(NOTE: some older links may not work)
Races (27+1) that Dollar General is scheduled to be the sponsor in 2014:
Daytona, Sprint Unlimited* - 2/15
Daytona 500 - 2/23
Las Vegas - 3/9
Auto Club - 3/23
Martinsville - 3/30
Texas - 4/6
Kansas - 5/10
Dover - 6/1
Pocono - 6/8
Michigan - 6/17
Sonoma - 6/22
Kentucky - 6/28
New Hampshire - 7/13
Indy - 7/27
Pocono - 8/3
Watkins Glen - 8/10
Michigan - 8/17
Bristol - 8/23, 75th Anniversary
Richmond - 9/6
Chicago - 9/14
New Hampshire - 9/21
Kansas - 10/5
Charlotte - 10/11
Martinsville - 10/26
Texas - 11/2
Races (9+1) that Husky Tools/Home Depot is scheduled to be the sponsor in 2014:
Phoenix - 3/2
Bristol - 3/16
Richmond - 4/26
Charlotte, All-Star Race* - 5/17
Daytona - 7/5
Atlanta - 8/31
Dover - 9/28
Talladega - 10/19
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)
Dollar General to honor the military community: On Veteran's Day weekend at Phoenix, Dollar General will recognize and honor the military community by recognizing the Paychecks for Patriots program with a special decal on the c-post of Matt Kenseth's #20 Dollar General Camry, as well as offering all current and veteran military service members and their family an 11% off discount on Veterans Day. Paychecks for Patriots is an innovative partnership between state government and employers to address veteran and National Guard unemployment challenges. This successful program was created by Dollar General in partnership with state employment agencies to create a pathway toward economic opportunity for veterans and their families both online and through hiring fairs.(JGR)(11-7-2014)
Kenseth on Harvick wreck: 'I couldn't feel any worse': #20-Matt Kenseth and #4-Kevin Harvick met Friday morning at Texas Motor Speedway for their first conversation since a mistake by Kenseth left Harvick on the brink of title elimination. Though he can't do anything to fix it, Kenseth hopes his error somehow would be rectified partly if Harvick's title hopes are resuscitated. "I don't think it's something I'll ever feel better about," Kenseth said. "The only way I'll probably feel a little better about it or whatever is if he makes it to Homestead, because if he doesn't win a championship, at least it wasn't because of my stupid mistake. But until then, I don't know how much better I'll feel about it." Before his chat with Harvick in a Nationwide Series garage stall, Kenseth spoke with the news media about triggering a crash by Harvick at Martinsville Speedway. A 33rd dropped Harvick to last among the eight Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers in the points standings, and the Stewart-Haas Racing driver virtually needs a victory in Sunday's AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway or the next week at Phoenix International Raceway to advance to the Nov. 16 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "First of all you hate making mistakes," Kenseth said. "You really hate to take somebody else out in your mistakes. Being the new format and being Kevin is one of the favorites. Him and I have got along really good in the last five or six years, but the last eight or nine years, we've raced each other well. I honestly couldn't feel any worse about it. Only way maybe you feel worse is if you wrecked a teammate. You hate stuff like that to happen, and then in this format, to take him out of that race with as much as I like and respect Kevin and (crew chief) Rodney (Childers)." Neither Harvick nor Kenseth were available after their Texas meeting, which seemed civil. Harvick has declined interview requests this weekend at Texas. He vowed retribution against Kenseth at Martinsville, saying "he won't win this championship. If we don't, he won't."(USA Today)(11-1-2014)
Harvick not happy with Kenseth after Martinsville wreck: #4-Kevin Harvick put #20-Matt Kenseth on notice at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. Harvick told reporters following the Goody's 500, "He will not win this championship. I can promise you that." On Lap 228, Kenseth bounced off the back of Denny Hamlin, slowed and wheel-hopped, then clipped Harvick and sent the No. 4 Chevy spinning into the wall in Turn 2. Tony Stewart was also collected in the melee but recovered and finished fourth. Harvick was forced to retire to the garage for repairs and didn't return until 40 laps later. He restarted in 40th, 41 laps off of the pace. Harvick, who started 33rd moved up into the top 10 on Lap 113. When Harvick returned to the track, he brake-checked Kenseth "four or five times" according to the driver of the #20, who added, "he's trying to knock my radiator out."
"I don't blame (Harvick) for feeling that way, honestly," Kenseth said. "It was a mistake - he was an innocent bystander and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I totally understand how he feels and I totally understand why he would say that. I totally get it. He knows it was a mistake, too, but that doesn't really help him. I don't really blame him. He got taken out of the race for being in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Harvick finished 33rd. Although he tried to take the situation in stride, he was clearly frustrated. "The good thing about this format is you have two more weeks and two race tracks that we can win on," Harvick said. "Everybody was so worried about us starting in the back and we wrecked at the front. Unfortunate."(Motorsport)(10-27-2014)
Kenseth and Hamlin don't regret actions at Charlotte:
Are you disappointed or regret your actions from last weekend?
Kenseth: "None of it -- you never want to get into confrontations, at least I don't. I like to avoid them. I'm definitely not built for fighting and it's not really in my genes -- not something I ever really want to do, but I guess everybody has their breaking point. Last week was bad enough to run bad all night and to be frustrated and then get two tires and get towards the front and Brad (Keselowski) clearly saw me roll outside of him and he hung a right on purpose and ran me right into the wall and ruined my night and possibly took us out of Chase contention. So, I was mad enough about that and then to come down afterwards and have your stuff off and your net down and come and pull those high school stunts playing car wars after the race was just absolutely unacceptable. That definitely put me over the edge. I don't regret my actions. I'm not proud of them or happy about them or any of that, but I don't regret them. I don't know that I would do anything different if the same thing went down again."
Were you expecting a fine from NASCAR?
Kenseth: "I was not. You never know, but I think that in the past if you go in there and first of all it was not a planned action and I didn't go in there with fists flying or anything else like that. I just really wanted to get to him (Brad Keselowski) I guess, I'm not sure what I wanted to do when I got there, but I wasn't really expecting one. It was obvious I didn't really have a plan right?"
Do you regret any of the actions from Saturday night at Charlotte?
Hamlin: "I really didn't do anything. Honestly, I gave him (Brad Keselowski) a brake check down the backstretch, but besides that I didn't do anything. My team guys wouldn't let me do anything -- that was kind of a bummer. The only thing I was trying to do in the garage and even on pit road was just box him in so I could get to him before his team guys got there. I didn't ram into him on pit road or anything like that, if you watch I just kept trying to box him in to where he couldn't go anywhere and I talked to Brad and told him that. I don't regret anything and I really didn't feel like I did anything wrong. Obviously, from the penalties NASCAR didn't feel like I did either."
Did you hit Brad Keselowski in the garage?
Hamlin: "No, I boxed him (Brad Keselowski) in and he was in a position where he knew he was boxed in and he wanted to get out very quickly so that's when he got into our right front and spun the tires."(Toyota Racing)(10-18-2014)
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)
Special scheme for Kenseth: This weekend at Talladega' Matt Kenseth will have a special Home Depot paint scheme aboard his #20 Toyota in recognition of The Home Depot's 15 years of partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing.(JGR)' see an image of the car on the #20 team paint schemes page)(10-16-2014)
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)
Toytota 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)
Joe Gibbs Racing Fall FanFest Scheduled for Friday, October 10: Joe Gibbs Racing Fall FanFest will be held this Friday, October 10, 2014 from 9:00am - 1:00pm at its team headquarters in Huntersville, NC. JGR drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler, Darrell Wallace, Jr., and Daniel Suarez 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 8:00am on Friday morning, 300 wristbands for each driver will be distributed in separate lines. No wristbands will be required for Wallace and Suarez who will be on hand to sign from 9:00am to 11:00am. The complete driver autograph schedule for Friday is as follows:
9:00am Elliott Sadler
9:30am Kyle Busch
10:00am Matt Kenseth
10:30am Denny Hamlin
9:00-11:00am Wallace, Jr. and Suarez
The third annual JGR Fan Fest Car and Motorcycle Show will be from 9:00am - 1:00pm (registration begins at 7:00am and judging concludes at 11:00am with awards presented at 1:00pm). 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 http://joegibbsracing.com/fanfest. Funds raised from JGR Fall FanFest will be donated to Project Pink. More information on Project Pink can be found on the home page of the Kyle Busch Foundation at http://www.kylebuschfoundation.org/.(JGR)(10-7-2014)
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)
Stanley, DeWalt join Joe Gibbs Racing: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that it has entered partnership with world-leading tool and security provider STANLEY and professional power tool provider DEWALT beginning in the 2015 season. STANLEY and DEWALT will serve as primary sponsors for drivers Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, respectively. STANLEY will partner with JGR as the primary sponsor for 12 races on the #19 Toyota driven by Carl Edwards beginning in 2015, while DEWALT will serve as the primary sponsor for six races on the #20 Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth. In addition, STANLEY will have associate branding on the #18 Toyota throughout the 2015 season, as well as on both the #19 and #20 Toyotas when not already serving as the primary sponsor. Other Stanley Black & Decker brands, including Mac Tools, BLACK+DECKER, and more, will continue to be a part of the NASCAR program with JGR.(Joe Gibbs Racing), see images of the cars on the #19 team paint scheme and #20 team paint scheme page.(9-17-2014)
Kenseth to be honored at Chicagoland: In recognition of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Chicagoland Speedway in 2013, #20-Matt Kenseth will be honored with a plaque in Champions Park on Friday, Sept. 12, prior to the Lucas Oil 225 Camping World Truck Series race. Kenseth, who made his first appearance in Chicagoland Speedway's Gatorade Victory Lane last September, will unveil his new monument at 4p.m. on the north end of Champions Park. Since the inaugural race in 2001, Chicagoland Speedway has unveiled a monument in Champions Park for each of its Sprint Cup Series race winners, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski and others.(Chicagoland Speedway)(9-9-2104)
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)
Matt Kenseth's Race Against Bullying Children's Book Debuts: Today (August 26, 2014) on National Youth Literacy Day, Matt Kenseth debuted Matt Kenseth's Race Against Bullying, his first children's book aimed at educating and empowering children to make good choices if faced with bullying situations. Kenseth, a two-time Daytona 500 Champion and the NASCAR Sprint Cup series driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, released the book with his wife Katie at Joe Gibbs Racing headquarters. Published by Bendon, Inc., Matt Kenseth's Race Against Bullying is available today for purchase exclusively at more than 11,300 Dollar General stores nationwide and online at www.dollargeneral.com. It is also the first installment of a four-part series of educational children's books that Matt and Katie Kenseth championed. The series is designed for family reading for children ages 4 through 8 to become more self-confident and empowered to make good choices.
"As a parent of three small children, it's natural to worry about the issues they will face while growing up," said Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. "Both Katie and I believe that openly talking about these issues is the best way to prepare them. This book is designed to help families discuss the effects of bullying with their kids. We believe it's important our kids not only know how to deal with a bully, but also understand that it's not OK to act like one."
"We're excited to partner with Matt to raise awareness and provide solutions to childhood bullying, especially since it reflects our mission of Serving Others," said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General's chairman and CEO. "The project also combines Dollar General's passion for literacy and reading through the Dollar General Literacy Foundation with the strong representation Matt brings to both Dollar General, Joe Gibbs Racing and NASCAR."
According to www.stopbullying.gov, more than 70 percent of students say they have seen bullying in their schools and less than 30 percent of students who are bullied notify an adult. Kenseth, an avid reader, has helped support literacy programs throughout his career and currently serves as an ambassador for the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Sharing in both Dollar General and Kenseth's commitment to literacy is long-time Kenseth sponsor CITIZEN Watch, who made a $25,000 donation on Kenseth's behalf to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation in honor of the book launch.
"Our new brand statement Better Starts Now is about reaching inside yourself to do things better. With the launch of his new book, Matt has shown us that this motto is part of his character both on and off the track," said Jeffrey Cohen, President of Citizen Watch Company of America. "With statistics showing bullying and harassment becoming an even bigger social problem a book like this is just what is needed to help start the conversation earlier between parents and children. Citizen Watch Company has supported higher education for the past two years as a corporate sponsor of the National Merit Scholarship Foundation and we are proud to expand our educational support with a donation to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation in honor of Matt Kenseth."
Matt Kenseth's Race Against Bullying is a 22-page, 10 x 10-inch, soft-cover book, retailing for $3 at more than 11,300 Dollar General stores nationwide and online at www.dollargeneral.com. Written by Gina Gold, illustrated by Adam Devaney and produced by Judy O Productions, Inc., Matt Kenseth's Race Against Bullying was created by Matt and Katie Kenseth and is published by Bendon, Inc. To learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, please visit www.dgliteracy.org.(JGR)(8-26-2014)
Tom McCrimmon Wins NASCAR Chicane in Bristol: Tom McCrimmon, #20 Joe Gibbs Racing, has won the third NASCAR Chicane of the 2014 Pilot Flying J Truck Driver Challenge. McCrimmon, the 2009 and 2012 NASCAR Champion of the Pilot Flying J Truck Driver Challenge, put his safe driving on display before the weekend's highly anticipated IRWIN Tools Night Race. He tied teammate Jamie Price (#18 Joe Gibbs Racing) for the top spot, but edged price out with a faster time. Ken Pitcher of Tommy Baldwin Racing finished in third place to round out the top-3.
After his victory, an overjoyed McCrimmon exclaimed, "That's all! Everybody wants to win at Bristol. It's exciting when the season starts to wind down and the championship gets closer. Having won this competition two times, I couldn't be more grateful for the benefits and opportunities Pilot Flying J has provided me in the Truck Driver Challenge."
The transport drivers of the Sprint Cup Series are competing for this year's grand prize of $30,000, in addition to a brand new GPS unit. Upon being named to this year's championship, the top-3 transport drivers of the Sprint Cup Series will receive a Rand McNally IntelliRoute TND 720, the official GPS unit of the 2014 Pilot Flying J Truck Driver Challenge. Committed to supporting the professional transport driver, Rand McNally provides this year's Sprint Cup finalists with a GPS unit specially designed to enhance their routes nationwide. The final NASCAR Chicane of the 2014 Pilot Flying J Truck Driver Challenge will take place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday, September 8 at 12:00pm/et. For more information, please visit pfjtruckchallenge.com.(Pilot Flying J/Victory 500 Marketing)(8-23-2014)
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)
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)
Joe Gibbs Racing extends Kenseth's contact; Dollar General expands sponsorship: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and Dollar General announce an expanded partnership with a multi-year agreement for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and beyond. In addition, JGR announces the contract extension of driver Matt Kenseth that will keep him behind the wheel of the #20 Dollar General Toyota. Dollar General, based in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, will increase its sponsorship to 30 races with Matt Kenseth and the #20 team, up from 27 in 2014 and 17 in 2013. One of the top contenders within the Sprint Cup Series, Kenseth is currently fourth the 2014 point standings with five top-five, 10 top-10 finishes and one pole award through the first 16 races. In 2013, his first year driving for JGR and Dollar General, Kenseth celebrated seven wins, marking both a Series and career-best season.
"Extending my deal with JGR is exciting and I'm still hoping we can match our win total from last year, but it's really been a special year-and-a-half together," Kenseth added. "Joe and J.D. have been fantastic and show a commitment to providing all of us with the resources needed for a winning organization and I've been blessed with a great team led by Jason (Ratcliff). The support we get from TRD has been tremendous and I'm excited for the future here with the #20 Dollar General team."(Joe Gibbs Racing)(6-28-2014)
Home Depot leaving NASCAR at end of 2014: Home Depot, which has been a primary NASCAR sponsor since 1999 on the #20 car, will leave the sport after its contract with Joe Gibbs Racing ends this season, said sources familiar with Home Depot's plans.(Sports Business Journal), Matt Kenseth drives the #20 Toyota for JGR.(6-23-2014)
Kenseth wins at Madison: On a night when he didn't have the best car in the field, Matt Kenseth benefited from Travis Sauter's bad luck. Kenseth passed Sauter on a restart with nine laps to go and held on for a super-late model victory in the Colony Brands 100 at Madison International Speedway. "That was one of the uglier ones or luckier ones or however you want to put it," said Kenseth, who rolled out fourth on an inverted starting order. "We had a decent car; we hung in there all day and had probably a fourth- or fifth-place car. We were able to hang in there and take advantage when the leaders had problems. It was a fun race and I'm more than a little surprised to be standing here winning." Ross Kenseth finished sixth in the race that drew about 6,000 spectators.(Wisconsin State Journal)(6-18-2014)
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)
NASCAR champ's son moves to Grand Rapids area after joining Jenison team: Ross Kenseth, the son of #20-Matt Kenseth, has taken the year off from his studies at Clemson University, and he moved to the Grand Rapids, MI area after signing to drive for the Jenison-based Boyne Machine Racing team. Car owner Mike Blackmer has hired Kenseth to race his #77 Enterprise Iron & Metal Ford Fusion template-bodied Late Model in big-dollar races as well as select programs at Berlin - the team's home track. Kenseth, 20, will be competing in Saturday night's Super Late Model race at the Berlin half-mile. Kenseth's father won the 2003 Sprint Cup championship and finished runner-up to Jimmie Johnson a year ago. Kenseth's ultimate goal is to someday be battling for championships in the NASCAR ranks, too, and his journey has taken him to West Michigan this season. Blackmer hired Kelly Bires to serve as Kenseth's crew chief.(Michigan Live)(5-17-2014)
Congrats to the Kenseths: Joe Gibbs Racing's driver of the #20 Toyota, Matt Kenseth, and his wife Katie welcomed a new bundle of joy Tuesday evening with the birth of the couple's third daughter. Clara Mae Kenseth was born March 25 at 7:39pm/et weighing in at eight pounds and five ounces. Both mother and daughter are doing well as the family enjoys the latest addition who joins the couple's other daughters Kaylin and Grace, along with their son Ross. Kenseth will be able to spend a few days at home with his brand new baby girl before traveling to nearby Martinsville, Virginia for this weekend's STP 500 Sprint Cup Series event at the Martinsville Speedway.(JGR)(3-26-2014)
Kenseth suggests satellite teams helping Penske: #95-Michael McDowell calls #20-Matt Kenseth's suggestion that McDowell has tested for Team Penske's benefit a matter of "sour grapes." Kenseth raised the issue after qualifying Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway when asked about Penske's success this season. Penske drivers #2-Brad Keselowski and #22-Joey Logano have started no worse than the second row in the last three races and Keselowski swept last week's Nationwide and Sprint Cup races at Las Vegas. Kenseth pointed to McDowell and Leavine Family Racing with helping Keselowski and Logano. "Without opening a can of worms, it's my understanding that they (Team Penske) got to do a lot of testing - I think they've been to all three tracks with their 'satellite teams' - Michael McDowell and cars like that I think in the Penske trailer," Kenseth said.
Leavine Family Racing, a Ford team, purchases chassis and parts from Team Penske. That's a new arrangement. Leavine Family Racing bought its cars from Roush Fenway Racing the past three years. McDowell and Leavine Family Racing have used two of their four allotted tests at Cup tracks at Phoenix and Bristol this season. "What was he really suggesting or saying that somebody had an unfair advantage?'' car owner Bob Leavine said of Kenseth. "They could go out and do what they want to do."
McDowell noted the relationship between Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing for Toyota. "This sport, the way it is, as fast as it is developing, you have to be aligned with a manufacturer that is working with all the teams," McDowell said. "The reality is there might be some sour grapes there because they haven't been able to align themselves with an organization that can help them to do some of those things like RCR, Hendrick and Stewart-Haas and all the other teams have."(Motor Racing Network)3-16-2014)
Kenseth lines up standby drivers if needed: #20-Matt Kenseth's wife, Katie, is due to give birth in about two weeks. It will be the couple's third girl. After racing at Bristol this weekend, NASCAR will run at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Kenseth said that if has to leave the track, Sam Hornish Jr., would drive his Nationwide car, and Jeff Burton would be available to drive his Cup car. Hornish is set to drive seven Nationwide races that Kyle Busch won't run for Joe Gibbs Racing. Burton is running select Cup races for fellow Toyota team Michael Waltrip Racing. Also, Paul Menard's wife, Jennifer, was due to give birth to the couple's first child earlier this week but had not as of Wednesday afternoon.(Motor Racing Network)(3-13-2014)
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)
Kenseth puts home for sale: #20-Matt Kenseth has listed his 7,259-square-foot Mooresville, North Carolina, mansion for $2,799,000, reports the Realtor. Built in 2006, the custom home sits on a three-quarter-acre lot and is located just 45 minutes away from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It offers an 'Old World' elegance coupled with modern amenities. The two-story European-style mansion of the 2003 Sprint Cup champion includes five bedrooms, five full and three half bathrooms and a large living room, in addition to a gourmet kitchen. The kitchen boasts custom cabinetry and sophisticated appliances. The kitchen leads to a spacious and an open breakfast area. The lower level of the building features two master suites, a media room with a bar, and an exercise room. According to the property listing, the exteriors of this mansion-estate gives a more relaxed feeling and comes with a large swimming pool, a spa, a wood-burning fireplace, a private pier, and a second-floor terrace that offers an excellent view of Lake Norman. The property comes with two garages - a one-car garage and a three-car garage. It also includes a fenced yard, a ground gas grill, and central heating and cooling systems.(Realty Today)(3-12-2014)
Kenseth wins Budweiser Duel 1: #20-Matt Kenseth won the first Budweiser Duel qualifying race for the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway followed by #4-Harvick, #5-Kahne, #9-Ambrose and #88-Earnhardt Jr. Four drivers deep in 2013 owners points or low qualifying speed raced into the Daytona 500: #98-Wise (6th), #26-Whitt(12th), #10-Patrick(14th) and #23-Bowman (15th). #14-Stewart races into the Daytona 500, finishing 11th, which assures a spot for #41-Busch at least via a past champions provisional. Pole winner #3-Dillon faded midway thru the race and finished 19th, but will start on the pole for the Daytona 500. Four drivers who didn't race into the Daytona 500 will make the race via speed or 2013 owners points (provisional spot): #55-Vickers, #22-Logano, #17-Stenhouse Jr and #18-Busch. #30-Kligerman, #36-Sorenson and #87-Nemechek could still make the race depending on the finish of the 2nd Duel. #95-McDowell will not race in the Daytona 500.
UPDATE: #4-Harvick's Chevy didn't pass post-race inspection after exceeding the split on the trackbar. So Harvick is moved to the 24th finishing spot and all the other drivers move up a spot, so #55-Vickers is now in the Daytona 500. Harvick will either have to use a provisional (11th in owners points) or get in on speed 26th fastest, which seems unlikely.
See race results on the Budwesier Duel 1 Race Results (revised) page (pdf)(2-20-2014)
Wiley X Sponsoring 14 NASCAR Drivers: Wiley X, Inc. has announced its team of sponsored NASCAR drivers. Among the Wiley X Pro Racing Team this year are proven champions, racing legends, perennial fan favorites and up-and-coming stars. Among Wiley X's stable of sponsored NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are #20-Matt Kenseth, #99-Carl Edwards, #4-Kevin Harvick, #22-Joey Logano and #16-Greg Biffle. These drivers have been selected not only for their racing skills, but for their ability to serve as ambassadors for the Wiley X sunglasses brand. Wiley X will also be sponsoring drivers Aric Almirola, Ron Hornaday Jr., Michael McDowell, Joe Nemechek, John Hunter Nemechek, David Ragan, Joey Coulter and Chad Hackenbracht. Fifteen-year-old racing protégé Gray Gaulding, who signed with Wiley X last year, is also an important part of the team. Wiley X is also the official sunglass of Roush Fenway Racing.(NSSN)(2-12-2014)
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)
Races (19+1*) that Husky Tools/Home Depot is scheduled to be the sponsor in 2013:
Phoenix - 3/3
Bristol - 3/17
Martinsville - 4/7
Kansas - 4/21
Charlotte, All-Star Race* - 5/18
Pocono - 6/9
Michigan - 6/16
Sonoma - 6/23
Daytona - 7/6
Pocono - 8/3
Watkins Glen - 8/11
Atlanta - 9/1
Richmond - 9/7
New Hampshire - 9/22, 500th start
Dover - 9/29, Home Depot "Lets Do This"
Talladega - 10/20
Texas - 11/3
Races (17+1) that Dollar General is scheduled to be the sponsor in 2013:
Daytona, Sprint Unlimited* - 2/16
Daytona 500 - 2/24
Las Vegas - 3/10
Auto Club - 3/24
Texas - 4/13
Richmond - 4/27
Dover - 6/2
Kentucky - 6/29
New Hampshire - 7/14
Indy - 7/28
Michigan - 8/18
Bristol - 8/24
Chicago - 9/15
Kansas - 10/6
Charlotte - 10/12
Martinsville - 10/27
Phoenix - 11/10
Homestead - 11/17
Dollar General increases sponsorship of Kenseth: Dollar General and Joe Gibbs Racing announced they have expanded their partnership agreement for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based retailer will increase its sponsorship to 27 races with Matt Kenseth and the #20 team, up from 17 in 2013. As one of the top contenders for the Sprint Cup Series Championship, Kenseth celebrated seven wins in 2013 - more wins than any other driver in the series. Dollar General will again get the opportunity to showcase its brand for the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway where Kenseth is a two-time Daytona 500 winner. Dollar General's increased 27-race partnership for 2014 will also include the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as well as highlight Sprint Cup Series events at Talladega Superspeedway in May, Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July, the final race before the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Richmond International Speedway, the Chase kick-off race at Chicagoland Speedway and the October event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With the additional 10 races in which Matt Kenseth will drive the Dollar General #20 Toyota Camry in 2014, the major discount retailer looks to continue its consumer activation by driving sales and customer loyalty.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(12-2-2013)
Johnson, Busch Kenseth getting most TV coverage: According to data compiled by Joyce Julis, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth & Kyle Busch have accounted for 40% of all driver mentions during NASCAR telecasts though the Kansas race this year:
Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season through Kansas (Race #30).(Joyce Julius)(10-23-2013)
Kenseth crashes in Texas testing: #20-Matt Kenseth had his testing at Texas Motor Speedway cut short when he crashed his car because of an issue with his front right tire. Two days after losing his NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead with a 20th-place finish at Talladega, Kenseth had the session-ending crash Tuesday during a week-delayed Texas test that includes the top eight drivers in the points standings. "Well, it was up and down. It ended down," Kenseth said. "We just had a tire problem and crashed, so we're done for the test. ... When you run nine laps and one blows apart for no reason, that's always a cause for concern for sure." Kenseth said the car he crashed in turn one wasn't the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota he plans to race at the high-banked, 1.5-mile Texas track on Nov. 3, which comes after Sunday's race at Martinsville. "No, she's at home safe ready to get to the track," Kenseth said. There are 16 drivers from five teams taking part in a three-day test at Texas that goes through Wednesday. There were 11 hours of testing scheduled Tuesday, with another full day Wednesday.(Associated Press)(10-22-2013)
Kenseth joins fight against Alzheimer's: #20-Matt Kenseth recently directed a $25,000 gift from the Citizen Watch Company (whom Kenseth represents as a brand ambassador) to the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. "Citizen wanted to make a significant donation to a charity of our choice, so we decided to help the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center," Kenseth said. "Our family knows first-hand the terrible effects of Alzheimer's. Hopefully, through donations such as these we can fund research dedicated to furthering our understanding of this disease and working toward a cure."(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-13-2013)
Kenseth Pursues Chase History In Dover: Matt Kenseth quietly is in pursuit of Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup history. Okay - maybe not so quietly. Winning the opening two races of the 2013 Chase qualifies as making some noise; a lot of noise. A victory in Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway will give Kenseth title to the Chase's first opening "triple." Others have tried and failed: Greg Biffle in 2008 and Tony Stewart in 2011. Biffle's streak ended in Kansas, where he finished third. Stewart, despite finishing 25th at Dover, went on to win his third championship. Kenseth twice has won at the "Monster Mile," most recently in the spring of 2011. He's led four of the past five races and logged eight top-five finishes from 2008 through spring of 2012.
That was then - with Roush Fenway Racing, in whose Fords Kenseth won the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion - and this is now. Kenseth's first trip to Dover in the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was a tease. He qualified fourth and led 29 laps before being relegated to a 40th-place finish by engine failure. Kenseth's New Hampshire victory was his seventh of the season extending a record campaign. His previous best season was 2002 in which Kenseth won five times. JGR teammate Denny Hamlin is the most recent NASCAR Sprint Cup driver to win eight times in a season (2010). To reach that number Kenseth will have to keep the pressure on JGR partner Kyle Busch, who just as easily could be the driver on the long end of a two-race Chase winning streak. Busch chased Kenseth to the checkered flag at Chicagoland and again in New Hampshire and stands second in the standings, 14 points off the lead.
Busch obviously has the fire power to end his teammate's streak - especially at Dover, where he likewise has won twice, finished fourth in June and led 302 laps of last September's AAA 400. Right now, second place is just fine with Busch, who has more than made up for failing to qualify for last year's Chase with his best-ever postseason start. "I've said it for years, if I could finish second in every single Chase race, I'd take it and win a championship - than to win just one Chase race," he said. "It's all about the prize at the end, and I think this team is really focused on that."(NASCAR)(9-28-2013)
Orange colors for Kenseth at Dover: #17-Matt Kenseth will run the orange colors or Home Depot at Dover, promoting the saying "Lets Do This". See images of the scheme on the #20 Team Schemes page.(9-27-2013)
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)
Kenseth wins New Hampshire: #20-Matt Kenseth won the Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for his 2nd win in a row, 7th of 2013, and 31st career win. He becomes only the second driver (with Richard Petty) to win in his 500th series start. He also becomes the third driver to win the opening two races of the Chase (Biffle did it in 2008 and Stewart in 2011).
#18-Busch finished 2nd (as he did last week in Chicago) followed by #16-Biffle, #48-Johnson, #1-McMurray, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #55-Vickers, #31-Burton, #99-Edwards, and #56-Truex, Jr.
Pole sitter #39-Newman led the first 2 laps of the race, but finished 16th.
The worst finishing Chase driver was #5-Kahne who had an accident late and finished 37th.
There were 19 lead changes among 11 drivers and 7 cautions for 37 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 107.573mph. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial New Hampshire Race Results page (pdf) and check out the New Hampshire Penalty Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the New Hampshire Official Race & Points Report (pdf)(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)
Milestone starts this weekend: #14-Mark Martin, #20-Matt Kenseth and #38-David Gilliland will all hit milestones this weekend - 875th NSCS start for Martin, 500th NSCS start for Kenseth and 250th start for Gilliland. Martin, who is subbing for Tony Stewart, is fifth on the all-time series starts list behind only Richard Petty (1,185), Ricky Rudd (906), Terry Labonte (885) and Dave Marcis (883).(NASCAR)
AND Current points leader, Matt Kenseth, is set to earn a career milestone this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when he looks to make his 500th Sprint Cup Series start in Sunday's Sylvania 300. Kenseth made his debut in the series in 1998, and has spent 14 full seasons at NASCAR's top level. Kenseth will be driving a special 500th start paint scheme aboard his #20 Home Depot Husky Toyota for this weekend's race events in Loudon, and will be looking to earn his seventh win of the season in this milestone start.(Joe Gibbs Racing), see an image of the car on the #20 team paint schemes page.(9-19-2013)
Kenseth wins Chicago: #20-Matt Kesenth won the GEICO 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway for his 6th win of 2013 and 30th career win.
#18-Busch finished 2nd followed by #29-Harvick, #78-Busch, #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon, #2-Keselowski, #17-Stenhouse, Jr., #15-Bowyer, and #39-Newman.
The start of the race was delayed about 90 minutes because of rain. Rain then started again on lap 109, causing a red flag of 5 hours 10 minutes before the race resumed.
Pole sitter #22-Logano lost an engine cylinder just past halfway. He fell out of the race shortly after and finished 37th.
Chase driver #88-Earnhardt, Jr. also lost an engine and finished 35th.
There were 25 lead changes among 16 drivers and 9 cautions for 46 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 125.855mph. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Chicago Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Chicago Penalty Report (pdf).(9-15-2013)
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)
Ross Kenseth to make ARCA debut: Ross Kenseth, the 20-year-old son of 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #20-Matt Kenseth, will attempt to make his first ARCA Racing Series start on Sunday, Aug. 25, at Madison International Speedway. Driving the #52 Blain's Farm & Fleet Chevrolet for Ken Schrader Racing, Ross Kenseth's ARCA debut will occur just 100 miles from his hometown of Little Chute, Wis., and only 20 miles from Cambridge, Wis., the home of his famous father.(RossKenseth.com)(8-13-2013)
Kyle Busch calls Newman 'idiot': #78-Kurt Busch kept his cool after being involved in a wreck with Ryan Newman that ended his chances of winning Sunday's Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire, but his younger brother didn't. #18-Kyle Busch took several shots at Newman, who earlier in the week learned this would be his last season with Stewart-Haas Racing. "I really hate it that Kurt got tore up and I felt like he had the best car here today," Kyle said to ESPN of his brother, who led a race-high 102 laps. "He was definitely good. He could definitely roll the long runs for sure and I was proud of those guys, but man just stupidity. I mean Ryan Newman is the biggest stupid idiot out here. And he's a big ogre and he can do whatever he wants because he can probably kick anybody's butt, so no sense in getting into a fight with him. But glad he is out of a job." The incident occurred on lap 226 of 302. It turned a potential win into a 31st-place finish that dropped Kurt from ninth to 14th in the standings. Kurt didn't mention Newman after the incident, but said he got hit from behind. The driver behind him was #20-Matt Kenseth. Newman, who finished 39, said Kurt took himself out. "I guess [Kenseth] had a little influence on it," Newman said. "We were kind of in a bad spot having a little bit older tires. ... Just a lot of disrespect from a bunch of guys on restarts. What comes around goes around."(ESPN)(7-15-2013)
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)
Kenseth wins Kentucky: #20-Matt Kenseth won the Quaker State 400 rain delayed Sprint Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway for his 4th win of 2013, 1st ever win at Kentucky and 28th career win. On the last pit stop during caution, the #20 team only took fuel, came out with the lead and won the race. #48-Johnson led the most laps with 182 of 267 laps
#1-McMurray finished 2nd followed by #15-Bowyer, #22-Logano, #18-Busch, #78-Busch, #56-Truex Jr, #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson and #29-Harvick.
The race was pushed back from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon due to rain.
On lap 47, #78-Busch tried to pass #2-Keselowski on the apron, when he came back on the track, he drifted hard into the #2, who spun and came back up into the track and got hit by #16-Biffle, #93-Kvapil and #7-Blaney. Others involved #27-Menard and #33-Cassill.
Pole sitter, #88-Earnhardt Jr. led 11 laps, but around lap 37, he hit the remains of a blown tire from #11-Hamlin which did some damage to the nose & grill on the car. The team made numerous repairs and he finished 12th.
On lap 148, #11-Hamlin had a tire go down and smacked the wall, really hurts his Chase chances. Hamlin was taken to the infield care center at the track to get checked out. Hamlin said he is ok, banged his knee, bell rung, didn't feel good when he wnet to the care center, felt much better afterwards. Back feels fine.
On lap 247 on the resatrt #48-Johnson was 2nd, came off turn 1 and came down on #22-Lagaon, they didn't touch, but the #48 spun and caused a caution, falling to the rear. Johnson rallied to finish 9th.
There were 11 lead changes among 6 drivers and 10 cautions for 42 yellow flag laps and a short red flag to clean up the track after a wreck.
The average speed was 131.948mph. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Kentucky Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Kentucky Penalty Report (pdf).
For Official Results & Points, see the Official Kentucky Race and Points Report.(6-30/7-1-2013)
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)
Denis McGlynn explains JGR appeal: Denis McGlynn had a simple explanation why an appeals panel sided with Joe Gibbs Racing and eased penalties levied against the organization by NASCAR: The harsh punishment simply did not fit the small infraction. McGlynn, CEO of Dover International Speedway, was part of a three-person National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel that significantly reduced NASCAR's punishment of JGR for having an illegal part in #20-Matt Kenseth's race-winning engine at Kansas. "The penalty was so severe for what was, in our opinion, a minor infraction," McGlynn said Thursday. McGlynn said the panel entered the appeal "thinking with more flexibility" because penalties against Penske Racing had been reduced a week earlier by chief appellate officer John Middlebrook.
"Yes, the engine was out spec very, very marginally," McGlynn said. "There were three independent affidavits or personal testimony from engine builders who testified that infraction gave no advantage to the team. In fact, the other push rods were all overweight." In retrospect, McGlynn said the panel should not have allowed the win to count toward Chase eligibility because the engine had an illegal part. McGlynn said he reached out that day to NASCAR President Mike Helton and apologized if he made his day more difficult. "He said we did," McGlynn said, chuckling. "But it's just one of those things. We're on that panel for a purpose."(Associated Press/ESPN)(5-31-2013)
Kenseth voted 1st Qtr Driver of the Year award: NASCAR's Matt Kenseth crushed the opposition to win the first quarter Driver of the Year Award 2013. The 2003 Sprint Cup Champion scored twice the points of his nearest rivals in a vote by an elite panel of American broadcasters and journalists. In racing terms Kenseth rolled off the hauler quickly in his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing. In the first quarter ending May 12th he scored three wins (Las Vegas, Kansas and Darlington), two poles and led 781 laps. The usually droll Wisconsin native was moved and a little surprised when he heard the news. "It's always an honor whenever you're selected for any kind of award from the media or the fans," Kenseth said. "I never even thought of receiving this award, so it's pretty cool to have been selected for this. In the voting Kenseth, who drives the No. 20 Dollar General/Home Depot Husky Toyota Camry, had ten first-place ballots and totaled 110 points according to the Driver of the Year points system. Canada's James Hinchcliffe, who drives the Go Daddy Dallara-Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport in the IndyCar series, had one first-place vote and tallied 55 points. Kyle Busch, one of Kenseth's teammates, a threat to win on any NASCAR track finished third with two first-place votes and 50 points. Takuma Sato, the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race, also had one first-place vote. A total of 15 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting. In its' 47th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique. The panel of 18 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. determines the winner. Four panelists did not vote this time. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Kenseth will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a race weekend at to be determined.(DOTY)(5-23-2013)
Kenseth wins at Darlington: #20-Matt Kenseth won the Bojangles' Southern 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway for his 3rd win of 2013, 1st win at Darlington and 27th career win. He took the lead from #18-Busch with 13 laps to go and pulled away to win by more than 3 seconds. Kenseth was running with Wally Brown acting as his crew chief while Jason Ratcliff served his one race suspension.
#11-Hamlin, in his first full race back since being injured at Auto Club Speedway, finished 2nd followed by #24-Gordon (his 300th career top-5 finish), #48-Johnson, #29-Harvick, #18-Busch (who dominated much of the race, leading 265 laps, before fading late), #99-Edwards, #42-Montoya, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., and #39-Newman.
Pole sitter #78-Busch struggled with an ill-handling car and finished 14th.
A long stretch of green flag laps put as few at 10 cars on the lead lap at one point, before late cautions allowed 17 drivers to finish on the lead lap.
There were 9 lead changes among 4 drivers and 5 cautions for 25 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 141.383mph. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Darlington Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Darlington Penalty Report (pdf)
And see the Official Darlington Race and Points Report.
Wally Brown to serve as Kenseth's crew chief: Two former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chiefs and an engineer will begin interim roles atop the pit box this weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Darlington Raceway. Kevin Buskirk and Steve Reis have been named to fill the crew chief roles for Penske Racing's two Cup teams beginning with this week's Bojangles' Southern 500. For Joe Gibbs Racing, former Cup crew chief Wally Brown will be calling the shots for the #20 team and driver Matt Kenseth.(NASCAR.com)(5-10-2013)
Gibbs' penalties reduced by appeals panel UPDATE: According to reports from media at the NASCAR Research & Development Center, the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel has modified the penalties accessed to Matt Kenseth's #20 team:
Kenseth's points penalty has been reduced from 50 to 12;
Joe Gibb's owner points penalty has been reduced from 50 to 12;
Gibb's suspension was eliminiated;
The marnufacturer's point penalty to Toyota has been increased from 5 to 7 points;
Kenseth's win at Kansas will now count for the Chase;
Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff's suspension has been reduced from 6 races to 1. His fine remains at $200,000.
The appeal panel consisted of Mark Arute (Stafford Motor Speedway), Denis McGlynn (Dover Raceway) and Jack Housby (former team owner).(5-8-2013)
UPDATE: The National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel today heard and considered the appeal of the#20 Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. The penalties concern Sections 12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing; 12-4J: Any determination by NASCAR Officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to the NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR rule book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event; and 20-5.5.3E: Only solid magnetic steel connecting rods with a minimum weight of 525.0 grams will be permitted. Connecting rod failed to meet minimum connecting rod weight. The penalties stemmed from a post-race engine inspection April 23 at the NASCAR Research and Development Center. The Appellants appealed all penalties. The Appellants also requested and were granted a deferral of the suspensions until such time as the hearing could be convened. Upon hearing the testimony, it was a unanimous decision by the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel to amend the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The amendments are as follows:
• Crew chief Jason Ratcliff: The $200,000 fine remains intact; NASCAR suspension now covers one championship points event. In addition, he will be placed on NASCAR probation until the completion of the next three championship points events following his reinstatement;
• Car owner Joe Gibbs: Loss of championship owner points has been reduced to 12. All other components of his penalty were rescinded;
• Driver Matt Kenseth; Loss of championship driver points has been reduced to 12. All other components of his penalty were rescinded;
• Manufacturer: The loss of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series manufacturer championship points has been increased to seven.(NASCAR)(5-8-2013)
Kenseth penalty appeal to be heard May 8: On Wednesday, May 8 at 9:00am/et at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel will hear the Joe Gibbs Racing appeal of penalties assessed to the #20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. On April 23 following the Kansas Speedway race weekend, this team was penalized for infractions discovered during post-race engine inspection at the R&D Center.(NASCAR)(4-29-2013)
NASCAR and Gibbs talk about #20 team penalties: NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton discussed NASCAR's penalties to the #20 team Friday afternoon:
PEMBERTON: As everyone knows there are a few things that are understood in the garage area that are big. When you talk about engines, you talk about tires, and you talk about fuel. That's a common thread that's been understood, and it's stood the test of time for the last 65 years. Don't mess with those areas, and the penalties are severe. But when you look in the case of an engine, the only time we really get a chance to look internally at an engine is post-race. Some of our most severe penalties over time have surrounded engine infractions.
Q. Why was the team penalized rather than the manufacturer?
PEMBERTON: That's tough too. Because when you look at, in their particular situation, we probably don't know all the details, but we do know they come from an outside vendor for the most part, and I don't know how you would go -- it's very difficult to go to an outside vendor and penalize them whether it's springs or shocks or parts that are bought and bolted on race cars. That's why in today's world we all know and relate to the fact that it stops at the crew chief and stops at the owner and stops at the organization that is here to compete.
PEMBERTON: It's a part that didn't meet spec. It's not a gray area. There are numbers in the books. If you look at numbers in the books and what's going on in the garage area and across our national series those numbers for a connecting rod have been in the book since around the time we went to a single-engine rule, which is probably 12 years ago. So you take that and the amount of engines and engine components in the garage area, and then every given weekend it's done right the vast majority of the time.(NASCAR)
AND #20 team owner Joe Gibbs also addressed the media Friday at Richmond:
Joe Gibbs: I want to say that we value our NASCAR partnership very much. We've been together, working together for 22 years and we value our relationship with them. Certainly, we do not want to be on the wrong side of any rules. That's our goal. I wanted to emphasize that. I want to make a point [that] we have a great partner in TRD (Toyota Racing Development). Over the six years we've been together at different times -- this is a big deal, a lot of things come up -- NASCAR's a big deal for us and a big deal for TRD. It's what we live. Through the process over these six years at different times we've stood behind them as we go through something -- in support and be there with them. At different times, they have been behind us. That's what good partners do. We think we have a great partnership with them and we're going to stand together and work our way through this and again try to handle it the right way. We believe that we are going to be together for a long time. I think everyone at this point has probably heard that in tearing down our motor after last week's win, one of the connecting rods was found to be light. That goes against the rules and we understand that. We know that there's going to be a penalty for that. What we're going to appeal is the severity of the penalties. In looking at that motor and where all the connecting rods were placed and the weight of all the connecting rods, when you have motor experts look at it basically what they would say is there is no advantage to having that one light rod in that motor. That's one thing that is very important to me is the intent here was not to get an unfair advantage in any way. That's very important to me. The other point that I would like to make is since we started out this year there has been 10 TRD motors torn down -- eight of them have been Joe Gibbs Racing motors. Nothing with those other motors has found to be wrong in those motors in anyway. Those motors were found to be legal there. I think basically that's what our appeal is going to be. We want to go forward and go through that process and what we'll be appealing will be the severe nature of the penalties."(Toyota Motorsports)(4-27-2013)
Kenseth calls penalties unfair: #20-Matt Kenseth talked to the media Thursday morning at Richmond:
What was your reaction to the penalties NASCAR announced yesterday? Do you think they were severe?
"I think the penalties are grossly unfair. I think it's borderline shameful. There's no argument the part was wrong. They weighed it and it was wrong. However, there is an argument that there certainly was no performance advantage. If you can find any unbiased, reputable, knowledgeable engine-builder and if they saw the facts, what all the rods weighed. The average weight of all the rods was well above the minimum -- 2.5 (grams) above the minimum at least. There was one in there that was way heavy. There was no performance advantage, there was no intent, it was a mistake. JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) had no control over it. Certainly to crush Joe Gibbs like that -- to say they can't win an owner's championship with the 20 this year is just, I can't wrap my arms around that, it just blows me away. And the same with Jason Ratcliff (crew chief). I don't feel bad for myself at all, but for Jason and Joe, I just couldn't feel any worse. There's no more reputable, honest hard-working guys with good reputations more so than those two -- I feel really bad for them."
Do you expect a positive response from the appeals process?
"I don't know. I've never been through it so I honestly don't know. That's the hope, that's why it's setup. You've seen some examples of both. I don't know. That's what the hope is, that's why it's setup. We'll just go through that and see what happens and see whatever the final verdict is -- we'll have to live with that and move on."(Toyota Racing PR)(4-25-2013)
TRD Statment on #20 penalties: TRD Statement: "During NASCAR's routine post-race tear down of Matt Kenseth's race-winning car and engine from Kansas Speedway, one of our engine connecting rods weighed in approximately three grams under the legal minimum weight of 525 grams. None of the other seven connecting rods were found to be under the minimum weight. We take full responsibility for this issue with the engine used by the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) team this past Sunday in Kansas -- JGR is not involved in the process of selecting parts or assembling the Cup Series engines. It was a simple oversight on TRD's part and there was no intent to deceive, or to gain any type of competitive advantage. Toyota is a company that was built on integrity, and that remains one of the guiding principles of the company. The goal of TRD has always been -- and will continue to be -- to build high-performance engines that are reliable, durable and powerful, and within the guidelines established by NASCAR."(TRD)(4-24-2013)
Kenseth's engine fails post race inspection UPDATE - penalties; team will appeal: The engine in #20-Matt Kenseth's race-winning car from Kansas failed inspection at NASCAR's Research and Development Center. NASCAR officials were discussing Wednesday what penalties to levy against Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing, multiple people familiar with the inspection told the AP on the condition of anonymity because no decision has been made. The engine failed because one of the connecting rods not meeting the minimum weight requirement. Kenseth drove the #20 Toyota to his second win of the season Sunday in Kansas. It is standard procedure for the race winning engine to go back to Concord for a thorough inspection. The JGR engines are supplied by Toyota Racing Development out of Costa Mesa, Calif., but NASCAR would hold the team responsible for any infractions.(Associated Press)(4-24-2013)
UPDATE: Penalties have been handed down to the #20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team as a result of rule violations discovered in the post-race engine inspection April 23 at the NASCAR Research and Development Center. The #20 car was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-5.5.3 (E) (Only magnetic steel connecting rods with a minimum weight of 525.0 grams will be permitted; connecting rod failed to meet the minimum connecting rod weight) of the 2013 rule book. As a result of this violation, NASCAR has assessed the following penalties:
• Crew chief Jason Ratcliff has been fined $200,000 and suspended from NASCAR until the completion of the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points events (a period of time that also includes the non-points NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race) and placed on probation until Dec. 31.
• Car owner Joe Gibbs has lost 50 championship car owner points; the first place finish from April 21 at Kansas Speedway will not earn bonus points toward the accumulated aggregate car owner points total after the completion of the first 26 events of the current season and will not be credited towards the eligibility for a car owner Wild Card position; has had the owner's license for the #20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car suspended until the completion of the next six championship points events, therefore being ineligible to receive championship car owner points during that period of time.
• Driver Matt Kenseth has lost 50 championship driver points; the Coors Light Pole award from April 19 at Kansas Speedway will not be allowed for eligibility into the 2014 Sprint Unlimited; the first place finish from April 21 at Kansas Speedway will not earn bonus points toward the accumulated aggregate driver points total after the completion of the first 26 events of the current season and will not be credited towards the eligibility for a driver Wild Card position.
• The loss of five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturer Championship points.
UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs Racing Statement: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is aware of the penalty issued by NASCAR today regarding the engine in our #20 car used in last week's Sprint Cup Series race in Kansas. It is our understanding that one of the eight connecting rods on the engine was ruled too light. We are working with our partners at TRD on this issue. In the meantime we will plan to appeal the penalty.(JGR)(4-24-2013)
Kenseth wins at Kansas: #20-Matt Kenseth won the STP 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway for his 2nd win of 2013, 2nd win at Kansas and 26th career win. Kenseth also led the most laps with 163. Kenseth won from the pole, making Kansas the third Sprint Cup Series race in a row the winner started on the pole, the first time since 1985 that has happened.
#5-Kahne finished 2nd, followed by #48-Johnson, #56-Truex Jr., #15-Bowyer, #2-Keselowski [was a lap down and lost some sheet metal on the rear of the car], #1-McMurray, #43-Almirola, #55-Martin and #27-Menard. #18-Busch, who started 5th in a backup car, spun twice, the 2nd time hitting the wall and hitting #22-Logano and finished 38th, Busch was going for his 5th top-five in a row.
There were 13 lead changes among 8 drivers and 8 cautions for 40 yellow flag laps. The average speed was 133.611mph.
Starting this season, NASCAR doesn't release the track attendance.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Kansas Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Kansas Penalty Report (pdf)
And see the Official Race and Points on the Kansas Official Race and Points Report page (pdf)
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)
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)
Kenseth wins at Las Vegas: #20-Matt Kenseth won the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his 1st win of 2013, 1st win with Job Gibbs Racing, 3rd win at Las Vegas and 25th career win. #5-Kahnefinished second followed by #2-Keselowski, #18-Busch, #99-Edwards, #48-Johnson, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #56-Truex, Jr., #29-Harvick, and #27-Menard.
Kenseth did not take any tires on his final pitstop to grab the lead and held Kahne off the rest of the race.
There were 22 lead changes among 8 drivers and 5 cautions for 25 yellow flag laps. The average speed was 146.287mph. Starting this season, NASCAR doesn't release the track attendance.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Las Vegas Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Phoenix Penalty Resport (pdf).
Only TWO Birthday winners EVER - Now THREE: Cale Yarborough and Kyle Busch are the only NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to ever win a points paying race on their birthday. Yarborough, birthday March 27, in 1977 at North Wilkesboro Speedway and a second time in 1983 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Kyle Busch won at Richmond on May 2, 2009, to become only the 2nd driver EVER to win on their birthday, and only the third time ever.
why do I bring this up? #20-Matt Kenseth's birthday is Sunday, March 10th and in his 13 Sprint Cup Series starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he has never raced at the 1.5-mile track on his birthday BUT has won two races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and was fastest in one of Thursday's practices. Kenseth's two wins came under the old track configuration in 2007. Kenseth won in 2003 and 2004.(3-9-2013)
UPDATE: Kenseth won the Kobalt Tools 400 Sunday on his 41st birthday and became the third driver to win on his birthday.(3-10-2013)
New look for the #20 at Phoenix: Sunday's 312-lap Subway Fresh Fit 500 will mark the premiere of the #20 Home Depot Husky Tools Toyota. Featuring the Husky brand's red and black colors, the #20 Toyota Camry will debut its new paint scheme on the track this weekend with veteran driver Matt Kenseth behind the wheel. With over 80 years of experience building the toughest hand tools, air compressors, air tools and tool storage products, Husky has what it takes to provide solutions you can count on. No one knows that better than The Home Depot, which is the only place you can find the complete selection of Husky. If there's ever a problem with your hand tool, you can be sure that they'll replace it. No hassle. No charge.(JGR), see image of the scheme on the #20 Team Schemes page.(2-27-2013)
Matt Kenseth "auditioned" spotters before picking his new one: Spotter Chris Osborne didn't know at the time that he was part of a two-month audition process conducted by driver Matt Kenseth and crew chief Jason Ratcliff. But the man who goes by the handle @crazy_spotter on Twitter passed the meticulous test admirably and now is installed as spotter for Kenseth and his new #20 Toyota team at Joe Gibbs Racing. One area of concern to the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, after he announced plans to leave Roush Fenway Racing and join the Gibbs organization, was finding a spotter to replace Mike Calinoff, who opted to remain with Roush Fenway. Calinoff and Kenseth had a rhythm and repartee that would be difficult to duplicate. That's why Kenseth and Ratcliff listened to hours of audio before making their choice. "I did a lot of research last year -- Jason and I did -- before we really interviewed or offered a job to a spotter," Kenseth told the NASCAR Wire Service on Friday at Daytona International Speedway. "I listened to a lot of different audio... I was so sick of listening to spotters and drivers and crew chiefs talking back and forth. "I just listened to a lot of audio from different races that we recorded, so I could listen to different spotters and their style, without them knowing that you're listening to them." More than anything else, Kenseth was looking for a spotter who fit his laid-back style. He found that in Osborne, who was spotter for the #22 car at Penske Racing.(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-23-2013)
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)
2013 silly season notes for #20-Matt Kenseth / Joe Gibs Racing: 2003 Champ Matt Kenseth comes over from Roush Fenway Racing to take over the #20 Toyota formerly driven by Joey Logano. Kenseth will be paired with crew chief Jason Ratcliff who became the crew cheif of the #20 team in 2012. Dollar General will step up to sponsor the #20 for 17 races and the familiar Home Depot colors will be replaced by the reddish colors of Home Depot's tool division, Husky, for 20 races. Kenseth will also have a new spotter after a decade with RFR's Mike Calinoff. It'll also be tough not putting a #17 in front of Kenseth's name any longer. See images of the Husky and Dollar General schemes on my #20 Team Schemes page. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(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)
Races (12) that Dollar General is scheduled to be the sponsor in 2012:
Las Vegas - 3/11
Auto Club - 3/25
Texas - 4/7
Talladega - 5/6
Charlotte - 5/27
Kentucky - 6/30
Daytona - 7/7
Indianapolis - 7/29
Bristol - 8/25
Chicago - 9/16
Kansas - 10/21
Phoenix - 11/11
Home Depot's Husky to be primary sponsor on the #20 in 2013: The Home Depot announces it will utilize the home improvement store's proprietary tool brand, Husky, as the primary sponsor for the Joe Gibbs Racing #20 Toyota in each of its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races during the 2013 season. Through this partnership The Home Depot looks to reward its customers through Husky Days of Giving, a Facebook contest offering the chance to win great Husky products daily as well as a grand prize to be awarded at the end of the promotion. Fans can enter once daily between now and December 24 for their chance to win. Husky will be the primary sponsor on JGR's #20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry in 20 races during the 2013 season and will remain the associate sponsor when Dollar General serves as the car's primary sponsor (Joe Gibbs Racing), for more info on the contest, see Jayski's NASACR Contest page, see an image of the car on my #20 Team Schemes page.(12-11-2012)
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)
Logano set for his final race with JGR: This weekend, Joey Logano will climb aboard the #20 Home Depot/Red Beacon Toyota for the final time. When the green flag falls on Sunday, Logano will begin his final race in the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing ride after four years full-time behind the wheel of the famed car. At season's end, Logano will be moving on to Penske Racing while former Sprint Cup Series Champion and two-time Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth will take of the seat of the #20 for 2013. Once again this weekend, the familiar orange Home Depot colors will be replaced with a new red #20 on the track. Redbeacon will join The Home Depot as primary sponsors of the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and driver Logano at Homeastead.(JGR)(11-17-2012)
Dollar General expanding sponsoring of Joe Gibbs Racing UPDATE Vickers full ride: As many companies are trending away from full-season sponsorships in the Sprint Cup Series, Dollar General is moving toward a 36-race commitment. CEO Rick Dreiling said the discount retailer will increase its spending on NASCAR for the sixth consecutive year, backing Joe Gibbs Racing's #20 Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth for 17 races starting with next year's Daytona 500. That's up from 12 races this season. "Our goal is to grow into a full-time Cup ride," Dreiling told USA Today Sports. "But it's a little soon to commit if that's going to be next year or two to four years from now. That's all down the road." Dollar General also will sponsor a full-time car fielded by JGR for Brian Vickers in the Nationwide Series next season. Dreiling, who wouldn't disclose figures but called the deal part of an "orderly, methodical growth," said stock-car racing is the company's only national sports sponsorship because of internal marketing research that indicates its customers are 30 times more likely to be NASCAR fans than average consumers. Team owner Joe Gibbs said Home Depot, which has been sponsoring the No. 20 since 1999 but scaled back to 24 races this season, will pick up the other 19 races for Kenseth in 2013. JGR still is seeking more primary sponsorship in Sprint Cup to expand to a fourth car, but it will grow on the Nationwide Series in 2013. Vickers will drive one of three full-time cars next season on the second-tier circuit for JGR, which fielded two full-time Camrys this year.(USA Today)(11-6-2012)
UPDATE - Brian Vickers to run full NNS season with JGR: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that it has signed a new expanded partnership agreement with Dollar General for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The new agreement means Matt Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, will drive Dollar General's familiar yellow and black #20 car in 17 Sprint Cup Races next season beginning with the Daytona 500 in February. In addition, Dollar General will return to the NASCAR Nationwide Series and will compete with a full championship season sponsorship with Brian Vickers at the wheel. Vickers will return to the Nationwide Series on a fulltime basis in 2013, 10 years after he won three Nationwide races and became the youngest driver to win the Series Championship at the age of 20.(JGR)(11-6-2012)
Logano turning red for three races: This weekend, the familiar orange Home Depot colors will be replaced with a new red #20 on the track. Redbeacon will join The Home Depot as primary sponsors of the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and driver Joey Logano this weekend at Martinsville, as well as the remaining races at Texas and Homestead. Redbeacon, a fully owned subsidiary of The Home Depot, is a free online and mobile resource for consumers seeking reliable home-service professionals. By simply requesting a service such as a maid, plumber, electrician, painter and more at redbeacon.com or through Redbeacon's iPhone and Android apps, consumers receive competitive price quotes from qualified local pros in their area.(JGR), see an image of the car on the #20 team paint schemes page.(10-24-2012)
Dollar General colors return to the #20: The black and yellow colors of Dollar General return to the side of the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend in Kansas Speedway, the next to last race with the DG colors on the car this season. It's been a successful year with Dollar General as a sponsor with Joe Gibbs Racing and Logano. The 22-year-old has captured four wins in the NASCAR Nationwide Series flying the black and yellow DG colors. On the Cup side, Logano has grabbed one top-five and four top-10 finishes while driving the #20 Dollar General Toyota. Dollar General will race with Logano in Kansas this weekend and then will make their final appearance of the season in the next to last race of the year, coming in just a few weeks at Phoenix International Raceway.(JGR), see an image of the car on the #20 team paint schemes page.(10-18-2012)
Joe Gibbs Racing Fall FanFest - October 12: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Fall FanFest will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its team headquarters in Huntersville, NC on Friday, Oct. 12. JGR NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers-Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano- will be available to sign autographs. JGR NASCAR Nationwide and development series drivers will also be available for autographs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. More info on my NASCAR Charities page.(9-27-2012)
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)
No plans to for Logano to move to the #22 before 2013: in part from a Penske Racing Media Teleconference featuring Joey Logano and Tim Cindric, one of the questions was about the possibility of Joey Logano moving to the #22 Penske Racing Dodge before the 2012 season ends, if Logano fails to make the Chase:
Q.) J.D. Gibbs said yesterday that he didn't think there would be (a chance) that Joey would get in the 22 car at all this year. I'm curious if Joey didn't make the Chase whether you would try to make that happen?
TIM CINDRIC: It's not something we've really even considered. I think I'd probably have to agree with J.D. It would be a pretty complicated situation. I think all of our sights are set on starting 2013 fresh in Daytona. Obviously we're making the move to Ford, so we have a lot of things that are going to be different in terms of 2013. We have a consistent group in Paul Wolfe and Brad. We can keep the consistency. Hopefully we're talking about a championship at that point in time, as well.(Penske Racing Media Conference)(9-6-2012)
It's Official - Joe Logano signs with Penske Racing: Penske Racing announced that Joey Logano will join the team in 2013. He will drive the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Logano, 22, a two-time Sprint Cup Series winner who is currently competing in his fourth full season, will begin a multi-year agreement with Penske Racing. "I am very excited to join Penske Racing and begin the next phase of my career," said Logano. "I am looking forward to the opportunity as it will be an honor to drive for Roger Penske and race for wins and championships. I am also proud to represent Shell-Pennzoil as they are a respected global brand that does a great job of activating in the sport on and off the track."
"Joey Logano is a very talented driver who has already achieved a lot of success at a young age," said Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing. "Joey is a great fit for our organization and we look forward to building on his success as he takes his place behind the wheel of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford."
"We welcome Joey Logano to the Shell-Pennzoil team, and we know he will do a great job representing our brands and Penske Racing in 2013 and beyond," said Lisa Davis, president, Shell Lubricants Americas. "Joey is clearly a special talent on the race track, and we look forward to working with him off the track as well."
Logano will join Brad Keselowski, a three-time race winner and championship contender in 2012, and the #2 Miller Lite Ford team to form a potent combination for Penske Racing in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(Penske Racing)(9-4-2012)
It's Official - Matt Kenseth signs with Joe Gibbs Racing: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that 2003 NASCAR Cup Series Champion and two-time Daytona 500 winner, Matt Kenseth, has signed with the team to drive the #20 Toyota Camry with sponsorship from Dollar General and The Home Depot starting in 2013. "We are thrilled to be able to officially announce Matt will join Joe Gibbs Racing starting at the conclusion of this season," said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Everyone knows what he has accomplished in our sport as a champion and a consistent winner. He is well respected in the garage and his experience and knowledge will be extremely beneficial to our entire organization, especially Denny and Kyle." Kenseth is currently third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings with a win, nine top-five and 14 top-ten finishes thus far this season. Over the course of his career he has won a total of 22 Cup races while earning 122 top-five and 223 top-ten finishes.
"I'm excited to announce what the next chapter in my career will be," said Kenseth. "I remain totally committed to this season and working with my current team toward a championship and having this settled will only help my focus. JGR is an impressive organization with tremendous leadership and strong support from sponsors like Dollar General and The Home Depot. I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to move from one great situation into another starting in 2013."(JGR), Gibbs also said during the press conference that Jason Ratcliff would remain as the crew chief for the #20 team.(9-4-2012)
JGR to announce Kenseth as driver next week? UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing plans to announce next Tuesday [Sept. 4th] that Matt Kenseth will be its newest driver beginning in 2013. The 2003 Sprint Cup champion will take over the #20 team driven by Joey Logano with Home Depot as his primary sponsor. JGR president J.D. Gibbs said on Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway he still held out hope of re-signing Logano and adding a fourth team if sponsorship can be found. Logano is not expected to be a part of Tuesday's press conference. Logano also is a candidate for the #22 Cup team at Penske Racing. He recently said he was not interesting in a part-time Cup ride and full-time Nationwide Series ride that was one of his options at JGR. "He was OK with that until another opportunity came up," Gibbs said of Logano.(ESPN)(8-29-2012)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing will hold a press conference to announce Matt Kenseth as the driver of the #20 Toyota on Tuesday afternoon, September 4, 2012.(9-4-2012)
Logano sits out practices, will race Sunday: #20-Joey Logano had to sit both Cup practice sessions Saturday because of an illness. Michael McDowell, who failed to qualify for the AdvoCare 500, was still in Atlanta and agreed to take over behind the wheel for Logano to put a few miles on the #20 car. "I got some kind of stomach virus or food poisoning," Logano tweeted. "I'm hoping to be good enough to practice later." Logano added a hashtag with the phrase "nofun." Logano expects to be behind the wheel in the race, no matter what. He needs another win to possibly claim one of the two wild-card spots in the Chase for the championship.(Associated Press)(9-2-2012)
Penske says Logao a candidate for the #22 ride: The owner of Penske Racing acknowledged on Saturday that Joey Logano is a candidate to drive the #22 in 2013. Roger Penske also didn't rule out expanding from two to three cars and including Sam Hornish Jr., who has been in the #22 since AJ Allmendinger was suspended and ultimately released for violating NASCAR's substance-abuse policy, in the mix for next season. Penske said he hoped to have a decision by the Sept. 16 Chase opener at Chicagoland. Sources close to the situation said Logano, who is in the final year of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, is the front-runner for the #22. Logano told ESPN.com recently he has two offers for 2013, and that one was from JGR. The issue at JGR is finding a full-time sponsor. "He's obviously a candidate, but there's other good people, too, that people haven't talked about," Penske said before the Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. "We have a couple of rabbits." Penske would not expand on other potential candidates. Penske didn't rule out that Alliance Truck Parts, which sponsors Hornish's Nationwide car, could move up to Cup in 2013.(ESPN)(8-25-2012)
Gibbs says Logano's future still up in the air: #20-Joey Logano, 22, has been with JGR since he was 16. The organization has a lot invested in him and Logano has a lot invested in the organization. There are loyalty issues on both sides. But without a guarantee of sponsorship to drive a full season in 2013 and beyond, with primary sponsor Home Depot likely going to Matt Kenseth next year, the opportunity to latch on with Shell Pennzoil or another sponsor at Penske would be too good to pass up. Here's what we know: Logano has two offers on the table, including one from Gibbs. The JGR offer depends on sponsorship, and team owner Joe Gibbs said on ESPN on Wednesday that "everything is up in the air'' with Logano. Without directly addressing Kenseth, Gibbs said he hoped to be able to announce something in two weeks, which coincidentally would have the Cup series in Atlanta, the headquarters for Home Depot. Logano said last week he should have clarity in a few days to two weeks, with the two weeks now in the equation since a few days have passed. He also was noncommittal on whether he preferred to stay at JGR.(ESPN)(8-16-2012)
Penske hopes to name #22 2013 driver by Chicago: Roger Penske hopes to name a driver for his #22 NASCAR Sprint Cup entry [will be Ford] for the 2013 season before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins at Chicago on Sept. 16. "I've got five or six people that have contacted us," Penske said prior to the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen on Sunday. "We're going to see how Sam (Hornish Jr.) does. We have a certain amount of loyalty to him. We're trying to assess where we're at." Penske says he's pleased with Hornish's progress in the #22 Dodge. Hornish replaced AJ Allmendinger on July 7 after Allmendinger tested positive for amphetamine. Hornish has posted two top-20 finishes in the Cup car. His best result was 16th at Indianapolis. Several free agents have been mentioned as candidates for the ride, including Joey Logano and Ryan Newman, who drove for Penske prior to joining Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. As far Logano, who has been mentioned as a top candidate for the seat, Penske mentioned that the 22-year-old remains under contract to Joe Gibbs Racing.(FoxSports)(8-12-2012)
Logano says he has two offers: #20-Joey Logano is mulling offers for two full-time Sprint Cup rides next year, including one to remain at Joe Gibbs Racing, and expects to make a decision soon. "I've got a couple of offers," the 22-year-old driver said on Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he was promoting fall events. "I'm just trying to decipher what's the best for me. What's going to give me the most trophies and win the most races out of? I could be fairly close (to a decision). I could be a few weeks out. It all depends on the next couple of days, actually." Logano would not discuss the name of the other organization that has made an offer. The #22 at Penske Racing has been mentioned as a possibility since AJ Allmendinger was released following his suspension for failing a drug test. Penske Racing also might be considering adding a third team next year as it moves to Ford. Sam Hornish Jr. has been named Allmendinger's replacement for the foreseeable future. "There's only so many good teams out there," Logano said when asked directly about Penske Racing. He said he is not considering a part-time Cup ride. The Cup offer at Gibbs is dependent on finding sponsorship.(in part from ESPN)(8-9-2012)
Kenseth can't talk about 2013 deal yet but: Matt Kenseth will drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013, but according to multiple sources, the Sprint Cup points leader can't talk about it until mid- to late-August at the earliest due to a stipulation in his current contract with Roush Fenway Racing. Roush announced last month that the 2003 Sprint Cup champion was leaving after the 2012 season and would be replaced by reigning Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Kenseth confirmed at the time he has a deal for 2013, but declined to discuss details. RFR officials declined to comment on any portion of Kenseth's contract. Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs declined on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to comment on Kenseth's situation. But Gibbs said the goal was to have four teams in 2013, and that every effort was being made to re-sign Joey Logano, whose contract expires after this season, if sponsorship can be found. "We want him to retire at JGR," Gibbs said. "We're trying to figure out how to make all of that work." Sources said Kenseth would take over the Home Depot and likely Dollar General sponsors currently on Logano's #20 Toyota. They left open the possibility of Kenseth running the #20 or another number. Sources said JGR has looked at several options for Logano, from running a full-time Nationwide schedule and part-time Cup schedule to running a full-time Cup schedule with a part-time or full-time Nationwide slate. "We've talked a number of different potentials, but obviously we'd like him to be in Cup full-time," Gibbs said. Logano also has been shopping for other options in 2013. The #22 car at Penske Racing could become one spot with driver AJ Allmendinger indefinitely suspended for violating NASCAR's drug policy. Kenseth isn't talking to anybody, at least not about his future after Roush. "No," he recently said when asked if he could shed light on his 2013 plans. "I hoped to do it a couple of weeks ago. I don' t know when it's gonna happen. You guys will know the same time I do, I guess."(ESPN)(7-30-2012)
Dollar General and partners on the #20 at Indy: Dollar General vendor partners Ragu, Delsym, Huggies, STP, Colgate, Slim Jim, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Today and Always, Glad and Gildan will be featured on Joe Gibbs Racing's #No. 20 Toyota Camry this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (JGR), see images of the car on the #20 Team Schemes page.(7-26-2012)
Logano's quotes on future: from a Toyota Notes & Quotes Transcript:
Q) Do you feel more pressure to make the Chase or from the uncertainty of your future?
Logano: "I think you feel pressure from both ends. You want to be able to focus 100 percent on what you're doing -- right now, trying to make the Chase. During the week, we're trying to figure out what my future is going to be and I'm trying to prepare myself for the weekend and then when we get here, I put all that stuff in the back of my mind and then focus 100 percent on what I have going on this weekend in trying to win a race. I say it all the time -- winning races will make all the other stuff come along a lot quicker. We're getting there slowly but surely."
Q) Do you feel like you control your destiny more to make the Chase or determine your future? Logano: "I don't know. Obviously, racing itself on one side of it out there on the race track, you can only control so much of your destiny out there, but you can control it quite a bit. If you can control it on the racing side, you can control it on the other side too. As long as I keep doing what we've been doing on the race track with all the top-10s we've got and top-fives and with that win -- being near that Chase spot makes you want it a little bit more. We have to keep working on that."
Q) Have you made contact with Penske Racing for next season?
Logano: "Obviously, right now we look at all our options out there in trying to do whatever we can do to have the best opportunity for my future. That's talking to as many people as we can and seeing what's available."(Toyota Notes & Quotes)(7-13-2012)
Kenseth remains mum on team switch: For nearly two weeks, #17-Matt Kenseth has been hounded by one question. And moments after guiding his Harley-Davidson into Bristol Motor Speedway Tuesday afternoon, the NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader heard it again. Now that his profitable 14-year partnership with car owner Jack Roush is over, just what team will Kenseth drive for next season? Once again, Kenseth deftly danced around the answer. "We've been together forever with Roush," Kenseth said. "Three or four years ago we made a commitment to race together through 2012. That never got extended through 2013, so we will just race as hard as we can until the end of this season." The hottest rumor involves Kenseth landing at Joe Gibbs Racing. Meanwhile, defending Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will replace Kenseth in the familiar #17 Ford next season. Kenseth was in Bristol Tuesday as part of the NASCAR Winner's Circle program to promote the IRWIN Tools Night Race at BMS on Aug. 25. Along with NASCAR television personality Kyle Petty, Kenseth rode his motorcycle from Smokies Park in Sevierville to BMS with members of Rolling Thunder, a group made up mostly of military veterans. Rolling Thunder's purpose is to bring awareness to those military members who were prisoners of war or are missing in action. The 40-year-old Kenseth refused to offer any hints as to his future place of employment. He added that he hasn't discussed the issue with fellow competitors. "I really haven't talked to anyone about it, except for the parties involved," Kenseth said. "After Roush put the release out that I wasn't going to be back in 2013 and I got through last weekend, it was almost a relief in a way because the last two or three months have been somewhat stressful. I wasn't sure what I was going to do and what was going to happen. With all that being out there now, I can just concentrate on the season." #24-Jeff Gordon, who has been affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports since 1993, is the only NASCAR Sprint Cup driver who has a longer partnership than Kenseth and Roush.(Bristol Herald Courier)
BUT am hearing the Kenseth will be in the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with Home Depot and Dollar Genreal as the primary co-sponsors. Current driver Joey Logano could end up in a 4th JGR Toyota or could head elsewhere, such as the #22 Penske Racing Ford if A.J. Allmendinger doesn't return to that ride in 2013.(7-11-2012)
Logano says no change in his status: UPDATE: #20-Joey Logano didn't know anything more about his 2013 plans Friday than he did Tuesday morning before Roush Fenway Racing announced that Matt Kenseth was leaving its organization. Kenseth is expected to join Joe Gibbs Racing, either in a fourth car or as a replacement for Logano, who does not have a contract for next year. "I've heard nothing new," Logano said following qualifying at Kentucky Speedway. "We're still up in the air on a lot of things." Team president J.D. Gibbs said Wednesday that he would like Logano to remain at JGR long term but the sides don't have a deal done for 2013. Gibbs declined to discuss whether Kenseth was joining the organization. "We want (Logano) to be here forever," Gibbs said Wednesday. "That's kind of what we're working on. Until you have stuff laid out (and can say), 'Here's the plan,' it's not really worth talking about."(Sporting News)(6-30-2012)
UPDATE: Amid news of a contract extension for Denny Hamlin and speculation swirling around Matt Kenseth's possible arrival at Joe Gibbs Racing next year, team owner Joe Gibbs said Saturday at Kentucky Speedway that his top priority was re-signing Joey Logano. "We're working real hard right now on extending him and his relationship with us," Gibbs said Friday after the drivers' meeting for Saturday night's Quaker State 400. "We've had a great relationship -- signed him when he was 15. We've got a lot invested in Joey. I think right now he's stepping up, and we want him to be with us." Asked whether sponsor Home Depot would continue to be part of the equation, Gibbs told the NASCAR Wire Service, "I think part of what we've got going on with us right now -- there's a lot going on. So the things I talked about . . . Joey, we want to get that done. Everything else is kind of up in the air for us right now."(NASCAR Wire Service)(7-1-2012)
Kenseth leaving Roush: UPDATES: #17-Matt Kenseth declined to discuss his future with Roush Fenway Racing before Sunday's race at Sonoma, where there was rampant speculation he's been talking to other race teams. Kenseth acts as his own agent, and has been with Roush his entire career. But his #17 Ford has limited sponsorship, and team owner Jack Roush has been paying out of his own pocket to ensure Kenseth runs a full season. "You know I don't talk about my contract," Kenseth said. "I'd like to have something to tell you, but I don't have anything to talk about right now. Until I have something to announce, I don't talk about it."
Everybody else was talking, though, and Kenseth's name this weekend was linked to both Joe Gibbs Racing, a Toyota team, and Penske Racing, which is moving from Dodge to Ford in 2013. Kenseth is a longtime Ford driver. JGR team president J.D. Gibbs declined to discuss any possible negotiations with Kenseth. JGR not only has room for expansion to a fourth car, but Joey Logano's status as driver of the #20 is currently unresolved. Logano is in the final year of his contract. "I'm not allowed to talk," he said.
Roger Penske was not at Sunday's race, but senior vice president of Penske Corp., Bud Denker said the team is not talking to Kenseth and is content with AJ Allmendinger in the #22. "Our expectations are that AJ will be in the car and Todd (Gordon) will be the crew chief next year," Denker said. "So we are not talking to Matt, that's confirmed." The Penske move to Ford has led to talk the organization could be a potential home for Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. or 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, who are both in long-term contracts with Roush but are stymied because of sponsorship woes.(ESPN/Associated Press)(6-24-2012)
UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing announced that 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will compete for the team full-time in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition beginning in 2013, while Matt Kenseth and Roush Fenway will part ways at the conclusion of the 2012 season. "Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has more than proved his abilities on the race track," said team co-owner Jack Roush. "We feel that he is not only a key piece of our team's future, but a key piece of the future of the sport. Roush Fenway is an organization with a wonderful past and present, as well as an extremely promising future, and I can't think of a better candidate than Ricky to usher in the next era of success for the team. Of course, I'd like to thank Matt Kenseth for his many years of loyal service," added Roush. "Matt has been an integral part of this organization for well over a decade, and we are extremely appreciative of his accomplishments and contributions to the team, and will always consider him a part of the Roush Fenway family."(Roush Fenway Racing)(6-26-2012)
UPDATE 2: Statement from Ford's Jamie Allison, "All of us at Ford are certainly disappointed to hear that Matt will be leaving, and he will be certainly missed by us and the Ford Racing fans. We are thankful for Matt's winning efforts and championship-caliber success with the Roush and Ford racing programs these past 16 years, both on and off the track. We will focus on this year and look forward to more success on the track in his #17 Ford Fusion this season."(Ford Racing)(6-27-2012)
UPDATE 3: Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark said Roush Fenway's likely 2013 scenario would be for the organization to have three Cup teams with #99-Carl Edwards, #16-Greg Biffle and Stenhouse while Trevor Bayne, who currently runs a part-time Cup schedule for Wood Brothers Racing and select Nationwide races for Roush Fenway, would replace Stenhouse in the team's full-time Nationwide car. Whether current Kenseth crew chief Jimmy Fennig will be Stenhouse's crew chief is still to be determined, Newmark said.(Sporting News)(6-27-2012)
UPDATE 4: Matt Kenseth has a Sprint Cup ride in place for 2013 and beyond, the NASCAR point leader from Cambridge told the Journal Sentinel on Wednesday in his first print media interview since announcing he would leave Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season. When that deal is announced is undetermined, Kenseth said. The decision to leave was made in a meeting last week with team owner Jack Roush, Kenseth said. "There's a lot of stuff through the season that's probably led us to this point," Kenseth said. "There isn't really a smoking gun, there really isn't an inside story about a firing or an argument or really any of that. At the end of the day, I had an opportunity to go try something else. The timing all worked out. I think everything happens for a reason. Things just kind of lined up to maybe try something else in 2013 and beyond that I'm kind of excited about.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(6-27-2012)
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)
JGR wants to keep Joey Logano: Joe Gibbs doesn't have any plans to let #20-Joey Logano go after this season. Gibbs said before Sunday's rain-delayed Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway that he planned to re-sign the 22-year-old driver, whose contract with Joe Gibbs Racing expires after this season. "Obviously, we've been together for a long time," Gibbs said. "We've got a lot invested. He's our guy and we plan on going forward ... right now in the 20 car."(ESPN)(6-18-2012)
Logano's future still up in the air despite win: #20-Joey Logano delivered many answers in muscling past #55-Mark Martin to win Sunday's Pocono 400. But there was one significant question that is unanswered as the Sprint Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway. Where will Logano be driving next season? "I haven't been informed on where I stand for next year yet, so it's all up in the air," he said. "Obviously winning a race means a lot, and it helps that out a ton. For sure right now my future is not set with anybody. To get this win means a lot. It's at a perfect time."
Though he is enjoying his best year in NASCAR's premier series, it might not be guaranteed that Logano returns to Joe Gibbs Racing for a fifth season. Pocono was the second victory in a career that has fallen far short of lofty expectations that accompanied his 2009 debut as the youngest driver in Daytona 500 history. Since he saw Logano race against his son in go-karts a decade ago, Martin had been predicting greatness for Logano and named him as the best candidate to replace him at Roush Fenway Racing- when Logano was 15. It hasn't turned out that way in Cup. Logano finished 20th in points as a rookie and became the youngest winner in Cup history (at 19) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in a fluky rain-shortened finish. (Logano was leading because he had crashed and was able to stay purposely off-sequence on pit stops).
Though J.D. Gibbs recently downplayed interest in Kurt Busch, there are other winning drivers who could be available in 2013, such as Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr. In a phone interview Monday night, Gibbs told USA TODAY Sports that JGR hoped to settle the future of its #20 Toyota "sooner than later, but at the same time, you can't force things. "We're kind of going through it now," Gibbs said. "(The victory) really helps him, us just in general. (Sponsors) Home Depot and Dollar General get a feel for it. So hopefully we'll be able to get something put to bed here pretty quick. He's been so close before, it's just a long time coming. So hopefully that was a great foundation for our future. When you have those sponsors, you have to perform. Not just on the track, but off the track. Joey is great off the track, and now it's neat to see the on-the-track piece pick up, too."(USA Today)(6-13-2012)
Logano wins at Pocono: #20-Joey Logano won the Pocono 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway for his 1st win of the year and his 2nd career win.
#55-Martin finished 2nd followed by #14-Stewart, #48-Johnson, #11-Hamlin, #15-Bowyer, #17-Kenseth, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #27-Menard, and #1-McMurray
There were 7 cautions for 35 yellow flag laps. The race speed average was 131.004mph. There were 21 lead changes among 10 drivers.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Pocono Race Results page (pdf).(6-10-2012)
Could Kurt Busch join brother Kyle at Joe Gibbs Racing? #51-Kurt Busch is a free agent, and his brother, #18-Kyle, already drives a Cup car for Joe Gibbs Racing. While it might sound like a stretch for JGR to employ two brothers as drivers, it's not out of the question. JGR has room to add a fourth team, and if sponsorship is found, team owner Joe Gibbs wouldn't rule out the possibility. But he also said it has to be the right sponsor. "We love Kurt, mainly because of Kyle and Kyle has got a strong feeling for him," Gibbs said following the unveiling of Toyota's 2013 Sprint Cup car. "Kurt's kind of going through a process with everything he has got going right now. Everybody throws everything out there. We do have a fourth car possibility at some point. But we haven't seen that yet (come to fruition)." The older of the two Busch brothers, Kurt is driving for Phoenix Racing in Cup this year and for his brother's Kyle Busch Motorsports in an 18-race Nationwide schedule. "He could really helps us and lead us in the right direction," Kyle Busch said. "I'd love to have him over here. It would be great for Joe Gibbs Racing and for us to work together and to be able to make better racecars, faster racecars." JGR wouldn't necessarily need a fourth Cup team to add Busch. #20-Joey Logano's contract is up for renewal after this season in a car co-sponsored by The Home Depot and Dollar General. "He's 21 years old," Gibbs said. "He's one of the youngest guys out there. He's stepped up this year to 15th in points. That's been an improvement but he's still not where our other two cars are. That's the goal-get him to where our other two cars are. ... We have a lot invested in Joey. We really like him."(Sporting News)(5-25-2012)
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)
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)
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)
Logano also seeing sports psychologist: Since last season, JGR driver #20-Joey Logano has been seeing sports psychologist Bob Rotella, who also began working with Hamlin last year. "I was against it at first, thinking, 'I don't need a shrink,'" Logano said. "But it's not about that, it's confidence. It's not that you're screwed up in the head. It's not like you're a weirdo. I think it's good for anybody. I have a whole new outlook. I'd recommend it to anybody."(USA Today)(1-24-2012)
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)
New Crew Chief for Logano: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced that Jason Ratcliff has been named crew chief for its #20 Sprint Cup Series team, replacing Greg Zipadelli who is leaving the organization to pursue an opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing [Competition Director]. "We appreciate everything Greg has done for us here at Joe Gibbs Racing. He has been a big part of our success, but we felt the timing was right to make this transition for our race team which allows Greg the opportunity to pursue a director of competition position with Tony (Stewart)," said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We also felt that the timing was right to bring Jason (Ratcliff) to our Cup operation. He is a proven leader with a tremendous track record in our Nationwide program and we think he and Joey will work well together."
Ratcliff spent the previous seven years as crew chief for JGR's #18 Nationwide Series team. No team has been better over the past three seasons as the team won two consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner's Championships in 2009 and 2010. They narrowly missed out on a third consecutive title this past season finishing just a few points off the pace in second. Over the past three seasons JGR's #18 Nationwide Series team has won an incredible 30 races, with 68 top-five, and 85 top-ten finishes. In addition, they have led an astonishing 6,124 laps over that time.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to join our Cup operation and work with Joey and everyone on the 20 team," said Ratcliff. "There is a great history with this program and we have two of the best sponsors in the sport with The Home Depot and Dollar General. I've had the opportunity to work with Joey a few times now on the Nationwide side so there is a familiarity there, but I'm looking forward to getting started fulltime and working alongside Dave (Rogers) and Darian (Grubb)."
Zipadelli has been the crew chief for JGR's No. 20 program since the team was formed in 1999. Over the 13-year span he has won 33 total races and two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships with driver Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005). He was also on top of the pit box for Joey Logano's first career victory in 2009 which made him the youngest driver ever to win on the Cup level. Zipadelli is leaving JGR to pursue an opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(12-16-2011)
Zippy back with Stewart? UPDATE 3: hearing that Greg Zipadelli, currently the crew chief for #20-Joe Logano, could be headed to Stewart-Haas Racing in the future. Greg Zipadelli would take over as the crew chief for #14-Tony Stewart, who he won two Sprint Cup titles with [2002, 2005]. Current #14 crew chief, Darian Grubb, would move into Bobby Hutchens old position of director of competition [NOTE: Grubb didn't and left the team and is now at JGR as #11-Hamlin's crew chief]. Hutchens and Stewart-Haas recently parted ways. Hutchins was Stewart-Haas Racing's Director of Competition and Stewart said they are looking for a replacement. Matt Borland was promoted to vice president of competition and is serving as Stewart-Haas Racing's interim director of competition. Stewart said recently that "once that position is filled, the director of competition will report to Matt."(6-21-2011)
See past denials and news on my #20 Team News page.
UPDATE 3 - Zipadelli Named Competition Director for Stewart-Haas Racing: Greg Zipadelli, winner of two championships and 34 victories as a crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been named competition director at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). He will work with Vice President of Competition Matt Borland and oversee the #14 and #39 teams, while also building the #10 team for which Danica Patrick will run a 10-race Sprint Cup schedule with in 2012. Zipadelli comes to SHR from Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) where he served as crew chief for the #20 team since 1999. It's where the 44-year-old from Berlin, Conn., began a 10-year tenure with Tony Stewart, the co-owner of SHR along with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation. From 1999 through 2008, Zipadelli was Stewart's crew chief, with the duo winning Sprint Cup titles in 2002 and 2005 while claiming 33 victories and 10 poles. When Stewart left JGR following the 2008 season to form SHR, Zipadelli stayed and spent three years as the crew chief for Joey Logano, where he helped deliver Logano's first career Sprint Cup victory on June 28, 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. "We're very proud to have Greg Zipadelli join Stewart-Haas Racing," said Stewart, the three-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion. "Greg and I have a long and successful history together. I know him and he knows me, and we both know what it takes to build race teams. We took our time in searching for a competition director because it's an important role with a lot of responsibility. Greg knows all that goes into the job, understands the importance of teamwork and communication across all levels of the organization, and is ultimately someone I have a great deal of trust in."
The addition of Zipadelli to the SHR family is a reunion on two fronts - Stewart, of course, but also with Steve Addington, who spent 2004-2008 at JGR and is now Stewart's crew chief at SHR with the #14 team. (Tony Gibson serves as crew chief for the #39 team and driver Ryan Newman.)
"Joe Gibbs always says that you win with people, and Tony Stewart is a winner," Zipadelli said. "We won a lot together at Joe Gibbs Racing, and it was a sad day when he left. But Tony had an unbelievable opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing, and he's obviously made the most of it. To become a part of what he's already built, but to do it in a new role with a new set of responsibilities, was a challenge I wanted. I really appreciate Joe and J.D. Gibbs for all that that they've given me over the years and for allowing me to seize this opportunity."
Zipadelli's career began humbly. His first job in racing was working on a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car owned by his uncle at age seven, and by age 14, he was preparing racecars for his family-owned Sherwood Racing Team. By the time he was 20, Zipadelli was a championship-winning crew chief, leading Modified Tour driver Mike McLaughlin to the series title on the heels of five wins and 15 top-five finishes. When McLaughlin moved up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East with prominent New England car owner Mike Greci, Zipadelli followed and the tandem recorded five wins between 1990 and 1993.
McLaughlin departed Greci's operation at the end of the 1993 season, but Zipadelli stayed with the team and worked with a handful of drivers in 1994 and 1995. Zipadelli's perseverance paid off in 1996 when driver Mike Stefanik joined the team. While no wins were recorded that year, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes made way for a championship season in 1997. Stefanik marched to the series title that year riding a wave of consistency with two wins, 14 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes, giving Zipadelli his second NASCAR touring series championship in less than a decade.
With two championship rings before age 30, Zipadelli headed south in January 1998 to join Roush Fenway Racing's Sprint Cup operation as the chassis specialist for the No. 99 team of then driver Jeff Burton. As Burton won two races, earned 18 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes and finished fifth in points, Zipadelli's talent was noticed. In late 1998 when team owner Joe Gibbs began laying the groundwork for a second team with Stewart behind the wheel, he tabbed Zipadelli to be the No. 20 team's crew chief. Now, after 13 highly successful years at JGR, Zipadelli's career ascension continues with his new role as competition director at SHR.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(12-16-2011)
Keselowski, Logano Visit Guantanamo Bay On NASCAR/USO Tour: #2-Brad Keselowski and #20-Joey Logano, brought holiday cheer, smiles and good times to troops and their families on the NASCAR-USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during their NASCAR-USO visit Dec. 12-14. The tour of Guantanamo Bay was part of an ongoing partnership between NASCAR and the USO to strengthen a connection between the military and motorsports in an effort to help boost the morale of U.S. troops and their families stationed around the world. The partnership also included NASCAR and the USO hosting a group of wounded warriors at the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas. During the visit, Keselowski and Logano visited hundreds of sailors and coast guardsmen and their families. The pair also dined with troops, visited the U.S. Navy Hospital, signed autographs and patrolled the waters with service members. This was the first USO tour for Keselowski and Logano, who are avid supporters of the military community. Both have visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center, now known as Walter Reed National Medical Center, and spent quality time with wounded warriors.
"This was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so glad to be a part of it," said Keselowski. "I hope to go back on another USO Tour. After meeting the men and women in Guantanamo Bay, I cannot imagine the sacrifices and experiences they have to go through during their time there. It was an amazing experience and I am so grateful that I was invited to go."
"It was awesome to learn more about Guantanamo Bay and what the mission is down there and how it works," said Logano. "It was great to meet and talk to the troops, and it was one heck of an experience. We get to see a lot of troops at the race track, but to see them in action and doing their jobs...I am so impressed and have such a high amount of respect for each and every one of them and what they do."
"NASCAR is honored to work with the USO and be a part of bringing this tour to our men and women in Guantanamo Bay," said NASCAR President Mike Helton. "We hope this tour has lifted the spirits of troops and their families; we are honored to have the opportunity to show our support and show how much our troops mean to NASCAR and its millions of fans around the world."
"NASCAR and its drivers bring excitement to the track week after week and we are honored to have two of NASCAR's biggest names join us on a USO tour," said USO President Sloan Gibson. "I can't think of a better, more suitable place for this tour to bring a touch of home than to NASCAR fans stationed in Guantanamo Bay."(NASCAR), see quotes on the #2 Team News page.(12-15-2011)
Logano & Brad Keselowski to Visit Troops & Families at Guantanamo Bay: #20-Joey Logano and #2-Brad Keselowski, are scheduled to be part of a NASCAR-USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Dec. 12-14. As part of the NASCAR-USO trip, Logano and Keselowski will share stories of life on the track, sign autographs, pose for photos and spread holiday cheer to hundreds of troops and military families. Logano and Keselowski have participated in charitable races benefiting America's Armed Forces and are avid supporters of the military community. Both drivers have also visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center, now known as Walter Reed National Medical Center, and spent quality time with wounded warriors. This tour of Guantanamo Bay is part of an ongoing partnership between NASCAR and the USO to strengthen a connection to the military and help boost the morale of U.S. troops and their families stationed around the world.
Joey Logano: "I jump at every chance I get to show my appreciation to our nation's Armed Forces and I look forward to my upcoming USO trip to Guantanamo Bay. Our service men and women and their families are doing an amazing job."
Brad Keselowski: "Traveling with the USO and getting the chance to spend time with our troops is something I wish everyone could do. To see what they do day-in and day-out and hear their stories is an opportunity of a lifetime and something I will never forget."(NASCAR)(12-10-2011)
Zipadelli unable to get release from Gibbs? Darian Grubb's future with the Stewart-Haas, if any is unknown, although the Competition Director position remains unfilled. Greg Zipadelli [crew chief for #20-Joey Logano], according to several sources has been the frontrunner for that job but has been unable to secure a release from his Joe Gibbs Racing contract. Signed through 2012, those sources say the former crew chief for Stewart and current head wrench for Joey Logano has met with strong internal opposition from J.D. Gibbs to secure his release.(Frontstretch)(11-28-2011)
Interstate Batteries on the #20 at Martinsville: Joey Logano was less than a year old when Interstate Batteries Chairman Norm Miller and Joe Gibbs Racing kicked off what has grown to become one of the longest-running and most successful partnerships in all of NASCAR back in 1991. As Interstate and JGR celebrate their 20th anniversary together in 2011, perhaps it's only fitting that the familiar green, white and black paint scheme first made famous by legendary driving greats Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte on JGR's #18 racecars finally adorns JGR's #20 racing machine for the first time in Sprint Cup Series competition before season's end. While Logano's JGR teammate Kyle Busch and his #18 Toyota Camry have carried the flag for Interstate during the last four Sprint Cup Series seasons, it'll be Logano's turn to represent the longtime JGR sponsor for the first time during Sunday's TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway behind the wheel of the #20 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry.(TrueSpeed Communications)(10-27-2011)
"Man vs. Food Nation" NASCAR episode: The "Man vs. Food Nation" episode filmed at Sticky Lips in Rochester will air on October 19 at 9 pm/et. The show, hosted by Adam Richman, is aired on the Travel Channel. It features Richman across the country, visiting local restaurants and then taking on a challenge at one of the restaurants. The October 19 show will be a NASCAR episode. Richman will coach #20-Joey Logano through a food competition of his own following the big race at Watkins Glen International. Logano will take on the "Atomic Bomb Challenge" at Sticky Lips which includes a three-pound bacon double cheeseburger loaded with pulled pork and meaty hot sauce over an additional pound of fries.(WHEC-TV)(10-19-2011)
JGR expects Zipadelli to stay: J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, says his organization has had "conversations" about the future role of Greg Zipadelli but that a change in his role as crew chief for driver Joey Logano "has not come up." "We've had those conversations. But I think right now, the 20 car needs to run well. That makes it a lot easier across the board." Gibbs said he expects the Logano-Zipadelli combination to remain intact. "We don't have a crystal ball, but that's kind of what our agreement is," Gibbs said.(Scene Daily)(10-15-2011)
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)
5-Hour Energy to the #33? Home Depot to the #99? Clint Bowyer would like nothing more than to extend his contract with Richard Childress Racing but despite both the driver and owner publicly admitting their desire to remain together, nothing has been announced. The reported hold-up is around finding necessary sponsorship for the RCR #33 entry, which will lose General Mills at the end of this season. Current Steven Wallace Nationwide Series sponsor 5-Hour Energy continues to be in the mix as a potential replacement but right now there is no agreement.
AND: Aflac is expected back in a limited role but the Michigan garage area was rampant with rumors Home Depot, who reportedly coveted having Edwards as its spokesperson had me made the move to Joe Gibbs Racing, might find its way to the #99 car. The home improvement giant has been a staple of the JGR sponsor stable for years, dating back to its two Sprint Cup championships with Tony Stewart. However since Joey Logano took over the ride from the departed Stewart, the struggling performance level for the young driver has forced Home Depot management to watch arch rival Lowes grab the spotlight for five years running with Jimmie Johnson's title runs.(CBS Sports)(8-25-2011)
Bowyer talking to other teams: #33-Clint Bowyer is seriously considering offers from one or more Sprint Cup teams to leave Richard Childress Racing -- his home since making his series debut in 2005 -- following the 2011 season. Bowyer talked openly of his desire to remain at RCR earlier this season, but negotiations have dragged and, according to multiple sources, deteriorated. "They are at loggerheads right now," a source said. Discussions between Bowyer and team owner Richard Childress have been complicated by the lack of a primary sponsor for the #33 Chevrolet. For the past three seasons General Mills brands Cheerios and Hamburger Helper have been that sponsor. Childress had expressed confidence that General Mills would return a month ago, but it's now believed the company is looking at other options. With #99-Carl Edwards off the market, Bowyer is the top free agent available. In addition to Childress, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing are said to be interested in hiring Bowyer.
Petty has been pursuing Bowyer for several months in an attempt to expand to a three-car operation. Chief operating officer Robbie Loomis has been diligently working to put together a package for Bowyer that includes a Ford-backed deal similar to the Wood Brothers. Petty buys chassis from Roush Fenway and leases engines from Roush-Yates and the equipment may be attractive to Bowyer.
Waltrip also would like to expand to three cars and may have some support from Toyota to acquire Bowyer.
David Ragan seemed safe at Roush Fenway after his win at Daytona in July. It put him in the Chase, but he's since fallen out. Ragan, 23rd in points, needs a second victory to make the Chase. He's under contract to Roush Fenway for next season, but the team could move him to Petty and sign Bowyer.
Gibbs president J.D. Gibbs has said that a fourth car for next season was a "long shot." Its earlier attempt to sign Edwards was financially backed by Toyota. The manufacturer would have to spend less money to land Bowyer, but it certainly could outbid the other offers.
Childress should not be counted out. He has shown the ability to be resourceful in retaining drivers and finding sponsors. Negotiations between Bowyer and Childress are at a critical stage and the atmosphere isn't healthy. The overall situation regarding Bowyer's next contract is said to be "sensitive." Bowyer probably would like to make a decision as soon as possible to remove the uncertainty and distraction that comes with it. He'd much rather focus on making the Chase than worry about whom he'll be driving for next year.(Sports Illustrated)(8-19-2011)
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)
Logano in Man v. Food Nation Challenge: Giving a whole new meaning to "pulling double duty," Joey Logano will recover from 220.5 grueling miles of road course racing at Watkins Glen International on Sunday by taking a food challenge on Monday in New York for an upcoming episode of Travel Channel's Man v. Food Nation. Logano is looking forward to meeting host Adam Richman and partaking in the food challenge. Richman, who has crisscrossed the country taking on various food challenges the last three years, will serve as the Grand Marshal for Sunday's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen and will be cheering Logano on throughout Monday's shoot. Logano will learn details of the challenge shortly before the shoot on Monday and his fans can see the NASCAR edition of Man v. Food Nation on Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. ET on Travel Channel.(NASCAR PR)(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)
NAPA to JGR? denied: Several sources have mentioned Joey Logano moving to a fourth JGR car sponsored by NAPA, the current sponsor on the #56 Toyota. When asked about NAPA's future relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing, a team principal said the contract runs through 2012 and NAPA is committed to that agreement.(FoxSports)(7-31-2011)
Gibbs courting Edwards? UPDATES Ford steps in to help offer to Edwards: am hearing that Carl Edwards, currently the driver of the #99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, is being courted by Joe Gibbs Racing to take over the #20 Home Depot Toyota ride. Where would that leave current #20 driver, Joey Logano, to the long rumored 4th Joe Gibbs car, no word on who would be the sponsor, if it happens.(6-17-2011)
UPDATES see past updates and notes on the Edwards news and rumors on the #99 Team News and Links page.
Another UPDATE: #99-Carl Edwards is staying focused on winning a championship despite widespread speculation that he is leaving Roush Fenway Racing for Joe Gibbs Racing after this season. Edwards would not comment Friday on whether he has made a decision, but he was adamant that it will not hurt his chances of winning the title regardless. "I feel like no matter what happens we have a great thing going," said Edwards, who has a seven-point lead over five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson heading into Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Jack Roush and Ford and Aflac, that is our mission right now -- to win the championship. That is all of our goals. Whatever happens, happens. But I believe that is reasonable to believe that could happen no matter what." Speculation that Edwards was headed for JGR to drive the #20 Home Depot car currently driven by Joey Logano, with Aflac following him to JGR, intensified two weeks ago at New Hampshire. Logano and crew chief Greg Zipadelli told ESPN.com that they have been given no indication that their status for next season will change. Logano said the rumors haven't been a distraction for him and his team. "If anything it is making my team work harder," Logano said. "It's making us come together more as a team. It's good. The last few weeks it's paid off. The last four weeks we have scored more points than anybody. All I've heard is rumors. No one has told me anything." Edwards would not give a timetable for making an announcement, although sources say it has to be soon so plans for next season can get under way. When asked if he had made a decision, Edwards said, "I'd just rather not say. We're working hard on the contract stuff. I've heard a lot of different ideas out there. The story remains the same -- I'm going to make a decision that is the best one I can make. I'm going to do that outside the media. Right now I have a signed contract, and that is the contract I signed in 2008 to race for Jack in '09, '10 and '11. So that is my mission. That's what I'm going to honor."(ESPN). .(7-29-2011)
More on Edwards - Ford steps in: Ford Racing has gone to what officials call unprecedented measures to help Roush Fenway Racing keep #99-Carl Edwards from going to the Toyota team of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We've helped out with an offer we have never done before for another driver,'' said Kevin Kennedy, the director of Ford Racing communication, before Saturday's qualifying for the Brickyard 400. "It was important enough for us that we were trying to make it unprecedented.'' Kennedy would not give specifics into what Ford has offered other than to say top executives in the organization have been closely involved with RFR in negotiations. "If he's around, it's something that will help him in terms of continuing to promote Ford products,'' Kennedy said of Edwards, who has become the face of Ford Racing. "We've been in racing for 110 years and I don't think we've ever done this before.'' Steve Newmark, the president of RFR, acknowledged that Ford has gone above and beyond to help keep Edwards in the fold. Newmark added that the total package offered to this year's top free agent shows just how important officials believe he is to the future of the organization and manufacturer. "I hope everybody understands Roush Fenway is very intent on signing Carl,'' Newmark said. "We understand he is trying to make a decision that is best for his future.'' Edwards declined on Friday to say whether he has made a decision amidst speculation he is headed for JGR to drive the #20 currently occupied by Joey Logano with Home Depot and Aflac as his sponsors. Newmark and Kennedy said Edwards has told them no decision has been made. Newmark added that no ultimatum or deadline for a decision will be made even though RFR wants it done sooner rather than later to prepare for next year. Sources said Edwards could earn more than $40 million over three years. Newmark said money hasn't been a major factor in RFR's negotiations. Should Edwards leave, Newmark said the replacement likely would come from in house with developmental drivers Trevor Bayne or Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He said no driver outside the organization has been contacted.(ESPN)(7-30-2011)
DONE DEAL? Edwards says the only contract he's signed was his last one with Jack Roush three years ago. Whether there's a current contract or not, the latest scuttlebutt has Edwards driving the #20 Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2012 for a staggering amount of money -- $8 million as a base, plus a $10 million signing bonus.(FoxSports)(7-31-2011)
Congrats: to John and Sara Royer, on the birth of their son, Mason William Royer. Mason was born at 12:22am/et on 7/28/2011 weighing in at 6lbs 12oz and was 19 3/4 inches long. John works at Joe Gibbs Racing changing tires for #20-Joey Logano #20 and Sara is an NASCAR Official.(7-30-2011)
Gibbs courting Edwards? UPDATES: am hearing that Carl Edwards, currently the driver of the #99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, is being courted by Joe Gibbs Racing to take over the #20 Home Depot Toyota ride. Where would that leave current #20 driver, Joey Logano, to the long rumored 4th Joe Gibbs car, no word on who would be the sponsor, if it happens.(6-17-2011)
UPDATE: Ford and Roush Fenway Racing are feeling a sense of urgency to re-sign Carl Edwards. For the last month, Edwards has been rumored to be headed to Joe Gibbs Racing. Earlier this season, JGR president J.D. Gibbs acknowledged that the organization would be interested in talking to Edwards if sponsorship could be acquired for a fourth team. Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newman called the Edwards' negotiation "a slow and steady process." Both Roush and Ford have worked diligently to entice Edwards to remain in the blue-oval camp but are starting to feel the pressure from Toyota. "We have constant conversations with Carl," Newmark said. "I still remain cautiously optimistic that we'll get something done, but as we've talked about before, the process that we're going through, we want to make sure that we have everything in order going forward and Carl's main focus is on making sure he's going to a place where he can win championships. Newmark understands that Edwards is shopping the market and "has no issue with him engaging in discussions." Now the challenge for Roush comes in offering the most competitive package for Edwards and his future. At the same time, Newmark has the challenge of locking up Roush sponsors Aflac, UPS and Crown Royal. Newmark locked down both 3M and Greg Biffle for a multi-year deal in April. Newmark is not actively seeking a replacement for Edwards -- yet. With Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse in the pipeline, there's really no need to.(Fox Sports)(6-19-2011)
UPDATE 2: #99-Carl Edwards on Friday again declined comment on his contract status, as he has throughout the year. Edwards is in the final year of his contract with Roush Fenway Racing, and the team is also negotiating contract extensions with all of its primary sponsors except 3M, which has signed a multi-year deal to remain with the team and Greg Biffle. "As far as my contract status, it is the same as the beginning of the year," Edwards said Friday morning at Infineon Raceway. "We are working hard on it and we do all that stuff behind closed doors. We are making progress and hopefully we will be able to tell you guys what my plan is soon." Asked about the oft-repeated rumors that he would go to Joe Gibbs Racing next year to replace Joey Logano, Edwards added, "I have heard rumors about all different teams for the last two years. The thing I am going to do is keep working on it and working on it privately. I think that is the best way for me."(SPEED)(6-25-2011)
UPDATE 3: Speculation about #99-Carl Edwards raged through in the NASCAR garage throughout the weekend, with unconfirmed reports that the stock car racing star - now back atop the Sprint Cup standings after Sunday's New Hampshire 301 - could definitely be heading to the Joe Gibbs Toyota operation next season and leaving Jack Roush's Ford operation. No one would say much at all on the record about the Edwards situation. However, it appears something is changing, or has changed. Just what, if anything, isn't clear. And yet still there was little more than more silence Sunday. No one involved was leaping into deny or confirm anything. Part of the speculation involves sponsorship possibilities. Edwards is considered one of the sport's most attractive drivers from a sponsor's viewpoint. And it is believed that part of the driving factor in the Edwards-Gibbs possibility could be Home Depot, the home improvement giant which has 'lost' five straight NASCAR championships to arch-rival Lowe's and #48-Jimmie Johnson.(MikeMulhern.net)(7-18-2011)
UPDATE 4: Interviewed on ESPN's NASCAR Now on Monday, Edwards said he has not made a decision on where to drive next year and he continues to want to keep contract negotiations private.(7-18-2011)
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)
Zippy back with Stewart? DENIED UPDATE 2: hearing that Greg Zipadelli, currently the crew chief for #20-Joe Logano, could be headed to Stewart-Haas Racing in the future. Greg Zipadelli would take over as the crew chief for #14-Tony Stewart, who he won two Sprint Cup titles with [2002, 2005]. Current #14 crew chief, Darian Grubb, would move into Bobby Hutchens old position of director of competition. Hutchens and Stewart-Haas recently parted ways. Hutchins was Stewart-Haas Racing's Director of Competition and Stewart said they are looking for a replacement. Matt Borland was promoted to vice president of competition and is serving as Stewart-Haas Racing's interim director of competition. Stewart said recently that "once that position is filled, the director of competition will report to Matt."(6-21-2011)
UPDATE: There was a published report this week that Greg Zipadelli, Stewart's long-time crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing, might move to Stewart-Haas and Stewart's crew chief, Darian Grubb, would become the team's director of competition. "I laughed when I saw that," Stewart said. "It's not the first time I've read something that's not true."(Sports Illustrated)(6-22-2011)
UPDATE 2: A rough start to a season that began with high expectations has Greg Zipadelli admittedly unhappy right now. But the crew chief downplayed speculation that he's so upset with how Joey Logano has been running he's considering reuniting with Tony Stewart. Zipadelli won 33 races and two titles with Stewart, but stayed at Joe Gibbs Racing when the driver left to own a team. Now that Stewart is seeking a director of competition -- he fired Bobby Hutchens earlier this month -- there's been talk that Zipadelli could move to Stewart-Haas Racing in some capacity. But Zipadelli said he's got two years left on his contract with JGR, and no immediate plans to leave the organization. "I love Tony, he's as close to me as my brother," Zipadelli said. "But that doesn't mean anything. I love the organization I work for, they've been very positive and very supportive for over 13 years. I learned a long time ago to never say never in this sport about anything." Stewart, while not speaking specifically about Zipadelli, said SHR isn't close to hiring a new competition director. "We haven't got anywhere yet. We are still looking at our options," he said. "It would be nice to have a person in that position. We definitely want to get that role filled. At the same time, we want to make sure just like we did when we hired Bobby, we want to make sure we're hiring the right person. So we'll take our time on it."(Associated Press)(6-29-2011)
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)
Logano helps out folks in Joplin MO: from the JGR Facebook: #20-Joey Logano and the The Home Depot Foundation crew visited Joplin, MO today to help rebuild the house of a family in need after the terrible tornado destroyed much of the city. It was an incredible experience. The attached picture is a semi truck that was wrapped around a tree by the twister. Click "Like" to remind people to keep Joplin in their prayers and consider donations. More pics & story there soon!(6-15-2011)
Drivers complete tire test at Kentucky: #16-Greg Biffle, #29-Kevin Harvick, #2-Brad Keselowski, #38-Travis Kvapil, #20-Joey Logano, #5-Mark Martin and #00-David Reutimann became acquainted with the race conditions at Kentucky Speedway Wednesday during a Goodyear tire test held just 36 days before the 107,000-seat venue makes its Sprint Cup Series debut with the July 9 "Quaker State 400." Biffle was pleased with his #16 3M Ford's setup off the hauler and the performance of the Goodyear tire compound. "We brought notes from Chicago, Kansas and basic mile-and-a-half racetracks, then, from what we did here before. We looked at all of that and picked out of a basket as to where to start. We hit it on the nailhead right out of the garage. We haven't made a lot of changes and we're running the same speed as all the guys. The track is taking rubber perfect. It's turning color and you can see the groove coming in. When we're through, you'll be able to stand in the grandstands and see the distinct black line around the racetrack where the cars are running," Biffle said. Joe Gibbs Racing's Logano, the only driver to reel off three consecutive NNS pole awards and 300-mile race victories at the track, also gave the tire compound solid reviews. "Goodyear brought one tire here, basically reassuring themselves that this is the tire they want. They've never had tire issues here before with the Nationwide Series, so I don't see this one being a problem. The tire isn't putting too much rubber down and I feel like it has decent grip."(Kentucky Speedway PR)(6-2-2011)
Home Depot team carrying decal for Joplin, MO store: The Home Depot Team will begin carrying a special decal this weekend on the C-Post of the #20 Toyota Camry honoring store #3023 that was not only destroyed by the tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., but lost one of its associates. The decal which states, "In Our Hearts Store 3023 Joplin Mo" will be present on the car for the next four race weekends as well as the team's firesuits and hats. The Home Depot has committed to rebuild the store on its current location, has donated over $1 million in disaster relief for the area and its internal charity The Homer Fund is providing grants to associates who were affected by the storm.(Elevation Group PR)(6-1-2011)
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)
Drivers to star in A&E's "The Glades": On April 11-12, Homestead-Miami Speedway hosted Arts & Entertainment Television Network for filming of its police-drama "The Glades" and the episode will air later this summer. A cast and crew of more than 250 turned Homestead-Miami Speedway into an outdoor TV studio for a taping of "The Glades" second season. Homestead-Miami Speedway played itself as the host of NASCAR's series-crowning finales during Ford Championship Weekend featuring Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers and Joey Logano. The garage area and the 1.5 mile Homestead-Miami Speedway functioned as a movie set for this summer's "Moonlighting" episode. A&E Network summarizes its TV hit this way: "THE GLADES" is a one-hour drama featuring actor Matt Passmore who plays "Jim Longworth," a sly Chicago cop who relocates to a slower-paced small town in Florida where the sun shines, the golf is plentiful, and the crime less ubiquitous, so he thinks. In this episode, when Longworth investigates a NASCAR-related murder, he goes head to head with NASCAR's top drivers, and takes a few laps around the track.(HMS)(4-14-2011)
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)
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)
Gamestop scheme for Logano? UPDATEs Images: hearing that #20-Joe Logano could run a Game Stop scheme in a future Sprint Cup Series race, possible Martinsville in October. Game Stop is a sponsor for Logano in the Nationwide Series.(9-7-2010)
UPDATE: GameStop announced today it will partner with Joe Gibbs Racing to sponsor the #20 Toyota Camry for the Oct. 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Martinsville Speedway. The Tums Fast Relief 500 will be the first foray into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the Grapevine, Texas-based video game retailer. GameStop has sponsored Logano in the NASCAR Nationwide Series since the 20-year-old made his much-anticipated debut in the series in 2008 and has been Logano's primary sponsor for each of his seven-career Nationwide Series victories, including the most recent at Kentucky Speedway in June. "It's awesome to see GameStop make their Sprint Cup sponsorship debut riding along with me at a track like Martinsville," said Logano, who finished a season-best second-place in the Sprint Cup Series event at Martinsville earlier this year. "GameStop has been a great company to work with, and they've been with me since I came into the big leagues of NASCAR in 2008. I'm excited to have the chance to improve on our finish from earlier this year and get GameStop into Victory Lane in the Cup Series."
GameStop has taken a unique approach to their Nationwide Series sponsorship with Joe Gibbs Racing, Since 2008, the #20 GameStop Toyota has featured more than 35 different paint schemes promoting a number of popular video games, gaming systems and gaming accessories. The paint scheme for the Martinsville Speedway car will be unveiled at the track on race weekend. "Our GameStop car always turns heads when it gets unloaded at the track. Whatever paint scheme they come up with for Martinsville will be really cool looking," added Logano. "One of the best things about having GameStop as a sponsor is the uniqueness they bring to the sport. Their stuff draws fans into the sport. I mean, who doesn't like video games and race cars? So this will be a special weekend for all of the GameStop employees and fans out there. I'm looking forward to it." The GameStop sponsorship is a one-race deal for Martinsville only. Home Depot, Logano's primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series, will return to sponsor the car for the remainder of the 2010 season.(GameStop Racing)(9-12-2010)
UPDATE 2: The #20 GameStop Toyota will feature the look of the PowerUp Rewards program this weekend in Martinsville. The PowerUp Rewards program rewards the most passionate of GameStop gamers by offering savings on purchases while also providing members-only specials, discounts and news emailed directly to users. GameStop District 211 in Columbus, OH, will be the featured on the c-post of the #20 GameStop Toyota this weekend in Martinsville. District 211 has been instrumental in the nation-wide rollout of PowerUp Rewards.
IMAGEs: see images of the scheme on my #20 Team Schemes Page.(10-20-2010)
Home Depot & NMPA team up again: The Home Depot and the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) will once again team up in 2010 to present the Home Depot NMPA Humanitarian Award. This is the fourth year the award is being presented and the winner of the award will be announced during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brother Awards luncheon in Las Vegas. The award recognizes an individual in the NASCAR community that has displayed a dedication to helping others and improving communities through their service and giving. The winner will receive a $100,000 cash donation made by The Home Depot to the recipient's charity of choice and a specially-designed crystal award. Two finalists will each receive $25,000 cash donations to their designated non-profit organizations.(JGR)(9-7-2010)
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)
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)
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)
Logano's father warned: The father of Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano will not have his NASCAR credential pulled for the second time in a year after being called to the hauler for his behavior following Sunday's race at Pocono Raceway. But Tom Logano was told strongly by NASCAR officials that he crossed the line when he allegedly shoved a television broadcaster out of the way -- an allegation he disputes -- while his 20-year-old son tried to get to Sprint Cup Series points leader Kevin Harvick on pit road. "You can't deny the fact of a passionate parent," series director John Darby said after the race. "You have to appreciate it, but there has to be line in the sand as to how far that passion can go." The younger Logano was angry that Harvick spun him racing for a top 5 finish with less than two laps left in regulation. He parked his car next to Harvick's on pit road after the race and attempted to get to the Richard Childress Racing driver. "All of our competitors are licensed to compete," Darby said. "They're given permission in sorts to not only to be the athletes but to display the emotions of competition during, after, before or whatever. And that's all fine. Parents aren't really licensed or quite frankly have the permission to step in and get involved in this thing. Mr. Logano, he did what he could to restrain himself. I guess at the last he wound up interfering with one of our television broadcasters and that's not the right thing to do."
During the heated affair, according to Darby, Tom Logano pushed a television broadcaster. But Logano said that wasn't what happened. "What happened with what Darby said, and what they talked to me about, was after Joey was done and he was walking away," Logano said Monday. "His business manager wasn't with him, so I just wanted to walk with Joey. I brushed past one of the newscasters. I didn't grab him. I didn't shove him. I just wanted to get to Joey. I didn't know if it was a radio guy or TV guy or what. And he said they didn't appreciate it. I didn't grab him or push him. They had it on video. It wasn't a big deal."
The elder Logano had his annual NASCAR credential pulled in October for a gesture made at Greg Biffle following his son's victory in the Nationwide race at California. It was more an inconvenience than punishment, because he was allowed to stand in line and get a paper credential for subsequent events.
On Monday, Tom Logano said when the incident began, he initially was trying to clear the way for his son to confront Harvick. "I pushed one of the Gibbs guys away to let Joey go handle his own problems," he said. "I wasn't going after Harvick."(ESPN.com)(6-8-2010)
Logano vs. Harvick, some notes: #29-Kevin Harvick and #20-Joey Logano got together on the track a few laps from the finish, Logano came down entering turn 3 and Harvick didn't follow but held his ground, the #29 right front touched the #20-left rear, sending the #20 in a long slide, just missing the outside wall. Harvick finished 4th and Logano was able to hold on and finished 13th. On pit road, Logano drove up to where Harvick's car was parked, a crew member tried to hold Logano back while his father grabbed Logano and encouraged him to confront Harvick. Logano could not get near Harvick as the #29 crew members blocked the way. Logano said a few things and was ushered away. Moments later he was interviewed by TNT and said "It's disappointing to be honest with you, we had a top-five run going with the Home Depot Toyota. I was pretty pumped up about it. Racing the 29 (Kevin Harvick) and he let me go in the middle of the straightaway and then decided to dump me in the next turn. I don't know what his problem is with me but it's probably not his fault. His wife wears the fire suit in the family and tells him what to do. It's probably not his fault." What will it take to cool this feud down? "I don't know. I'm going to go to the NASCAR hauler and I guess they are going to tell me what I'm supposed to do. We will just have to see." What did Coach Gibbs and J.D. Gibbs say to you? "They just said to calm down, you know we finished 13th. We rallied back from 30th in two laps so at least we got something out of it. Not a top-five like we should have finished, but it is what it is. I don't know what I ever did to (piss) him off, but he is apparently stupid." -more-
(Toyota NSCS Pocono Post-Race Notes)
Harvick's comment "We had a great day, today. I just got into turn three and we just wound up getting together (with the 20). It was just two cars going for the same space at one time. I just need to thank everybody on my Shell-Pennzoil Chevy, they did a great job today and we had a solid car. I kind of got stuck back there in the middle of the pack with the pit strategy but, all-in-all, our car was good all day and worked out for a top five."(RCR)
AND Harvick called the incident "a 20-year-old move" and added, "he just races without giving people any respect and not much room. So, we just wound up getting together. It's unfortunate, but that's the way it goes."(FoxSports)
Harvick responded on Twitter, "After his TV comment I don't know if he wants to fight me or [DeLana]. My money's on her!"
AND Harvick's crew chief Gil Martin claimed Logano sped toward Harvick's pit box and nearly slammed into several crew members before coming to a stop.(Associated Press) Logano went to speak to Sprint Cup series officials after the race and left without further comment. Harvick was not called to the hauler.(6-7-2010)
Captains of Gold-Medal Winning USA Paralympic Sled Hockey Team to be Joey Logano's Guests During All-Star Weekend: Being in the spotlight and treated like a star is nothing new for Joey Logano. When you are the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year and a public figure, it comes with the territory. So Joey Logano hopes that he'll be able to give that "star" experience to another group of people; a group he feels much more deserving of the honor than himself.
Logano will host three members of the gold-medal winning 2010 USA Paralympic Sled Hockey team during the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 22nd. The team members - Steve Cash (Goaltender), Taylor Lipsett (Forward) and Jimmy Connelly (Defenseman) - will be guests of Joey for the entire weekend and will hang out with the team and Joey during one of the highlight nights of the Sprint Cup season. The three team members will also be Joey's special guests at the Joey Logano Fan day on Sunday, May 23rd, at the Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail, NC.
Logano has a special place in his heart for the Paralympic Sled Hockey team. Logano teamed up with the Extreme Ice Center back in late 2009 to start on a project to design, develop, build and donate new sleds for the US Paralympic team in hopes of helping the team come one step closer to achieving their goals and winning gold at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. The team used the new sleds in March during the Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, BC, Canada and won the gold medal, winning all five of their games and outscoring opponents 19-0. The U.S. team defeated South Korea, Czech Republic, Japan (twice) and Norway en route to the gold.
"These guys are just inspiring," said Logano, who has a guaranteed starting spot in the All-Star event following his win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last season. "I really wish we could have the whole team here, but to just have some of the guys represented is a great honor for me. They put their heart and soul into the game of hockey and it showed when they won the gold medal. I figured bringing them down to experience the All-Star weekend would be a cool experience for them. And it's a great way to just say thanks to a group of guys who don't get the attention that the regular Olympians do, but who are far more inspiring. I can't wait to show them around and let them see what it is like on the racing side of things. From what I've heard, the guys are real excited to come experience it all and it will be my pleasure to have them as my guests for the weekend."
Cash, one of three team captains, led the charge for the gold in Vancouver. The goalie made 33 saves and didn't allow a single goal during the US team's march to first place. A St. Louis, MO-native, Cash was diagnosed with osterosarcoma (bone cancer) of the right knee in October 1992 and underwent amputation surgery at the age of three. Cash was named the 2009 United States Olympic Committee Paralympic SportsMan of the Year.
Lipsett, another team captain who hails from Mesquite, Texas, scored five goals and two assists during the Winter Games as a Forward. Lipsett, who suffers from a genetic bone disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta (sometimes known as "brittle bone disease"), works for Bank of America's Private Wealth Management Division and would like to specialize in wealth management for athletes.
Connelly is a Defenseman who resides in Galloway, N.J. Connelly was born with spina bifida, a birth defect caused by the incomplete formation of vertebrae. He is currently attending The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and is pursuing a degree in criminal justice.
"We've watched and followed these guys ever since they got their new sleds and they have done nothing but impress us with their tenacity," said Mike Mulhall, General Manager of the Indian Trail, NC-based Extreme Ice Center, who spearheaded the project from the start. "These guys put a lot of time and effort into doing what they do and representing the United States. So, hopefully bringing them into town and letting them experience a little NASCAR flavor will be something that will stick with them. And, it will be the Ice Center and the Logano's way of just saying thanks."(2 Dudes Designs)(5-18-2010)
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)
Logano wins Toyota All-Star Showdown:Joey Logano got his second NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown trophy and Sergio Pena nearly made a historic debut on the national stage. Logano, 19, held off the 16-year-old Pena and two-time race winner Matt Kobyluck for the victory in the 225-lap race Saturday before a sold-out crowd at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. It was Pena's first career race in NASCAR's top developmental series and it came in the non-points, postseason event, which has earned the moniker the "Daytona 500 of short-track racing." Logano made his mark by winning as a 17-year-old rookie in the 2007 edition; Pena, who only has one year of Late Model racing on his resume, nearly out-did that. Logano wound up leading a race-high 171 laps. Pena led the other 54 and they swapped the lead five times. Following Logano, Pena and Kobyluck across the line was Matt DiBenedetto and Andrew Myers. Eric Holmes, David Mayhew, Eddie MacDonald, Paulie Harraka and Steve Park rounded out the top 10. Reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Champion Jason Bowles finished 11th while K&N Pro Series East 2009 titlist Ryan Truex was relegated to 26th after a late-race accident.(NASCAR)(1-31-2010)
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)
Logano Wins At Bobsled Challenge: The Fifth Annual Lucas Oil Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen Engineering concluded on Sunday with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano a winner. Logano defeated Melanie Troxel from the NHRA in Sunday's Race 2 finals, which pitted the fastest NASCAR representative against the fastest from the NHRA. Logano's run of 49.81 seconds edged the 50.08 of Troxel, who was the champion of Race 1 earlier in the day. "I'm happy with my time, and it makes it a ton of fun to finally get a win," Logano said. "This is a blast." A three-year participant in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge, Sunday's Race 2 overall win was the first in a bobsled for Logano. Logano recorded the second-fastest time, just behind NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Todd Bodine, during the first round of competition against his fellow NASCAR competitors, and advanced to the semifinals in the head-to-head portion of the racing with a win against part-time driver and ESPN NASCAR analyst Boris Said. Logano then defeated Bodine in the semifinals to earn a match-up with Troxel. Troxel made it to the finals of Race 2 by recording the fastest time among her NHRA competitors in the first round, then defeated Morgan Lucas in the semifinals. Earlier in the day the event's 10 participants competed in Race 1, which determined an overall winner based on the combined time of two runs. Troxel took top honors with a composite time of 1:39.33 to just edge fellow NHRA representative Jeg Coughlin Jr. at 1:39.40. Said was third overall, and fastest among the NASCAR drivers at 1:39.69. Bodine was fourth at 1:39.82. Said recorded the fastest single run of any competitor on Sunday, a trip of 49.21 seconds during the first round of Race 1. The Bodine Bobsled Challenge was held on Mount Van Hovenburg in rural Lake Placid, site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, and the 2009 World Bobsled Championships. The event is geared to create awareness and greater funding for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., which provides made-in-America bobsleds for the United States men's and women's national teams. Action from the Bobsled Challenge is scheduled to air on SPEED on Jan. 24 and Jan. 31 (NASCAR), more info and TV Times on my Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge page.(1-11-2010)
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)
Final Rookie News and Notes: #20-Joey Logano is the 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Logano captured top rookie honors 26 times in 36 races and officially claimed the honor by 33 points (270-237) over #82-Scott Speed. He finished the season with one win, three top-five and seven top-10 finishes and placed 20th in the final series championship standings. Logano scored his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The victory came in his 20th career start. At 19 years of age, Logano is the youngest driver to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The year-end payout for 2009 Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is $75,000, the same amount Darrell Waltrip earned from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for his 1982 Cup series championship. Logano will earn a grand total of $114,500 from Raybestos brand Brakes for his efforts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season. Logano is the third driver from Joe Gibbs Racing to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year, joining Tony Stewart (1999) and Denny Hamlin (2006).(Raybestos/Camp & Associates) and see rookie history, standings on my 2009 Rookies page and race by race notes on my 2009 Rookies race-by-race page.(11-27-2009)
Logano named 2009 Rookie of the Year: #20-Joey Logano scored a 24th-place finish and was the top rookie in Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors 26 times in 36 races this season. Logano scored his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He finished the season with one win, three top-fives and seven top-10 finishes. At 19 years of age, Logano is the youngest driver to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Logano is the third driver from Joe Gibbs Racing to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year, joining Tony Stewart (1999) and Denny Hamlin (2006). YOU OFICIALLY CLINCHED RAYBESTOS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR TONIGHT. "All right, cool. That's cool. That was one of our big goals this year. It's pretty neat to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year. I appreciate that," said Logano.(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos) and see more, plus rookie history, notes on my 2009 Rookies page.(11-23-2009)
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)
Drivers to appear on Raw: #18-Kyle Busch and #20-Joey Logano are scheduled to serve as special guest hosts of WWE's Raw in Buffalo, N.Y., this Monday night [10/26]. The show airs on the USA Network at 9:00pm/et.(WWE)(10-26-2009)
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)
Robby Gordon Responds to Logano Incident in NNS race: Robby Gordon [#55] and Joey Logano [#20] both raced in the Watkins Glen Nationwide Race and got together late in the race, Gordon responded Sunday to the incident: "After reviewing the comments by Logano and the replay of the day's events, I felt that it was necessary to explain what happened during yesterday's race from my prospective. This whole turn of events started with Joey running into the back of my #55 in Turn 10. He then knocked me sideways in Turn 11. To show him my displeasure, I ran him down towards the inside wall on the front straight. I tried to do a crossover move in Turn 1 to get back by him; however, I missed judged a little resulting in both of us getting flat tires. During the final incident that ended Joey's day, we were racing for the lucky dog position. We both had good cars and were just trying to improve our finishing position for the day. After the bus stop chicane, Joey wrecked the No. 34 of Tony Raines. This contact allowed me to get underneath him in Turn 9. He saw that I was going to pass him for the Lucky Dog position, so he tried to block me. This maneuver resulted in his right rear tire connecting with my left front. From there, I felt he would be okay because he was in the section where the outer loop was. Rather than going down the inner loop, he decided to cut across the grass, hitting the tire barrier. At the end of the day I'm just glad Joey is okay. This is a highly competitive sport, and we are all very passionate when we are on the track. Tempers have a tendency to flare, but hopefully in the future we will both race each other cleaner.
Under my own doing, I did stop by the NASCAR hauler this morning to converse with them about yesterday. There will be no repercussions from yesterday' events," commented Robby Gordon.(RGM)
AND Joey Logano, who was wrecked pretty blatant by Robby Gordon and sent spinning into a tire barrier. Logano's fuel lines came loose and the car caught fire, forcing him out of the race. "Apparently, we got in a little grudge match after I cut down his tire," Logano said. "It's a pretty raw deal. You can't fix stupid, it's forever. You put that in your memory bank."(Alabama Live)(8-9-2009)
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)