Interstate Batteries [6 races] is scheduled to be the primary sponsor at the following 2015 races:
Auto Club - 3/22, David Ragan
Texas - 4/11, David Ragan
the rest TBA
There are six current race tracks the Sprint Cup Series runs on that Kyle Busch has not won at a Sprint Cup race:
Martinsville, Charlotte, Kansas, Pocono, Indianapolis and Homestead.(11-16-2014)
Contract Status: Driver: 2017; Primary Sponsors: M&M Mars 2017; Interstate 2015+
Michael Waltrip in the #55 at Talladega; then Ragan UPDATES: Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3. Waltrip, founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, replaces 22-year-old Brett Moffitt who has driven MWR's #55 since the March 22nd race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. "Talladega is a place where I know we will be very competitive," said Waltrip who owns four restrictor plate victories including a Talladega win in the fall of 2003. "This will be my 58th Sprint Cup start at Talladega so believe me when I tell you Talladega is some of the best racing in the world and I'm glad I'll get to be part of it again in the Aaron's Dream Machine." The May 3 and Oct. 25 Talladega races are the only remaining races Waltrip is scheduled to drive this season.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(4-23-2015)
UPDATE: The team is believed to be trying to sign David Ragan to drive the #55 beginning next month at Kansas. Ragan is currently the replacement driver for Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing, but JGR is leaning toward putting 18-year-old development driver Erik Jones in the car until Busch returns. That would free Ragan, who has subbed for Busch since the second week of the season. Waltrip wasn't prepared Thursday to discuss anything beyond next week at Talladega. "We're making plans now and we wanted a more long-term solution for the situation by this point, but we just haven't been able to put all the pieces together yet," he said. He also said it's unclear when - or if - Vickers will be back. "I can't answer that," Waltrip said of Vickers, who is in a contract year with the team. "He certainly wants to be back, but he's on thinners. Until he comes up with a long-term solution to that, that challenges us in answering if he'll be back."(Associated Press)(4-24-2015)
UPDATE 2: David Ragan, who entered the season planning to run with Front Row Motorsports, is expected to move to Michael Waltrip Racing's #55 Toyota beginning with the May 9 race at Kansas Speedway, multiple sources confirmed to the Observer on Friday. He would replace rookie Brett Moffitt in the #55, who has been filling in most of the team's races since the team's regular driver, Brian Vickers, was sidelined once again with blood clots. Ragan would remain with the team for the rest of the 2015 season, sources said. Saturday's race is expected to be the last for Moffitt with MWR in the Cup series, but the organization remains committed to obtaining sponsorship in order to run him in a third team and he remains under contract with MWR. An official announcement is expected sometime next week, sources said. Ragan's move will require another fill-in driver for JGR in the #18 as Busch is not yet set to return to competition. Sources said JGR will move Xfinity and Truck series driver Erik Jones into the #18 beginning with the Kansas race. An official with Joe Gibbs Racing said "nothing has been confirmed" thus far about any changes to their driver lineup. With Ragan moving to the #55 for the remainder of the season, Front Row Motorsports will need to find a more permanent replacement for Ragan in its #34 Ford. Roush Fenway Racing has been loaning Xfinity driver Chris Buescher to the team when the schedule doesn't disrupt his run for Xfinity Series championship. That arrangement could well continue, with other drivers used when Buscher's schedule doesn't allow double-duty, sources said. A FRM spokesman said at this time, the organization was still expecting Ragan to return to the team whenever his tenure at JGR is completed.(Charlotte Observer)(4-24-2015)
UPDATE 3: If the deal is finalized, Vickers, who announced in March that he would have to miss at least three months while he takes blood thinners to treat blood clots that had developed in his lungs, would be left to find another ride if he is able to return this season, [a] source said. That could include the possibility of MWR fielding a third car, pending sponsorship, after Vickers is ready to return.(ESPN.com)
AND Asked about reports that he would be moving to MWR: "I know I'm going to be in the 18 car for a little while," Ragan said. "This week and Talladega are obviously two very important weeks we're looking forward to. I'm focused on that and I just don't really have any comment.")USA Today)(4-25-2015)
NASCAR was willing to approve Jones at Bristol based on experience: Erik Jones had never turned a lap in the Sprint Cup Series when he became a last-minute replacement driver for Denny Hamlin at Bristol last weekend. Jones was flown in from North Carolina during a lengthy rain delay in Sunday's race when because Hamlin had neck spasms. The 18-year-old arrived 5 minutes before the race resumed, and jumped into Hamlin's car for the remainder of the event. NASCAR had to approve Jones as the replacement driver, something that isn't done until the competitor has at least turned some laps. But in the case of Jones, NASCAR was satisfied he was capable of driving. Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck said Friday that Jones was approved "based upon his recent experience at the track, and we had just gotten a fresh look at him the day before at Bristol."(Associated Press)(4-25-2015)
France says NASCAR open to Chase spot for Busch: NASCAR chairman Brian France isn't sure if Kyle Busch will be granted a waiver to be part of the championship chase when he returns from injury, but said Thursday the sanctioning body would like to "accommodate" him. He'll miss his ninth race this weekend at Richmond International Raceway, but has indicated he'll return to racing this season. The only way he'd be eligible to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship is if NASCAR grants him a waiver, and he wins a race that would qualify him for the 16-driver field. He'd also have to be inside the top 30 in points. Those are the rules under a Chase system France altered last year. It gives him more flexibility to grant exemptions to drivers who miss races. "Depends on when he comes back of course, but it'll be more likely than not that we're going to try to figure out how to accommodate him, which is the beauty of our playoff system," France said Thursday during a meeting of The Associated Press Sports Editors at the NASCAR offices in Manhattan. "What happened to him was on us," he said. "We'll balance a lot of things at that point when we have to make a decision, but we're inclined to want to figure that out for sure."(Associated Press)(4-23-2015)
Kyle Busch meets with media UPDATE: #18-Kyle Busch, injured in an accident during the Daytona XFINITY Series race, met with members of the media at Joe Gibbs Racing on Wednesday afternoon. Some notes:
• Busch says the accident was the hardest hit of his career.
• He left the racing surface at 176mph and impacted the wall at 90mph.
• The crash was so hard that his helmet and chest hit the steering wheel.
• He says he knew instantly that both legs were broken.
• Busch took the blame for the accident, saying that he was being too greedy trying to win the race.
• Doctors have not given him a timeline to return to racing. They are pleased with his progress and believe he is ahead of schedule.
• He would like to be able to return to racing by Daytona in July, but is not sure that will be possible;
• Busch would like to be Chase eligible upon his return, but believes it could be hard to get to the top 30 in points.
• Busch will need additional surgery. He has one scheduled for December to remove screws and plates in his left foot.
UPDATE: #18-Kyle Busch said he does not know when he will get back into a race car but hopes he can return by July as he continues to recover from a broken right leg and a broken left foot suffered in a crash Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway. Busch, speaking about his injuries at a news conference Wednesday at Joe Gibbs Racing, said he hit the DIS concrete wall at 90 mph and the g-forces were 90 g's. He said he is healing well and still has a small crack in his right leg as well as a walking boot on his left foot. Kyle Busch suffered a broken right leg and a broken left foot in a Feb. 21 crash at Daytona International Speedway. Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images "First and foremost, I have to please my doctors. ... They say my recovery is going faster [than expected]," Busch said about his possible return. "I don't even ask. They won't release me a timetable." Busch said the wreck was his fault, being greedy trying to win the race. He was trying to push teammate Erik Jones, who ended up spinning. While Jones was spinning, he took the air off the rear of Busch's car, sending him into the skid into the wall. NASCAR has made no decision on whether it will waive the rule that a driver must compete each race weekend in order to be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. NASCAR also could waive the rule that requires a driver to be eligible with a win and a top-30 placement in the regular-season standings, although it has not waived that rule when issuing past waivers.(ESPN.com)(4-15-2015)
Gibbs says Jones is "ready to go" to Cup; MWR an option?: With Kyle Busch's return date still undetermined from a broken right leg and broken left foot suffered in a crash in February, Joe Gibbs has talked about putting Erik Jones in Busch's Cup car when he feels it's the right time. Jones' performance in outlasting Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the victory Friday no doubt is encouraging Gibbs to make "the right time" sooner than later, as Jones won in just his ninth Xfinity start. "There's no question that at some point very quick he's going to be in a Cup car some," Gibbs said. "We kind of have a little bit of a strategy there that we've talked about. He's ready to go at any time." Jones is driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports full time in the Camping World Truck Series while also driving as many Xfinity races as possible for JGR that don't conflict with his trucks schedule. Gibbs doesn't have any room to expand his Cup program, as he has the current maximum of four teams and all his drivers are signed through at least 2016. He can run a fifth car for up to seven races for a development driver or loan him to another Cup team. "We know that Erik is on the fast track," Gibbs said. "It's just a matter of when."(ESPN.com)(4-12-2015)
AND If Joe Gibbs Racing cannot find a Sprint Cup ride for Erik Jones, fellow Toyota team owner Rob Kauffman says Michael Waltrip Racing might have a Camry for the 18-year-old phenom. "There are a lot of moving parts, but we would love to figure something out," Kauffman told Motorsports.com prior to Saturday's Duck Commander 500. Kauffman acknowledged he went to Victory Lane last night during Jones' celebration to congratulate Coach Gibbs and Dave Wilson, President and General Manager, Toyota Racing Development. "We have some open seats, potentially. We'd love to expand when it makes sense." Currently MWR runs two teams - the #15 with veteran Clint Bowyer, who is in the first year of the three-year contract and the #55 with Moffitt, who is filling in for Brian Vickers while he recovers from blood clots. "I think Brian's doing better," Kauffman added. "I haven't talked to him in a bit...but right now the important thing is his health."(Motorsport)(4-12-2015)
Ragan would like to be in the #18 until Busch returns: David Ragan accepted a congratulatory handshake and pat from team owner Joe Gibbs and then turned to face the news media with a broad smile. In his fifth start in the #18 Toyota, he finally had a result to justify his contention that the team wasn't struggling as much as it seemed since he took over for injured Kyle Busch. But he persevered to score his first top five since his May 5, 2013 victory at Talladega Superspeedway. Even more importantly, it came after a stretch of four consecutive finishes of 18th or worse since moving into the JGR car on an interim basis from Front Row Motorsports. Ragan said multiple times in postrace interviews that he believed he could win during his stint in Busch's car. There still is no timetable for Busch's return, nor has it been announced when Ragan will return to Front Row. In the wake of Busch's Feb. 21 crash at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR Talk has reported the plan was for Ragan to drive nine races before turning Busch's car over to Erik Jones at Kansas Speedway. "It's kind of week by week on how Kyle is feeling," Ragan said. "Certainly that's a Kyle Busch decision and a Coach Gibbs decision. There are probably a lot of different scenarios that could play out. Obviously, I hope I'm in the car until the transition for Kyle comes back. That's what the team and everybody wants. They don't want to have to put a third or fourth or fifth driver in, so hopefully Kyle can heal well, and he'll be back sooner than later, and we would have won a race, and I can go back to Front Row Motorsports and carry a Chase ticket back home. That'd be cool."(NBC Sports)(3-30-2015)
JD Gibbs being treated for symptoms impacting areas of brain function UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announces today that J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, is starting treatment for symptoms impacting areas of brain function. Gibbs has undergone a series of tests after experiencing a gradual onset of symptoms that includes speech and processing issues. Gibbs' doctors believe the complications he has experienced were triggered by head injuries likely suffered earlier in life, but no specific injury was referenced or identified. Gibbs has always enjoyed an active life participating in several sports including mountain biking, snowboarding, football, racing, and other extreme-type sports. Gibbs will be undergoing more testing and receiving treatments to help manage the symptoms. During that time, it is expected that his presence at the race track will be limited; however, he will continue many of his day-to-day responsibilities at JGR's headquarters in Huntersville, NC as well as involvement with his various ministry endeavors.(Joe Gibbs Racing)
Statement from Brian France: "All members of the NASCAR and France family extend our thoughts and prayers to J.D. Gibbs and his loved ones. We've all watched J.D. grow up within our community, and he always has represented himself, his family, the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization and NASCAR with the utmost professionalism, enthusiasm and energy. We wish him the best during this time and eagerly anticipate his recovery."(NASCAR)(3-25-2015)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs addressed the media Sunday morning at Martinsville:
"J.D. at our team meeting earlier this week, he got up and basically he said, 'I know God has a plan and God puts us through things for a reason.' I think J.D. gains his strength from the fact that he has a personal relationship with the Lord and I have to tell you that he's my hero. I kind of watch him and I don't know if anybody has ever dealt with anything as crazy as J.D. does. He went through a situation with his son Taylor having leukemia at two and we fought through that for about three or four years. By the way, appreciate all of you all's prayers for Taylor and Taylor's doing great today. Like I said, J.D. through his entire life has probably been the craziest person that I've ever been around or knew. Basically, his situation medically - there's very few answers. We've been dealing with this for about six months and basically what the doctor's say is that they really don't know. J.D. has lived a very active lifestyle. All the things that he's done in his life physically he's loved all sporting events and it's everything from football to snowboarding, racing cars, racing motor bikes - he's lived in a lot of ways for him, he loved all those things. We can't point to any one serious thing that happened to him, certainly any injury is a possibility that led us into some of the symptoms that he's experiencing now.
We've been dealing with this for about six months so as far as the management team for Joe Gibbs Racing, we have a senior management team and most of our people have been in place for the full 24 years - it's amazing really. I think very few people have noticed anything or any difference in the way we operate with the race team. The good thing there is that J.D. and I share the same responsibilities. If I'm not there for a particular reason, J.D. will be there and if J.D. is not there for some reason, I'll be there. As he goes through treatment, he will probably be doing less at the race track because he has a full week that demands quite a bit from him as he goes through treatment. You will probably see less of him at the race track, but he'll be there on a day-to-day basis with the race team and be in all of our meetings and all of the key decisions that we make, J.D.'s going to have a huge impact on that.(Toyota Racing)(3-29-2015)
Pole winner, Gordon, wrecks in Happy Hour at Las Vegas, goes to backup: Polesitter #24-Jeff Gordon couldn't avoid hitting #10-Danica Patrick after she lost control of her car exiting Turn 2 in the closing minute of Happy Hour at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday. "Danica spun out and we hit her," Gordon said. "Oh my (expletive) god," replied crew chief Alan Gustafson. "It shouldn't be too bad, just the right front," Gordon said. "Isn't she smart enough to know when (indiscernible) to watch out," Gustafson added. Gordon scored his 79th pole on Friday for the Kobalt 400. He was 14th on the speed chart after posting a lap of 185.306 mph. He was on stickers tires at the time when Patrick lost control of her car. "The right front fender is pretty bad," spotter Eddie D'Hondt said from above the track. "Gosh, darn it."
"We'll have to get a backup," Gustafson concluded. Gordon wasn't alone. David Ragan also had an issue and slapped the right rear of the #18 M&Ms Toyota. "Got in a little too high in the gray stuff," Ragan radioed to the crew. Ragan will also go to a backup car.(Motorsport)
AND Pole-sitter #24-Jeff Gordon will go to a backup car after it was damaged when #10-Danica Patrick's car spun late in Saturday's final practice session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Patrick spun and Gordon reported damage to his car. Gordon's spokesperson confirmed on Twitter that Gordon will go to a backup car. Gordon will start at the rear of the field because of the move. Gordon raced his backup car last season at Chicago, Charlotte and Texas. He finished second at Chicagoland and Charlotte during the Chase. He was racing for the lead late at Texas before contact with #2-Brad Keselowski saddled Gordon with a 29th-place finish.
Also, #18-David Ragan, driving for the injured Kyle Busch, hit the Turn 2 wall in the final minutes of the practice session. The Joe Gibbs Racing team rolled out a backup car for Ragan.(NBC Sports)(3-7-2015)
Kyle Busch released from hospital: Kyle Busch has been released from a Charlotte, NC, hospital and is home, wife Samantha tweeted, and a Joe Gibbs Racing spokesperson confirmed Friday morning. Busch spent three nights in a Daytona Beach, Fla., hospital after he suffered a compound fracture of his lower right leg and a fractured left foot in last weekend's NASCAR Xfinity race at Daytona. Busch slammed into an inside wall not protected by a SAFER barrier. He was transferred to North Carolina on Tuesday. He had surgery on his right leg last Saturday and surgery on his left foot Wednesday.(NBC Sports)(2-28-2015)
If Ragan wins, he can get in the Chase: David Ragan doesn't know how long he'll get to drive the Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Toyota, but he'll relish every opportunity he can to compete for one of NASCAR's elite teams. Front Row has loaned Ragan to JGR as the replacement for the injured Kyle Busch, who has had surgery on a compound fracture in his right leg and on a broken left foot suffered in a crash Saturday during the Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
JGR officials have not said how long Busch will be out. While no more surgeries are scheduled, Busch must be able to work pedals with both his feet because he likes to brake with his left foot. He remained hospitalized in a Charlotte area hospital Thursday. Ragan will drive the car for the next "several weeks," and JGR officials will re-evaluate the program at some point to see if they want to give development driver Erik Jones a shot. "As far as the length of time Kyle will be out, I don't think anyone really knows that yet," Ragan said Thursday after a test day at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "I know for the next several weeks, I'll be in the 18 car. I don't know that we have really a hard time frame on it just yet. There's a lot of moving parts and pieces and certainly it all goes back to how quickly Kyle can heal up and get back driving for them."
If Ragan can win a race, he would be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup as long as he finishes the regular season in the top 30 in the standings. Ragan is expected to have returned to Front Row well before the Chase starts in September, creating a possible windfall for Front Row Motorsports to have a driver in the Chase.(ESPN)
AND Supposedly the plan is for Ragan to drive the car for nine races before Camping World Truck Series driver Erik Jones would take the wheel of the #18 in the May 9 race at Kansas Speedway. Ragan then would return to the #34.(NBC Sports)(2-27-2015)
Kyle Busch Undergoes Successful Surgery On Left Foot: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), underwent successful surgery this afternoon on his left foot, which was injured in an accident during last Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson of OrthoCarolina. Busch is resting comfortably and will remain hospitalized for observation.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(2-26-2015)
Ragan to sub for Kyle Busch? UPDATE: #34-David Ragan has been contacted by Joe Gibbs Racing about driving the #18 Toyota while Kyle Busch recovers from a compound fracture in his right leg. JGR is considering a plan that would share the ride between Ragan and Camping World Truck Series driver Erik Jones, who is under contract to the team, while Busch recovers from his injury. There is no timetable on the return for Busch, who spent a third consecutive night in a Daytona Beach hospital after being hurt in a Saturday crash during the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona.
Ragan has driven the #34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series the past four seasons. He has two victories in Cup, at Daytona in 2011 for Roush Fenway Racing and at Talladega in 2013 for Front Row. Ragan met with JGR officials Tuesday morning at the team's Huntserville, N.C., headquarters. Team owner Joe Gibbs met Monday morning with Jones, who has four career victories in the truck series, about taking over the No. 18, but there are concerns about how it might impact the 18-year-old's future sponsorship prospects if he struggled in Busch's absence.
Jones races full time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the truck series and is running 10 races in the Xfinity Series for JGR. He is a likely candidate to take over Busch's part-time schedule in the #54 Toyota on the Xfinity circuit. Among the plans being considered would be to put Ragan in the #18 for several races and then allow Jones some time behind the wheel after he has more Xfinity and truck experience.
It wasn't clear immediately how Ragan's Ford relationship might be affected, but multiple sources said JGR had received approval from Ford and Roush Fenway Racing to put driver Elliott Sadler in the #18 for the Daytona 500 before electing to run truck series champion Matt Crafton. Requests for comment from Ragan and Front Row Motorsports hadn't been returned Tuesday morning.(NBC Sports)(2-24-2015)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces that David Ragan will fill in for Kyle Busch behind the wheel of the #18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning with this weekend's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch was released this morning from Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, FL and transferred to a hospital near his home in Charlotte, North Carolina for further treatment. Busch sustained a compound fracture of the right lower leg in an accident during Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident. No specific timetable has been announced for Busch's return to the race track. It is expected that Ragan will pilot the #18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota for at least the next several weeks. Ragan's current race team Front Row Motorsports and sponsor CSX accommodated the move by Ragan and Ragan is expected to return to the team later this season. Additional updates on Busch's condition will be provided as necessary. In addition, JGR announces that Erik Jones will pilot the #54 Monster Energy Toyota in the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend in Atlanta. An announcement on who will drive the Monster Energy Camry following Atlanta will be made at a later date.
"We appreciate being able to work with Front Row Motorsports and CSX for David's (Ragan) availability," said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We are fortunate to be able to have someone of David's caliber behind the wheel while Kyle recovers. Erik is a big part of our future at JGR and we will be increasing his schedule in the XFINITY Series beginning this weekend in Atlanta and seeking the earliest opportunity to provide him Cup experience. We appreciate all the support we have received from the NASCAR community including our fans and we look forward to getting Kyle back in the car as soon as possible."
"Everyone at Mars is thankful that Kyle is doing well and we continue to wish him a speedy recovery," said William Clements, vice president of sponsorship and sports marketing for Mars Incorporated. "While we can't wait until Kyle returns behind the wheel of the #18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota, we are excited to work with David and we're pleased JGR was able to work it out for him to step in during Kyle's absence."(Joe Gibbs Racing)(2-24-2015)
Kyle Busch spends another night in the hospital UPDATE: #18-Kyle Busch will spend a third night at Halifax Health Medical Center of Daytona Beach, where he is recovering from leg and foot injuries, according to a team spokesman at Joe Gibbs Racing, who said Busch is "resting comfortably."(FoxSports)(2-24-2015)
UPDATE Kyle Busch's wife Samantha tweeted with a pic: Off to NC! Thank u to everyone at Halifax for taking such good care of Kyle! Leaving Daytona.(2-24-2015)
Erik Jones meets with Joe Gibbs about subbing for injured Busch in #18 ride: Erik Jones has emerged as the leading candidate to replace injured Kyle Busch in the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Jones, who drives for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series and is under contract with JGR, met Monday morning with team owner Joe Gibbs to discuss taking over the ride. Busch is out indefinitely after suffering a compound fracture in his right leg in an Xfinity Series crash Saturday at Daytona. JGR could make an announcement on an interim driver as early as Monday afternoon. Jones, 18, is scheduled to run a full truck season for KBM and a 10-race Xfinity schedule for JGR. There are no major scheduling conflicts that would preclude him from driving in NASCAR's premier series until the Martinsville Speedway weekend in late March. The team is expected to receive approval from NASCAR to put Jones in a Sprint Cup car. He wasn't approved for the Daytona 500 as NASCAR typically doesn't allow drivers to make their Cup debut in a restrictor-plate race at Daytona or Talladega without having raced at a lower-tier event at those tracks.(NBC Sports)(2-23-2015)
Crafton finishes 18th in first Cup start: Now that the Daytona 500 is history, and Matt Crafton brought home an 18th-place finish in an emergency relief role for injured Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing will have to turn its attention to the future. Busch suffered a broken right leg and a broken left foot after his #54 Toyota slammed nose-first into a concrete wall inside Turn 1 during Saturday's XFINITY Series race. Unknown at this point is the number of races Busch will miss as he recovers from his injuries. Whether Crafton races again in the #18 Toyota as Busch mends, he's due a vote of thanks from JGR for an excellent effort under exigent circumstances. Crafton flew back down to Daytona on Saturday night and started the Daytona 500 without the chance to run a single practice lap. "Pretty gnarly," Crafton said of the experience. "It was very, very tough, but that's what we get paid to do, drive race cars and figure it out quick. It was a learning curve. The first half (of the race) we just rode around and tried to learn, learn, learn. I made a mistake. I had a pretty good surge up top, and I tried the bottom and shuffled myself all the way to the back. I should have had a little better finish there at the end, but it is what it is."(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-23-2015)
First time no Busch's in a Cup race since 2001: At least one of the two Busch (#18-Kyle, #41-Kurt) brothers has raced in every Daytona 500 since 2000. Sunday's event will be the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race without a Busch brother since the 35th race of the 2001 season, at Atlanta.(NASCAR Wire Services)(2-22-2015)
Joe Gibbs Quotes and Notes about Kyle Busch's accident at Daytona: Joe Gibbs, owners of Joe Gibbs Racing and the car of #18-Kyle Busch, who was injured in a wreck at Daytona in the XFINITY Series race on Saturday, met with the media on Sunday morning, February 22, 2015, the transcript:
Joe Gibbs, team owner, Joe Gibbs Racing Opening Statement:
"First of all, I want to say that what really impresses you at a time like this is the NASCAR family. Last night - our drivers are intense competition and all the race teams are intense in competition. Something like this happens, it was just an outpouring of spirit, prayers - we had drivers coming by last night while we were at the hospital. We had NASCAR officials and everybody coming by and certainly I think that's one of the most impressive things about our sport and the way we adjust to things and the way we rally behind people particularly when we have a situation like we had last night with Kyle (Busch). I'd like to address a couple of things with him - I talked to him before surgery and then we waited until after surgery. Kyle, to be quite truthful, was kind of light-hearted and joking around with me and talking about wanting to get back in the car right away before surgery. Afterwards the doctors came in and Sam (Busch, wife) stayed there with Kyle last night and for us, we waited to get a report from the doctor. He said everything went very well. The major portion of what they did yesterday was his lower right leg where the injury was - they took care of that. They're going to wait on his foot - his left foot - and it remains to be seen there what the situation is, but that will probably be taken care of. They said there's not a rush on that and we'll probably be dealing with that in Charlotte with Dr. Anderson. I felt like considering everything that happened last night, I felt like everybody banded together. Certainly, we appreciate all the prayers and I would like to say this, we've been in racing for all the Gibbs family - J.D. (team president) and Coy and everybody -- we've been in racing 24 years and up until this point we've had one driver miss four weeks. I think that says a lot about the safety of the sport and I think yesterday in that wreck, the great thing was that Kyle had nothing from the knees up. Everything was fine and I think NASCAR does a great job of adjusting to things like this and making decisions. I think this will be the same in this case. I know the race track had a press conference yesterday and made some statements about that and I think this is probably one that again will make some good decisions again based on that. NASCAR certainly knows that the most important asset that we have is our drivers and I really applaud the fact that we have had some of the wrecks and everything that we have in sport and yet the safety factor has really been outstanding with some of the improvements that have been made. This will be a learning experience for everybody and I'm sure that the tracks will be a part of that and will probably reach the point with everything to do with the walls and everything -- we'll probably have those protected. I know there's been some decisions made today on that too. I appreciate all that and the way NASCAR handles anything like this. They took our helmet last night, they took the HANS device and they take all those things when we have a wreck like this and do an in-depth study of it. We appreciate that."
Have you thought about drivers past this race and how long will Kyle Busch be out of the car?
"We haven't put thought into other than just today. We were thrilled to get Matt (Crafton) - I should have brought the fact that Matt has driven some of Kyle's stuff. He's a veteran guy and we felt like it was the perfect fit. We sent him over to the race shop last night. He met our person in charge of seats and they sat in all of our cars and he's real comfortable with Kyle's seat. We brought him down last night and he climbed into the car today and he told me, 'everything's perfect.' I appreciate Matt. As far as time or length, I don't have a good understanding of that with the doctors and everything -- I think we're just going to pray for him to bounce back. I can tell you this, Kyle's already telling Sam, he said, 'Hey, I just want to get back to racing.' He has a great spirit about things like that."
Have you determined how many races Kyle could miss and still be eligible for the Chase?
"I really hadn't got into that other than I had a brief conversation last night about it and I'm not even sure that I'm clarified on all the rules and what would take place. I think our focus, we had so much going on last night, it was just to get everything arranged as best we could for today. I'm sure there will be some conversations on that going forward."
Does this incident give you any pause to Kyle racing in the Xfinity or Camping World Truck Series races?
"I think what happens on that, I've dealt with it for different driver and everything. If you take Kyle's situation, let's think about it for a minute, he has his own race team - trucks - loves that, wants to race it, it's a big part of him and Sam and his future so you kind of think about that and you know he's going to be racing some trucks. This year he cut down his schedule quite a bit there. Obviously, I think in Kyle's life, he has Sam and he has racing - he loves it. As a matter of fact, at one point there in his career, we did cut back quite a bit and it was one of the tougher years he had and he comes back to you. I think those conversations are obviously ones that you have, but I felt like in his case he just loves it so much and felt like it was something that really makes his happy, keeps him excited about life and you always wrestle with that. I think that's a little bit of my feelings about our past history with him. Racing is his life and like I said, other than Sam, that's what he wants to do."
Did you communicate the situation to Mars and have you spoken with NASCAR about SAFER barriers at other tracks?
"The thing about that, Mars has been in the sport for 27 years - have a great relationship, they're awesome, everybody, when I talked to everybody that was here - all on board and everybody was there last night. We had Mars people at the hospital and it is a close-knit family and they certainly are a big part of our family and they've been a big part of NASCAR's family. I don't deal with the tracks or anything like that so I haven't had any discussions along those lines. We leave that up to NASCAR."
Will Kyle need additional surgeries and when will he go back to Charlotte?
"As far as medically, I'm obviously not the medical person, but according to the doctor last night, the lower part of his leg is all taken care of and I think we'll have Dr. Anderson and that group look at the foot because they didn't feel that was something that would be dealt with right now. The main emphasis was on his leg. As far as going back to Charlotte, we're on standby with the plane. Whenever he feels that he can travel, we'll get him back to Charlotte."
Will the team owners demand SAFER barriers at all tracks on all walls moving forward?
"I think for me, just kind of the way I stated that we all work together. I think NASCAR does a great job of evaluating things. I think the safety of our cars is evident when you race cars. I think they do a great job with that. The comments I made are pretty much what I think and I think this is obviously - NASCAR realizes our most important thing that we deal with is our drivers. It's a safety issue and I think we've made great progress in the past. To have that kind of wreck yesterday and have him from the knees up be in great shape, I felt great about that. I think we all have concerns of any kind of injury to our drivers."
When will you know how long Kyle could be out of the car?
"I think what will happen there is the doctors, after they have a chance to look at his foot and everything and we get it all squared away, I think they will give us a good opinion. Dr. Anderson deals with, whether it's football or racing or anything so I think he will give us a good opinion of that. As far as sponsor goes, we had conversations all last night. Our Mars representatives were there at the hospital waiting all the way to the bitter end there listening to the doctor and everything. We're just going to make the best decision we can. We felt like today was perfect - you say perfect, but considering the situation we're in, to be able to get Matt (Crafton) down here last night was a big deal for us and to have him in the car - he and Kyle get along great and Kyle was saying to get him in here. Today has been our whole focus so we'll talk more about how long he's going to be out and try to get an evaluation of that and then starting tomorrow we'll talk about what's our best decision for everybody on going forward. I know our emphasis is getting him back as quick as we can. I know that's what Kyle will be wanting to do and we'll have everybody working with him and for him in rehab and everything else to get him back as quick as we can in the car."
What is the personal side of this with your close relationship to Kyle?
"I think what happens when you get in a relationship over a period time, which we've been with our drivers and you develop a close relationship with him and Sam and there is a personally side of that. My whole life has been involved in sports. People ask me about me about my children playing sports and I always said that, 'That's part of life for a lot of people,' and if they weren't playing sports in high school they would probably be riding around in cars and that's not safe either. So I think - you know, you look at that from a personal standpoint to just really care for Kyle, his whole family, mother and dad and so I think you are a lot like family. I look at it that way. I told him last night to be truthful - I told him before surgery that, 'Hey, I love you.' And that's the way we feel about it."
How does Kyle's injury compare to others you've seen in football and racing?
"I think any injury, particularly one that would affect your life and take you away from what you love to do for a period of time - I know we're going to just do everything we can to get Kyle back. And as far as the future, we're probably start thinking about that tomorrow, get a better evaluation from the doctors and what they think on time and then we'll be talking about what we can do there going forward, which will be best everyone concerned."
"Thank you all and appreciate all the prayers - the prayer and all of you. We care so much for our people and our family and the people you're so close to. I think in sports you go through so many things that are the highs and the lows and certainly right now this is a low. We appreciate everyone's prayers and going forward for the family and thank you for the way you guys always rally and you're a big part of our sport - thank you."(Toyota Racing)(2-22-2015)
Statement from Toyota on Kyle Busch Accident: "Kyle Busch is a key member of our Toyota NASCAR family and it goes without saying that everyone at Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development), U.S.A. has Kyle in their thoughts and prayers. Kyle is as tough a competitor as you'll find in motorsports and I'm confident he'll recover quickly and return to the track with an even greater passion to win. We know fellow Toyota driver Matt Crafton will represent not only Toyota, but Joe Gibbs Racing well in today's Daytona 500." Ed Laukes, Vice President marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A.(Toyota Racing)(2-22-2015)
Kyle Busch injured in XFINITY Series race at Daytona, will NOT race in Daytona 500 UPDATE: Kyle Busch will miss the Daytona 500 with a right leg injury after a hard crash into a concrete wall during an Xfinity Series race Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. Busch, in obvious pain, had his right leg placed in an air cast before being transported to Halifax Health Medical Center. He was awake and alert at the hospital, Joe Gibbs Racing officials said. He was supposed to start fourth Sunday in the Daytona 500. A replacement driver hasn't yet been named.
The accident occurred when Busch was racing directly behind JGR teammate Erik Jones. Jones got turned and Busch got clipped. Busch's car sped across an area of the track used as an entrance to the road course portion of the speedway and then slammed hard into a concrete wall. Busch climbed out of the car before laying down on the grass near his car. The wall did not have a steel-and-foam energy-reduction barrier (SAFER), which NASCAR has had installed in the turns and other areas at tracks but has consistently been criticized for not having everywhere on the inside and outside walls on ovals.
If Busch cannot start Sunday's Daytona 500, he would not be awarded any points. NASCAR, which requires drivers to compete each week to be eligible for its season-long championship, would have to grant Busch an exemption to not start a race he qualified for as well as to miss any future events and still be eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.(ESPN)
AND #18-Kyle Busch will miss Sunday's Daytona 500 following a hard crash in the closing laps of Saturday's Alert Today Florida 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Busch was caught up in a 10-car crash near the end of the frontstretch on Lap 112 of the 120-lap event, his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota careening head-on into a section of infield wall that had no SAFER barrier. After the crash, Busch was transported directly to Halifax Health Medical Center of Daytona Beach. Medical updates are pending. He is being evaluated for injuries to his right leg. Joe Gibbs Racing has not named Busch's replacement or indicated how long he will be out (FoxSports)(2-21-2015)
UPDATE: Matt Crafton will replace Kyle Busch in the Daytona 500, a person familiar with the arrangement told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter. Crafton, the Camping World Truck Series champion, went to Joe Gibbs Racing on Saturday night to get fitted for a seat in the #18 car. The team thought of using Xfinity Series driver Erik Jones, but NASCAR overruled it based on his inexperience in a Cup car. Busch and Crafton are not only both Toyota drivers, but also close friends. Crafton was a groomsman in Busch's wedding.(USA Today)
Statement from Joe Gibbs Racing: Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), sustained a compound fracture of the right lower leg in an accident during Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona. Additionally, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident. Busch was transported to a local hospital for treatment immediately following the accident and is currently undergoing surgery on his right leg. Busch's injuries will sideline him for an undetermined period of time. Veteran Matt Crafton will serve as the interim driver for Busch's #18 Toyota during Sunday's 57th Daytona 500. An interim driver has not been determined for the following race March 1 at Atlanta or for any future races. Additional updates will be provided as needed.(JGR).(2-21-2015)
Kyle Busch Undergoes Successful Surgery Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), underwent successful surgery tonight to repair a compound fracture to his lower right leg suffered earlier today during the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Busch is resting comfortable and will remain hospitalized for observation. There will be no additional updates tonight. Joe Gibbs Racing owner Joe Gibbs is scheduled to address the media at 9:20am/et in the media center at Daytona International Speedway.(JGR)(2-21-2015)
Crispy M&M's to return, featured on #18 in 2015: For Kyle Busch and M&M's Crispy, 2015 is the year of the comeback. In January, Busch's primary backer M&M's listened to the fans and launched the highly anticipated return of M&M's Crispy. Just one month later, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series fans are also looking forward to another highly anticipated return - the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season, which kicks off with Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited exhibition race and culminates Feb. 22 with the 57th Daytona 500. To celebrate the return of M&M's Crispy, Busch's colorful #18 M&M's Crispy Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) will introduce a new green paint scheme celebrating the return of Busch's favorite M&M's candy. While 2015 is about the celebration of the return of M&M's Crispy, there are also some exciting new elements for Busch and his teammates that have them looking forward to a return to success for the #18 M&M's Crispy team. The biggest of the new additions is the promotion of crew chief Adam Stevens from the JGR XFINITY Series shop to new crew chief for Busch's and the M&M's Crispy team's championship efforts in 2015. While Busch and Stevens will work together for the first time in NASCAR's top series in 2015, the driver-crew chief duo already knows its way to victory lane. In fact, Busch and Stevens have combined for 19 wins, 46 top-five finishes, and 47 top-10s in 52 XFINITY Series starts together over the last two seasons. One other exciting addition to the team, approximately mid-May, is the expected arrival of Busch's wife Samantha's first child, a son, who is due around NASCAR's annual stop at Charlotte.(JGR). See an image of the scheme on the #18 Team Schemes page.(2-11-2015)
Kyle Busch tired of being confused with brother Kurt: #18-Kyle Busch said Monday he has not gotten involved in his older brother's personal issues and is disappointed he has been mistaken for Kurt in coverage of assault allegations against the 2004 NASCAR champion. #41-Kurt Busch spent four days over the last two months in a Delaware courtroom as part of a hearing regarding an ex-girlfriend's request for a no-contact order. Patricia Driscoll alleged Busch assaulted her in September during an argument at Dover International Speedway. "Haven't spoken to him, don't know nothing; trying to stay away from it all and let him handle his business," Kyle Busch said. But he's been dragged into it as the case drew national attention earlier this month when Kurt Busch testified he believes Driscoll is a trained assassin. In several instances, Kyle has been wrongly identified as his brother. "I think it's stupid. I think people need to do a little bit more background before they write names or say names if they don't know what the heck they are talking about," Kyle said. "It's not that hard to differentiate between two people that have the same last name. I think people need to do a better job and not be so slackish. It hasn't been bothersome from a sponsorship standpoint, yet, that I know of. I know it could be if it continues to keep going, but it's the wrong brother. But I think the relationship I have with the Mars family is far beyond that, hopefully."(ESPN/AP)(1-27-2015)
Jack Men changes so far in 2015 season: There are a lot of teams making moves in the off season and the Jack Man position seems to be one that is getting a lot of attention. Below is a list of changes for 2015 with more to come.
#5 of HMS replaces Jack Man Trey Burklin with long time HMS Jack Man Eric Ludwig
#9 of RPM replaces Kevin Wing with Gabe Martin from the #10 team
#10 of SHR-We arn't sure about this but we heard Tony Cardamone will be replacing Gabe Martin who is now at the #9
#18 of JGR replacing retired Jeff Fender with David Odell from the #78
#19 of JGR has hired Trey Burklin from the #5
#27 of RCR replacing Carey Wimbish with Sam Abney
#42 of GR is replacing long time Jack Man Mark Jacobs with Mark Janssen
#43 of RPM is replacing Mike Brown with T.J. Ford from the #48
#78 of Furniture Row is replacing David Odell-who left for the #18- with Carey Wimbish from the #27.(Pit Talks)(1-6-2015)
Kyle Busch Undergoes Scheduled Offseason Foot Surgery: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) had successful surgery on his left foot this morning. Busch is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of the 2015 NASCAR season in February. The scheduled offseason surgery was performed to relieve a recurring source of inflammation in his left foot. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson of OrthoCarolina.(JGR)(12-11-2014)
New #18 crew chief talks about jump to Sprint Cup: While new #18 crew chief Adam Stevens will be making his Sprint Cup debut in 2015, he's a very familiar face to the driver he'll be working with: Kyle Busch. Stevens has collected 31 wins as a crew chief for JGR's NASCAR XFINITY Series program over the last four years. 19 of them have come over the last two seasons alone from working with Busch; after racking up a staggering 12 wins together in 2013, the duo followed up with seven more this past year. In an interview today on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Stevens touched on how he and Busch quickly became a successful pair. "Kyle and I, we have a little bit of history now of building some communication and some success behind us," he said. "The cool thing about him and I is we look at race cars the same way, and immediately when we started working together, his feedback and what I'm thinking and how I think race cars work just seemed to mesh really well. And in our brief history [together], it's added up to quite a few wins. We're hoping to see if we can carry some of that into the Cup Series. There are certain aspects of the race that will make it a little bit more easier, comparatively. But the [Cup] races as a whole - being so much longer, the track conditions, and the preferred line and handling conditions you're fighting - tend to change a lot more through the race. You're trading one set of problems - managing your tire sets - for another set of problems, which is managing changing track conditions."(NBC Sports)(12-6-2014)
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)
New look for the M&M car in 2015: Kyle Busch goes green in 2015 as the #18 M&M's Crispy Toyota Camry will take the track for 24 races next season, starting with the Daytona 500 (JGR), see an image of the scheme on the #18 Team Schemes page.(12-3-2014)
Kyle Busch says JGR needs an affiliation: #18-Kyle Busch says that Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing need to work more closely together if they are to compete against the Hendrick Motorsports-Stewart Haas Racing conglomeration and other teams next season. While Busch's teammate, #11-Denny Hamlin, raced for the championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, there was a disparity in victories among the Toyota teams and others, including Stewart-Haas Racing, which won the championship with #4-Kevin Harvick. "We have four cars going next year and in reality we should have six, no ifs, ands, or buts,'' Busch said Monday, alluding to the addition of #19-Carl Edwards to JGR, which gives that organization four teams, and MWR's two teams. "We need to have as much as we can have.'' Busch views Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing as one eight-car entity. Stewart-Haas Racing receives chassis and engines from Hendrick Motorsports and shares information. "We need to have an affiliation,'' Busch said during a luncheon before Monday night's Nationwide and Camping World Truck banquet. "It would be nice if MWR ... made us all eight. It would be better for all of us. There's a couple of reasons that we're fighting internally why we're not mingling with those guys quite yet, but hopefully that gets resolved here soon.'' Busch described the information shared between Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing as "informal. It's like ... "Hey we're running these four springs and bars and shocks,' but in reality what's your pivots, what's this, what's that, what's everything else?'' Busch said that aero information from a wind tunnel is shared among the two teams but other areas of information doesn't transfer as well. Busch noted that the two teams have different chassis simulation programs.(in part from MRN)(11-18-2014)
Some #18 2015 Toyota images posted: Toyota Racing posted a few images on their Twitter of the #18 M&M's 2015 Toyota Camry that was shown at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Nov 4th. See images of the car on the 2015 #18 Team Schemes page.(11-4-2014)
Congrats to Kyle & Samantha Busch: #18-Kyle Busch and wife Samantha announced on Twitter Saturday that Samantha is pregnant and expecting the couple's first child in May 2015.(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)
Mars renews with Gibbs, Busch, NASCAR: Mars announced that it has signed new multi-year deals with Joe Gibbs Racing and NASCAR, further anchoring its presence in the sport. The new agreement with JGR will extend the winning partnership that has brought the #18 M&M'S Toyota to victory lane 20 times since 2008 and continue with the popular M&M'S brand as the primary paint scheme in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The renewed contract with the sanctioning body will designate Mars as the Official Chocolate of NASCAR. Mars will continue to leverage its Official status to ensure its various chocolate brands remain a race day staple for millions of racing fans.(True Speed Communications)(8-13-2014)
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)
#18 Hauler driver wins Charlotte event: Jamie Price, #18 Joe Gibbs Racing, won the Pilot Flying J Truck Driver Challenge in the NASCAR Chicane #1 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. More info at pfjtruckchallenge.com.(5-21-2014)
Kyle Busch cited for speeding: #18-Kyle Busch was issued a speeding citation on April 29 in Denver, NC on suspicion of traveling 60 mph in a 45 mph zone. According to the police report, the stop happened in front of Beach's Grocery. Busch said he thought the speed limit was 55 mph. The officer commented in the police report that Busch had a "disrespectful attitude." He was driving a Lexus sedan when he was stopped around 7:45 pm. This is not Busch's first documented driving incident. In 2006, he was ticketed for reckless driving after he "chirped" his tires while pulling out of a Richmond, Va., gas station and into a fast-food restaurant next door. Busch was cited for careless and reckless driving and speeding in 2011 when he was stopped in Iredell County for going 128 mph in a 45 mph zone.(WWOC)(5-5-2014)
Busches raise money for 'champions': Just after her husband clinched the pole for Friday night's Dollar General 300, Samantha Busch stepped in front of a hospitality tent full of breast cancer patients and their families to give them a little bit of good news. And it didn't have a thing to do with racing. "I want you to know that your medical bills are covered," Busch said, presenting a check for $80,000 as she wiped away tears. One by one the breast cancer champions (the preferred term by the foundation) came up to hug Busch, pick up a bright pink bag of goodies, and share stories with the woman who spearheaded the fundraising effort that will help them fight for their lives. "Breast cancer touches everybody; it's somebody's sister or wife or mother or aunt," Busch said. "For us it's a wonderful employee at KBM who's a survivor. It's wonderful to hear the stories and know that we're making a difference in their lives." The Pretty In Pink Foundation exists to provide financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients in North Carolina with quality, life-saving medical treatment regardless of their ability to pay. It was those qualities that drew the Busch family to this local organization. "These 12 champions have come from Charlotte and right around here - they're neighbors," Busch said. "We knew we had to help them so that the only thing they had to focus on was getting better. Kyle Busch couldn't be at the presentation because of his on-track duties, but he made sure to mention the effort after his pole-winning run. "Samantha has done a wonderful job with all of our Pretty In Pink Foundation people that are here," Busch said. "We raised a lot of money for them this week. This is just the first part of it."(CMS Pit Note)(10-13-2013)
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)
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)
Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Agree to Contract Extension: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced today that it has signed driver Kyle Busch to a long-term contract extension. In addition, JGR will field the #54 Monster Energy Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2013 with Busch serving as the primary driver.
"I'm passionate about winning and that was a big factor in deciding to re-sign with Joe Gibbs Racing," said Busch. "I think JGR gives me the best opportunity to win a championship in the Cup Series for M&M's and Interstate Batteries. I know that everyone on our team is committed to that goal and will push towards making that a reality in 2013. I'm also looking forward to the opportunity to work with Adam Stevens in the Nationwide Series and put Monster Energy in Victory Lane where they belong. "I'm extremely proud of what we have accomplished in a short period of time at KBM in both the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series. When we started KBM our attention was to build something for the long term and now we are going to put a greater focus on our future with Parker (Kligerman) competing in Nationwide and Joey (Coulter) running trucks."
The #54 Monster Energy Toyota will run a full season schedule for JGR with crew chief Adam Stevens calling the shots from atop the pit box. Busch is currently scheduled to drive the majority of the races in 2013. Additional drivers for the 54 team will be announced soon. "This is a big deal for us," said JGR President J.D. Gibbs. "It's no secret that you have to have great drivers to win in NASCAR and in the past year we've been able to secure long-term deals with Kyle and Denny and of course we were able to add Matt as well. Kyle is a big part of our success at JGR and we're thrilled to know he will be with us for a long time."(JGR)(1-24-2013)
Born in APRIL
25 Alex Bowman, Jason Lee, Alkie Cunningham
26 Martha Oliver, Jimmy Kitchens, Charles Moles
27 Shelly Bose, Jason Haynes, Austin Dillon, Jason Sheets
28 Tyler Hmiel, Jeff Neuendorf, Zach Case
29 Dale Earnhardt, Larry Frank, Angie Skinner, Chad Little, Jerry Schweitz, Alexandria Fennig
30 Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Andy Hillenburg, Joe Millikan, Amelia Joy Smith, Chris Browning, Ashton Glover, Frank Kimmel
Born in MAY
1 Randy Dorton, Johnny Sauter, Jimmy Parrott
2 Ed "Uncle Bud" Adamczyk, Kyle Busch
3 Greg Ely
4 Randy Tolsma, Bobby Burrell, Jennifer Eolin, Amanda Ebersole, Mike Thomas
5 Larry Pollard, Bob Welborn
6 Mike Borkowski, Tammy Jo Kirk, Jeff Hancock, Dean Mozingo, Gina Henson
7 Dave Steele, Danny O'Quinn Jr.
8 Bobby Labonte, Nathan Buttke, Don Hume, Jay Stewart, Judy Childress
9 Tim Fedewa, Scott Page
10 Amelia Andretti, Andy Rueger
11 Glenn Bobo, Tim Flock, NASCAR Hall of Fame
12 Jabe Thomas, Debra Adamczyk
13 Rich Bickle, Scott Eggleston, Bob Kennedy, Jim Spencer, Linda McReynolds, Kirk Almquist, Maggie Feeney Rossi
14 Steve Letarte, Bill Brooks, Dave Munari, Danielle Del Corio, Scott Lynch
15 Shane Hmiel, John Hubner
16 Josh Walker
17 Mike Shiplett, Craig Ferguson, Kevin Pennell
18 Mike Motil
19 Jody Ridley, Dario Franchitti, Danny Culler
20 Tony Stewart, Dave Despain, Steve Portenga, Mike Stefanik, Eric Norris, AJ Heister, Les Huntley
21 Cotton Owens, Mark Muller, Jeff Meendering, Brandon McReynolds, Rodney Fetters, Nathan McGuire
22 Jay Guy, Joey Knuckles, Janice Almirola
23 Kerry Tharp, Harvey Walters, Wally Dallenbach Jr
24 Joey Logano, Ricky Craven, Chip Ganassi, Lesa France Kennedy, Amy Rice, Brent Sherman, Colt Hammond, Tommy Chong, Jack Smith
25 Bud Moore, Paul Andrews, A.J. Foyt IV, Spenny Clendenen, Ross Kenseth, Kevin Hulstein, Smokey Yunick
26 Stacy Compton, Adam Gravitt, Kenny Trout
27 April Horner, Jeremy Mayfield, Dick Berggren, Van Colley, John Bickford, Carol Einarsson
28 Ray Fox, Butch Stevens, Marvin Panch, Dan E. Donnely, Ron Lemasters Jr., David Joy, Michael Klein
29 Joe Weatherly, Ken Schrader, Bobby Hamilton, Al Unser, Jimmy Means, Todd Berrier, John F. Kennedy, Germán Quiroga, Steve Allen, Kaye Jenkins, Jessica Taylor
30 Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones, Reagan Page, Gale Wilson
31 Jerry 'Dad' Adamczyk, Jack Baldwin, Gayle Barnwell, Pat Calkins, Charlie Lewis, Krista Voda, Faith Anne Yeley