Joe Jackson Gibbs who born in November 25, 1940 is the founder and owner of one of the biggest Nascar team, Joe Gibbs Racing and also a football coach. Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls during his first stint as Redskins coach from 1981-1992, formed Joe Gibbs Racing in July 1991 with business partner Don Meredith. The two met in April of 1991 with Jimmy Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports and seven-time Winston Cup Champion Richard Petty to discuss forming a NASCAR team and shortly after found their first sponsor, Interstate Batteries.
Joe Gibbs Racing represents a group of Nascar teams owned by Joe Gibbs that currently field entries in the Nascar Nextel Cup and Busch Series. Currently the team has three drivers: Tony Stewart, JJ Yeley and Denny Hamlin.
The team was formed in part to give Gibbs an opportunity to spend more time with his sons, J.D. and Coy. J.D. has served as president of JGR since Oct. 1997, while Coy competed as a driver for the team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series from 2000-2002 and the NASCAR Busch Series in 2003. Coy, who played football at Stanford University, now works on the coaching staff with his father in Washington.
The team features four cars in the Nextel Cup series. The #11 car debuted at the 2003 Pepsi 400 driven by Mike Bliss sponsored by Advair. Bliss managed to finish the race on the 26th position. The car went full-time in 2005 when it received a sponsorship from FedEx. Jason Leffler was named the official driver for the team but he was released after struggling in 19 starts,and the season was finished by Yelley, Denny Hamlin and Terry Labonte. Hamlin took the start in seven races and finished three races in the top 10. He was awarded by the main sponsor, FedEx, due to his full-time Busch schedule in the No. 20 Chevrolet sponsored by Rockwell Automation.In 2007 Denny Hamlin won the first race at the New Hampshire International Speedway.
The #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet has been a member of Joe Gibbs Racing since its debut in the 1992 Daytona 500 with Dale Jarrett driving. Jarrett obtained the 36th position after he had a crash but he improved his performances the next year when he won the Dayton 500 race and finished the championship on the 4th position.
Denny Hamlin’s #20 Busch car
When Jarrett went to 16th position in points in 1994 he was replaced with Bobby Labonte who drove the car for nine consecutive years, until the end of 2005. Labonte won 21 races and also the Winston Cup championship in 2000. The team was working perfectly but in 2004 the crew chief Michael McSwain was fired. This firing affected seriously the team who lost its playoff-contending status. McSwain was replaced by Steve Addington, a crew chief at Gibbs Busch Series racing, but he didn’t fo too much for the team. They had a very bad season and all these culminated with the split between Bobby Labonte and Joe Biggs Racing after eleven seasons.
Labonte was replaced on November 12th with the Busch Series driver J.J. Yeley for the 2006 and 2007 season.The team made a spectacular move when in 2007,on August 14th Kyle Busch signed a contract to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing the #18 car until 2010.
The #20 Home Depot car driven by Tony Stewart made its debut at the 1999 Dayton 500 event, when it qualified for the outside pole. Tony Stewart won 29 races as well as two championships: in 2002 and in 2005. Since its debut the car has been sponsored by Home Depot.
Occasionally, a fourth car, having the #80 number, is introduced by JGR. Aric Almirola drove this car in his Nextel Cup debut at Las Vegas but when he was training to race the Coca-Cola 600 event he had a practice crash and the car withdrawn from both races.
In the Busch Series, the #18 car came under Joe Gibbs control when he bought the #44 Shell Oil Pontiac from Labonte.In 1998 the car made its debut at the NAPA Auto Parts 300 with Stewart driving,where he obtained the 2nd place.In 1998 Labonte drove that car winning the Diamond Hill Plywood event. In 1998 the team got another sponsorship from MBNA but late that year Labonte suffered shoulder injuries due to a qualifying crash and e was replased with Jason Leffler.
Leffler didn’t impress too much due to the fact that his best finish was on 20th position at Memphis Motorsports Park.He continued driving the car a full season next year in 2000 where he obtained three top-ten finishes.Mike McLauglin replaced him in 2002. The onwer decided to run a part-time schedule in 2004 with Labonte, who returned for two races and JJ Yeley who drove for 17 races. Yeley continued to drive the car fulltime in 2005 where he finished the championship 11th in points and finished twelve times in top ten. The partenership with Yeley continued in 2006 and the driver finished 5th in points.After these JJ Yeley made an announcement: that he will drive the #1 Miccosukee Gaming and Resorts Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing in the 2007 Nascar Busch Series.
The #19 car that made its debut at the CarQuest Auto Parts 300 was driven by Bobby Labonte for seven races with three finishes in the top 10.When Labonte switched the team with Petty Enterprises,driver Aric Almirola took his palce and drove the car for sven races in 2006.
The #20 car made its debut in 2001 with Mike McLaughlin the official driver. McLaughlin managed to win the Nascar Subway 300 event and be the 6th in points when Gibbs decided to shut down the team due to the sponsorship problems. In 2002 the team received a new sponsorship from ConAgra Foods and switched also the driver with Coy Gibbs, Joe’s son. Coy’s best resutl was the 14th position at Kentucky Speedway.
Coy was replaced by Mike Bliss when the team received another sponsorship from Rockwell Automation. Bliss had that year fourteen top-tens and finished tenth in points. In 2004 he won the Lowe’s Motor Speedway event. In 2005 he was replaced by Denny Hamlin who had 11 top ten finishes and the 5th position in points.In 2006 he obtained two victories. Currenlty the #20 car is driven by Hamlin but also by Almirola.