track referred to as SoBo that served as a major springboard for their entry into NASCAR. Elliott Sadler, Hermie Sadler, Timothy Peters, Jeb Burton and Drew Herring are scheduled to race the 200-lap Short Track Showdown along with many of the top Late Model racers in the region. Elliott Sadler, Peters and Herring each won track championships at South Boston. Scheduled as a weekday prelude for the weekend NASCAR races at Richmond International Speedway, the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown raises awareness and funding for the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which supports and funds Cystic Fibrosis research and new therapies in the region. Advance tickets to the Short Track Showdown are available by calling the track ticket hotline at 1-877-440-1540. General admission is $20 Advance/$25 Race Day for Adult; $10 Advance/$15 Race Day for Youth (ages 12-17); and Free for Children ages 11 and under (with an Adult ticket purchase). Season passes are not honored for this special event.(Denny Hamlin Foundation)(3-13-2014)

  • Hamlin going for the triple: #11-Denny Hamlin is attempting to do something no other driver has done. Win the Sprint Unlimited, a Budweiser Duel and the Daytona 500 in the same year. Nine drivers have won the Sprint Unlimited and a Budweiser Duel 13 times in the same year but didn't win the Daytona 500:
    year, driver, Daytona finish, Daytona 500 winner
    2014: Denny Hamlin, finished 2nd, won by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    2013: Kevin Harvick, finished 42nd, won by Jimmie Johnson
    2011: Kurt Busch, 5th, won by Trevor Bayne
    2008: Dale Earnhardt Jr., 9th, Ryan Newman
    2007: Tony Stewart, 43rd, Kevin Harvick
    2003: Dale Earnhardt Jr., 36th, Michael Waltrip
    1995: Dale Earnhardt, 2nd, Sterling Marlin
    1993: Dale Earnhardt, 2nd, Dale Jarrett
    1991: Dale Earnhardt, 5th, Ernie Irvan
    1989: Ken Schrader, 2nd, Darrell Waltrip
    1986: Dale Earnhardt, 14th, Geoff Bodine
    1983: Neil Bonnett, 22nd, Cale Yarborough
    1981: Darrell Waltrip, 36th, Richard Petty
    1979: Buddy Baker, 40th, Richard Petty (2-23-2014)

  • Hamlin wins Budweiser Duel 2: #11-Denny Hamlin won the second Budweiser Duel qualifying race for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway followed by #24-Gordon, #41-Busch, #27-Menard and #33-Scott. The race ended when #48-Johnson ran out of fuel coming to the checked flag and slowed, #1-McMurray got into the rear of the #48, crashing the #48 into the wall and collecting outside pole winner #78-Truex Jr., #15-Bowyer (who flipped over but landed on his wheels and kept driving), #99-Edwards, #66-Waltrip and #34-Ragan. Four drivers deep in 2013 owners points or low qualifying speed, raced into the Daytona 500: #21-Bayne (6th), #40-Cassill(9th), #32-Labonte(12th) and #52-Labonte(13th). No driver needed to use the past champions provisional.
    Missing the Daytona 500: #83-Truex, #35-McClure, #87-Nemechek, #95-McDowell & #93-Shepherd.
    See race results on the Budwesier Duel 1 Race Results page (pdf).(2-20-2014)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Announces Changes to Front Office Structure: Joe Gibbs Racing announces today a re-organization to its management structure. Longtime JGR executives Dave Alpern and Todd Meredith have been named Chief Marketing officer and Chief Operations Officer, respectively. Both have over 20 years of experience in the sport and have been invaluable assets to J.D. and Joe Gibbs since the team's inception. In the front office, Alpern will oversee the team's three primary business units: Sponsorship, Communications and Marketing. Meredith will manage all departments involved in the racing operation.
    "This is something that we believe will make us more efficient in all aspects of our organization," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Over the years we have grown from 18 employees to nearly 450 today, so it's important to review our structure and make sure we are operating in an efficient manner that best serves our partners. Todd (Meredith) and Dave (Alpern) have been with us from the beginning of our organization and have had a tremendous impact on our growth over the past 20 years. Their leadership will help guide JGR for years to come."
    Dean Noble will continue his role of Senior Vice President of Business Affairs and will oversee sponsor contracts and business to business opportunities across JGR's partners. Also announced were the promotions of Heath Cherry, Vice President Sponsorship; Chris Helein, Vice President of Communications, and JJ Damato, Vice President Marketing Services, each of whom will report to Alpern. Cherry enters his 10th season with Joe Gibbs Racing and will direct the organization's sales efforts as well as the day to day sponsor management. He also currently serves as the rear tire carrier for JGR's #11 Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams.
    Prior to joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008, Helein was Vice President of Communications for Comcast SportsNet and more recently served as Vice President of Public Relations for the Washington Redskins. Helein will manage all traditional public relations as well as digital media. In addition, Jessica Smith, who serves as the PR representative for the No. 20 Sprint Cup Series team, will take on the additional role of Director of Media Relations to assist PR efforts across the organization. Bryan Cook has also been promoted to Director of Digital Media. Damato enters his 6th season with Joe Gibbs Racing after long stints with the National Hockey League and NASCAR. Damato will continue to manage Consumer Products along with other branding and marketing initiatives.(JGR)(2-10-2014)

2013 News

  • When FedEx Paint Schemes: Express, Ground, Freight, Office were run in 2013

    FedEx Express - orange:
    Sprint Unlimited - 2/16
    Daytona 500 - 2/24
    Auto Club - 3/24
    Talladega - 5/5
    Charlotte - 5/18, All-Star race
    Michigan - 6/16. Jason Leffler tribute
    Indianapolis - 7/28
    Richmond - 9/7
    Homestead - 11/17

    FedEx Office - blue:
    Las Vegas - 3/10
    Texas - 4/13, Vickers driving while Hamlin injured, March of Dimes scheme
    Charlotte - 5/26
    Kentucky - 6/29
    Pocono - 8/4
    Chicago - 9/15
    Kansas - 10/6
    Texas - 11/3

    FedEx Freight - red:
    Bristol - 3/17
    Martinsville - 4/7, Martin driving while Hamlin injured
    Kansas - 4/21, Vickers driving while Hamlin injured
    Dover - 6/2, Autism Speaks scheme
    Sonoma - 6/23
    New Hampshire - 7/14
    Michigan - 8/18
    Dover - 9/29
    Talladega - 10/20

    FedEx Ground - green:
    Phoenix - 3/3
    Pocono - 6/9
    Daytona - 7/6
    Watkins Glen - 8/11
    Bristol - 8/24
    New Hampshire - 9/22
    Charlotte - 10/12
    Phoenix - 11/10

    FedEx - 2005 scheme to honor Jason Leffler:
    Michigan - 6/16

    FedEx Delivery Manager:
    Richmond - 4/27, Vickers driving while Hamlin injured

    FedEx One Rate:
    Martinsville - 10/27

    Sports Clips (2) scheduled to be primary sponsor in 2013 at:
    Darlington - 5/11
    Atlanta - 9/1

    Sports Clips (2) scheduled to be primary sponsor in 2014 at:
    Darlington - 4/12
    Atlanta - 8/31

  • Sports Clips continues partnership with JGR: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and Sport Clips Haircuts announced they will continue their partnership during the 2014 NASCAR season with Sport Clips serving as the primary sponsor for a total of nine races. "Sport Clips is proud to announce our partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2014 season," said Sport Clips CEO and Founder Gordon Logan. "All of us, including our Team Members at our 1,150 stores in 46 states, value the drive and integrity JGR demonstrates both on and off the track. We are proud to have Denny, Elliott and Drew represent our Sport Clips' Brand, and we look forward to an exciting season!"
    During the 2014 season, Sport Clips will serve as the primary sponsor for Denny Hamlin and the #11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry for two races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS), marking the fifth season Hamlin has represented Sport Clips Racing. Hamlin will carry the colors of Sport Clips for the night race at Darlington Raceway on April 12 and again for the night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31. Hamlin's best finish for Sport Clips came at Atlanta Motor Speedway where he started seventh and led 105 of 327 laps on his way to securing his fourth of five wins during the 2012 season.
    After making his debut with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013 and representing Sport Clips for seven races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), Elliott Sadler will run six races in 2014 in the #11 Sport Clips Toyota. Sadler's best finish in the Sport Clips Toyota came at Darlington Raceway where he finished second in the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200. Returning to the driver's seat for Sport Clips in 2014, Drew Herring will make one start for the long-time JGR partner when the Nationwide Series races at Chicago on September 13. Herring has competed in five races under the Sport Clips banner, earning one pole at Iowa Speedway in 2011 and earning a best finish of fourth at Kentucky Speedway in 2012.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(11-18-2013)

  • Hamlin wins at Homestead: #11-Denny Hamlin won the FORD EcoBoost 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speed for his 1st win of 2013, his 2nd win at Homestead and 23rd career win. The win allowed Hamlin to extend his season winning streak to at least one win in eight straight seasons.
    Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 9th and won his 6th NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship by 19 points over #20-Kenseth. Pole sitter #20-Kenseth finished 2nd and led the most laps with 144 of 267 laps run.
    #20-Kenseth finished 2nd followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr. #56-Truex Jr., #15-Bowyer, #2-Keselowski, #18-Busch, #22-Logano, #48-Johnson and #29-Harvick.
    There were 22 lead changes among 8 drivers and 8 cautions for 37 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 130.693mph. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Homestead Race & Points Report (pdf).(11-17-2013)

  • Hamlin has not decided on off-season surgery: From #11-Denny Hamlin's media availability Friday at Martinsville:
    Q: Have you made any decision about surgery in the off-season?
    Hamlin: "As far as surgery, I still haven't decided on it. I still haven't met with the doctors to figure out the best option. I have been feeling so much better this last month or so that I'd like to steer away from surgery if possible. Obviously, I don't want to just cover up the pain with the treatments that I've been doing. That just numbs you a little bit. We still have an issue there that we have to address in the next month or so."(Toyota Racing PR)(10-26-2013)

  • FedEx One Rate featured on the #11: Denny Hamlin will run a special #11 FedEx One Rate paint scheme in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway in his return to the half-mile track after missing the spring race due to a back injury. The flat purple paint scheme helps celebrate FedEx One Rate, a new flat-rate shipping option for FedEx Express customers that was introduced earlier this week. Hamlin is making his 16th career Cup Series start at Martinsville this weekend, arguably the 32-year-old Virginia native's best track on the circuit, where he has recorded four wins and 12 top-10 finishes in 15 starts at the short, flat 'paper clip.'(FedEx Racing)see an image of the car on the #11 team paint schemes page.(10-25-2013)

  • Hamlin trying new treatment to avoid back surgery: #11-Denny Hamlin is trying a new treatment on his injured back in an effort to avoid offseason surgery. Painkiller injections in his spine the past two weeks have helped, but he won't know until the season ends if he's made enough progress to skip surgery. "These last two weeks, I've gotten some treatment done, and I've felt as good as I did before the accident," he said. "Now, the 10 races before that, I felt horrible. I had to get out of the car at Richmond during practice because I just couldn't handle it anymore, and there's been several instances where it was really, really bad. But this is hopefully going to buy me enough time to get healthy. That's the problem, there's just not enough time in our schedule to recover fully from an injury." Hamlin had persistent back trouble even before he suffered a compression fracture in a March accident that sidelined him for more than a month. With eight races left in the season, beginning Sunday at Dover, Hamlin said he needs time out of the car to rest and let his back heal.(Associated Press)(9-28-2013)

  • Could Truex go to Gibbs? Will NAPA return? UPDATE: #56-Martin Truex, Jr., an innocent victim in this whole thing, is handling things with class. But he points out that he now has to look out for himself, and that means making some quick decisions about 2014. Immediately after NAPA's decision to pull the plug on the Waltrip-Truex team, there were hopes that NAPA, perhaps with Truex, might move to another stock car operation and continue its sports marketing here. NAPA is one of this sport's long-time sponsors. However Sunday here a man close to the situation said NAPA has now decided simply to drop out of NASCAR racing. If so, that could be a devastating blow; the sanctioning body itself just lost Nationwide as sponsor of its Triple-A tour (following the 2014 season). Where Truex might land, if he does move on? Well, Toyota's Joe Gibbs has been looking to fill a long-proposed fourth Cup team slot; Gibbs tried to get Kurt Busch earlier this year. And Richard Childress is still filling out his 2014 roster. Truex says simply "life moves on. I've moved on from it.(MikeMulhern.net)
    BUT: According to a tweet by NASCAR.com's Kenny Bruce, "J.D. Gibbs did everything but rule out 4th Cup team for JGR. 'Going from 2 to 3 was so difficult. ... I don't see it.' ".
    AND: Sporting News' Bob Pockrass reports, "Joe [Gibbs] said he's devoted to Toyota & MWR & supports them, said he has no idea what's happening and had no talks [about] 4th team w/NAPA-Truex"(9-23-2013)
    UPDATE: Waltrip ... said that if Truex could find another deal, he wouldn't hold him back even though two years remain on his contract. Right now, there's only one other real deal out there - the Furniture Row Racing #78 car. That team is self-funded by Barney Visser, who owns the furniture chain. Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone said he was interested in Truex, and he likely could wait a while for Truex to make a decision. The organization likely would go with a young driver if not Truex, meaning all those drivers probably would be available well into November before having to make a commitment for 2014. The big "if" is whether NAPA will return and sponsor another Cup team. NAPA likes to have a car for the full season but several sources in the garage said the $16 million that NAPA is reportedly paying likely includes a hefty Chase bonus and might be too low to garner a full season with other organizations. Team owner Richard Childress said he wasn't going to call NAPA, but he could start a fourth team if there is interest. "You're always interested, but we're going to see what shakes down here with those guys," he said. "I hope NAPA stays in the sport. I really hate it for Martin. I'm sure they'll see the value in our sport and hopefully stay in with whomever. We're not going to beat their door down. We can do a fourth team. I don't believe in going out and chasing somebody in a bad situation. Let them make their decision."
    Chip Ganassi had no comment on the possibility of pursuing Truex, while Roger Penske said he is set with his two Cup teams for next year. "Martin's one of the good young drivers here," Penske said. "We're committed (to) two cars next year. We have plenty of drivers. What we need to do is stay focused. ... At this point, I don't see us going with Truex or NAPA."(Sporting News)(9-23-2013)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Launches Chase Digital Magazine: Joe Gibbs Racing currently holds the first and second position in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship standings, and now fans will have a unique way to follow the team over the next nine weeks with the launch of a new digital magazine. The magazine will be available on both Apple and Android devices including tablets. It will be available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and accessed through the following direct link: www.joegibbsracing.com/chaseapp. The magazine, which will be updated throughout the Chase and through the conclusion of the season, will feature profiles on each of Joe Gibbs Racing's three teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The digital magazine will be informative for all NASCAR fans and not just those passionate about JGR's three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. It includes educational pieces that provide in-depth and interactive aspects of the sport including the importance of camber and toe to the performance of a race car. In addition, there is an infographic on each of the race tracks featured in the Chase. Of course there is plenty of information specific to JGR, including photo essays, video profiles of each driver, a feature on driver Darrell Wallace, Jr. and statistical analysis of each driver.(JGR)(9-20-2013)

  • Hamlin sprained hand in Bristol accident: #56-Martin Truex Jr. wasn't the only NASCAR driver to injure his hand during a multi-car crash at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend. #11-Denny Hamlin told Sirius/XM's Dialed In show that he caught his right hand in the steering wheel and hurt it in the same wreck that broke Truex's wrist with 52 laps to go. Hamlin said he's currently wearing a splint on his thumb, which is black and blue, but expected the injury to heal within two weeks. "I couldn't get my finger out of the wheel quick enough before it spun, and it obviously took some ligaments with it," Hamlin said. "I feel this pain, and it's going to be tough. I tested on Monday and Tuesday at Chicago, and I couldn't put my thumb on the wheel." Joe Gibbs Racing spokesman Chris Helein says Hamlin's hand is "just sprained" and is unsure whether Hamlin will wear a splint during the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night.(USA Today)(8-30-2013)

  • Sport Clips on the #11 at Atlanta: For the second and final time this season, Sport Clips will adorn the #11 Toyota Camry piloted by Denny Hamlin in the Sprint Cup Series for the Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Last season, with Sport Clips on board, Hamlin secured the seventh starting position for the Advocare 500, led a total of 105 laps and earned his first-career win at the 1.54-mile Atlanta -based track.(Joe Gibbs Racing), see an image of the car on the #11 team paint schemes page.(8-29-2013)

  • Hamlin's back hasn't fully recovered: #11-Denny Hamlin's chronic back pain continues to plague the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. After Hamlin won the pole Friday, it was as if the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway exacerbated the problem. "My daily life is miserable," Hamlin said. "This is nothing." Surgery to repair his spine is still "on the table" at the end of the season. Hamlin contends that "once I'm strapped in I'm fine" but also acknowledges that certain tracks - such as Watkins Glen two weeks ago - "definitely took its toll." He describes the sensation as "a nagging pain that just won't go away" but one has to wonder how long Hamlin can play hurt. "I have to weigh the options," Hamlin said. "What options do I have? There are 10 different things you can do to help with either pain or the structure of your back I just have to figure out which one is the right one for me."(FoxSports)(8-26-2013)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Partners with Pit Crew U: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today that it has partnered with Pit Crew U, a division of Performance Instruction & Training, on a pit crew development program designed to keep a flow of talent coming to the organization for years to come. "It certainly is no secret how important pit crews have become in our sport especially with track position playing such a vital role in each race," said J.D. Gibbs, President of JGR. "We've always believed in developing our own talent through our driver program and our Nationwide Series program, which has seen many team members, including crew chiefs, make the step to the Sprint Cup Series. We're excited to partner with Pit Crew U now to make sure we have a consistent flow of over the wall talent coming to JGR in the years to come." Pit Crew U has produced some of the best over-the-wall talent in NASCAR with several of JGR's current Sprint Cup Series pit crew members having come out of their program. JGR will work with Pit Crew U to identify 10 talented athletes to form a development squad for their racing programs with the intent to eventually fill the organization's needs in their Nationwide Series programs and ultimately the Sprint Cup Series.(JGR)(8-15-2013)

  • Hamlin calls Kyle Petty a moron: Add #11-Denny Hamlin to the list of Sprint Cup drivers not happy with television analyst and former driver Kyle Petty. Petty suggested during Sunday's RaceDay show on Fox Sports "SPEED" that Hamlin should end his 2013 season and focus on healing his lower back that was injured during an early season crash at Auto Club Speedway in California. He also said Hamlin suggested he was the face of Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin lashed out on Twitter, saying the son of Hall of Famer Richard Petty "is a moron.''
    He continued to take shots at Petty after hitting the wall to end his day early at Pocono Raceway. "He's an analyst, but not a very informative one because he doesn't know anything,'' Hamlin said. "My beef with Kyle is he has a lot of opinions about a lot of drivers, but he never once talked to any of them. To be an analyst you've got to be in the trenches to find out the stories.''
    Asked what Petty said that upset him, Hamlin said, "It's just saying I thought I was the face of JGR. What I really said was I was the face of [primary sponsor] FedEx and the #11 team."(ESPN)(8-5-20130)
    UPDATE: Kyle Petty, the driver-turned-analyst with the unfiltered opinions, has angered someone new. Petty didn't mean to make Denny Hamlin mad with his televised comments before Sunday's race at Pocono. Turns out, Hamlin had every right to be upset. Petty admitted on Monday he had misinterpreted previous statements made by Hamlin, and the opinion Petty presented pre-race about Hamlin was incorrect. "If you are going to run your mouth, if you are going to dish it out, you gotta take it, and the bone of contention here is that Denny is 100 percent right," Petty said. "I can take it, I can say that I'm wrong and that I misinterpreted what Denny said." Petty would have reached out to Hamlin or apologized for making a mistake, but then came the "moron" tweet. "Denny's argument was a typical Twitter argument, he calls me a moron and then he goes personal," Petty said. "So I'm just not going to acknowledge it."(Associated Press)(8-6-2013)

  • Hamlin has no plans to cut back racing sched: There are days when Denny Hamlin's back hurts so much he can hardly move. When he wakes up in the morning, it sometimes takes four hours before he can stand up straight and feel stable. His persistent back pain, caused by bulging discs, only got worse when he fractured a vertebra in the March race at Southern California's Auto Club Speedway. He needs surgery to fix the bulging discs, and some observers have called for Hamlin to give up on his longshot Chase hopes and have the procedure done now to make sure he has enough time to heal before 2014. But Hamlin told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday he plans to "tough it out" for the rest of the year. "It's tough because there are no backups in our sport," he said while relaxing in his motorhome before qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I'm the face of our team - the (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) team, FedEx, everyone - so you can't just insert another player for the rest of the year and have no one know the difference. You know, I've got to do whatever I've got to do to just get through the season, honestly. And then I can figure out what I can do to (feel) better next year. But right now, we're just in a mode of trying to finish races."(USA Today)(7-28-2013)

  • Sixteen Cup teams found with modified roof flap spacers UPDATE: Sixteen teams found to have modified roof flap spacers (lighter) during NASCAR inspection. Teams listed: #1-McMurray, #2-Keselowski, #9-Ambrose, #11-Hamlin, #13-Mears, #15-Bowyer, #16-Biffle, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #18-Busch, #20-Kenseth, #21-Bayne, #22-Logano, #43-Almirola, #55-Waltrip, #56-Truex Jr. and #99-Edwards. The modified/confiscated roof-flap spacers are on display at Daytona in the NASCAR hauler. NASCAR's Kerry Tharp addressed media on confiscated roof-flap spacers - "Spacers not in compliance with those kits." The roof-flap kits are supplied to teams for #NASCAR by one company (a Roush company) and are not to be changed.(SPEED's, Dustin Long Fox/NASCAR on Twitter)
    AND Thirty-one cars, including 16 in the Sprint Cup Series, failed inspection before Thursday's practices at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR confiscated the teams' roof flaps, which are designed to keep cars on the ground during spins and wrecks at high speeds, for further inspection. Penalties could be possible. The roof-flap spacers had been illegally machined down to reduce weight. NASCAR inspectors made those Cup teams install new, unaltered roof flaps before drivers were allowed on the track for the first of two practices. Inspectors then went to the Nationwide garage and found similar issues on 15 cars. "When you find something in one garage, you communicate to the other garage," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "We looked into it and this is what we found."(Associated Press)(7-4-2013)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup teams expect widespread penalties after 16 cars were found with illegal roof-flap spacers at Daytona Thursday, but they don't know how severe those penalties might be. The teams caught scrambled Thursday to make compliant spacers, which are used to attach the hinge of the roof flaps. Teams and manufacturers get roof flaps from Roush Composites and, according to the NASCAR rulebook, "the hinged air deflectors must be installed as specified in the instruction sheet supplied with the hinged air deflector kit." But it was apparent that many teams had lightened the spacers or changed them. It wasn't clear what tipped off NASCAR inspectors to the violations, but after a sweep of the Sprint Cup garage Thursday, NASCAR went through the Nationwide garage and took pieces from 15 Nationwide teams Thursday night. A non-compliant part might just be a monetary penalty but because it dealt with a safety piece - the roof flaps pop up during a spin to try to keep the car on the ground - a points penalty is definitely possible, as well as crew suspensions. NASCAR traditionally issues penalties the Tuesday after a race weekend. NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said the widespread use of the illegal spacers most likely indicates that those pieces had gotten through inspection previously. "It's probably not something that was on a normal inspection routine," Pemberton said. "The teams are told that they must assemble all that stuff using all the parts that's in the kit. Once in a while you'll find things like that and it's probably something that teams have probably done a little bit in the past." Whether the number of teams involved will impact the penalties and whether crew chiefs who are on probation will face more severe penalties will be determined Monday and Tuesday, Pemberton said. Because teams didn't have extra kits at Daytona, NASCAR allowed the teams to make spacers that were compliant.(Sporting News)(7-5-2013)

  • Hamlin says back is fine, plans to run full season UPDATE: When #11-Denny Hamlin clobbered the Turn 4 wall at Kentucky Speedway on Sunday, the first thought of most who watched had to be, "Oh, no, not the back." Fortunately, there was no basis for concern for the driver who had missed four races earlier this season because of a compression fracture of his first lumbar vertebra. The impact on Lap 147 of the Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was severe, and Hamlin was shaken up, but his back was fine. Team owner Joe Gibbs visited Hamlin in the infield care center after the wreck. Hamlin was released shortly thereafter. "I think our cars are so safe, and to show you, in 22 years, we've only had one person miss a race, and that was Denny, when he had the problem earlier this year," Gibbs told the NASCAR Wire Service. "So to be quite truthful, I didn't see it, so I was just going back, and I didn't realize he hit that hard. And so when I got back there (to the garage), he said, 'Man, I've got a headache, like you wouldn't believe.' And he banged his knee on the inside (of the car). Then we went to the care center, and right away, he said, "I started feeling better and better and better." On Monday, Hamlin plans to go ahead with a scheduled test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "They called the doctor over there, he's going to take a look at him before he gets in the car, but I think we are in good shape there," Gibbs said.(NASCAR Wire Service)
    AND from a Toyota Racing transcript:
    Q) Do you plan to continue with the rest of the season?
    Hamlin: "Definitely have to proceed on. I have a test in Indy tomorrow that we're going to do to try to get better and get to performing better. Really today it was the best performance for us in a while. Hopefully at least something to build off of even though we don't have a good finish."
    Q) Will you still contend to make the Chase?
    Hamlin: "I felt pretty good about the way we were racing today. We were with the right track position, we could run with everybody except for maybe the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). We're just going to try to win races and that's what my job is for the rest of the year is to try to win and do the best I can for my sponsors and my team. Really the biggest thing I was pushing for was to get my team into the Chase. Had an opportunity owner's points-wise to get into the Chase and this is obviously another hit."
    Q) How hard was the hit?
    Hamlin: "It's very similar to Kansas of last year during the test day of the race weekend. Flat right side hit, especially, you are picking up a lot of speed off of (turn) four here. For me, it didn't go down slowly like the tire did the first time -- this one just blew out solid and quick. Obviously, when I lost steering I hit flat. I would rather hit head-on anywhere than flat up against the wall on these walls."(Toyoya Racing)(7-1-2013)
    UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin was cleared Monday by doctors who performed tests to see whether the Joe Gibbs Racing driver suffered a concussion in Sunday's crash at Kentucky Speedway. He saw doctors in Indianapolis on Monday morning before a scheduled two-day test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. JGR officials said the driver was cleared for that and to race in Saturday's Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway.(ESPN)(7-1-2013)

  • Paint Scheme change on the #11 at MIS to honor Leffler: Joe Gibbs Racing has changed the paint scheme of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota for the Quicken Loans 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday. Denny Hamlin will run the original FedEx paint scheme from the 2005 season as they pay tribute to the late Jason Leffler who ran the car for 19 races that season (Denny Hamlin Facebook), see images of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(6-16-2013)

  • Keselowski says rivals stole Ford employees, information: #2-Brad Keselowski met with Ford Motor Co. employees in Dearborn on Thursday and signed autographs and answered questions. The defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion also found time to chat with reporters and take a sharp jab at Chevrolet-backed Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, which runs Toyotas. Keselowski criticized Hendrick and Gibbs for "stealing away" employees and information from Ford Cup teams, including his own Penske Racing outfit and Roush Fenway Racing. Keselowski didn't mince words about Hendrick and Gibbs' recruitment techniques when he was asked by the media about the recent efforts of Ford teams like Penske and Roush coming together and sharing information. "There are little things you can do," Keselowski said of Ford-backed teams opening up lines of communication in an effort to improve performances on the track. "What keeps it from going too far is the fact that Hendrick and Gibbs have this nasty little habit of going to other teams and outbidding other people and taking those employees and stealing our information, and, when that happens, that puts walls up between the camps because you are giving up more than one piece of information - you are giving up two companies' information and trying to protect yourself against that, it forces you to put up walls.It doesn't necessarily lend itself to working together. But still, we are going to put in a valiant effort where we can and where it makes sense to put Ford in a position to have the best results possible."Keselowski cited two incidents where he claimed Hendrick and Gibbs - who between them run the likes of series points leader and five-time Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. - lured away Ford team employees with big offers."Gibbs stole the Roush aero director and took all the information," said Keselowski. "And Hendricks took three employees from our Chase-winning team last year."(USA Today)(6-14-2013)
    GIBBS STATEMENT: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) released the following statement from Owner Joe Gibbs in response to the recent comments made by driver Brad Keselowski: "We were surprised to read the recent comments and accusations made by Brad Keselowski. Clearly those comments are misguided and irresponsible. Brad's candor is well documented, but he would do well to only speak to subjects on which he is properly informed. Obviously NASCAR is a very competitive environment and we take our hiring processes seriously at JGR. The individual he referenced in his comments was working outside of the sport of NASCAR at the time we hired him. We have a great deal of respect for Roger Penske and his organization and I feel like I have always had a good personal relationship with Roger. We look forward to competing with Brad on the racetrack, but hope that he will use better judgment in the future before making such misinformed claims and accusations."(JGR)
    HENDRICK STATEMENT: HMS owner Rick Hendrick also took offense to what Keselowski said. "The comments Brad reportedly made were misinformed,'' Hendrick said. "The truth is that we hired one tire changer, who was a backup for Penske and whose contract was up. We also brought over one mechanic from their Nationwide program and, when the Penske engine shop was closing, added a few of those people. What Brad left out was that his organization also hired one of our tire changers. All of this was above board and is part of doing business in a competitive environment. I take no issue with any of it, and I expect Roger [Penske] would say the same. Brad misrepresents the facts and spends a lot of time making insinuations and accusations about other teams when he should be focused on his own program and competing at a high level. I hope he figures that out and begins representing himself and the sport with more class."(ESPN)(6-15-2013)

  • Hamlin says Pocono has changed with repave: Denny Hamlin says the recent repaving of the 2.5-mile triangular track, where the Cup series races next week and Aug. 4, has taken away the edge he had there. "We had a leg up... we had two legs up on everyone when we went there with the old pavement," Hamlin said. "I think now we're better than average, but we're not the best anymore at that track. But it's definitely a place that we have performed well. Even after it got paved we still performed pretty well. Yeah, it is a track I look forward to ... Really, for me, I think that when they changed the track and they paved it, it changed everything. It really was like a whole new race track. Same with Kansas and Michigan -- all of these tracks, as soon as they pave them, they took one track and they just really threw it out and you've got a whole other surface, new setups, new way of driving style every single time. I think that's the challenge for us. We've got to really learn that race track again." Because passing is more difficult on the new Pocono surface, track position will be crucial. That may be good news for Hamlin, who will be trying for his third straight Sprint Cup pole next weekend at the Tricky Triangle.(NASCAR Wire Service)(6-2-2013)

  • Hamlin plans to be more aggressive to make Chase: From Hamlin's media availability Friday at Dover:
    Q: Will you race more aggressively to try to make the Chase?
    Hamlin: "I think our only play is to be aggressive. I think that to come here and try to get a good points day is irrelevant because if we don't win then we're really not accomplishing much. Obviously, we still have to get inside the top-20, but I think we can do that over the course of the next 13 or 14 weeks. We're going to need to win races so we're going to do everything we can to try to get that. I'll be as aggressive as I can so I'm treating this as more of an offensive race than a defensive one for sure."
    q: Do you and the team feel pressure to be perfect and win races?
    Hamlin: "I think we're treating it as if it is Chase scenarios right now. I'm driving like it or even more aggressive than I would be if I was in the Chase. We're going to have to capitalize on our money tracks. We're going to have to win at those race tracks and sneak a few in here and there when we don't expect it. We're doing everything we can and if we come up short then we come up short, there's nothing we're going to be able to do about it. Right now I feel pretty good about where Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole is -- we're competitive, a little bit off on speed from my teammate, which I have to go to work on. I feel good about where we're at and we just need to win everything we can."(Toyota Racing PR)(6-1-2013)

  • Special scheme for the #11 at Dover: FedEx will be supporting Autism Speaks with a special paint scheme on the #11 FedEx Toyota of Denny Hamlin this Sunday in the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway.(FedEx Facebook), see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(5-28-2013)

  • Hamlin plans to run full race at Darlington: After running just 24 laps last week at Talladega, #11-Denny Hamlin says he is fully healed and prepared to run the full 500 miles Saturday night at Darlington Raceway. Hamlin missed four Sprint Cup races and only started the race last week at Talladega after suffering a compression fracture in his lower back in a March 24 crash at Auto Club Speedway. He tweeted Wednesday, however, that he has been fully cleared by his doctors and plans to run the full race in Saturday's Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington, a race that he won in 2010. Hamlin tweeted: "More good news after this weeks scan. Healing is going really good and I'm ready to go the distance this week. #makethechase"(Sporting News)(5-10-2013)

  • Sport Clips sponsoring Hamlin at Darlington: This weekend Denny Hamlin will return to the #11 Sport Clips Toyota for his first full race since being sidelined after a late-race accident at Auto Club on March 24. Denny Hamlin will make his eighth Sprint Cup Series start at the track 'Too Tough Too Tame' on Saturday night when he climbs back into the #11 Sport Clips Toyota. Last year Hamlin finished second in the Bojangles' 500 driving a retro Sport Clips paint scheme honoring Cale Yarborough and his induction in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. This year Hamlin is back looking to finish one position stronger and earn his first win of the 2013 season for the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing team.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(5-10-2013)

  • Orchestrated exit nets Hamlin 10 extra points: The driver change planned and practiced by Denny Hamlin and Brian Vickers worked to perfection. An opportune caution flag flew on Lap 23 of Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Speedway when fluid gushed out of Trevor Bayne's Ford and oiled the track. Hamlin, Vickers and the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing crew were ready. Recovering from a compression fracture of his first lumbar vertebra sustained during a last-lap crash at Auto Club Speedway in late March, Hamlin received medical clearance to race at Talladega but planned to exit the car during the first caution. On Lap 25 he brought the car to pit road where Vickers waited. Hamlin unbuckled his belts, disconnected the radio and popped out of a roof hatch in #11 FedEx Toyota as Vickers began to climb in the driver's-side window. The crew buckled Vickers in and connected the radio. Vickers exited the pit stall less than a minute after Hamlin got there and had no difficulty staying on the lead lap. "The exchange went great," Hamlin said. "Really, that was about as smooth as it's went for us. Obviously, we've had a few repetitions at it. That was about the quickest that I was able to get out so everything went well. I had a checklist in the car with things that I needed to do before I got out to switch over for the next driver. Everything really went seamless and painless." Unfortunately for Hamlin and Vickers, the afternoon didn't continue that smoothly. On Lap 43, Vickers was an innocent victim of a 16-car wreck ignited by Kyle Busch's tap of Kasey Kahne's Chevrolet. The Hamlin/Vickers collaboration finished 34th, but by virtue of starting the race, Hamlin scored 10 championship points he otherwise wouldn't have had.(NASCAR Wire Service)(5-6-2013)

  • Hamlin discusses injury, plans for Sunday: #11-Denny Hamlin, cleared Thursday to race at Talladega, talked to the media on Friday at Talladege Superspeedway after practicing 16 laps in the #11 FedEx Toyota. A few comments from Hamlin about his back injury and return to the track:
    Q) How did it feel to be back in the car in practice today?
    Hamlin: "Obviously it's really good to get back and run some speed and get somewhat adrenaline pumping again. I'm thankful for everything Brian (Vickers) has done over these last four weeks and what he's going to do this weekend. We appreciate that and FedEx for sticking through it with us and obviously showing us a lot of support. So, it's definitely good to be back in a car and really just starting with hopefully what will be a good run in these next 17 weeks."
    Q) Is it physically painful to be in the car on the race track?
    Hamlin: "No, there's no discomfort inside the car at all. Really, for me, the most discomfort I have is getting out of the car. That's why we're choosing to go through the roof versus the window. It's much easier on me, and really any kind of twisting we can keep out of myself will be good. Really, inside the race car I feel just like I did six, seven weeks ago."
    Q) Was it hard physically to get out of the race car?
    Hamlin:"No, it took us one minute and six seconds twice in a row, so I think that we're going to be plenty good if a caution comes out to come out and preserve a lap."
    Q) Are you concerned there may be an early accident that you could get involved in?
    Hamlin: "As far as the first lap, early-on wreck it definitely can happen. We've seen it here at this race track on lap one and we've seen it on the last lap. I'm obviously going to put myself in what I believe is a safe position. Obviously you can't help things like blown tires or whatever that could possibly happen, but like I said I think the equivalency of our risks this weekend will be taking a knee."
    Q) Are you definitely getting out of the car on Sunday?
    Hamlin:"Yeah, I would say that's probably the most -- there's going to be a caution at some point and I'd like to get out to just insure myself of one more week of healing versus trying to come back in the middle of round six."
    Q) Is there any risk that you could have a career-ending injury in an accident?
    Hamlin: "I have to be careful with the answer of this. There's going to be risks. There is risk. There is risk until -- I don't know the exact science and no one knows the exact percentages. Nobody knows and that's what makes this really, really hard. With bone healing, it doesn't matter if you break your arm, you break your leg or whatever, a bone takes a year to heal. That's realistic. But, as far as I've been told and I understand it would take such a significant hit that you probably would be injured from it even if you were 100 percent healthy as far as I understand. So, it's very hard. I've got to let the doctors speak for that a little bit more than me because I don't know the risks exactly and neither do they. We're just trying to buy myself another week obviously until Darlington, but the risk is so minimal that it's almost not even there."
    Q) Do you feel like you will have to be more careful in the race car with your injury?
    Hamlin: "Not really. When I was in the car in practice you would think when you're coming back -- I know with my ACL I was cognizant the first time I actually went running again for the first time. Just trying to be -- I was scared of it. This is a little bit different because my symptoms from this went away after one week. I felt no back pain in the fractured area. For me, I'm only being limited on what I do -- the twisting, the jumping, the running, all of that -- just because I'm told to and not because I'm scared or fearful of it. It never even crossed my mind in the car so I think it's really a non-issue going forward."
    Q) Why are you getting rescanned next week?
    Hamlin: "It was scheduled. It's been on the schedule. I mentioned even through media that after Talladega we were going to get scanned once again."
    Q) Have you practiced the driver swap with Brian Vickers?
    Hamlin: "I think it's three minutes or high twos or something like that that you will lose a lap. But it took us right at one minute every time that we rehearsed it, so we're going to be plenty fine there. Everything is pretty seamless."(in part from a Toyota Racing Transcript)(5-4-2013)

  • Hamlin plans to start at Talladega UPDATE2 Hamlin cleared: #11-Denny Hamlin plans to start Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, but don't look for him to be in the car long. Assuming nothing changes during practice or qualifying, it will be the first race back for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver since suffering a compression fracture in his lower back on the final lap of the March 24 event at Auto Club Speedway in California. Hamlin tweeted on Tuesday that he was cleared "just to start,' Hamlin told ESPN.com at Kansas he would drop to the back of the pack at Talladega and ride around until the first caution, then give way to backup driver Brian Vickers.(ESPN)(4-30-2013)
    UPDATE: NASCAR confirmed that medical clearance has not yet been given for Denny Hamlin to return to racing the #11 FedEx Toyota (many sources on Twitter)(5-1-2013)
    UPDATE2: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin has received medical clearance to return to on-track activity beginning with this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota. Hamlin was injured during an accident at Auto Club Speedway and has missed the past four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races while recovering. Exact plans for this weekend will be determined by the team at Talladega.(JGR)(5-3-2013)

  • Special scheme for the #11 at Richmond: Brian Vickers will drive a special #11 FedEx Delivery Manager Toyota in Saturday night's race at Richmond International Raceway (RIR). FedEx Delivery Manager, which launched earlier this week, provides delivery options for FedEx residential package recipients to fit their schedule. It offers personalized options that allow customers to request how, when and where they want their packages delivered. FedEx Delivery Manager can be used online, through mobile browsers and with the FedEx app.(FedEx Racing), see an image of the car on the #11 Team Schemes page.(4-27-2013)

  • Hamlin dicusses decision to set out Richmond; consideration of surgery: Denny Hamlin met with the media Thursday at Richmond:
    What did the doctors see that is keeping you out of this race?
    "They were -- during our call yesterday they were speaking as much Chinese as I could understand. I saw the scan and saw the healing that they were talking about. However, some kind of in-plate is not healing the way that they wanted it and that's what they wanted in order to clear me. Really, that was their determining factor and, obviously, my injury is very, very hard because there is no exact science to the risk. They don't -- no one knows what the risk will be if I race this week or if I race two weeks from now. Bone healing is completely subjective. It takes bone healing a year most times to be 100 percent, so how do you quantify how much more risk is there this week versus two weeks down the road or three weeks down the road or two months down the road, so that's the tough part of it -- everyone is erring on the cautious side because no one ultimately wants to be responsible and have their name on the line of clearing a driver and then he goes out and gets hurt."
    Do you still feel like you can compete in a portion of the Talladega race?
    "They all came to the conclusion they were happy with me starting Talladega and getting out when it's a safe time to get out. Ultimately, we even talked about doing that here at Richmond, but it's unfair to the team for me to get out and then go three or four laps down on pit road and really know that the team's not going to finish any better than 35th -- why would they even show up for that? So, I think it's better for them to at least have a chance to win with one full-time driver and we decided not to do that this weekend and we'll start our process at Talladega and then rescan again and try to go to Darlington."
    Is there a possibility of surgery?
    "We talked briefly about the injury that I deal with every day and that was not the main focus of our conversation, but I think that it is going to be a possibility in the off-season. If I get back to it in a timely fashion in the Cup Series this year then am still able to salvage some kind of season, then obviously it's not going to be an option until the off-season. So, either way, I'd like to get it fixed and get it over with."
    At what point will you consider not returning this season?
    "I think if this goes past Darlington then I don't know what the chances of us making the Chase are even if we were to race this weekend, race next weekend or the one after -- I don't know the chances. There's a lot of good teams that you have to beat to guarantee you're going to win the races. Obviously, if it goes past Darlington our chances are crushed even harder. Eventually you have to have a shut down point of not going out there and racing for nothing at a point. I think a recovery on the kind of surgery that I would like to have is about a month-and-a-half or so -- I could potentially come back maybe for the tail end of the year. It wouldn't be a season-ending -- I don't think anything would be season-ending I guess you could say. Eventually you have to know the point at which you're looking at improbabilities of making the Chase and just being smart about it. If everyone keeps getting these penalties, I'm going to be the points leader soon."Toyota PR)(4-26-2013)

  • Hamlin still waiting on clearance to race UPDATE - still out at Richmond: #11-Denny Hamlin's latest scan is done. Now he's waiting for doctors to read the results and arrive at a consensus of opinion as to whether he can race this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. "A doctor has seen a scan [Tuesday], but, obviously, there's a large team of doctors who have to have a consensus," Hamlin said Wednesday morning during a visit to the Grooming Lounge in downtown Washington. "Until all of them get the images, we're still waiting on that. They should have them this morning. "Hopefully, by the end of the day, everyone will have consensus and have time to review what's the safe thing to do." Whether he's approved to race at Richmond or not, Hamlin plans to start the race the following week at Talladega and then give way to a relief driver. He'll exit the car at Talladega at the first opportunity after riding in the back. "We do have an agreement, I believe, on starting next week and getting out, so at least we'll get some points starting next week," Hamlin said. "After that, I don't know. It just depends on what the doctors, the results of this (the scan) are and when they want to re-scan and check progression again.
    Hamlin is leaning toward back surgery during the offseason -- or perhaps sooner if his prospects of making the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup evaporate -- because the compression fracture exacerbated a problem with bulging disks that existed before the crash. The bulging disks are far more painful to the 32-year-old-driver than the compression fracture was. "(The accident) really screwed 'em up," Hamlin said. "I'm at the point now where, if they don't let me back in the car in a timely fashion, where I'm going to be racing for nothing for the rest of the year, I'd just as soon do it now and get it over with and come back next year strong and ready to go." (NASCAR Wire Service)(4-24-2013)
    UPDATE: Hamlin tweeted Wednesday evening, "Unfortunately I won't be racing this weekend at Richmond. It kills me to not be in the car for my team and sponsors but after long discussions with the doctors we have decided to wait on my return back to racing. Thanks to all of my fans who have sent encouraging messages over the last month. I'll be back in no time."(4-24-2013)

  • Hamlin hopes to return at Richmond UPDATE: Injured #11-Denny Hamlin told ESPN.com on Saturday there is a 50-50 chance he'll return to his Sprint Cup car next weekend at Richmond. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver said it's almost 100% he will at least start the May 5 race at Talladega. Hamlin was expected to miss six weeks after suffering a compression fracture in his lower back on the last lap of the March 24 race at Auto Club Speedway. That would have put his scheduled return at the May 11 race at Darlington. But Hamlin said if the follow-up scan of the fracture that will take place either late Tuesday or early Wednesday shows bone growth he will be in the car at his home track in Richmond if doctors give him clearance. "If everything works out, and if the scan looks the way I feel we're going to be in good shape for Richmond,'' Hamlin said after the final practice for Sunday's race at Kansas. "I feel there's been growth there. I feel I've gotten stronger. Everything is a lot better. Last week, I would have said probably not. But this week I feel a lot better.'' Hamlin said there won't be another scan for two weeks after this week's. Even if he is not given clearance for Richmond, the plan is to start Talladega to collect driver points and give way to a backup driver after the first caution. Hamlin said there is no consideration for starting and then putting a backup driver in at Richmond because he would lose at least two laps making the exchange at the three-quarter mile track. Hamlin said he's been off pain medicine for a week and a half, so that won't be an issue with getting medical clearance. He is confident after looking at the crash data from Auto Club Speedway that it would be tough to duplicate what led to his injury.(full story at ESPN.com)(4-20-2013)
    UPDATE: Denny Hamlin tweeted Tuesday evening, "No update tonight guys."(4-23-2013)

  • Kenseth to sub for Hamlin at Short Track Showdown: #11-Denny Hamlin has a substitute driver for his April 25 Short Track Showdown charity race at Richmond: his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate #20-Matt Kenseth. Kenseth will drive a Late Model in Hamlin's place for the annual event that pits NASCAR drivers against some top local short-track talent. "Obviously, it kills me to not be able to race in the Short Track Showdown," Hamlin said. "I grew up racing these cars against some of the best in the area, and it's always fun to come back and do it again, but my injury won't allow that this year."(USA Today), for more info, see Jayski's NASCAR Charities page.(4-11-2013)

  • Hamlin first JGR driver to miss a race because of injury: #11-Denny Hamlin is expected to miss at least five races while recovering from a compression fracture in his back. Hamlin amazingly will be the first Sprint Cup driver in the 21-year history of Joe Gibbs Racing to miss a race because of an injury.(Sporting News)(4-7-2013)

  • Vickers' understands Hamlin's situation: In picking Brian Vickers to substitute for Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing got a driver who can empathize with what Hamlin is feeling while he waits to return to his car. Vickers will start a stint of indeterminate length in the # 11 Toyota next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, as Hamlin continues to recover from a compression fracture. Driving the # 11 Camry is an important opportunity for Vickers, who is running a nine-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing, including Sunday's STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway. But Vickers has mixed feelings about the circumstances that will put him behind the wheel of Hamlin's car. Much of Vickers' ambivalence stems from a medical condition that forced him out of his ride at Red Bull Racing in 2011. Suffering from blood clots in his legs and lungs, Vickers missed the last six months of the season while he recuperated. "Next week I'm going to be in the 11 car, which I'm obviously excited about, but sad how the opportunity came about," Vickers said Friday morning at Martinsville. "I know what it's like to be pulled out of your car for health reasons -- I've been in that boat before and wish Denny a speedy recovery.(NASCAR Wire Service)(4-6-2013)

  • Hamlin will go to Martinsville; hopes to return at Richmond: Showing minimal aftereffects of the crash that has sidelined him in Sprint Cup, Denny Hamlin was in good spirits and solid stature Wednesday at Joe Gibbs Racing. He smiled broadly while holding his 2-month-old daughter, Taylor. He joked with reporters. He seemed relatively ambulatory while walking around the shop wearing a back brace beneath his black FedEx polo shirt. But his discontent with Logano hasn't.
    "I don't blame him for the particular injury," Hamlin said in his first extensive interview since returning home last week from an overnight hospital stay. "I do for the wreck. The injury was circumstantial. A wreck on a 2-mile speedway, you risk getting hurt. That frustrates me the most. Listening to him say, 'I'm sure Denny's fine, these cars are safe.' That really gets to me because he's taking for granted no matter how hard you wreck, you're going to be fine.
    [Hamlin] is hopeful of returning by the April 27 race at Richmond International Raceway, which would be two races earlier than the original prognosis of a six-week recovery. But the return will be dictated by doctors, who aren't expected to scan his back to assess his progress for at least another two to three weeks. That won't keep him Sunday from Martinsville Speedway, where he is planning to be on the pit box watching Mark Martin pilot his #11 Toyota.
    Hamlin, though, doesn't think NASCAR should take any punitive action [against Logano] because of the "self-policing" philosophies often employed by drivers. Tony Stewart went after Logano after the Fontana race because he was unhappy with a blocking maneuver and vowed to retaliate. See much more at USA Today.(4-4-2013)

  • Sadler expected to fill in for Hamlin? Martin? UPDATES - Martin, then Vickers: Elliott Sadler has been chosen as the primary sub for Denny Hamlin. All that's preventing an official announcement, as of Wednesday morning is a few details to work out with sponsor Fed Ex. Sadler, who was long pegged as the likely choice is driving full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series and was scheduled to drive a fourth Cup car in a limited schedule later this season. There are no conflicts on the Nationwide schedule that would affect Sadler until early June.(Frontstretch)(3-27-2013)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing said Thursday morning that they were not prepared to announce a replacement driver for Denny Hamlin yet. The Associated Press' Jenny Fryer tweeted, "the word on the street is [Mark Martin] is in play for #11 in a straight swap with [Michael Waltrip Racing] for [Brian Vickers], except Talladega."(3-28-2013)
    UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs Racing is looking at several driver scenarios, including fellow Toyota driver Mark Martin, to replace Denny Hamlin while he recovers from a back injury. Multiple sources told ESPN.com that one scenario that JGR has considered is Martin driving all five races in the # 11 car while Hamlin is out. Brian Vickers would pick up Martin's schedule in the Michael Waltrip Racing # 55 that includes Texas, Kansas and Richmond. Michael Waltrip is in the #55 at Talladega. Another scenario, according to sources, is that Vickers would pick up Hamlin's schedule for four races after next week at Martinsville, where he is scheduled to drive the # 55 for Martin. Martin or Elliott Sadler would drive at Martinsville. Sources said another scenario would have Sadler drive for Hamlin the entire way, although that is the most unlikely option. Both Vickers and Sadler drive a full-time Nationwide Series schedule for JGR. Gibbs said for the sake of continuity, he would prefer to go with one driver versus multiple drivers. MWR, according to sources, would like to keep Vickers in the 55 for as much as possible because he is the likely replacement for Martin next season.(ESPN)(3-28-2013)
    UPDATE 3: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Mark Martin will drive the #11 FedEx Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series while Denny Hamlin recovers from an L1 Compression Fracture suffered during an accident on March 24 at Auto Club Speedway. "We've been real fortunate to have never been in this situation with the need to find someone to fill in for an injured driver," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "A lot goes into a decision like this but we are really pleased to have someone of the character and caliber of Mark Martin to fill in while Denny is out. Obviously we're not exactly sure how long that is going to take, but Mark's career speaks for itself and our team knows it will have the opportunity to compete for a win every week." Martin will make his first start for JGR in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 7. Martin has made one previous appearance for JGR when he started in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and finished second. "I'm happy to have this opportunity to help out JGR, FedEx and Denny," said Martin. "Hopefully I can keep those guys up front and compete for wins while Denny heals up."(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-28-2013)
    UPDATE 4: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Mark Martin will fill in for injured Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin in the #11 Toyota Camry next weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Martin will return to the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13 and resume his previously scheduled run of events with MWR for the remainder of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint cup season. As previously announced, Brian Vickers will race MWR's #55 Jet Edge Toyota Camry for MWR at Martinsville.(MWR)(3-29-2013)
    UPDATE 5: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Brian Vickers will take over behind the wheel of the #11 FedEx Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series for the injured Denny Hamlin starting on April 13 at Texas Motor Speedway. It was previously released that Mark Martin would handle the duties behind the wheel for the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing team while Denny Hamlin recovered from injury. Martin will drive the car in Martinsville, but Vickers will now take over the duties beginning in Texas. "Obviously having to find someone to fill in for Denny is not an ideal situation to have to be in and when you start a process like this you obviously begin to look at the drivers that are not only available but also able to drive for your race team and manufacturer. We were a bit premature in determining Mark's status past Martinsville however," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We're real happy to have the opportunity to get Brian in our Cup cars and with him driving Nationwide for us we think we have some continuity there that is beneficial.(JGR)(3-29-2013)
    UPDATE 6: Rumors of Mark Martin's substitute role have been greatly exaggerated. It will now last only one race, after a series of conflicting announcements. Joe Gibbs Racing originally reported on Thursday that Martin would be competing for Denny Hamlin while Hamlin recuperates from a lower-back compression fracture, suffered during a last-lap crash at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday. The sub-headline that read, "Veteran NASCAR Driver Mark Martin to Drive No. 11 FedEx Toyota Until Hamlin Returns" indicated that the affable 54-year-old veteran would sub throughout Hamlin's recovery. But apparently the deal was not cleared by Aaron's, which is sponsoring Martin in the #55 this season and has enjoyed a relationship with Michael Waltrip since 2000.(Fox Sports)(3-30-2013)

  • Vickers expected to pick up Martin's races at MWR: Michael Waltrip Racing didn't announce who will drive Martin's #55 Toyota in his absence, but it will most likely be [Brian] Vickers, who was slotted to drive nine of Martin's races this year. The team is believed to be considering Vickers as Martin's potential replacement, and this would give MWR a lengthier preview. Thursday [J.D.] Gibbs said his preference was to use just one driver in the #11 while Hamlin is sidelined. The organization has Elliott Sadler and Vickers running Nationwide Series cars, but neither was totally free of commitments to drive Hamlin's Cup car. Vickers had the Martinsville conflict and Sadler has a deal with sponsorship to run a fourth JGR car at Kansas and Talladega.(Associated Press)(3-29-2013)

  • Can Hamlin still make the Chase? Yes. And it might not be as difficult as it appears. Hamlin is expected to miss the next five races recovering from a compression fracture in his lower back. He had 180 points during that span a year ago, which is a ton for one of only two drivers --#48- Jimmie Johnson is the other -- to have never missed NASCAR's 10-race playoff. It basically ends any chance he has of automatically qualifying in the top 10.
    But earning one of the two wild-card berths, given to the drivers with the most wins inside the top 20, isn't a reach at all. A year ago, Jamie McMurray was 20th in the standings with 640 points when the Chase was set after 26 races. Hamlin, now 10th in the standings, has 145 points. Hamlin would need approximately 495 points -- and one or two wins -- over the 16 races before the September Richmond race to be in position for the top 20 under 2012 standards. To do that he would need an average of 30.9 points per race, or an average finish of around 13th. Throw in bonus points for a few wins in which he leads the most laps for a maximum 48 points and his average finish could be slightly higher. A year ago, Hamlin's average finish was only 14.1 from race 11 to 26. But he won at Bristol and Atlanta and accumulated 499 points, three more than he would have needed to get into the Chase. Based on what 20th place has done so far this year Hamlin may have even more leeway. Ryan Newman is in the bubble slot with 121 points, an average finish of 24.2. Average that out over 26 races and the total is only 629.(ESPN)(3-28-2013)

  • Sadler expected to fill in for Hamlin: Elliott Sadler has been chosen as the primary sub for Denny Hamlin. All that's preventing an official announcement, as of Wednesday morning is a few details to work out with sponsor Fed Ex. Sadler, who was long pegged as the likely choice is driving full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series and was scheduled to drive a fourth Cup car in a limited schedule later this season. There are no conflicts on the Nationwide schedule that would affect Sadler until early June.(Frontstretch)(3-27-2013)

  • France takes responsibility for decision to fine Hamlin: [NASCAR CEO Brian] France has been busier than usual to start the season. He met with reigning champion Brad Keselowski in late February to discuss questionable comments the Penske Racing driver made in a newspaper article. Then came a suspension of Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements for using a racial slur in front of an MTV reporter, followed by a $25,000 fine to Hamlin for criticizing the new Gen-6 car and the quality of racing at Phoenix. France acknowledged it was primarily his decision to penalize Hamlin, and he stood by that decision. "There's always going to be, when we make decisions that are not black and white per se, we're always going to have people all over the organization that may not have made that call," France said. "But I did. I'm crystal clear with everybody about where the line is, what we can accept, and about how the sport is going today. And that is we give more latitude than any professional sport to criticize, speak their mind and say whatever they want. We encourage it, actually, including criticism that gets directed at us. But when the driver . . . begins to call out the quality of the racing or the rules packages, we have to make that call or opinions will shape what may not be reality." France met with Hamlin, who dropped his right to appeal the fine, and believes they are on the same page now.(ESPN)(3-27-2013)

  • Hamlin released from hospital UPDATE 3 - out about 6 weeks: #11-Denny Hamlin spent the night at a local hospital in the Fontana, Calif., area and was released on Monday to fly home to Charlotte, where Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates will evaluate him later in the week. Hamlin told reporters that it is too hard to say if he will be ready for the next Sprint Cup race as he walked out under his own power, according to one of his representatives. The Sprint Cup series has this weekend off, then resumes its schedule on April 7 at Martinsville Speedway. Dr. Petty declined to talk about Hamlin's case or compression fractions in general until he has met with Hamlin.(ESPN.com)(3-26-2013)
    UPDATE: Denny Hamlin walked out of Loma Linda University Medical Center on Monday night under his own power, one day after sustaining a fractured L1 vertebra in a crash at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin, wearing a thick back brace under a gray sweatshirt, had difficulty breathing as he spoke to two reporters, including one from USA TODAY Sports, upon his release. Hamlin said he immediately knew "I was in big trouble" after he felt a pop in his back following a violent collision with the wall the result of a crash triggered by contact with rival Joey Logano as the two raced for the win on the final lap. "The position I was in, I couldn't breathe at all," Hamlin said. "I'm still having a hard time breathing. Literally, when I felt a pop, I couldn't move at all and I knew I had to get flat to my back to be able to breathe again. That's why I rushed out and just laid flat on the ground to start breathing again." Hamlin, who was en route to fly home to North Carolina, said he had to be 100% straight no bending at all. Otherwise, he said, "I run out of breath." Though it's too early to tell whether Hamlin will miss any races, he seemed to understand there was a lengthy recovery in front of him. He tried to read up on the injury, he said, and nothing was very encouraging. Hamlin said he will meet with Dr. Jerry Petty near Charlotte on Wednesday or Thursday for further evaluation. "He's going to spend tomorrow looking at scans to distinguish what the next step is," Hamlin said. "We're kind of leaving the analyzing for him on what to do either surgery-wise or just stick with a brace and let it heal itself. Either way, obviously, both of them take a lot of time."(more at USA Today)
    UPDATE2: Asked specifically Monday night if Logano had tried to call him, Hamlin said, "No. I've heard from pretty much all my peers which has been humbling to say the least. It makes me really happy and keeps your spirits up when you hear from all your peers and everything," he added. "That part of it has been very encouraging." So, does he view the incident as the product of hard racing or as a part of the rivalry between the two? "I think it's a little bit of both if I had to characterize it," he said. "I really went out of my way throughout the day to give the #22 (Logano) room in a lot of places. He raced me really hard for really the entire event and obviously other guys as well. But at the end I think he saw I was going to win and wasn't going to let that happen."(FoxSports)(3-26-2013)
    UPDATE 3: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin was evaluated today by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates after suffering an L1 Compression Fracture during an accident on the final lap of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Dr. Petty determined that Hamlin will not require surgery, but will need time to properly heal, which is estimated around six weeks time. Dr. Petty will make the determination when Hamlin will be able to return to racing this season. No decision has been made on a replacement driver for Hamlin during his absence from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-26-2013)

  • Logano says he wasn't trying to wreck Hamlin: #22-Joey Logano said he did not realize #11-Denny Hamlin was involved in a hard crash when he made televised comments suggesting the driver had it coming - nor did he mean to wreck his former teammate on the last lap of Sunday's Auto Club 400. Logano told USA TODAY Sports by phone Monday that he had "no idea" Hamlin was hurt or even that he hit the wall hard when he told Fox: "He probably shouldn't have done what he did last week (at Bristol), so that's what he gets."
    "I just thought we were racing hard, you know?" Logano said Monday. "It happens. You don't ever want anyone to get hurt; you don't ever want anything to happen, especially to Denny. We were racing really hard there at the end of the race. I wish there was a SAFER barrier down there, and I wish I knew before I made any comments on TV also." Logano insisted he was not trying to wreck Hamlin "in any way, shape or form."(USA Today)(3-26-2013)

  • Hamlin injured in last lap wreck at Auto Club UPDATE2 & Statement: In a wild finish, #22-Joey Logano was leading the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway at the white flag and #11-Denny Hamlin was next to hm a few feet behind the #22. The two drivers raced hard and got into each other near turn 4, sending Logano into the outside wall and #11-Hamlin hard into the inside wall, which has no SAFER (for some reason). After climbing from the car under his own power, Hamlin laid down and was put on a stretcher and then an ambulance and taken to the infield care center. Hamlin was them taken by helicopter to a local hospital. #18 crew chew chief Dave Rogers was interviewed by SPEED's Kenny Wallace and said that he talked to team owner J.D. Gibbs and supposedly Hamlin has some back pain and was taken to the hospital as a precaution.(3-24-2013)
    UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin was airlifted to a hospital after a hard single-car crash at the inside wall on the final lap of Sunday's Auto Club 400. Hamlin was awake and alert in the infield care center before being transported, but was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. A helicopter was used due to post-race traffic. Hamlin was helped from his car after the hard hit and seemed to collapse outside his car after he had pulled the window net down. He was taken by ambulance to the infield care center, where crew chief Darian Grubb hurried inside to check on the driver. Hamlin's girlfriend, Jordan Fish, tweeted Sunday night: "Thank u everyone for your messages concerning Denny. Darian is keeping us posted. He's alert n awake, main concern is his back.(USA Today)
    JGR STATEMENT: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Denny Hamlin was involved in an accident on the final lap of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin complained of lower back pain at the track's infield medical center and was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Hamlin will remain at the hospital overnight for observation. No further updates are expected tonight.(JGR)
    JGR STATEMENT 2: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Denny Hamlin suffered a L1 Compression Fracture following an accident on the final lap of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin hopes to be released today to fly to his home in North Carolina where he will be evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates later this week.(JGR)(3-25-2013)

  • Penske defends Logano: Team owner Roger Penske staunchly defended #22-Joey Logano after his Sprint Cup driver was involved in a pair of controversies near the end of Sunday's race at Auto Club Speedway. "I'm 150% behind my driver, and I think he's a real star on the team," Penske told USA TODAY Sports in a phone interview Sunday night after returning to his home in Michigan. Logano wrecked with Denny Hamlin while racing for the lead in a final-lap incident that sent Hamlin to the hospital for overnight observation after his #11 Toyota sustained heavy right-front impact with an inside wall not covered by a SAFER barrier. Tony Stewart confronted Logano after the race because he was upset with being blocked on the bottom lane in the closing laps. "It's time he learns a lesson," Stewart said. "He's run his mouth long enough and done this double standard, but he's nothing but a little rich kid who has never had to work in his life." Racing for the lead on a restart with 10 laps remaining, Stewart felt that Logano blocked him low, forcing Stewart's Chevrolet all the way to the inside apron. The momentum shift ended up thwarting what looked to be Stewart's best finish of the season, and after drifting back, Stewart finished all the way back in 22nd place. "He has that right, he has the choice to do that. If he ever turns down across in front of me again, I don't care what lap it is, he won't make it through the other end of it," Stewart said.(USA Today))(3-25-2013)

  • Hamlin apologizes for Logano bump: #11- Denny Hamlin apologized on Friday for making two mistakes involving former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate #22-Joey Logano last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. The first mistake was bumping Logano too hard on lap 349 in retaliation for the way the Penske Racing driver raced him earlier. The bump sent Logano into a spin when he was battling Jeff Gordon for the lead and ruined any chance he had of contending for the victory. The second was for attacking Logano personally after a post-race shoving match between the crews that began when Logano approached Hamlin at his car. On the first mistake, Hamlin said he was trying to send Logano a message with a tap after Logano pinched down on him too hard earlier. "I felt bad, and really if you could watch my in-car camera you could see how frustrated I was to see he had damage to his car,'' Hamlin said before the first practice at Auto Club Speedway. "I banged the steering wheel because I was, 'Man, I didn't mean to do that.' '' Hamlin said that gave the impression he was trying to "bully'' Logano, which he was not. Then came what Hamlin called "the big mistake.''
    "At the end of the race I shouldn't have degraded him as a driver,'' he said. "It's not my job to say who's good or bad in our sport. That part probably should have been left out.'' Hamlin and Logano haven't communicated since a battle of words on Twitter Sunday night. Logano indicated the issue that began at the Daytona 500 with Hamlin criticizing his driving wasn't over. "I feel like I've told him everything I can tell him,'' Logano told ESPN.com earlier in the week. "I've got nothing to say.'' Hamlin considers the issue over because they haven't talked.(ESPN)(3-22-2013)

  • War of words between Logano, Hamlin: #22-Joey Logano was tired of getting pushed around by his former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate. So after Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway, in which #11-Denny Hamlin spun him out with about 150 laps remaining, Logano decided to let him know it. But as Logano leaned into the window of Hamlin's #11 Toyota, a shoving match broke out between the crews of both teams. Logano quickly was restrained and retreated to his Penske Racing hauler. "We've got a freaking genius behind the wheel of the 11," Logano said. "Probably the worst teammate I ever had, so I learned that now. He chose to run into the back of me. Whatever. I have a scorecard and I'm not putting up with that. What goes around come around." Asked what Logano said to him at the car, Hamlin said, "He said he was coming for me. I usually don't see him, so it's usually not a factor." NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said no penalties were expected for either driver or team.
    The feud continued on Twitter after the race with Logano writing, "Hey @dennyhamlin great job protecting that genius brain of yours by keeping your helmet on."
    Hamlin answered: "Why's that ... What would u do?"(ESPN)(3-18-2013)

  • Hamlin discusses dropping appeal of fine: From #11-Denny Hamlin's Friday media availability:
    How do you feel about having this incident concluded?
    "The biggest thing is I think that we won in the judge of the people and their opinion I think some of the peers of mine -- at least the ones that have a backbone had the nerve to stick up for what they know is right and wrong -- agreed. But what was the point in going another week or so. We've got bigger fish to fry than to argue over what I said just for $25,000 and it's better just to move on and let NASCAR get its credibility back and they're going to do that and I'm going to move on and just focus on a championship."
    Is this something that Joe Gibbs helped to mediate?
    "No, (Joe) Gibbs (team owner, Joe Gibbs Racing) really supported -- whatever I wanted to do, he was fine with it. Ultimately, I had some conversations with Brian France (NASCAR CEO) and we had a lot of the same ideas. And I think that in hindsight I really believe they (NASCAR) overreacted and I believe that they think they overreacted once they thought about it a little bit, but now we're at a point that we're good with each other and we're just going to move on from here."
    Did you drop the appeal once you knew they wouldn't suspend you?
    "I was prepared either way, honestly. They (NASCAR) are ultimately not going to want to suspend -- that would be their last resort. I was prepared to do it and I let my sponsors and everyone know that it's a possibility, so everyone was behind me to do whatever I wanted to do. But, ultimately after talking with NASCAR and (Joe) Gibbs (team owner, Joe Gibbs Racing) and everyone and really thinking about it more, it just needed to end."
    Did your conversation with Brian France end with you feeling you could talk to him?
    "That was the biggest complaint I had was that if I was Jeff Gordon, Tony (Stewart), Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. or any Hendrick (Motorsports) driver -- let's just say that -- they would have had a conversation with me before. Just to slap the fine on me and not tell me anything is what really, really bugged me a lot. That felt like I had not earned my place in this sport and I've grinded it out here for eight years and I really feel like I've done what it takes to earn the respect of both my peers and NASCAR and I felt like if I had been somebody else the outcome may have been different."(Toyota PR)(3-15-2013)

  • Hamlin drops appeal of fine: #11-Denny Hamlin tweeted Thursday afternoon, "After a lot of thought I have decided not to appeal the fine NASCAR has issued. Dragging myself, my team and NASCAR through the mud for the next 2 weeks would not be good for anyone. I firmly believe I am in the right on this issue and will stand behind my decision not to pay. I understand NASCAR will do what they feel is necessary based on my decision. Thanks to all of my fans and peers who have supported me in this decision. I look forward to putting it to rest."
    AND NASCAR announced today that the $25,000 fine assessed to driver Denny Hamlin on March 7 will be settled per Section 12-3 of the 2013 NASCAR rule book after being informed by Hamlin that he will not appeal the penalty. Hamlin was fined after the sanctioning body determined he had violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing). NASCAR considers this matter closed.(NASCAR)
    AND Section 12-3 of the NASCAR rule book allows NASCAR to collect fines from the driver points fund and/or race purse winnings.(3-14-2013)

  • Hendrick Motorsports still most valuable team according to Forbes: Hendrick Motorsports is NASCAR's most valuable team with a value of $357 million, up 2%. Hendrick is worth twice as much as second-ranked Joe Gibbs Racing. Hendrick is the only four car Sprint Cup team left and brings in $125 million in sponsor revenue a year. Lowe's extended its deal last month through 2015 as the primary sponsor of Jimmie Johnson's #48 car. Earnhardt Ganassi (ranked #8 with a value of $72 million) announced it would switch engine suppliers from Earnhardt Childress Racing to Hendrick starting in 2013. This will add to Hendrick's coffers, which are already full as NASCAR's most profitable team with an estimated operating income of $16.6 million in 2012.
    Gibbs, worth $168 million, leapfrogs Roush Fenway Racing. Gibbs got a huge boost in 2013 with the addition of 2003 Sprint Cup champ Matt Kenseth, who replaced Joey Logano in the #20 car. Gibbs has been one of the most consistent teams when it comes to selling sponsorships with all paint schemes sold ahead of the season start in 2012 and 2013. JGR signed a 30-race renewal with FedEx last year on the #11 car.
    The value of Roush is down 10% to $166 million. The team has struggled to sell sponsorships in recent years and lost Kenseth to Gibbs. Richard Childress Racing ranks No. 4 with a value of $139 million, down 6%. Childress is at a crossroad as it prepares to lose its top driver, Kevin Harvick, who signed a deal to race for Stewart-Haas Racing starting in 2014. Still to be determined is if long-time sponsor, Budweiser, will follow Harvick out the door.
    The value of Stewart-Haas is up 14% to $123 million and ranks fifth. Tony Stewart and Gene Haas are building one of the top teams in NASCAR.
    NASCAR's top nine teams are worth $143 million on average, up 1% over last year. Each of these teams are profitable by our count (some just barely) with team's cutting budgets in cases where sponsor shortfalls arise. Earnings are down 10% overall compared to 2011.(see more details and the complete list at Forbes)(3-14-2013)

  • Gibbs still supportive of Hamlin's appeal: Joe Gibbs is standing by #11-Denny Hamlin in the driver's appeal of his $25,000 NASCAR fine. But the owner of Joe Gibbs Racing doesn't have much more to say about the dispute over Hamlin's penalty for criticizing the Gen-6 race car. After watching fellow JGR driver Kyle Busch finish second in Saturday's Nationwide Series race, Gibbs said he has talked to Hamlin about the brouhaha. "We've been talking all along," Gibbs told reporters. "We're keeping our communication open with NASCAR, too. We'll just go through a process here and work our way through it." Gibbs clammed up after that, referring everybody to his organization's statement that it would support Hamlin. Hamlin is allowed to drive while appealing the fine, which he says he won't pay. NASCAR could take the fine out of his winnings.(Associated Press)(3-10-2013)

  • Hamlin fined for Phoenix post-race comments UPDATES: NASCAR has fined driver #11-Denny Hamlin $25,000 for comments he made following the March 3 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. NASCAR determined that Hamlin violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book. NASCAR issued the following statement regarding the penalty: "Following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event last Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, Denny Hamlin made some disparaging remarks about the on-track racing that had taken place that afternoon. While NASCAR gives its competitors ample leeway in voicing their opinions when it comes to a wide range of aspects about the sport, the sanctioning body will not tolerate publicly made comments by its drivers that denigrate the racing product."(NASCAR)
    Comments: NASCAR did not announce the specific comment that got Hamlin fined, but the following appears to be his primary complaint against the car after the race (per Toyota PR):
    Q: How much did you learn about the new race car today?
    Hamlin: "We learned a lot. I don't want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our generation five cars. This is more like what the generation five was at the beginning. The teams hadn't figured out how to get the aero balance right. Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you. You would have placed me in 20th-place with 30 (laps) to go, I would have stayed there -- I wouldn't have moved up. It's just one of those things where track position is everything."(3-7-2013)
    UPDATE: Denny Hamlin said on Thursday that he refuses to pay the fine that NASCAR assessed him after comments he made regarding the new Generation 6 car last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The car debuted in the Sprint Cup Series this season. "Ultimately, I'm not OK with it," Hamlin said of the penalty. "This is the most upset and angry I've been about anything in a really, really long time - anything that relates to NASCAR ... the truth is what the truth is and I don't believe in this, I'm never going to believe in it. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not going to pay the fine. If they suspend me, they suspend me. I don't care at this point."(Fox Sports)(3-7-2013)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR VP of Competition Robin Pemberton discussed the fine Thursday afternoon:
    Q. Denny Hamlin was saying he's not planned to pay the fine that he was given for his comments. What would be the procedure and how long does he have to pay?
    ROBIN PEMBERTON: He also has the ability to appeal. The fines are supposed to be paid as soon as possible, but we're not in any of those windows yet where it seems to be a problem.
    Q. Where is the limitation for what drivers can say without facing a fine if they have concerns about the car, whatever?
    ROBIN PEMBERTON: We give them quite a bit of latitude, but you can't slam your racing, you can't slam your product. That's where it crosses a line.
    Q. If Denny wants to appeal the fine, what would that process entail?
    ROBIN PEMBERTON: He has to let us know. He has to write a letter.
    Q. He can continue to compete?
    ROBIN PEMBERTON: Yes. It's like every other appeal. Over the course of time, you remember mechanics and crew chiefs, whatever, if they appeal, then they can continue to carry on business as usual until the appeal has been heard and ruled on.
    Q. Just to clarify on that. When he does appeal, does it also go to the National Stockcar Racing Commission and then to the chief appellate officer?
    ROBIN PEMBERTON: This isn't any different than an illegal part or piece.(NASCAR)(3-7-2013)
    UPDATE 3: Denny Hamlin issued the following statement Thursday night: "The short of the long of it is I believe I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined. I believe that the simple fact of us not even having a conversation about this issue before I was hit with a fine has something to say about our relationship. What I said was 1 sentence taken completely out of context. Most drivers will tell you that we constantly have our AND nascars best interest in mind when speaking. On the other hand I am a person that worked very hard from the BOTTOM to get where I am today and someone telling me that I can give my 100 percent honest opinion really bothers me. Since being fined in 2010 I have been a lot more careful about what I say to media and I felt this past weekend felt completely in my rights to give a assessment of the question asked. I feel as if today NASCAR lost one of its biggest supporters vocally of where our sport is headed. So in the end there are no winners. I said today I would not pay the fine. I stand by that and will go through the process of appealing. Trust me, this is not about the money. It's much deeper. I will now shift my focus on giving FedEx and my team what they deserve this weekend, a win."(3-7-2013)
    UPDATE 4: Statement from Joe Gibbs Racing: "We have spoken with NASCAR and will continue to keep an open dialogue with them on this matter, but we will keep those discussions between the parties involved. We will fully support Denny in his appeal process."(JGR)(3-7-2013)

  • #11 team changes engines; Hamlin to the rear: #11-Denny Hamlin will start Sunday's Sprint Cup race at the rear of the field after his Joe Gibbs Racing team changed engines in his Toyota Saturday. Hamlin qualified eighth Friday.(SPEED)(3-2-2013)

  • Sport Clips returns to sponsor Hamlin: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced today the renewal of Sport Clips Haircuts as the primary sponsor for a total of nine races during the 2013 NASCAR season - the most in the Texas-based hair care franchise's five-year history with JGR. "We have a strong partner and true brand-ambassador in Joe Gibbs Racing," said Gordon Logan, Sport Clips Founder and CEO. "Through the years, it has been exciting to see racing fans become our clients, and our clients become racing fans, through this partnership and love of the sport." The 2013 season will mark Denny Hamlin's fourth year competing for Sport Clips. Hamlin won at Atlanta Motor Speedway last season driving the #11 Sport Clips Toyota. He will drive the #11 Sport Clips Toyota in two Sprint Cup Series races this season beginning with the May 11th race at Darlington followed by the September 1st race at Atlanta. In his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR veteran Elliott Sadler brings with him 197 career Nationwide Series starts, including nine wins, 46 top-five and 86 top-10 finishes. Sadler will race for Sport Clips in seven Nationwide Series Races, including the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway on May 10th. "We'll have a lot of talent behind the wheel with Denny and Elliott! We're looking forward to an exciting season," said Logan. "We're excited to have Sport Clips continue its partnership with us at JGR," said J.D. Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. "It's been fun to watch the success of their program and how it continues to grow each season which now includes the Sprint Cup Series with Denny (Hamlin) as well as our Nationwide Series program with Elliott (Sadler)."(Joe Gibbs Racing)(2-13-2013)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Notes from the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour: the final stop on the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour was Joe Gibbs Racing: Some notes from Twitter world
    JGR officially announces multi-year extension with Kyle Busch.
    Busch says he had two serious offers from other Sprint Cup teams to leave JGR (supposedly SHR was one).
    Kyle Busch will also drive 25 Nationwide races for JGR in the #54.
    Kyle says that Joe Gibbs Racing will supply engines for KBM (Kligerman in Nationwide, Coulter & Kyle in truck)
    Denny Hamlin expects that new rear camber rules will make reliability a big topic in 2013.
    Joe Gibbs says that all JGR Cup sponsors are signed for long term deals except one (Home Depot/Husky?).
    Coach Gibbs says the 49ers will win this year's Super Bowl.
    Matt Kenseth says changing teams at the same time as learning the new #car has been beneficial.
    Elliott Sadler testing a Sprint Cup car today at New Smyrna Speedway but no Cup races set for him in 2013.
    JD Gibbs says there will be an announcement on Bubba Wallace soon.
    (from many Twitter reports/feeds)(1-24-2013)

  • Congrats Denny Hamlin...baby: per Denny Hamlin's twitter: "Introducing Taylor James Hamlin! Born Jan 20 at 20:20! Weighting 6lb 5oz and 20 inches in length. Mother is Jordan Fish.(1-21-2013)

  • Hamlin leaves Daytona test to be home for birth of his daughter: #11-Denny Hamlin spent just one day testing at Daytona International Speedway and then he had more important things to tend to. With girlfriend Jordan Fish nine months pregnant, Hamlin left Daytona Thursday night to return to their North Carolina home. Knowing that the three-day test at Daytona was scheduled around Fish's due date, the Joe Gibbs Racing team set up a plan to get its testing done in one day. The No. 11 Darian Grubb-led team went home after the test Thursday. Hamlin was among four drivers to run in a draft and had the top speed of the day at 195.712 mph.(Sporting News)(1-11-2013)

  • Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam raises $135,000: The inaugural Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam hosted by the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation, which was held October 29-30 on Daniel Island in Charleston, SC, was a major success for a first-time event, raising $135,000. The fundraising event was hosted by NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin and Hootie & the Blowfish founding member and lead guitarist Mark Bryan in partnership with Denis Gallagher, CEO of Student Transportation, Inc., and his company's philanthropic arm, the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation (STAEF). Proceeds from the two-day event were recently donated to the charitable organizations represented by hosts Denny Hamlin, Mark Bryan and STAEF, which have a common mission in creating better opportunities for children. $45,000 was donated to STAEF led by Denis Gallagher, $45,000 was also donated to Carolina Studios led by Mark Bryan, $30,000 was donated to MUSC Children's Hospital for Cystic Fibrosis research on behalf of The Denny Hamlin Foundation and another $15,000 was donated to fund other projects and donation requests from The Denny Hamlin Foundation. Dates for the 2nd Annual Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam hosted by the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation have not been set yet for 2013.()(1-11-2013)

  • Study names NASCAR's Social Media Leaders: Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and #48-Jimmie Johnson are among NASCAR's strongest and most engaging users of social media, a new social media study of the NASCAR industry finds. The study - conducted by Tuckahoe Strategies, a strategic communications firm - scored drivers, teams and select NASCAR sponsors and partners on a 20-point scale. Joe Gibbs Racing topped the charts with a Social Media Score of 15 points, Hendrick trailed by one point at 14 points and Johnson scored 13 points.
    Gibbs' online accounts comprise one of the broadest social media strategies for reaching fans of the sport. The team site, www.joegibbsracing.com, is up to date with timely features, and the homepage points to six social media platforms, including a mobile app for iPhone, Blackberry or Droid. The team maintains active social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and FourSquare. Hendrick also has an active and diverse menu of social media platforms including a mobile app. Gibbs' social media score bested Hendrick's by a single point because of its slightly more effective home page promotion of its social media platforms.
    Johnson is the most comprehensive user of social media among drivers. He reaches his audience on a broad array of platforms including: Facebook, 657,062 page likes; Twitter, 348,402 followers; YouTube, 265 subscribers; and Instagram, with an industry-leading 60,618 followers. Johnson's social media reach (the sum of all social media followers across platforms) is 1,066,347. This veritable "media machine" has a following larger than the circulation of the Los Angeles Times, which is the fourth largest newspaper in the country.
    The sport's largest audience holder and content curator across the board is NASCAR. The sanctioning body regained a voice and a direct connection to its fan base this year after repossessing control of its online assets in a January 2012 agreement with Turner Sports Interactive. NASCAR's total social media reach is an astronomical 5,044,070, more than double the daily circulation of the largest U.S. newspaper, The Wall Street Journal. In fact, NASCAR commands the industry's top position in terms of audience on Facebook likes (3,239,504), Twitter followers (841,027) and YouTube subscribers (5,430). The sanctioning body also has 1,420 followers on Pinterest and a staggering 956,689 circles on Google+.(Tuckahoe Strategies)(1-10-2013)

  • Johnson favored to win 2013 title by oddsmakers: A well-known online bookmaker has spoken, and #48-Jimmie Johnson is the 2013 favorite to win the Sprint Cup. In the betting game, it's not even close. Johnson is listed at 4-1 by Bovada . Next comes a three-way tie for No. 2 with defending champ #2-Brad Keselowski, #11-Denny Hamlin and #18-Kyle Busch all at 17-2. Even though Busch failed to make the 2012 Chase, he is viewed as the second-most likely driver to win the 2013 title. Fourth on the list is #5-Kasey Kahne at 9-1, followed by three former champions at 12-1 -- #24-Jeff Gordon, #20-Matt Kenseth and #14-Tony Stewart, the 2011 champ. #99-Carl Edwards, the 2011 runner-up when he tied Stewart for the points total but had fewer wins, gets a decent betting line despite finishing 15th last season and going winless. He's 14-1 along with #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #15-Clint Bowyer and #16-Greg Biffle. #56-Martin Truex Jr. is 16-1, and #29-Kevin Harvick has the longest odds among the 2012 Chase drivers at 20-1, probably because he's a lame-duck driver at Richard Childress Racing. Harvick moves to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. If you want to pick a real long shot, #39-Ryan Newman is listed at 50-1 along with #42-Juan Pablo Montoya. #1-Jamie McMurray, Montoya's teammate at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, is substantially better at 33-1. If you like #22-Joey Logano's chances in his first year at Penske Racing, you can get him at 40-1.(ESPN)(1-9-2013)

  • 2013 silly season notes for #11-Denny Hamlin / Joe Gibbs Racing: no major changes in any way with the #11 team. Hamlin re-signed a multi-year deal with JGR midway thru the season. After a solid 2012 season, crew chief Darian Grubb starts his second season with Hamlin after winning the championship in 2011 with Tony Stewart. FedEx returns to sponsor the majority of the 2013 races. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(1-3-2013)

2012 News

  • When FedEx Paint Schemes: Express, Ground, Freight, Office were run

    FedEx Express - orange:
    Budweiser Shootout - 2/18
    Daytona - 2/26
    Auto Club - 3/25
    Talladega - 4/22
    Pocono - 6/10
    Kentucky - 6/30
    Indiainapolis - 7/29
    Richmond - 9/8
    Martinsville - 10/28
    Homestead - 11/18

    FedEx Office - blue:
    Phoenix - 3/4
    All-Star Race, Charlotte - 5/27
    Charlotte - 5/27
    Sonoma - 6/24
    Daytona - 7/7
    Michigan - 8/19
    Dover - 9/30
    Texas - 11/4

    FedEx Freight - red:
    Las Vegas - 3/11
    Martinsville - 4/1
    Richmond - 4/28
    Dover - 6/3, Autism
    New Hampshire - 7/15
    Watkins Glen - 8/12
    New Hampshire - 9/23 Talladega - 10/7
    Kansas - 10/21

    FedEx Ground - green:
    Bristol - 3/18
    Kansas - 4/22
    Michigan - 6/17
    Pocono - 8/5
    Bristol - 8/25
    Chicago - 9/16
    Charlotte - 10/13

    FedEx Office - March of Dimes (1):
    Texas - 4/14

    Sports Clips (1):
    Darlington - 5/12
    Atlanta - 9/2

  • Hamlin Lobbied for Kenseth: #11-Denny Hamlin believes Matt Kenseth will be a perfect fit for Joe Gibbs Racing, and he made his feelings known when Kenseth started discussions with the organization. JGR announced in early September that Kenseth would drive the #20 Toyota for the organization next year. Roughly two months earlier, Roush Fenway Racing had reveled Kenseth would be leaving after 13 seasons of full-time Sprint Cup racing for that organization. "I was one that definitely pushed for Matt to come over to Gibbs, and I just think that he's really going to mesh well with me and Kyle (Busch)," Hamlin said. "I know that Kyle does a lot of short-track racing with Matt's son (Ross Kenseth), and I know that me and Matt have very similar driving styles on the race track. I look forward to that communication and just hearing about how he did things versus how we do things, and, really, that's what makes teams stronger. When Kyle came over in 2008, it was that drive that kind of pushed me to that next level --having someone come over and push you to be better. I think it's going to be no different with Matt."(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-2-2012)

  • Hamlin could join Kyle Busch and Cale Yarborough: If #11-Denny Hamlin, who has a birthday today (Nov 18th), wins the Ford EcoBoost 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he would be only the third driver to ever win a Sprint Cup Series race on their birthday. The others are Hall of Fame driver Cale Yarborough wo won twice on his birthday (March 27) at North Wilksboro Speedway in 1977 and Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1983. Kyle Busch became the second driver to win on their birthday, winning on May 2, 2009 at Richmond. FYI: Richard Petty never won a Cup race on his birthday [July 2nd] and neither did Jeff Gordon [August 4th]. Hamlin finished 24th.(11-18-2012)

  • FedEx Team Volunteers in New Jersey: Denny Hamlin and some crew members from the #11 team spent Wednesday morning as volunteers alongside FedEx employees at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey to help the ongoing relief efforts following Superstorm Sandy. Hamlin helped unload trucks full of food and other supplies donated by FedEx, and helped make a $20,000 contribution to the organization from FedEx. After unloading the trucks, Hamlin and the group organized goods already in the food bank's warehouse, preparing them to be delivered. They then loaded a truck full of Thanksgiving turkeys, and delivered them to a local food shelter in the area. In total, FedEx has pledged more than $1.5 million in donations in affected areas following the storm, and has helped deliver more than three million pounds of supplies to date. Additionally, FedEx will donate $1 for every "Pack & Ship" transaction at FedEx Office from Nov. 26 - Dec. 2, up to another $50,000, for meals and groceries to food banks in New York and New Jersey. The FedEx Express ramp in New York City and the Newark, New Jersey FedEx hub will each get special attention this weekend with their JFK and EWR code letters on the b-posts of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota. The team members at these locations will be recognized for their efforts leading up to and following Superstorm Sandy.(FedEx Racing)(11-16-2012)

  • NASCAR still monitoring Hamlin after wreck: #11-Denny Hamlin understands why NASCAR was so concerned about the hit he took during a crash earlier this week at Kansas Speedway. The accident - Hamlin's Toyota tagged the wall while testing the speedway's newly repaved track Thursday - left Hamlin feeling dizzy and disoriented. Hamlin was ruled OK by doctors and was cleared to race in Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400. But Hamlin's crash got NASCAR's attention, especially after Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s doctor advised him to sit out last week's race at Charlotte and this weekend at Kansas due to two concussions he'd recently sustained. So Hamlin has been hearing from NASCAR quite a bit over the last few days. "They're persistent," said Hamlin, who starts ninth Sunday. "They're calling and texting you before you even wake up, wanting to check up on you. They do it all the time. Really, in all types of wrecks I've been a part of this year, it's been the next day and the following day that they continue to check up on you to make sure you're feeling OK."(Charlotte Observer)(10-21-2012)

  • Hamlin wrecks in Kansas testing: UPDATE: Championship contender Denny Hamlin said he felt "slightly dizzy" and admitted that he would probably not have gone to the infield care center after a testing crash Thursday at Kansas Speedway had a NASCAR official not suggested he do so. Hamlin crashed his #11 Toyota in Turn 1 -- the same corner Dale Earnhardt Jr. hit during a tire test on Aug. 29 where he sustained the first of two concussions that is forcing him to miss his second race in a row. Hamlin said he clipped the wall with the right rear going 202 mph entering the corner, sending the car down the track. He overcorrected and hit the wall with the right side, destroying the Camry he intended to race Sunday. After seeing the car's damage, a NASCAR official suggested that Hamlin go to the infield care center. Hamlin could not recall another time he had driven to the garage and a series official suggested he go to the care center. Hamlin was asked to return to the infield care center an hour later for a re-evaluation before being cleared to drive. He was cleared after a 10-minute evaluation. Hamlin's last lap before he crashed was 181.409 mph -- his fastest lap of the session. The track qualifying record is 180.856 mph set by Matt Kenseth in October 2005. Hamlin said he did not think the attention he received after his crash was related to the prominence of concussions after Earnhardt suffered two concussions within six weeks and will miss his second consecutive race. He said it made sense to be evaluated before getting back in a car.(USA Today)(10-18-2012)
    UPDATE: Denny Hamlin said he feels "100 percent" one day after jarring practice-session accident at Kansas Speedway caused him some dizziness. "Today waking up, I was good to go,'' Hamlin said Friday afternoon after practice. "I feel 100 percent. I thought I was good yesterday and got better every hour. Now it's just business as usual for the weekend." Hamlin took a heavy impact into the wall when his #11 Toyota spun up the track in practice on Thursday. He admitted he was dizzy afterward and said he "got his bell rung."(ESPN)(10-19-2012)

  • Hamlin consulting sport psychologist about Dover: Forgive #11-Denny Hamlin if he has that far-away gaze this weekend. He's falling in love. Well, he's trying to fall in love. His affections, though, aren't toward a person but a place -- Dover International Speedway. Hamlin, who has won three of the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup races, has openly admitted that Dover is his worst track in the 10-race title Chase. Complicating Hamlin's situation is that Dover is likely the best track for points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson, who has won four of the last seven races there, including the June race. Hamlin is third in the standings, trailing Johnson by seven points. It is for such mental hurdles that Hamlin first consulted Bob Rotella, a sports psychologist, last year. As he sought advice on Dover this week, Hamlin challenged Rotella to give him something extra meaningful. Hamlin revealed a text-message exchange he had with Rotella to a handful of reporters Tuesday during a NASCAR Hall of Fame appearance. Hamlin first texted Rotella: "I need some positive influence on the week coming up. It's my worst track." Rotella responded: "Let your challenge for the week be to fall in love with this track. From the moment you arrive look at things to love about it and reasons to love it. All week look for things great and special to happen to you. Embrace the challenge of having your best attitude that you've ever had this week. Take pride in showing yourself how strong your mind is. Own your mind and own the race track that you race. Control your attitude and let your emotions own the world. Have fun." Simple enough, yet so hard to do for any driver, let alone one like Hamlin who has had two top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts there and an average finish of 24.2 during that stretch.(USA Today)(9-26-2012)

  • So what was Grubb hiding when TV showed his laptop screen: Denny Hamlin crew chief Darian Grubb wasn't too happy Sunday when ESPN attempted to show his laptop computer screen on TV near the end of Hamlin's victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Hamlin was leading with four laps remaining in the 300-lap race when an ESPN cameraman climbed onto Grubb's pit box and showed an over-the-shoulder shot of Grubb in front of his computer. Grubb then put his hand over the camera lens, and he and another crewman covered Grubb's computer screen with their hands. The reaction led to fans asking on Twitter what Grubb and his team did not want fans and TV viewers to see on his computer screen. Was he attempting to hide some sort of secret data he didn't want the world to see? "Just tire pressures, fuel mileage, race strategy, and other misc stuff," Grubb wrote on his Twitter.(Sporting News)(9-24-2012)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Captures NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win No. 100: Joe Gibbs' hard-to-fathom two-sport career has become statistically symmetrical. Consider... Three Super Bowl championships? Check. Three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships? Check. Triple-digit wins in the NFL? Check. Triple-digit wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series? Well, after two-plus decades in the sport, Gibbs can check that rare milestone off the list too. With #11-Denny Hamlin's dominant win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) reached a rare milestone, becoming only the sixth team in NASCAR Sprint Cup history to reach 100 victories. Joe Gibbs entered the series in 1992 as a one-car team with eventual series champion Dale Jarrett as his driver. Now, JGR exists as a three-car powerhouse that threatens to win another championship this season with Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contender Hamlin. Its first championship came in 2000 with Bobby Labonte. JGR would follow that up win two more titles, both with Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005). Now, the team adds another accolade to the list - 100 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories. JGR has won with six different drivers, at 23 different tracks. Below is a timeline of Gibbs' notable and milestone victories on its way to 100:
    1 - On Feb. 14, 1993, JGR won its first race - and it was on NASCAR's biggest stage, the Daytona 500. With his father Ned urging him to victory while calling the race from the CBS broadcast booth, Dale Jarrett captured his second and Gibbs' first win. JGR has won at least one race every season since.
    3 - JGR won its first Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, on May 28, 1995 with Bobby Labonte driving.
    22 - JGR won its first Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On Aug. 5, 2000, during his championship campaign, Bobby Labonte led 21 laps prior to kissing the bricks. JGR would win two more Brickyard events, both with Indiana native Tony Stewart (2005 and 2007).
    23 - The team's next win came in another of NASCAR's crown jewels - the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Labonte picked up the win again, on Sept. 3, 2000.
    50 - JGR reached milestone victory No. 50 on July 1, 2006. Tony Stewart won the Daytona night race, starting second and leading 86 laps.
    72 - On June 28, 2009, in a rain-shortened event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, JGR driver Joey Logano became the youngest winner in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history at the age of 19 years, one month and four days.
    88 - On Nov. 7, 2010, Denny Hamlin won at Texas Motor Speedway for the team's 11th victory of the year, making the 2010 season the most prolific in JGR's history.(NASCAR)(9-24-2012)

  • Hamlin wins at New Hampshire: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for his 5th win of year, 22nd career win and the 100th win for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin syarted 32nd after leading all practices but qualifying 32nd. Hamlin led 193 of the 300 laps.
    #48-Johnson finished 2nd followed by #24-Gordon (pole sitter), #15-Bowyer, #5-Kahne, #2-Keselowski, #14-Stewart, #20-Logano, #55-Vickers and #39-Newman.
    #49-Johnson takes the points lead with 2096, a lead of 1 point over #2-Keselowski.
    There were 4 cautions for 17 yellow flag laps. There were 17 lead changes among 10 drivers. The average speed was 116.810mph.
    The estimated attendence was 98,000 up from 95,000 in July and 95,000 last September.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the New Hampshire Race Results page (pdf) and the official race and points rundown on the Official New Hampshire Race & Points Report.(9-23/24-2012)

  • What happened to Hamlin in qualifying: #11-Denny Hamlin, who was fastest in Friday's lone practice with a speed of 134.820mph, went out last in qualifying for the Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and only ran a fast lap of 131.633mph and will start 32nd. #24-Gordon had just gone out before him and ran a pole-winning lap of 134-911mph. From a Toyota Racing Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes PR:
    Q) What happened during your qualifying lap?
    Hamlin: "I knew something was wrong. It looked like we just -- we ended up having race pressures and we didn't put our qualifying pressures in, so that was a tough one. I knew something was really, really wrong because we were just -- the car was bobbing down real bad -- but simple mistake. We'll rebound from it. We're quick enough. We'll get them, but that's frustrating. Holy cow -- I knew something had to be wrong. If there was nothing wrong than I would really be shaking my head. At least we identified what the problem was."(Toyota Racing)(9-21-2012)

  • Hamlin going for triple repeat: #11-Denny Hamlin goes for his third consecutive Sprint Cup victory on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. Hamlin has won twice at the track in 2009 and 2010. #48-Jimmie Johnson was the last driver won three Sprint Cup races in a row when he won four straight during the Chase in 2007 winning at Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix.(9-8-2012)

  • Denny Hamlin Featured in New ESPN NASCAR Commercial: After winning his second consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, #11-Denny Hamlin hit the airwaves in a different way this week as the star of a new NASCAR promotional commercial airing across ESPN networks. Hamlin, who will compete in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at his home track in Richmond in an event that will air live on ABC, is featured in the fourth and final spot in ESPN's humorous "Nothing Beats First Place" marketing campaign that was launched in mid-July. Drivers Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski were featured in the previous three spots. In the new spot, Hamlin endures several painful episodes, including pulling on a wool sweater over a massive sunburn and finding out his favorite Mexican restaurant has become a year-round Christmas store, but finds that none are worse than losing on the racetrack. Wieden + Kennedy New York is the creative agency for the campaign. To preview the spot goto to ESPN's YouTube page.(ESPN)(9-5-2012)

  • Hamlin wins at Atlanta: #11-Denny Hamlin won the AdvoCare 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his 4th win of year [the most in the series this season] and 21st career win. Hamlin is the first back-to-back winner of the 2012 season. It is also the 201st win for the car #11, the most all time, now 3 wins over the #43 car.
    The race was won under a green-white-checkered finish after a late caution on lap 320. #56-Truex Jr. has a 2.6 second lead over #24-Gordon when the caution came out, but Hamlin won the race off pit road and Hamlin won and Truex Jr. spun his tires and finished 4th.
    #24-Gordon finished 2nd followed by #2-Keselowski, #56-Truex Jr., #29-Harvick, #18-Busch, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #27-Menard, #17-Kenseth and #55-Martin.
    #10-Danica Patrick finished 29th, tying her career best in her fifth Sprint Cup race of the season.
    The points leader, #16-Biffle, struggled and finished 15th, but keeps the points lead, now down to 7 points over #88-Earnhardt Jr.
    The top nine in points are all locked in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. 10th in points, #14-Stewart, clinched at least a wild card spot. So at Richmond nest weekend, two spots are up for grabs, either two wildcard spots or 10th and one wildcard spot.
    #14-Stewart, the pole winner, led the first 8 laps, then fell back and finished 22nd, down a lap.
    There were 6 cautions for 31 yellow flag laps. There were 18 lead changes among 7 drivers. The average speed was 142.020mph.
    The estimated attendance was 90,300 which is up from last years 87,600 which was the crowd on Sunday last year but the race was postponed until Tuesday, which ran in front of a crowd of 29,700.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Atlanta Race Results page (pdf) and the official race and points rundown on the Official Race & Points Report.(9-2/3-2012)

  • Sports Clips returns to sponsor Hamlin: This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Sport Clips returns as the primary sponsor of Denny Hamlin's #11 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Toyota for the second time this season. Early this season Sport Clips sponsored the #11 Toyota at Darlington Raceway where Hamlin drove a retro paint scheme in honor of Cale Yarborough's induction in to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Hamlin started the race eighth and finished second.(JGR), see images of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2012)

  • Hamlin wins an extra $10,000 for charity: Call it the $10,000 dance. The signature driver introductions before Saturday's Night Race had a little extra pizzazz as the 43 competitors vied to be chosen as the top act through a fan vote with legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer MC'ing the festivities. Before he won the race, #11-Denny Hamlin won the crowd's affections - and $10,000 for the charity of his choice - by showing off his dance moves for the second straight Cup event at BMS, this time wiggling through the "Wobble" dance to the namesake song by V.I.C. #14-Tony Stewart also drew plenty of cheers by channeling the driver voted the sport's most popular nine straight times. "Hey, I'm Dale Earnhardt Jr.," Stewart said during his introduction. "Have a good time tonight." #18-Kyle Busch drew his usual chorus of boos when he stepped on the track, entering to the song "Rowdy Busch" written in his honor by NASCAR rapper Raytona 500.(Bristol Herald Couirer)(8-27-2012)

  • Win 200 for #11: #11-Denny Hamlin's win in the Irwin Tools Night Race Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway was car #11's 200th win in the Sprint Cup Series. This win is now 2 wins ahead of the iconic #43 for all-time wins in Sprint Cup Series history for a car number. Richard Petty, who drove the #43 for most of his 200 wins, actually won 192 races running the #43 and 8 in other car numbers [#41 & #42]. The car number in third is the car #3 with 97 wins.(8-25-2012)

  • Hamlin wins at Bristol: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Irwin Tools Night Race Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 3rd win of year and 20th career win. It is also the 200th win for the car #11, the most all time, 2 wins over the #43 car.
    #48-Johnson finished 2nd followed by #24-Gordon, #55-Vickers, #9-Ambrose, #18-Busch, #15-Bowyer, #20-Logano, #5-Kahne and #27-Menard.
    #10-Danica Patrick finished 29th after a late race accident on lap 434, Patrick was running 19th on the lead lap before the wreck.
    The points leader, #16-Biffle, struggled and finished 19, but keeps the points lead, 11 points over #48-Johnson.
    #16-Biffle, #48-Johnson and #88-Earnhardt Jr. have clinched a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
    #13-Mears, who started first after qualifying was canceled due to rain, led the first 26 laps and finished 21st, a lap down.
    There were 13 cautions for 87 yellow flag laps. There were 22 lead changes among 13 drivers. The average speed was 84.402mph.
    The estimated attendence was 145,000 down from last years 156,000.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Bristol Race Results page (pdf) and the official race and points rundown on the Official Race & Points Report.(8-25/26-2012)

  • Gibbs suing sponsor for non-payment: Joe Gibbs Racing was supposed to have Trans-Lux on the Sprint Cup car of #11-Denny Hamlin later this year but the company allegedly hasn't paid for its sponsorship of JGR, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this month. Trans-Lux, which manufactures video display boards, including scoreboards for everything from high school fields to arenas, sponsored Joey Logano in his Nationwide Series win at California earlier this season. According to a news release at the time, the sponsorship would move to Hamlin's Cup car for one race this fall 2012 and also included access to NFL Hall of Fame coach and team owner Joe Gibbs. The two-page lawsuit, filed by JGR on Aug. 3 in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte, does not list the amount of the sponsorship deal, which was signed in 2011. It alleges that Trans-Lux "breached the contract by failing to make various payments, when due."(Sporting News)(8-17-2012)

  • Congrats: #11-Denny Hamlin announced Friday at Pocono that his girlfriend, Jordan Fish, is pregnant:
    Do you have some news to announce today? "I've been excited for a little while. I just want to let everyone know that me and Jordan (Fish) are expecting next January, and excited about that. It's been a long time coming, so it's going to be exciting to be a dad."
    What are your thoughts on fatherhood and how were you raised by your dad? "Hopefully, half of what my dad was would be good. My family has done a lot for me to get to this point obviously, and just all of the sacrifices and all that they've gone through. My dad tells me all of the time that some of the best times he had is just carrying me around in his pickup truck every day taking me to work with him and things like that. It's going to be a great experience and so I'm really excited about it and really just excited to be a part of it. For my parents to have grandkids is all going to be good. Everything works great, things happen and we're excited about the timing. It's going to be in January, so it's the off -season so all of that seems to be aligning perfectly for us. My parents and all live a mile or two down the road, so they're going to get to visit all of the time. It's going to be a great time over these next six month s to a year."
    Have you set a wedding date? "Especially now that all of this is going on and you want to be patient and everything. I am 31, so I consider myself pretty patient if I haven't been married yet. There's no reason to rush into it right now especially with everything that is going on. We've obviously got a busy six months ahead of us."(Toyota Racing PR)(8-3-2012)

  • Hamlin quotes about pit stop mis-communication: Toyota Camry driver #11-Denny Hamlin (second) was the top-finishing Toyota driver in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Hamlin led the field five times for a race-high 150 laps (of 301) -- after starting third. Comments from Hamlin after the race:
    How hard were you driving during the closing laps?
    "That's all I had. That's as hard as I can drive and just came up about five car lengths too short. Trust me, if I could have got to him (Kasey Kahne), I would have made it real interesting. I just didn't have enough there at the end and it's all we could do. We made our bed by taking those four tires. Darian (Grubb, crew chief) wanted to take two (tires) -- I told him I just needed tires and that was it. He took it that I needed four tires. It was just a little miscommunication that turned into a second-place finish. You never know what could have happened on that last restart if we were taking two (tires). The 5 (Kahne) still may have been better, you never know. We obviously had a great car there at the end and made it interesting at least for the fans."
    How did the final pit stop impact your car?
    "It made our car faster than it already was today, but you can't overcome over a straightaway that we were back -- I think probably six seconds at one time. We just didn't have enough laps was the bottom line. We just came up short. It's days like these that you can just build on. We're going to be back here in just a few months when it really counts and that's when you want to win -- so we know we have something to race him with."
    Did you think you could win the race after the four tire pit stop?
    "You try to be as optimistic as possible, but you know in your head that was a death sentence basically for us. I honestly didn't think that we would get back to where we did -- Kasey (Kahne) stretched out so far on that lead when we were about 10th. I was thinking, top-five and then I was thinking I could get to the top-three and then we made some good ground up there at the end. Needed four or five more laps -- just needed to get within striking distance because I was going to rough him up."
    Were you frustrated following the miscommunication about tires?
    "They gave me a fast car -- there's days when you're not as good and you finish second and you're overjoyed. Today, you finish second and you're disappointed because you've got a dominant car. They gave me a new package this time around. We dominated all the practices and it showed in the race what we had. It's part of it. I would have loved to get win 200 for #11. That part of it is frustrating that we can't break through and get that. We're getting close."(Toyota Racing)(7-16-2012)

  • Hamlin says back will be fine: #11-Denny Hamlin said Thursday his back is feeling fine and he doesn't expect any issues this weekend at New Hampshire. Hamlin missed practice last week at Daytona and sat out the Nationwide Series race while receiving treatment for back spasms. He said he's had torn and bulging disks for some time, and may someday need surgery on his back. "It's a lot better. I worked on doing some rehab with the back, I've had this episode happen once or twice in the last four years," he said. "It's taken about a week to get over it. Really it was last Monday that set it off. Right at the start of this week the spasms started subsiding. It is feeling a lot better."(Associated Press)(7-13-2012)

  • It's a girl for Darian and Yolanda Grubb: Darian Grubb, crew chief for #11-Denny Hamlin, and his wife Yolanda welcomed a baby girl Monday morning. Gabriella joins big brother Gavin.(7-10-2012)

  • Hamlin missed Thursday practices because of sore back: UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin will skip Sprint Cup practice Thursday because of a sore back. His JGR teammate, Joey Logano, will take Hamlin's car out Thursday, splitting time during the 4 p.m.-5:20 p.m. and 6:35 p.m.-8 p.m. ET sessions, which are the only practices scheduled for the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday. Drivers typically don't practice during both of the entire sessions because they want to make sure their engines are fresh and so they don't wreck their primary cars. JGR officials said Wednesday that they didn't expect to have a standby driver for Hamlin, who is fifth in the Cup standings and must start the race Saturday in order to earn the points for the event. Hamlin already has decided not to run the Nationwide Series race Friday.(Sporting News)(7-5-2012)
    UPDATE: Denny Hamlin spoke to the media Thursday about his back:
    What is wrong with your back?
    "There are a few things. There are some torn disks and there's some bulging disks. There's a lot of different things that's just happened over time, and it's just gotten progressively worse. I noticed -- Kentucky is not the smoothest of race tracks that we've gone to, and with our aggressive setups nowadays , evidentially took its toll on us and the next day it got real tight by the end of the day, and then I sat down for dinner and couldn't get up. I've had a history of back spasms now for probably four years and it just flared up again. This is about as bad as it was at its worse in 2008 or so. I'm just now starting to get mobile again and being able to get around. We don't want to set any of that back by sitting down any longer than I have to."
    How long does it take to rehab and strengthen your back?
    "It's all going to be based off of my feel really. I think that I really feel like, by say Monday or Tuesday , that I'll feel exactly the way I was before last week. I've always had back pain. Unfortunately I inherited it from my dad. It's one of the bad qualities I did get from him. It's just one of those things that anytime I play an activity, it doesn't matter what it is, even if I go for a run, I've always had back problems afterwards -- stiffness and things like that."
    Did your doctor tell you if you'd eventually need surgery for your back? "Years down the road, he said. What we're trying to cover up is basically just stuff that can be helped with just training and things like that. I'm just going to do more physical therapy to specifically work on that because I really haven't in my training regimen that much here lately -- worked on back issues so now we're going to shift that focus to that."(Toyota Motorsports)(7-6-2012)

  • Hamlin working on contract extension UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing could have a new Sprint Cup contract to announce within the next week, and it's not the driver everyone has been talking about. #11-Denny Hamlin is in final negotiations with JGR and sponsor FedEx on an extension of his deal, which runs through the 2013 season. "I think I'm up at the end of next year, but I know where my future is, and that's at Gibbs," Hamlin told USA Today Sports on Wednesday. "FedEx knows who they want driving their car. We typically try to do our deals together as a partnership, because that's what it is between the three of us. As long as FedEx likes me, I know I want to be with Gibbs. We're to all working together to solidify that for years to come. I think it'll be done within a week. Everything but the ink on the paper is pretty much done. Everything is pretty much locked in, and we know where we're going to be for the foreseeable future."(USA Today)(6-28-2012)
    UPDATE: Denny Hamlin tweeted Saturday evening, "IT'S OFFICIAL. I've signed an extension with @JoeGibbsRacing. Happy to know where my future is. Excited for tonight and beyond with my team."(6-30-2012)

  • Hamlin to Visit Alaska: #11-Denny Hamlin will visit the FedEx Express Hub in Anchorage for a special meet-and-greet with FedEx team members at the facility on Monday, June 25. While there, Hamlin will also meet current Iditarod Champion Dallas Seavey and learn the sport of mushing. The afternoon will conclude with a 100-yard dog sled race between the NASCAR star and Seavey. The FedEx Express Hub in Anchorage employs more than 1,350 FedEx Express team members, plus a staff of 150 regulatory professionals. With strategic proximity by air to North America, Europe and Asia, the FedEx Hub in Anchorage connects customers to more than 220 countries and territories on six continents including major distribution and population centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and the emerging markets of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and many other Asian cities.(JGR)(6-20-2012)

  • JGR working on engine issues: Joe Gibbs Racing experienced some highs and lows at Pocono Raceway a week ago with #20-Joey Logano winning the race but teammate #18-Kyle Busch suffering engine failure. On Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, it was all lows. Busch suffered another engine failure. #11-Denny Hamlin was involved in a wreck and then had to escape a fire when his car went up in flames. And Logano also crashed. On the day, Busch was 32nd, Hamlin 34th and Logano 35th. "I keep thinking to myself, I'm looking for something easy (to do) and I'm running out of time," said team owner Joe Gibbs, a retired NFL coach. "This certainly isn't it. It was a tough day for us." For Busch, it was his third engine issue in as many weeks. JGR merged its engine department with Toyota Racing Development after last season. All the engines are built at TRD in California and then shipped to JGR, which handles the final tuning and race weekend management. Busch's problems haven't been the same issue each week, but that can be even more exasperating for the team as it tries to fix multiple issues. Gibbs said the team knew what happened to the engines at Dover and Pocono.(Sporting News)(6-20-2012)

  • Special scheme for Hamlin at Dover: When #11-Denny Hamlin takes to the track for Sunday's "FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks" NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, fans will be treated to a specially designed paint scheme just for the Monster Mile that shows support for Autism Speaks. This will be the second straight year Hamlin has run a special paint scheme for Autism Speaks at Dover, and just another component in the now six-year partnership between Autism Speaks and the track. Also, the first 11,000 fans through the gate at the FedEx 400 will receive a mini-diecast #11 car that also serves as a FedEx Office coupon. Hamlin will be on hand representing FedEx and Autism Speaks the night before his race during the pep rally for the NASCAR Unites Track Walk and Sunoco Free Fuel 5K Run, set to take place immediately after Saturday's Nationwide Series race. The driver will help rally the walk from the SPEED stage in the FanZone before the event begins.(Dover International Speedway), see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(5-31-2012)

  • JTG & JGR also re-sign with Toyota: Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing announced new multiyear extensions with Toyota on Tuesday. Lee White, the president of Toyota Racing Development, said all three teams will be with Toyota "for a long time to come." The announcement was made at TRD's Salisbury, N.C., shop where the re-designed 2013 Camry was introduced. It came amid speculation that Dodge, which loses anchor Penske Racing to Ford after this season, might target JGR. White admitted that one of Toyota's organizations was "ripe for the picking by one of our fellow manufacturers." "All have agreements with Toyota and TRD that extend beyond two more years," White said. "Rest assured, we enjoy our partners, we value our partners, and we expect to be competing with our partners on this dance floor for a long time." JGR owner Joe Gibbs said he never had conversations with Dodge.(ESPN)(5-23-2012)

  • Hamlin honoring Yarborough at Darlington: Adding to the history surrounding the #11 team this weekend at Darlington Raceway, Denny Hamlin will take it a step further as he steps out in a retro firesuit and pilots a retro Sport Clips Toyota. The special Sport Clips Toyota retro paint scheme will honor Cale Yarborough and his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Of the 199 wins for the #11 car, Yarborough leads all drivers with 55 of those wins. Hamlin has earned 19 wins in the #11 car.(JGR), see an image of the car on the #11 team paint schemes page.(5-9-2012)

  • JGR close to extension with Toyota: Joe Gibbs Racing plans to sign a long-term extension with Toyota within the next month, ending any speculation it could move to Dodge. "We're working on that," JGR president J.D. Gibbs told ESPN.com on Sunday after Denny Hamlin's victory at Kansas Speedway. "We'll be with Toyota for a long time to come." Dodge has been looking for a team to anchor its 2013 program since Penske Racing announced earlier this year it would leave the manufacturer for Ford next season. JGR, since its contract with Toyota is up after this season and because the organization has the infrastructure to build its own engines, became a natural target. Gibbs said that is not a consideration (ESPN)(4-23-2012)

  • Hamlin wins at Kansas: #11-Denny Hamlin won the STP 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway for his 2nd win of the year, 1st at Kansas and his 19th career win. It is the first win for Toyota at Kansas. The win for car #11, is the 199th win, one ahead of the #43 car, which has 198 wins [Richard Petty won races in cars other than the #43].
    #56-Truex Jr., who led the most laps, finished 2nd followed by #48-Johnson, #17-Kenseth, #16-Biffle, #29-Harvick, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kahne, #99-Edwards and #18-Busch
    Pole sitter, #22-Allmendinger, had engine problems anf finished 32nd, after leading 44 laps.
    There were only 3 cautions for 18 yellow flag laps, a new record [was 5 and 23 laps]. The race speed average was 144.122mph, breaking the race record set by Greg Biffle in Oct 2010 of 138.077mph. There were 14 lead changes among 9 drivers.
    The estimated attendence was 75,000, down from 80,000 in 2011.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Kansas Race Results page (pdf) and the official rundown on the Official Race Report.(4-23-2012)

  • Hamlin racing for a cause at Texas: Denny Hamlin will race a special #11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes Toyota paint scheme this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. FedEx has donated a paint scheme to the organization in each of the past five seasons to help raise awareness for March for Babies walks that occur in 900 communities nationwide -- including the Dallas/Fort Worth-area -- in late-April. In addition, Hamlin will be accompanied by a special guest at the track -- six-year-old Kieran Wittstruck. Kieran was born two months premature, but has grown into a healthy young boy with help from the March of Dimes. The FedEx Office Texas North Sales Team will be recognized with its code "7372" on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Texas North is the leading Sales team in the annual FedEx President's Club program, and attributes its success to its focus on creating solutions to meet their customers' needs.(FedEx Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(4-12-2012)

  • Hamiln caddies for Bubba Watson at Masters Par 3 contest: Even though it was just the annual Par 3 Contest at the Masters, big-hitting Bubba Watson brought a driver. His caddie Wednesday was his NASCAR racing pal and fellow left-hander, Denny Hamlin. Hamlin, the 2010 Sprint Cup Series runner-up, met Watson that year when they played golf together with their agents in Arizona. "My agent said Bubba is a lefty, too, so you'll have to go out there and play," Hamlin said. "So I was like, 'Of course, I'd love to do that.' So we went out there and played. Our personalities are kind of the exact same, so it was a very easy friendship right from the get go." Hamlin also loves golf. He plays at least a couple of times a week despite hectic races and promotional appearances. Hamlin said a good score for him for 18 holes is in the low 80s. On the last hole, Watson hit into tee shot over water to within about 20 feet of the hole on the fringe of the green. Hamlin took the birdie putt. He missed it just right, about a foot past the hole. Turning his back to the hole for the next putt, he tapped the ball backwards between his legs with one hand and into the cup as the crowd cheered.(USA Today)(4-5-2012)

  • Hamlin wins at Phoenix: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Subway Fresh Fit 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway for his 1st win of the year and 18th of his career. He also gets his first win with new crew chief Darian Grubb. #29-Harvick made a late charge for the lead but ran low on fuel. He held on to finish 2nd followed by #16-Biffle, #48-Johnson, #2-Keselowski, #18-Busch, #56-Truex, Jr., #24-Gordon, #55-Martin, and #20-Logano. #14-Stewart shut his car off during a late caution and was unable to get it refired. He lost 2 laps and finished 22nd.
    There was 7 cautions for 16 laps. There were 25 lead changes among 15 drivers. The estimated attendence was 76,000, up from 75,000 in 2011.
    See race results, awards, money won and more on the Phoenix Race Results page (pdf).(3-4-2012)

  • Several treated for smoke inhalation at Joe Gibbs Racing: Several people were treated for smoke inhalation at Joe Gibbs Racing in Huntersville Tuesday afternoon, officials said. According to Huntersville police, some machinery at the racing compound caught fire. Firefighters were called in to battle the blaze around 2:45 p.m. The fire is under control, fire officials said. Medic officials said units responded to the fire, but had not yet transported anyone. No one has commented on what caused the fire or how much damage was done as a result of the fire. Almost a year ago, a similar fire happened at the facility that caused two people to be treated for smoke inhalation. According to officials, the 2011 fire started in an engine dyno during a test.(WSOC)(1-31-2012)
    UPDATE: A piece of equipment in the machine shop caught fire today at our Joe Gibbs Racing headquarters in Huntersville, NC. The fire department was called and the fire was quickly contained and extinguished. A few of our employees received treatment on site for issues related to smoke inhalation. All employees were able to return to work within the hour to continue preparations for the 2012 NASCAR season.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(1-31-2012)

  • Sport Clips to sponsor Hamlin at Darlington: Sport Clips Haircuts will sponsor a total of eight races during the 2012 NASCAR season, including the Sprint Cup Series race in Darlington with the #11 Sport Clips Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin and seven additional Nationwide Series races. This is the fourth year Sport Clips has been a sponsor with JGR and the eight total races (seven Nationwide and one Cup) is the most the organization has ever sponsored in a single season.In addition to the Darlington Sprint Cup Series race, Sport Clips will appear on JGR's #18 and #20 Nationwide Series Toyota a total of seven times in 2012 with drivers Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(1-18-2012)

  • Several drivers getting new spotters: In addition to getting adjusted to new personnel on their teams, several drivers will be working with new spotters when testing opens Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Jeff Dickerson, who has spotted for #24-Jeff Gordon the last couple of years, left to pursue an opportunity in racing that will give him more time with his family. He has not announced where he is going.
    • Eddie D'Hondt, who had won 39 races across all NASCAR series with #18-Kyle Busch, will move to Hendrick Motorsports to work as Gordon's spotter.
    • Todd Hirschman, who was spotter for AJ Allmendinger, will replace D'Hondt as Busch's spotter.
    • Busch isn't the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver to have a new spotter for 2012 as two spotters whose drivers have not announced 2012 rides have found new gigs - Chris Lambert, who was the spotter for Brian Vickers, will replace Curtis Markham as spotter for #11-Denny Hamlin and Rocky Ryan, who was spotter for David Ragan, will replace Joey Civali as spotter for #20-Joey Logano.
    • Chris Osborne, who was spotter for Kurt Busch at Penske Racing, will start the season spotting for Allmendinger while Busch will use his new boss - Phoenix Racing general manager Steve Barkdoll - as his spotter.
    • #15-Clint Bowyer, who has moved from Richard Childress Racing to Michael Waltrip Racing, will go to the test with MWR general manager Ty Norris as his spotter.
    • Kevin Hamlin, who was Bowyer's spotter, will remain at RCR and work with Ty Dillon in the Camping World Truck Series.
    • #43-Aric Almirola will use Tyler Green as his spotter. Green spotted for Almirola at JR Motorsports and will now spot for him at RPM.(Scene Daily)(1-11-2012)

2011 News

  • Ford out as Hamlin's crew chief: UPDATE 3 - Grubb in: Mike Ford was let go Tuesday as crew chief for #11-Denny Hamlin after a disappointing season in which the duo failed to contend for the championship. "I'm kind of relieved," Ford told The Associated Press. "It had been dragging on for so long, I'm actually relieved there's finally a resolution." Joe Gibbs Racing team owner Joe Gibbs met with championship-winning crew chief Darian Grubb [formerly of #14-Tony Stewart] last week in Las Vegas, the day after the season-ending awards ceremony. Grubb has also toured the JGR facility. Ford said JGR officials made no mention of Grubb in telling Ford he was out late Tuesday.(Associated Press), no word on Mike Ford's plans.(12-6-2011)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Mike Ford has been released from his duties as crew chief for its #11 Sprint Cup Series team. "Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing appreciates what Mike has done for our organization over the past six seasons as crew chief with our #11 team," said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We've decided it was best to make a change with the team now to allow Mike the opportunity to pursue other opportunities." There will be no immediate announcement regarding a replacement crew chief for the #11 team.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(12-6-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Darian Grubb says he's close to announcing his plans for 2012. The 2011 Sprint Cup championship crew chief attended Tuesday night's Stocks-for-Tots fundraising event at the NASCAR Technical Institute and said he hopes to reveal his plans by the end of the week. "I'm hoping to get it all ironed out by the end of the week because we have to get things rolling for 2012, and get things going no matter where I go." With today's announcement of the departure of Mike Ford as crew chief for the No. 11 FedEx Toyota and driver Denny Hamlin, the open slot at Joe Gibbs Racing is one possibility for Grubb. "It's all still rumors at this point," Grubb said. "I've talked to a lot of people and I have narrowed down my list a little bit and I still haven't made any decisions myself. Hopefully, by the end of the week we'll have some decisions made and get some announcements out there."(Motor Racing Network)(12-7-2011)
    UPDATE 3: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Darian Grubb has been named crew chief for its #11 FedEx Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. "Darian is a great addition to our organization and person to lead our #11 FedEx team," said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Obviously he has proven the ability to guide a team to a championship and we are excited to have him working with Denny (Hamlin) toward achieving that goal here at Joe Gibbs Racing." Grubb is coming off an impressive championship run with driver Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing which included winning five of the 10 Chase races en route to capturing the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. He spent the past three seasons as crew chief for Stewart on the No. 14 car after the driver left JGR to start his own race operation. Prior to joining Stewart-Haas Racing, Grubb spent six years with Hendrick Motorsports; rising through the organization's engineering ranks and gaining invaluable crew chief experience. "I'm thrilled to join Joe Gibbs Racing," said Grubb. "The chance to work with Denny is something I'm excited about. When you sit down with Joe and J.D. Gibbs you can't help but be excited about this opportunity and the team aspects of JGR. There is no question about the level of support you get here and I'm looking forward to working with everyone across the entire organization."(Joe Gibbs Racing)(12-9-2011)

  • Hamlin has wins in all three series: When #11-Denny Hamlin won the Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday, October 29th at Martinsville Speedway, he became the 23rd driver to win at least one races in each of the NASCAR National Series: Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series. See the list on my All-Time Winners page.(10-30-2011)

  • Denny Hamlin to run Martinsville truck race for Kyle Busch: Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that Denny Hamlin will drive the team's #18 Tundra in the Kroger 200 Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway Saturday, Oct. 29. Toyota and Traxxas, the leading manufacturer of hobby-class radio-controlled vehicles, will serve as co-primary sponsors. Hamlin has posted five top-10 finishes in 11 career Truck Series starts, including two top 10s in four starts at Martinsville. His career-best result behind the wheel of a truck was a third-place finish in the 2008 E-Z Go 200 at Atlanta.(Kyle Busch Motorsports PR)(10-21-2011)

  • Dollar General leaves Turner Motorsports; headed to JGR? UPDATE - Official: Turner Motorsports announced Tuesday that Reed Sorenson, who is currently third in the Nationwide Series standings, is out as driver of the #32 Dollar General Chevy. Brian Vickers will assume driving duties from Sorenson beginning this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Turner offered no reason why Sorenson has been sidelined despite the driver currently sitting third in the Nationwide Series points standings. "I'm pretty confused right now," Sorenson said. "I really don't know what's going on right now. I'm trying to figure some stuff out and get through this weekend. It's hard on me, it's hard on the guys that work on this car and where we finish in points. So it's a bad deal." The announcement comes on the same day that Turner Motorsports acknowledged that Dollar General was leaving at the end of the year. Dollar General is expected to be a limited sponsor on one of Joe Gibbs Racing's Sprint Cup cars and as a primary sponsor in the Nationwide Series. Calls to J.D. Gibbs were not returned.(FoxSports)(10-5-2011)
    UPDATE: The sponsorship picture at Joe Gibbs Racing is set to undergo a vast change next season. At a news conference Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dollar General is expected to announce will greatly increase its involvement in NASCAR, sponsoring both Sprint Cup and Nationwide series teams at JGR in 2012. Among the changes:
    - Dollar General will become the primary sponsor on driver Joey Logano's #20 Toyota in the Cup series for 10 to 12 races in 2012.
    - Dollar General will become the primary sponsor on JGR's #11 Nationwide Series team driven by Brian Scott.
    - The company will also be the primary sponsor for several races for JGR's #18 and #20 Nationwide teams.
    Dollar General will likely also continue its involvement with the Truck series team owned by JGR driver Kyle Busch, sources said. A JGR spokesman declined to comment on Tuesday when asked about the sponsorship changes. The move means Home Depot, which has been a primary sponsor in the Cup series with JGR since 1999, will relinquish roughly a third of the races on the #20 next season.(Charlotte Observer)(10-11-2011)
    UPDATE: Dollar General announced its new sponsorship agreement with Joe Gibbs Racing that includes contenders in both the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series in 2012. Dollar General also announced plans to continue its Camping World Truck Series sponsorship with Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2012. Dollar General will become the primary sponsor of JGR's #20 Toyota Camry, driven by Joey Logano, for 12 Sprint Cup races. In addition, Dollar General will be the primary sponsor of JGR's #11 Toyota, driven by Brian Scott, for a full season in the Nationwide Series. In 10 Nationwide races, Dollar General will also support an additional JGR car, either #18 driven by Kyle Busch or #20 driven by Logano. In the Camping World Truck Series, Dollar General will return for 10 races with KBM. The #18 truck will be driven by Busch.(Dollar General PR)(10-13-2011)

  • Hamlin looking to 2012: from a Toyota Racing transcript of #11-Denny Hamlin meeting with the media at Dover:
    Q) What is your outlook after two races in the Chase?
    Hamlin: "We definitely are in a position now (12th) to where we can kind of relax and have some fun and try to win some races from here on out. That's the important, number one priority for us right now is to kind of get back on track before the year is over."
    Q) Will the Phoenix test [Oct 4-5] be more for November or 2012?
    Hamlin: "I would say probably 2012 more than anything for us. We've got some different packages and stuff that we're going to work on. Ultimately we're going to go each week and try to win that given week. We're going to be trying wholesale stuff more so than just fine tuning to that race track in specific."(Toyota Racing)(10-1-2011)

  • Hamlin discusses his crew chief: in part from a NASCAR Cam Video Teleconference Transcript: with #11-Denny Hamlin on September 27, 2011, an Interview with Denny Hamlin, currently 12th in the Sprint Cup Series Chase Points standings:
    Q. You obviously had a tough break at New Hampshire running out of fuel, a decision that comes in part from the guy on top of the pit box. I was just wondering how you would characterize your relationship with Mike Ford right now and how it's handled this year of ups and downs, and also, what's the one thing you guys really need to improve on in the last eight races, the communication between each other, to be even more competitive and be up there contending for wins?
    DENNY HAMLIN: Well, we all know this is a performance business, and obviously you've got to be competitive and contend for race wins so everyone feels good about their job. I feel like Mike is the guy for me. I feel like he's done a great job. He won me eight races last year. Some of the things that we've had go wrong this year are crew chief related, some of them are not. Most of them are not. Some of them are driver related. It weighs on all of our shoulders equally, and I feel like he's kind of received a bit of a bad rap because of that.
    But I feel like he's the reason -- kind of the backbone of this race team, and obviously if you made a change, it would take a long time to get back to where I feel like we're capable of running at this point right now. I think at times during the season we've gotten off track between the two of us, and I feel like these last four or five weeks the communication has been better. I feel like we were heading in the right direction, we've just had some things go wrong these first couple Chase races that makes it look worse than it really is.
    Q. I was wondering if you could elaborate on your relationship with Mike Ford a little bit, and has there been times this year when you've questioned the direction of the team and thought maybe a change was needed?
    DENNY HAMLIN: You always have thoughts about what you need to do to improve, and like I said before, there's been weeks where I can put some of the responsibility on Mike, there's been some weeks that it ultimately goes on my shoulders, and there's some weeks where it's things back at the shop that need to be improved on.
    Until we have one specific thing that we need to work on and can identify as a problem, I can't see changing much. But I feel like we have a good group of guys. I can win a championship with Mike; I really and truly do believe that. But we've just got to get our ship righted. It seems like our communication at some point in the year got stale. I felt like we've turned that around this last month or so, and we had three good finishes going into the Chase, and of course we had flat tires and a loose wheel the first Chase race. That's stuff that Mike can't help. He can't help those problems that we have. Loudon, New Hampshire, fuel mileage. It's 50/50. It's one of those things where maybe I used up too much gas, maybe it was too risky of a call. But either way, it weighs on us equally when we don't run well. So I'm not going to completely throw him under the bus.(NASCAR Transcript)(9-28-2011)

  • Hamlin seeing sports psychologist: #11-Denny Hamlin said Tuesday he's been working with a well-known sports psychologist in an attempt to improve his attitude and outlook. Hamlin has been in a miserable slump since the penultimate race of last season, when poor fuel mileage at Phoenix figured heavily in his failure to wrest the championship away from Jimmie Johnson. Although he was still the points leader heading into the final race of the year, he had a poor weekend and Johnson won his fifth consecutive title. Many have speculated he's not been the same on or off the track since the Phoenix race, and Hamlin admitted Tuesday he struggled with the pressure of the championship race. Hamlin was initially reluctant to elaborate on whom he was working with, but eventually revealed it was Rotella and he had been referred to him by team owner Joe Gibbs. He did not say how long he's been working with Rotella.(ESPN/Associated Press)(9-29-2011)

  • Hamlin talks about TRD engines: #11-Denny Hamlin met with members of the media at Michigan International Speedway and discussed a few items, and was asked about running TRD [Toyota Racing Development instead of JGR engines] engines for the first time:
    What do you think about the decision to use the TRD engine beginning this weekend?
    Hamlin: "We talked about asking TRD (Toyota Racing Development). You have to understand, this is a big favor to ask a manufacturer to provide engines for us for the rest of the year. It's a lot of manpower, a lot of work had to be done, especially within JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). There's a lot of work that had to be done to get this engine imported into our car. So, we were going to have to ask and pull a lot of favors to do it. We just asked them if they'd be willing to do it and they did. I was behind it 100 percent. I felt like it was the right thing to do. Ultimately what matters is results. Things happen, engines blow -- things happen like that -- but we felt like they've worked out a lot of reliability issues that they had early on. If we were going to make the Chase, we could not afford DNFs because of engine failures and on top of that, we couldn't afford to keep starting in the back every week because of engine failures. I didn't help us out last week, but we started in the back I think four times because of blown engines. That's just too hard to over come, especially with as hard as it is today to win a race."
    How do you think using the TRD engines will help you for the remainder of the season?
    Hamlin: "It's a tough balance because you have some employees that take a lot of pride in their work. When you ultimately switch, some people's feelings get hurt sometimes. We have to do what we have to do to make sure we finish races at this point. Being on the bubble, we cannot afford any DNFs. We're just doing what we have to do. I hate to say it. Toyota is our partner in this whole thing. When we joined them in 2008, they said anything you need, we're going to give it to you. This is a huge request and obviously it's come to this point and hopefully it works out."(Toyota Racing)(8-20-2011)

  • Hamlin could have TRD engine at Michigan: #11-Denny Hamlin, who has experienced more than his share of engine issues this season, may have a Toyota Racing Development engine in his Sprint Cup car next weekend at Michigan. TRD president Lee White said there remain issues to work out, the biggest fitting the TRD engine into a car for which Joe Gibbs Racing builds engines specifically. Hamlin said he and crew chief Mike Ford requested the change as the team, ranked 11th in points and currently holding the second wild-card spot with a win, tries to solidify its Chase position. "We felt like we were on pace to have an engine failure every four weeks or so,'' Hamlin said after hitting the wall during qualifying for Sunday's race at Watkins Glen International. "We just knew we were going to have another one before the Chase started if the odds worked out, and another couple in the Chase. We asked TRD to help us out and they were more than happy to help us out."(ESPN.com)(8-14-2011)

  • Gibbs fourth team "a long shot": Joe Gibbs Racing President JD Gibbs said plans for a fourth Sprint Cup team were not necessarily derailed when Carl Edwards opted to remain with Roush Fenway Racing, rather than jump to JGR. "In each of the last three years, we've looked around to see what kind of things pop-up that would allow us to make (a fourth team) work," Gibbs said. "But it all has to come together. You have to have a driver, which is key. You need the right partner to sponsor the team (and) you have to have the right crew. If all that comes together, we're good to go. We can go quickly. But we've also learned that if all that doesn't come together, we're better off waiting, instead of trying to force something to go together. That's where we are right now. We can go quickly if it all lines up, and that's our hope." He admitted that a fourth Sprint Cup Series Toyota in 2012 is "probably a long shot, (since) we're not lined up with the right partners. But I also wouldn't rule it out. We don't have to plan something out six months in advance. We can cut it a little closer and make it work. We're in no hurry. There's no panic and we're not going to force it, but if the opportunity is there, we can take advantage of it quickly."(Sirius Speedway)(8-12-2011)

  • Gibbs to close engine shop? UPDATE: hearing that Joe Gibbs Racing [#11, #18, #20] will lay off half their engine shop staff and get engines supplied, supposedly for free, from TRD - Toyota Racing Development. Hearing it is a three year deal, not sure if it starts soon or with the 2012 season. Employee's not laid off will be reassigned within the company, as there are reports that JGR will expand to a fourth team and are in the hunt for Carl Edwards to drive for them in 2012. Edwards is a free agent and currently drives for Roush Fenway Racing in the #99 Ford. Just last week, Toyota'a Lee White told FoxSports: "No, they're not shutting down their engine shop and no we will not be building their engines," White said. "Of course, hell can freeze over and pigs can fly, but not in this world." Currently, the JGR engines would not even fit in the other Toyota cars with their configuration.(7-15-2011)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota Research and Development announced Thursday that they are combining their engine efforts in 2012. Officials said there is a chance that JGR cars could use engines out of TRD headquarters in Costa Mesa, Calif., before the end of this season, but that the focus is on next year. Economics in part drove the merger. As Lee White, the president of TRG said, "Building for three teams or less is extremely expensive and inefficient." JGR builds all of its engines while the other Toyota teams -- Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull Racing -- receive engines from TRD. With JGR looking to expand its Nationwide presence and add a Trucks program, the merger gives the organization more flexibility. With the future of Red Bull Racing in doubt, the addition of JGR also allows TRG to maintain a full workload if Red Bull's organization folds or is moved to another manufacturer with new investors. Gibbs said JGR will maintain its engine shop in Huntersville, N.C., so that it can make any tweaks to the engines it deems necessary and to work on other projects.(ESPN.com) See earlier updates on the #18 team page.(8-11-2011)

  • Gibbs to close engine shop? UPDATES: hearing that Joe Gibbs Racing [#11, #18, #20] will lay off half their engine shop staff and get engines supplied, supposedly for free, from TRD - Toyota Racing Development. Hearing it is a three year deal, not sure if it starts soon or with the 2012 season. Employee's not laid off will be reassigned within the company, as there are reports that JGR will expand to a fourth team and are in the hunt for Carl Edwards to drive for them in 2012. Edwards is a free agent and currently drives for Roush Fenway Racing in the #99 Ford. Just last week, Toyota'a Lee White told FoxSports: "No, they're not shutting down their engine shop and no we will not be building their engines," White said. "Of course, hell can freeze over and pigs can fly, but not in this world." Currently, the JGR engines would not even fit in the other Toyota cars with their configuration.(7-15-2011)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing President JD Gibbs told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that he has no plans to shutter the team's engine shop and merge motor-building operations with Toyota Racing Development. "I think a lot of that started when Red Bull Racing announced they were going to cease operation," said Gibbs. "A lot of people started trying to plug things into different spots. There are some things that TRD and Toyota do really well, and there are some things that we do really well. For several years, we've been working on how to bring all those strengths together. (JGR Head Engine Builder) Mark Cronquist has got some real sharp guys... and the question - again - is how do we bring all that together (with Toyota and TRD)? If we can do that, I think there will be some real value. But there is no shutting down our shop, or shutting down theirs. We're going to keep working on combining what they do well with what we do well."
    Gibbs also commented on persistent rumors of negotiations with Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards, saying, "We get the most attention because we have an open spot. If other (teams) had spots, they'd all be in the rumor mill, too. The reality is that Carl is a gifted, talented driver. But you have to have all the parts; driver, crew chief, team and sponsorship. And that sponsorship piece is difficult to put together. From our standpoint, we are far from having any concrete decisions or directions. We have the availability to add a fourth car. We look at it each year and examine the possibilities. But we haven't been able to make it work." Gibbs said Joey Logano's job is secure, whether or not Edwards joins the JGR camp. "People in general just assume things," he said. "If we do a fourth car, it will be a great addition. For Joey, the key is that we finished last year so strong, but just haven't had that same consistency this year. We've had it the last few weeks, so that's encouraging for us and the whole (#20) team. He's young, but we have to perform. We all know that, and what we saw (out of Logano) last year is what we're starting to see again now. That's encouraging."(Sirius Speedway)(7-15-2011)
    UPDATE 2: While there's talk in the garage that Joe Gibbs Racing might be getting rid of its engine program (and using Toyota's program, which supplies engines for its teams), here's what Joe Gibbs told [Dustin Long] after the race: "No truth to that at all,'' Gibbs said of talk JGR's engine shop was closing after this year. "We're not closing our motor shop at all. What we're doing is moving closer and closer to TRD (Toyota Racing Development) to run one motor. So far we've been running two different packages. Now we've been getting closer and closer as we go and doing more R&D. Now that we'll be fuel injection (in 2012), we'll be closer yet. So that's all it is. We're going to be doing the things that we've been doing well. Mark (Cronquist, who oversees the engine department at JGR) is going to be in charge of horsepower stuff. We'll be working together (with TRD) on our motor package.''(Virginian-Pilot)(7-18-2011)

  • JGR teams face penalties for oil pans UPDATE 3 - Penalties announced: The Joe Gibbs Racing teams of #18-Kyle Busch, #11-Denny Hamlin and #20-Joey Logano all face possible penalties after an issue was discovered in inspection Friday morning at Michigan before practice began. John Darby, Cup series director, said that all three Gibbs cars had oil pans that had not been submitted for approval before competition. "We had them pull (those) off and put what we're accustomed to, what has been submitted back on their cars,'' Darby said. All three teams face possible penalties for the infraction. "Chances are great (a penalty) wouldn't involve points,'' Darby said.(Hampton Roads)(6-17-2011)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing had unapproved- and unusually heavy - oil pans seized from its three NASCAR Sprint Cup cars Friday morning at Michigan International Speedway. Officially, the issue was that the oil pans had not been submitted for approval by NASCAR, a standard procedure for the thousands of parts and pieces on race cars. But a bigger issue ultimately might be weight. While a standard NASCAR Sprint Cup oil pan weighs about 4 pounds, the three taken off the Gibbs cars weighed an estimated 20-30 pounds apiece. Competitors contacted by SPEED.com and FOXSports.com said the heavy oil pans would allow the teams to remove weight elsewhere in the car and put it low and on the front of the car, which could provide a handling advantage, perhaps a substantial one. Officials did not penalize JGR at the track but said in a statement, "NASCAR will discuss early next week if there will be any additional penalties assessed to these three teams."(SPEED)(6-18-2011)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR announced today that the #11, No. 18 and No. 20 teams that compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series have been penalized for rules violations discovered during opening day inspection June 17 at Michigan International Speedway. All three of the Joe Gibbs Racing cars were found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in an event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR rule book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20-5.5.4A (oil pan, failure to submit component) of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book. As a result, the three crew chiefs - Mike Ford (#11 car), Dave Rogers (#18 car) and Greg Zipadelli (#20 car) have been fined $50,000 each and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. In addition, all three car chiefs - Chris Gillin (#11 car), Wesley Sherrill (#18 car) and Jason Shapiro (#20 car) along with Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jimmy Makar have been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR)(6-21-2011)
    UPDATE 3 - Statement from JGR: "We received NASCAR's ruling today with regard to penalties for having oil pans on our cars that had not been submitted for approval prior to going through inspection on Friday. Although the parts were not illegal, we did not follow the proper submission for approval process. We will not appeal NASCAR's ruling."(JGR)(6-22-2011)

  • Winners not leading many laps: #11-Denny Hamlin led only eight laps in scoring the victory. This marks the sixth time that a driver has led fewer than 10 laps and won. Here's a look at how many times a driver led fewer than 10 laps and won in the past five seasons (remember there's still 21 races left this year).
    2011 --- 6 times
    2010 --- 4 times
    2009 --- 4 times
    2008 --- 2 times
    2007 --- 8 times
    (Virginian-Pilot)(6-20-2011)

  • Hamlin wins at Michigan: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway for his 1st win of 2011 and 17th win of his career. He took the lead during the final pit stops of the race and held off #17-Matt Kenseth at the checkered flag.
    Kenseth finished second, followed by #18-Busch, #27-Menard, #99-Edwards, #39-Newman, #14-Stewart, #33-Bowyer, #5-Martin, and #83-Vickers. Edwards expanded his point lead to 20. #29-Harvick is now in second after an early spin by #48-Johnson and a 27th place finish.
    There were 21 lead changes among 12 drivers; 5 cautions for 18 yellow flag laps. The attendance is listed as 88,000, down from 95,000 last June.
    Scheduled Race Re-Air: SPEED, Wednesday, June 22 at 12:00pm/et
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Michigan Race Results/Awards page. (6-19-2011)

  • Hamlin's team repeats as Pit Crew Challenge champ: Denny Hamlin's #11 team successfully defended its title in NASCAR's Pit Crew Challenge on Thursday night, edging Jimmie Johnson's #48 team in the final round. Hamlin's seven-member team changed four tires, put in gas and pushed the car 40 yards in 22.298 seconds without collecting a penalty to earn $70,675. The crew now gets to select its pit stall Saturday for the All-Star race. Hamlin's team, which became the first repeat champion in the competition's seven seasons, included gas man Scott Wood; catch-can man Justin White; front tire changer Nick Krizmanich and carrier Brandon Pegram; rear tire changer Mike Hicks and carrier Heath Cherry; and jack man Nate Bolling. Clint Bowyer's #33 team and Tony Stewart's #14 crew combined to split all the individual awards - and rewrite the record book. They set event records based on their times in the seeding and opening rounds to collect $10,000 each. See more on my Pit Crew News / Awards page.(Associated Press)(5-19-2011)

  • Special scheme for Hamlin at Dover: the #11 Toyota of Denny Hamlin will carry a special FedEx Ground/Autism Speaks paint scheme throughout this weekend's racing activities. Helping raise awareness for Autism Speaks through the sponsorship of Sunday's race, FedEx will also donate $100,000 to the organization if Hamlin wins the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks. The donation will be made in addition to the specially-priced pair of $111 race tickets that has proceeds going to Autism Speaks. The FedEx Ground Florida district is leading the company in package care metrics, and will be recognized with its "FLDA" code letters on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Ground/Autism Speaks Toyota this weekend.(FedEx Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(5-13-2011)

  • Different look for Hamlin at Darlington: Sport Clips will serve as the primary sponsor for Denny Hamlin and the #11 Joe Giobbs Racing Toyota this weekend at Darlington Raceway. Sport Clips is headquartered in Georgetown, Texas and has more than 750 Sport Clips locations in 38 states. Hamlin on Racing at Darlington: "It's exciting to have Sport Clips on board for the Cup race this weekend. We were able to get them to victory lane last week in the Nationwide Race in Richmond and hopefully we can match that success over on the Cup side this weekend. I know they are big race fans so it would be a thrill to give them that opportunity."(JGR)(5-5-2011)

  • Crew chief swap at Gibbs? UPDATE 2 - DENIED: supposedly a crew chief swap has been discussed and is imminent between the #11 and #20 Joe Gibbs Racing teams. The swap would send #11-Denny Hamlin's crew chief Mike Ford to #20-Joey Logano with Logano's crew chief Greg Zippadelli to the #11 garage.
    2011 has been a dismal year for Hamlin having scored just one top-10 finish through the first eight-races of the season. Logano is 66-points out of a playoff spot in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup. Expect to see the change within the next few weeks if not sooner.(Captain Thunder)(4-27-2011)
    UPDATE: JGR spokesman says that reports of crew chief shuffle for Hamlin and Logano are false.(Bob Pockrass/SceneDaily Twitter)(4-28-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin said rumors of a potential Joe Gibbs Racing crew-chief swap for them are not true. Both drivers, speaking Thursday before the Denny Hamlin Foundation Short-Track Showdown at Richmond International Raceway, virtually laughed when asked about the rumors. Hamlin said he talked to team owner Joe Gibbs about the rumors Wednesday. Hamlin has worked with crew chief Mike Ford for his entire Sprint Cup Series career, which started with a handful of races in 2005. "It was news to me," Hamlin said. "The Coach [Gibbs] called me as soon as he saw it and I was like, 'Maybe I should be part of this decision.' "And he was like, 'There is no decision.' Mike is my guy. He will always be my guy." A JGR spokesman also denied that any swap was planned.(SceneDaily)(4-29-2011)

  • Denny Hamlin wins his own charity late model race: After a thunderstorm kept the crowd down for Denny Hamlin's charity race, the host put a move on Kyle Busch on the final lap and finally won his own event. Busch had dominated all night, but when the race went back to green after a caution with three laps to go, Hamlin surged from fourth to second right away, stalked his teammate with Joe Gibbs Racing and passed him on the backstretch when Busch ran out of fuel. "I'm glad he ran out of fuel because it might have got ugly," Hamlin said. "Trust me, if Kyle wouldn't have run out of gas, I would have done everything possible to get around him." Michael Waltrip finished second, followed by Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Frank Deiny Jr. Hamlin, who said last week that the race raised over $100,000 last year, said he will wait to see how much money was raised this year, then give 10% to help tornado victims. Where that money will go specifically will be determined by where there is the most need, he said. His usual charities -- the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, St. Jude Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital in Richmond -- will receive the other 90% of money raised. The victory was the first for Hamlin in his fourth Short Track Showdown, and came after he qualified on the pole, then opted to start at the back of the 36-car field. When it was over, he gave his racing helmet to a fan.(Associated Press)(4-29-2011)

  • Tire testing at Dover: hearing that #24-Jeff Gordon, #43-A.J. Allmendinger and #11-Denny Hamlin are Goodyear tire testing at Dover International Speedway, Tuesday, April 19th. Also Brett Moffit is testing his NASCAR K&N Pro Series car.(4-19-2011)

  • Drivers testing at Richmond for Denny Hamlin Showdown: Race fans in Richmond who can't wait for NASCAR to return are in luck. Several NASCAR drivers are making an early return to Richmond International Raceway this Wednesday, April 20, before the April 28-30 Spring NASCAR Race Weekend. They are testing in preparation for the Thursday, April 28 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. Denny Hamlin, Hermie Sadler, Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell, Curtis Markham and Jason White are confirmed to hit the track Wednesday from noon to 6:00 p.m. Grandstands are free and open to the public by accessing Gate 70. The fourth annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown makes its debut at Richmond International Raceway on Thursday, April 28. The race features many NASCAR drivers, including Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Michael Waltrip, Joey Logano, Travis Pastrana and Trevor Bayne, battling with some of the best Late Model drivers in the area.(RIR)(4-19-2011)

  • Special Scheme for Hamlin at Talladega: The #11 Toyota will carry a special paint scheme for the second consecutive weekend, as the familiar black and blue FedEx Office colors turn blue and white to coincide with the "Print Big, Save Big" sale currently running at all FedEx Office locations. The Orlando South FedEx Office district is currently the best performing district in the "Print Big, Save Big" promotion and will have its "0110" numbers on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota this weekend. (FedEx Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #11 Team Schemes page.(4-13-2011)

  • Hamlin gets new front tire changer: From Friday's media availability at Texas:
    Question: What are your thoughts on the recent pit crew change your team made?
    Hamlin: "Everyone always says I'm critical, I just said that we stunk and we did. A lot of people say they stink at times, but it's something -- it's a shame but you have to make changes sometimes. Maybe it's not the talent level is not a question, I felt like that wasn't the question for us. You just sometimes have to make a change for chemistry sake. We had the same pit crew for the last two to three years and we've been up and down. At their best, they are the best, but it was trying to get to that point. We have changed a guy. We brought up (Nick Krizmanich, front tire changer), he's from the #11 Nationwide team, we're trying out him and one other guy and he kind of seemed a step above the rest. We're going to have a new aspect of our race team this weekend. I'm excited about it, it's a change and obviously it's going to take time for chemistry to kick in. Me and Mike (Ford, crew chief) talked about that. There's probably going to be stops throughout this weekend where it's not going to be the best but hopefully it's a step in the right direction for the long run."(Toyota PR)(4-9-2011)

  • March of Dimes scheme for Hamlin at Texas: FedEx and #11-Denny Hamlin annually team up with the March of Dimes and unveil a special paint scheme to raise awareness of the organization during a NASCAR race weekend. This year Dallas-based, seven-year-old twins Josh and Jake Aron, who were born premature, were chosen to design the paint scheme that Hamlin will run on his #11 FedEx Toyota for the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The twins flew to North Carolina to meet Hamlin and lay out their paint scheme for the team in March and now will get to see their artwork first hand. The twins, along with their father Jaime, will be on hand Thursday, April 7, at 11:30 am when the car is rolled off the team transporter in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Texas Motor Speedway.(TMS)(4-5-2011)

  • JGR pinpoints some engine issues: #18-Kyle Busch says Joe Gibbs Racing has determined that problems with two of its engines last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California were valve-related. #20-Joey Logano's team switched his the morning of Sunday's race when valve leakage was discovered. Logano's team didn't think the engine would last for 400 miles. #11-Denny Hamlin's engine failed 105 laps into the race due to an unrelated value train issue, leaving last year's Chase runner-up with a 39th-place finish that dropped him to 21st in points. Busch said Friday that identifying the problem is a huge step in the right direction for JGR, which has had engine issues in all five races this season. "Is there concern? Of course," Jimmy Makar, JGR's senior vice president of race operations, said earlier this week. "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. He said the batch that the part came from would be quarantined for this weekend's race at Martinsville to see if any issues arise.(Associated Press)(4-2-2011)

  • 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.(ESPN.com)(3-29-2011)

  • Three drivers dominate the short tracks: With his win Sunday at Bristol, #18-Kyle Busch remained a part of an exclusive group. Busch, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #11-Denny Hamlin are the only drivers to have won the last 15 Sprint Cup races at Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond, the circuit's lone short tracks. The last driver other then those three to win on a short track was #99-Carl Edwards in 2008.(Sports Illustrated)(3-22-2011)

  • Driver agent creates own agency, takes some big names: Longtime NASCAR driver agent Rod Moskowitz is spinning off from Motorsports Management International to create his own agency by acquiring the contracts of top drivers #11-Denny Hamlin, #4-Kasey Kahne and #1-Jamie McMurray. The new agency, which will be known as Fuel Sports Management Group, will be run by Moskowitz, who worked for MMI for 11 years, and former Ray Evernham Motorsports executives Rick Russell and David Jessey. Evernham, who at one time considered buying MMI, will be an adviser and member of the board along with Jack Giarraputo, Adam Sandler's partner at Happy Madison Productions. MMI founder Cary Agajanian will continue to represent Tony Stewart and work in NASCAR, as well as drifting and other motorsports. He expects to maintain a close relationship with Fuel Sports Management.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)(3-18-2011)

  • Hamlin's knee still recovering:#11-Denny Hamlin expects his left knee to be "aching for a while" since he never wants to slow down. "It still hasn't quit [aching]," Hamlin said Wednesday. "My problem is I never let myself heal all the way and, of course, I continue to push the limits as far as I can." Hamlin had surgery 11 months ago to repair the torn ACL in his knee, which he injured playing basketball before the 2010 season. Yet, it's still bothering him. That was evident during media day at Texas Motor Speedway, where he won both NASCAR Sprint Cup races last year. Hamlin rubbed the knee at times after moving between interviews in the large ballroom and getting up and down several times. "I was back playing a little bit of pickup basketball probably six, seven months after the surgery, when you really shouldn't even step on the court until a year after," Hamlin said. "I do everything I can to be competitive and try to rush the recovery process, and so I'm sure it's going to be aching for a while, at least until I give it a good few months rest."(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(3-3-2011)

  • Forbes names most valuable NASCAR teams & highest paid drivers: The weak economy has pummeled NASCAR over the past three years, with sponsorships, merchandise sales, race winnings and subsidies from automakers falling. Fans have tuned out, sending TV ratings down 24% since 2006 and leaving more than 40,000 empty seats at some races last year. One of its longest-tenured teams, Richard Petty Motorsports, was scrambling for cash on a week-to-week basis so it could race on weekends last fall. Is NASCAR headed for a full-blown meltdown? Hardly. Yes, the value of the top 10 teams slid 5% in 2010, on average, to $136 million by [Forbes] count, as prize money dropped and sponsors dialed back their commitment, but a rebound in 2011 for the sport is a strong possibility. NASCAR's strongest and most valuable team remains Hendrick Motorsports. With a valuation of $350 million on revenues of $177 million in 2010, Hendrick is worth 56% more than the next-highest-grossing team, Roush Fenway Racing, which [Forbes] value at $224 million on revenues of $140 million last year. Hendrick earned a NASCAR-high $18 million in operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in 2010. Richard Childress Racing was third on the list, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing. Rounding out the top 10: Stewart-Haas, Michael Waltrip Racing, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, and Red Bull Racing.
    AND: Despite his lack of success in recent years on the track, Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains NASCAR's highest-paid driver, earning $29 million in 2010 thanks to merchandise sales that are the best in the sport and reportedly account for one-third of all NASCAR licensed merchandise sales. Other income streams include a 10-figure annual salary from Hendrick and a 50% share of his $4.9 million in winnings and bonuses in 2010 from Sprint Cup races. Earnhardt also has a bevy of personal endorsements, including Chevrolet, Nationwide and Wrangler. Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon follows Earnhardt in the NASCAR money standings with earnings of $25 million last year. It is a clean sweep for Hendrick at the top with five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, the third-highest-paid driver at $24 million. The rest of the top 10: Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth.(Forbes)(2-24-2011)

  • Hamlin and Michael Jordon team up: #11-Denny Hamlin announced Thursday he has a deal with Nike's Michael Jordan Brand. Jordan's famous "jumpman" logo will appear on Hamlin's firesuit, gloves and shoes. "It's a big deal for myself and really NASCAR," Hamlin said during the preseason media tour at Daytona International Speedway. "The Jordan Brand has never been in NASCAR before. It is a dream come true for me. To me the Jordan Brand represents excellence in sports." Hamlin and Jordan developed a relationship after the six-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer took over as owner of the Charlotte Bobcats last year. What Hamlin didn't realize until recently was that Jordan is a motorsports fan. "He always talked to me last year about how the race went, because he watched the races," Hamlin said. "I never knew he really kept track of racing that much until I dug a little deeper and found he's had his motorcycle team since 2004. He's always been an avid motorsports fan. He just never knew the right situation to get into NASCAR, and he felt like I was the right representative for him." Said Jordan: "Denny's confidence and passion for racing along with his determination for excellence on the track make him a valuable addition to the Jordan Brand. We look forward to working with Denny as he continues to take his success to the next level."(ESPN.com)(2-11-2011)

  • Kyle Busch, Hamlin return as Gillette Young Guns: Gillette announced the launch of its expanded Gillette Young Guns program by unveiling the 2011 roster of six rising stars in their respective sports: Matt Ryan and Ray Rice from football, Evan Longoria and Carlos Gonzalez from baseball and Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch from auto racing. Gillette Young Guns is a sports marketing platform connecting Gillette's full line of grooming products with avid sports fans in North America. The program highlights up-and-coming stars and gives fans an in-depth look into the keys to their success both on and off the field. The Gillette Young Guns will appear in print and broadcast advertising, consumer promotions, point-of-sale materials, online and public relations activities.(Gillette PR)(1-3-2011)

2010 News

  • Scheduled 2010 Sponsors/FedEx Paint Schemes: Express, Ground, Freight, Office

    FedEx Express - orange (10/11):
    Budweiser Shootout - 2/6
    Daytona - 2/14
    Bristol - 3/21
    Talladega - 4/25
    Darlington - 5/8
    Infineon - 6/20
    Indianapolis - 7/25
    Michigan - 8/15
    Dover - 9/26
    Martinsville - 10/24
    rest TBA

    FedEx Office - blue (8):
    Atlanta - 3/7
    All-Star Challenge, Charlotte - 5/22
    Charlotte - 5/30
    Daytona - 7/3
    Watkins Glen - 8/8
    Richmond - 9/11
    Auto Club - 10/10
    Texas - 11/7

    FedEx Freight - red (7):
    Auto Club - 2/21
    Martinsville - 3/28
    Dover - 5/16
    Pocono - 6/6
    New Hampshire - 6/27
    Kansas - 10/3
    Talladega - 10/31

    FedEx Ground - green (8):
    Las Vegas - 2/28
    Texas - 4/18
    Richmond - 5/1
    Michigan - 6/13
    Chicago - 7/10
    Bristol - 8/21
    Charlotte - 10/16
    Phoenix - 11/14

    FedEx - Small Business (1):
    New Hampshire - 9/19

    FedEx - March of Dimes (1):
    Phoenix - 4/10

    Sports Clips (1):
    Atlanta - 9/5

  • Hamlin gives away a trip on Twitter: #11-Denny Hamlin, normally a prolific Twitterer, went silent for weeks after the end of the season. But when he began re-engaging his 40,000-plus followers early in December, he came through big. Earlier in December, he casually mentioned that he'd be giving away an amazing gift on Christmas Day. All you had to do was answer a single question. Answer the question, and you get an all-expenses-paid trip anywhere you like. Hamlin used the hashtag #11in11 to sort the answers, and the game was so popular on Christmas Day that the tag was the No. 3 trending topic on Twitter. The winner was Jennifer Meyering, who was the 11th person to guess the correct answer of 364. According to her Twitter feed, she'll be heading to the Brickyard 400, where she'll presumably meet Santa Hamlin.(Yahoo)(12-28-2010)

  • #11 Pit Crew Wins the 2010 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Excellent pit stops can make or break a race and a season for a team. For Denny Hamlin and his #11 FexEx Toyota, his pit crew helped him gain a spot in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, challenge the front of the field throughout the season and finish second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. That's why Mechanix Wear is proud to announce that the #11 FedEx pit cre w from Joe Gibbs Racing is the winner of the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award for the 2010 season. This award is the only authentic competition voted on by crew chiefs. The #11 FedEx pit crew was selected for its fast pit stops, flawless performance and incredible effort over the 38-race season. The team also won the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award for the second quarter. The #11 FedEx pit crew travelled to Las Vegas to be honored at the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup celebration, where they took home the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew trophy and the $100,000 grand prize. Crew chief, Mike Ford of the #11 FedEx pit crew is proud of the impressive job his team did during the 2010 season.
    "I'm proud of all of our guys for earning the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award," said Mike Ford, crew chief of the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 FedEx Toyota. "I had a great deal of confidence in our guys throughout the season and they certainly deserve a lot of credit for the success we experienced this year. NASCAR has a long season and everyone on our team puts in a tremendous amount of effort each week, so it's great to have them recognized with this well deserved award."
    Michael Lepp, Athletic Director and Paul Alepa, Pit Crew Coach for the #11 FedEx team, offered their five tips for success as:
    1. Preparation/Planning; 2. Deliberate Practice; 3. Focus; 4. Fitness; 5. Mental Toughness.
    The members of the #11 FedEx pit crew include: Gas Man: Scott Wood; Jack Man: Nate Bolling; Catch Can: John Eicher; Front Tire Changer: Mike Hicks; Front Tire Carrier: Brandon Pegram; Rear Tire Changer: Jonathan Sherman; Rear Tire Carrier: Heath Cherry.(VMG/MXW)(12-3-2010)

  • Childress, Hamlin, Ford win Sporting News awards: Richard Childress, who oversaw a resurgence of Richard Childress Motorsports, is the Sporting News owner of the year, the magazine announced Wednesday.
    Denny Hamlin is the 2010 Dale Earnhardt Tough Driver. The top driver and crew chief will be announced Thursday. All four awards were voted on by Sprint Cup drivers, crew chiefs and owners.
    RCR made a remarkable turnaround in 2010. After all four of Childress' drivers missed the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2009, the organization consolidated to three teams this year with drivers Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer. All three qualified for the Chase, and Harvick was in contention for the Cup championship until the final lap at Homestead. Bowyer won two of the 10 Chase races, at New Hampshire and California.
    Hamlin's peers pointed to his come back from knee surgery. A day after winning at Martinsville in March, Hamlin had surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee, which he had injured playing basketball in the offseason. Hamlin didn't miss a race after the operation. Instead, he drove through the pain and completed the next race on the schedule at Phoenix. The following week, he won at Texas and launched a title drive that fell just short. He won a season-high eight races and finished second to Jimmie Johnson in the standings.(Sporting News)
    AND Denny Hamlin, who won a season-high eight races and fell just short of winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, is the Sporting News driver of the year, the magazine announced Thursday.
    Mike Ford, Hamlin's crew chief, was voted the top crew chief. The voting was done by Sprint Cup drivers, crew chiefs and owners. Hamlin led Jimmie Johnson by 15 points going into the final race of the season but was unable to overcome a spin early in the Ford 400 and finished 14th in the race to Johnson's second. Hamlin finished second in the standings, his best finish in five full seasons. His eight wins doubled his career total. Hamlin's remarkable season was enhanced by his response to knee surgery after the sixth race of the season, which he won at Martinsville. He had surgery the next day to repair the ACL in his left knee, was back on the track for the next race and won the following week at Texas. Ford is the only crew chief Hamlin has known in the Cup series.(Sporting News)(12-2-2010)

  • Hamlin to make special delivery: Before hitting the track in Homestead, Points leader #11-Denny Hamlin will visit the visit the FedEx Express Miami Gateway at Miami International Airport, and join FedEx in making a special delivery to the American Red Cross, South Florida Region. The Miami Gateway serves as a primary distribution point for relief shipments bound for Haiti in response to the earthquake that struck earlier this year, and is currently managing shipments to Haiti in response to the recent Cholera outbreak. FedEx is again working with the American Red Cross to aid in the delivery of relief supplies and Hamlin will be in Miami to honor the ongoing relationship (FedEx Racing)(11-18-2010)

  • NASCAR does pre-inspection of Chase contenders: NASCAR has inspected the cars the three championship contenders plan to race in next week's season finale. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston says the cars for #48-Jimmie Johnson, #11-Denny Hamlin and #29-Kevin Harvick were inspected in the North Carolina research and development center this week. The cars were measured to make sure they fit the templates ahead of the Nov. 21 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR says it was a precautionary measure during the tightest Chase for the Sprint Cup championship since the format was introduced in 2004.(Associated Press)(11-12-2010)

  • Hamlin wins at Texas: #11-Denny Hamlin won the AAA 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway for his 8th win of 2010 and the 16th win of his career, with the win Hamlin takes the points lead. #17-Kenseth finished second followed by #5-Martin, #20-Logano, #16-Biffle, #29-Harvick, #33-Bowyer, #6-Ragan, #48-Johnson and #98-Menard. #21-Trevor Bayne finished 17th in his Sprint Cup debut. Pole sitter #19-Sadler finished 23rd with no laps led.
    A couple of 'interesting' incidents during the race included #18-Kyle Busch getting held and penalized 2 laps for "unsportsmanlike conduct" after making an "inappropriate gesture" when he was penalized for speeding exiting pit road and brought in for a penalty around lap 146. Another one was when #24-Gordon & #31-Burton wrecked during the yellow on lap 192 when Burton got into Gordon, both drivers got out of their cars, Gordon bypassed his ambulance and approached Burton and pushed Burton and they kind of got in to some fisticuffs on the backstretch before getting separated by track workers. Burton afterwards took blame for the incident, said he couldn't see well with the sun and glare and got into Gordon's car, causing both th hit the wall.
    After Gordon was taken out of the race, his crew was sent to the #48-Johnson pits to 'assist' as the #48 pit crew has been losing spots each pit stop.
    There were 33 lead changes among 13 drivers and 9 cautions for 40 yellow flag laps. The attendance was reported at 156,000, last year the attendence was 167,000.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs are ESPN2, Sunday, November 8 at 2:30am/et; and SPEED, November 10 at 12:00pm/et.
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Texas Race Results/Awards page.(11-7-2010)
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(11-7-2010)

  • #11 team chose pit stall in front of the #48 team: An intriguing subplot to today's race [at Texas Motor Speedway] is that title contenders #48-Jimmie Johnson and #11-Denny Hamlin will pit next to each other. Johnson leads Hamlin by 14 points. Typically, title contenders don't pit around each other, in part because those cars often finish on the lead lap so one could always be fighting the other for space on pit road. Pit stalls are picked in the order a driver qualifies. Johnson qualified 17th, so his team selected its stall before Denny Hamlin's team since Hamlin qualified 30th. By pitting in front of Johnson, Hamlin's team can dictate, in a way, how well Johnson gets off pit road. Hamlin could stop short in his pit box, meaning the car's rear is close to the front of Johnson's pit box. That would force Johnson to pit short or have to back up and lose time to get around Hamlin. Hamlin's crew chief Mike Ford said the stall in front of Johnson's was the best remaining because #82-Scott Speed, who has struggled at times this season, has the stall in front of where Hamlin pits. Ford also admits that when Johnson's team picked to pit in front of Hamlin's crew at Kansas earlier in the Chase that rankled him. "Why this is a topic when the exact same thing happened at Kansas and there were a lot better pit stalls to be had by those guys?'' Ford said Saturday. "That was a deliberate stab. This was not a deliberate stab, but with that, OK, courtesy is out the window.''(Roanoke Times)(11-7-2010)

  • Win 195 for #11: #11-Denny Hamlin's win in the Tums Fast Relief 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway was car #11's 195th win in the Sprint Cup Series. Second all-time in Sprint Cup Series history for a car number. #43, which has 198 wins in 2278 Sprint Cup races is the leader, 3rd is the #3 at 97 wins. See more on my Wins by Car Number page.(10-26-2010)

  • Hamlin wins at Martinsville: Pole sitter #11-Denny Hamlin won the TUMS Fast Relief 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway for his 7th win of 2010 and the 15th win of his career. #5-Martin [who wrecked and got the lucky dog late in the race] finished second followed by #29-Harvick, #18-Busch, #48-Johnson, #20-Logano, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #99-Edwards, #31-Burton [who led the most laps] and #12-Keselowski [first top 10 of 2010].
    There were 24 lead changes among 12 drivers and 15 cautions for 90 yellow flag laps. The attendance was reported at 56,000 down from 2009 which was 64,000.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs are ESPN2, Sunday, October 25 at 2:00am/et; and SPEED, October 27 at 12:00pm/et.
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Martinsville Race Results/Awards page
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(10-24-2010)

  • Hamlin/Harvick make up: Sprint Cup points leader #11-Denny Hamlin and #29-Kevin Harvick have made peace. Hamlin said during a Tuesday news conference promoting the October race at Charlotte Motor Speedway that he and the Richard Childress Racing driver talked on the phone and settled the issues that transpired last weekend at Dover. "We came to really quick terms that our friendship is solid," said Hamlin, noting Harvick is probably his closest friend away from the track. "Regardless of what happens on the racetrack, our friendship goes further than that. We do a lot for each other off the track and I feel that goes a long way." It wasn't that way Saturday at Dover International Speedway. Harvick was angered by things Hamlin said about the RCR team of Clint Bowyer that was fined 150 championship points last week after NASCAR determined Bowyer's winning car at New Hampshire violated tolerances. "We talked and everything is good with us," Hamlin said. Hamlin admitted he may have said too much during his Friday news conference when he attacked Bowyer's team. He said the plan entering the media center was to avoid questions about the situation, but when told Bowyer referred to his car and Johnson's having to go through post-race height inspection twice the previous week at New Hampshire, Hamlin threw caution to the wind. Hamlin said he knew when he left the interview that he'd stirred things up. He wasn't surprised when Gibbs and team president J.D. Gibbs called to tell him he said too much. "It is hard for me not to say what's on my mind at times," Hamlin said. "Joe kind of explained that to me. Not everybody needs to hear what you have to say when you think things are going wrong. I kind of understand that." Hamlin said Joe and J.D. Gibbs were calm. Crew chief Mike Ford, who called his remarks against Bowyer's team "stupid," was not. "Mike wasn't laughing at all," Hamlin said. "Obviously, he's a deflection type guy. He figures we have enough within that race team as far as what we need to do to stay focused to win a championship. We don't need to make our jobs any harder. He told me we made our jobs harder, and I definitely can't disagree with that."(ESPN.com)(9-29-2010)

  • Harvick, Hamlin exchange words Saturday morning: #29-Kevin Harvick showed he had his teammate's back by damaging #11-Denny Hamlin's rear. After Hamlin bumped Harvick on the track, the top two points leaders were involved in a heated and profane exchange in the garage, sparking some life into the first practice Saturday at Dover International Speedway. The dustup came a day after Hamlin blasted Clint Bowyer, saying Harvick's RCR teammate was making excuses for why his winning car at New Hampshire failed a follow-up inspection. Harvick appeared to stick up for Bowyer not with words, but with force. Hamlin knew he'd be a target when he said Harvick's crew made sarcastic comments toward him before practice. Hamlin, who said he expected retaliation for his antagonistic criticism, said Harvick also got into the #11 Toyota on pit road. Hamlin and Harvick made contact during the opening laps of practice, with Harvick damaging the right rear of Hamlin's No. 11 car. Once the drivers returned to the garage, they got into each other's faces before they were separated. Tempers quickly flared again and they went back to yelling at each other before they were broken up for good.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(9-25-2010)

  • #11 car to feature Small Business scheme: The #11 FedEx Small Business Toyota of Denny Hamlin will carry the company logos of three small business customers this weekend for the start of the 2010 Chase at New Hampshire. The three small business customers, TMRacewear.com (Irwindale, Calif), Prologic Fullfillment (Salt Lake City, Utah) and MyGearStore.com (Los Alamitos, Calif.) will be represented on the car's rear quarter panels and on the rear TV panel, respectively. The small businesses earned the positions on the car through the FedEx Race Time promotion - which allowed FedEx small business customers the opportunity to earn points through shipping and/or FedEx Office purchases, then bid in various auctions for race-themed prizes including the chance to be on the #11 FedEx Toyota.(FedExRacing). See an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(9-15-2010)

  • Hamlin wins at Richmond: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Air Guard 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway for his 6th win of 2010 and 14th of his career. #18-Busch finished second followed by #48-Johnson, #20-Logano, #47-Ambrose, #33-Bowyer, #42-Montoya, #43-Allmendinger, #29-Harvick and #99-Edwards [pole sitter]. #16-Biffle finished 32nd, down 5 laps, but clinched a spot in the Chase and with #33-Bowyer's 6th place finish, he is the final driver in the Chase. The 1-2-4 finish by the three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers was the 9th time JGR teammates have finished 1-2 and the first time all three were in the top-5.
    There were 14 lead changes among 6 drivers and only 3 cautions for 28 yellow flag laps. The attendance was reported at 95,000, down from last years 109,000 but the track removed around 14,000 seats since last year.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs are ESPN2, Sunday, September 12 at 3:30am; and SPEED, Wednesday, September 15 at 12:00pm/et.
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Atlanta Race Results/Awards page.
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(9-11-2010)

  • New look for Hamlin's #11 at Atlanta IMAGE: Sport Clips will serve as the primary sponsor of Denny Hamlin's #11 Toyota this weekend at Atlanta. It is the first time the long-time Joe Gibbs Racing partner in the Nationwide Series has sponsored a Sprint Cup Car. Sport Clips is headquartered in Georgetown, Texas with more than 700 Sport Clips locations in 38 states. The franchise ranked in the top 100 overall and top 50 in growth for the sixth straight year in Entrepreneur Magazine's "Franchise 500."(JGR), see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(8-31-2010)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Launches New App For Mobile Devices: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that it has launched Joe Gibbs Racing iCrew, a new application for mobile devices that will allow fans to follow all news related to the team's NASCAR and Motocross operations. The new app allows JGR fans to follow all the latest news, information and special features with ease from wherever they might be. JGR fans will now have the ability to receive instant notifications on qualifying and race results, as well as breaking news, special events, and contests. In addition, content includes exclusive JGR and JGRMX photographs, videos, and features. The app also allows fan interaction syncing comments through Twitter and Facebook accounts. Joe Gibbs Racing iCrew is available for free in the Android Market and the App Store.(JGR PR)(8-12-2010)

  • Hamlin on Twitter less after fine: #11-Denny Hamlin admits he's not commenting as often on Twitter after being fined an undisclosed amount by NASCAR recently for comments series officials felt were hurtful to the sport. Said Hamlin: "I'd say half of the time I was on (Twitter discussing NASCAR stuff and whatnot. They really don't want me going there, so I'm not going to go there. It's just one of those things. I'm still part of that stuff, but obviously with getting a fine and everything, you've got to be a little bit more careful."(Hampton Roads)(8-6-2010)

  • Twitter comment cost Hamlin?: During a press conference Friday in front of the #11 hauler, Denny Hamlin admitted he was one of the drivers fined in secret by NASCAR over the past few months. While not directly admitting the incident or that the amount was $50,000, as has been reported, he inferred the fine revolved around a Twitter conversation he'd had with someone after the Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland. "More than likely, it was the Twitter comments that kind of got me in trouble with them," he said. "Chicago weekend, talking about some of the Nationwide stuff, but most of those conversations were all direct messages to one person."
    "Anybody that follows me on Twitter knows I'm opinionated, and that's what people follow me for, is just for the quotes here or there." SI.com has since confirmed the context of that Twitter conversation, a suggestion the racing "was fixed," is what got Denny Hamlin fined. It was a public exchange between Hamlin and SB Nation's Jeff Gluck, a blogger, reprinted below: (Twitter names are @dennyhamlin and @jeff_gluck, respectively)(Sports Illustrated)(7-31-2010)

  • MAF Honors NASCAR Teams' Response to Haiti Quake: In the aftermath of the catastrophic Jan. 12, 7.0 earthquake that destroyed the capital of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, two renowned NASCAR auto racing teams shuttled relief workers and supplies into Haiti and transported evacuees, rotating workers and quake victims to the United States. This week at their respective shops in North Carolina, MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) President John Boyd presented Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing with special service awards for their work in Haiti.
    In the crucial days following one of the world's greatest disasters, the teams generously provided aircraft from their fleets. The Hendrick and Gibbs crews worked with MFI (Missionary Flights International) and MAF to shuttle planes between Fort Pierce, Fla., and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, enabling the rotation of high-impact volunteer medical teams and humanitarian workers. The planes also evacuated adopted orphans to their American homes. In addition, the aviation crews offered care, personal concern and warm fellowship to the MAF missionary pilots and ground workers as they toiled amid heat, chaos, suffering and death.
    "With these awards, we at MAF want to express our sincere gratitude to Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing for their support of the MAF team in Haiti," Boyd said. "We honor two fine motorsports teams for their selfless actions, and for the special blessing they were to us during a very trying time." Boyd also invited the two teams' aviation staffs to participate in one of the MAF advanced mountain training workshops at the ministry's headquarters in Nampa, Idaho.
    MAF has served the missionary community and the people of Haiti since 1986. Eight MAF missionary families and seven Haitian staff members provide air service with three bush aircraft that fly to 16 remote airstrips from Port-au-Prince. Within the first three months of its disaster relief efforts, MAF had partnered with dozens of relief agencies, including the United Nations. In addition to having coordinated the flights of 3,500 international passengers and 1.5 million pounds of cargo between Florida and Port-au-Prince, MAF logged 1,037 flights within Haiti, transported 1,801 relief workers, missionaries, patients and medical staff in and out of inland towns and villages urgently needing help, and delivered 315,498 pounds of urgent relief and medical cargo. MAF continues its disaster response work in Haiti, having now shifted from the crisis-relief phase to a rebuilding stage that is expected to last several years.(MAF PR)(7-29-2010)

  • Report: NASCAR fines unnamed drivers for comments - UPDATE 2: NASCAR has fined at least two of its star drivers this season for making critical comments about the racing series, The Associated Press has learned. People familiar with the penalties told the AP the comments were considered disparaging to the sport. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR is not publicly identifying the topflight drivers it fined. They say one driver was penalized as much as $50,000. The decision to fine competitors for critical comments puts NASCAR in line with many other professional sports leagues. The NFL and NBA both routinely issue fines for criticism of officiating. It also backs up NASCAR's season-long campaign to rebuild the slumping sport through an improved on-track product and off-track promotion from its drivers.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(7-26-2010)
    UPDATE: The Associated Press has learned that NASCAR warned teams during the offseason that public criticism of the sport would no longer be tolerated, and at least two star drivers have been fined-one as much as $50,000-for comments that were deemed destructive to the industry. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston on Monday night confirmed some action had been taken, but would not discuss details. "It is the sanctioning body's obligation on behalf of the industry and our fans to protect the sport's brand," Poston said. "Any action taken by NASCAR has nothing to do with the drivers expressing an opinion-it's focused on actions or comments that materially damage the sport. We have specifically discussed this in meetings with teams, drivers and stakeholders." Drivers all declined to publicly discuss the policy, but it shouldn't come as any surprise-considering NASCAR's heightened effort this year to re-ignite interest in a sport that's been fighting sagging attendance, declining television ratings and overall fan apathy for several seasons. NASCAR has taken several aggressive steps toward improving the on-track product, but its top brass decided that outstanding events aren't enough to overcome the negative perception created every time a driver publicly blasts the series. (Associated Press)(7-27-2010)
    UPDATE: #39-Ryan Newman and #11-Denny Hamlin were the two Sprint Cup drivers fined by NASCAR for making disparaging comments about the series, multiple sources told ESPN.com. Neither driver could be reached for comment. Newman was fined first and Hamlin second, the sources said. The sources would not confirm which statements made by the drivers were responsible for the fines, but both drivers have been outspoken on several issues.(7-29-2010)

  • Hamlin is 2nd quarter driver of the year: It was virtually no contest as Denny Hamlin was voted second quarter winner of the Driver Of The Year Award. Hamlin bounced back from knee surgery about one month before the second quarter began, and won three NASCAR Sprint Cup races and one NASCAR Nationwide series race in the period ending June 20th. Driving the #11 FedEx Toyota owned by Joe Gibbs Racing, Hamlin was awarded the honor for the first time in his career. Hamlin had victories in the Showtime Southern 500, Pocono 500, and Heluva Good! Sour Dips 400. And, he won from the pole at Royal Purple 200 Nationwide race in the #20 Z-Line Designs Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin took 12 first-place votes which was six times his closest competition; teammate, #18-Kyle Busch. Hamlin's scored 122 points according to the Driver Of The Year points system compared to Busch's 56 points. Dario Franchitti, the Indy 500 winner who drives the Target Chip Ganassi IndyCar, also had one first place vote and received 54 points. Mike Edwards the NHRA's ProStock driver, also received one first place ballot finishing fifth, behind Larry Dixon in the Top Fuel division.(Racin' Today)(7-25-2010)

  • #11 Team Tops On Pit Road In Second Quarter: The #11 FedEx Toyota team for Joe Gibbs Racing has earned second-quarter honors in the 2010 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award competition for its pit road performance in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Denny Hamlin and the #11 team have scored a series-leading five wins this season and are currently fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. And while Hamlin is turning fast laps behind the wheel, crew chief Mike Ford's group has been on its game as well, performing consistent, quick pit stops all year. The Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award, determined by a vote of each team's crew chief, is given quarterly to the top-performing pit crew in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The four quarterly winners are eligible for the year-end Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award presented during Champion's Week in Las Vegas.
    Members of the #11 FedEx Toyota pit crew include: Mike Hicks (front-tire changer), Brandon Pegram (front-tire carrier), Jonathan Sherman (rear-tire changer), Heath Cherry (rear-tire carrier), Nate Bolling (jackman), Scott Wood (gasman) and John Eicher (catch can). The team's athletic director is Mike Lepp.
    The #11 pit crew will be presented the second-quarter Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award Sunday during pre-race ceremonies prior to the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(NASCAR)(7-21-2010)

  • JGR and NASA: Joe Gibbs Racing [#11-Hamlin, #18-Busch & #20-Logano] recently used the 3-mile runway NASA utilizes for its space shuttle program to run its car up and down to gather information about aerodynamics. The team basically driver Matt DiBenedetto, a development driver at JGR, run the car to 205 mph on the landing strip, coast to about 150 mph and then run it back up to 205 mph, doing this three times before turning around and coming back and doing the same thing. Such straight-line testing is common in NASCAR. Teams go to various places to do this but going to NASA's runaway is unique.(Virginian Pilot)(7-15-2010)

  • Gibbs and family selected as 2nd quarter Spirit Award Winner: Members of the National Motorsports Press Association selected J.D. Gibbs and his family as the second quarter winner of the NMPA Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is determined by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association membership.
    Gibbs and his family were selected for hosting Taylor's Finish Line Festival in May. The festival was held to celebrate the end cancer treatments for Gibbs' 5-year-old son, Taylor. Proceeds benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western, N.C., and the Levine Children's Hospital of Charlotte. More than $600,000 was raised at the event, attended by more than 5,000 people.
    Also receiving votes were: Drs. Joseph and Rose Mattioli for contributions to support trauma care at Lehigh Valley Health Network; employees of Richard Childress Racing and Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines for delivering and distributing cleaning supplies to Nashville, Tenn., residents affected by the flooding there; Tony Stewart for his annual Prelude to the Dream charity dirt late model race; and Kyle Petty for his annual charity motorcycle ride across the country. Bobby Hutchens, competition director at Stewart-Haas Racing, won the award in the first quarter.(JGR)(7-8-2010)

  • Tire test at Bristol: NASCAR drivers #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #11-Denny Hamlin, #82-Scott Speed and #6-David Ragan participated in a Goodyear tire test Tuesday at Bristol Motor Speedway in preparation for the August NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race.(BMS)(6-30-2010)

  • Hamlin & Salvation Army: #11-Denny Hamlin will join representatives from FedEx, the Salvation Army of Massachusetts and the Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, for the donation of a Disaster Relief Unit on Thursday, June 24 at Boston City Hall Plaza.(FedEx Racing)(6-24-2010)

  • Hamlin doesn't back off :on comments about cautions #11-Denny Hamlin maintained his belief that NASCAR throws debris cautions when it wants at times, echoing similar statements after last weekend's win at Michigan. Hamlin was asked on Friday at Infineon Raceway about any feedback he had heard from his comments last week about how he expected a debris caution late in that race (as he held a 10-second lead) and how he understood it was best for the fans to have the field closer. Here's what Hamlin said Friday: "At no point was I the one to get pissed off about that caution because I knew it was going to happen,'' Hamlin said. "Legitimate or not, the odds are that we were going to have some non-wreck caution in the last half of the race. Pocono it was the same way (the last of 3 debris cautions in the race came 25 laps from the end), we had a long green flag spell and I knew it was going to be a matter of time before we see a caution for one reason or another. I think there's always debris around the track. Without a doubt you can call anything debris. I can look out right now and I can see debris pretty close to the race track (as he looked out the window to the track). You can say that's a legitimate safety hazard. I think it's the timing there. It is right there. Let's pick it up to tighten things up. Let's regroup. For the sake of show, it's OK but the sake of competition it's not always the right thing. I think if we weren't talking about that last week, if NASCAR would have let it go,then people were going to be talking about a boring race. That's something that we don't need right now.''(Virginian Pilot)(6-19-2010)

  • Hamlin joins a list:of winners #11-Denny Hamlin's win at Michigan, is his 5th in the first 15 races of the season. This is the 16th time in NASCAR's modern era (since 1972) that a driver has won five of the first 15 Sprint Cup series races in a season. All but one of those drivers (David Pearson in 1973, when he didn't run the full schedule) went on to finish in the top three in points. Hamlin joins this list of drivers with five wins in the first 15 races: Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson and Richard Petty.(ESPN)(6-16-2010)

  • Denny Hamlin wins Michigan: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway for his 5th win of 2010 [leads in wins], 1st at Michigan, 2nd in a row and 13th win of his career. #9-Kahne finished 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #24-Gordon. #14-Stewart, #48-Johnson [still has not won a race at MIS], #88-Earnhardt Jr., #31-Burton, #16-Biffle and #20-Logano. Points leader #29-Harvick finished 19th and maintains the points lead over #18-Busch, now up to a 22 point lead. #18-Busch, who had to start at the rear after an engine change, finished 20th.
    There were 18 lead changes among 9 drivers and only 4 cautions for 14 yellow flag laps. The attendence was reported at 95,000, up from 90,000 last year
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Michigan Race Results/Awards page.
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(6-13-2010)

  • Denny Hamlin wins Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway for his 4th win of 2010 [leads in wins] and 12th win of his career. #18-Busch finished 2nd, followed by #14-Stewart, #29-Harvick, #48-Johnson, #2-Busch, #31-Burton, #42-Montoya, #33-Bowyer and #43-Allmendinger. Points leader #29-Harvick maintains the points lead over #18-Busch, but down to 19 point lead. #24-Gordon finished 32nd after getting involved in a big wreck during the green-white-checkered finish when #9-Kahne got in the grass trying to pass #43-Allmendinger, the #9 got in the grass and shot back up the treack headfirst in the wall, then turned around by #5-Martin and #56-Truex, with the #9 sliding on the outside wall a bit before returning to the track and getting smacked by the #24 car. Hamlin did a heck of a burn-out, but lost it at the end and nosed into the outside wall, doing damage to the car, which he then droove to victory lane.
    There were 14 lead changes among 7 drivers and 8 cautions for 27 yellow flag laps. The attendence was reported at 140,000, down from 160,000 last year
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Pocono Race Results/Awards page.
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(6-6-2010)

  • Kyle Busch says he and Hamlin have moved on UPDATE maybe not? #18-Kyle Busch says he is not taking back radio chatter in which he threatened to kill JGR teammate #11-Denny Hamlin after some hard driving in the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch insisted Thursday that he and Hamlin have moved on from last week's incident. Hamlin was leading late in the race when he blocked Busch's run. The defensive driving caused Busch to hit the wall, and he later got a flat tire that led to a race-ending wreck. Busch was so angry afterward, he warned his team he was going to kill Hamlin. Busch went directly to Hamlin's hauler after his accident, and team owner Joe Gibbs mediated a post-race meeting with his drivers. Busch says his threat was out of anger, but not literal, and he's moved past the incident.(Associated Press)(5-27-2010)
    Hamlin comments: Denny Hamlin didn't just throw Kyle Busch under the bus Thursday, he ran over him with it. "For me, I'm over the Denny Hamlin issue," Busch said Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he made his first public comments on the issue. "It's done, we're moving forward and we look forward to the rest of the year and the [Coca-Cola] 600 this weekend." Hamlin, however, was considerably more blunt when discussing his feelings towards his teammate. "I definitely wouldn't change anything that I would do and nobody in my position would," said Hamlin. "I challenge anyone to be in that position and to change the way that I drove. The thing is that he [Busch] was never there, there was never a hole for his car to fit in, so he has a gas pedal and a brake just like I do. He could choose to check up and pass me in the next corner or put his car in the fence like what happened." And from there, he was off and running. Asked if he'd work with Busch, Hamlin indicated his displeasure with his hot-tempered teammate. "I'm not going to put too much effort in it, to be honest with you," Hamlin said. "Kyle brings this stuff up himself and he gets mad at the media for asking him questions about his blow-ups and stuff, but he does it to himself. I don't want to be part of it. Any drama that he wants to create or anything is on him. Anything he says on the radio is on him. [That's] all I'm going to say and I'm going to be done with it. Each year I think Kyle's going to grow out of it and he just doesn't. Until he puts it all together, that's when he'll become a champion. Right now he just doesn't have himself all together." And then, for good measure, this little bon mot: "I didn't say that I was going to take over this team or be the leader of this team, but somebody's got to be the leader-it ain't going to be Kyle."(Ford Racing)(5-30-2010)

  • Hamlin talks about incident with Kyle Busch: Joe Gibbs Racing teammates #11-Denny Hamlin and #18-Kyle Busch were battling for the lead late in the Sprint All-Star Race, Hamlin used defensive driving to protect his lead, Busch didn't have room on the outside and slammed into the all, pushing in his right front fender that would later cut down a tire and end the night for Busch [and #9-Kahne], Busch was so angry he threatened to kill Hamlin over his team radio and camped out in the #11 hauler, waiting for Hamlin....so
    . Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, answers questions in this Toyota PR/quotes
    What happened between yourself and Kyle Busch on the race track? "First he (Kyle Busch) got a big run off the corner and I was clear getting into the corner. Basically I just throttled up extremely early and really it was a bad corner. He was going to go by me. He kind of went to the bottom and then went up high it looked like. Of course, I'm looking out my front windshield and he says I'm clear so I'm going to use all the race track I can. The problem is that Kyle had a run to the outside and with me moving up and getting real tight, it then took some air away from the front of his car and he slid up into the wall. It's tough for me. We talked about it and basically Kyle was just frustrated, he felt like he had a really good car. Me, I just came from the back with no practice and got back to the front where we needed to be and I felt like if I gave up the lead right there then I was going to give up the win. I don't think Kyle would do anything different if he was in my situation. It's just when you're the leader, my feeling is that you've got the whole race track. If a guy is to the outside then that's when you need to hold your line."
    What was the conversation between yourself, Kyle Busch, Joe and J.D. Gibbs? "It's a good conversation to have. Me and Tony (Stewart) has had this same conversation and it was under a little different circumstance, but this is a good problem to have for our team. For two guys to be wanting to go for the win like they are, that's all we can ask for. Myself, I'm so confident that one of the two of us are going to win that 600 next weekend, it was a good meeting. Kyle (Busch) was fiery at the beginning, but calmed right down at the end. I think it's just kind of his personality and me, I'm a little more reserved and kind of quiet about it. I think it's just two teammates that happen to be teammates going for a race win right there."
    What are your thoughts on Kyle Busch's comments about you on the team radio? "That's Kyle in the moment and he's said worse things about me for sure at other times. I told him my job as the leader is to do everything I can to win that race. This race in specific is a much different beast than what a points race is and I think he understands that. From my standpoint, we're going to drive each other different, no doubt about it. We've seen it in years past, guys suck each other around, guys running each other up the race track, but I felt like if Kyle had position on the outside, then I definitely should have given him the lane. I just basically took the air off and like he said, he was just dumb and didn't check up. It's just one of those things. The air is so important that if you've got the lead then it's extremely hard for anyone to get around you and we just flat over-adjusted our race car and we got it way off right there. I felt like if we couldn't get the win, then I probably should have just moved over and let him go because it looked like he had a race winning car. That is the only thing I fault myself is not understanding my race car that time."
    How will you and Kyle Busch move forward from this? "We don't need to let it affect these team guys. They work with each other inside the race shop and the important thing for me is that everyone gets along. Right now, everything is going good between the 11 and the 18 (Kyle Busch) on the race track, we're both battling for race wins each and every week. This is like the fifth of sixth time that we've been beside each other with less than 10 (laps) to go and this is not going to be the last time. What's good is that we have an understanding of how we race each other. One thing that we do realize too is this individual race here is a different beast so the racing of each other is always going to be a little different."(Toyota)(5-23-2010)

  • Denny Hamlin wins at Darlington: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Showtime Southern 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway for his 3rd race of 2010 and 11th of his career. He also won the Nationwide race Friday night. It was his first weekend sweep in Nationwide and Cup. Pole sitter #1-Jamie McMurray finished 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #24-Gordon, #42-Montoya, #29-Harvick, #18-Busch, #31-Burton, #39-Newman, and #83-Vickers. Harvick extended his points lead to 110 over #48-Johnson, who was involved in a wreck with #43-Allmendinger midway through the race and finished 36th. There were 20 lead changes among 11 drivers and 11 cautions for 56 yellow flag laps.
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Darlington Race Results/Awards page
    See Drivers Championship Points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(5-8-2010)

  • Latest on Hamlin's Knee: From #11-Denny Hamlins driver diary at USA Today: "Knee surgery was more than a month ago, but I still am going to rehabilitation almost every day if I'm in town. It's going well, but the recovery is so slow is what's frustrating. It's not like anything else. You can break a bone or sprain something, and it can get better in a couple of weeks. This is a long, long process of putting in a whole bunch of work, and I wish the results were faster. The rehab mostly involves squats and stuff to try to get the quad and calves strong again. They get very weak being laid up, and they don't fire as well anymore, which in turn gives you more knee pain. So I'm doing the normal leg exercises that anyone would do to build muscle. It's better every week, for sure, but not 50% better, it's 10% or 5% better. It's about a six-month recovery, and we're a month into it. The doctors have said we're ahead of schedule. I still can't run, and that's the biggest limiting factor. I can't get the cardio exercise as I'd like, so that part also is a bear to deal with. I can get to where I'm on the elliptical machine now and can make some rotations. Within a week, I figure I'll be back to some sort of cardio, but nothing sports-related. The biggest thing I hear from people who do this in sports all the time is part of the depression that athletes face is not being able to go to the gym and do things as they did before. We live in the gym and live to play sports and do stuff like this. Being told to sit on the couch to recover is tough to deal with.(USA Today)(5-7-2010)

  • FedEx plans to continue sponsorship of JGR: FedEx, which announced Monday it has dropped its 20-year sponsorship of the Orange Bowl, does not have plans to do the same with Joe Gibbs Racing and driver Denny Hamlin, according to a FedEx executive. Although no formal announcement has been made of an extension with JGR beyond 2010, FedEx Sports Marketing Manager Katherine Flee indicated Monday night that Hamlin and JGR are in good shape for next year and beyond. "While we have recently decided to end our relationship with the Bowl Championship Series and the Orange Bowl, FedEx remains committed to its long-term relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing and our sponsorship of Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 car," Flee said in an e-mail. "We are looking forward to running for our fifth-consecutive Chase for the championship [this year]." Joe Gibbs Racing is planning on FedEx continuing as the Hamlin sponsor.(Scene Daily)(5-4-2010)

  • Falk wins Denny Hamlin's 250-lap charity race: Denny Hamlin has the household name, a multimillion-dollar contract with Joe Gibbs Racing and 10 career victories on NASCAR's top touring series. C.E. Falk III is a 22-year-old Norfolk native who's two weeks shy of graduating from Charlotte. Falk has racing in his blood, though, and the son of former Busch Series driver Eddie Falk wasn't about to back down when he got a rare opportunity to trade sheet metal with Hamlin last night at Southside Speedway. Falk qualified third behind local favorite Hamlin and Tony Stewart for the third annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, a 250-lap Late Model race to benefit Hamlin's charitable foundation. Stewart was second, followed by Eddie Johnson. Hamlin settled for a disappointing fourth-place finish after dominating the race.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-1-2010)

  • Hamlin wins at Texas: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Samsung Mobile 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway taking the lead with 12 laps to go after a mutli-car wreck caused a 19:13 red flag. It is Hamlin's 2nd win of 2010, 1st at Texas and 10th of his career. Hamlin is the 16th driver to win a Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. #48-Johnson was coming fast towards the end and finished 2nd, followed by #18-Busch, #2-Busch, #9-Kahne, #5-Martin, #29-Harvick, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #56-Truex Jr. and #16-Biffle. Only 13 cars finished on the lead lap after a late multi-car wreck late in the race took out #24-Gordon who led 124 laps and pole sitter #14-Stewart who led 74 laps, who finished 31st and 32nd respectfully. #48-Johnson increased his points lead to 108 points over #17-Kenseth. The top five drivers in points stay the same. There were 7 cautions for 32 laps [16:50 under caution], a red flag for 20:28 and 29 lead changes among 12 drivers.
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Texas Race Results/Awards page.
    See drivers points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(4-19-2010)

  • Gibbs could not commit to fourth Cup team: Joe Gibbs wouldn't get into the reasons, but he said Friday night that it just wasn't feasible for JGR to currently commit to a fourth Sprint Cup team when he was asked about Kasey Kahne signing with Hendrick Motorsports. Gibbs thinks that Kahne knows where he's racing in 2011 even though Hendrick announced Wednesday that his plans for 2011 are uncertain before he takes over the #5 car in 2012. "I am going to have to say he's not in limbo," Gibbs said prior to being inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. "I would say there's been a decision made of what's going to happen there." The decision doesn't include JGR, which had made a strong run at Kahne but couldn't get the package done before Kahne made the decision to sign with Hendrick. "It's extremely hard to put together something where you're trying to put together right sponsor, right driver," Gibbs said. "That's part of life in what you do here. You try to craft things as best you can for your race team. We've probably been the most cautious of adding a fourth team among the big teams."(SceneDaily)(4-19-2010)

  • Hamlin expects to run full race at Texas: from a FedEx Racing PR, #11-Denny Hamlin discusses his surgerically repaired knee and his plans:
    Will a full race and few more days of rest under your belt - how is your knee feeling?: "It's feeling much better really. It's still sore and I have a long way to go but I am definitely making progress. I went from Phoenix to Los Angeles for a commercial shoot but I have been able to keep working on my rehab and I don't see any reason that I will have trouble with my knee by the time we get to Texas. Unlike Phoenix where we had to use a ton of brake, Texas is much different so I will be in the car and expect to go the full distance just as I did at Phoenix last weekend."
    Lots of people are asking why you didn't take the opportunity to jump out at Phoenix?: "I definitely thought about it, especially when we went down a couple of laps and we knew it would be hard to get them back, but I never want to give up on anything and I wasn't going to give up on the team on Saturday night. They worked hard to get that car ready for me, they were patient with me and I owe to it to them to give it my best effort. That's as true when you are running up front as it is when you are struggling. It was actually an easy decision from the seat."
    Looking at the season as a whole - and knee injury aside - how are you feeling about 2010 so far?: "Still a long way to go so nothing really to worry about. My knee will only get stronger and the same can be said for our team. We are generally slow starters but we've had some awful luck so far this season and that's hurt us when we had some good runs going. We are still in contention so once we hit stride I think we'll be fine. This team is committed to working through these issues and getting back to being consistent - something we've always been and that's why we have been in the Chase every year. We know what we have to do to get back to that."(FedEx Racing)(4-16-2010)

  • Hamlin uncertain if he can run entire race: UPDATES: #11-Denny Hamlin, who had surgery nine days ago to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, said he is uncertain if he can drive the entire race Saturday after experiencing significant pain and discomfort in practice Friday. "I don't know how far I can go," Hamlin said. "It aches quite a bit and the range of motion is a problem. If I had to do it today there is no way I could do it." he said. Casey Mears will replace Hamlin if Hamlin has to get out of the #11 Toyota. A driver must start the race to earn the points for that event. "There's a lot of fluid build-up on the knee right now," Hamlin said. "The doctors are going to insert a needle in the morning and drain all the fluid. They also are going to take the stitches out, so I might have a little more mobility." Hamlin said he hopes to make a decision early in the race about whether to get out of the car. "If we do it, we need to do it early," Hamlin said. "I'll start thinking about it at 50 or 60 laps. My goal is to know what I'm going to do before Lap 100 [in the 375-lap race]. There's no reason to abort it if I make it that far. It hurts worse when I stop than when I'm going."(ESPN.com)(4-9-2010)
    UPDATE: Interviewed on SPEED's Race Day, Hamlin said he has not determined if he will try to run the entire race. He will see how he feels once the race gets underway but try to make a decision by lap 50.(4-10-2010)
    UPDATE 2: Hamlin stayed in the car for the entire race.(4-10-2010)

  • Hamlin uncertain if he can run entire race: #11-Denny Hamlin, who had surgery nine days ago to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, said he is uncertain if he can drive the entire race Saturday after experiencing significant pain and discomfort in practice Friday. "I don't know how far I can go," Hamlin said. "It aches quite a bit and the range of motion is a problem. If I had to do it today there is no way I could do it." he said. Casey Mears will replace Hamlin if Hamlin has to get out of the #11 Toyota. A driver must start the race to earn the points for that event. "There's a lot of fluid build-up on the knee right now," Hamlin said. "The doctors are going to insert a needle in the morning and drain all the fluid. They also are going to take the stitches out, so I might have a little more mobility." Hamlin said he hopes to make a decision early in the race about whether to get out of the car. "If we do it, we need to do it early," Hamlin said. "I'll start thinking about it at 50 or 60 laps. My goal is to know what I'm going to do before Lap 100 [in the 375-lap race]. There's no reason to abort it if I make it that far. It hurts worse when I stop than when I'm going."(ESPN.com)(4-9-2010)

  • Hamlin's rehab on schedule, expects to race Saturday: UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin's rehabilitation of his left knee, which underwent surgery a week ago to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, remains on schedule and should allow him to compete in Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. "It's painful, as anyone who has had this surgery or any similar surgery can tell you, but I am working hard to get back my full range of motion and get back to where I need to be," Hamlin said in a news release. Dr. Patrick Connor of OrthoCarolina in Charlotte performed the surgery last Wednesday. Dr. Bill Heisel, who assisted in the procedure, told ESPN.com the knee should be "pretty normal" by the time Hamlin got to Phoenix. Heisel added that Hamlin shouldn't be restricted from using his left leg to clutch or brake as long as there was no abnormal swelling. Casey Mears is on standby in case Hamlin has to come out of the car. Hamlin, who is 15th in points after his win at Martinsville before the Easter break, is expected at the very least to start the race in order to collect full points for the finish.(ESPN.com)(4-7-2010)
    UPDATE: How long Denny Hamlin stays in his race car during this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway will be left up to him, according to the physician's assistant that is overseeing Hamlin's rehabilitation from recent knee surgery. "I'm optimistic that he's going to be able to run at the very least some laps," Bill Heisel of OrthoCarolina said Wednesday. "I anticipate that he will have some soreness and he will have some swelling. It's just a matter of seeing how many laps he's able to run." Heisel, a physician's assistant who helped with the surgery and is overseeing Hamlin's rehab, is scheduled to be in Phoenix on race day to assist Hamlin and the team, and to address any issues that might arise. Hamlin was scheduled to work with the team Wednesday to practice getting into and out of his car.(Scene Daily)(4-8-2010)

  • Hamlin to have knee surgery on Wed UPDATE 2 surgery done: Surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in #11-Denny Hamlin's left knee will not limit the Sprint Cup driver behind the wheel for the next race, according to one of the doctors that will perform the operation on Wednesday. "I anticipate by the time he gets to Phoenix [April 8-10] he'll have a pretty normal knee for all intents and purposes," said Dr. Bill Heisel, who will assist Dr. Patrick Connor of OrthoCarolina in Charlotte, N.C. Heisel said the winner of Monday's race at Martinsville Speedway may be in some pain or discomfort for a few weeks after the surgery, but added that range of motion to use the brake or clutch won't be impacted. "He's going to feel something, even at Phoenix," Heisel said. "The big thing is to control the swelling to get the motion going. Straight ahead he should be pretty good. Obviously, what you don't want him to do is wreck the car. But I anticipate he's going to be able to clutch and brake pretty quickly." Heisel said the procedure will involve making tunnels through Hamlin's shin bone and thigh bone to pass the tendons from a cadaver into place and lock each end with a screw. He said physical therapy will begin immediately to improve mobility and strengthen the quadriceps, and that Hamlin will have to wear a brace for a while when not in the car. "He'll be back running in three months," Heisel said. Surgery was delayed until Wednesday after Sunday's race was rained out.(ESPN)(3-30-2010)
    UPDATE: Hamlin will only need clearance from his doctor to resume competing in NASCAR, according to officials with the sanctioning body. "He only needs to be cleared by his doctor, he needs for him to say it's OK for him to return ... that he's good [to go]," NASCAR's Ramsey Poston, managing director, corporate communications, said Tuesday. While Poston said there's no formal paperwork that must be submitted, such as copies of Hamlin's medical records, the sanctioning body could request such records if there was a concern. That typically isn't the case, Poston said. As far as the use of painkillers or other medicine following surgery, Poston said "that's part of the conversation we have with any driver. Any misuse is a violation ... it's pretty standard." Poston said it is unlikely officials would be concerned about Hamlin's ability to compete when he does return to the track. "We've had drivers [compete with] a whole lot worse than ACL [injuries]," he said. Dr. Patrick Connor with OrthoCarolina will perform the surgery [today].(SceneDaily)(3-31-2010)
    UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, had successful surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee this morning. The surgery was performed by Dr. Patrick Connor with OrthoCarolina. Hamlin injured the knee in January prior to the start of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. He is expected to make a full recovery and will be in Phoenix as scheduled for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on April 10. JGR will have driver Casey Mears on standby should Hamlin experience any complications while driving in the race and need to be replaced in the car. "Denny had his surgery this morning and everything went well," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "He will start rehab immediately and now we can concentrate on getting his knee back to the full strength. The doctors tell us it will improve with each passing week and that he cannot damage it by driving. We expect him to be in the car in Phoenix, but we're fortunate to have Casey Mears standing by in case he would need to come out of the car for any reason."(JGR)(3-31-2010)

  • Mears to sub for Hamlin if needed, may return to the #90 team: Casey Mears was selected Saturday to sub for #11-Denny Hamlin while he recovers from ACL surgery. It's a deal that came together in just a few days, but one Mears knows could relaunch a fledgling Cup career after going 1-for-6 in making races with underfunded Keyed-Up Motorsports - a deal that ended with a DNQ Friday. "It's just an opportunity I couldn't pass up," he said. "It's one of those deals where I could just be sitting on the pit box if Denny feels pretty good, but if he doesn't it's just a great opportunity to possibly get in a good car." It's also a chance to pair with an organization that would one day like to expand to four teams. "You see him in passing, and it's hi, hello, but I've never really spoken with those guys," he said. "So it's an opportunity for me to just kind of get to know those guys a little bit, and you never know what the future holds." Hamlin had high praise for Mears in his press conference Saturday morning, calling him "the best option to get a good finish" of all the drivers available in case he falters. If Hamlin's pain is overwhelming, the plan would be to run to the first caution, then have Mears take over for as many races as possible until his recovery's complete. "I think it means a lot to think your peers think of you that way," he claimed. "I think that hopefully if I can get in there, I can do a good job for them, and keep them in the running for where they want to be." In the meantime, Mears' relationship with Keyed-Up is expected to continue once his subbing is complete. He claims owner Raymond Key will run in the interim, although no driver has been selected to sub for him in the #90 Chevy as of yet. "I still want to run with those guys some more," he said. "Hopefully, I can get through this year and get something going rolling positive for 2011."(Frontstretch)(3-27-2010)

  • Hamlin to have surgery, sub not named UPDATE Mears: #11-Denny Hamlin will have reconstructive surgery on his left knee Monday, sources close to the driver and Joe Gibbs Racing told ESPN.com. Hamlin, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in December playing pickup basketball, planned to wait until the end of the 2010 season to repair it. But growing fear of long term damage forced his hand, sources said. Sources said Hamlin plans to start every race and doesn't expect to miss any competition, but plans to have a driver on standby for several races just in case. Sources are uncertain at this time whom that driver would be. Per NASCAR rules, the driver that takes the green flag in the car earns the championship points for that race, even if he gets out prematurely. Hamlin's ability to drive the #11 Toyota is more about his pain tolerance than anything else, sources said. Strength-wise he should be fine. If he can handle the pain, he can race, the sources said. Hamlin, widely considered the biggest threat to upend Jimmie Johnson's championship stranglehold, has begun slowly in 2010. He is 19th in the point standings and has yet to earn a top-10 finish in the season's first five events.(ESPN)(3-27-2010)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will undergo surgery on Monday, March 29 to repair the ACL in his left knee. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Patrick Connor with OrthoCarolina. Hamlin injured the knee in January prior to the start of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. "When we first reviewed the situation we thought Denny couldn't do any further damage to his knee if he waited to have surgery, but as the season progressed we determined that the best plan of action was to go ahead and have it repaired," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Hopefully this will take care of the situation and he should get stronger each week." Hamlin is expected to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Phoenix on April 10.(JGR)
    MEARs could sub: Hamlin said driver Casey Mears has been hired as his standby in case he needs a substitute or an in-race replacement during the recovery period. Hamlin said he hopes he won't miss any races and that the recovery period will be over by the fall, when he hopes to be competing in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He is currently 19th in points. Hamlin said he will be on crutches at least until practice for the Phoenix race begins. "From there, we'll just kind of see where our range of motion is and things like that," he said. "As long as they can just pry me in that seat, they'll have a tough time prying me out." Hamlin had planned to have the surgery at the end of the season, but continuing problems with the knee forced a change, he said. "We were doing some further damage to the knee, and, to me, it's not something that's worth suffering forever or having a permanent limp or anything like that," he said. "It just didn't make much sense. The goal right now is to go ahead and get it done on Monday - as soon as I can early Monday morning. "Right now, he (surgeon Dr. Patrick Connor) says that I'll be able to get in the car at Phoenix. There's no doubt that I'll be able to get in it. It's just tolerance of pain is what's going to be the limiting factor." Depending on the speed of the recovery, Hamlin said it's possible that he could start several races and allow Mears to replace him during the event. A driver must start a race to earn points in the driver standings for that event.(SPEED)(3-27-2010)

  • Hamlin & March of Dimes team up again: FedEx Racing and March of Dimes Team up for Babies: Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs and representatives from FedEx Office and the March of Dimes will unveil a special #11 March of Dimes/FedEx Office Toyota on Thursday, March 25 at the Joe Gibbs Racing shop in Huntersville. The car will run at Phoenix International Raceway in effort to raise awareness for the March of Dimes and March for Babies fundraising walks.(FexExRacing)(3-25-2010)
    UPDATE: FedEx Racing driver Denny Hamlin will drive a special #11 FedEx Office/March for Babies Toyota in the "SUBWAY Fresh Fit 600" at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, April 10, 2010 in effort to rev up the revenue for the March of Dimes and give every baby a healthy start in life. "This is the third year in a row that I raced the March for Babies car at the Phoenix Raceway," said Hamlin. "Last year we placed sixth and I'm hoping this year we'll win! I want to do everything I can to help raise awareness for the amazing work the March of Dimes does so that more babies are born healthy." The #11 FedEx Office/March for Babies® Toyota was unveiled today during a ceremony at Joe Gibbs Racing Inc. in Huntersville, N.C. Hamlin and team owner Joe Gibbs were on hand to reveal the special paint scheme for the Phoenix Cup race. During the race, Hamlin also will wear a helmet designed by Morgan, Preston and Chase Copeland. The triplets are the children of FedEx Office employee Alan Copeland and were born seven weeks premature in 2005. Today, their dad says, Morgan, Preston and Chase are healthy, active four-year-olds thanks to the March of Dimes-funded treatments and the medical care they received.(JGR), see image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(3-25-2010)

  • Denny Hamlin tears ACL: UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin, widely considered Jimmie Johnson's top threat in 2010, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee [clutch foot] Friday playing pickup basketball. Hamlin said he still expects to compete, but surgery isn't an option at this time since the Sprint Cup season begins in two weeks. He plans to have surgery to repair the knee after the 2010 season. A team spokesman said the injury should not affect Hamlin's ability to drive the car. "I planted my foot to make a move toward the basket, and my knee just shot directly out to the left," Hamlin said. On Dec. 16, Hamlin had surgery on his right knee to repair the meniscus [also from basketball].(ESPN)(1-24-2010)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin shouldn't have too much trouble driving a race car despite a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, according to JGR President J.D. Gibbs and doctors familiar with ACL injuries. Hamlin, 29, uses his left foot to brake as well as to control the clutch in his #11 Toyota. "In essence, it's not that big a deal given what drivers normally have to do in the car," said ESPN analyst Dr. Jerry Punch, a former emergency-room physician. "No two people are the same in terms of how much instability they have when they tear an ACL. Typically, somebody that is Denny's age, young and in great physical shape, can rehab that knee without having it operated on." The ACL keeps the lower part of the leg from moving forward when a person stops running. Starting and stopping quickly would make the knee feel unstable. It doesn't have to do with rotation or side-to-side movement, Punch said, and the pedals could be adjusted to make it more comfortable. Reconstructive ACL surgery requires six to 10 weeks of immobility, and that's why Hamlin plans to wait until after the season is over, Punch said. He could have arthroscopic surgery to clean out the injured area and that would require only 10 days of being off his feet, but Gibbs said that no surgery is planned.(Scene Daily)(1-27-2010)

  • TV Special to go behind the scenes at JGR: Beginning Jan. 24, NASCAR fans will be given unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to one of the sport's most successful teams as it prepares for the season-opening Daytona 500. SPEED and IMG Sports Media are working together on a series of four one-hour specials featuring Joe Gibbs Racing and giving fans a unique perspective of what it takes to be ready to perform in The Daytona 500. JGR's Countdown to the Daytona 500 will take viewers to previously restricted areas, including wind tunnel testing, the engine department and team plane.(SPEEDtv)(1-12-2010)

2009 News

  • Scheduled Sponsors/FedEx Paint Schemes for 2009:, runs Express, Ground, Freight, Office

    FedEx Express (?):
    Bud Shootout 2/7
    Daytona 500 2/15
    Bristol 3/15
    Talladega 4/26
    Sprint All-Star Challenge 5/16
    Charlotte 5/24
    Michigan 6/14
    Richmond 9/12

    FedEx Office (?):
    Las Vegas 3/1
    Dover 5/31
    Infineon Raceway 6/21
    Daytona 7/4
    Indianapolis 7/26
    Michigan 8/16
    Charlotte 10/17
    Texas 11/8

    FedEx Freight (?):
    California 2/22
    Martinsville 3/29
    Chicago 7/11
    Watkins Glen 8/9
    New Hampshire 9/20
    Kansas 10/4
    Martinsville 10/25

    FedEx Ground (?):
    Atlanta 3/8
    Texas 4/5
    Richmond 5/2
    Pocono 6/7
    New Hampshire 6/28
    Bristol 8/22
    Dover 9/27
    California 10/11

    FedEx - March of Dimes (1):
    Phoenix 4/18

    Farm Bureau Insurance (2):
    Darlington 5/9
    Atlanta 9/6

  • Looks like Farm Bureau Insurance sponsorship is done: in a recent newsletter from Farm Bureau Insurance, it was posted: As the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season comes to a close, so does Farm Bureau Insurance's sponsorship relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing. We want to thank Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and David Gilliland, and all of our loyal fans and customers for your support. Sponsoring a JGR car in six races: Darlington, Atlanta (2nd), Charlotte (2nd), Martinsville (2nd), Texas (2nd) and Homestead. Once again, all of us at Farm Bureau Insurance would like to thank our fans. It was great seeing you at the track, and it has been a truly rewarding experience working with the professional and dedicated team at Joe Gibbs Racing in both the 2008 and 2009 sponsorships of the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Sprint Cup series. This will be the last corespondence from Farm Bureau Insurance Racing.(farmbureauinsuranceracing.com)(12-10-2009)

  • Rusty Wallace forms alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing: Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing announced the formation of a technical alliance between the two teams, under which JGR will provide RWR with technical support for the development of NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry race cars. In the last two Nationwide Series seasons, RWR has fielded a pair of Chevy Impalas and in 2009 was the only team with multiple drivers among the top-ten in the year-end driver standings. For the 2010 season, the team will campaign factory-backed Toyota Camrys, with engines provided by Triad Racing Development. Stated RWR team owner, Rusty Wallace, "We're excited about working with J.D. (Gibbs) and his guys; they've built a very solid Nationwide Series program over the past several seasons. Between all of the support that we're receiving from Toyota and this new partnership, I feel that 2010 will be a strong year for our team." Regarding the partnership, JGR President J.D. Gibbs noted, "We're looking forward to working with Rusty and his team at RWR. We're excited to have them join the Toyota camp next year in the Nationwide Series and we look forward to providing assistance to their program as well."(RWR PR)(12-14-2009)

  • Hamlin surgery pushed back: #11-Denny Hamlin had minor knee surgery planned for the end of this season, but delayed the procedure after booking a suite with a basketball court inside of it for his stay in Las Vegas. Since arriving Tuesday evening, Hamlin said he and his friends have gotten in at least three games a day on the court. His surgery will be Dec. 16. "I moved my surgery back because I had this reserved for the last two months," he said. "It was scheduled for last week, and I thought there would be no point in it. I moved my surgery back to accommodate my hotel room in Vegas, so I'm trying to get all the ball in that I can since I'm going to be out for a month."(Associated Press)
    AND Also in regards to Hamlin, he gave out four tickets for each race to this season. All fans had to do was go to his website and explain why they should get his tickets for a particular race. Hamlin said the web site got more than 20,000 entries. He said he will continue to offer tickets to fans again next year. He also says that some tracks are joining in and matching or adding to Hamlin's gift to fans.(Virginian Pilot)(12-4-2009)

  • Hamlin's crew wins Tissot award in Homestead: In Sunday's (Nov. 22) season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Denny Hamlin's #11 crew won the Tissot competition. The effort by the #11 FedEx crew played a key role in Hamlin's fourth race victory of the season. Hamlin's #11 Joe Gibbs Racing crew consists of: Jonathan Sherman (front-tire changer), Brandon Pegram (front-tire carrier), Mike Hicks (rear-tire changer), Heath Cherry (rear-tire carrier), Nate Bolling (jackman), Scott Wood (gasman), John Eicher (catch can) and Bobby "Spike" Christenson (windshield). The team's crew chief is Mike Ford and the pit crew coach is Paul Alepa. The athletic director for Joe Gibbs Racing is Michael Lepp. The Tissot Pit Road Precision Award went to the team which spent the least amount of time on pit road and finished on the lead lap in each of the 36 Sprint Cup point races. The winning team earned $5,000 and a Tissot watch for each race.(Tissot), see past Tissot award winners and season standings on my 2009 Pit Crew News page.(11-27-2009)

  • Win 188 for #11: with #11-Denny Hamlin's win in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it was car #11's 188 win in the Sprint Cup Series, only 10 wins behind the #43, which has 198. See more on my Wins by Car Number page.(11-23-2009)

  • Hamlin wins at Homestead: #11-Denny Hamlin won the FORD 400 Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway for his 4th win of the season and 8th of his career. It is the first win for Toyota at Homestead. Hamlin started 38th, the farthest a driver has started and won at Homestead. #31-Burton finished 2nd [for the 2nd race in a row] followed by #29-Harvick, #2-Busch, #48-Johnson [the 2009 Sprint Cup Champion], #24-Gordon, #99-Edwards, #18-Busch, #1-Truex Jr. and #44-Allmendinger. Johnson wins his 4th NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in a row, the first driver ever to so in NASCAR's 61 year history. Johnson was presented a check by Sprint for $6,520,800. Rick Hendrick becomes the first owner to finish 1-2-3 in the final Cup standings with Johnson, Martin and Gordon finishing 1-2-3.
    There were 7 cautions for 31 yellow flag laps and 18 lead changes among 10 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Homestead Race Results Page.
    For the drivers points standings, see my Drivers Points Standings.(11-22-2009)

  • Hamlin to have knee surgery: #11-Denny Hamlin will have arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday [Dec 9th, after the banquet] to repair some minor damage to his right knee, he said Friday. Hamlin was originally scheduled to have the surgery during an off week this summer but elected to postpone it until after the season. "There's tears in there," he said. "[The surgery is to] basically scope it out. I just have problems with it when I get out of the car, it really is stiff and the joints really hurt, so it's something that needs to be done for the long run."(SceneDaily)(11-21-2009)

  • Gibbs has no plans to return to Redskins: Hall of Fame former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said Sunday he has no plans to return to the struggling team. Gibbs laughed when asked at Martinsville Speedway about rumors and Internet reports that he could return to the team as an adviser or even general manager. "That's what it is. Talk," the owner of three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams said. "Right here's where I'm GMing."(Associated Press)(10-25-2009)

  • Hamlin subbing for Busch in Truck race: Denny Hamlin will take to the track in the #51 Miccosukee Resort/Graceway Pharmaceuticals Toyota Tundra at Martinsville Speedway Saturday, October 24, 2009 in the running of the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Kyle "Rowdy" Busch, who has typically piloted the Billy Ballew Motorsports entry at companion races, will be at Memphis Motorsports Park with the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Busch leads the Nationwide Series Driver Points Championship. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin will step-in for Busch and pilot the Billy Ballew Motorsports NASCAR Camping World truck at Martinsville, Virginia track for the first time since the spring 2008 event. In his last appearance for Ballew in 2008, Hamlin led 64 laps but was caught-up in an on track incident causing rear end damage relegating him to a 21st-place finish. Hamlin has three career Camping World Truck Series starts at Martinsville, posting a best finish of eighth-place in 2006.(Billy Ballew Motorsports)(10-19-2009)

  • Are NASCAR Drivers smarter than a 5th grader?: Comedian Jeff Foxworthy hosts the all-new half-hour version of "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" The fast-paced game show, where knowledge of grade-school level questions is tested, welcomes NASCAR drivers #55-Michael Waltrip, #6-David Ragan, #99-Carl Edwards, #2-Kurt Busch and #11-Denny Hamlin. On October 6, Michael Waltrip will be in the classroom to play the game to raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. He'll also be joined by Roush Racing's David Ragan. The special back-to-back episodes will premiere on MyNetworkTV (8:00pm/et/pt). On October 26, NASCAR week kicks off on the new nationally-syndicated edition of "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" Michael Waltrip, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, and Denny Hamlin are among the contestants playing the game for their charities. Check your local listings for exact air time.(10-5-2009)

  • FedEx Racing Races to Prepare in Philadelphia: FedEx Racing, sponsor of Denny Hamlin's #11 Toyota, will join the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania this week, welcoming Philadelphia-area students on Thursday for the Race to Prepare, an event that stresses disaster preparedness through the building of a disaster kit and preparedness education. As part of the company's commitment to supporting disaster preparedness and relief efforts around the world, and in celebration of the long-term relationship with the organization, FedEx will be making a donation to the local American Red Cross chapter.(FedEx Racing)(9-24-2009)

  • Hamlin runs over foot of #07 crew member UPDATE: during 2nd caution pit satops of the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, #11-Hamlin ran over the foot of Clint Pittman, the rear tire changer for #07-Mears. Pittman went to the Infield Care Center for Xrays.(9-20-2009)
    UPDATE: Clint Pittman, rear tire changer on the #07 Jack Daniel's Chevy of Casey Mears, was clipped by #11-Denny Hamlin during pit stops on Lap 69. Pittman injured his foot and was replaced by Shane Church, who practices with the backup crew at Richard Childress Racing. Mears restarted 27th following the accident and remained outside the top 25 until a call to stay out on Lap 193 by crew chief Todd Berrier. Mears restarted sixth and finished 13th, his third top 15 finish in the last six races. Pittman will see an orthopedic doctor on Monday. Doctors at the track infield care center suspected a small fracture to the top of his foot, according to RCR pit crew coordinator Matt Clark.(FoxSports)(9-21-2009)

  • Hamlin runs over foot of #07 crew member: during 2nd caution pit satops of the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, #11-Hamlin ran over the foot of Clint Pittman, the rear tire changer for #07-Mears. Pittman went to the Infield Care Center for Xrays.(9-20-2009)

  • Special scheme for #11 Hauler: The world's biggest FedEx box? The Joe Gibbs Racing hauler that ferries driver #11-Denny Hamlin's Toyota from shop to track has a new look. The trailer's been wrapped to resemble one of the sponsor's distinct packages. It's a Chase-only endeavor.(SceneDaily)(9-20-2009)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing wins 75th Sprint Cup Series race: With the victory by #11-Denny Hamlin on his hometrack of Richmond International Raceway, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has now totaled 75 victories in NASCAR's elite racing series. Joe Gibbs Racing, founded by Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Joe Gibbs in 1992, claimed its first victory on NASCAR's biggest stage when Dale Jarrett captured the checkered flag at the 1993 Daytona 500. Since then JGR has gone on to win 74 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (previously Winston Cup Series). "We're proud to have earned our 75th victory today," said JGR President J.D. Gibbs. "We have been blessed with dedicated and talented employees as well as outstanding partners and sponsors. When you look back at our 75 victories you realize how fortunate we have been to have such talented drivers and crew chiefs, but the reality is it takes a lot of people working together to be successful in this sport," added Gibbs. "A big part of the credit belongs to the guys in the shop working long hours preparing our cars for the track and our crews that travel each week to put it all together. JGR's 75 wins have also helped the multi-car race team capture three NASCAR Cup Series Championships (2000, 2002, and 2005). The team record for wins in a season is 10, which has been done twice, both in 2008 (Kyle Busch 8, Denny Hamlin 1, and Tony Stewart 1) and in 2000 (Stewart 6, Bobby Labonte 4). JGR has seven victories thus far in 2009. In addition to the Cup Series, JGR has now captured 37 NASCAR Nationwide Series victories earning its first Owner's Championship in that series in 2008.
    The list of JGR's Cup victories by driver:
    Tony Stewart (#20).................. 33 Bobby Labonte (#18)............... 21 Kyle Busch (#18).................... 12 Denny Hamlin (#11).................. 6 Dale Jarrett (#18)...................... 2 Joey Logano (#20).................... 1 Total JGR NASCAR Cup Wins.. 75.(JGR)(9-13-2009)

  • Hamlin wins at Richmond: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Race for his 1st win at Richmond [his home track], 2nd win of 2009 and 6th of his career. #2-Busch finished 2nd followed by #24-Gordon, #5-Martin, #18-Busch, #33-Bowyer, #83-Vickers, #77-Hornish Jr., #29-Harvick and #39-Newman. Points leader #14-Stewart finished 17th. #17-Kenseth finished 25th and fell out of the top 12 and for the first time since The Chase started in 2004, Kenseth will not be in The Chase. #83-Vickers got in to the Chase, beating #18-Busch by 8 points. There were 10 cautions for 56 caution laps and there were 16 lead changes among 5 drivers.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: ESPN2: Sunday, September 13 at 3:30am/et; ESPN Classic: Sunday, September 13 at 11:00am/et; SPEED, Wednesday, September 16 at 12:00pm/et.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Richmond Race Results Page
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers Points Standings page.(9-12-2009)

  • Farm Bureau Insurance to be back on the #11: Farm Bureau Insurance Racing will be back on the track this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, for the PepBoys Auto 500. Farm Bureau Insurance will again serve as the primary sponsor for the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin. In May, Denny made the debut of the Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota at Darlington Raceway - finishing 13th. Denny Hamlin currently ranks 4th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points and is coming off a strong run a few weeks ago at Bristol, where he finished 5th.(Farm Bureau Insurance Racing), see images of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(9-4-2009)

  • Hamlin surprised about Reutimann's comments: #00-David Reutimann said Wednesday he was not ready to forgive #11-Denny Hamlin for the accident at Pocono Raceway that essentially ended his championship hopes. That, apparently was news to Hamlin. "I was surprised," Hamlin said Friday at Watkins Glen International. "We actually talked that night and he seemed fine. He didn't say that he was angry or anything. I've been in that situation before where you're battling for a Chase spot. It's not always about one race. There's a lot of races that lead up to it. I'm apologetic about it for sure. It's something that I didn't mean to do, but you can't put the blame all on me if he doesn't make the Chase."(ESPN/AP)(8-8-2009)

  • Reutimann still miffed at Hamlin over Pocono wreck: #00-David Reutimann doesn't buy the explanation #11-Denny Hamlin gave for the wreck in Monday's Sprint Cup race at Pocono that may also have wrecked his chances of making the Chase. Reutimann said he never brake-checked Hamlin, as the eventual race winner claimed occurred prior to the accident on Lap 174 that not only took out Reutimann but also Michael Waltrip Racing teammate #47-Marcos Ambrose. He said Hamlin basically ran over him in an effort to get position. "I was just trying to get away from him," Reutimann said on Wednesday. "In the end, if you push a guy sideways enough he's not going to be able to bring it back. I didn't hear [his] explanation, but I can tell you it's pretty inaccurate. I was in the throttle all the time to the point I was hung out so far I kind of had to do something." Reutimann went on to say he was as "mad as heck" at Hamlin, even though the two have exchanged text messages in which Hamlin apologized. "If a guy says he's sorry I tend to believe it," Reutimann said. "Look back at Daytona at what I did to Ryan Newman. Everybody's capable of making mistakes. I'm a forgiving guy if he sincerely apologizes or says he was in the wrong. In the end I'm still confused at why it happened. It wasn't just one shot. It was multiple shots." Reutimann entered the race in 13th place in points, 68 out of the top 12 who would qualify for the Chase. He was in position to possibly move into the top 12 with a solid finish after having run up front most of the day. The wreck left him 16th in points, 121 off the cutoff point, after finishing 29th.(ESPN)(8-6-2009)

  • Mike Ford Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Pocono: Mike Ford, crew chief for the #11 FedEx Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin, has been named the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after Sunday's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. After waiting through the rain delay on Sunday and fighting emotions all weekend, Hamlin and his #11 team started the race on Monday with great optimism. Despite fighting an ill-handling race car throughout practice on Saturday, Hamlin and Ford knew they had made the right changes for a good shot at the win. A strong car kept Hamlin at the front of the field for most of the day, and after the last round of pit stops under caution with 20 to go, he found himself just outside the top five on the last restart. At that point, Hamlin knew he had the car to win and with encouragement from his crew chief over the radio, found the speed to take the lead with just nine laps to go. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season's end.(Wypall)(8-4-2009)

  • Hamlin wins at Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin won the rain delayed/postponed Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway for his third win at Pocono Raceway, his first win in 2009 and first in 50 races, since Martinsville in March 2008 and Hamlin's 5th career win. #42-Montoya finished 2nd for his first top-five of 2009, #33-Bowyer was third, followed by #77-Hornish Jr. [his career best finish and first ever top-five of his career], #9-Kahne, #83-Vickers, #5-Martin, #24-Gordon, #2-Busch and #14-Stewart [was in a backup car the had to fall to the rear of the field before the start of the race]. #48-Johnson had engine problems was down as many as three laps, the crew fixed the problem (spark plugs) and Johnson was able to use FOUR Lucky Dog - lap back passes, to finish 13th. #88-Earnhardt Jr. has an ill-handling car and finished 28th. Stewart now leads Johnson on the points standing by 197 points. The spread between 12th (the final chase spot) and 13th is now 101 points with #16-Biffle in 12th and #18-Busch in 13th. There were 10 cautions for 39 caution laps and there were 17 lead changes among 12 drivers.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
    ESPN2, Monday, August 3 at 9:00pm/et;
    SPEED, Wednesday, August 5 at 12:00pm/et.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Pocono Race Results Page.
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(8-3-2009)

  • Sad News - Thelma Clark: Condolences go out to Denny Hamlin and his family in the passing of his grandma. Thelma Clark, 91, of Tampa, FL passed away Friday, July 31. A Memorial Mass will take place at St. Patrick's Catholic Church (date to be determined). In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 5100 W. Kennedy Blvd Suite 195, Tampa, FL 33609.(Dennyhamlin.com)(8-1-2009)

  • Ganassi to Gibbs? UPDATE denied: The latest rumor is that Chip Ganassi somehow will merge his Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team [Chevy's w/#1-Truex Jr. (leaves end of 2009) and #42-Montoya] with Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota's w/#18-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #20-Logano], possibly eliminating another owner.(SPEEDtv/Jimmy Spencer)(7-23-2009)

  • UPDATE: Don't believe the latest that has Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates partnering with Joe Gibbs Racing, making Juan Pablo Montoya JGR's fourth driver with Target as the sponsor. Not that there hasn't been some conversation looking at that as a possible marriage. There are conversations between almost every organization about almost everything these days. But this one hasn't been talked about enough to warrant it as a substantial rumor. It likely never will be. Ganassi is under the umbrella of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with its partnership with DEI, and he's happy with that relationship. "We have an affiliation now," he said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We have an affiliation with Earnhardt with EGR [and] with Childress [Richard Childress Racing]. I'm very happy with that. Knock on wood. We've had no issues. The idea of what we put together at the end of the season last year, it's been mission accomplished."(ESPN Insider)(7-25-2009)

  • Tire Test at Atlanta: In preparation for Atlanta Motor Speedway's first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race, the Pep Boys Auto 500, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company is conducting a two-day tire test [July 14-15, Tue-Wed] to ensure the preeminent tire is ready for night racing in Atlanta. Drivers scheduled to take part in the test: #14-Tony Stewart (Chevy), #2-Kurt Busch (Dodge), #11-Denny Hamlin (Toyota) and #26-Jamie McMurray (Ford). This session is closed to the public.(AMS)(7-10-2009)

  • 4th Gibbs team? Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs is still open to the idea of four Sprint Cup teams if the sponsorship can be found for 2010 by the end of the summer. "We can still plug in a fourth team," Gibbs said Sunday at Infineon Raceway. "The problem is from an economy standpoint. You can probably get a few [sponsors] to mix and match, but we don't have a full fourth ready to go from a sponsor standpoint. We're in no hurry. If we have to wait a year, that's fine. You have got to have the right driver, the right core group and the right sponsor. But if that happened, we could do it pretty quick. I wouldn't cross it off for next year but at the same time we're not going to force it." When asked if that fourth car could be Indy Racing League star Danica Patrick, Gibbs laughed. JGR uses IMG to help it find sponsors and Danica is represented by IMG. "I don't know what she wants to do," Gibbs said. "Does she want to still run what she's running and dip her toe in the water, does she want to do the whole thing? ... I think it would be great for the sport wherever she goes. I don't think she would want to be part of a [new] fourth team [here]." In addition to a fourth team, JGR also could become a vendor for other teams. JGR did not have a successful affiliate/vendor program with Hall of Fame Racing from 2006-2008, and Gibbs said if JGR did it in the future, it would be a closer relationship. Gibbs said the team management would have to decide whether such an arrangement would be simply for profit or help the organization run better. He also thinks that adding a fourth team would be more of a priority.(SceneDaily)(6-22-2009)

  • Gibbs and Hamlin to make delivery to Salvation Army: Driver #11-Denny Hamlin and team owner Joe Gibbs will visit Washington D.C. on Thursday to deliver a custom designed Disaster Response Unit to the D.C-area Salvation Army. The vehicle, used in disaster situations to provide food and water to as many as 2,500 people per day, is one of 12 that FedEx has donated to cities both inside the U.S. and around the world. FedEx, a long time partner of the Salvation Army, is uniquely qualified to aide in disaster situations delivering goods and services to affected areas.(FedEx Racing)(5-28-2009)

  • Farm Bureau Insurance to sponsor Hamlin at Darlington: For the first time since the 2005 Daytona 500 there will not be a FedEx car entered in this weekend's Sprint Cup race. Farm Bureau Insurance takes over the FedEx as the primary sponsor of the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing entry this weekend at Darlington. FedEx will be represented on the C-post of the #11, as well as on Hamlin's firesuit, this weekend and will be back on the car when the teams take to the track in Charlotte next week for the All Star Race.(FedEx Racing), see images of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page. Hamlin recently announced that the Short Track Showdown held on April 30, 2009 raised $100,000 for the Denny Hamlin Foundation. Proceeds from the event will be split between the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and St. Jude's Hospital. The 175 lap race drew over 5,000 spectators to the track where Hamlin started his Late Model career. It featured Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, former teammate Tony Stewart, and spotter Curtis Markham.(5-8-2009)

  • Kyle Busch wins Hamlin charity event: Denny Hamlin spent much of last night chasing after Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch at Southside Speedway. Busch, assuming the lead on Lap 11 when pole-sitter Chris Dodson suffered mechanical failure, led the final 165 laps to win this charity event for the second year in a row. And while Hamlin couldn't pull ahead of Busch, his foundation may have finished ahead of expectations during his Short Track Showdown, which benefits the Denny Hamlin Foundation. "It was a great night, and we doubled what we did last year," Hamlin said. "It shows what great fans there are here." Hamlin may have exceeded his goal of raising $100,000 -- twice as much as the foundation earned in the inaugural showdown last year. The foundation received 100 percent of the gate receipts. Hamlin highlighted an all-star charity event that included JGR Sprint Cup rookie Joey Logano, two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart and 1983 Cup champion Bobby Allison, who served as grand marshal. (Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-1-2009)

  • Hamlin to open two car washes in Virginia: Denny Hamlin announced the April 29th grand opening date of two, full-service car washes to bear his name in Hamlin's home state of Virginia. The two Denny Hamlin's Speed Wash centers are located in the Richmond suburb of Midlothian and 68 miles north in the town of Fredericksburg. Each racing-themed Denny Hamlin's Speed Wash will feature unique Hamlin racing memorabilia such as driver suits, race car parts, photos and merchandise. In addition, car wash fundraising efforts tied to the Denny Hamlin Foundation will benefit the Richmond area community. Hamlin, a Richmond native, is scheduled to appear at one of the car washes, see my Driver Appearances page for more info.(MMI PR)(4-28-2009)

  • Current longest-tenured driver/crew chief pairings:
    After the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Saturday, Richard Childress Racing will swap crews and crew chiefs on the #07 & #29 teams, bringing and end to the second longest current driver/crew chief combination.
    Driver / Crew Chief: Start Date
    #48-Jimmie Johnson / Chad Knaus: October 2001
    #29-Kevin Harvick / Todd Berrier*: March 2003*
    #24-Jeff Gordon / Steve Letarte: September 2005
    #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. / Tony Eury, Jr.: September 2005
    #11-Denny Hamlin / Mike Ford: October 2005
    #31-Jeff Burton / Scott Miller: November 2005
    * - Ending after Sunday's race at Talladega
    (Sports Illustrated)(4-24-2009)

  • Hamlin Makes Special Delivery to Unsuspecting Race Fan: Lowe's Motor Speedway officials and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver #11-Denny Hamlin surprised Concord resident Ken Vogl with a special delivery of four tickets to the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 today. "This certainly wasn't expected," said Vogl, who is a self-professed fan of Hamlin. "I knew that someone from the speedway was delivering some tickets that I had supposedly won, but I had no idea they would be delivered in a pace car by Denny Hamlin! I've been a fan of Denny's since before he was racing in Cup, so to have a chance to meet him and get tickets to the Coca-Cola 600 all at once is a dream come true." The ticket giveaway was a compliment to Hamlin's "Win Denny's Seats" program, where he is giving away tickets to each Sprint Cup Series race in 2009 to NASCAR fans who sign up on his Web site. Tickets for the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 are available for as little as $49. Convenient payment plan options and multi-day ticket packages are also available. Fans can call 1-800-455-FANS for more details or log onto www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(4-22-2009)

  • Hamlin, FedEx Racing Marching for Babies in Phoenix: The #11 FedEx Toyota Camry will sport an unfamiliar paint scheme this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Instead of the nearly all-black paint that Hamlin has driven to sixth place in the Cup standings, the FedEx team will unload a white and purple #11 FedEx Office/March for Babies Toyota this weekend - all in the name of charity. For the second consecutive year, Hamlin and team are raising awareness for the March for Babies - the March of Dimes' largest annual fundraiser. Hamlin also will wear a helmet designed by Bernard "Sonny" VanBuskirk. Sonny is the son of FedEx Express employee Bernard VanBuskirk and was born seven weeks premature in 1998. Eleven years later, Sonny is a healthy, vibrant boy due to the March of Dimes and the medical care he received. VanBuskirk designed the helmet and his work was transferred on to the official race helmet by renowned helmet designer Jason Beam.(FedEx Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(4-17-2009)

  • $10 Million, Just for Motor Oil: The most advanced piece of technology in a NASCAR vehicle these days isn't its engine, its suspension or anything made of carbon fiber. It's the motor oil. Joe Gibbs Racing has spent about $1 million a year over the past decade to perfect its motor oil. As a result, its engines have squeezed out an extra 10 horsepower, a roughly 2% increase that can be a serious advantage in NASCAR races.With NASCAR increasingly cracking down on the use of technology in the sport to cut costs, motor oil is one of the last places teams can innovate without restraint. Companies like Shell, Quaker State and Mobil also make special oils packed with synthetic lubricants, new polymers and experimental molecules for the teams they sponsor. All this has spawned a culture of secrecy. Shell was so worried about protecting its motor-oil formula that it recently refused to allow used race oil to be sold as a souvenir to NASCAR fans. The concern, a spokesman said, is that someone could "reverse engineer" the used oil to see what its properties are. Joe Gibbs Racing, one of NASCAR's richest and most-successful teams, won't say which company assembles its synthetic oil and will only identify the scientists who work on its formula as "William the chemist," who's in charge of formulating the oil, and "Douglas," who used to work for NASA and is in charge of analyzing the team's worn engine parts under a microscope. "I don't want other teams trying to find out who these guys are," says Lake Speed Jr., who runs the team's oil program.(Wall Street Journal)(4-13-2009)

  • Hamlin on TV Thursday UPDATE: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEX Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, is scheduled to appear on Fox and Friends Wednesday morning [March 25th] at 8:25am on the Fox News Channel to help promote FedEx's involvement in the March of Dimes.(JGR), will run a March of Dimes scheme at Phoenix in April.(3-25-2009)
    UPDATE: the announcement was: Join me, Denny Hamlin, in the driver?s seat as FedEx and its racing team champion a healthy start for All babies. While you are walking for March of Dimes, I will be racing for the March of Dimes at the Phoenix NASCAR race! You can help FedEx by donating at least $11 today. Your donation will be in support of my #11 car as we dedicate the April 18th Phoenix NASCAR race to March for Babies...the same day you will be walking at the Phoenix March for Babies event! Together we can make a difference for all babies. The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality (FedEx Racing).See the video at Fox News, see images of the car on the #11 Team Scheme page.(3-25-2009)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing teams up with IMG: Joe Gibbs Racing is finalizing a broad-based relationship with IMG that will give the NASCAR team access to the agency's full range of sponsorship sales, measurement and activation capabilities. The agreement between JGR and IMG will not preclude the race team from working with other agencies and their clients, said JGR President J.D. Gibbs. It simply gives Gibbs Racing the ability to tap into IMG's resources, most notably the agency's return-on-investment tools. "You reach a point over the years that you either need to increase what you have in-house and make yourself a lot larger or you need to tap into someone else," said Gibbs, whose father, Joe founded the race team in 1992. JGR's front office includes five employees under Dean Noble, the team's vice president of business, and four under Dave Alpern, the vice president of marketing. Noble and Alpern will be JGR's day-to-day contacts with IMG. IMG will take a team approach that includes Tom Knox, who runs the motorsports-heavy Charlotte office, newly hired Mark Dyer and Jim Tucker, who previously has sold for NASCAR, the NFL and Gillett Evernham Motorsports. It's uncertain if IMG will eventually embed a salesperson in the Charlotte-based Gibbs Racing headquarters, as it did with the NHRA and typically does with its college clients. There is not an ownership stake for IMG, and IMG Sports and Entertainment President George Pyne has said ownership is not in IMG's plans. Neither side revealed details of the arrangement, but typically they involve a retainer fee and a percentage of sales. "This adds a lot of value to JGR," said Gibbs, who credited a lengthy relationship with Pyne for driving the deal. Pyne formerly was the chief operating officer at NASCAR, where he worked for 11 years. Gibbs said the decision wasn't driven by the current economic climate, but rather a need for JGR to better assist its sponsors. The more information the team can present to its sponsors, the smoother those renewal discussions typically go, he said.(Sports Business Journal)(3-23-2009)

  • Hamlin Can Build On Car Number History at Bristol: Ned Jarrett drove the #11 car to a third-place finish in the first race at Bristol in July 1961. He also drove the car to its first victory at Bristol in July 1965. Since then, the #11 car has been synonymous with Victory Lane at the track. In 86 NASCAR Sprint Cup races since Jarrett's victory, the #11 car has won the race 17 times. Credit team owner Junior Johnson, who fielded the #11 car for those 17 victories. Three-time champion Cale Yarborough drove for Johnson in the 1970s and made Bristol his personal playground, winning nine of 16 races from 1973-1980. Two that he lost were won by a flashy young driver named Darrell Waltrip. "The 11 number and Bristol certainly go together," said Darrell Waltrip, who leads all drivers with 12 wins at the track. "With all of the wins Junior has been a car owner for, that makes that number special when you go to Bristol." When Yarborough decided to scale back his career after the 1980 season, Waltrip gladly moved over to take the ride. "When I got out of the 88 and into the 11, I had my credentials and I was prepared, at the top of my game, and then they gave me that race car to drive ... I couldn't lose," Waltrip said.(NASCAR PR)(3-18-2009)

  • "Along for the Ride" on the #11 car: The #11 FedEx Ground Toyota of Denny Hamlin will feature "QNEG" on the wing caps this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. QNEG is the code for the FedEx Home Delivery - New England Region and the group is being recognized for leading all FedEx Ground regions in customer service scores.(FedEx Racing PR)(3-5-2009)

  • NASCAR Stars Back Off Resort Project: Three of the NASCAR celebrities who endorsed the Sheridan Ridge resort development have returned their lots, and the other two have drastically reduced the price paid, county records show. Quit-claim deeds recorded Dec. 30 indicate that drivers Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart and crew chief Greg Zipadelli gave their lots back to Sheridan Ridge Private Reserve LLC, the North Carolina company formed in 2006 to develop a NASCAR-themed community in the [Southwest Virginia] region. Deeds of correction were entered the same date for their property as well as lots owned by driver Elliott Sadler and FOX Sports personality and former crew chief Jeff Hammond, reducing the price of each lot from $323,205 to $50,000 - just enough to cover the lot release fee. "Certain infrastructure improvements to the Property were never completed," according to the deeds of correction, "and the value of the Property on the recording date was actually $50,000." In what has been a controversial project from the start, Sheridan Ridge selected a 1,400-acre site on the steep slopes of Walker and Little Brushy mountains to build a multi-million-dollar residential development with more than 500 houses and a 53-acre "village center" featuring shops and amenities.(Bristol Herald Courier)(2-23-2009)

  • Denny Hamlin Gives Race Tickets to NASCAR Fans: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing has decided to give something back to the fans that have made NASCAR one of America's most popular sports. Hamlin will purchase four tickets to every race on this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. Fans will have an opportunity to share with Hamlin why they want to sit in his seats. All of the entries will be considered and the individual, couple or family that resides near that weekend's race and who has submitted the best entry will win four tickets to that weekend's race. Fans can find more information, including instructions how to submit an entry, at www.dennyhamlin.com. "NASCAR fans have made this sport what it is today and I wanted to do something to help make sure those great fans aren't missing out on the chance to see races in person," said Hamlin. "I realize that these are tough economic times so the opportunity to offer race tickets free of charge seemed like the best way to thank a NASCAR fan."(JGR PR)(2-16-2009)

  • Kyle Busch joins Gillette Young Guns: With the NASCAR season ready to roll, Gillette announced that Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota will be the newest member to its star-studded Gillette Young Guns lineup, which includes Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman [Kyle replaces his brother Kurt]. During the off-season, Busch was welcomed to the Gillette Young Guns team when he participated in a two-day ad shoot to support the launch of the gaming-inspired Gillette Fusion Power Gamer, which features Fusion's 5-bladed shaving surface for unsurpassed comfort and a sleek new look. The spot, titled "Jumbotron," was created by BBDO NY, features all six Gillette Young Guns. Airing for the first time during the FOX telecast of the Daytona 500, "Jumbotron" follows the Gillette Young Guns as they attempt to sneak into the race track and play video games from atop a motorcoach.(Gillette Young Guns PR)(2-7-2009)

  • Joe Gibbs flips opponent in match race: It may have been just for fun, but NASCAR team owner [#11,#18,#20] and Hall-of-Fame coach Joe Gibbs made good on his promise to refuse to lose in Friday night's Arena Racing match race at the Hampton Coliseum. Gibbs started second in the one-on-one 10-lap race against friend and longtime team sponsor Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries. Gibbs fell back slightly at first, then caught Miller and bumped him a few times to the delight of the crowd of an estimated 4,000 fans -- many wearing Washington Redskins gear. With about 2 laps remaining, Gibbs cut low in Turn 3 and smacked the left fender of Miller's car. Miller flipped. Gibbs drove by and crossed the finish line first. Miller was unhurt and jovial after the race. The Arena Racing half-scale stock cars compete on a 1/10-mile aluminum track, reaching speeds of up to 50 mph. The founder of Arena Racing USA is Richmonder Ricky Dennis, a former stock car racer and son of Bill Dennis, who was a NASCAR standout. Bill Dennis was 1970 Cup series Rookie of the Year.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(1-24-2009)

  • Farm Bureau Insurance to sponsor JGR for 6 races: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that the Farm Bureau Insurance Companies will serve as the primary sponsor for six Sprint Cup Series races during the 2009 season. Farm Bureau Insurance will be carried on the #11 Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin twice during the upcoming season including the May 9 race at Darlington and the September 6 race at Atlanta. In addition Farm Bureau Insurance will be on the #20 Toyota driven by Joey Logano at the October 25 race at Martinsville. Both FedEx and The Home Depot will still be represented on their respective cars at each of those races. Farm Bureau Insurance will also sponsor a fourth JGR entry at three races in 2009 on the #02 Toyota at the October 17 Charlotte race, the November 8 Texas race and the November 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead. The driver for those three races will be announced later. "Farm Bureau Insurance has been an outstanding partner with us and we're thrilled to have them on these six Cup races this year," said Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs. "We were able to generate a lot of excitement for them last year and we'll work hard this year to provide their agents, members and customers a program to be proud of now in our Cup program."(JGR PR)
    IMAGES: see images of the cars on my #02 Team Schemes page, #11 Team Schemes page and/or #20 Team Schemes page.(1-19-2009)

  • Gibbs to race sponsor: Arena Racing USA announced that Washington Redskins Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs will be appearing at the January 23rd Arena Racing event at the Hampton Coliseum. During his appearance, he will be racing Interstate Batteries Chairman, Norm Miller. They will be competing in two identical ArenaCars for bragging rights between them and possibly the first race of its kind with a top Sprint Cup Owner against his Sponsor.(Arena Racing) Joe Gibbs owns Joe Gibbs Racing and Norm Miller's company, Interstate Batteries sponsor's one of Gibb's driver, #18-Kyle Busch in six 2009 races.(1-16-2009)

  • Marc Davis to attempt some early NNS races, Cup later: Here they come already: the Davises. Driver Marc, 18, and his father, Harry, are doing it the old-fashioned way. They're fielding a family-owned, barely sponsored, one-car team, fighting the odds and the big money. Marc and Harry Davis hope to open some sponsorship wallets with a part-time, family-owned venture in 2009. Marc Davis will try to qualify for six Nationwide races in a row, beginning just after Daytona, this winter. He'll run two Toyotas his father has acquired. Then later this year they plan to enter a handful of Cup races. They're still friends with Joe Gibbs Racing, where Marc has been a developmental driver and maintains a relationship, and with Randy Moss Motorsports and Roush Racing -- all of whom tried to find major sponsorships to run Marc regularly in Nationwide or Trucks this season, but failed. But no more waiting. The Davises will do it themselves.(ESPN.com)(1-9-2009)

2008 News

    Fed Ex Scheduled Paint Schemes for 2008:, runs Express, Kinko's, Ground, Freight
    FedEx Express (11):
    Bud Shootout 2/9
    Daytona 500 2/17
    Bristol 3/16
    Richmond 5/3
    Chicago 7/12
    Pocono 8/3
    Richmond 9/6
    New Hampshire 9/14
    Talladega 10/5
    Atlanta 10/26
    Homestead 11/16

    FedEx Office [was Kinko's](9):
    Las Vegas 3/2
    Phoenix 4/12
    Dover 6/1
    Infineon Raceway 6/22
    Daytona 7/5
    Indy 7/27
    Michigan 8/17
    Charlotte 10/11
    Texas 11/2

    FedEx Ground (9):
    Atlanta 3/9
    Texas 4/6
    Darlington 5/10
    Pocono 6/8
    New Hampshire 6/29
    Watkins Glen 8/10
    California 8/31
    Dover 9/21
    Phoenix 11/9

    FedEx Freight (9):
    California 2/24
    Martinsville 3/29
    Talladega 4/27
    Charlotte (All-Star) 5/17
    Charlotte (Coke 600) 5/25
    Michigan 6/15
    Bristol 8/23
    Kansas 9/28
    Martinsville 10/19

  • Hamlin visits Japan: #11-Denny Hamlin recently visited Japan to participate in Toyota's annual Motor Sports Day at Fuji Speedway. The event featured Toyota drivers from a variety of different racing series, including NASCAR and Formula One, as well as Toyota race cars that participate in various racing series. "This was my first time traveling overseas," said Hamlin, who took a few demonstration laps in the JGR Camry. "It was an excellent experience. The Fuji Speedway was a good track and I was impressed with the Japanese fans and how excited they were to see a NASCAR race car. It was really enjoyable and I'm glad I was able to attend Toyota's Motorsports Day."(Toyota Motorsports PR)(12-5-2008)

  • Hamlin heading to Japan: from a Joe Gibbs Racing PR: You'll be heading to Japan and Fuji Speedway for Toyota Motorsports Day during the off season - Are you looking forward to that trip?: Denny Hamlin - "I really am looking forward to it. Usually, when the end of the season rolls around I like nothing more than to go home, turn off my phone and do as little as possible but this is a once-in-a -lifetime opportunity. This is a huge event for Toyota, where they will showcase their Cup and F1 teams for all of their fans - it's a cool thing to be a part of and I'll get a chance to visit some new places and meet some new people."(JGR PR), Kyle Busch was supposed to go, but he has another commitment. Hamlin will not be driving a F-1 car but a Stock Car.(11-14-2008)

  • Testing at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday: The Joe Gibbs Racing teams of Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway Tuesday, October 14. Fans can view testing from the designated area outside the Kentucky Speedway Fan Center in Turn 3 for free. Tests usually begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m. Times will vary based on team goals.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-15-2008)

  • Hamlin cleared, but will sit out NNS race: Denny Hamlin will be back behind the wheel of the #11 FedEx Camry this weekend in Charlotte after his heavy-impact crash last weekend at Talladega. Following his release from University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) hospital on Monday morning, Hamlin met with NASCAR's consulting physician, Dr. Jerry Petty, this week in North Carolina and was cleared to race in the Sprint Cup race this weekend in Charlotte. Hamlin on Talladega: "It was definitely the hardest hit I have ever taken in a race car. It was good to get home, get some rest and take it easy this week. I am feeling better everyday and look forward to getting back in the car this weekend. I need to thank everyone at Talladega and at UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) Hospital, and also Dr. Petty and the NASCAR medical team for taking care of me. I really appreciate all they did for me and for putting my health above everything else. Thanks to all of the fans for their concern and, of course, thanks to everyone at JGR and #11 team who build really safe cars and that showed last weekend. This sport has made big gains in terms of safety - everything from the cars to the walls and those are big steps in the right direction."(FedEx Racing PR)
    AND Hamlin will skip Friday night's Nationwide Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Hamlin had been scheduled to drive in Friday's Dollar General 300 in Braun Racing's #10 Toyota. The car will now by driven by Dave Blaney, who gave Braun Racing its first win in the series in this race in 2006.(ESPN)(10-8-2008)
    UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin said he considered skipping Saturday night's Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway because of last weekend's grinding crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Hamlin lost a tire and slammed into the wall during the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega on Sunday, sending him to University of Alabama-Birmingham hospital for overnight observation. Hamlin opted out of Friday's Nationwide Series race here, even though he has been cleared to race this weekend. But after considering missing Saturday's Cup event, Hamlin decided to race. "The most important thing is long-term health, and that's why we're sitting tomorrow night's race out. If I take a hit there then it's going to be hard for them to clear me on Saturday. I think right now we're good to go." Hamlin said he would not have a relief driver standing by Saturday night.(Scene Daily.com)(10-10-2008)

  • Hamlin cleared, but will sit out NNS race: Denny Hamlin will be back behind the wheel of the #11 FedEx Camry this weekend in Charlotte after his heavy-impact crash last weekend at Talladega. Following his release from University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) hospital on Monday morning, Hamlin met with NASCAR's consulting physician, Dr. Jerry Petty, this week in North Carolina and was cleared to race in the Sprint Cup race this weekend in Charlotte. Hamlin on Talladega: "It was definitely the hardest hit I have ever taken in a race car. It was good to get home, get some rest and take it easy this week. I am feeling better everyday and look forward to getting back in the car this weekend. I need to thank everyone at Talladega and at UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) Hospital, and also Dr. Petty and the NASCAR medical team for taking care of me. I really appreciate all they did for me and for putting my health above everything else. Thanks to all of the fans for their concern and, of course, thanks to everyone at JGR and #11 team who build really safe cars and that showed last weekend. This sport has made big gains in terms of safety - everything from the cars to the walls and those are big steps in the right direction."(FedEx Racing PR)
    AND Hamlin will skip Friday night's Nationwide Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Hamlin had been scheduled to drive in Friday's Dollar General 300 in Braun Racing's #10 Toyota. The car will now by driven by Dave Blaney, who gave Braun Racing its first win in the series in this race in 2006.(ESPN)(10-8-2008)

  • Hamlin taken to hospital after hard wreck; overnight stay Released: #11-Denny Hamlin was held Sunday night at a Birmingham hospital Sunday for further evaluation after a tire failure led to a hard crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Hamlin was alert and awake when he was transported to the UAB Medical Center, but was complaining of a headache and possibly had a concussion. He was also favoring his right foot after a slow exit from his crumpled car. "The tire went down and it was quite a shot," Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs said. "He's got a little headache, so they're just going to watch him. It was a scary deal, but it's at least nice that he's alert and with it." Hamlin, one of 12 drivers racing for the Sprint Cup title, was leading midway through the race when his right front tire failed and his Toyota shot into the outside wall. He said nothing over his in-car radio after the hit and took several moments to get out of the car. Crew chief Mike Ford said he was unsure what happened to the tire, and did not have a chance to speak to Hamlin. "But it happened so fast, I doubt he even knows," Ford said. Hamlin's tire failure was the fourth one in the race and fifth of the weekend. Earlier, Brian Vickers' tire exploded as he was racing for the lead and it triggered an eight-car accident. Ford said on the run before Hamlin's tire failure, the right rear tire had several cuts in it when the crew removed it during a pit stop. Hamlin attributed the cuts to debris on the race track, so Ford said it was unclear if the later failure was caused by Hamlin running over something or a deficiency in the Goodyear product.(Associated Press)(10-5-2008)
    UPDATE: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing was released this morning from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital after spending the night for observation. Following his lap 99-incident in yesterday's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, Hamlin was taken to the track's infield care center then transported by ambulance to Birmingham. He was kept overnight at UAB and released this morning to return home to North Carolina. Hamlin had just lead his ninth lap of the race when he lost his right-front tire in turn two, slid up the track and made heavy contact with the SAFER barrier.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(10-6-2008)

  • JGR names Director of Corporate Communications: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has named Chris Helein as its director of corporate communications, effective immediately. Helein spent the past two seasons in the NFL as vice president of public relations for the Washington Redskins, where in his second stint with the organization, he worked closely with former head coach and three-time Super Bowl winner Joe Gibbs. In his new position, Helein will lead all aspects of JGR's public relations efforts, which will include serving as the primary media liaison for JGR and working closely with each team's sponsor representatives. For the remainder of the 2008 racing season, Helein will work alongside Mike Arning and True Speed Communication, the firm that has handled JGR's corporate communications since 2003. Arning will continue his role as the at-track liaison for JGR and the #20 Home Depot team in the Sprint Cup Series through the season finale Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(JGR PR)(8-23-2008)

  • Hamlin donates motor home to MRO: from FedEx Racing PR - Talk about your donation to Motor Racing Outreach - Denny Hamlin: "MRO has been a friend to the drivers, teams and everyone affiliated with the sport for a long time so I was really happy to be able to help them out. It seems like everyone in the garage supports MRO in one way or another and they deserve the recognition. By donating my motor home to them I hope it will save them some money in lodging and I think it will really give them the opportunity to do more and more within in the sport. I know we'll all benefit from that - and I am proud to support their efforts."(FedEx Racing PR)(8-14-2008)

  • #100 at Hamlin: It's only fitting that #11-Denny Hamlin reaches a significant Sprint Cup milestone at the place that put the third year driver on the map. This weekend will mark Hamlin's 100th start in the Sprint Cup Series and his stats show that he has been an extremely consistent performer. Building on a record-setting rookie campaign in 2006, Hamlin has recorded four wins, six poles, 51 top-ten finishes in 99 career starts, and has finished the season as high as third in the NNCS points standings.(JGR PR)(8-1-2008)

  • Gibbs wants to keep team in the family: Joe Gibbs says he's not about to join the trend of offering ownership in his race team in order to retain drivers. Tony Stewart received 50% ownership in making the jump from Joe Gibbs Racing to Stewart Haas Racing. Drivers Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards (who re-signed with Roush Fenway Racing) and Ryan Newman (entertaining offers for 2009) say they've received offers that include a share of team ownership. But JGR is a family operation, and Gibbs, the family patriarch, says he plans to keep it that way. "We have eight grandchildren," Gibbs said. "I'm not worried about (sons) J.D. or Coy. But (the business) is going to be for the grandkids if I have anything to say about it."(USA Today)(7-14-2008)

  • Gibbs to 4 teams in 2009? maybe: Will Joe and J. D. Gibbs have four Cup teams in 2009? It's looking good. "I wouldn't rule it out....but we're in no hurry," J. D. Gibbs says. "If everything lines up well, great. But if you don't have all the parts there, don't do it. "We've done this before. We've got the key guys already. So we'll sit down with Mark Cronquist (the team engine man) and Jimmy Makar (the team manager) and the guys and talk it over. And if the time is right, we'll do it. The driver is key, obviously. The crew, we'd be in good shape. The infrastructure is all there. But we won't do it until everyone signs off on it. Joey Logano? What I've seen is the guys who are really talented, they don't need much time. He's been on a track since he was six. And, like we've seen with Tony (Stewart) and Kyle (Busch) and Denny (Hamlin), those guys 'pop' right away. Joey fits that mold. Some guys do get better after a while. But usually if you don't come out of the box strong, it's hard to say 'he's going to get better down the road.'"
    And how about Juan Pablo Montoya? Is he a candidate for a Gibbs' ride? "We think the world of Juan...though I wouldn't ask Kyle that question this week," Gibbs said, laughing about the Busch-Montoya run-in at Loudon Sunday. "I don't know Juan's situation.... "But to the best of my understanding he's there (at Chip Ganassi's). So we're not going to look at that. We're actually talking more about 2010 (when Stewart's contract is up)."(Winston Salem Journal)(7-4-2008)

  • Logano could run some Sprint Cup races late this season: Joey Logano, who in only his third Nationwide Series start won on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway, likely will compete in a few Sprint Cup races for Joe Gibbs Racing before the end of the season. "We would like to get him in some Cup stuff towards the end of the year," team owner Joe Gibbs said before Sunday's Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. "We want to make sure it's the good stuff and the right way." Gibbs said it was too late in the year to start a fourth Cup team for Logano to run fulltime next season. Asked if Logano might replace Tony Stewart should the two-time Cup champion leave for another team [rumored teams include Haas CNC, #5 Hendrick, 4th RCR team], Gibbs said, "I don't think we've gone in that direction yet. We're still trying to work things out." Stewart is being pursued by several teams, including at least one [Haas CNC Racing] that is offering ownership. Gibbs and his son, team president J.D. Gibbs, have been emphatic that they won't part with Stewart before his contract expires after 2009. They remain optimistic that he will re-sign with JGR and end his career there.(ESPN.com)(6-15-2008)

  • Gibbs tested own engines in All-Star race: Joe Gibbs Racing used its engines in the all-star race as opposed to the engines it receives from Toyota Racing Development. The team plans to go back to TRD motors for the Coca-Cola 600. Since the all-star race is a non-points race, it provides teams a chance to test equipment without fear that a failure will hurt them in the points.(Roanoke Times), #20-Stewart had to change engines before the race, #11-Hamlin and #18-Busch both lost engines during the All-Star race, all three had rocker-arm problems.(5-19-2008)

  • Hamlin lends name to restaurant: #11-Denny Hamlin will be lending his name and star power to one of Salisbury's [NC] more popular restaurants. In coming months, The Original Steakhouse & Sports Theatre, located at the Salisbury Mall, will be changing its name and look to become Denny Hamlin's Grille 11. The "11" refers to Hamlin's number for Joe Gibbs Racing. The extensive changes to the restaurant will be made through a licensing agreement between Celebrity Ventures Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Hamlin. Bob McCarthy, a partner and concept development vice president for Celebrity Ventures, said Hamlin will have his own private "owner's box" at the restaurant and can be expected to be making visits to the Salisbury location and a like-named restaurant in Asheville. This is Celebrity Ventures' first restaurant with a NASCAR driver. McCarthy put the transformation of the restaurant in Salisbury at 90 to 120 days. He said the restaurant's footprint will stay the same, but its audio-visual package will be enhanced dramatically, besides some cosmetic changes. The extensive menus offer appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, salads, pasta, steak, seafood and desserts.(Salisbury Post)(5-8-2008)

  • Hamlin injured but OK to drive: Just when #11-Denny Hamlin thought things couldn't get any worse, he fell hard on his left hip playing basketball and could hardly walk when he arrived Monday for testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "I'd like to say I was going up for a dunk, but I think everybody knows that ain't true," Hamlin said. "When I went up, the person was lower than I was and I kind of clipped over his shoulder and I was horizontal to the ground -- that was bad. It popped and it doesn't feel good at all. I couldn't lay on it last night, and it ain't getting much better." The injury came roughly 24 hours after Hamlin led a record 381 of the first 382 laps at Richmond International Raceway, only to lose a coveted win on his hometown track when he cut his right front tire. He had to intentionally stop his car on the track to bring out the caution needed to head to pit road for a tire change.(full note at ESPN/AP)

  • No additional penalties for Hamlin, Waltrip: #11-Denny Hamlin won't be further penalized for intentionally bringing out a late caution in Saturday night's race at Richmond even though there is precedent for it. No further penalty also is expected against #55-Michael Waltrip for intentionally wrecking #5-Casey Mears, NASCAR officials said on Monday. Hamlin was given a two-lap penalty when he stopped on the track with a cut tire with less than 10 laps remaining. NASCAR officials believed it was an intentional move to bring out the caution and allow Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch the opportunity to close on then-leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. A spokesperson for the governing body said during Monday's test session at Lowe's Motor Speedway that there would be no further punishment. But in 2004, Earnhardt was docked 25 points and fined $10,000 for intentionally bringing out the caution at Bristol. In the 2002 running of the All-Star race, Kurt Busch was fined $10,000 for intentionally spinning out Robby Gordon to bring out a caution. Meanwhile, Waltrip was parked with about 40 laps remaining when he intentionally took out Mears after Mears got into him a few laps earlier. Officials said the hit Waltrip took in points -- he finished 37th and fell a spot to 32nd in points -- was severe enough.(ESPN.com)(5-6-2008)

  • Hamlin Announces Foundation at Richmond: #11-Denny Hamlin will launch his new charitable foundation with the running of the Denny Hamlin 175 at Southside Speedway, the track where he cut his teeth in Late Model racing, in Midlothian, Va. on Thursday, May 1. The Denny Hamlin Foundation will focus primarily on raising awareness and funding for the specific needs of individuals afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis and will donate all proceeds from the charity event to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). Moving forward, in addition to CFF, the foundation also will support chronically ill children with other debilitating illnesses.(PR)(5-1-2008)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Test at Rockingham: The Joe Gibbs Racing test team spent all day on Wednesday April 16th at the Rockingham Speedway gathering information for all of their Sprint Cup Series race teams. The Joe Gibbs Racing Test team used JGR developmental driver Joey Logano throughout the comprehensive test day.(Rockingham Speedway PR)(4-16-2008)

  • Special FedEx Kinko's/March of Dimes for Hamlin at Phoenix: Denny Hamlin, FedEx Kinko's and the March of Dimes will race a very special FedEx Kinko's/March of Dimes #11 Toyota Camry in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The car focuses attention on the March of Dimes and the annual March for Babies walk - an organization and event FedEx has long supported at both the local and national level. As part of the car unveiling event, Hamlin was presented with a specially designed helmet by five year-old Dallas native Tiffany Bell-Nunez. Bell-Nunez was born eleven weeks premature and weighed only 2 lbs 13 oz. and much of the care that led to a successful recovery for Tiffany was aided by research funded by March of Dimes. Tiffany is now a very healthy five year-old and her mother Vicki, a FedEx Kinko's employee, remains an active advocate for March for Dimes. In an additional show of support, FedEx has set up a special portal on fedexracing.com for those interested in supporting the charity and FedEx Racing in the upcoming March for Babies.(FedEx Racing/Weber Shandwick), see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(4-9-2008)

  • Hamlin nearly faints after race: #11-Denny Hamlin was talking with reporters on pit road about his fifth-place finish in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway when he nearly fainted and collapsed Sunday. It brought an abrupt end to the interview, as a wobbly Hamlin staggered to a nearby golf cart with the assistance of team personnel. He then was whisked away to be given fluids and to rest, after which team officials insisted he was fine. "He'll need to get some fluids in him, and he'll be all right." Hamlin stood off to the side for several minutes before even attempting to answer questions, taking sips from a water bottle and having a cold towel applied to the back of his neck. He then answered three questions before nearly collapsing, with one of his answers being about his physical condition. "I didn't feel well [during the race]," Hamlin said. "It's just the heat, the long runs. So I'll try to get better. It really hit me when I got out of the car. I was just really dizzy and I knew I needed to sit down."(NASCAR.com)(4-7-2008)

  • Hamlin wins at Martinsville: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Goody's Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway for his 1st win of 2008, 4th of his career, becoming the 45th driver to win a race at Martinsville. #24-Gordon was 2nd, followed by #31-Burton, #48-Johnson, #20-Stewart, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #50Mears, #26-McMurray [back in the top-35 of owners pts], #99-Edwards [who ran out of fuel on the last lap while running 5th] and #07-Bowyer. The points leader going into the race, #18-Kyle Busch had trouble, spent some time in the garage and finished 38th, falling to 5th in drivers points. #31-Burton takes over the points lead by 39 over #29-Harvick. There were 20 lead changes among 8 drivers and 18 cautions for 89 laps.
    Race Results on my Martinsville Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Martinsville page.(3-30-2008)

  • Hamlin, FedEx Kinko's and March of Dime Team up in Texas: #11-Denny Hamlin will be in Texas early this week, on hand to make a special announcement with FedEx Kinko's and the March of Dimes. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, April 2 at White Rock Lake Park in Dallas. As part of the announcement, Hamlin will be presented with a specially designed helmet by five year old Dallas native Tiffany Bell-Nunez and will unveil the start/finish line for the 2008 March for Babies - to be held at the park later this month.(JGR PR)(4-2-2008)

  • Fuel Cell Problems at JGR? #11-Denny Hamlin says a potential flaw in the design of the fuel cells at Joe Gibbs Racing may have contributed to Sunday's loss at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hamlin was leading on the green-white-checkered restart, but his car stalled because not enough fuel reached the engine. That allowed #31-Jeff Burton to blow past Hamlin for his first win at the half-mile track and set up a 1-2-3 finish for Richard Childress Racing. Hamlin, who got his car going after gas swashed into the engine in the corners of the track, finished sixth. It wasn't the first time this has happened. "Anytime we get low on fuel, especially with a banked race track like Bristol, all of our fuel drains in the cell to where we don't get any in the engine," Hamlin said Tuesday. "Once we do take off all we're using is fuel in the lines. There's a bubble in there and the car stalls." Hamlin said team owner Joe Gibbs met with engineers all day Monday looking for answers. He said officials are also looking into why the gearbox in his car failed the previous week at Atlanta and the one in teammate Kyle Busch's car failed with him in the lead at Bristol. "He blew the top seal out of his," Hamlin said. "Mine blew the bottom seal. As far as knowing exactly what's causing it, I don't know yet. Between steering boxes and fuel, it's aging me pretty bad." Hamlin said there are several ways to design a fuel cell. One is so that it always works well with low fuel; another is where under green-flag conditions a car can "suck out the gas to where there's only one drop left."(ESPN.com)(3-19-2008)

  • Drivers celebrities join resort advisory board: Sheridan Ridge Private Reserve, a more than 1,400-acre upscale resort community located in Southwest Virginia, announced the joining of top NASCAR celebrities Tony Stewart, Elliott Sadler, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Hammond and Greg Zipadelli to the project¹s Advisory Board. The Advisory Board members¹ duties will include weighing in on the property¹s planned amenities, as well as introducing individuals to the unique lifestyle of Sheridan Ridge. Each Advisory Board member will have a vacation home on the property. Sheridan Ridge will also introduce interested individuals around the country to the beauty of Southwest Virginia. More info at sheridanridgeva.com.(3-15-2008)

  • ASA creates new short track national championship; JGR test part of prize: The American Speed Association (ASA) is breaking new ground once again, by unveiling plans for an innovative Short Track National Championship. The new plan allows competitors in any ASA Member Track's premier division to compete against each other, regardless of geographical location. ASA will create East and West divisions, with an ASA Short Track Divisional Champion crowned in each. The one driver who accumulates the most points will be named the ASA Short Track National Champion. With the title comes a cash reward, and the ultimate dream - a test session with Joe Gibbs Racing.(ASA-Racing.com)(2-29-2008)

  • New Young Guns Named: #07-Clint Bowyer and #11-Denny Hamlin are the latest additions to the Gillette Young Guns program. The pair join #2-Kurt Busch, #12-Ryan Newman, #99-Carl Edwards and #9-Kasey Kahne as clean-shaven drivers in the campaign. #48-Jimmie Johnson and #26-Jamie McMurray are no longer participating in the program. The company is unveiling a new ad campaign featuring the drivers with WWE veteran John Cena attempting to teach the group to wrestle. Cena learned to drive a Sprint Cup car as part of a reality television show last summer. The Gillette program is entering its fifth season.(SceneDaily.com) .

  • Gibbs retires as coach of the Redskins: Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing [#11,#18, #20] resigned as coach and team president of the Washington Redskins on Tuesday. The Redskins said in a statement that Gibbs will remain part of the Redskins family and serve as a special adviser to owner Dan Snyder.(ESPN.com)(1-8-2008)

2007 News

  • Hamlin Wins Thanksgiving Classic: Denny Hamlin first got soaked by rain and then by champagne. NASCAR's 2006 Nextel Cup rookie of the year returned to his roots Sunday, winning a Thanksgiving Classic that was ended 10 laps from the finish because of a heavy shower. Hamlin celebrated with a wet, smoky burnout in the fourth corner of Southern National Raceway Park, where he was champion five years ago and then stood with an ear-to-ear grin as champagne was poured over his head in victory lane.(Fayetteville Observer)(12-3-2007)

  • JGR 2007 Flag Football Champs: Joe Gibbs Racing successfully defended its 2006 championship in Bob Hubner's Totally Racin' Flag Football League presented by Race City Resumes & Marketing. It wasn't easy for JGR as the team had some tough competition to repeat what it did last season. This year's format was a single elimination tournament, and JGR first had to get by last year's main rival, the team fielded by Lowe's Motor Speedway, to advance. And JGR beat LMS by only one point to reach round two. The Gibbs team then beat Team Red Bull to advance to the championship game against Roush-Fenway Racing. JGR and Roush-Fenway tied during their regular season game so the Gibbs players knew Roush would put up a good fight. The title game was in fact tied 13-13 at halftime. Then, with one minute left, Roush-Fenway scored a touchdown but missed the extra point to edge ahead 25-19. Gibbs Racing then got the ball with 53 seconds left, needing to get down the field and score a touchdown and extra point for the win. JGR got the touchdown as quarterback JD Gibbs passed to his center, Ross Port, in a surprise play with only 3 seconds left, bringing a 25-25 tie. For the extra point, JD Gibbs tossed the ball to Dave Alpern at the goal line, and Alpern caught the pass and reached over the goal line to give Joe Gibbs Racing another championship, 26-25. For League info visit racecityresumes.com/football.(11-15-2007)

  • New Tire Changer for Hamlin: This weekend, C.J. Fambrough will pit in his very first Nextel Cup Race. Fambrough learned Monday morning that he will be the front tire changer for Denny Hamlin's #11 FedEx car for the last two cup races in Phoenix and Homestead. KLTV 7 Sports [Texas] caught up with C.J. Monday afternoon by phone. "It is really neat," he said. "It's a great opportunity and I'm fortunate to have it. I'm excited I'm a little bit nervous but I know what to expect and I know what I've got to do." C.J. says there will be a few differences between pitting on the Busch series and for the Nextel Cup. "Timing," he said, "and I will be working with a whole new crew I've never worked with and there's a lot more pit stops. In a Busch race you get three to four pit stops at the most. In Phoenix, at the Cup race, we could possibly do nine, ten, eleven pit stops just depends on cautions and how everything is going."(KLTV site), Cory Quick, the regular trie changer for Hamlin, is out due to an elbow injury that will require surgery and will be back for the 2008 season. For teams pit crews, see the 2007 Cup Pit Crew Chart page.(11-6-2007)

  • Local Children's Hospital Patient Designed Hamlin's Texas Helmet: Before running in the Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, driver Denny Hamlin will visit Children's Medical Center in Dallas to meet with patients and deliver a $25,000 donation to the hospital on behalf of FedEx. Hamlin also will receive a special helmet designed by nine year-old Children's Medical Center patient, John Garcia. The helmet presented to Hamlin this week is the eighth of eleven helmets designed by children's hospital patients and children granted wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation program as part of the 2007 FedEx "Wear Your Heart on Your Helmet" program. All eleven race-worn helmets will be auctioned off at the end of the season to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(JGR PR)(11-2-2007)

  • NASCAR studying how Hamlin, Blaney had water in fuel: MORE Denny Hamlin, who thought he had enough gas while leading when his car sputtered and didn't start with three laps remaining in the Pep Boys Auto 500, actually had water in his fuel cell at the time. Whether that caused him not to accelerate and get hit from behind by Martin Truex Jr. is uncertain, Joe Gibbs Racing Senior Vice President Jimmy Makar said Sunday night at Atlanta. But what is certain is that Hamlin and Bill Davis Racing's Dave Blaney had water in their fuel cells, and Roush Fenway Racing's Greg Biffle also might have had a similar situation. NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said that no water was found in the Sunoco pumps following the race. Darby said all of the Sunoco documentation from the weekend shows no water in the tanks.(SceneDaily.com)(10-28-2007)
    UPDATE: Water found in the fuel tanks of cars driven by #11-Denny Hamlin and #22-Dave Blaney during Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Atlanta was not isolated to those teams, a NASCAR official said Monday. Water also was discovered in the fuel of the Penske Racing cars driven by #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman after returning to Charlotte, N.C. In addition, water was found in the fuel cell of all three Richard Childress racing team cars belonging to #29-Kevin Harvick, #07-Clint Bowyer and #31-Jeff Burton. #16-Greg Biffle believes his car may have had water in its fuel, although no evidence was found. NASCAR Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said the problem is more widespread than originally thought and that NASCAR has issued bulletins to all Cup and Truck Series teams to check for evidence of contamination so they can locate the source. Darby said everything from the underground fuel-holding tank at the track to the fuel trucks that deliver the gas to the individual gas cans are being analyzed. He said the underground tank is the least likely source because there is an alarm system located that can detect the slightest amount of contamination. Darby dismissed sabotage as a possible explanation, saying too many teams were affected for anyone to have been singled out.(ESPN.com)(10-30-2007)

  • Hamlin parked in 1st Talladega practice: NASCAR cracked down on bump-drafting in the first Nextel Cup practice Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, and #11-Denny Hamlin was the first culprit. Hamlin was parked late in the session, though he said his Joe Gibbs Racing was finished in that practice anyway. "They made a general warning right at the beginning to everyone to stop using the front bumpers, and after that I got hit probably 20 to 30 times," Hamlin said. "So I figured I'd just keep doing what I was doing. Right there at the end, I guess I was a little excessive." Hamlin was curious as to why he and Gibbs teammates Tony Stewart and J.J. Yeley were singled out. "They said Gibbs cars in specific, they had an eye out on," Hamlin said. "I wonder what makes us different than anyone else, other than we were the first three cars in line. We were working well together, and when I say working well together, we were pushing each other well. But they said they didn't want any contact, and we broke that rule. So we're going sit have to sit out for a while." NASCAR officials said they parked Hamlin for refusing to heed a NASCAR directive. "Our concern is whenever you've got restrictor-plate racing and cars as closely matched as they are, you're always going to have occasions of front bumpers being in contact with rear bumpers. It's a product of the draft," NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said. "That being said, there's also a point where it's forced aggressiveness and that's what we don't want to have happen." Darby said Hamlin wasn't the only driver who was warned, but he was the most aggressive. Hamlin said his #11 team would not participate in Friday's second [Happy Hour and final] practice.(SceneDaily.com)(10-5-2007)

  • JC Penney looking? UPDATE: hearing JC Penney, deptartment store chain, are considering sponsoring a Nextel Cup team in 2008 and some teams have even presented mockup cars, but no word which team may get that sponsorship or when anything would be announced.(9-29-2007)
    UPDATE: hearing it could with Joe Gibbs Racing in some form.(10-2-2007)

  • Hamlin wears special helmet again: Before running in the Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway, driver Denny Hamlin will visit Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics on Thursday morning to meet with patients and deliver a $25,000 donation to the hospital on behalf of FedEx. Hamlin also will receive a special helmet designed by 16 year-old Children's Mercy patient Michael Beeson. The helmet presented to Hamlin this week is the eighth of eleven helmets designed by children's hospital patients and children granted wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation program as part of the 2007 FedEx "Wear Your Heart on Your Helmet" program. All eleven race-worn helmets will be auctioned off at the end of the season to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(JGR PR)(9-26-2007)

  • Petty vs. Hamlin...the quotes: on lap 204 of the Dodge Dealers at Dover International Speedway, #11-Hamlin got into #45-Petty, sending Petty spinning on the frontstretch and into the inside wall..so in the garage minutes after both cars headed to the garage, Petty came over to Hamlin, who was in the #11 while the crew is working on the car, Petty took the window net down and yelled and pointed at Hamlin, gave Hamlin the one finger salute [which was blurred by ABC], NASCAR Officials tired to block Petty, then Hamlin had enough when Petty touched his helmet, which Hamlin removed and got out the car, where he was restrained by his crew and NASCAR officials, then ABC cut back to the race. Comments made by each sent out by respective manufacture reps:
    KYLE PETTY (#45 Wells Fargo Dodge Avenger) ON THE ACCIDENT "We were a little bit loose. I guess it's my fault. I watched the Busch race yesterday and I knew Denny (Hamlin) was sick, I just didn't know he was hallucinating and needed three lanes to get up off the corner because he ran all over us. I guess he is in a race by himself."
    ON HIS WORDS WITH HAMLIN "I just told him 'he is in the Chase and I'm not'. That's how simple it is. It's a shame that a guy with that much talent has to drive like that. We've seen it a lot. We've seen it all year long. Even his teammate Tony Stewart talked about it. I think it pretty much speaks for itself."(Dodge Motorsports PR)
    AND DENNY HAMLIN (#11 Fedex Ground Inpala SS - Finished 38th) DID YOU GIVE SO MUCH IN THE BUSCH RACE YESTERDAY THAT YOU WEREN'T FOCUSED TODAY? "That definitely wasn't an issue. The biggest thing is that I know Kyle (Petty) gets run over a lot and a lot of the reason is that he's so far off the pace. I firmly believe in my heart that he was trying to get out of the way. But I was right there on his bumper on the inside of him and I think he was trying to pull low. When he did, he checked up to pull low. You can't do that when someone's right on you and I think that's the reason that stuff happens. You've got a car two seconds off the pace or whatever it may be. We're in a clutter of leaders and he's racing his own little battle and some days it's your day and some days it's not. Get out of the way."
    WHAT DID YOU SAY TO KYLE PETTY AND WHAT DID HE SAY TO YOU AT YOUR CAR WINDOW? "He just said it wasn't racing. And absolutely it wasn't racing. I wasn't racing him. There was no reason. Let's look back at my career. I've never wrecked anyone my entire career has anybody spun off my front bumper. It's not like I'm a guy who runs into everybody. You've just got to use your brain. You've got to calm down. This is not over for us. A lot of guys had trouble today and we're going to bounce back from this. This is just one step of this 10-week chase."
    IN HINDSIGHT, DO YOU THINK YOU WERE TOO AGGRESSIVE WITH HIM (PETTY) AT THAT POINT? "There was no reason for me to be aggressive at all. I had the 07 a car length or two behind, but I can give up a spot. I have no problem in that. I'd seen the way he had been running the laps before and he had been going up to the wall. I was assuming he was going to do the same thing but instead he came off the corner and he slowed up right off my front bumper. It's a mistake whether it's on my part or his part. That's what happens. You can't have two cars that distinguished in speed and expect them to race near each other."
    WERE YOU SURPRISED AT PETTY'S REACTION? "Yeah, I think a lot of it was his frustration over this whole top 35 thing, but we're racing for bigger and better things. Hopefully, one day, if they get it turned around, I can exchange the favor. But right now, we're the guys racing for the championship, so you know, heed a little bit."
    WHAT SET YOU OFF TO HAVE YOU JUMP OUT OF YOUR CAR LIKE THAT WHEN YOU WERE WAITING FOR THE CREW TO FIX THE CAR? "Don't smack me on the helmet. You smack me on the helmet and I'm going to punch you in the face, bottom line. So I'd like for him (Kyle Petty) to call me sometime this week, before next week."
    IS THERE AN UNWRITTEN RULE ABOUT TAKING YOUR WINDOW NET DOWN OR COMING TO YOUR CAR? "You don't come to my car; you don't come to my pit. You meet me somewhere else and we'll settle it. I have the utmost respect for Kyle, but don't lay your hands on my head."
    WHY DID HE DO THAT? DID YOU SAY SOMETHING BACK TO HIM? "I did not say one word to him. I asked him to come over and talk to me. He chose to slap my helmet. I have a short fuse. Don't do that. I didn't say one word to him (Petty) in the garage. All I just said wad 'Come here and let me talk to you about it'. He chose to slap my helmet, you know, in hindsight, I should have grabbed his throat."(GM Racing PR)(9-23-2007)

  • Hamlin sick at Dover, but wins Busch race, should be ok for the Cup race: Feeling weak and needing intravenous fluids before the Busch Series race on Saturday, Denny Hamlin nearly threw in the towel. Hamlin shook off an illness and found the energy to dominate and win the caution-filled Busch Series race at Dover International Speedway on Saturday, his third win of the season. Hamlin complained of a tender throat, had trouble breathing and dizzy spells. Then he got in the car for a 200-lap race. Hamlin said the illness shouldn't affect him for Sunday's Cup race at Dover. "I get hot. I get cold," he said. "I feel inadequate really." Hamlin struggled just to get in his car. He took fluids and leaned, slumped, really, against his #20 Chevrolet before putting on his firesuit. Kyle Busch took the seat shortly before the race to see how he would fit and was on standby in case Hamlin couldn't go.(ESPN.com)
    UPDATE: on ESPN2's NASCAR Now, Shannon Spake reported that she talked the Hamlin's crew chief, Mike Ford, and was told Hamlin will go to the Infield Care Center at Dover to get checked out and that the team has no plans to have a driver standing by as Hamlin feels better.(9-23-2007)

  • Hamlin to run purple car at NHIS: In honor of FedEx and the 275,000 FedEx employees and contractors around the world, the #11 FedEx Express Chevy will carry an entirely purple paint scheme at New Hampshire International Speedway this weekend.(FedEx/Joe Gibbs Racing), see an image of the car on my #11 Team Schemes page.(9-13-2007)

  • Gibbs to Toyota - Official UPDATE 4: been told that the Joe Gibbs Racing / Toyota announcement will be made at the JGR Headquarters the week before the Richmond race.(8-30-2007)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing is expected to announce next week it will join Toyota Motorsports beginning next season, sources told ESPN.com. A news conference has been scheduled for Wednesday morning at JGR headquarters. Expected to be in attendance are team drivers Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin. A GM official reached Thursday in Detroit said the manufacturer would not comment. Toyota Motorsports officials were equally mum.(ESPN.com)(8-31-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Kyle Busch confirmed that he has been told that Joe Gibbs Racing will race Toyotas next season. Busch said he is comfortable with the switch, which is expected to be announced next week by the team. Mark Cronquist, the team's head engine builder, is expected to spearhead the work on the engine. (SceneDaily.com)(8-31-2007)
    UPDATE 3: SPEED will interrupt regular programming on Sept. 5 at 11am/et to present a live NASCAR press conference. It is expected to be an announcement from Joe Gibbs Racing regarding the 2008 season.(9-5-2007)
    UPDATE 4: the press conference started just after 11:00am/et with JGR's J.D. Gibbs and Jimmy Makar; drivers Tont Stewart and Denny Hamlin; crew chiefs Steve Addington, Mike Ford and Greg Zipadelli; JGR's engine builder Mark Conquist; and Toyota officials Jim Aust and Lee White. Gibbs announced the team is switching from Chevy/GM to Toyota in 2008. Stewart says he is excited about the move and working on extending his contract. His USAC and WoO teams will stay Chevy and nothing will change there. Hamlin says he is working on his contract and is excited about the move.(9-5-2007)
    PR: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) will campaign Toyota Camrys in the Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Grand National Series [and also will switch to Toyota in the Busch Series] beginning in 2008. "We look forward to partnering with Toyota in NASCAR in 2008. Toyota will be hands-on with us as we become an integral part of their long-term development in NASCAR," said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. We have 420-plus families that are our number one priority, and taking care of them for the future is very important to us. Our people have made us as successful as we are today, and it's those same people who will ensure our success in the future. When our teams win, those families win. We're thrilled for everyone at JGR who will benefit from this."
    "This decision was made by all of the key leadership at JGR," said Jimmy Makar, senior vice president of racing operations for JGR. "It was a decision made by the people in our competition department, who live by the one question whenever a decision is made regarding Joe Gibbs Racing: 'Will this make us more competitive on the race track?' The consensus answer was yes."(see full PR at the Joe Gibbs Racing site)(9-5-2007)

  • Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., and Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that the three-time championship-winning race team will campaign Toyota Camrys for drivers Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. Joe Gibbs Racing's NASCAR Grand National Series program will also utilize Toyota Camrys next season. Joe Gibbs Racing will be joining Bill Davis Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Team Red Bull as the teams that will be racing the 'Most Popular Car in America' when the 2008 season kicks- off next February at Daytona International Speedway. Assembled at Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky plant, more than six million Camry models have been sold in the United States since its debut 23 years ago.(see full PR at the Toyota Motorsports site)(9-5-2007)

  • GM Statement of JGR moving to Toyota: Statement from Brent Dewar; General Motors North America Vice President of Vehicle Sales, Service and Parts Regarding Joe Gibbs Racing's decision to sign with another manufacturer: "General Motors has been associated with Joe Gibbs Racing for 16 years working together winning races and championships. While we understand the business nature of racing, we are disappointed in J.D.'s decision and announcement today. With our long-standing relationship and record of winning with them, we hoped they would remain with Chevrolet. We will continue to support our JGR drivers in this year's Chase for the Championship. We wish JGR well as they go forward, and Chevrolet will compete against them on the track next year to defend its title as the winningest name in racing."(GM Racing PR)(9-5-2007)

  • Extensions for Stewart & Hamlin close: [Joe Gibbs Racing's] Car owner J.D. Gibbs says that contract extensions are nearly set with #11-Denny Hamlin and #20-Tony Stewart. Both have contracts through 2009. Both are set to attend the team's press conference later this week announcing the [supposed] move to Toyota and their contact extensions could be announced there.(Roanoke Times)(9-4-2007)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing Forms Motocross and Supercross Team: Since debuting in the 1992 Daytona 500, Joe Gibbs Racing has won over 100 races in NASCAR and the NHRA. In 2008, the veteran racing organization will continue to add to its rich history, but in addition to winning races on four wheels, they'll also attempt to do it using only two. Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross (JGRMX) is the latest venture of the 16-year-old race team founded by Joe Gibbs. Gibbs' youngest son, Coy, will head up the operation, along with motocross industry veteran David Evans. The two have already secured the services of riders Josh Hansen and Josh Summey, as JGRMX will campaign both riders in the World Supercross GP and American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Supercross Series, and also the AMA National Motocross Championship. (Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(9-2-2007)

  • Hamlin again wearing special helmet: #11-Denny Hamlin will be sporting a helmet designed for him by patients at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles when he takes to the track this weekend at California Speedway. Hamlin will visit the hospital on Thursday, August 30 to meet with patients and staff and be presented with the special helmet. He also will deliver a donation from FedEx in the amount of $25,000, race R/C cars with the patients, and all join the patients as they design their own mini-FedEx Racing helmet. The helmet presented to Hamlin this week is the seventh of eleven helmets designed by children's hospital patients and children granted wishes through the Make-A-Wish program as part of the 2007 FedEx "Wear Your Heart on Your Helmet" program. All eleven race-worn helmets will be displayed and auctioned off at the end of the season to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(JGR PR)(8-31-2007)

  • No Gibbs to Toyota announcement planned at Calif: Don't expect a Toyota announcement that Joe Gibbs Racing has joined the manufacturer's stable next week when the Nextel Cup Series heads to the backyard of Toyota's base in California. Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said no announcement is planned for the Aug. 31-Sept. 2 race weekend at California Speedway and his team is still mulling whether to extend its contract with Chevrolet. "Nope - nothing there," Gibbs said Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway when asked if an announcement could come next week. "Nothing new ... We're not under huge pressure [to decide]." Gibbs wouldn't comment more on the situation, which has been the biggest question surrounding his organization now that Kyle Busch has opted to join the team next season.(SceneDaily.com)(8-26-2007)

  • More on Gibbs to Toyota..done deal? HOF to RCR engines? UPDATE 3 denied: hearing the decision has been made and that Joe Gibbs Racing [#11, #18, #20] will switch from Chevrolet to Toyota in 2008 and the announcement should come in early September.(8-6-2007)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing still hasn't announced whether it will switch to Toyotas next year, but the buzz is that it will. Some clues? Tony Stewart's souvenir trailers were selling merchandise at 50% off regular price last week at the Brickyard, Stewart's home track and a place where the Hoosier native is wildly popular. Also, a source at Richard Childress Racing said it has been approached by Hall of Fame Racing, a satellite Gibbs team, about buying engines from the newly merged RCR-Dale Earnhardt Inc., engine operation in 2008. Presumably, HOF is hedging its bets, if it ends up not being part of a Gibbs move to Toyota.(Ford Racing)(8-6-2007)
    UPDATE 2: JGR will jump from Chevrolet to the Toyota camp beginning in 2008, joining Michael Waltrip Racing, Bill Davis Racing and Team Red Bull on the list of teams running Toyota Camrys. Neither Busch nor JGR have made any official comment on the move, but Gibbs officials have already informed Hall of Fame Racing that they will not continue to provide the team with engines next season, prompting Hall Of Fame to contact Richard Childress Racing about a similar engine-supply deal for 2008.(Motorsports Soapbox)(8-6-2007)
    UPDATE 3: Hall of Fame Racing officials have not been told by Joe Gibbs Racing that JGR will not provide the HOF with engines next season, nor have HOF officials contacted RCR.(8-6-2007)

  • Chevy hopes to keep teams: Chevrolet officials remain hopeful that Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports will remain a part of the General Motors program in 2008. GM is in the process of renewing all of its deals, with JGR and HMS being the crown jewels of their program. Toyota has been linked with JGR in several news reports despite comments from team president J.D. Gibbs that re-signing with GM is his top priority. Rick Hendrick, the owner of HMS, also has ties to Toyota through his dealership business. Ed Peper, the general manager of Chevrolet Racing, said during a Thursday press conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that he is very confident in negotiations to re-sign all teams currently under the Chevrolet banner. Terry Dolan, the marketing director for Chevrolet Racing, would not comment on specific organizations. "I am confident we will have strong teams continuing to represent Chevrolet, not only because we've got a pretty good track record of performance but because we've been dedicated to this sport for a long time," he said of the company that has won 15 of 19 Nextel Cup races this season with 12 of the wins coming from JGR and HMS. "We have some of the tools and assets they need to succeed in their business."(ESPN.com)(7-28-2007)

  • Special Helmet for Hamlin at Chicago: Before running in the Nextel Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday [July 15th], driver #11-Denny Hamlin will visit Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago on Thursday, July 12, to meet with patients and deliver a $25,000 donation to the hospital on behalf of FedEx. Hamlin also will receive a special helmet designed by several Children's Memorial patients. Hamlin will wear the specially-designed helmet for all Nextel Cup activity the weekend of July 13 - 15 at Chicagoland Speedway. The helmet presented to Hamlin will be the sixth of eleven designed helmets by children's hospital patients and children granted wishes through the Make-A-Wish program throughout the 2007 season. All eleven race-worn helmets will be displayed and auctioned off at the end of the season to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Weber Shandwick/FedEx Racing PR)(7-12-2007)

  • Denny Hamlin wins at New Hampshire: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway for his first win of 2007 and his 3rd career win (he won both Pocono races last year). Hamlin made a 2 tire pit stop late in the race and held off a hard charging #24-Gordon who had taken 4 tires. #1-Truex, Jr. was third, followed by #8-Earnhardt, Jr., #48-Johnson, #66-Green, #31-Burton, #29-Harvick, #17-Kenseth, and #12-Newman. Pole sitter #22-Dave Blaney fell back early in the race and finished 29th, the highest Toyota. There were 6 cautions for 31 laps and 11 leaders with 20 lead changes.
    Race Results on my NHIS Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after NHIS page
    Race Rundown: see my NHIS Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(7-1-2007)

  • Gibbs Would like to stay with Chevy: Joe Gibbs Racing's first choice is to re-sign with General Motors, not jump ship for Toyota. "We want to work this out [with GM]," team president J.D. Gibbs said before Sunday's race at New Hampshire. "I can't say a whole lot more than that. We've got a great relationship with GM. We've been partners with them for 16 years, ever since we became an organization." Gibbs said he's had several meetings with GM officials, the most recent last week. He brushed off a report that the organization had a "done deal" with Toyota. Gibbs reminded that none of the Chevy teams have re-upped with GM, but that he hopes the situation will become clearer soon so the organization can start preparing for 2008.(ESPN.com)(7-2-2007)

  • More on Gibbs to Toyota...done deal? Extending Stewart to 2011? UPDATE Toyota denied; Stewart possibly: Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota are "a done deal" for 2008, according to several sources, though team executives said otherwise. Apparently one hangup in the talks between the long-time Chevy operation (which features #20-Tony Stewart) and Toyota is a clause in Gibbs' current GM [Chevy] contract which bars the team from negotiating with any other manufacturer until the contract is up. So sources said Gibbs has had to go through an agent in the talks. Gibbs has a major negotiating session scheduled with General Motors in the next two weeks, which should provide the 'yea,' or 'nay' on that side of the issue. One of the big reasons for Toyota's intense interest in Gibbs Racing is Gibbs' engine program, headed by Mark Cronquist, one of the best in the business. Gibbs is also renegotiating his contract with Stewart to extend it another two years. The contract runs through the end of 2009; the new package would run through the end of 2011.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-23-2007)
    UPDATE: J.D. Gibbs would like to sign #20-Tony Stewart to an extension that will keep the two-time Nextel Cup champion at Joe Gibbs Racing at least through 2011. Stewart's contract at JGR runs through 2009. But with a talented stable of young talent in the developmental pool and Stewart joking about retirement several times this season, the president of JGR would like to find out just what his marquee driver wants. "Hey, we want Tony to be here for a long time,'' Gibbs said before Sunday's race at Infineon Raceway. "If he said at the end of '09 I'm done, officially done, hey, we understand that. Let's go get a plan. The reality is, I think he wants to go [on]. How long does he want to go? I want all of those guys on the same page.'' Gibbs denied reports that he has a deal to leave General Motors for Toyota. "I've got to be honest,'' he said. "That's just not true. That's speculation. We're sitting down with the GM guys [in a few weeks]. We've had conversations with them. I don't think any GM team has signed a deal yet. That was kind of frustrating.'' JGR has been with GM for 16 seasons between Pontiac and Chevrolet. While Gibbs plans to discuss a new deal, he never ruled out talking to Toyota. Gibbs also didn't rule out talking to driver Kyle Busch, who became a free agent when it was announced Dale Earnhardt Jr. would replace him at Hendrick Motorsports next season.(ESPN.com)(6-25-2007)

  • Hamlin relieves Almirola at Milwaukee Busch race and wins..for Almirola: ESPN2 reported that no driver has ever won a Busch Series in relief of another driver, the last time it was done in Nextel Cup was when Darrell Waltrip relieved Donnie Allison, August 7, 1977 at Talladega. But later NASCAR announced that in April 1985, Harry Gant filled in for Jack Ingram at the Darlington Busch Series race and went on to win and the credit went to Ingram. Denny Hamlin was flying from Sonoma to Milwaukee and the helicopter could not land at the helipad, and had to land at a nearby airport. So Aric Almirola, who won the pole in the #20 Rockwell Chevy at the Milwaukee Mile, started the race and lead 44 laps, and on 57 a caution came out, Almirola was called to pit, where Hamlin got in the car. Almirola refused interviewsd and left the track before the end of the race and didn't celebrate his first win. See more on my Busch Series site.(6-24-2007)

  • Gibbs evaluating manufacturer alignment: Having lost the Dale Earnhardt Jr. sweepstakes, Joe Gibbs Racing [#s 11, 18, 20] President J.D. Gibbs says his team is focused on its current lineup of drivers. Gibbs says it's too early to talk about any interest in Kyle Busch nor whether his team will switch to Toyota next season. JGR has been with General Motors for 16 years. "We wanted to wait and see what happened with the Junior deal," Gibbs said Sunday prior to the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan. "And then we're going to sit down and evaluate. We've been a partner with them for 16 years. We're going to look at it and evaluate and make sure we're on the same page. "Obviously, is Toyota out there as a possibility? I think they have probably talked to a number of different groups... We just want to make sure, as the sport changes, how do we stay where we need to be at JGR to stay ahead of the curve? And a big part is manufacturer."(SceneDaily.com)(6-18-2007)

  • Hamlin's gift honors Chesterfield [VA] officers: Last month, native son Denny Hamlin presented county officials with a piece of the car he drove at Richmond International Raceway during last year's Crown Royal 400 Nextel Cup race. The driver's-side post on his car that night, May 6, 2006, featured decals honoring Chesterfield police officers Gary J. Buro and Joseph E. Diman. Buro was killed and Diman was shot five times while responding to a domestic-disturbance call at a house in Ettrick during the early-morning hours of May 4, 2006.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-17-2007)

  • Toyota: Gibbs? Penske merge with Waltrip? UPDATE: Toyota, sources said, has approached the Gibbs team with a proposal to leave Chevrolet, which would give it #20-Tony Stewart, #11-Denny Hamlin and #18-J.J. Yeley. Gibbs' management doesn't appear to be that interested, but the offer hasn't been rejected, according to team sources. Penske [#2, #12], who has been with just about every manufacturer in racing over the years and who is one of the world's biggest Toyota dealers, could be making the move to Toyota for next year. According to sources close to the situation, Penske could be looking at a merger with Michael Waltrip's struggling Toyota operation. And there is speculation that Robert and Doug Yates [#38, #88] may be willing to listen to Toyota offers, even though they have long-standing ties with Ford.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-31-2007)

    UPDATE: Several sources tell SI.com that Toyota is going hard after Joe Gibbs Racing and that Gibbs is very interested. Officially, the Gibbs team denies any contact with Toyota: "It's news to us," team spokesman Mike Arning said. Toyota, as a matter of policy, does not comment on contract negotiations. The potential deal is a delicate subject for Gibbs and Toyota. Gibbs' contract with Chevrolet, which runs out at the end of the year, stipulates this is a non-negotiating period with other manufacturers. Is contact to determine interest negotiating? You'd have to read the fine print and then get a clarification from an arbitrator to determine that. But sources say there definitely has been communication between Toyota and Gibbs.(Sports Illustrated)(6-2-2007)

  • JGR meets and may change personnel on Hamlin's team UPDATE 2 new crew named: Joe Gibbs Racing officials met Monday to discuss personnel changes after a pit road mishap cost #11-Denny Hamlin a victory at Darlington Raceway. Hamlin was critical of his crew after a pair of dropped lug nuts during a late pit stop cost him the race. Hamlin, who led a race-high 179 laps, was in second when he went into the pits but plummeted to 16th after the error. Although he rallied to finish second, he was furious after Sunday's race. "If we lose by 20-30 points when it comes down to the championship, we know exactly where we lost it, and that's on pit road," said Hamlin, who could have won three or four races this season if not for mechanical problems or mistakes on pit road. I gave away Phoenix, that's my fault. But there's two to three other races that we had the best car most all day, and even at the end, and just gave it away on pit road. Today was a prime example of that." The team met Monday to see if any changes should be made to a crew that helped Hamlin to two victories and a third-place finish in the Chase for the championship during last year's rookie season.(Associated Press)(5-15-2007)
    UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin's over-the-wall gang will have a new look at Wednesday night's Nextel Cup Pit Crew Challenge at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena. Denny Hamlin said there were "two to three other races" this season where a bad pit stop cost him a chance to win a Nextel Cup race. Crew chief Mike Ford made several changes to the crew after Sunday's pit road mistake at Darlington Raceway, the latest in a series of blunders dating to last season that have kept Hamlin out of Victory Lane. Ford agreed, so he moved the rear changer to the front and brought on a new front tire carrier. He replaced the rear tire changer with an employee at Joe Gibbs Racing that has been training for the position and moved the gas man to jack man. He made a temporary change to the gas man and will continue to look for a long-term fix.(ESPN.com)(5-16-2007)
    UPDATE 2: was informed that the new crew has been assembled for Hamlin: Dennis Terry moves from back tire changer to front tire changer with Jonathan Sherman (New from JGR #20 Busch team and #96 HOF Cup team) takes over as the rear tire changer. Scott Wood moves from Gas Man to Jack Man and Brad Rothlin (New from JGR #18 Busch team) takes over as Gas Man. Scott Merritt (new from #18 Busch team) comes in as the front tire carrier. Heath Cherry remains the rear tire carrier and John Eicher remains the catch can man. Fixes have been made to the 2007 Pit Crew Chart.(5-16-2007)

  • Gibbs: Dale Jr. yes; Budweiser...probably not: J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing [#11,#18,#20], answered questions from members of the media at Darlington Raceway on Saturday afternoon:
    ON HIS REACTION TO DALE EARNHARDT, JR.'S ANNOUNCEMENT: "Really from our standpoint we're kind of watching stuff unfold as you guys were. I thought they did a great job on their press conference. I know that was hard for him. I think for us really we're just really focused on what we're doing now, our three cars. Would everyone want a chance to talk to Dale Jr.? Sure. Who wouldn't want a chance to talk to Dale Jr.? Right now it sounds like he and Kelley, whatever decision they come up with will be a good one. They just want a little time to think about it. When the time is right we'd love to sit down and talk to him and see what their plans are but right now we're just focusing on what we're doing."
    WOULD YOU HAVE BUDWEISER AS A SPONSOR? "For us it would be hard. It'd be hard. They've been a great partner of the sport and do a lot for us but personally that would be a hard deal for us to do."
    WOULD IT BE DEAL BREAKER HARD? "I'll just leave it at that right now. I'm not sure if that would fit for us. Even though we really appreciate what they're doing and they're a great group, it'd be hard for us to do."
    WILL TONY STEWART AND DENNY HAMLIN'S CLOSE FRIENDSHIP WITH DALE EARNHARDT JR. PLAY INTO THAT AT ALL?
    "You know I really don't know. Just from what I heard him say that might but for the most part he just wants to go and run well. I think he'll have a ton of opportunities and when the time is right, hey if the opportunity is there we'd love to sit down and talk to him but right now I think he's just focused on his deal and just we're focused on our deal."
    SO YOU DON'T PLAN ON PROACTIVELY SEEKING HIM OUT AND TALKING ABOUT IT?
    "I feel like right now he's got enough stuff going on and we'll just let stuff roll where it is. The best thing we can do in any situation is if we run the best we can week in and week out, no matter what happens down the road, I think that's our best plan. There's nothing really interesting. all I have to say is that I'm kind of watching it unfold like you guys are. Sounds like if he and Kelley, they're on the same page they'll make a good decision. I think they'll have a ton of opportunities. If the time is right, we could talk to them about that but right now, I think we're just going to focus on what we're focusing on and let that fall where it may."(in part from a GM Racing PR)(5-13-2007)

  • NASCAR donates $160,000 to Virginia Tech memorial fund: For the last three weeks, NASCAR's Nextel Cup cars have all displayed a Virginia Tech logo with a black background in a show of support for the victims and families of the massacre that left 33 dead in Blacksburg on April 16. On Saturday night the decals were just a symbol, and the support was something more tangible: money. In prerace introductions, Virginia drivers Jeff and Ward Burton, Elliott Sadler and Denny Hamlin presented Hokies football coach Frank Beamer with a check for $120,000 for the Hokies Spirit Memorial Fund. And Richmond International Raceway president Doug Fritz presented him with a check for $40,000, also for the memorial fund, that he said was given by RIR and some sister tracks also owned by International Speedway Corp.(Associated Press/ESPN)(5-6-2007)

  • Teams use thinner metal on exhaust at Bristol, causes problems: #11-Denny Hamlin said the first race with the Car of Tomorrow, last week at Bristol, wasn't that much different. How he felt afterward sure was. Hamlin said yesterday during Busch Series testing at Richmond International Raceway that he and several other drivers had "extremely bad headaches" along with aches throughout the body. "I had to get blood tested yesterday to see what was wrong with me because I felt terrible," Hamlin said. "I talked to my physical trainer who talked to other physical trainers who said their guys took the day off because they couldn't do anything yesterday." Hamlin said he wondered whether it had anything to do with a carbon monoxide problem. Kerry Tharp, the director of communications for NASCAR competition, said yesterday by phone that several teams, including Hamlin's #11, had exhaust system failures. A number of teams, in trying to conserve weight on the new car, opted for a thinner metal piping for their exhaust systems. That led to failures. The problem is not expected to repeat this weekend at Martinsville.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-28-2007)

  • Hamlin's #11 Crew Takes Pit Crew Challenge Win in Bristol: Denny Hamlin's over-the-wall crew captured the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge in Sunday's Food City 500 Nextel Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The #11 FedEx Chevry, owned by Joe Gibbs Racing, spent the least amount of time on pit road (190.763 seconds) during the 500-lap event at the .533-mile oval. "The FedEx over-the-wall crew was great all day at Bristol. I think they picked up spots for me each time I pitted and they helped put the team in position to win," said Hamlin. "This was a total team effort and I want to thank the guys back at the shop and crew for all the work they did to get these new cars ready to race. Unfortunately, we didn't have a better end to the weekend, but with this team, I have no doubt we'll have another chance to win soon." Checkers/Rally's awards the winning Nextel Cup pit crew each week with a cash prize of $11,000. The #11 crew includes: Chris Webb (jackman), Chad Edwards (front-tire carrier), Donnie Brown (front-tire changer), Heath Cherry (rear-tire carrier), Dennis Terry (rear-tire changer), Scott Wood (gasman), John Eicher (catch can), Bobby "Spike" Christenson (windshield) and John Furino (pit support). The team's crew chief is Mike Ford and the pit crew coordinator is Paul Alepa. An additional $111,150 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. To win the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally's is in its third season as title sponsor for the pit crew challenge. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(3-28-2007)

  • Hamlin to honor the Marines in the Coke 600: #11-Denny Hamlin is scheduled to run the U.S. Marine Corp/FedEx Freight scheme on the #11 Chevy in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in a special celebration of America's military personnel. The #11 Chevy will have a black base with red accents. Featured on the hood is the U.S. Marine Corps emblem, also in the program are Nextel Cup drivers #01-Martin, #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson, #4-Burton and #21-Wood, see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(3-7-2007)

  • Starter partners with JGR: Starter, a leader in developing licensed and innovative team apparel and footwear, formally announced a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing [#11, #18, #20] to develop footwear and apparel solutions for the NASCAR team's crews and drivers. The partnership is designed to provide a "Living Laboratory" for Starter to apply its experience working with world-class athletes in other sports to the needs of the drivers and crews of Joe Gibbs Racing's teams in the Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series. Starter and its parent company Nike Inc. already provide 70% of the footwear worn by NASCAR crews, but this partnership signals a deepening of the company's commitment to the sport. Starter is partnering with Motorsports Authentics, the leading consumer apparel provider in NASCAR, to build a line of merchandise for trackside sales and other distribution channels, providing consumers with the closest experience possible to being part of the team. Starter, which grew to prominence in the 1980s with its line of Starter athletic jackets, is aggressively building its presence in NASCAR by delivering performance apparel and footwear products valued for all consumers. Among the first products to be introduced in 2007 is an authentic race-day jacket to be worn by #'s 20, 18 and 11 Nextel Cup teams. All products will meet a mandate of expressive, authentic, cool, reliable, crafted and durable performance, while utilizing the latest fabric and technology advancements over the past few years.(JGR PR)(1-29-2007)

  • Spokesmen named for NASCAR Speedpark: NASCAR SpeedPark, "the official family fun park of NASCAR" announced that #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler and #11-Denny Hamlin will be the 2007 official spokesmen for NASCAR* SpeedPark's North American locations in Myrtle Beach, SC, Concord, NC, Sevierville, Tenn., St. Louis, MO and Vaughan, Ontario, Canada. As official NASCAR SpeedPark spokesmen, Kahne, Sadler and Hamlin will make park appearances throughout the year in an effort to enhance the experience of visiting fans by providing autographs and posing for photographs. The 2007 driver appearance schedule will be announced at a later date.(NASCAR Speedpark PR)(1-28-2007)

  • Gibbs struggling with grandson's leukemia diagnosis: A 2-year-old grandson of Washington Redskins head coach [and Nextel Cup team owner] Joe Gibbs has been diagnosed with leukemia and is currently undergoing chemotherapy, a development that has been "devastating" to the Hall of Fame coach. According to Gibbs' personal Web site [joegibbsonline.com], Zachary Taylor Gibbs -- the son of NASCAR [team] executive J.D. Gibbs -- was ruled to have leukemia two weeks ago. Zachary Taylor has already undergone surgery. "We got the news on Taylor, and it was really devastating to our whole family," Gibbs said on his Web site. "So I've kind of been going through a process here the last two weeks, and I'm probably like a lot of you, this is much more important than winning football games. And winning football games is important. That's the third most important thing in my life. God's first, family and loved ones second and then my occupation third. "So as we struggle with this news with Taylor, we did get a good report this week, and he's had a number of surgeries that he's been through, he's in chemo now, and so we sure appreciate your prayers," Gibbs said. The coach is about to enter the fourth year of a five-year contract, a deal he has vowed to complete, assuming his health holds up. He turned 66 last season and often talked about spending offseason time with his "grandbabies." J.D. Gibbs, his oldest son, serves as president of Joe Gibbs Racing in North Carolina, and Gibbs' other son, Coy, is an offensive quality control coach for the Redskins. Between them, they have six sons and one daughter. On his Web site, Joe Gibbs said that Zachary Taylor's leukemia "kind of threw us all for a loop" and added it "way overshadows anything like our occupation and me winning football games."(ESPN.com)(1-24-2007)

  • Sadler and Hamlin slim down: #11-Denny Hamlin and #19-Elliott Sadler both have new looks for the upcoming NASCAR Nextel Cup season, but it has nothing to do with paint schemes. Hamlin hired a physical trainer in the offseason, and Sadler is hoping to lose weight and return to the size he was in his rookie season. Hamlin, who sported a slight bulge in the midsection of his racing uniform last year, said he already notices a difference. "I feel better than I have ever in just the short amount of time I've been doing it," Hamlin said of his workouts. "To me, it's more about working on those last 100 laps of the race when you need to dig down and get the most out of yourself. I felt like I was kind of slack on it last year." Sadler said he weighed 211 pounds in 1999 and had not been below that until now. Sadler weighs 210 pounds. He says he's lost 10 pounds since last year's season finale at Homestead and wants to lose another 10 pounds before this season begins. "I just want to be prepared mentally and physically the best I can to make sure I pull my weight," Sadler said. He says he is not on a particular workout program other than watching what he eats. "I can eat as much as anybody I think that you've ever met in your life," said the 31-year-old, who finished fourth in last year's Daytona 500. "I ordered two or three Big Macs at a time. I'd eat two or three steaks at a time when I go to a steakhouse."(Roanoke Times)(1-20-2007)

2006 News

  • JGR are NASCAR Football Champs: NASCAR Flag Football: Joe Gibbs Racing are the 2006 Champions of Bob Hubner's Totally Racin' Flag Football League presented by Race City Resumes.com. JGR led by quarterback J.D. Gibbs went 10-0 competing against 5 other NASCAR Teams for the title. Evernham Motorsports Hendrick Motorsports, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Roush Racing and Team Red Bull.(Race City Resumes)(12-6-2006)

  • Hamlin to wear special helmet at Texas: For the fifth race this season, #11-Denny Hamlin will wear a helmet designed especially for him by a patient from a local Children's hospital. Alexis Hakalmazian, a 15-year old Keller student and patient at the Cook Children's Medical Facility, designed the helmet named "Healing Hands Coming Together in Search of a Cure," for Hamlin to wear for all Nextel Cup activity this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. "The opportunity to wear helmets designed by patients like Alexis means a lot to me and I know this whole team takes a lot of pride in racing out there for them," said Hamlin. "A lot of these kids can't make it to a race so we try to give them the next best thing and represent them at the track. Hopefully they feel like part of our team. Plus, these helmets always seem to bring me luck in races so I owe them a big thank you."(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(11-2-2006)

  • Denny Hamlin and Davis Love III Trade "Driving" Tips, Scheme: Denny Hamlin and PGA TOUR star Davis Love III joined together to unveil the commemorative FedExCup Chevrolet on October 10 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Love experienced the thrill of NASCAR first hand as Hamlin took him and the #11 car for a few hot laps around the track before Love got behind the wheel and also drove the race car following a quick lesson from Richard Petty Driving Experience instructors. After Love exited the car, he and Hamlin hit golf balls off pit road onto the infield grass with Love giving some "driving" tips of his own to one of NASCAR's top drivers. Next year's highly anticipated FedExCup, the PGA TOUR's dramatic season-long points championship culminating with a four-tournament playoff, will receive some extra exposure at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 29 when NASCAR NEXTEL Cup's top rookie and Chase for the NEXTEL Cup driver, Denny Hamlin, will drive the special FedExCup No. 11 Chevrolet in the Bass Pro Shops 500.(Weber Shandwick for FedEx Racing), see images of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(10-19-2006)

  • Hamlin Sweeps Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway for his second career win, following up his first win at the track in June. Hamlin dominated the entire race, leading 151 laps and never running far out of the lead. #2-Kurt Busch was 2nd (he was also second to Hamlin in the June Pocono race) followed by #24-Jeff Gordon, #25-Brian Vickers, and #29-Kevin Harvick. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson ran near the front most of the day and finished in sixth. His points lead is now 97 over #17-Matt Kenseth. #20-Tony Stewart overcame an early rough driving penalty to finish in seventh and move back into the top 10 in points. #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was involved in an accident near the midway point of the race and spent several laps behind the wall. He finished in 43rd and fell out of the top ten in points. There were 9 leaders with 13 lead changes and 7 cautions for 29 laps.
    Race Results on my Pocono Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page
    Race Rundown: see my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(7-23-2006)

  • FedEx Home Delivery Car at Daytona: For the first time this season, the #11 Chevy of Denny Hamlin will sport a primarily white paint featuring "Spot" the dog on the hood to highlight the residential delivery service. FedEx Home Delivery service connects customers to virtually every residential address in the U.S. What makes this service special is its residential-only delivery network and the flexibility to customize delivery to suit a recipient's need for delivery within a certain time by choosing from three premium service upgrades.(Joe Gibbs Racing), see an image of the car on my #11 Team Schemes page.(6-29-2006)

  • Gibbs teams up with Arena Racing: Arena Racing USA, which has been sanctioning indoor stock car races in Virginia since 2003 at the Hampton Coliseum and the Norfolk Scope, has partnered with Joe Gibbs Racing to expand arena racing to Charlotte, and eventually, cities across America. Arena Racing USA features half-scale stock cars capable of 100 mph, but are confined to a 1/10th mile banked, indoor race track. The track is portable and fits inside the confines of a hockey rink. Arena Racing USA's Charlotte home will be the Cricket Arena on Independence Blvd [NC 74]. Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing and head coach of the NFL's Washington Redskins, and Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries, are backing Arena Racing USA's Charlotte effort, along with Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley.(more info at Joe Gibbs Racing site/True Speed Communications PR)(6-13-2006)

  • Hamlin wins first career race: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway for his first win of his 21 race career. Hamlin led the most laps and early in the race, had a rear tire go down and spun thru the grass, but stayed on the lead lap and the crew fixed the car on multiple pit stops, slowly moving up the order until taking the lead again on lap 177, surviving a late caution and red flag to win. #2-Kurt Busch was 2nd followed by #20-Tony Stewart, #25-Brian Vickers and #17-Matt Kenseth. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson ran mid pack most of the day but was able to soldier on to a 10th place finish, dropping his points lead over #17-Matt Kenseth to 48 points. Hamlin also moved up 2 spots in the Drivers Points and is now in the top-10 and The Chase. #24-Jeff Gordon lost his brakes on lap 190 and slammed into the wall, but walked away ok. BUT Gordon dropped out of the top-10 and is currently out of the Chase. There were 25 lead changes among 13 drivers and 7 cautions for 28 laps.
    Race Results on my Pocono Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page.
    Race Rundown: see my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-11-2006)

  • Hamlin Tripped Up After Lowe's Testing UPDATE 2 is OK: Frontstretch.com is reporting: Through two days of testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway, there were several wrecks but no major injuries...on the track. Off the track, it was a different story as teams packed up to head home Wednesday night. The #11 FedEx team with driver Denny Hamlin found themselves goofing around and doing a little personal testing of their own after on-track activities were completed at 9:00pm/et. Members of the crew found themselves being timed as they ran laps around the team's hauler. Unfortunately, the horseplay led to a minor mishap, as driver Denny Hamlin tripped and was injured during all the fun. Hamlin was loaded into an ambulance and taken from the track as a precaution. The nature of his injuries are unclear at this time.(Frontstretch.com)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin injured his left hand in an off-track accident last night following the conclusion of testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. The driver of the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevy in the Busch Series and the #11 FedEx Chevy in the Nextel Cup Series cut his left hand between his pinkie and his wrist. He was taken from the track via ambulance and was treated at a local hospital where he received stitches. Hamlin is expected to participate in all of this weekend's racing activities at Richmond based upon the evaluations of Joe Gibbs Racing's team physicians. The following is a statement from Hamlin regarding the accident: The guys were having races around the hauler after the test. I thought I'd try for the best lap of the night, and as I was running around the front of the truck, I caught my hand on a sharp piece of chrome. I got all stitched up and I'll be fine to race this weekend. By the way, I did finish first. Hopefully Coach Gibbs will be impressed that I can play 'hurt'."(Joe Gibbs Racing/True Speed Cummunications PR)(5-4-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Before heading for Richmond Denny Hamlin's injured left hand was given a final check by a doctor Thursday morning in Charlotte. It took 19 stitches to close the gash caused when he caught the hand on a piece of chrome on the front of the Fedex hauler following testing Wednesday night at Lowes Motor Speedway. Despite the injury Hamlin plans on running both the Busch and Cup races this weekend.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-4-2006)

  • #11 Team Takes PIt Crew Honors at Texas: Denny Hamlin's pit crew became the fifth team of the season to secure the weekly Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition by spending the least amount of time on pit road in Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. "The #11 FedEx Racing crew was unbelievable and those guys deserve all the credit in the world for the finish we had," said Hamlin, who posted a career best fourth-place result. "From the start of the race they were pulling off quick stops and making good changes. It seemed that every time we needed a lift the guys stepped it up." Hamlin's pit crew, part of the Joe Gibbs Racing stable, spent 253.611 seconds on pit lane during the Samsung/RadioShack 500. The team earned $10,500 for the win. The #11 over-the-wall team consists of: Chris Webb (jackman), Blake Haughland (front-tire carrier), Donnie Brown (front-tire changer), Heath Cherry (rear-tire carrier), Barry Cook (rear-tire changer), Scott Wood (gasman), John Eicher (catch can), Bobby "Spike" Christenson (windshield) and John Furino (pit support). The team's crew chief is Mike Ford and the pit crew coordinator is Paul Alepa. Along with the #11 team win, the pit crews of Kyle Busch and Elliott Sadler have one win apiece in the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge, while Jimmie Johnson's and Tony Stewart's pit crews are tied for first in the standings with two victories each. The season champion will receive a $105,000 bonus. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(4-12-2006)

  • Martin/Hamlin make up: After the race a week ago in Martinsville, rookie #11-Denny Hamlin blamed #6-Mark Martin for a wreck and claimed basically that the 47-year-old veteran had been wrecking him all year. It all seemed rather shocking since Martin is almost universally praised by fellow drivers for his clean driving style. "We talked on Tuesday," said Hamlin. "It kind of settles our differences, I guess you could say. I asked him what I could do differently to avoid that from happening, and I basically told him where he did me wrong. We agreed on everything when it was all said and done. I'm glad it's over with and we can move on. He admitted to things that he did and I admitted to things that I did in the past. It's just one of those things where you learn. We haven't raced with each other that much. With time it's going to fix itself. We've got to learn each other's driving styles and move on. I'm the last driver that wants to start anything with anybody. I spent all last year just trying to get respect from these guys and let them know that I can race with them without controversy, without getting into them. I felt like it was time to stand up for what I thought was right and wrong. I felt good after talking to him because I felt like he understood where I was coming from ..."
    Martin was predictably magnanimous. "It shouldn't matter if you're a rookie or not," he said, "and Denny shouldn't be treated on the race track differently from me. Denny and I have had a conversation since, and I made it clear to Denny that everything that I've done to him on the race track I would have done to Rusty Wallace, who I respect as much or more than anyone in the garage, or Dale Jarrett. My point was, 'Don't bring up the rookie thing again,' because he's done a fabulous job. He's been incredibly competitive and respectful and fair on the race track, and the rub that we have had came from he and I not knowing each other's style."(Gaston Gazette)(4-9-2006)

  • Hamlin Brings FedEX Racing Excitement to Oakland: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Chevy and promising NASCAR Nextel Cup rookie made a pit stop on the way to the Fontana track in February, stopping at the FedEx Express hub in Oakland, California to meet employees of the facility. Hamlin, in California for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, spent two hours greeting hub employees, signing autographs and taking pictures with those in attendance. For Hamlin, it was his second visit to a FedEx Hub since taking the wheel of the #11 car. He visited the Memphis WorldHub in December of last year during the company's busiest week in history, and while it wasn't quite as busy Thursday in Oakland, Hamlin noted the importance of meeting employees face to face. The Oakland hub is the fourth largest FedEx Express hub in the U.S., and the 1700 employees handle an average of 238,000 packages a day. More and pictures from the event are available at FedExRacing.com.(FedEx Racing/Weber Shandwick PR)(3-3-2006)

  • Timken teams up with JGR: The Timken Company announced that it has entered into an agreement with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) to become an official technical partner of the NASCAR racing organization. The partnership, which provides product development and technical engineering support, will be leveraged across JGR's multiple team operations in the Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and Truck Series. For the last two years, Timken has worked collaboratively with the JGR engineering team to develop and test technologies that improve the car's powertrain performance, delivering longer life, improved fuel economy and higher horsepower availability. Products like specialty steels from the company's Latrobe, Pa., operations and Timken RacePac, an integrated hub and bearing assembly specially designed for NASCAR teams, demonstrate an ongoing commitment to safety, reliability and high performance for the motorsports industry.(Timken PR)(2-8-2006)

2005 News

  • Hamlin goes to work at FedEx: Rolling up his sleeves during FedEx's Peak Week, which are the busiest holiday shipping days, #11 FedEx NEXTEL Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin toursedthe FedEx hub in Memphis, Tenn. Hamlin sorted packages, met with hub employees and signed autographs. On Monday, Dec. 19, 2005, FedEx shipped 8.9 million packages around the world, the busiest night in the company's history.(Weber Shandwick PR)(12-23-2005)

  • Hamlin to be named to #11 for 2006? UPDATE 3 OFFICIAL: hearing that Denny Hamlin will be named to drive the #11 FedEx Chevy for Joe Gibbs Racing full time in 2006 and run for rookie of the year, expect an announcement soon.(10-29-2005)
    UPDATE: Denny Hamlin will be named as the driver for the #11 Fedex Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin, who is fifth in Busch Series points, has been auditioning for the ride in the last four races.(Sporting News)(10-31-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Denny Hamlin will have a full schedule of 70 races next year. Hamlin's move to the Nextel Cup Series [#11 FedEx car] next year is expected to be announced tomorrow [Sunday, Nov 6th], and Joe Gibbs Racing revealed yesterday the 24-year-old's 2006 plans will include a full season in the Busch Series.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-5-2005)

    UPDATE 3: The #11 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has named Denny Hamlin as the driver for the remainder of the 2005 season and all of 2006. After a successful four-race tryout in the #11 FedEx Chevrolet where Hamlin scored two top-10 finishes and two top-10 qualifying efforts, the 24-year-old from Chesterfield, Va., has essentially been promoted from within the Gibbs organization. Hamlin is the regular driver for JGR's #20 NASCAR Busch Series team, where he is currently fifth in the championship point standings. Jimmy Makar, a veteran crew chief who now serves as JGR's senior vice-president of racing, concurs. "Denny is ready for Nextel Cup. Each step he's taken to get to this point, he's excelled. Last year we put him in a few Craftsman Truck Series races and he always seemed to qualify and finish in or near the top-10. In his Busch debut, it was more of the same. He's run very well this year in his first full season of Busch, and if it weren't for some bad luck here and there, he'd probably have a win or two. We'd be holding Denny back if we didn't give him this opportunity." Hamlin will run for Rookie of the Year honors in 2006, as his Nextel Cup rookie status will be preserved this year by running only seven races. Hamlin will continue to drive the #20 car in the Busch Series full-time in 2006, getting as much seat time as possible at Nextel Cup venues where the Busch Series runs companion races. For the handful of race weekends where the Nextel Cup Series and the Busch Series race at different venues, Hamlin will follow a schedule similar to the one used this year by Carl Edwards, who is campaigning a full Nextel Cup and Busch Series schedule for Roush Racing.(True Speed Communication PR), see an image of the car on my 2006 #11 Team Schemes page.(11-6-2005)

  • Hamlin to Debut at Kansas: Joe Gibbs Racing Busch Series Denny Hamlin takes the wheel of the #11 FedEx Kinko's Chevy in the Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods at Kansas Speedway this weekend. It will be his first start in the #11 FedEx Monte Carlo, first career NASCAR Nextel Cup start, and his first race at Kansas Speedway. Hamlin's previous NASCAR debuts resulted in top ten finishes - 10th in the Truck Series at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Aug. 6, 2004 and 8th in the Busch Series race at Darlington on Nov. 13, 2004. Hamlin will stay in the seat of the #11 through the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Oct. 30.(JGR)(10-7-2005)

  • Harvick rumors won't die....to #11? UPDATE: #29-Kevin Harvick and car owner Richard Childress have said they intend to team again next season, the last year of their current contract, but that hasn't stopped speculation that car owner Joe Gibbs has been looking at Harvick for a full-time ride with his #11 FedEx-sponsored team.(Winston Salem Journal)
    BUT been told that there was a 'trade' discussed not too long ago, Harvick to Gibbs and Bobby Labonte to RCR, but it all fell thru and was never really serious.(9-26-2005)
    MORE: hearing talk was pretty strong that the Harvick-Labonte trade was moving along until the night of the Bristol race, and Gibbs decided he didn't want Harvick. Think both drivers are still looking to go to other rides but Harvick's comments at Bristol ended the Gibbs possibilities. So don't expect Harvick to go to the #11 car.(9-27-205)

  • Yeley back in the #11: Joe Gibbs Racing Busch Series driver J.J Yeley will take the wheel of the #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet at New Hampshire International Speedway this weekend, it will be his second start in the #11 FedEx Monte Carlo and his fourth career Nextel Cup start. Yeley will stay in the car for the MBNA NASCAR RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 25. Following Terry Labonte's 9th place finish at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, Sept. 10, the FedEx Team remains in 35th place in owners points and currently sits 59 points out of 34th place. Yeley has made one previous start at New Hampshire International Speedway, starting tenth and finishing sixth in the 2005 New England 200 Busch series race on July 16 of this year. Yeley successfully tested at Loudon with the FedEx team on Tues., August 30. The Sylvania 300 marks Yeley's second start in the #11 FedEx Chevrolet and his second NASCAR Nextel Cup start of the 2005 season. Yeley qualified the #11 season-best eighth for the Sony HD 500 in California, but was forced to the garage early after a lap-two spin. Despite major repairs to the#11, Yeley returned to the track and brought home a 39th-place finish. In July, Yeley qualified the #20 Home Depot car for an injured Tony Stewart at Chicagoland Speedway but Stewart returned to the seat for the USG Sheetrock 400 the following day. Yeley has run every Busch series race on the 2005 schedule in the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet, recording three top-five and nine top-ten finishes to date. Yeley currently sits in 12th place in the Busch series standings only 77 points of out tenth.(JGR PR)(9-14-2005)

  • Labonte back in the #11 at Richmond: Two-time Cup Series Terry Labonte will take the wheel of the #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet at Richmond International Raceway this weekend. He has previously run the JGR/FedEx entry at Sonoma, Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol. JGR will turn to Busch Series driver J.J. Yeley for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sunday, September 18. The #11 FedEx Chevy Monte Carlo will sport the FedEx Kinko's paint scheme at Richmond. Following J.J. Yeley's 39th place finish at California Speedway last weekend, the FedEx team remained in 35th place in owners points and currently sit 67 points out of 34th place.(JGR)(9-8-2005)

  • Yeley and Fedex Racing to Visit Boys and Girls Club: FedEx is hosting a special "racing camp" at the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Clubs to share the NASCAR racing experience with area youth. While there, FedEx will present the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Clubs (LABGC) with a $25,000 contribution to advance the non-profit organization's on-going mission to inspire and empower young people in the Los Angeles area. During the event, more than 100 participating youth will have the opportunity to meet NASCAR driver J.J. Yeley, see the FedEx # 11 Chevrolet up-close and race radio-controlled cars against Yeley.(JGR PR)(9-1-2005)

  • No Decision on 2006 #11 driver; No FedX to #18: Joe Gibbs Racing Team Manager Jimmy Makar said no decision has been made yet on a driver for the team's #11 FedEx-sponsored Chevrolet for next season. Makar said the team's Busch drivers, Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley, will each get seat time in the Cup car before the end of the year and are both in contention for the ride "if they show promise." Makar also said the team definitely will run three cars in 2006, adding there was no truth to the rumors that FedEx could move to Bobby Labonte's #18.(Speed Channel)(8-29-2005)

  • Yeley in the #11 at California UPDATE Hamlin at Kansas: Joe Gibbs Racing will turn to Busch Series driver J.J. Yeley to drive the #11 Fed Ex Chevy for the Auto Club 500 at California Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 4.(JGR PR), Denny Hamilin, JGR other Busch Series driver, supposedly will drive the car at Kansas, Yeley will be in a 4th JGR car [#80?] there.(8-25-2005)
    UPDATE: Denny Hamlin will make his Nextel Cup debut at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 9. The 24-year-old Busch Series [#20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy] rookie, one of three drivers replacing Jason Leffler in the #11 Fed Ex Chevy the rest of the year, also will run the next three races on the schedule - at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Martinsville and Atlanta.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(8-27-2005)

  • Kenseth to the #11? Word is that #17-Matt Kenseth, whose contract with Roush Racing is up at the end of 2006, may be under consideration for a ride with Joe Gibbs in Gibbs' third [#11Chevy ] team, which has struggled this season, despite hefty sponsorship from FedEx.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-21-2005)

  • Waltrip to the #11? before end of the season? UPDATE 2: Motorsport.com is reporting: Speculation has arisen that Michael Waltrip may vacate his seat in the #15 DEI Chevy prior to the end of the 2005 season. Rumors are swirling around the garage that Waltrip has been offered to drive the No. 11 Chevy at Joe Gibbs Racing for the last ten races of the season and next year. Both teams have denied the report.(Motorsport.com)(7-22-2005)
    UPDATE: Micheal Waltip denied one of this weekend's hottest rumors that he will replace Jason Leffler in the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Chevrolet starting at Watkins Glen. When asked directly by Yahoo! Sports, Waltrip emphatically said that he intends to honor the remainder of his contract - unless he's fired.(Yahoo Sports)(8-7-2005)
    UPDATE 2: Sources close to Michael Waltrip say he is in the running to take a full-time ride with Joe Gibbs, after the departure of Jason Leffler [#11 Fed-Ex Chevy]. Gibbs may move the FedEx sponsorship from his new third team to Bobby Labonte's #18 team next season, and that would open up a quarterpanel for NAPA, Waltrip's long-time sponsor at DEI.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2005)

  • Leffler released from #11: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has released driver Jason Leffler from his driving duties with the #11 car in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Terry Labonte will compete in several of the upcoming Nextel Cup races in the #11, beginning this weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. JGR will also turn to its NASCAR Busch Series drivers - J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin - to split driving duties in the #11 in the remaining Nextel Cup races where Terry Labonte is not scheduled to drive. "This was a difficult decision," said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. "Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing had high hopes for Jason and the #11 team, but our performance wasn't meeting the expectations all of us set forth at the beginning of the year. It hasn't been for lack of effort, as Jason is a talented race car driver who worked incredibly hard and was terrific with our sponsor.
    "With an experienced veteran in Terry Labonte, the #11 will benefit from his 25 years of Nextel Cup racing, and ideally, climb higher in points. In looking toward next year, J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin will get some valuable seat time at the Nextel Cup level that will allow us to build the #11 into a race-winning contender for 2006 and beyond."
    Terry Labonte's addition to JGR is a natural, as Terry's younger brother, Bobby, is a 10-year veteran of JGR, having piloted the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet since 1995. The Labonte brothers are the only brothers in NASCAR history to win NASCAR Cup Series championships. Terry won the title in 1984 and 1996, while Bobby won in 2000. :We want to thank Hendrick Motorsports for allowing Terry to assist us with the #11 team," said Gibbs, whose team now features three NASCAR Cup Series champions in Bobby, Terry and 2002 series champion Tony Stewart. "In planning the future of the #11 team, we looked around the Cup and Busch Series garages and decided that the two best talents were already driving for us. J.J. and Denny are exceptional race car drivers, and we felt it was important to give each of them a shot at Nextel Cup." (True Speed Communication/JGR)(8-8-2005)

  • Leffler could be a free agent? Cary Agajanian, #11 Jason Leffler's attorney, would not confirm reports that car owner Joe Gibbs has offered to buy out the remaining 18 months of Leffler's contract for $5 million, but Agajanian would not deny that such an offer could be on the table. "I can't comment on that ... but I'm not denying it either," Agajanian said. "There could be talks. We're not in the middle of everything that goes on. There could be talks. A car owner has the right to speak to his driver, and we encourage that. Honestly there could be discussions between them. But we're not involved in them. That's a very personal thing between Jason and the Gibbs folks." If Leffler were free, Agajanian said he would be negotiating any contract with a new team. Terry Labonte substituted for Leffler at Sonoma in June, and Labonte could apparently be called upon again [at Watkins Glen and a few others races].(Winston Salem Journal)(8-8-2005)

  • Gibbs to four teams? Not looking at Sorenson: Joe Gibbs Racing [#11, #18, #20] is contemplating an expansion to a four-car effort next season, according to team sources. However, J. D. Gibbs, who runs the team for his NFL coaching father, insists the company isn't looking at hiring Busch hotshot Reed Sorensen, despite reports.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-18-2005)

  • Gibbs to kill the #11 team? Jimmy Spencer stated on Speed Channel's NASCAR This Morning that he expects Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Fed-Ex team to go away, Gibbs teams to go back to a 2 car team with Fed-Ex going to the #18 Bobby Labonte team as it is not well funded with Interstate Batteries.(Speed Channel's NASCAR This Morning)(7-17-2005)

  • Labonte not back with Gibbs? UPDATE Sorenson?: CBS Sportsline story reports: Although a former series champion, Bobby Labonte might not be back in the #18 in 2006. Stay tuned.(CBS Sportsline), however back in 2003, Labonte signed an extension with Joe Gibbs Racing thru the 2008 season.(7-14-2005)
    UPDATE: Bobby Labonte and team manager Jimmy Makar were noncommittal about reports that Labonte may be leaving car owner Joe Gibbs at the end of the season after 11 years, including the 2000 championship run. Labonte, according to other team owners, has been checking out the marketplace, and he is being mentioned for three possible rides: with Roger Penske, replacing retiring Rusty Wallace; with Ray Evernham, as a teammate with Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield; and with Nelson Bowers [MB2 Motorsports], if Scott Riggs leaves.(Winston Salem Journal)
    MORE Car owner Joe Gibbs is interested in hiring Busch series hotshot Reed Sorensen for a Nextel Cup ride next season, according to sources close to the situation. While Tony Stewart is Gibbs' hot driver at the moment, teammates #18-Bobby Labonte and #11-Jason Leffler have had disappointing results. Makar, while enjoying Stewart's dominating performances these last few weeks, has been struggling to right the staggering other two teams in the Gibbs stable. The Leffler team, new this season, has struggled to get its sea legs, despite new crew chief Mike Ford taking over two months ago. The Labonte team, on the other hand, has struggled since losing crew chief Michael McSwain last summer; those close to Labonte say that the relationship with Gibbs may have "grown stale."(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2005)

  • Hard to beileve....OOPS and CORRECTION #20-Tony Stewart's victory gave owner Joe Gibbs a new distinction. It was the first time Gibbs-owned cars had ever won two races in a row. Stewart followed up his victory at Infineon Raceway with his first official victory in a restrictor-plate race. "First time in 14 years," said Gibbs. "It's hard to do. And it's been a hard, tough year for us. This is a big deal for Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole."(Gaston Gazette), Gibbs also owns the #18-Bobby Labonte and #11-Jason Leffler teams.(7-5-2005)
    CORRECTION: Stewart's back-to-back triumphs at Sonoma and Daytona marked the fourth time in his seven-year Nextel Cup career that he has logged back-to-back wins. In 1999, Stewart's second career Nextel Cup win at Phoenix in November was followed one week later by his win at Homestead. And twice in 2000 Stewart scored back-to-back wins - in June at Dover and Michigan and again in late September and early October with wins at Dover and Martinsville.(True Speed Communication)(7-5-2005)

  • Terry Labonte gets the #11 team in the top 35: with his 12th place finish at Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, Terry Labonte helped the #11 FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy and regular driver get in the top 35 owners points for the first time this year. So Leffler is locked in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona next Saturday, which is an impound race. So who dropped out? #4-P.J. Jones was hired late Saturday to help keep the #4 Morgan McClure team and regular driver, Mike Wallace, in the top-35 owners points, had some problems late and finished 32nd and fell out of the top 35. The teams in the Top-35 bubble area:
    34) #22-Scott Wimmer, 1292, +69
    35) #11-Jason Leffler, 1228, +5
    36) #4-Mike Wallace, 1223, -5
    37) #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr., 1138, -90.(6-26-2005)

  • Gibbs FanFest returns: The annual Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Fall FanFest returns in 2005, where from 9:00am to 2:00pm/et on Fri., Oct. 14, JGR's drivers from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Weekly Racing Series will be available for autographs at the team's recently renovated race shop in Huntersville, North Carolina.(JGR Site), see more on my Racing Charities page.(6-25-2005)

  • Terry Labonte in for Leffler at Sonoma UPDATE: Terry Labonte is expected to substitute for Jason Leffler in the #11 Fed-Ex Chevy in the June 26 race at Sonoma if Leffler fails to climb into the top 35 in points by then. Drivers in the top 35 are guaranteed starting spots. Labonte is the safety net for the team because he has a champion's provisional, which guarantees him a starting spot. Leffler has run just one road course race, a Busch race in 2000 at Watkins Glen. Leffler crashed at Pocono but remained in the same points position, 36th, meaning he has to improve by one spot Sunday at Michigan to lock in for the race at Sonoma. Leffler says he has wrecked so many cars that "we're bringing cars back to the track that aren't in the best shape" because the fab shop hasn't had enough turnaround time.(Sporting News)(6-13-2005)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has hired two-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Terry Labonte to pilot the #11 Fed-Ex Chevrolet during the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. He replaces Jason Leffler, the #11 team's regular driver, for this one event. "Jason understands that our support of him continues, as he'll race this weekend at Michigan and return to the #11 at Daytona," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "A number of factors led to this decision. Where the #11 is in points, the typically high car count at Sonoma, the number of road course specialists other teams tend to enlist, the unique nature of road course racing - none favors a team outside the top-35 in points. With an experienced veteran in Terry, the #11 will benefit from his 25 years of Nextel Cup racing and his strong performances at road course venues." In addition to his championship-caliber talents, Labonte also brings road course success to the #11 team. Of his 22 career wins, two have come at a road course - the defunct Riverside (Calif.) Speedway in 1984 and 1985. And in his 54 career starts at road courses, Labonte has earned eight poles, 17 top-fives and 26 top-10s while leading a total of 411 laps. "I've always enjoyed road course racing, and while no road courses were planned for this year, it's hard to say no when you have the opportunity to drive for an organization that's just as professional as Hendrick Motorsports," said Labonte, who is running a limited Nextel Cup schedule for Hendrick Motorsports. "We want to thank Hendrick Motorsports for allowing Terry to assist us with the #11 team at Sonoma," said Gibbs. "Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports helped get Joe Gibbs Racing up and running when we formed this team back in 1991, and 14 years later, we're once again appreciative of their help."(True Speed Communication/Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-14-2005)

  • Mike Ford new crew chief at the #11? UPDATE: hearing former #88 RYR and #9 Evernham Motorsports crew chief, Mike Ford, will be hired to take over the crew chief duties of the #11 Fed-Ex Chevy that Jason Leffler drives. Dave Rogers is the current crew chief, not sure if he would stay with Joe Gibbs Racing.(6-6-2005 - 12:00pm/et)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has hired veteran crew chief Mike Ford to oversee the #11 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team of driver Jason Leffler effective immediately. Dave Rogers, the #11 team's former crew chief and a member of Joe Gibbs Racing since 1998, will remain with the organization. "Despite extremely hard work by everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing, the performance of the #11 team wasn't where it needed to be," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "The #11 team is still a new operation, and we believe that adding the experienced leadership of Mike Ford to an already exceptional crew will be invaluable as we shape the #11 into a winning race team. Dave Rogers has been and will continue to be a tremendous asset to Joe Gibbs Racing. He was an integral part of our championship seasons with Bobby Labonte in 2000 and Tony Stewart in 2002, and he put together an absolutely first class crew from scratch in his debut as a crew chief. Expanding our organization to three teams has been a massive undertaking, but one that will pay huge dividends in the near future. We believe that adding Mike's experience to a management structure that includes Jimmy Makar (senior vice president of racing), Greg Zipadelli (crew chief of the #20 team) and Steve Addington (crew chief of the #18 team) will help us to turn the #11 team around." A member of the motorsports community since the late 1980s, Ford's first crew chief position came with Bill Elliott in 2000. In four years together the duo logged four wins, including the prestigious Brickyard 400 in 2002. Ford moved to Robert Yates Racing in 2004, where he served as Dale Jarrett's crew chief through the first 11 races of this season.(JGR PR)(6-7-2005)

  • Leffler Safe? Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said #11-Jason Leffler, who is ranked 36th in the points, isn't on the hot seat after missing his first race of the season. "FedEx and the whole group has been supportive of Jason, and he knows that," Gibbs said. "Obviously, a driver is going to feel pressure in a situation like this. None of us like going through this stuff. You want to make [FedEx] proud of your race team. They've been supportive through all of this, but the bottom line is you have to run well. Hopefully, we start making some races and this kind of goes away."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-28-2005)

  • FedEx, Interstate Batteries Team Up for Coca-Cola 600 IMAGE: Due to Joe Gibbs Racing's #11 race car failing to qualify for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Charlotte, officials from Joe Gibbs Racing, FedEx and Interstate Batteries agreed that FedEx would become the primary sponsor of the #18 Chevrolet for the Coca-Cola 600, replacing Interstate Batteries. Bobby Labonte will remain as the driver of the #18. Crew chief Steve Addington and the entire #18 crew will also retain their normal duties. The #18 Chevrolet was to have run a Madagascar paint scheme in the Coca-Cola 600. However, DreamWorks and Action Performance Co. have graciously agreed to postpone the Madagascar promotion until the June 12 Pocono 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. "We can't thank Interstate Batteries and FedEx enough for enabling us to deal with this setback in the most positive manner possible," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We stress teamwork throughout Joe Gibbs Racing. To have Interstate Batteries, who has been with us since day one, and FedEx, our newest sponsor, and Bobby Labonte and the #18 crew work through this bit of adversity so seamlessly speaks volumes about the quality of our sponsors and the character of our team."(Joe Gibbs Racing site)(5-27-2005)
    IMAGE: see an image of the car on my #18 Team Schemes page, thanks to Cup Scene Online for the image.(5-28-2005)

  • Truex still not signed...to the #11? Speaking of DEI, the cheers for defending Busch Series champion Martin Truex were deafening during driver introductions for the Nextel Open. It's no wonder Truex was voted into the All-Star Challenge by fans. But when asked to comment on whether an announcement was expected this week on his re-signing with DEI to drive the No. 1 Chevrolet in Cup, Truex declined. Truex, who is fourth in Busch points, has also been mentioned as a possibility for #11 Joe Gibbs Racing seat.(Sporting News)(5-23-2005)

  • Gibbs on Leffler: Joe Gibbs may have given more questions than he gave answers when he was asked about struggling driver #11-Jason Leffler's future Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. "Obviously, you get concerned," he said. "You have a huge sponsor there and we're in it for the long haul. We signed Jason for the long haul and we are certainly going to go after it with Jason and try to get everything done we can there." Still, Gibbs said failure is not an option. "It always boils down to performance," Gibbs said. "It's gotta be a performance thing. We've got to be successful there."(NASCAR.com)(5-15-2005)

  • Different scheme for the #11 at RIR: For the first time this season, the #11 FedEx Chevrolet will carry the purple, green and white colors of the FedEx operating company of FedEx Ground. The FedEx Ground scheme is one of four rotating schemes involving the FedEx operating companies of FedEx Express, FedEx Freight and FedEx Kinko's that will be featured on the #11 machine throughout the season.(JGR), see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(5-13-2005)

  • Gibbs undergoes heart procedure...last month - back to work and fine: Joe Gibbs Racing owner [#11,#18,#20] Joe Gibbs was hospitalized for a heart procedure to open a clogged artery last month, The Washington Post reports. Gibbs, who is 64 and who coaches the Washington Redskins football team, said doctors placed a small, spring-like wire tube known as a stent in the artery at a Washington hospital in mid-April. Gibbs said he remained overnight but returned to work the next day and was back to his regular workout routine, which includes a 45-minute run, within several days. "I understand the public interest, but it has no effect on my work, or my tenure with the Redskins," he said. "I considered it a private matter."(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-12-2005)
  • #11 Rumors out again: on Speed Channel's NASCAR Nation, NASCAR.com's Marty Smith was asked about rumors of Joe Gibbs Racing's #11 Jason Leffler being replaced. Smith said he contacted the team and was told there is no truth to the rumor, but Smith said garage gossip have possible drivers as Scott Wimmer, who currently drives the #22 CAT Dodge for Bill Davis Racing and Martin Truex Jr., driver for the #1 DEI Cup car in a limited schedule and full time in the #8 Busch Series Chance 2 Chevy.(5-4-2005)

  • Leffler to run special St. Jude scheme at Darlington: FedEx is expanding its support for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to the world of NASCAR. The company unveiled a specially-designed racecar with a "Birdies for St. Jude" theme during an event at the hospital. "Birdies for St. Jude" is an annual pledge-drive program held in conjunction with the FedEx St. Jude Classic PGA TOUR event. The tournament has raised more than $14 million for St. Jude since FedEx became title sponsor in 1986. Jason Leffler, driver of the FedEx #11 car, joined representatives of FedEx and St. Jude, as well as St. Jude patients for the unveiling of the #11 "Birdies for St. Jude" racecar, which will run on May 7 in the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway.(JGR)(4-20-2005)

  • Leffler out of the #11? Ward in? UPDATES - DENIED Motorsport.com reports it has learned that the #11 Fedex Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy team may be planning on replacing Jason Leffler with Ward Burton as soon as Darlington. While denied by team officials, insiders say Burton would fill the seat for the remainder of the season before a permanent driver [Yeley?] would be named to take over the ride. Burton stated that he has not been spoken to in regards to the #11 car but currently had several other offers in play.(Motorsport.com)(4-16-2005)
    UPDATE - more on Ward, Indy 500?: With rumblings that the Nextel Cup Series "Silly Season" of driver hirings and firings could be ready to kick into gear, Ward Burton made an appearance at Texas Motor Speedway yesterday. The South Boston, Va., native was announcing a new marketing partnership between his wildlife foundation and Beretta that will promote firearm safety for kids, but he also spent several minutes answering questions about his NASCAR future. An Internet report yesterday linked the 43-year-old with possibly replacing Jason Leffler in the #11 Chevrolet of Joe Gibbs Racing. With the impending retirements of Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin, and the expected departure of veterans such as Sterling Marlin from established teams, several other quality rides could be open by the end of the year. Burton, who has stayed busy managing his Halifax County preserve, doing charity work and developing an outdoors show for TV, said he wasn't in serious discussions with any team. He reportedly has been offered rides in the Cup, Busch and Truck series. "I won't come back if the right situation isn't there," he said. "I won't say Cup is my only choice, but it's the only one I'm considering." Burton said he also had been contacted about attempting the Indianapolis 500.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-17-2005)
    UPDATE 2 DENIED: Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs on Sunday denied published reports that Jason Leffler is on the way out of the #11 Chevrolet and Ward Burton is on the way in. Gibbs called Leffler on Saturday night at Texas to give a vote of confidence. "I called Jason and kind of laughed," Gibbs said. "We have a multi-year deal with Jason and with FedEx, so there is no truth to that. "I said, 'You don't have to worry about that,' and he said, 'I know.'" Joe Gibbs Racing has never released a driver on the Nextel Cup Series level in its history, and Gibbs said that Leffler has a three-year deal to drive the car. "We like long-term relationships with sponsors and team drivers," Gibbs said. "He's has been great, everything off the track. We have got to finish first and show improvement, which we have been doing." A source close to Burton also denied the rumor.(NASCAR.com)(4-17-2005)

  • Woman killed at JGR Construction site UPDATE: A woman was killed Wednesday afternoon while helping finish construction on an addition to a race team's facility. Authorities were called about 2:30pm/et about an injury at Joe Gibbs Racing on Reese Boulevard in the Huntersville Business Park, about 15 miles north of uptown Charlotte. The woman, whose identity was being withheld until authorities notify her family, died on the scene. Although officials with the company and the police released few details, preliminary reports suggested a joist had struck the woman, said Juan Santos, a N.C. Department of Labor spokesman. The woman worked for the general contractor at the site, not the race company, according to a statement released by Joe Gibbs Racing. Officials with Precision Walls Inc. declined to comment as they left the site, while officials from Shelco Inc., the general contractor, could not be reached. Huntersville police and state officials are still investigating the incident.(Charlotte Observer)(3-31-2005)
    UPDATE: Huntersville police on Monday released the identity of the woman killed last week while helping finish construction on an addition to a race team's facility. Asia Mena Diez, 42, of Charlotte died Wednesday afternoon when the platform lift she was in slammed her into the rafters in a Joe Gibbs Racing building in the Huntersville Business Park, Lt. Ken Richardson said.She worked for Queen Drywall, a subcontractor under general contractor Shelco Inc., he said. There were no signs of foul play, Richardson said. It appeared she had hit a button on the lift, he said.(Charlotte Observer)(4-6-2005)

  • JGR's Diversity Program Ready for 2nd Season: After scoring three wins, three poles, 15 top-five finishes and 34 top-10 finishes in its first season of NASCAR Weekly Racing Series competition in 2004, Joe Gibbs Racing's (JGR) diversity program hit the ground running in 2005 as second-year drivers Aric Almirola and Chris Bristol finished third in their respective early-season races. Almirola drove his #92 Home Depot Chevrolet to a strong third-place finish in the March 19 Doughton Racing Products 300 Late Model stock car race at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. Bristol equaled his teammate's mark a week later, piloting his #92 MBNA Chevrolet to third in the March 26 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series season-opener at Hickory Motor Speedway. In 2005, Almirola moves from being a regular Late Model driver at Ace Speedway to campaign his Home Depot Chevrolet at big Late Model races throughout the Southeast. Bristol, meanwhile, moves to the .363-mile Hickory oval to compete regularly in that track's Late Model program. Both cars will carry the number 92 in tribute to White, the number he wore throughout his football career.(Joe Gibbs Racing/True Speed Communication)(4-1-2005)

  • Fedex Scheme this week: for Jason Leffler and the #11 FedEx Chevy will sport the Express paint scheme, which is one of four it will display in 2005 representing the various operating companies; Express, Ground, Freight and FedEx Kinko's.(JGR PR)(2-24-2005)

  • Leffler, Fedex Donate $500,000 to Victory Junction: #11-Jason Leffler has donated $250,000 to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, and his sponsor, FedEx, has made a matching $250,000 donation to the camp. "This is an incredibly generous show of support for Victory Junction by Jason and FedEx," said camp founder Kyle Petty. The donations will be used to finance construction of a new cabin and to help bring more children to the facility this year. "My wife Alison and I feel very strongly about the camp that Kyle and Pattie have built and want to support this great program," Leffler said.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2005)

  • Reggie to be honored: Joe Gibbs Racing's Late Model diversity program will keep its Reggie White Motorsports name in honor of the defensive end who died unexpectedly last month. One of the cars will carry White's #92. "Reggie White was somebody who changed the people around him in a great way," Gibbs said. "He did chapel services for us [at the shop]. I wish I had a chance to coach him."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(1-26-2005)

2004 News

  • Gibbs announces own oil: on Dec 9th at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, Joe Gibbs Performance announced the introduction of Joe Gibbs Performance Brand Racing Oil, the same synthetic racing oil used by Joe Gibbs Racing and two time Champion engine builder Mark Cronquist. "Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil delivers un-compromised power, protection and performance for our race cars at every level of competition," said J.D. Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Over the past five years we have invested substantial resources in developing our own racing oil and now racers at every level can use the oil we use in all our race engines." Used in every Joe Gibbs Racing engine since 1999, Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil puts five years of R&D and championship proven performance in the hands of professional engine builders and local racers throughout the United States. "We looked for a product that could provide the wear protection we needed without sacrificing horsepower," said Mark Cronquist. "We were not pleased with the performance of the racing oils that were on the market, so we contracted a world leader in lubrication technology to custom blend synthetic oils to meet our extreme needs. We designed Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil to control valve train wear in our flat tappet Nextel Cup engines. Before we developed Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil, we were seeing wear in the valve train that kept us from being as aggressive as we wanted to be. Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil solved our valve train wear problems, and we've seen significant horsepower and torque gains when we've tested Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil against other race oils." Now, engine builders and racers across the United States can now use the same racing oil that Cronquist himself relies on to power Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart's NASCAR Nextel Cup race cars. Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil will be available for shipment in mid December and can be purchased direct from Joe Gibbs Racing or through CV Products. For more information or to place an order, visit www.joegibbsracingoil.com. Orders can also be placed by calling 866-611-1820 or contact CV Products.(JGR PR)(12-17-2004)

  • Yeley to attempt Homestead: J.J. Yeley will attempt to make his third NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start this weekend and race his #11 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. In 2004, Yeley has also made 17 NASCAR Busch Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing. Yeley completed a test session at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 9th. Yeley tested with his fellow Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte. Yeley's #11 team tested Chassis #65 at Homestead. Joe Gibbs Racing will race the #11 FedEx Chevrolet full-time in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series action next year with driver Jason Leffler. The entire #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Busch Series crew will move over with Yeley to the NEXTEL Cup garage, including crew chief Doug Hewitt. Hewitt will call the shots for Yeley's effort, and Yeley's Busch Series crew will pit the car for Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race.(Rockwell Sys/JGR PR)(11-16-2004)

  • Personnel Chnages at JGR? Pink slips were handed out to several crew members at Joe Gibbs Racing last week, leading some to wonder where the manpower to run three [#11,#18,#20] teams in 2005 will come from.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(10-18-2004)

  • Leffler to run some Busch for Gibbs? Jason Leffler, Joe Gibbs' new third Cup team driver beginning next season, will likely finish the season in Gibbs' Busch car, according to team sources. Leffler lost his Busch ride last week when Gene Haas hired a new driver, even though Leffler was third in the standings. Leffler took Haas' decision to court last week, but a judge in Kansas decided against upholding an injunction.Winston Salem Journal)(10-15-2004)

  • Yeley's Reaction: J.J. Yeley, who early on was the lead candidate for the third Joe Gibbs Racing #11 car is not disappointed that Jason Leffler was signed to drive the Fedex Chevrolet. Yeley told PRN's Garagepass "The way my seasons gone and the limited experience it would almost be throwing a lamb at the wolves putting me up there with the greatest race car drivers in the world after 14 races. This is the best thing for my career, my team and for Joe Gibbs Racing. We'll go and run for the Busch Series championship next year and gain the experience I need and then when 2006 rolls around we'll see what happens. To do it (the move to Nextel cup) after two-thirds of a season would be a long shot.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(10-13-2004)

  • Surprise! Leffler to the #11 Fed-Ex car: FedEx Corp, a worldwide leader in the broadest range of transportation, e-commerce and business services, will sponsor a third Joe Gibbs Racing car for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season with Jason Leffler as the driver, officials from FedEx and JGR announced Oct. 13. Leffler will join teammates Bobby Labonte, 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion and driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet and Tony Stewart 2002 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion and driver of No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet.
    "Our relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing in America's fastest growing sport is a strategic fit for the FedEx brand and a strong extension of our sponsorship portfolio," said T. Michael Glenn, executive vice president of FedEx Corp. "Success on the track depends on reliability, precision, teamwork and speed, and our employees and contractors deliver those values to our customers every day." The partnership brings together the Gibbs name and FedEx for a second time. JGR owner Joe Gibbs, a three-time Super Bowl-winning coach and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, coaches the Washington Redskins at FedExField in Landover, Md. "FedEx is one of the most admired and recognizable companies in the world, and I'm happy to have such a renowned addition to the team," Gibbs said. "FedEx and I enjoy a strong relationship with the Redskins, and I am excited to extend that winning relationship to NASCAR."
    Leffler, 29, from Long Beach, Calif., is a versatile driver who has competed in all three of NASCAR's top divisions, the 2000 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and won three consecutive United States Auto Club National Midget titles from 1997-1999 and the 1998 USAC Silver Crown title. He scored his first career Busch Series victory June 12 at Nashville Superspeedway and has made 33 NEXTEL Cup starts, including 30 for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2001. Prior to competing with Ganassi, Leffler drove a JGR Busch Series car in 1999 and 2000, making 35 starts. "I'm very excited for the opportunity to drive for FedEx and Joe Gibbs Racing," Leffler said. "I look forward to representing a great company like FedEx. JGR is one of the best teams in the business, so I'm looking forward to a great season in 2005." Dave Rogers, who served as race engineer for Tony Stewart's car from 1999-2004, will serve as Leffler's crew chief on the #11 FedEx Chevrolet. Rogers, 30, from Marshfield, Vt., has worked at JGR since July 1998 and obtained a degree in mechanical engineering in 1996 from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. He earned a masters degree in science and engineering in 1999 from the GMI Engineering & Management Institute in Flint, Mich. "I'm really looking forward to working with FedEx and Jason," Rogers said. "I've learned a lot from Greg Zipadelli through the past six years and I'm ready for the challenge as crew chief of the #11 FedEx Chevrolet." The #11 was selected for the FedEx team because of its rich NASCAR history. Eight series championships have been won by cars carrying the number - two with Ned Jarrett in 1961 and 1965, three consecutive with Cale Yarborough in 1976-78 and three with Darrell Waltrip in 1981-82 and 1985. The #11 has scored 180 victories in NASCAR's premiere division, second all-time. The number also holds significance for J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, who wore #11 during his football career from 1987-1990 at The College of William & Mary. "It's an extreme pleasure to welcome FedEx to Joe Gibbs Racing," J.D. Gibbs said. "It's hard to believe we're adding a third team. When we started the team back in 1991 I think we only had about 11 employees and one or two race cars. We've come a long way since then and this is a milestone day for Joe Gibbs Racing." Leffler, Rogers and the #11 FedEx Chevrolet will compete for the first time in the Twin 125 qualifying races Feb. 17, 2004 at Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona 500 is scheduled for Feb. 20, 2004. More info aboutr FedEx at www.fedex.com.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(10-13-2004)

  • Why Craven is in the #11 at Talladega: [Ricky] Craven is driving Joe Gibbs' third [#11] team car here, after NASCAR decided that rookie J. J. Yeley didn't have enough experience [on Superspeedway's], and when sponsor Procter and Gamble (Old Spice) pushed Craven over Dave Blaney because of his years with Tide [Procter and Gamble.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-2-2004)

  • Craven in the #11 Gibbs car at Talladega UPDATE: Ricky Craven will drive Joe Gibbs Racing's third car this weekend in the EA Sports 500 Nextel Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Craven, 38, who earlier this season was released from the last two years of his contract with PPI Motorsports, will drive JGR's #11 Old Spice Chevrolet as a team car to the Chase for the Nextel Cup contending Tony Stewart's #20 Home Depot Chevy and Bobby Labonte's #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy. The #11 will be a full-time program in 2005, but the Gibbs organization has yet to make an announcement of its driver or crew chief [supposedly Jason Leffler driving and Dave Rogers as the crew chief]. Late Tuesday afternoon, Gibbs Racing updated its entry and named veteran mechanic Philippe Lopez as Craven's crew chief. Lopez has worked at JGR for about a month since coming from Bill Davis Racing.(NASCAR.com)(9-28-2004)
    UPDATE: "I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of fun," said Craven, reached by phone. "I'm going to use this opportunity to explore options for next year." JGR's rookie J.J. Yeley was originally scheduled to run the race, but was apparently pulled because of concerns over his lack of superspeedway experience, sources said.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-29-2004)

  • Leffler talking to a few Cup teams: NASCAR Busch Series driver Jason Leffler confirmed Friday he has spoken with officials from Joe Gibbs Racing, among others, about driving next season in the Nextel Cup Series. Leffler declined to name the other teams, but said he could have "an exciting thing going on next year." Leffler, 29, has emerged as the leading candidate for Gibbs' #11 Chevrolet, which will debut next season. The team will be sponsored by FedEx. "Gibbs is one of the teams I've talked to. I hope to make an annoucement here in the next couple of weeks," Leffler said. Leffler said even if he joins the Cup series next season, he may still run a partial schedule in the Busch Series. Leffler started his NASCAR career as a Busch driver with Gibbs before moving to Cup and Chip Ganassi Racing in 2001. He struggled in Cup, but did win a pole and was fourth in the rookie standings in his first full season. Leffler left Ganassi at the end of the year and moved to Craftsman Truck Series and Ultra Motorsports. Since the middle of last season, Leffler has driven in Cup (2003) and Busch (2004) with Haas CNC Racing. "I've learned so much since the last time I did (Cup), so I know what expect," Leffler said. "It's going to be tough, but I'm looking forward to it."(ThatsRacin.com), however, evedrything I hear has Leffler in the #11 Fed-Ex Chevy and Joe Gibbs Racing and supposedly already been fitted for a seat.(9-26-2004)

  • Leffler in the #11 Fed-Ex car? UPDATE 2: hearing that Jason Leffler, driver of the #00 Chevy in the Busch Series could end up in the #11 Fed-Ex Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy, seems odd as he is a young guy, not a Cup veteran [1 full season and some one-off races]. Leffler drove for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Busch Series in 1999 and 2000.(9-17-2004)
    HOWEVER other sources report that Jamie McMurray is the strongest 'rumor' floating around the garage for the #11 car...a one year deal, then to the #2 Penske Dodge.
    BUT Jamie McMurray's name has been scratched from the list, because he is apparently unable to work his way out of a contract with Chip Ganassi. That leaves Dave Blaney, Robby Gordon and J. J. Yeley among the men to consider.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-18-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Busch Series driver Jason Leffler has emerged as the leading candidate to drive Joe Gibbs Racing's third Nextel Cup entry beginning next season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Messages left with Leffler on Saturday went unreturned, but multiple sources confirmed the search for Gibbs' new driver for the #11 Fed-Ex Chevrolets was all but over. Leffler was not at New Hampshire this weekend, as the Busch Series was off. J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, would not comment on specific drivers for the organization's new team. "We're meeting with FedEx officials (the sponsor) this week, actually," he said. "I think within two or three weeks we'll have a definite direction where we can come out and say, Hey this is what we're doing.' That's probably all I can say right now." Leffler, ironically, started his NASCAR career as a Busch driver with Gibbs before moving to Cup and Chip Ganassi Racing in 2001. Leffler, 30, struggled in Cup, but did win a pole and was fourth in the rookie standings in his first full season. He left Ganassi at the end of the year and moved to Craftsman Truck Series and Ultra Motorsports. Since the middle of last season, Leffler has driven in #0-Cup (2003) and #00-Busch (2004) with Haas CNC Racing. He is currently third in points with one win and one pole this season. In past interviews, Leffler has expressed his desire to return to the Cup series and said his original move to Cup happened "too fast."(ThatsRacin.com)(9-19-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Jason Leffler, a sprint-car and Busch star who made a big splash at Daytona in July, will likely be Joe Gibbs' newest Cup driver next season, a teammate with Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, according to team sources, and the announcement could come in the next few days. Jimmy Makar, the team manager for the Gibbs operation, would not confirm Leffler as the pick but said "he is in the hunt, very seriously in the hunt. But I'm not at liberty at this moment to speculate on who it is going to be, but he is certainly there." Makar said he would be talking Monday with J. D. Gibbs, who runs his father's team, and expected to have an announcement about the new driver within the next few days. Heading Gibbs' new third team will be Dave Rogers, who is currently the chief engineer for Tony Stewart.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-20-2004)

  • Crew Chief for the #11: Jimmy Makar has hired the new crew chief for Joe Gibbs Racing' new third [#11 Fed-Ex] Cup team, and it's a familiar face - Dave Rogers, chief engineer for Tony Stewart and Greg Zipadelli.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-18-2004)

  • Blaney to Gibbs...to the #11 Fed-Ex car? UPDATE: during Busch Series qualifying at Richmond, Speed Channel broadcaster, Larry McReynolds said the Dave Blaney has been hired by Joe Gibbs Racing to help [drive?] J.J. Yeley with his Busch and Cup series rides. Blaney could be paired up with recent Joe Gibbs Racing hire, crew chief Philippe Lopez. Blaney has worked with Lopez with Bill Davis Racing. Blaney could end up in the #11 Fed-Ex Chevy full-time or Blaney and Yeley could split duties.(9-9-2004)
    UPDATE: Blaney was hired by JGR as a driver coach for J.J. Yeley [Busch] and Denny Hamlin for the races at Richmond. JGR says they have no plans to put Blaney in a car. Whether Blaney coaches the drivers in the future is undetermined.(NASCAR Scene Print)(9-17-2004)

  • JGR Looking for #11 Crew Chief - Slugger? UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing still is looking for a crew chief to lead the #11 FedEx car in 2005. Sources say Slugger Labbe, crew chief for #15-Michael Waltrip, is a candidate. Labbe is one of the best crew chiefs in the garage and would be great for a start-up team. Finding a driver is another matter. Although JGR is expected to run J.J. Yeley in additional races this season, sources say FedEx is looking for a more experienced driver. Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon and Dave Blaney have been mentioned as prospects.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(9-13-2004)
    AND MORE: speculation continues about owner Joe Gibbs' planned third Nextel Cup team. #20 Crew Chief Greg Zipadelli declined to talk about the possibility that Dave Blaney might be hired to drive Gibbs' new third team. Blaney - a sprint-car veteran like Stewart and a good buddy of Stewart's - has been hired to coach rookie J. J. Yeley, who Gibbs hopes to hone into a Cup driver, though that project could take a few years longer than expected. And the latest rumor is that Gibbs would like to hire Richard "Slugger" Labbe, a two-time Daytona 500 winning crew chief, to run that third team. "Dave is just to help J.J.," Zipadelli said. "He's got three more Cup races this year and some Busch races, and Dave is a good driver, with a good, level head on his shoulders, knows what's going on. He knows what you should do and shouldn't do. He should help accelerate J.J.'s learning curve. He won't have to go through everything, because Dave has already been there and can explain why you don't do this or that. It's different if it comes from a driver than if it comes from us." But what about the story that Gibbs has hired Blaney to drive the third car? "Good story, huh?" Zipadelli said with a grin. "You ain't going to find anything out here. Don't try to read anything more into this."(Winston Salem Journal)(9-14-2004)

  • More on McMurray and Gibbs, for a year..then to Penske: Jamie McMurray is still in play, according to sources close to the driver, who is being wooed by both Roger Penske and Joe Gibbs - if he can resolve his contract with car owner Chip Ganassi. Gibbs wants him for his new third Nextel Cup team, to be sponsored by FedEx; McMurray would be a teammate of Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte. Penske wants him to take over Rusty Wallace's ride when Wallace retires, apparently at the end of 2005. Also in the running for the Gibbs ride is sprint start J. J. Yeley, who was to race here but who didn't make the field because qualifying was rained out. However, FedEx, according to sources, wants a top-10 team out of the box, and that would be a tall order for a rookie.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2004)

  • Yeley to attempt California Cup race: #11-J.J. Yeley, who posted the 11th best time in the rain-abbreviated session at Michigan International Speedway, missed the GFS Marketplace 400 when qualifying was rained out. JGR president J.D. Gibbs didn't have to wait long to make a decision on a replacement event, as he said Saturday that Yeley would race in the Pop Secret 500 in two weeks at California Speedway.(NASCAR.com)(8-21-2004)

  • Lopez leaves BDR? UPDATE: hearing #23 Crew Chief, Philippe Lopez, and Bill Davis Racing has parted ways and Lopez may be heard to Joe Gibbs Racing or RCR.(8-14-2004)
    UPDATE: Philippe Lopez, the veteran crew chief just hired by car owner Joe Gibbs to help Jimmy Makar and Zipadelli in testing.(Winston Salem Journal), could Dave Blaney end up in the car, paired once again with his former Bill Davis Racing crew chief?(8-23-2004)

  • More on Gibbs 3rd team, pushing Yeley? Over in the Joe Gibbs camp, the push is to persuade new sponsor FedEx [#11 Team] to accept part-time Busch driver J J Yeley for the planned third Cup team, since Greg Biffle has decided to work out the last year of his contract with Jack Roush and since car owner Chip Ganassi has picked up the 2005 option on driver Jamie McMurray. However, it is still unclear if FedEx will be willing to accept an untested driver like Yeley.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-9-2004)

  • Robby to Gibbs? the Winston Salem Journal is reporting.....Robby Gordon's season with car owner Richard Childress hasn't been that great. It started fine, and he could have won Darlington. But since then things have gone downhill, generally because of bad luck and too many crashes. So there are questions being raised about Gordon's future with Childress. Yesterday Gordon finished seventh, his best run since Talladega in April. Ironically just as those questions are being heard about Gordon and Childress, officials at Joe Gibbs Racing are expressing interest in Gordon as a candidate for next year's third team [#11 Fed-Ex], as a teammate with Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte. Stewart is calling Gordon one of the most talented drivers in the Cup garage. Stewart's crew says that Stewart would like to have Gordon as a teammate and could work with him. Stewart and Gordon are NASCAR's top two Indy-car racers.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-2-2004)

  • Redskins Owner to be part owner of Gibbs 3rd team? #18/#20/#80/#11 Cup team owner, Joe Gibbs has apparently persuaded the owner of the Washington Redskins, Daniel Snyder, to take a stake in his newest stock-car team, according to team sources. The third Gibbs team [#80/#11], which finished 31st Sunday with Mike Bliss at the wheel, is still in its infancy, with no driver or crew chief yet for 2005, though there has been heavy speculation that Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray are under consideration. J.J. Yeley, the hotshot USAC Sprint racer driving for Gibbs on the Busch tour this year, is also a long-shot for the ride but probably needs another year or two of seasoning before moving up to Cup.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-13-2004)

  • Yeley to make Cup debut at Michigan UPDATE: during a MRN Radio interview before the Busch race at Chicago on Saturday, it was mentioned that J.J. Yeley will attempt to make his Nextel Cup debut at Michigan International Speedway in August in a third Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy [#11?, #80?], the original plan was for Yeley to debut at Talladega in Oct., but NASCAR didn't hink he had enough speedway experience. Yeley mentioned Home Depot and Vigoro [lawn fertilizer] as sponsors.(MRN's Busch Series race coverage)(7-11-2004)
    UPDATE: Vigoro, a leading brand of premium lawn and garden products for over 80 years, along with The Home Depot, will be the primary sponsors of Joe Gibbs Racing driver J.J. Yeley as he attempts to make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut at Michigan Speedway. Yeley will enter the #11 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday, August 22nd. Sold exclusively at Home Depot stores, Vigoro is manufactured by St. Louis-based United Industries Corporation, which goes to market at Spectrum Brands. A native of Phoenix, the 27-year-old Yeley joined Joe Gibbs Racing with an impressive list of credentials. In 2003, he became only the second driver in racing history to win the USAC Triple Crown by earning the Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown championships in a single season. En route to that milestone, Yeley earned a total of 24 USAC victories, easily surpassing the mark of 19 set by A.J. Foyt in 1961 and tied in 1988 by Sleepy Tripp and in 2000 by Jay Drake. And while amassing such a large win total, Yeley became the first driver in USAC history to win on pavement and dirt in all three national series in a single season. In 2004, Yeley has competed in 10 NASCAR Busch Series events. His best outing of the year was at Nashville Superspeedway in June, where he scored his first top-ten, finishing eighth. His best start was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when he qualified seventh.(Matrix Sports Marketing PR), see the #11 Old Spice Chevy that Yeley will supposedly drive at Talladega in Oct on my #11 Team Paint Schemes page.(7-12-2004)

  • McMurray and Gibbs? UPDATE 2: hearing conflicting reports that Jamie McMurray, driver of the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge for Ganassi Racing has either.....talked to Joe Gibbs Racing [JGR], is rumored to have talked to JGR or JGR wants to talk to McMurray, but has not..yet.....about the new #11 Fed-Ex team gig for 2005. McMurray is either in his option year or still has one or two [Ganassi] options years left on his contract.(7-7-2004)
    UPDATE: The day's top story swirled around the Chip Ganassi and Joe Gibbs teams, with reports that Jamie McMurray may have been talking with the Gibbs team about becoming a teammate with Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte next season, driving for Gibbs' new third team, to be sponsored by FedEx. McMurray downplayed the reports. "You can't believe everything you hear on that deal," he said. "I thought Greg Biffle was going there. "I don't know anything about it. I haven't talked with Joe Gibbs. I am under contract. So I probably couldn't go there, not if I'm under contract." Andy Graves, general manager for Ganassi, says McMurray hadn't expressed any dissatisfaction to the team but conceded he had heard speculation of a McMurray-to-Gibbs move. "I've heard that rumor since Michigan (in mid-June)," Graves said. "But he's under contract to us and he hasn't said anything to us that he wants to get out. So I don't know if Joe and those guys have talked with him or just want to talk with him. I really don't know what the deal is, to be honest. If there has been contact between Gibbs and Jamie I don't know. But Jamie hasn't come to us and said 'I want out. I'm unhappy,' or anything like that. The only thing I can think of is that maybe Gibbs is trying to stir something up in retaliation for that deal with Tony Stewart last year." That was the debate over Ganassi possibly hiring Stewart after Stewart's contract with Gibbs ran out at the end of 2004. Stewart discussed signing with Ganassi until signing a new contract [thru 2009] with Gibbs. Gibbs, J. D. Gibbs, and general manager Jimmy Makar were all unavailable for comment on the McMurray situation. Sources close to the situation said it was unlikely Ganassi would be willing to let McMurray out of his contract [Jayski Note: been told Ganassi holds the option on McMurray for 2005].(Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Jamie McMurray's name continues to pop up as a possible driver for the #11 Fed-Ex Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy in 2005. McMurray has no contractual obligation to the #42 Ganassi Dodge after the end of this season.(Motorsport.com), JAYSKI Note: however, sources tell me that Ganassi holds the contract option on McMurray for 2005.(7-11-2004)

  • FedEx.......AND MORE - Biffle under contract thru 2005? UPDATE 2: J.J. Yeley, the Sprint-car star learning the NASCAR ropes in a Joe Gibbs Busch car, will get a shot at Cup racing this fall in five to seven races in a #11 car, expected to be sponsored by FedEx. FedEx interviewed Yeley and Greg Biffle this week for the ride for next season, according to team sources. However, Geoff Smith, head of Roush Racing, says Biffle is under contract with Roush through the 2005 season and he plans to sit down with Biffle later this year and discuss a contract extension.(Winston Salem Journal)
    UPDATE: Despite weekly rumors to the contrary, Greg Biffle said he would fulfill his current contract with Roush Racing. Biffle has said repeatedly in recent weeks he would remain with Roush at least through the end of the season. "We're not going anywhere right now," he said Saturday. "Things are getting pretty crazy out there. There are other teams starting up and things going like that, so there's speculation about what's going to happen." Biffle said his priority is to get his #16 team in the top 10 in points and into victory lane. "I feel like we're really close," he said. "I'm working as hard as I can here to get this program turned around and capable of making the top 10 in points."(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND even MORE hearing that the #11 will run eight different FedEx paint schemes in 2005, one paint scheme for each of the different companies.(6-19-2004), see below for a LARGE bunch of stories, and even two images of one of the schemes of the #11 car.
    UPDATE 2: Greg Biffle adamantly denied recent reports that he is talking to other Nextel Cup teams about leaving Roush Racing. Biffle's name has surfaced in conjunction with a supposed third Joe Gibbs Racing team, but Biffle said neither he nor any of his representatives have talked to another team. Biffle also said his contract runs through next year, and Roush could exercise an option year. Could Biffle get out of his current contract and join another team? Jack Roush is known for having airtight contracts with his drivers, so that doesn't seem likely. Gibbs currently fields Chevrolets for Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, but the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported this week that FedEx has signed a letter of intent to sponsor a third JGR team. Biffle, who has been public in his criticism of Roush Racing's engine problems this year, was allegedly high on Gibbs' list of potential drivers. But there is no contract between FedEx and JGR, a team source said Saturday. And Biffle was vehement about staying at Roush.(NASCAR.com)(6-20-2004)

  • Fed-Ex to Gibbs? 3rd team UPDATE 2 Biffle? Yeley? Letter of Intent IMAGES: Greg Biffle, a former truck and Busch champion, is looking to leave his Roush Racing Cup ride, but he'll be with the #16 car for the rest of this season. He isn't about to risk losing his Roush ride in the Busch Series as he tries to find a new Cup ride. "There's no way I'd ever leave anywhere midseason," Biffle says. "Times are tough, but they're not that tough. I'm going to try to honor all of our contracts that are present. For now, we're going to work real hard to get this Busch and Cup deal turned around." Biffle is sixth in Busch Series points and 23rd in Cup.(FoxSports/Sporting News), see past rumors on the #16 Team News and Links page.(6-14-2004)
    AND Federal Express, which once was in the running to be the title sponsor of NASCAR's top series before Nextel came on board, has been in talks with both Joe Gibbs Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Word in the garage: Fed Ex will end up on a third Cup car for the 2005 season at JGR with J.J. Yeley, a Busch rookie this season, behind the wheel. But Gibbs says it's too early to commit. "Right now, we're in the process of moving through things, and we can't announce anything because the deal isn't done," Gibbs says. "We've been in conversations for a long time but right now it's just a work in progress."(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-24-2004)
    THE UPDATE add...Biffle: FedEx will announce Wednesday that it will sponsor a third Nextel Cup car for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2005. The car will carry the #11, which was the number that J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, wore as a football player at William and Mary. J.J. Yeley was expected to be the driver of a third Nextel Cup car next year, but the organization wants a veteran driver for the ride. Sources close to the team say that Greg Biffle would be at the top of their list. Joe Gibbs, the Washington Redskins' coach, will play his home games at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. next fall so a relationship already existed between Gibbs and the company that will move from the field to the track next year.(FoxSports)(6-16-2004)
    UPDATE 2 Yeley: hearing that FedEx introduced J.J. Yeley and Joe Gibbs at their annual sales meeting in Orlando, FL today with the car, owner and driver [Yeley](6-16-2004)
    UPDATE 3: FedEx said Wednesday it has signed a letter of intent to sponsor Joe Gibbs Racing's third car starting in 2005. A driver hasn't been chosen for the #11 FedEx Chevrolet. No financial terms were announced, although UPS's sponsorship of the #88 Ford driven by Dale Jarrett - one of the sport's marquee drivers - reportedly is worth as much as $16 million a year. FedEx confirmed only that it has signed a letter of intent. Gibbs Racing said it expects a contract to be signed within a month. FedEx and Gibbs Racing have been in talks for about 18 months. It hasn't been decided if FedEx will have associated sponsorships with other Gibbs drivers, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart. One of the candidates to drive the new FedEx-sponsored Chevy is Busch Series rookie J. J. Yeley. Yeley, a Gibbs driver, has one top 10 finish in nine starts and sits 29th in the Busch standings. "What we're going to do is build a list (of potential drivers) based on what kind of potential they have and what kind of equipment they're running already," said Dean Noble, vice president of business affairs for Gibbs Racing. "After interviews we'd narrow the list to a couple of guys who would meet with FedEx. It's truly a partnership putting this team together." FedEx's entry into the sport could help the Memphis Motorsports Park, said vice president and general manager Jason Rittenberry. The track has NASCAR Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series events and covets a place in NASCAR's premier Nextel Cup Series.(Memphis Commercial Appeal)(6-17-2004)
    IMAGES got two images of the #11 FedEx Chevy, see my Paint Scheme Gallery.(6-18-2004)

  • Fed-Ex to Gibbs? UPDATE or DEI? Federal Express, which once was in the running to be the title sponsor of NASCAR's top series before Nextel came on board, has been in talks with both Joe Gibbs Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Word in the garage: Fed Ex will end up on a third Cup car for the 2005 season at JGR with J.J. Yeley, a Busch rookie this season, behind the wheel. But Gibbs says it's too early to commit. "Right now, we're in the process of moving through things, and we can't announce anything because the deal isn't done," Gibbs says. "We've been in conversations for a long time but right now it's just a work in progress."(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-24-2004)
    UPDATE: On the sponsorship front, Federal Express is being wooed again by both DEI and Joe Gibbs.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-29-2004)

  • Yeley Wins at PIR: JJ Yeley, who is running an ABC [ARCA,Busch,Cup] program for Joe Gibbs Racing this year, won the first national USAC midget race of 2004 Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway in the 27th annual Copper World Classic. It was Yeley's first win at PIR.(Arizona Republic)(3-21-2004)

  • Yeley gets a sponsor for selected Busch race and one Cup race: Vigoro , a leading brand of premium lawn and garden products for over 80 years, along with The Home Depot, will be the primary sponsors of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver J.J. Yeley during the 2004 season. Yeley will drive the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevy as part of an A-B-C schedule that will consist of ARCA, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races [#18 in Busch, supposedly #80 in Cup, not sure about ARCA]. His first race in the Vigoro/Home Depot machine will be the March 6 Sam's Town 300 Busch Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Vigoro is owned by St. Louis-based United Industries Corporation (which goes to market as Spectrum Brands) and is sold exclusively at Home Depot stores. Heading Yeley's effort will be veteran crew chief Doug Hewitt, who after being a crew chief in the Cup Series since 1993, joined JGR in late 2001 as crew chief for Coy Gibbs in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Under Hewitt's guidance, Gibbs finished 10th in points in 2001 and 2002. Hewitt continued as crew chief for Gibbs' Busch Series effort in 2003, and he takes the team he helped build to Yeley's rookie campaign in 2004. Vigoro is the number two selling brand of lawn and garden fertilizers in the United States. The company's household brands include Hot Shot , Cutter and Repel . The company's lawn and garden brands include Spectracide, Spectracide Triazicide , Spectracide Terminate , Garden Safe and Real-Kill in the controls category as well as Vigoro , Schultz, Bandini and Best brands in the lawn and garden fertilizer and organic growing media categories.(True Speed Communication PR)(2-14-2004)

  • J.J. Yeley Named AARWBA Driver of the Year: USAC Triple Crown titlist J.J. Yeley was named winner of the Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy as driver of the year for 2003. The announcement was the climax of festivities Saturday night at the annual Auto Racing All America Team banquet hosted by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA). Yeley, who was not present at the event because he was competing in the Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Okla., is the first Titus winner from a category other than Open Wheel, Stock Car, Drag or Road racing.(Speed Channel)(1-12-2004)

2003 News

  • Chili Bowl Stuff: Dirt-track star Danny Lasoski has entered two additional cars for the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals [www.chilibowl.com] and invited drag racer Ron Capps and NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader to drive them. They'll be competing against Tony Stewart, J.J. Yeley and Kasey Kahne in the 18th annual event Jan. 7-10 at Tulsa, Okla.(Indianapolis Star)(12-19-2003)

  • Yeley wins Triple Crown: J.J. Yeley [new Joe Gibbs Racing driver] became USAC's fourth "Triple Crown" driving champion Saturday night, joining Tony Stewart as the only drivers in history to win all three USAC National driving titles -- Silver Crown, Sprint Car and Midgets -- in one season. Arizonan Yeley locked up the USAC National Midget crown at Tucson Raceway Park, finishing third in the 40-lap "Old Pueblo Classic" feature. In addition to he and Stewart (who swept all three titles in 1995), Dave Darland and Pancho Carter also own USAC career "Triple Crowns," although their titles were not all achieved in a single season. Yeley will try to extend his all-time USAC single-season victory record to 25 this Thursday night in the 63rd Mopar "Turkey Night Grand Prix" at the Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. The race will air live on SPEED Channel at 11:00pm/et.(Speed Channel)(11-25-2003)

  • Yeley signed with Gibbs UPDATE 2: JJ Yeley, the 26-year-old USAC national sprint-car champ and Silver Crown champ, has signed a contract to join Joe Gibbs' team next season, team sources confirmed yesterday, though the announcement isn't expected for a few weeks. JJ, whose real name is Christopher Beltram Hernandez Yeley, has Tony Stewart as a mentor and now as a teammate. But Yeley may have a long way to go before making it to the Winston/Nextel Cup tour. Jimmy Makar, general manager for Gibbs, says that the new team is still in a formative stage. "We're trying to develop a program to develop a young driver," Makar says. "We've got some sponsorship irons in the fire, a few small things we're working on, but nothing major yet. We're looking at doing some Busch races and some ARCA races next year. We'll really just take it as it comes. There's nothing saying we have to run X-amount of races in any one division. We'll start testing and see how he develops, and add races as he develops." Who will run the team? "We've got six or seven guys on a list to talk to," Makar says. "We've talked to a few already, and we'll talk to more in the next few weeks, and decide which way to go."(Winston Salem Journal)(11-17-2003)
    UPDATE: Open wheel standout JJ Yeley said Tuesday he has signed a two-year contract with the powerful Joe Gibbs Racing team, whose drivers have won two of the past four NASCAR Winston Cup championships. "A lot of different teams were interested, but out of all of the programs, I think this is the best one for a long-term situation," said Yeley, a Phoenix native now living near Indianapolis. "They're very well respected, and they have everything it takes to get me to the next level." No one from the Gibbs team could be reached for comment, but Yeley said a formal announcement is expected today. Yeley recently turned his attention toward NASCAR after being unable to land a full-time Indy Racing League ride, and he immediately landed on the Gibbs' radar screen in part because Tony Stewart owns or co-owns two of the U.S. Auto Club cars Yeley drives. Stewart won the 2002 NASCAR title for Gibbs, and teammate Bobby Labonte was the 2000 champion. In time, perhaps as early as the 2005 season, Yeley hopes to reach the top NASCAR series, which will become the Nextel Cup in 2004. Until then, Yeley will divide next season between the NASCAR Busch Series and the ARCA circuit. "There's also a chance I could do a couple of Cup races," said Yeley, who is testing today and Thursday at Kentucky Speedway.(Arizona Republic)(11-19-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) signed United States Auto Club (USAC) standout J.J Yeley to a multi-year contract. Beginning with the 2004 racing season, Yeley will run an A-B-C schedule, consisting of seven to eight ARCA races, 10-12 NASCAR Busch Series races and two to three NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races. MBNA, the world's largest independent credit card issuer and longtime JGR supporter, will back Yeley's effort as an associate sponsor. A primary sponsor has yet to be secured. "J.J. Yeley is a very talented racer who everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing is excited to have," said team owner Joe Gibbs. "He has accomplished a lot in a very short period of time in many different racing disciplines. His track record in USAC mirrors Tony Stewart's before he came to NASCAR, and Tony's time spent driving stock cars for JGR has worked out very well for him and for us. We're hoping the same is true with J.J."
    A native of Phoenix, the 27-year-old Yeley comes to JGR with an impressive list of credentials that could become even more impressive in the coming days. Yeley is on track to match Stewart's record of earning USAC's Triple Crown - winning the Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown championships in a single season. Yeley has already wrapped up the Sprint and Silver Crown titles, and with only two races remaining - Nov. 22 at Tucson (Ariz.) Raceway Park and Nov. 27 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway - he leads the Midget standings by 121 points over nearest pursuer Tracy Hines.
    "This has already been a great year for me," said Yeley, who in 2002 won the Silver Crown championship and finished second in the Sprint and Midget standings. "There's still some work for me to do in USAC, but having the opportunity to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing is something any driver would want. It's a good home, with Tony Stewart and Mike Bliss - guys who came up through the USAC ranks before me - already there. It's a great challenge and there's a lot to learn, but I'm ready for it."
    "J.J. is the number one candidate from the USAC series to move up," said Stewart, winner of the Triple Crown in 1995. "What he can do on dirt tracks is awesome, and all year he's gotten better and better with what he's been able to do on pavement. It's just a matter of time before he gets the hang of stock cars. He's shown his adaptability since he came to USAC in 1997, and his versatility will be an asset in NASCAR."
    Yeley has earned a total of 24 wins this year in USAC, easily surpassing the mark of 19 set by A.J. Foyt in 1961 and tied in 1988 by Sleepy Tripp and in 2000 by Jay Drake. Fourteen of Yeley's wins have come in Sprint Cars, where Stewart is the owner, while four other wins have come in the Silver Crown car, which Stewart co-owns with Bob East. En route to amassing such a large win total, Yeley became the first driver in USAC history to win on pavement and dirt in all three national series in a single season.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR/site)(11-20-2003)

  • 3rd Cup team for Gibbs in 2005 UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing [#18-Labonte and #20-Stewart] will add a third full time Cup team in 2005.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required). Assume the team will run part time in 2004 [has attempted/run a few 2003 Cup races in the #80 with Mike Bliss], so who drives? Mike Bliss? Coy Gibbs? J.J. Yeley?; Bliss and Gibbs run full time for Gibbs in the Busch Series now and Yeley supposedly will run Busch for Gibbs in 2004.(10-11-2003)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing was so impressed by J.J. Yeley's tryout at Lakeland (Fla.) Speedway last week that he is expected to run an ABC (ARCA, Busch, Cup) schedule with the organization next year. Yeley, a protege of Tony Stewart, is attempting to win the USAC Triple Crown (Silver Crown, Sprint, Midget).(Sporting News/Yahoo Sports)(10-13-2003)


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