Contract Status: Sponsor: ?; Driver: ?
#02 Gibbs Team Past News and Rumors
(NOTE: some older links may not work)
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)
Gilliland could return to JGR: David Gilliland could possibly return in a fourth Joe Gibbs Racing car [ran the #02 Farm Bureau Toyota in three races for Gibbs] if it runs select races next year, team President J.D. Gibbs said. Gilliland also has driven for #09 Phoenix Racing this year and is a candidate for that ride, one of the few open rides with sponsorship for next season.(SceneDaily)(11-24-2009)
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)
Busch still sick; replaced by Gilliland during race: #18-Kyle Busch is still sick today, apparently from the flu. Denny Hamlin will standy by in case he needs to step out of the car during the Nationwide race this afternoon. David Gilliland will stand by on Sunday for the Cup race.(10-10-2009)
UPDATE: Busch will reportedly get out of the car at the first pit stop during the Nationwide race and let Hamlin take over.(10-10-2009)
UPDATE 2: Hamlin relieved Busch during the first Nationwide race caution on lap 37. Busch said he was getting too hot in the car and wanted to try to get rid of his fever before Sunday's Cup race.(10-10-2009)
UPDATE 3: SPEED reported on RaceDay that Kyle Busch is still not feeling well this morning.(10-11-2009)
UPDATE 3: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch is feeling worse Sunday morning and is not expected to drive the entire Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway in California, team president J.D. Gibbs said Sunday morning. David Gilliland will be his replacement. Gilliland is driving for TRG Motorsports but he is not expected to drive the complete race.(SceneDaily)(10-11-2009)
UPDATE: 4: David Gilliland parked the #71 on lap 11 and went to the #18 pits. Kyle Busch came down pit road on lap 61, during the first caution, and was relived by Gilliland.(10-11-2009)
Gilliland To Race for Farm Bureau Insurance: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced that David Gilliland will drive the #02 Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota in three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, starting October 17 in Charlotte, and continuing with the November 8 race at Texas and the November 22 season finale at Homestead. Wally Brown, JGR’s R &D/Test Team crew chief, will serve as crew chief for each of the three races. Earlier this year, Farm Bureau Insurance announced that they would sponsor six races in 2009 with Joe Gibbs Racing. Two of those races have been run in the #11 Toyota, driven by Denny Hamlin at Darlington and Atlanta. Farm Bureau Insurance will also appear on the #20 Toyota driven by Joey Logano on October 25 in Martinsville. "Thus far, it’s been an exhilarating partnership between Farm Bureau Insurance and Joe Gibbs Racing. We're excited to welcome David Gilliland to our Farm Bureau Insurance family. David and crew chief Wally Brown are both talented and established NASCAR sportsman, and I know both will represent our agents and customers flawlessly the remainder of 2009,” said Bubby Trosclair, Vice President of Agency for Farm Bureau Insurance. Brown has been with JGR for three years, and currently serves as the crew chief for JGR’s R&D/Test team. He served as crew chief last year for the #02 Home Depot Toyota in Texas, the site of Joey Logano’s first start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and has filled in as crew chief for JGR’s Nationwide Series program.(Farm Bureau Insurance Racing)(9-29-2009)
Gilliland in the #21 at Atlanta: Motorcraft's Facebook page is reporting: Wood Brothers just announced David Gilliland to drive the #21 car this weekend in Atlanta. A press release with more details is coming soon.(9-4-2009)
Gilliland in fourth Gibbs car this year? UPDATE: It's been a tough road for former Yates driver David Gilliland this season. Gilliland, who was 21st in the #28 Ford for Doug Yates at this juncture last year, has qualified for every race in the #71 TRG Motorsports Chevy. Gilliland has been a loyal soldier in the start-n-park venture and is currently 43rd in the point standings. However, it appears he will have a reprieve — at the hand of Joe Gibbs Racing. Gilliland, 33, is expected to drive the fourth JGR car [#02 sponsored by Farm Bureau] in four races at the end of this season.(Fox Sports)(7-11-2009)
UPDATE: David Gilliland, who earlier this week was replaced by Bobby Labonte for seven races at #71 TRG Motorsports, will attempt to qualify a fourth Sprint Cup car [supposedly the #02 Toyota] at Joe Gibbs Racing for three of the final 12 events, multiple sources told ESPN.com on Friday. Gilliland will compete at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, Texas and Homestead-Miami in a car sponsored by Farm Bureau. The JGR deal actually initiated the deal for TRG Motorsports to sign Labonte after the 2000 Cup champion was pulled from the #96 Ford at Hall of Fame/Yates Racing in favor of Erik Darnell for seven of the final 12 events. Gilliland had made 22 of 24 events for TRG Motorsports and ranks 37th in points in the #71 [and a failed attempt at Watkins Glen in TRG's #70]. Sources said the decision to go with Gilliland was to satisfy a contract with Farm Bureau to compete in three Cup events and does not necessarily mean the organization will expand to a fourth full-time team in 2010. Officials at JGR were not available for comment.(ESPN)(9-4-2009)
- If #8 team closes, Truex could be free agent..to Gibbs? The buzz in the garage has Earnhardt Ganassi Racing shutting down the #8 Chevy and sidelining Aric Almirola after this weekend if a sponsor doesn't magically appear. If that happens, three contracts are affected: #1-Martin Truex Jr., Bass Pro Shops Racing and Chevy. Truex's contract states that he must have two teammates or he can leave the team. Bass Pro Shops has a performance clause and with Truex 28th in owner points, the #1 team is in a precarious position. Finally, Chevy can alter its support to EGR if three teams are not under the roof. The hot rumor at Martinsville last week had Truex replacing Joey Logano in the #20 Home Depot Toyota. Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs insisted Sunday and again by phone on Wednesday that "Joey's our guy. We haven't had any conversations with anyone," Gibbs said. "We'd like to have someone in line by summer time, but you have to sit down, look at what partner is available, what driver is available and who would be a good fit for the team. We had [#96] Hall of Fame last year and we don't have it now. So we have room for a fourth team. We'd love to have it."
Gibbs mentioned JGR's plans to run the #02 Farm Bureau Toyota to race later this season. An announcement was made in January that Farm Bureau Insurance was signed for six Cup races in 2009, including being the primary sponsor for two Cup races on Denny Hamlin's car at Darlington and Atlanta and on Logano's car at Martinsville. A fourth team will feature Farm Bureau as the title sponsor for the fall races at LMS, Texas and Homestead. Gibbs did not believe Farm Bureau was committed to a level where it could expand as a full-time sponsor in 2010.
Truex said on Friday that he's committed to staying the course. "When I give someone my word by signing a contract, if they keep theirs and I keep my mind, there's no reason to ever think about doing anything else, obviously," Truex said. "Right now, my focus is on getting this car better and moving up in the points. We're back here where we shouldn't be. We've never been back this far before and we've had a tough start to the year."
As for Bass Pro Shops, if Truex does leave. don't be surprised if the sponsor fills out Ryan Newman's program on the #39 Chevy at Stewart-Haas Racing [US Army is there for 23 races]. That deal, which is valued between $8 million and $10 million, could go down before summer.(FoxSports)(4-4-2009)
- Farm Bureau Insurance to sponsor JGR for 6 races: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that the Farm Bureau Insurance Companies will serve as the primary sponsor for six Sprint Cup Series races during the 2009 season. Farm Bureau Insurance will be carried on the #11 Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin twice during the upcoming season including the:
May 9 race at Darlington and the
September 6 race at Atlanta.
In addition Farm Bureau Insurance will be on the #20 Toyota driven by Joey Logano at the October 25 race at Martinsville. Both FedEx and The Home Depot will still be represented on their respective cars at each of those races.
Farm Bureau Insurance will also sponsor a fourth JGR entry at three races in 2009 on the #02 Toyota at the:
October 17 Charlotte race
November 8 Texas race
November 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead.
The driver for those three races will be announced later. “Farm Bureau Insurance has been an outstanding partner with us and we’re thrilled to have them on these six Cup races this year,” said Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs. “We were able to generate a lot of excitement for them last year and we’ll work hard this year to provide their agents, members and customers a program to be proud of now in our Cup program.”(JGR PR)
IMAGES: see images of the cars on my #02 Team Schemes page, #11 Team Schemes page and/or #20 Team Schemes page.(1-19-2009)
- Logano out of the #20..before he gets in? UPDATE denied: Let's start the [ESPN] blog with a bang and throw out the latest rumor going around the Cup garage area. Will plans to have rookie Joey Logano replace Tony Stewart next season in the #20 Toyota change?
Speculation is Joe Gibbs Racing officials are trying to work out a deal to get #1-Martin Truex Jr. from Dale Earnhardt Inc. to drive the #20 car next year. If JGR can't get Truex, they might make a run at #2-Kurt Busch, who wants out of his deal with Penske Racing.
A quick warning: Rumors are rampant these days in NASCAR because of the difficult economic times. So here's another rumor: JGR president J.D. Gibbs is expected to arrive at Phoenix today and possibility address this issue to deny all of it. The Logano/Truex gossip started because of DEI's tenuous situation right now on sponsorship, and growing concerns that the 18-year-old Logano might not be ready to race Cup full-time next year. But Home Depot, primary sponsor for the #20 Camry, already has invested tons of money in a marketing campaign for Logano [as well as diecast's with Motorsports Authenics, see an image of the #20 Home Depot/Logano scheme on my 2009 #20 Team Schemes page].(ESPN blog)(11-8-2008)
UPDATE denied: Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs reiterated on Saturday that Joey Logano will drive the #20 Toyota in 2009. "Everything he's done up to now he's done exceptionally well," Gibbs said. "When you get to this level, everybody is really good."
Logano has failed to finish on the lead lap in the three Cup races he's run this season, which has left the rookie with an average showing of 37th. In last Sunday's Dickie's 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, he was unable to maintain minimum speed on the racetrack. But NASCAR still allowed Logano to compete. "We threatened him within an inch of his life — just finish the race," Gibbs joked. "It's just going to take time."(FoxSports)
AND “For God’s sakes, please write that Joey Logano is driving the #20 car next year. … Unequivocally, Joey is in the 20. Please print that and tell everyone else.” Those words were uttered by a frustrated and angry Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs Sunday morning in the Sprint Cup garage at Phoenix International Raceway. Gibbs made the declaration after ESPN.com reported Saturday that Logano might be replaced next year by Martin Truex Jr. [or Kurt Busch] in the #20 Home Depot-sponsored car. Responding to the report, Gibbs said, “I don’t know where it started, where it came from, but it’s frustrating for everybody. You can’t just say stuff like that. That’s crazy talk. So for me, I would say, look, he’s in the car. It’s done. That’s been done a long time ago. The Nationwide stuff, he’s done a great job with it. Cup is harder. Hey, you’re going to have your struggles. All of our guys have. He’ll be fine. He’s going to be in good shape.”(SPEEDtv)
AND II: The rumor that Joe Gibbs Racing wanted to postpone Joey Logano's full-time entry into the Cup series until 2010 and put Kurt Busch or Martin Truex Jr. into the #20 next season was just that -- a rumor. "I don't know where that came from," JGR president J.D. Gibbs said. "Joey Logano will be in the #20 next year." Gibbs said he spent much of Saturday afternoon and early Sunday morning explaining to reporters and sponsors that there was nothing to the rumor and that the team was completely behind the 18-year-old phenom.(ESPN)(11-9-2008)
- Logano to attempt Texas: Joe Gibbs Racing will try yet again to get Joey Logano into one of its cars this season by sending him to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend. Logano has tried three times to race the #02 car in the Sprint Cup Series, but all three qualifying sessions were washed out by rain, including this weekend at Atlanta. In those situations, the 43-car field is determined by the points. Logano, a regular in the Nationwide Series this season, was left out each time. "We're going to run Texas and there is a possibility that we will add some more to it," team president J.D. Gibbs said Sunday. "It probably depends on our test schedule and what we've got going on." The 18-year-old phenom has been tabbed to replace Tony Stewart in the #20 ride next season, and JGR is trying to get him as much Cup seat time as possible before his promotion. He's made two Cup starts this season, both for Hall of Fame Racing, and struggled to finishes of 32nd and 39th. Logano is not yet NASCAR-approved to run the season-opening Daytona 500, and racing at Texas could secure it. But Gibbs thinks Logano's experience running in the ARCA and Truck Series' at Talladega earlier this month might be enough. "I think he's probably done enough," Gibbs said. "From our standpoint, we've talked to NASCAR, too, we want to see him in some more stuff as well. We're going to run at least one or two more."(AP/ESPN)(10-27-2008)
- Testing at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday: The Joe Gibbs Racing teams of Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway Tuesday, October 14. Fans can view testing from the designated area outside the Kentucky Speedway Fan Center in Turn 3 for free. Tests usually begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m. Times will vary based on team goals.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-15-2008)
- Logano tests at Kentucky; may run more Cup races: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Joey Logano continued his Sprint Cup Series education by turning test laps at Kentucky Speedway today. “I’m here today in the Cup car just trying different stuff for Joe Gibbs Racing we haven’t really tried yet. We’re wingin’ it to see what we’ve got and to see if we can learn a thing or two,” Logano said. Today’s Sprint Cup Series test follows yesterday’s announcement that Logano will not complete the final three events of a previously-announced five-race Sprint Cup Series stretch with Hall of Fame (HOF) Racing. While he’ll yield the #96 seat to veteran Ken Schrader for the Oct. 11 event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the Oct. 18 race at Martinsville and the Nov. 2 clash at Texas, Logano will see Sprint Cup Series action in a #02 JGR machine at Atlanta Motor Speedway Oct. 26. “When things aren’t working right, you’ve got to make a change. We couldn’t pinpoint what was goin’ on. In the practice that was rained out at Richmond at least we were fast, so we’re going to back to that deal and we’ll try to go from there. I think I learned a lot in those (two Cup) races, but they were no where near the runs we were looking for. Personally, I’d like to race a lot better, so we cut a little of those (HOF) races back, but I think it was worth it. We’re going to run the No. 02 Home Depot Toyota in Atlanta and possibly a couple more races. I feel like I’m going to be in a really good car,” Logano said.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(10-1-2008)
- Logano to run Truck race at Talladega: Joey Logano will make his Craftsman Truck Series debut as he will drive the #59 HT Motorsports Toyota in the Mountain Dew 250 this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Logano replaces Ted Musgrave, who parted ways with the team during the Las Vegas race weekend.(SceneDaily)(10-1-2008)
- Hall of Fame Racing, JGR decide to remove Logano from #96: Joey Logano will no longer pilot Hall of Fame Racing's #96 Toyota in 2008, team co-owner Tom Garfinkel told ESPN.com Tuesday. Garfinkel said the decision was mutual between his team and Joe Gibbs Racing, for whom Logano is under a multi-year driving contract. "It's a joint decision," Garfinkel said. "We talked to Gibbs and both decided that, for [Logano's] development and for our team, this the best thing for all of us. The best thing for all of us is for them to focus on Joey's development, and us to focus on our team." Seeking to gain experience in preparation for his 2009 rookie campaign in Gibbs' #20 Toyota, Logano was scheduled to run five of the final 10 races of the current season in the Hall of Fame #96 -- a Gibbs satellite operation. He was to return to the #96 at Lowe's Motor Speedway next week, and also was scheduled to drive for Hall of Fame at Martinsville Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. Sprint Cup veteran Ken Schrader will drive the #96 at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, and likely the rest of the season. Joe Gibbs Racing officials were not immediately available for comment.(ESPN.com)(9-30-2008)
- Ricky Carmichael to attempt ARCA 'Dega race UPDATE: Ricky Carmichael, a 10-time AMA national motocross champion from 1997 - 2006, will attempt to make his ARCA RE/MAX series debut at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 3. Carmichael, a rookie on the Camping World East Series this season for Ken Schrader Racing, has been entered into the event at the 2.66-mile speedway by Kevin Harvick Inc. With three top-5 finishes and six top-10's Carmichael, 28, is eighth in the Camping World East Series standings after 11 of 13 events this season.(Hartford Courant)(9-17-2008)
UPDATE: Two Talladega rookies, Joey Logano and Ricky Carmichael, were at Talladega Superspeedway today as part of a two-day ARCA RE/MAX Series Open Test. While both drivers have extensive racing resumes, neither had tackled the high banks of Talladega until today. “It’s pretty fun, I’ve had a good time with it so far,” said Logano. “This is my first time doing superspeedway stuff. I did some Proving Grounds stuff with the Cup guys before, but that’s the only similar thing I’ve been through.”
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Carmichael. “Everyone was saying ‘oh we’re just doing single car runs this morning’ but it’s new for me. I’m having a good time. The guys at KHI (Kevin Harvick Inc.) are fast. I’m just enjoying it and trying to get as much seat time as I can.” Although Carmichael has competed at Daytona before, he says the 2.66-mile Talladega seems much larger than the 2.5-mile track in Florida. “My first thought when I came to Talladega was ‘wow this place is huge’. I couldn’t believe how much bigger it was, and I mean, I thought Daytona was big.” Both drivers are expected to compete in the Oct. 3rd ARCA RE/MAX Series 250 at Talladega.(TSS PR)(9-17-2008)
- Logano's Cup debut up in the air UPDATE 3 NO #02, to the #96 NHMS: a Joe Gibbs Racing spokesman said team officials were discussing options for when Joey Logano's Cup debut would occur and in what vehicle. Hall of Fame Racing, a JGR ally, had previously announced Logano would run that team's #96 Toyota next weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.(NASCAR.com)(9-6-2008)
UPDATE: J.D. Gibbs said Sunday that Joey Logano will race next week in the Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. As-yet undecided is whether the 18-year-old phenom will be driving the #02 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota he was scheduled to drive this weekend at Richmond International Raceway, or whether he’ll stick with the #96 Hall of Fame Racing ride he’s supposed to be in. If he does drive for HoF, the #96 will carry Home Depot sponsorship, Gibbs said, although he acknowledged he has not talked to Hall of Fame officials about what the final plan will be. “We’ve still got to work out some more details,” Gibbs said Sunday morning at Richmond International Raceway. “Right now, we want the first race to be in the Home Depot car and we’ve got a few options to figure out, but next week, he will be in the car racing.”(SPEEDtv)(9-8-2008)
UPDATE 2: Forty-five cars are currently entered for the Sprint Cup Sylvania 300 this weekend, but Joey Logano will be entered in an additional entry since Joe Gibbs Racing has decided to field a fourth car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Logano originally was supposed to drive the #96 Hall of Fame Racing car at New Hampshire. The 18-year-old driver, who takes over JGR's #20 Cup car next year being vacated by Tony Stewart, was supposed to make his Cup debut last week at Richmond but did not qualify when rain washed out time trials. JGR wanted Logano to make his debut in a Home Depot car and therefore plans to enter the #02 for the New Hampshire race, according to a team spokesman. Ken Schrader will drive the #96 car for Hall of Fame. Other entries for this weekend's race include Chad McCumbee in the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge in place of Kyle Petty. It is not uncommon for Petty to skip a race at New Hampshire, the site of where his son, Adam, was killed in a crash during Nationwide Series practice in 2000.(SceneDaily)(9-9-2008)
UPDATE 3: Despite reports putting Joey Logano in the #02 car for Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend, a source with direct knowledge of the situation tells Rowdy that Joey will in fact pilot the #96 car as originally planned this weekend in the Sylvania 300. Home Depot, Logano's 2009 sponsor, will be the primary sponsor on the car replacing the #96's usual primary, DLP, which will assume an associate role for the race.(Rowdy.com)
AND Hall of Fame Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing officials announced Wednesday that Joey Logano will attempt to qualify the #96 Home Depot/DLP HDTV Toyota for this weekend’s Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Ken Schrader, who was listed on the entry list in the #96 Toyota, is scheduled to return to the car for next weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway. Joe Gibbs Racing has withdrawn the #02 Toyota which had been entered at New Hampshire for Logano. The #96 Toyota will have a Home Depot/DLP HDTV paint scheme similar to the #02 Home Depot Toyota that Joe Gibbs Racing fielded for Logano last week at Richmond. Logano did not race at Richmond as qualifying was cancelled due to rain and the #02 did not have enough owner points to make the 43-car starting field.(HOF Racing PR)(9-10-2008), see the New Hampshire Entry List.
- Logano to attempt to make Cup debut at RIR: The Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at will mark #02-Joey Logano’s first career Sprint Cup Series start if he makes the field during qualifying Friday evening at Richmond International Raceway. This is a relatively new race car that has been tested by Logano, most recently last month at New Smyrna Speedway. In addition to Saturday night’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400, Logano will attempt to qualify for one other Sprint Cup race in 2008 for Joe Gibbs Racing – the Oct. 26 event at Atlanta Motor Speedway nearby The Home Depot’s headquarters in Atlanta. Logano will pilot the #96 Toyota for Hall of Fame Racing in five Sprint Cup races in 2008, beginning with the Sept. 14 New Hampshire race. Logano will also drive the #96 machine at Kansas, Charlotte, Martinsville, and Texas.· Logano will make his 12th career Nationwide Series start in Friday night’s Emerson Radio 250 at Richmond. In 11 Nationwide Series starts thus far this season, Logano has notched one win, three top-five and eight top-10 finishes. Logano will have Wally Brown as his crew chief in both races with the #02 Home Depot Toyota.(JGR PR), see a few images of the #02 Home Depot Toyota that Logano will run on my #02 Team Schemes page.(9-5-2008)
- Logano tests in FL: Joey Logano, who was named Monday as Tony Stewart's 2009 replacement in the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, tested at New Smyrna Speedway on Tuesday with his future team. Logano is expected to make his first Sprint Cup start next weekend at Richmond [in the #02 Home Depot Toyota.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-27-2008)
- JGR to announce new #20 driver Monday UPDATE 2: Joe Gibbs Racing has called a 2pm/et Monday news conference to introduce Joey Logano as the full-time driver of the #20 next season, according to a racing source. The 18-year-old phenom will replace Tony Stewart, who will be a driver-owner at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. "We still aren't ready to come out and say here's definitely the plan,'' Gibbs said. "So Monday is our press conference.'' Gibbs also would not acknowledge that Home Depot will be on the car even though it has another year on its contract with JGR or that Greg Zipadelli would stay on as crew chief of the #20. But he did acknowledge that Home Depot has been a great partner "so we'd love to see that go on.'' Logano is expected to make his Sprint Cup debut at Richmond in three weeks [either in the #02 JGR Toyota or #96 HOF Toyota].(ESPN.com)(8-24-2008)
UPDATE: Logano will take the wheel next season of the #20 Toyota Camry Sprint Cup Series race car currently driven by Tony Stewart, the Bristol Herald Courier has learned. Logano’s move – rumored and dissected for months – was confirmed Saturday evening at Bristol Motor Speedway prior to the start of the NSCS Sharpie 500 by a high-ranking official affiliated with one of NASCAR’s premier motorsports manufacturing teams. “Joey Logano … next year is going to be the 20 car,” said the Toyota official, who did not want to be named because a Monday announcement is expected by Joe Gibbs Racing.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-24-2008)
UPDATE2: Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that The Home Depot will continue its sponsorship of the Sprint Cup #20 Toyota team in 2009 and beyond, and that Joey Logano, one of the sport’s brightest emerging stars, will take over the duties behind the wheel of one of NASCAR’s most successful race teams. Logano will make his NASCAR Spirit Cup series debut on Sept. 6 at Richmond International Raceway in a Home Depot sponsored car featuring a reverse color scheme and bearing the #02. In addition, Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Greg Zipadelli, crew chief of the #20 Home Depot Toyota Sprint Cup Series for the past 10 years, will remain atop the pit box as Logano’s crew chief.
“Obviously today is an exciting day for the Joe Gibbs racing family as The Home Depot has been and will continue to be an important part of our success,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. “Joey (Logano) has already shown he will be a tremendous talent on the track and a great representative for The Home Depot off the track.We are also fortunate to have someone as talented and experienced as Greg Zipadelli guide him through the start of what promises to be a phenomenal career.”
The Home Depot is the Official Home Improvement Retailer of NASCAR and has sponsored the #20 Home Depot Racing team for the past 10 years. The Home Depot first entered NASCAR in 1999 with a multi-year deal with Joe Gibbs Racing and then-rookie Tony Stewart. Tony Stewart was honored as Rookie of the Year in 1999 and as the NASCAR Cup Series Champion in 2002 and 2005. Stewart has captured 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point victories since 1999.
“The Home Depot is thrilled to welcome Joey Logano as the new driver of the #20 Home Depot car,” said Frank Bifulco, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of The Home Depot. “To have such a talented, young driver, with a bright future join the team truly makes this a special opportunity for our NASCAR program. We’re also extremely gratified to continue to be working with Joe Gibbs Racing and Greg Zipadelli, as we have had great success together over the past decade.”
Logano’s ascent to NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series is the latest and greatest step in a rapid rise for the 18-year-old, who began competing in quarter-midgets at the age of six and has built an impressive career that includes numerous records and championships. This past May he celebrated his 18th birthday by making his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut just seven days later in Dover, DE, where he finished sixth. His first Nationwide Series victory would come just two races later when he captured the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway on June 14. In just 10 starts in the Nationwide Series, Logano has already earned the pole twice and captured three top-five and seven top-ten finishes.
“I just feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be in this position,” said Logano“ Joe Gibbs Racing has provided me tremendous support each step of the way and the opportunity to work with the absolute best in the business. I can’t explain the feeling to become a part of such an awesome Home Depot team and I’m going to just focus on working as hard as I can to prepare for next season.” Zipadelli has served as crew chief on the #20 team for the last decade, helping lead one of the most successful teams in NASCAR history that has included two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships. “Everyone on the #20 Home Depot team is excited about today’s announcements,” said Zipadelli. “Obviously our commitment remains focused on trying to win a championship this year, but we’re thrilled to know our future is solid with The Home Depot on board and the opportunity to add someone as talented as Joey to our team.”
“The Home Depot has been such an important part of our history here,” said JGR owner and founder Joe Gibbs. “I have been fortunate to develop a number of close friendships with many of the people at The Home Depot over the past 10 years and we want to make sure that we always deliver on their commitment to us. We feel the team we have in place going forward with Zippy as crew chief and Joey driving will keep that #20 team strong and represent The Home Depot in a great manner.”(Joe Gibbs Racing site)(8-25-2008)
- Logano to make Cup debut at RIR UPDATE maybe not: The plan is finally in place for Joey Logano to begin his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, with a handful of races scheduled this season in Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. A source close to the team said Saturday that Logano will run “six or seven” Sprint Cup races with sponsorship from Gatorade between now and the end of the 2008 campaign, in an effort to gain NASCAR approval for Logano to run for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors next season. Plans call for the 18-year old Connecticut native to make his Sprint Cup debut at Richmond International Raceway on September 6th, with additional races to be announced within the next 2-3 weeks. He will also run the ARCA ReMax Series race at Talladega Superspeedway for Venturini Motorsports, to satisfy NASCAR requirements for him to compete in the 2009 Daytona 500.(Motorsports Soapbox)(8-12-2008)
UPDATE: Logano will drive in selected Sprint Cup Series races this season for Joe Gibbs Racing, but the team is still deciding where he will make his debut. Logano made his first Nationwide start days after turning 18 in May and now boasts a victory and two pole positions for JGR. His early success has accelerated talks about moving the rookie into NASCAR's premier circuit. Bill Janitz, Logano's spokesman, said a debut next month at Richmond International Raceway was probable but the number of races was undetermined. Janitz denied Gatorade would be the sponsor. Richmond "has been talked about a few times," Logano said. Logano also is waiting on word from his team on whether he will replace Stewart next year in the #20 Toyota.(USA Today)(8-18-2008)
UPDATE 2: A source close to the team told Sirius Speedway Saturday that Logano will run an orange-and-white #02 Toyota at Richmond with sponsorship from the Home Depot. In addition, that source said the home improvement giant will back the Connecticut youngster in his freshman season of Cup competition in 2009. Team President J.D. Gibbs said the team has not yet finalized plans for Logano, saying, “He'll run some Cup races this year, whether or not he's running the full thing next year or not.”(Motorsports Soapbox)(8-18-2008)
- Gibbs Didn't Have Sure Deal for Almirola: Joe Gibbs Racing wasn't certain it could find sponsorship to run Aric Almirola full time in the Busch Series next year and didn't see him as an immediate candidate for a Nextel Cup ride if one of its cars became available. That's why the team allowed Almirola to leave for Ginn Racing, JGR president J.D. Gibbs said Wednesday.(Tampa Tribune)(7-19-2007)
- Ginn Announces Changes: MORE: Emphasizing an eye on the future along with solidifying the foundation of its Nextel Cup program, Ginn Racing announced the following transactions.
* Aric Almirola has signed with Ginn Racing. He will become Mark Martin’s co-driver in the #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet for the remainder of the 2007 season and will also share the ride with Martin in 2008. His first race in the #01 will be Aug. 12 at the road course in Watkins Glen, N.Y. As part of his contractual obligations, Almirola will compete in five remaining Busch races for JGR this season.
* Regan Smith will assume full-time driving duties in the team’s #14 Chevy, beginning with the Nextel Cup race July 29 in Indianapolis. Smith replaces Sterling Marlin.
* Due to a lack of sponsorship, the #13 Ginn Racing team is currently being evaluated. Joe Nemechek, who drove the #13, has been released and is free to explore other opportunities.(Ginn Racing PR).(7-17-2007)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has granted Aric Almirola his release, allowing the development driver to compete for Ginn Racing in select Nextel Cup and Busch Series races this year. Almirola will still compete for JGR in the five remaining Busch Series races that were a part of his original 2007 racing schedule. In 2008, Almirola’s entire racing slate will come via Ginn Racing.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(7-18-2007)
- Almirola to Ginn in 2008? UPDATE 3: Hearing Aric Almirola, who was credited with the Milwaukee Busch Series race win Saturday night, will join Ginn Racing in 2008 as a protege to #01-Mark Martin. Supposedly the plan is for Almirola to run part-time Cup, Busch and Trucks in 2008 and take over the #01 Chevy full-time in 2009.(6-25-2007)
UPDATE - denied: Though he still is "not happy" about being pulled for Nextel Cup star Denny Hamlin during Saturday's Busch Series race at Milwaukee, Tampa's Aric Almirola said Wednesday he isn't frustrated at Joe Gibbs Racing and has no plans to leave the team. He said there is no truth to a rumor that appeared on ESPN-owned Web site Jayski.com saying he is headed to Ginn Racing next year and will race the #01 Chevrolet full time in Nextel Cup in 2009. "I'm under contract at JGR," Almirola, 23, said on a national conference call. "I have a long history with them. I've been there since I was 18 years old. I started racing late models with them, and they've become like family to me. I see our relationship growing." Almirola is scheduled to run six more Busch races, including the July 6 event at Daytona, and he said one race may be added. He is competing in the Craftsman Truck Series race this weekend at Memphis and will enter a couple of Nextel Cup Car of Tomorrow races this year with JGR's research and development team. He reiterated Wednesday that he hopes to race full time in at least the Busch Series next year.(Tampa Tribune)(6-28-2007)
UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway has learned that Aric Almirola will join Ginn Racing next season, sharing the #01 US Army Chevy with veteran Mark Martin. Almirola is currently under contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, but will reportedly replace Regan Smith in the #01 car in 2008, when Smith moves to full-time Nextel Cup status with Ginn.(Motorsports Soapbox)(7-16-2007)
UPDATE 3: The original post at Motorsports Soapbox has been updated to include the following: Aric Almirola has requested a release from Joe Gibbs Racing, and will move within the next few days to a new position with Ginn Racing, sharing the #01 US Army Chevy with veteran Mark Martin.(Motorsports Soapbox)(7-17-2007)
- More on Gibbs to Toyota...done deal? Extending Stewart to 2011? UPDATE Toyota denied; Stewart possibly: Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota are “a done deal” for 2008, according to several sources, though team executives said otherwise. Apparently one hangup in the talks between the long-time Chevy operation (which features #20-Tony Stewart) and Toyota is a clause in Gibbs’ current GM [Chevy] contract which bars the team from negotiating with any other manufacturer until the contract is up. So sources said Gibbs has had to go through an agent in the talks. Gibbs has a major negotiating session scheduled with General Motors in the next two weeks, which should provide the ‘yea,’ or ‘nay’ on that side of the issue. One of the big reasons for Toyota’s intense interest in Gibbs Racing is Gibbs’ engine program, headed by Mark Cronquist, one of the best in the business. Gibbs is also renegotiating his contract with Stewart to extend it another two years. The contract runs through the end of 2009; the new package would run through the end of 2011.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-23-2007)
UPDATE: J.D. Gibbs would like to sign #20-Tony Stewart to an extension that will keep the two-time Nextel Cup champion at Joe Gibbs Racing at least through 2011. Stewart's contract at JGR runs through 2009. But with a talented stable of young talent in the developmental pool and Stewart joking about retirement several times this season, the president of JGR would like to find out just what his marquee driver wants. "Hey, we want Tony to be here for a long time,'' Gibbs said before Sunday's race at Infineon Raceway. "If he said at the end of '09 I'm done, officially done, hey, we understand that. Let's go get a plan. The reality is, I think he wants to go [on]. How long does he want to go? I want all of those guys on the same page.'' Gibbs denied reports that he has a deal to leave General Motors for Toyota. "I've got to be honest,'' he said. "That's just not true. That's speculation. We're sitting down with the GM guys [in a few weeks]. We've had conversations with them. I don't think any GM team has signed a deal yet. That was kind of frustrating.'' JGR has been with GM for 16 seasons between Pontiac and Chevrolet. While Gibbs plans to discuss a new deal, he never ruled out talking to Toyota. Gibbs also didn't rule out talking to driver Kyle Busch, who became a free agent when it was announced Dale Earnhardt Jr. would replace him at Hendrick Motorsports next season.(ESPN.com)(6-25-2007)
- Hamlin relieves Almirola at Milwaukee Busch race and wins..for Almirola: ESPN2 reported that no driver has ever won a Busch Series in relief of another driver, the last time it was done in Nextel Cup was when Darrell Waltrip relieved Donnie Allison, August 7, 1977 at Talladega. But later NASCAR announced that in April 1985, Harry Gant filled in for Jack Ingram at the Darlington Busch Series race and went on to win and the credit went to Ingram. Denny Hamlin was flying from Sonoma to Milwaukee and the helicopter could not land at the helipad, and had to land at a nearby airport. So Aric Almirola, who won the pole in the #20 Rockwell Chevy at the Milwaukee Mile, started the race and lead 44 laps, and on 57 a caution came out, Almirola was called to pit, where Hamlin got in the car. Almirola refused interviewsd and left the track before the end of the race and didn't celebrate his first win. See more on my Busch Series site.(6-24-2007)
- Gibbs evaluating manufacturer alignment: Having lost the Dale Earnhardt Jr. sweepstakes, Joe Gibbs Racing [#s 11, 18, 20] President J.D. Gibbs says his team is focused on its current lineup of drivers. Gibbs says it's too early to talk about any interest in Kyle Busch nor whether his team will switch to Toyota next season. JGR has been with General Motors for 16 years. "We wanted to wait and see what happened with the Junior deal," Gibbs said Sunday prior to the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan. "And then we're going to sit down and evaluate. We've been a partner with them for 16 years. We're going to look at it and evaluate and make sure we're on the same page. "Obviously, is Toyota out there as a possibility? I think they have probably talked to a number of different groups... We just want to make sure, as the sport changes, how do we stay where we need to be at JGR to stay ahead of the curve? And a big part is manufacturer."(SceneDaily.com)(6-18-2007)
- Next race for Almirola is RIR: In addition to a 14-race Busch schedule, #80-Aric Almirola will attempt to qualify for four Cup races this season, the next coming at Richmond International Raceway in May. He made his Cup debut in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 two weeks ago at Las Vegas, where he qualified 31st and finished 41st.(Roanoke Times)(3-24-2007)
- Additech to be Featured on #80 JGR car: Additech, America's No. 1 fuel system tune-up, expands its partnership with Joe Gibbs Driven and will be featured on a Joe Gibbs Racing Nextel Cup Car. Additech will be featured on the Joe Gibbs Driven Chevy, #80, driven by Aric Almirola. Almirola's first attempt to qualify for a Nextel Cup race took place March 9 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he finished forty first. Houston-based Additech has patented the only "tune-up at the pump" fuel system service. Additech's unique fuel additive delivery system dispenses and blends world leading fuel additives into gasoline while consumers pump their gas, allowing consumers to conveniently perform routine auto maintenance while they fuel their vehicle. For more information, visit Additech's website at www.additech.com.(PrimeNewswire)(3-20-2007)
- Almirola Drives Joe Gibbs Driven to Las Vegas: Joe Gibbs Driven, the automotive aftermarket division of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), will make its first appearance as a primary sponsor of a Nextel Cup Series race car when JGR development driver Aric Almirola attempts to qualify for his first Nextel Cup race March 9 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Joe Gibbs Driven includes a successful line of JGR-owned high-performance racing oils and lubricants - products developed by JGR's three-time Nextel Cup championship-winning engine builder Mark Cronquist and used by JGR's Nextel Cup and NASCAR Busch Series teams. Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil is sold nationwide to racers at every motorsports level. Other quality licensed products that are part of the Joe Gibbs Driven family are Additech Fuel System Cleaner and Sellars Shop Towels. Both will adorn Almirola's #80 Joe Gibbs Driven Chevy at Las Vegas. Almirola was one of JGR's first prospects via the diversity program founded by JGR and the late Reggie White, an initiative that traces its roots back to May 2003. To learn more about Joe Gibbs Driven, please visit www.JoeGibbsDriven.com.(True Speed Communication PR), see an image of the car on my #80 Team Schemes page.(3-7-2007)
- Almirola to Make Cup Debut at Vegas: Three years ago, Aric Almirola was getting ready for a full season of late model stock car racing at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C. After scoring two wins, six top-fives and 15 top-10s in 2004, Almirola began climbing the NASCAR ladder. The Tampa, Fla., native of Cuban descent traversed the Southeast in 2005 competing in regional late model races, and by the end of the year, was running a limited schedule in the Craftsman Truck Series. Two top-10 finishes in four Truck Series starts led to a full-time Truck Series ride and a nine-race Busch Series schedule in 2006. The promise Almirola showed in 2004 continued in 2006, which led JGR officials to give him a slate of 18 Busch Series races and four Nextel Cup races in 2007. That first Nextel Cup race comes at Las Vegas, where Almirola will attempt to qualify the #80 Joe Gibbs Driven Chevy.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(3-1-2007)
- Almirola to run some Busch races and possibly some Cup: Aric Almirola estimates he will run 20 Busch Series races and possibly a few Nextel Cup events in 2007. Almirola, testing the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy during Busch Series practice at Daytona International Speedway, said Friday his 20 races will be split between the #18 and #20 JGR entries. Almirola, who added he is working on a truck deal for four or five races. Almirola has tested the "car of tomorrow" three or four times for JGR and that might lead to him running a few Cup events. He also might do other NASCAR test sessions. He said the Cup races will possibly be determined by sponsors and where they would want him to run. Almirola said the fourth team would be primarily used as a research and development team.(SceneDaily.com)(1-20-2007)
- Almirola could make Cup debut in 2007: Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs said Tampa product Aric Almirola is likely to make his Nextel Cup debut next season as part of a plan to enter him in up to 20 Busch Series races and test a research and development car for the team's three current Cup programs. NASCAR holds seven open test sessions for all Cup teams and a driver must try to qualify for a race after attending the first two. They must then try to qualify for a race for every subsequent test. "For our future, it's our best option to concentrate on Busch stuff with him," Gibbs said. "It's only five races (less than) a full truck season so he'll probably benefit more from working with our guys." Almirola will race in both JGR's #18 and #20 Busch Chevrolet entry, Gibbs said.(St Petersburg Times)(11-20-2006)
- Bobby Labonte to run Busch race at MIS; Bliss to run 2 Cup races: Bobby Labonte and his long-time sponsor ConAgra Foods, Inc. announced that Labonte will return to the Busch Series for the Cabela's 250 Race on August 21, 2004 at Michigan International Speedway. He will be driving the bright red #19 Banquet Chevrolet featuring the Banquet brand and logo. This car was unveiled at the 2004 Food Market Institute Show (FMI) at McCormick Place in Chicago. This extended partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) highlights ConAgra Foods' growing involvement in the sport of NASCAR. Having recognized the power of NASCAR to reach families nationwide almost a decade ago, the company was an early supporter of Labonte's racing team. Under this new agreement, Labonte will appear in advertising and promotions as well as provide personal appearances and publicity for Banquet and ConAgra Foods. The Cabela's 250 Race marks Bobby's return to the Busch Series [JAYSKI NOTE: Actually Labonte ran the Texas Busch race in the #29 ESGR/Army Nat'l Guard-Reserve RCR Chevy and finished 11th]. "I'm excited to run the #19 Banquet Chevrolet in the Busch series later this summer," said Labonte. "My goal is to take Banquet and ConAgra Foods to the winner's circle at the Cabela's 250." ConAgra Foods will continue to maximize its association with NASCAR in 2004 with a series of sponsorships and promotions. Banquet's title sponsorship of the Banquet 400 Nextel Cup Series race at Kansas Motor Speedway in October continues for the second year, and the partnership with JGR will offer several ConAgra Foods brands in the snack and grocery categories the opportunity to appear on the #80 car driven by Mike Bliss during two Nextel Cup Series races. Bliss will race the #80 Slim Jim Chevrolet at the Tropicana 400 in Chicago this July and he will run the #80 Hunts Chevrolet at the Chevy Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway in September [NOTE: Gibbs would get to use the car #80 over the #80 Hover Motorsports team and driver Andy Hillenburg as that team is listed as #280 in Owners Points]. This summer Banquet will be rolling out a retail promotion called "0 to Dinner with Banquet," which gives fans the opportunity to collect five proofs of purchase from frozen and grocery products and receive a die cast #19 Banquet Chevrolet. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.(Ketchum PR)(5-3-2004)
- 3rd Cup team for Gibbs in 2005 UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing [#18-Labonte and #20-Stewart] will add a third full time Cup team in 2005.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required). Assume the team will run part time in 2004 [has attempted/run a few 2003 Cup races in the #80 with Mike Bliss], so who drives? Mike Bliss? Coy Gibbs? J.J. Yeley?; Bliss and Gibbs run full time for Gibbs in the Busch Series now and Yeley supposedly will run Busch for Gibbs in 2004.(10-11-2003)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing was so impressed by J.J. Yeley's tryout at Lakeland (Fla.) Speedway last week that he is expected to run an ABC (ARCA, Busch, Cup) schedule with the organization next year. Yeley, a protege of Tony Stewart, is attempting to win the USAC Triple Crown (Silver Crown, Sprint, Midget).(Sporting News/Yahoo Sports)(10-13-2003)
- Bliss in a third Gibbs car? UPDATE #80: Mike Bliss reportedly will drive a third Winston Cup car for Joe Gibbs Racing at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona and the EA Sports 500 at Talladega in September. Bliss currently drives for Gibbs in the Busch Series.(Winston Cup Scene - need subscription to read)(5-29-2003)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announced Saturday that they will field a third car out of their Huntersville, NC shops for the Daytona and Talladega races this season. Piloting what will be the #80 Chevy is 2002 Truck Series champion Mike Bliss. Sponsorship for the team will be coming from one of Joe Gibbs Racing's major associate sponsors. GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Advair Diskus (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol inhalation powder), a leading asthma maintenance product, will be the primary sponsor of the #80 car. Earlier this year, GSK and Joe Gibbs Racing announced a joint asthma education initiative, Racing Against Asthma, designed to help raise awareness of Advair and help bring information about asthma and effective asthma management to the public. As part of the education initiative, fans attending the Daytona and Talladega races will have the opportunity to visit the Racing Against Asthma trackside education center, which offers free lung function testing and interactive displays that provide fans with an engaging way to learn more about asthma. In his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing, Bliss, the driver of the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevy in the Busch Series sits in seventh-place in the current point standings. With 30 NASCAR Winston Cup career starts under his belt, Bliss is no stranger to the big leagues of NASCAR, but admits this opportunity is the best he has ever had in his career and something he is very excited about. "It's a great opportunity for me and I hope I can contribute to this whole effort," said an elated Bliss. "I have always said in the past that I never wanted to go back to 'Cup' unless the opportunity was right or it was with a capable team, so it's easy to see why I'm excited. I am looking forward to working with Jimmy Makar and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing to make this project successful." In light of the current environment within the Winston Cup garage and the level of competition on the track, Joe Gibbs Racing felt as though the time was right to add a third car to an already successful program. It will be a big undertaking with a lot of extra man-hours for all involved, but the thought behind the program is that the benefits will far outweigh any negatives. It will also allow the entire Joe Gibbs Racing operation to gain extra information that would otherwise be unattainable without the addition of the third car at these particular events. "With as tough as the competition has become in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, we felt the timing was right to add a car for a couple of races to benefit our overall race program," said J.D. Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We owe it to all of our sponsors to make sure we are as competitive as possible every week on the track. Adding this car at Daytona and Talladega will allow us to continue to do that. We are every excited that Advair Diskus has agreed to be the primary sponsor for this special initiative.. Our relationship with Advair Diskus has been great for Bobby Labonte and the '18' team this year and we look forward to having them play a bigger role in the sponsorship of that team next year." Heading up the program will be veteran crew chief and Joe Gibbs Racing's first employee, Jimmy Makar. After serving as crew chief of the Gibbs owned #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet for 11 seasons, Makar made the move up to Team Manager at the conclusion of the 2002 season to help manage the continually growing race operations. With 13 years experience behind him and considered by his peers as one of the best ever, Makar is excited at the opportunity to get back to the track and call the shots again. "This is something we have been discussing for quite some time and I am excited to be able to be a part of it," admitted Makar. "Looking at what's going on in the garage area today, we felt like the time was perfect to give this a try. This will also be a great opportunity for Mike. I have great confidence that he will do a good job for us and it will enable us to gather a lot of information we have otherwise not been able to obtain. It will also give us a chance to try some things we wouldn't normally try."(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(6-14-2003)