Joe Gibbs Racing
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is a group of NASCAR racing teams owned and operated by former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, who first started racing on the NASCAR circuit in 1991, and J. D. Gibbs, his son. Headquartered in Huntersville, North Carolina, near Charlotte, the team has amassed three Sprint Cup championships since the year 2000. For the team's first sixteen seasons, JGR ran cars from General Motors. During that period, the team won their three championships, two in Pontiac Grand Prixes and one in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Despite this, during the 2007 season Joe Gibbs Racing announced that they would be ending their arrangement with GM at the end of the year and begin running Toyotas the following season.
The team currently fields the No. 11 FedEx/Sport Clips Toyota Camry for Denny Hamlin, the No. 18 M&M's/Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Kyle Busch, the #19 Arris/Stanley Black & Decker Toyota for Carl Edwards and the No. 20 Dollar General/DeWalt Toyota Camry for Matt Kenseth in the Sprint Cup Series. They also field the #18 Arris Toyota Camry for Daniel Suárez, the #20 GameStop/Reser's Fine Foods/SunEnergy1 Toyota Camry for Erik Jones, Kenny Habul, and other drivers, as well as the #54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry for Kyle Busch and other drivers in the Xfinity Series.
The team also has a strong development program for up and coming drivers, grooming future Sprint Cup Winners Joey Logano and Aric Almirola and winning one championship in the East Division of the NASCAR Camping World Series (now K&N Pro Series) with Logano. The organization teamed up with former NFL player Reggie White in 2004 to create a diversity program, fielding drivers such as Almirola, Marc Davis, and Darrell Wallace, Jr., and forming the basis for NASCAR's own Drive for Diversity program. Currently Erik Jones, Daniel Suárez, Justin Boston, and Cody Coughlin are under development contracts, driving in the Xfinity Series for JGR, the Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports, and in the ARCA Racing Series for Venturini Motorsports.
The team was founded by Gibbs in 1991 after exploring opportunities with Don Meredith, who currently serves as the team's Executive Vice President. The team expanded to a two-car operation in 1999 with Tony Stewart's #20 Home Depot car, then a three-car operation in 2005 with the #11 FedEx car currently driven by Denny Hamlin and owned by Joe's son J.D. Gibbs. The team expanded to four cars for the 2015 season with Carl Edwards driving the #19 car, following former Roush Racing teammate Matt Kenseth to JGR.
After winning 3 Cup championships and over 70 NASCAR races, it was announced in September 2007 that the team would be switching to Toyota (who had just entered the Cup series that year) following the end of their commitment with General Motors at the end of the season. It was believed that the executives at JGR felt as if they weren't as important as some of the other GM teams such as Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing, leading to the decision to swap manufacturers. According to Joe Gibbs, Toyota offered the team resources and options they "we're not going to be able to afford to do" if they remained at GM. In 2012, JGR shuttered its in-house Sprint Cup Series engine program, merging with California-based Toyota Racing Development which currently provides engines to JGR as well as top Toyota team Michael Waltrip Racing. The team continues to build engines for its own Xfinity Series operations and those of RAB Racing, the Camping World Truck Series operations of Kyle Busch Motorsports, and the ARCA Racing Series operations of Venturini Motorsports.
Car #11 History
Previously JGR's research and development car, what is now the #11 car debuted at the 2003 Pepsi 400 as #80, driven by JGR Busch Series driver Mike Bliss with sponsorship from GlaxoSmithKline brand Advair, finishing 26th. The car remained idle until the 2004 Tropicana 400, when Bliss finished 31st in the ConAgra/Slim Jim machine. After a fourth-place finish in the fall race at Richmond International Raceway, the team switched to #11 (the number J.D. Gibbs wore playing football at College of William & Mary). Ricky Craven, recently released from PPI Motorsports finished 30th at Talladega, and Busch Series driver J. J. Yeley ran two races in the car.
The #11 car went full-time in 2005, with new sponsor FedEx coming on to fund the full season in a multi-year deal. Jason Leffler, who had driven for JGR in the Busch series, was signed to drive the #11 for the full season, while Dave Rogers was named the crew chief. The new team struggled early on in the season. Leffler missed the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, with FedEx Freight moving over to the 18 car that Bobby Labonte would drive to a second-place finish. Rogers was reassigned and replaced with veteran crew chief Mike Ford in June, then former Cup champion Terry Labonte was hired to run the road course at Sonoma, qualifying 8th and finishing a solid 12th. After 19 starts with a best finish of 12th and sitting 36th in points, Leffler was released from the ride. Terry Labonte ran the next three races, then ran the Fall Richmond race finishing 9th. J.J. Yeley ran 4 races with a best finish of 25th. In November, it was announced that Denny Hamlin would drive the car for the remainder of the season, then run for Rookie of the Year in 2006. Hamlin ran seven races, finished in the top 10 three times, and earned a pole at Phoenix International Raceway.
Hamlin was awarded the #11 FedEx Express full-time ride in 2006 in addition to his full-time Busch schedule in the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet. Hamlin was part of a large and strong rookie class, including teammate J.J. Yeley, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex, Jr., David Stremme, Brent Sherman, and Reed Sorenson. Hamlin opened the season by winning the Budweiser Shootout non-points race, holding off Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on a green-white-checker restart. In June, Hamlin scored his first Cup Series victory at the difficult Pocono Raceway. Hamlin started on the pole, then battled back from a cut tire to take the victory. In his return to the track in July, Hamlin again won the pole, then proceeded to lead 151 of 200 laps en route to a second victory, the first rookie to sweep both Pocono races. Hamlin credited his prowess on the track to practicing on the racing simulator NASCAR Racing 2003 Season. Hamlin's strong performance earned the rookie a berth in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, where he would finish 3rd in points. To date, Hamlin is the only rookie to make the Chase.
In 2007, Hamlin won the first of two races at New Hampshire International Speedway in 2007, and finished 12th in points. In 2008, Hamlin won the Gatorade Duel and the first race at Martinsville Speedway, and improved to eighth in points. He qualified for the Chase again in 2009 after winning the second race at Pocono Raceway and Richmond International Raceway. He ended the season with four victories after winning Martinsville and Homestead-Miami Speedway in the chase. 2010 was Hamlin and the 11 team's breakout year. They won at Martinsville and Denny followed the win by having knee surgery. After the surgery, the team won 4 of the next 10 races at Texas, Darlington, Pocono, and Michigan. The team made the chase after another win at Richmond. The team won races during the chase at Martinsville and Texas and held the points lead going into the season finale. However, an early wreck would put them behind the competition, and Hamlin wound up finishing second to Jimmie Johnson during the 2010 chase. Hamlin later admitted to putting too much pressure on himself during the Chase, which mentally impacted him. As a result, Mike Ford took a "no compromise" attitude for 2011, hoping to right the ship. However, the team struggled throughout 2011, with multiple blown engines and a single win at Michigan to push the #11 into the Chase. Hamlin would finish 9th in the final standings. At season's end, Mike Ford was released as crew chief and was replaced by Tony Stewart's crew chief Darian Grubb.
Under Darian Grubb the team started 2012 off in the best way possible by winning the second race of the season at Phoenix. That win was followed with another victory at Kansas six weeks later. The 11 team once again proved dominant on the short tracks pulling off a convincing win in the Bristol Night Race in August. The week after Bristol, the No. 11 FedEx team brought home another victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway, making the No. 11 the car number with the most wins in NASCAR with 200 wins. Hamlin then won the Sylvania 300, giving Joe Gibbs Racing its 100th win.
Hamlin's 2013 season began with an on-and-off track feud with former teammate Joey Logano. Initially started on Twitter, the on track incidents began at Bristol in March, where Hamlin spun Logano in turns 1 and 2, leading Logano to confront Hamlin after the race. The rivalry continued into the next race at Auto Club Speedway, where the two fought for the lead in the closing laps. In the final corner, the two collided, allowing JGR teammate Kyle Busch to win the race, and sending Hamlin's 11 car into a non-SAFER barrier wall near pit road. This wreck would mark the beginning of a difficult season for Hamlin, as he suffered a lower back fracture and was forced to sit out several races. Veteran Mark Martin replaced Hamlin at one of Denny's better tracks, Martinsville Speedway, where he scored a top 10. Brian Vickers then drove the car for the next three races, scoring an 8th-place finish at Texas. Though Hamlin returned to the car at Talladega Superspeedway, he never returned to form during the year, with only 8 top 10s on the year. He did score a win at the season finale at Homestead.
In the 2014 Auto Club 400, Sam Hornish, Jr. replaced Hamlin due to Hamlin having what was thought to be sinus infection, but later revealed to be a piece of metal in his eye that impaired his vision. Hornish, who was actually on standby for teammate Matt Kenseth, finished a solid 17th in his return to Cup.
At the 2015 Food City 500, Erik Jones replaced Hamlin after the latter suffered neck spasms. Jones took the car to a 26th-place finish, but since Hamlin started the race, he was credited with the position.
Car #18 History
Joe Gibbs Racing debuted at the 1992 Daytona 500 with second generation driver Dale Jarrett driving the #18 Interstate Batteries-sponsored Chevrolet Lumina to a 36th-place finish after a crash. The team improved dramatically the next year, when Jarrett won the Daytona 500, and finished a then career-high 4th in points. Jarrett won a race at Charlotte but he slipped to 16th in points in 1994, and moved to Robert Yates Racing's famed 28 car for 1995.
The team replaced Jarrett with Bobby Labonte, younger brother of Terry Labonte and 1993 Rookie of the Year runner up. In 1995, Labonte won 3 races, sweeping both Michigan events and winning at Charlotte, finishing 10th in points. This would mark the beginning of a decade of success between Labonte, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Interstate Batteries. In 1996 the team struggled to win until the season finale at Atlanta and finished 11th in points. In 1997 the team had a similar year to the previous but managed to improve to 7th in points. Their lone win came at the season finale. The team improved in 1998 by winning races at Atlanta and Talladega en route to 6th place in points.
1999 was a breakout year for the #18 team. They scored 5 wins which came at Dover, Michigan, Atlanta and both races at Pocono. The team came just short of the championship and finished 2nd in points to Jarrett, once again at Atlanta. The team continued their success in the next season, winning the second race of the season at Rockingham. Labonte's next win was the Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His third win came at the Southern 500 at Darlington recovering from a hard practice crash and taking the lead on a late race pit stop to win the rain and darkness shortened event. His fourth and final win of the year came at Charlotte a month later. Labonte would hold the points lead for 25 consecutive races to win the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship, the only championship to date for both Labonte and the #18 team.
The team faced disappointment in 2001 after high expectations following the championship season, winning only 2 races at Pocono and Atlanta and finishing 6th in points. 2002 was the team's worst year since Labonte joined the team, scoring only one win at Martinsville and finished a disappointing 16th in points. The team rebounded in 2003 scoring 2 wins at Atlanta and Homestead to finish 8th in points. Even though the team made some progression in 2004, the team fired crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain midseason, with Brandon Thomas taking over for the rest of the year. The team went winless to finish 12th in points. Steve Addington, a Gibbs Busch Series crew chief, was named new crew chief for the 2005 season, but a rash of troubles, some caused by mechanical problems, continued to daunt the team. The high point of the year was the Coca-Cola 600, when he finished second to Jimmie Johnson by half a car-length. Labonte finished 24th in the championship standings, and the team's regression led to his departure following the end of 2005. Bobby Labonte earned all 21 of his career Cup Series wins in the car, as well as the Winston Cup championship in 2000. He would depart for the 43 car of Petty Enterprises.
After Labonte's departure, Gibbs announced that JGR Busch Series driver and former USAC standout J. J. Yeley would replace him in the #18 for 2006, joining fellow rookie teammate Denny Hamlin. Yeley had a dismal rookie season with only three top tens while failing to finish seven races, leading to a 29th place points finish. Yeley's sophomore campaign was only slightly better, earning a pole at Michigan and scoring three more top tens to finish 21st in points. Yeley would moved to JGR-affiliated Hall of Fame Racing for 2008.
On August 14, 2007, it was announced that 22-year-old Kyle Busch had signed a contract to drive the number 18 with Joe Gibbs Racing through 2010, leaving Hendrick Motorsports' number 5 car after a successful but controversial tenure with the organization. Mars, Inc.'s M&M's brand was signed as the team's primary sponsor, leaving Robert Yates Racing, while longtime partner Interstate Batteries scaled down to be a secondary sponsor and six race primary sponsor. Joe Gibbs racing also left General Motors in favor of becoming Toyota's highest-profile team. Busch gave Toyota its first Cup win on March 9, 2008, leading a race-high 173 laps to win the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In his first year in the 18, Busch had brought the car back to its former glory, winning 7 additional races (Talladega, Darlington, Dover, Infineon, Daytona, Chicagoland, Watkins Glen, and Loudon) and would finish tenth in points.
In 2009, Busch opened the season by winning his Gatorade Duel qualifying race, but finished 41st in the race after a crash. He won the third race of the season from the pole at Las Vegas, and scored additional wins at Richmond and both Bristol races, but failed to qualify for the Chase by only 8 points. As a result, longtime JGR crew chief Steve Addington was fired near the end of the season, and coincidentally went to crew chief for Kyle's brother Kurt Busch at Penske Racing. Dave Rogers, Busch's Nationwide Series crew chief, took over the pit box in 2010. The year produced 3 victories at Richmond, Dover and Bristol, but more struggles in the final 10 races led to a 7th-place finish in the standings. 2011 was an up and down year for the 18 team. The team won at Bristol and Richmond early in the season, as well as the inaugural Cup race at Kentucky and the August race at Michigan. At Texas Motor Speedway in November, Busch was parked by NASCAR for the remainder of the race weekend after intentionally spinning out Ron Hornaday in the Truck Series race. Michael McDowell would replace Busch that weekend, finishing a dismal 33rd. Mars, Inc proceeded to pull its sponsorship for the final two races, with Interstate Batteries covering those races. Busch was relegated to tenth in the final standings.
In 2012, Busch won the Budweiser Shootout to open the season, and scored a single points-paying victory, the spring race at Richmond. He would miss making the Chase for the Sprint Cup by 3 points, but scored 7 top 5 and 8 top 10 finishes during the final ten races, finishing the year in 13th place and nearly 100 points ahead of 14th place Ryan Newman. In 2013, Busch won the second Budweiser Duel qualifying race, and won the pole at the spring Bristol race, finishing second. He also swept the spring Fontana and Texas race weekends, winning the Nationwide and Cup races, giving Joe Gibbs his first win at Fontana in Sprint Cup competition and first win for himself at Texas. He would win at Watkins Glen and Atlanta. Busch's four wins and career-high 22 top ten finishes would lead to a fourth-place finish in the championship, the highest of his career. In 2014, Busch earned a spot in the new Chase for the Sprint Cup with his early season win at Fontana. Busch would be eliminated in the second round, after being swept up in a wreck at Talladega, and would finish tenth in points.
After an injury to Kyle Busch, the #18 started the 2015 season with two-time Truck Series champion Matt Crafton making his Sprint Cup debut at the 2015 Daytona 500, finishing 18th. The next week, David Ragan was announced as interim driver and was in the car for nine races through Talladega. Erik Jones will be in the 18 starting at Kansas.
Car #19 History
Prior to expanding to four full-time cars, JGR had occasionally fielded a fourth car for R&D or driver development purposes. Mike Bliss drove several races for JGR in 2004 in a #80 car. In 2007, development driver Aric Almirola made his NEXTEL Cup debut in the #80 at Las Vegas with Joe Gibbs Driven sponsoring. Almirola started 31st and finished 40th after a crash. He was scheduled to drive at the All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600, but he suffered a practice crash and the car was withdrawn from both races. He would leave the team later in the season for Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
In 2008, 18-year-old Joey Logano was scheduled to run several late-season races in preparation for running the full 2009 season. Logano drove the #02 (reverse of the 20), with an inverted Home Depot scheme of teammate Tony Stewart's. He was scheduled to make his Sprint Cup debut at Richmond International Raceway, but qualifying was rained out by Tropical Storm Hanna. The 02 attempted again at Loudon and at Atlanta, but qualifying was rained out in both races as well, leading Logano to make his debut in JGR-affiliated Hall of Fame Racing's #96 at Loudon and miss the Atlanta race. Logano made the race in his fourth attempt with Gibbs at Texas, starting last and finishing 40th, several laps down.
In 2009 Farm Bureau Insurance, who had been banned from the Nationwide Series due to the Viceroy Rule, moved up to sponsor 6 Sprint Cup Series races for JGR, including 3 for the 02 car at Charlotte, Texas, and Homestead. David Gilliland was tabbed to drive the car in the three events, with a best finish of 25th at Charlotte. After the 2009 season, Farm Bureau Insurance announced they would not return for the 2010 season.
In 2013, Elliott Sadler was signed to drive the renumbered #81 (reverse of 18) for three races, with his former sponsor at Robert Yates Racing, Mars, Inc., promoting their new Alert Energy Caffeine Gum on the car. Sadler was scheduled to run at Kansas Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and a third unannounced race. The deal was made in part to avoid conflict on the 18 car with Kyle Busch's sponsor Monster Energy. For Sadler, it was his first start in the Sprint Cup Series since the 2012 Daytona 500, and his first opportunity since he was forced to turn down a part-time deal at Michael Waltrip Racing that same year (ultimately taken by 2013 teammate Brian Vickers) by then-owner Richard Childress. At Kansas, he got out of the racing groove and wrecked in turn 3 on lap 85, relegating him to a 40th-place finish. He failed to qualify at Talladega after rain washed out qualifying and was set by owner points as the #81 was too low in points. After Alert Energy was pulled from the market, Doublemint sponsored the car at Talladega.
After not running in 2014, the fourth car will return full-time in 2015 as the #19 with Carl Edwards driving. New partner Arris Group will sponsor 17 races, while Stanley Black & Decker moved from Richard Petty Motorsports to sponsor 12 races. Comcast/Xfinity, Sport Clips, and Edwards' longtime sponsor Subway Restaurants will also sponsor the car. Darian Grubb will return to JGR as Edwards' crew chief.
Car #20 History
Tony Stewart debuted the #20 The Home Depot-sponsored car at the 1999 Daytona 500, qualifying on the outside pole. He won three races at Richmond, Phoenix and Homestead as well as the Winston Open and the NASCAR Rookie of the Year honors and finished 4th in points. 2000 was an up and down year for Stewart as he won six races, including both Dover races, Martinsville, New Hampshire, Michigan and Homestead but only finished 6th in points. 2001 was another good year for Stewart, as he won the Budweiser Shootout, Richmond, Infineon, and Bristol and finished 2nd in the overall standings.
2002 was a break-out year for Stewart with wins at Atlanta, Richmond, and Watkins Glen along with the Budweiser Shootout and the team won the 2002 points championship. In 2003, Stewart won twice at Pocono and Charlotte and finished 7th in the points standings. The next year, the team had a similar year to later year, with 2 wins and finished 6th in points in the first ever chase.
Stewart won his second championship in 2005. After winning the Gatorade Duel, the team didn't win again until Infineon and then they went on to win the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, followed by New Hampshire, Indianapolis, and Watkins Glen and held the championship through the Chase.
2006 statistically was Stewart's worst season. After winning early at Martinsville, Stewart suffered an injury at Charlotte and was replaced during Dover. He won the Pepsi 400 again at Daytona but missed the Chase. During the Chase, Stewart won 3 races at Kansas, Atlanta, and Texas and finished 11th in points. 2007 was another good year for him and the team. Though Stewart won both the Budweiser Shootout and Gatorade Duel, an early wreck smashed his Daytona 500 hopes. He and the team won 3 races though at Chicagoland, Indianapolis, and Watkins Glen and finished 6th in points.
Following the team's switch from Chevrolet to Toyota, Stewart's performance dwindled, earning ten Top 5's and sixteen Top 10's. Stewart's only win for this season was the 2008 AMP Energy 500 at Talladega in a controversial finish. Stewart was passed on the final lap by rookie Regan Smith, who would cross the finish line in first. Smith, however, was found to be passing below the yellow line upon video review, and per NASCAR rules had his position revoked, giving Stewart the win. On June 9, 2008, Stewart was granted a release from his final year of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, ending a twelve-year relationship with the organization that included over 30 wins and two Cup Series Championships. Stweart would move to Haas CNC Racing, renamed Stewart-Haas Racing after Stewart purchased a 50% ownership stake from founder Gene Haas, in part to return to longtime manufacturer Chevrolet.
On August 25, 2008, Joe Gibbs Racing announced that 18-year-old Joey Logano would replace Stewart as the driver of the #20 car for the 2009 season, after only making his NASCAR debut in May 2008 and running abbreviated Nationwide and Cup schedules. Longtime crew chief Greg Zipadelli remained with JGR for Logano's rookie season. Logano's first win came in the rain-shortened Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after a fuel mileage gamble, becoming the youngest winner in Sprint Cup Series history. Logano beat former open-wheel drivers Max Papis and Scott Speed for the Rookie of the Year Award, with seven top-tens and a 20th place points finish.
Logano failed to win in 2010 and finished 16th in points.
In 2011, Logano again was winless and finished 24th in points. On October 13, 2011, Joe Gibbs Racing announced The Home Depot will become co-primary sponsor for Logano's car with Dollar General. Dollar General is set to sponsor 12 races while the other 22 will continue to be sponsored by The Home Depot. The Home Depot had served as the sole primary sponsor of the #20 car since its debut with Tony Stewart in 1999. Logano won his second career race at Pocono from the pole in the 2012 Pocono 400 after passing Mark Martin with 3 laps to go.
Beginning in 2013, the #20 car was taken over by Matt Kenseth, who left Roush Fenway Racing, as Joey Logano moved to the #22 at Penske Racing. The team saw a resurgence, with Kenseth winning five races in the regular season (Las Vegas, Kansas, Darlington, Kentucky, and Bristol), and led the most laps at several other races (Daytona 500, Kansas, Richmond and Talladega). Kenseth also won the first two races of the Chase, bringing the team up to 7 wins - which was more wins in a single season than the car had ever achieved with Stewart or Logano.
It was announced in September 2014 that Stanley Black & Decker would leave Richard Petty Motorsports to sponsor JGR in the Cup Series for 2015. This move reunited Kenseth with long time sponsor DeWalt for six races as a primary, and the entire season as an associate. Kenseth won the Food City 500 In Support of Steve Byrnes And Stand Up To Cancer at Bristol in April, his first victory since 2013.
Car #11 History
What would become the #11 car debuted during the 2005 season as the #19 car at the CarQuest Auto Parts 300. It was driven by Bobby Labonte and sponsored by Banquet Foods. Labonte ran seven races that year, with three top-tens. With Labonte moving to Petty Enterprises, JGR development driver Aric Almirola ran the car in seven races in 2006. Tony Stewart also drove the car at select races in 2006, using his NEXTEL Cup crew when he raced. The #19 team was disbanded after the 2006 season.
The car returned as the #11 for 2011. JGR signed 22-year old Brian Scott (former driver of the #11 with Braun Racing) to a two-year contract, with Kevin Kidd announced as the crew chief, and Scott bringing sponsorship from his family-owned Shore Lodge. The new team was constantly hampered by bad luck during races, with 5 DNF's on the season. Scott earned a pole, two top 5's and seven top 10s, finishing 8th in points. For 2012, Dollar General expanded its sponsorship deal with JGR, sponsoring the #11 car for the full season. Despite showing speed, the team continued to struggles finishing races (7 DNF's), and had a best finish of 3rd at Dover.
In 2013, Scott was replaced by veteran Elliott Sadler, who finished second in the championship standings in the two prior seasons. Sadler brought sponsorship from OneMain Financial with him from Richard Childress Racing. After winning four races in 2012, Sadler went winless in 2013, though he did score 20 top 10's en route to a fourth place points finish. Sadler scored his first win for JGR at Talladega in 2014, leading a race high 40 laps. On October 31, 2014, it was announced that Sadler would depart for Roush Fenway Racing's Nationwide program, taking the OneMain sponsorship with him. The team's points and crew were moved to the #18 for the 2015 season.
Car #18 History
The current 18 car came under JGR control when owner Joe Gibbs purchased the #44 Shell Oil Pontiac from his Cup Series driver Bobby Labonte, who had been operating the team under his control. The team made its debut under the Gibbs banner at the 1998 NAPA Auto Parts 300 with then-IndyCar driver Tony Stewart driving. Stewart he qualified 9th but finished 31st after a crash. At the next week at Rockingham Speedway, Stewart qualified on the pole, led 60 laps and finished 2nd. Stewart ran a total of 22 races that year, with five top-five finishes and winning two pole positions. Labonte ran five races that year in that car in 1998, winning the Diamond Hill Plywood 200.
The team switched to #18 with sponsorship from MBNA for 1999. Bobby Labonte ran only one race before he suffered shoulder injuries in a qualifying crash at Darlington. Late in the year, Jason Leffler, like Stewart an accomplished open wheel racer, ran four races in the car that year, his best finish being a 20th at Memphis Motorsports Park. Leffler ran the car full-time in 2000, winning a pole at Texas Motor Speedway, and posting three top-ten finishes. After that season, he left for the Cup Series with Chip Ganassi Racing, and Jeff Purvis took his place. Purvis started off strong and was seventh in points but was released after the GNC Live Well 250 because of sponsorship issues. Mike McLaughlin replaced him, finishing seventh in points that season. Despite going winless in 2002, he moved up to fourth place in points. However, owner Joe Gibbs wanted his son Coy in a full-time ride, leaving McLaughlin without a ride. In his rookie season, Gibbs had two top-ten finishes and finished runner-up to David Stremme for Rookie of the Year.
The team scaled back to a part-time schedule for 2004. In November 2003, JGR signed highly touted USAC Champion J.J. Yeley to a multi-year contract, beginning his stock car career with eight ARCA Racing Series events and 10-12 Busch Series races in the 2004 season. The Home Depot's Vigoro Lawn and Garden Products would sponsor Yeley's efforts, making their BGN debut at Las Vegas in March. In his first race, Yeley qualified a strong seventh, but finished 23rd and two laps down. Yeley would end up running 17 races, garnering four top-ten finishes and finishing fourth in Rookie of the Year standings behind future Cup drivers Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, and Paul Menard. Bobby Labonte ran two races with a best finish of 7th, while Denny Hamlin finished a strong sixth at the fall race at Darlington. Yeley ran the car full-time in 2005, finishing in the top-ten twelve times and finishing 11th in points. Yeley continued to run full-time in 2006, finishing 5th in the points standings with 3 poles, 9 top 5's, 22 top 10's and 27 top 15's. Yeley announced in Daytona that he would be driving in the #1 Miccosukee Gaming and Resorts Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing in the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series.
In January 2007, former Brewco Motorsports development driver and ARCA standout Brad Coleman signed to drive the #18 car for 17 of the 35 races, with Carino’s Italian Grill sponsoring his efforts. Kevin Conway was signed for eight races beginning at Bristol in March with Z-Line Designs sponsoring, while Tony Stewart and development driver Aric Almirola filled out the schedule with Goody's Headache Powder and ConAgra Foods sponsorship. Almirola put the car on the pole at the season opener at Daytona, and had a best finish of 4th at Charlotte. Coleman earned his first career Busch Series pole at Talladega, and had 3 top 5's and 5 top 10's. Without sponsorship for a full-time ride with JGR, Coleman returned to the renamed Baker Curb Racing following the season and signed a development contract with Hall of Fame Racing.
For 2008, the #18 was piloted by the team of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch with sponsorship coming from Southern Farm Bureau, Interstate Batteries, and Z-Line Designs. Despite running a partial schedule, Busch won ten races in 2008, including eight in the #18, and would finish seventh in points while Hamlin scored a single victory in the #18 at Dover. 18-year-old JGR development driver Marc Davis made his one and only national series start for the team in October at Memphis Motorsports Park with DLP HDTV sponsoring.
In 2009, Kyle Busch won the Nationwide Series Championship driving the #18 Z-Line Designs / NOS Toyota.
In 2010, Kyle Busch ran most of the races that were paired with Sprint Cup Series races, while Brad Coleman returned to run the stand-alone races. For 2011, Busch drove the #18 for a majority of the season, splitting the ride with Michael McDowell, who ran both Iowa races, Lucas Oil Raceway, and the road courses Road America and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with sponsorship from Pizza Ranch. McDowell won the pole at Road America and dominated until late race contact with another car. Drivers Kelly Bires, Drew Herring, and Joey Logano also took turns in the 18. Bires ran at Richmond and Chicago with International Comfort Products Corporation, Herring drove at the second Nashville race with Sport Clips, and Logano drove the 18 at Chicago, Dover, Kansas, and Phoenix. For 2012 the 18 would have a similar lineup, featuring Hamlin, Logano, Herring, McDowell, and Ryan Truex. Logano would take a whooping 7 victories with the 18 team, handing the team the Nationwide Owners' Championship. For 2013, the 18 and 20 teams swapped. Matt Kenseth drove the 18 for 16 races with sponsorship from Reser's Fine Foods and GameStop. He won the July race at Daytona and the October race at Kansas. The 18 car did not run in 2014.
On August 19, 2014, JGR announced that Toyota Series and K&N Pro Series East driver Daniel Suárez would drive the No. 18 full-time in 2015 with sponsorship from Arris Group, running for Rookie of the Year.
Car #20 history
After JGR purchased the team from Gary Bechtel in 2000, the team got sponsorship from Porter-Cable. Despite missing three races, driver Jeff Purvis had eleven top-tens and one pole, finishing 11th in points. The team switched to #20 for 2001, and Mike McLaughlin was named the driver. Without a major sponsor, McLaughlin was able to win the Subway 300 and was sixth in points when Gibbs decided to shut down his team because of sponsorship problems. He moved to the 18, and finished seventh in points that year. Coy Gibbs ran five races in the #20 in 2002, with sponsorship from ConAgra Foods. His best finish was a 14th at Kentucky Speedway. After he moved to the 18, Gibbs was replaced by Mike Bliss and Rockwell Automation came aboard as sponsor. Bliss had fourteen top-tens and finished tenth in points. In 2004, he pulled off a win at Lowe's Motor Speedway and had three poles. In 2005, Denny Hamlin came aboard, and posted eleven top-ten's and finished fifth points, the third-place finisher in rookie points. He ran the full schedule in the #20 in 2006, winning twice and finishing 4th in points.
Denny Hamlin and developmental driver Aric Almirola split duties in the 20 in 2007 with sponsorship from Rockwell Automation, with Tony Stewart also piloting the #20 at Atlanta. With Hamlin running several non-companion races, Almirola would occasionally qualify the car that Hamlin would later race. Hamlin took the car to victory lane four times including Darlington, Milwaukee, Michigan, and Dover. The Milwaukee win was controversial, with Almirola putting the car on the pole and starting the race due to Hamlin being delayed flying from Sonoma Raceway. Almirola started the car and led the first 43 laps, but was still relieved by Hamlin during a caution due to obligations to sponsor Rockwell. Almirola was credited as the winner for starting the race, but did not participate in the victory celebration and would leave JGR after the season. The #20 finished 2nd in the owners points behind RCR's #29.
In 2008, the #20 was shared by Hamlin, Busch and Stewart for 9 races before defending NASCAR Camping World East Series champion Joey Logano was named the driver of the 20 for the rest of the season's races except for Loudon (which Stewart won in the #20), Daytona (which Hamlin won in the #20), and Chicago (which Busch won in the #18). All four drivers of the #20 won races driving it in 2008. For 2009, 20-year-old Brad Coleman returned to JGR for a part-time schedule, sharing the ride with Logano and Hamlin. In 2010, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Matt DiBenedetto shared the #20 car, with Hamlin winning at Darlington and Logano winning at Kentucky and Kansas. For 2011, Logano returned to the #20 with sponsorship from GameStop and Sport Clips. Logano ran the first 10 races but picked up last minute sponsorship from Harvest Investments to run Nashville. Due to a lack of sponsorship, the 20 was unable to run a full schedule for the owners championship. In the 20, Logano grabbed his first superspeedway win at the July Daytona race with help from Kyle Busch. The 20 was also driven by Denny Hamlin at Las Vegas, Richmond, and Darlington, with Hamlin winning at Richmond. Drew Herring drove the 20 with Sport Clips at both Iowa races, where Herring won the pole for the May race, and Lucas Oil Raceway. Ryan Truex stepped into the 20 late in the season for six races, finishing second to Logano at Dover after dominating the race.
The 20 team returned in 2012 to run most of the season. Its primary driver lineup consisted of Logano, Hamlin, Truex, and JGR development driver Darrell Wallace, Jr. Michael Waltrip Racing driver Clint Bowyer also drove the #20 at Daytona when Hamlin was sidelined from the race by back problems.
Starting in the 2013 season, 2003 Busch Series Champion Brian Vickers joined the team driving the 20 for the full season with sponsorship from Dollar General, in addition to a partial Sprint Cup Series schedule in Michael Waltrip Racing's 55 car. Dollar General had sponsored Vickers in the past with Braun Racing, and like teammate Elliott Sadler, Vickers was attempting to reclaim his career in the second-tier series. After 30 starts, Vickers was sidelined with a second incidence of blood clots, replaced by Denny Hamlin and Drew Herring in the final three races of the season. Though he went winless, Vickers scored 13 top 5's and 18 top 10's to finish 10th in points. He would leave for a full-time ride at MWR at the end of the year.
The 20 team continued to run full-time in 2014. Matt Kenseth drove the #20 in a total of 18 races, with GameStop sponsoring 10 races and Reser's Fine Foods sponsoring 7 races. Sam Hornish, Jr. and Kenseth each ran 1 race and Kenny Habul 2 races with Habul's Sun Energy 1 sponsoring. Darrell Wallace, Jr. ran at Talladega in the spring with ToyotaCare and Daytona in July with Coca-Cola "Share a Coke". Daniel Suárez made his debut at RIR, finishing 19th. Michael McDowell ran at both Iowa races with Pizza Ranch. Denny Hamlin returned to the 20 at Chicagoland in September with Sport Clips, finishing 32nd after a blown engine. Development driver Justin Boston, running the full ARCA schedule, made his debut in the 20 at Kentucky later in the month, with sponsor Zloop E-Recycling. Kenseth scored a win in the final race of the season at Homestead Miami Speedway, and the 20 would finish 9th in owners points.
|2014 driver rotation|
|Matt Kenseth||18||Reser's Fine Foods, GameStop, Sun Energy 1|
|Erik Jones||3||NarcolepsyLink.com, Reser's Fine Foods, GameStop|
|Michael McDowell||2||Pizza Ranch|
|Kenny Habul||2||Sun Energy 1|
|Darrell Wallace, Jr.||2||ToyotaCare, Share a Coke|
|Sam Hornish, Jr.||1||Sun Energy 1|
|Daniel Suárez||1||Silent Circle / Telcel|
|Denny Hamlin||1||Sport Clips|
Erik Jones will run a limited schedule in the #20 car in 2015, with Kenny Habul and SunEnergy1 also returning for an unannounced number of races. Denny Hamlin will drive the car at Darlington in September with Sport Clips sponsoring. Ross Kenseth, son of Sprint Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth, will drive the car at Chicagoland Speedway on June 20 making his Xfinity Series debut. Jones, whose schedule was expanded due to Kyle Busch's injury, scored his first Xfinity win in his 9th career start at Texas in April, leading a race-high 79 laps.
Car #54 History
This is JGR's 4th Nationwide team for 2013. After running the 54 for his own team in 2012 with only one win (by his brother Kurt), Kyle Busch returned to JGR's strong Nationwide program, running 26 races and bringing sponsor Monster Energy with him. Parker Kligerman would take over the newly renumbered 77 for KBM. Busch didn't take long to get to victory lane. He won the pole, lead the most laps, and won the race in only the second race of the 2013 season at Phoenix International Raceway. He then scored victories at Bristol (4th race) and at Fontana (5th race). During the 2013 season, he won a total of 12 races. Joey Coulter, Owen Kelly, and Drew Herring also ran in the 54, which finished 2nd in the owner's championship to the Team Penske No. 22 by one point.
For the 2014 season, Kyle Busch will split the #54 car, running all Sprint Cup Series companion races. IRL champion Sam Hornish, Jr., who was not re-signed by Team Penske after scoring a win and finishing 2nd in Nationwide points in 2013, would run 7 races to help compete for the owner's championship. At Iowa in May, Hornish won the Get To Know Newton 250, beating Ryan Blaney's 22 for his third career win. The 54 once again finished 2nd in owners points to the Penske 22.
In 2015, Kyle Busch suffered injuries during the season-opening race at Daytona. He broke his leg after hitting the inside wall that had no SAFER barrier installed. His replacements were announced to be Erik Jones (at least 3 races), Cup series teammate Denny Hamlin (5 races), and road course veteran Boris Said (7 races).
Camping World Truck Series
From 2000 to 2002, Joe Gibbs fielded trucks numbered 20 and 48 in the then Craftsman Truck Series for his sons Coy and J.D. Gibbs, neither of whom are currently competitors in NASCAR. Coy ran 12 races in 2000, then the full 2001 and 2002 seasons, with 21 top 10's and 10th place points finishes in the latter two seasons. J.D. only ran a total of 8 races over the three seasons, with no top 10 finishes.
From 2004 to 2006, JGR drivers drove in the Truck Series for Chevrolet-affiliated Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, fielding Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, J.J. Yeley, and Aric Almirola in select races. In 2006, JGR contracted Spears Motorsports to field Almirola in their 75 truck for his rookie Truck season. Almirola had 3 top 10's (compared to 2 top 10's in four starts the previous year), finishing 18th in points.
JGR drivers currently compete in the Camping World Truck Series through Kyle Busch Motorsports, owned by Cup Series driver Kyle Busch. KBM uses JGR-built engines in competition. Busch himself, along with Erik Jones, Daniel Suárez, Justin Boston, and Denny Hamlin currently drive for KBM.
Following the August 16, 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR used a dynometer to test the horsepower of several cars from all competing manufacturers. While testing the Joe Gibbs Racing cars, officials found that the throttle pedal on the two Joe Gibbs Racing cars had been manipulated using magnets a quarter-inch thick to prevent the accelerator from going 100 percent wide open. Joe Gibbs issued a statement saying "we will take full responsibility and accept any penalties NASCAR levies against us" and "we will also investigate internally how this incident took place and who was involved and make whatever decisions are necessary to ensure that this kind of situation never happens again." Subsequently, NASCAR made regulation change specifically to Toyota, which mandated them to run a smaller restrictor plate to cut horsepower by estimated 15 to 20 horsepower (15 kW) from their engines. Toyota went on to win 20 of the 35 races in the season, 19 of them by Joe Gibbs Racing.
On January 5, 2008 the Muscle Milk/Toyota/JGRMX Supercross/Motocross Team which was founded by Coy Gibbs debut at round one of the 2008 Supercross Series in Aneheim CA. In 2009 JGRMX rider Josh Grant won the opening round of the Supercross Series Championship at Angel Stadium. The team has grown in numbers and in 2014 riders include Josh Grant and Phillip Nicoletti. Josh Grant runs the number 33. The team also has an amateur support program that just in its first year yielded numerous amateur national titles, including multiple titles for 16 year old star- Chase Bell.
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- autosport.com – Gibbs facing penalties for dyno 'cheat'