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Matt Tifft earns 21 Means 21 Pole Award at 'Dega
RELATED: Full lineup Matt Tifft topped the leaderboard during Saturday's single-car qualifying session to earn the 21 Means 21 Pole Award at Talladega Superspeedway . Tifft, in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, posted a fastest lap of 181.168 mph. Tifft's teammate Daniel Suarez will join him on the front row for the Sparks Energy 300 after posting the second-fastest lap during the two-round single-car qualifying event (180.846 mph). Rounding out the top three was the No. 2 of Austin Dillon , soaring around the 2.66-mile track at 180.506 mph. The third JGR entry Erik Jones was fourth-quickest, logging a fast lap of 180.366 mph. Next was the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ty Dillon (180.217 mph), rounding out the top five. Defending race winner Joey Logano will start on the fourth row in eighth (178.817 mph). Josh Reaume , Derrike Cope and Mike Harmon failed to qualify for the 40-car event. The 300-mile event is set for 3 p.m. ET (FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Ty Dillon ready to relieve Tony Stewart at Talladega
MORE: How qualifying works at 'Dega TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Double duty continues this weekend for Ty Dillon as the Richard Childress Racing driver competes in Saturday's XFINITY Series race and is expected to take over the No. 14 of Tony Stewart at some point in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series event. There's still a bit of newness to the 2016 season but Dillon, 24, has already made 13 starts between the two series. In addition to his full-time role with RCR, he's made three starts in place of Stewart as well as two for Circle Sport- Leavine Family Racing . "I was hoping to maybe be full-time this year in the Sprint Cup Series about this time last year," Dillon said Friday morning at Talladega Superspeedway , site of Sunday's GEICO 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "That is where I kind of had my goals set, my eyes set, but the opportunity didn't come along. "I can't thank Stewart-Haas (Racing) … enough for giving me the opportunity to fill in this year with Tony being out. Not only has it helped me with my career and getting better as a race car driver, but it's helped me show people that I can get the job done in other equipment too." Stewart, a three-time premier series champion, missed the first eight races after suffering a back injury in the offseason. He made his first start last weekend at Richmond International Raceway . RELATED: Stewart: Full coverage of injury, comeback Dillon split time with fellow driver Brian Vickers in the car during Stewart's absence. With the potential for multi-car accidents much higher at Talladega, Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing officials made the call to have Stewart start this week's race and then turn the ride over to Dillon. Dillon is also scheduled to qualify the car on Saturday. Because of his extensive time in the car, the interior will be fitted to address his needs. RELATED: Ty to qualify for Tony at Talladega "I haven’t talked to Tony yet, but I talked with Mike (Bugarewicz, crew chief) and the guys," Dillon said of the interior work. "They said it's just a quarter-inch difference and the belt set is all that we are playing with. So, we've got adjustable belts to make up for that really quickly. "We have had to make a couple of changes to kind of compensate for a little bit of both, but mostly everything in there is built for me and for my comfort, because I will be in it for the longer part of the race." By starting the race, Stewart will be awarded the points earned as a result of Dillon's finishing position. In addition, NASCAR officials said that should Dillon win Sunday's race, it would be counted as a win toward Stewart's Chase eligibility. Stewart would also have to be among the top 30 in points. He currently trails Matt DiBenedetto , in 30th, by 101 points. RELATED: How Stewart will be scored at 'Dega "First of all it would mean I won a Sprint Cup race and I would be pretty excited," Dillon said. "On top of that, to be able to get Tony a step closer to being locked into the Chase would be really cool. … "I haven't started a race without the goal of winning my entire career. That is what my focus is. As soon as I get strapped into that race car I'm planning on going to the front and hopefully winning the race. If it all comes together and we do win the race, I'm sure it will be a heck of a party and everybody is going to be happy." Stewart, who will retire from Sprint Cup competition at season's end, said he was appreciative of the opportunity to contend for a spot in the 10-race Chase, but said he "wouldn’t feel good about" earning a berth based on a win by another driver. "I think for me to make the Chase it needs to be because I ran the whole race and won the race, not started it and somebody else won it for me."
Keselowski and Hendrick: What might have been
On April 18, 2009, Mark Martin won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway . It was the 36th NASCAR premier series win for the 50-year-old driver and his first with team owner Rick Hendrick. A week and a day later, Brad Keselowski won the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway . It was the first career win for the 25-year-old, and the first premier series victory for independent car owner James Finch. Two distinctly different races won by two distinctly different drivers. Martin's NASCAR career was beginning to wind down; Keselowski's, on the other hand, appeared to have only just begun. But there was one string that tied the two together -- Hendrick Motorsports . HMS was home to Martin, Jimmie Johnson , Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr . And it was expected by many to be the future home of the up-and-coming kid from Rochester Hills, Michigan. But a collection of factors that came together throughout the course of that season altered the racing landscape as well as the career path of Keselowski. It would be nearly three years before the next driver change at HMS. By then Keselowski had not only found a new home, but he was also on his way to winning the Sprint Cup championship. 'I WAS NOT GOING TO LOSE' The sun was out and the grandstands were packed when the 2009 Aaron's 499, the season's ninth Sprint Cup race, went green for the final time. As race leader Ryan Newman tried to keep Earnhardt Jr., the crowd favorite, in check, Keselowski darted to the inside behind Carl Edwards on the track's massive backstretch. It was a move that didn’t seem to mean much at the time. But at the start-finish line with two laps remaining, Edwards and Keselowski shot to the outside entering Turn 1. "Here they come; look at the 99 and ..." NASCAR on FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip began. " Brad Keselowski ," lead announcer Mike Joy and co-analyst Larry McReynolds chimed in. When the white flag appeared, Edwards and Keselowski had caught and were beginning to pull away from Newman and Earnhardt Jr. Racing back through the tri-oval, Keselowski turned his No. 09 Chevrolet to the outside, and then quickly dropped to the bottom as Edwards moved up to block. Realizing the bottom lane was now open, Edwards reacted quickly -- but not quickly enough. Contact sent the No. 99 Ford spinning. Edwards' car came off the track briefly and was beginning to settle back onto the track it was struck by Newman's Chevrolet. The impact sent Edwards roof-first into the frontstretch catch fence. Meanwhile, Keselowski kept his foot in the gas, racing across the finish line for the win just ahead of Earnhardt Jr. "I was not going to lose," Keselowski said in his post-race winner's interview. "I was not going to lift and (I was going to) hold my ground and consequences be damned." A full-time competitor at the time for JR Motorsports (which, coincidentally, counts Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick among its ownership group) in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Keselowski said he didn't know what the future held after his first premier series win. "I know I don't have anything locked in," he said. "That's really all I can say ... I don't have a job secured for next year, and everything to this point has been wait-and-see. I know this certainly can't hurt." But behind the scenes, moves were already underway. Finch's Phoenix Racing, which purchased it engines from HMS, had put Keselowski in the car at the suggestion of Hendrick. And the JRM/Hendrick pipeline, which grooms talent in the lower series to help restock the Sprint Cup program, was taking root. Keselowski had made two starts for Hendrick the previous year, and would make seven all together in '09, in addition to five races with Finch. Perhaps his future wasn't as cloudy as it appeared. "Rick had come out and told me, actually had made it a point to say to the media that he thought I was a future driver at Hendrick," Keselowski told NASCAR.com recently. There was only one problem. SWAN SONG? On July 4, 2008, HMS officials announced that Martin had signed a two-year agreement to drive the organization's No. 5 Chevrolet. According to the news release, Martin, who would run a full schedule in 2009, would "run a partial Sprint Cup schedule ... in 2010, sharing the No. 5 Chevy with a to-be-determined second driver.” By most accounts, that driver was expected to be Keselowski. But in May of '09, less than three weeks after Martin's Phoenix victory, HMS officials announced a revision to the '08 agreement. The veteran driver would return in 2010 to once again run the entire season. With Keselowski waiting in the wings and Martin winning and agreeing to return the following year, "Rick was kind of half pregnant," Keselowski said. "He (was) stuck. "My feeling was, after I had won Talladega, I'm going to get this 5 car ride partially next year, pair it with something else, let's go. I didn't know what it was going to be. We'll figure it out; let's go." A phone call and subsequent meeting with Hendrick, however, changed all that. "I was kind of expecting more of a 'Hey, we're going to expedite the process of clearing out the rest of this,' " Keselowski said of the meeting, "And instead I got a 'Hey, I don't have a ride for you. You need to figure something else out. I'll try to help.' "That was late April, early May of that year. My intent ... was to give him that time to kind of make right on it somehow, find a ride because he had made me the promise that I would have that car. It didn't sit all that well, but I understood the circumstances and so forth." Months passed and Keselowski busied himself with his full-time XFINITY Series effort at JRM while making a handful of Sprint Cup starts for Hendrick and Finch. Hendrick, in the meantime, was exploring the various avenues that might keep Keselowski in the HMS camp. Possible scenarios included Stewart-Haas Racing , at the time a two-team effort, and Red Bull Racing. Consideration was even given to fielding a Sprint Cup entry out of the JR Motorsports shop, according to the owner. But the pieces didn't fit and as the summer wore on, Keselowski's future remained uncertain. "I wanted him to wait a year," Hendrick told NASCAR.com. "... I don't remember all the details, but I do remember that Mark had done so well, and I had tried to talk (Mark) into staying. "I've told all our guys, the first time I sat down with Brad he impressed me because he was so intense about the whole car and wanted to be involved in everything. He was just so committed. I told our guys he's got the right attitude about racing and driving. I just needed him to wait." Waiting, though, wasn't part of Keselowski's plan. "My perception is a driver is a lot like a perishable fruit," Keselowski said. "You've got so much time, then he spoils and goes bad. There are a lot of variables, much like anything." PENSKE COMES CALLING The Keselowski family has always been involved in racing. Brad's father Bob was an ARCA Series standout and a former winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Ron Keselowski, an uncle, scored two top-five finishes in 68 premier series starts while older brother Brian Keselowski has one or more starts in all three of NASCAR's national series. "We knew the Keselowski name from being here in Detroit," Walt Czarnecki, an executive vice president at Penske Corp., said. "His dad, his uncle, all that. They would run out at MIS ( Michigan International Speedway ) when (Penske) owned the track." But it was a business associate, lawyer/agent John Caponigro, who brought up the young driver's name during a conversation in 2009. "We thought he was committed to Hendrick," Czarnecki said. "He'd been on loan to James Finch to run several races. But some things were changing." Conversations with Keselowski ensued, in Michigan as well as Mooresville, North Carolina, where Team Penske is headquartered. "All this time," Czarnecki said, "Still having this somewhat uncertain situation with Mr. Hendrick." Team Penske had grown from a two-team to a three-team organization in '08, fielding cars for drivers Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr . In '09 Newman departed to join owner/driver Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing and 32-year-old David Stremme was brought on board to fill the open seat. But the Keselowski opportunity was intriguing, according to Czarnecki. "We've tried to sign on what we consider to be the best available young drivers with a great deal of potential that we could mold and have them grow in our organization," he said. "And I think that Brad certainly fit that description. "But above and beyond that, he had a bigger vision as to what role he wanted to play in terms of the development of the team. ... Just how he saw different things coming together ... "Some of it may have been a little unrealistic; some of it was certainly the enthusiasm of a young man who had a goal in mind. ... But he had this great enthusiasm and he had this great desire and this great commitment. And that appealed to us." With the Hendrick effort seemingly stalled, Keselowski went back to Penske with a request -- to compete full-time in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series. In addition to its Sprint Cup effort, Team Penske was fielding one full-time XFINITY Series team with driver Justin Allgaier . Expanding that program to two teams running all the races was problematic, given the economy at the time. Told such a scenario was unlikely, Keselowski was left to consider his few available options. But Penske officials continued to work until enough of the appropriate pieces were in place. "Sure enough, Roger called me one night and said 'Alright, I've got it put together,' " Keselowski said. "It kind of caught me off guard. I was sold. That's it; he made it happen." "I couldn't sit around and wait. ... Roger had gone above and beyond to put something together that I felt like was the opportunity I needed. ... The economy was on its way down fast; Roger (through his various businesses) had a lot of immunities to the economy. Rick made it very clear to me that he was not going to invest himself without having a sponsor, and the economy was not in a spot where he could facilitate that." Hendrick had been aware of the Penske interest from the beginning, having had conversations with his fellow team owner about Keselowski's status. "Roger called me and asked me could he talk to him," Hendrick said. "I didn't want to stand in his way. Brad's a hell of a talent. It was a timing issue. "It's worked out for him. At his age it would have been nice if we could have kept him. ... If I got a call from Roger and I was in his spot I would have done exactly what he did." POSTSCRIPT On Sept. 1, 2009, Team Penske officials announced that the organization had signed Keselowski to compete full-time in both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series beginning the following season. Since then, Keselowski has won 17 Sprint Cup races, 28 XFINITY Series races and championships in both series. "I don't want to sound mercenary but he brought us our first Sprint Cup championship (in 2012)," Czarnecki said. "Because that vision that he outlined, we tried to work with him and bring people along, bring people into the organization, have him work with people like (crew chief) Paul Wolfe, it was really the realization of that vision. That's what it (has) meant. "And his intensity hasn't changed." Former teammates Busch and Hornish have departed, and fellow driver AJ Allmendinger has come and gone. Keselowski, now 32, is the veteran of a Penske group that now includes 25-year-old teammate Joey Logano . "I wasn’t looking to switch," Keselowski said. "If things would have gone the way they were supposed to go before Mark won that race at Phoenix, I would still be there."
Dillon, Papis react to post-race incidents
Ty Dillon expresses his frustration with Chase Elliott on their last-lap wreck and Max Papis recalls his rough racing with Mike Skeen at the end of the Chevrolet Silverado 250.
Papis gets slapped
Max Papis holds his composure after being slapped by Mike Skeen's girlfriend after the Chevrolet Silverado 250.
Ty Dillon to qualify for Tony Stewart at Talladega
Ty Dillon said Wednesday that he plans to qualify Stewart-Haas Racing 's No. 14 Chevrolet as part of his relief efforts for owner/driver Tony Stewart this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway . Dillon told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he's discussed a preliminary game plan with No. 14 crew chief Mike Bugarewicz to split time in the cockpit with Stewart, who made his season debut last Sunday at Richmond after missing the first eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of 2016 with a broken back.
Ty Dillon avoids late-race wreck, wins second Dash 4 Cash event
RELATED: At-track photos " Full results " Standings post-race RICHMOND, Va. -- Ty Dillon had visions of a six-figure payday when he unloaded for a compact, rain-tightened NASCAR XFINITY Series event at Richmond International Raceway , but several factors stood in the way of him endorsing the check. Dillon overcame the odds and cashed in Saturday with a runner-up effort in the ToyotaCare 250 , claiming the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus as the top-finishing XFINITY Series regular among the eligible four-driver pool. He did it all with an interim crew chief, a nifty move through a slam-bang restart near the end -- all happening at a race track that hadn't historically been his favorite. "You're sure we're at Richmond, right? Because this place has been really tough on me and our team as a whole," Dillon said after finishing a close .226 seconds behind race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr . "To finish second, to run the way we did all day was just impressive for us." Dillon foiled fellow Dash 4 Cash drivers Brennan Poole , Erik Jones and Justin Allgaier -- all three of whom spent time leading, but none of whom wound up in the top five at race's end. Each caught varying degrees of damage in a multi-car pileup in the next-to-last restart; Poole trudged on to finish 10th, but Jones (34th) and Allgaier (35th) each retired early with severely bent race cars. Dillon was without his regular crew chief, Nick Harrison, who was serving a one-race suspension for a technical infraction the previous week. As a result, Danny Efland -- a former driver currently serving as an engineer -- took over the pit box for the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet team in an interim role. Dillon sat fifth for the penultimate restart, third among Dash 4 Cash drivers. Poole held the lead, his No. 48 Chevrolet team gambling by staying on the race track with older tires to gain track position. Allgaier ran second and in position for the Dash 4 Cash prize for much of the race and lined up there for the return to green with six laps left. But Earnhardt Jr., third on the restart, dove low inside of Poole and Allgaier to forge a three-wide contest for the lead heading to Turn 1. Earnhardt vaulted to the lead, but Poole slid into Allgaier, knocking his JR Motorsports No. 7 into a prolonged slide and entangling pole-starter Jones as part of a nine-car stack but sparing Dillon from the carnage. Allgaier emerged from his battered ride, punching a trash can in frustration before entering the JRM hauler. "It sucks to run that well all day and to have nothing to show for it," Allgaier said. "Obviously being a part of the Dash 4 Cash program and was loving to go for that $100,000, but ultimately for the race win. Instead, I'm standing here in street clothes. Just a frustrating way to end the day, but we've got fast race cars and we'll be back next week." Jones, who divided the heat-race victories with Dillon, was also unable to continue, retiring after 134 of an overtime-extended 149 laps. He also had to contend with an angry Mike Harmon , who confronted the teenager in his hauler after their contact brought out the first caution flag and forced the fateful restart. "I think racing is a sport of highs and lows -- we had our highs last weekend and we have our lows this week," said Jones, who captured the Dash 4 Cash opener last weekend at Bristol. "Just an unfortunate day for us. We were off all day and then it just got worse as it went on." Poole absorbed significant damage, but limped home to register his second top-10 finish of the season. He chalked up the contact to typical short-track restarts in the late going, but also applauded his Chip Ganassi Racing crew's decision to shake up its strategy. "I think that's what you have to do, and Junior had to do what he had to do to get to the inside of me," Poole said of the late-race scramble. "I'd have done the same thing. We're all racing hard. There's only eight laps to go. The restart is really the best way to make up track position, so we're all just battling tight for it and it's just how it goes at the end of these races sometimes. You're battling as hard as you can." The next NASCAR XFINITY Series race featuring the Dash 4 Cash bonus is scheduled May 14 at Dover International Speedway . MORE: See how Dash 4 Cash work s
Stewart eager for more after Richmond return
RELATED: Race results " At-track photos RICHMOND, Va. -- Tony Stewart drove his Chevrolet onto Richmond International Raceway 's pit road this bright, sunny Sunday afternoon and after taking his helmet off and climbing out of the car, was all grins -- proudly declaring he could have raced another 400 miles. Stewart's day -- and his 19th-place finish -- was nothing but encouraging for the three-time champion making his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start of the year. "Smoke" missed the first eight races of what is his final season, recovering from a broken back suffered in a pre-season all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accident. RELATED: Full coverage of Stewart's injury, comeback Leaning back against his car, Stewart was upbeat and excited while speaking with reporters at the track post-race. He sipped his Coca-Cola and reflected on his long-awaited, highly anticipated return to the NASCAR driving seat with the kind of positive vibes equal to that of a race winner. "I love this job," he declared. "If you asked me how I felt, I would be perfectly content to have them just line us up and start another 400-mile race right now. I can promise you I can outlast a bunch of these guys. "I could run 800 more laps and still out-race a bunch of these guys. If anyone thinks we've lost something, we haven't lost (expletive)." MORE: Hear 'Smoke' on the radio It was exactly the kind of confidence, high expectation and bravado that has characterized Stewart's storied racing career. It's also why the Richmond crowd gave him a standing ovation during driver introductions and why so many NASCAR fans are counting on the 48-time winner to finish his remarkable career on top. Or at least making a darn good run at it. RELATED: Relive all of Stewart's w ins Stewart described his weekend back behind the wheel as feeling "like an old pair of shoes" and said it only took him about 10 laps "to get reacclimated" with the car and his team. Starting mid-pack, he ended up spending most of the race trying to earn the free pass to get back on the lead lap and, maddeningly, he would be one position shy of the lucky dog spot time-after-time. At one point as he fought hard to stay on the lead lap and dueled with then-race leader -- and eventual Toyota Owners 400 winner -- Carl Edwards to hold onto position. Edwards said after the race that he was impressed with Stewart's effort. "I was real happy he was back until about five laps into that battle," Edwards said smiling. "Let me tell you, the guy is competitive. I was thinking during that, what a heckuva run to have (the) first time back in the driver's seat. It's great to have him back." "I made it interesting for him for about 15 laps," Stewart proudly told his team on the radio after being lapped by Edwards a quarter of the way into the 400-lap event. After the race Stewart said, "I felt like we ran a good race. "It's so chaotic on the re-starts and I had a plan and I would try to execute my plan, but I zigged when I should have zagged every time for about four straight re-starts. "You just didn't know exactly where you needed to be, but that stuff will come." It wasn't just Stewart's first time turning laps this year, it was also his first time working with his new crew chief Mike Bugarewicz and the No. 14 driver seemed encouraged about that relationship too after the race. "Being on the pit box with him and listening to him communicate really helped a bunch," Stewart said of his time spent out of the car this season. "I think being as active with him as I could up to this point, really shortened the learning curve up. "I know he's going to sit there when we're done and wonder, 'what could I have done to communicate different?' Really it was nice and just felt like it clicked so I don't think there's a big learning curve there. We get this car a little better and we're going to have a lot of fun with it." Stewart said that -- shortly after his comeback announcement -- he won't compete in the full 500-miler at Talladega Superspeedway next weekend, per doctor's orders. But he will qualify the car, start the race and then hand over the steering wheel to Ty Dillon , who made three starts in Stewart's Chevrolet while the veteran was recovering. From there, it's all Stewart, all the time. And he proved Sunday that he is not only back, but very glad to be back. "I felt like I was doing everything I needed to do," Stewart said. "And I bet you go up and down this pit road and ask those guys if they think I'm back and they'd be shaking their heads and going, 'I don't think that he was ever gone.' " MORE: Stewart granted Chaise wa iver
Results from Richmond heat races
Heat 1 Finish Start Car Driver 1 3 20 Erik Jones * 2 2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr . 3 1 18 Matt Tifft 4 7 48 Brennan Poole * 5 4 1 Elliott Sadler 6 8 6 Darrell Wallace Jr . 7 5 33 Brandon Jones 8 6 62 Brendan Gaughan 9 15 5 Cole Custer 10 12 44 J.J. Yeley 11 9 43 Jeb Burton 12 11 51 Jeremy Clements 13 10 28 Dakoda Armstrong 14 14 14 Jeff Green 15 13 07 Ray Black Jr . 16 16 25 Harrison Rhodes 17 17 97 Ryan Ellis 18 19 40 Carl Long 19 18 70 Derrike Cope 20 20 89 Morgan Shepherd * Erik Jones and Brennan Poole are Dash 4 Cash-eligible for the main race. Heat 2 Finish Start Car Driver 1 5 3 Ty Dillon* 2 3 7 Justin Allgaier* 3 2 19 Daniel Suarez 4 4 22 Brad Keselowski (i) 5 1 2 Austin Dillon (i) 6 6 42 Justin Marks 7 9 4 Ross Chastain 8 10 11 Blake Koch 9 7 16 Ryan Reed 10 8 39 Ryan Sieg 11 20 21 Spencer Gallagher (i) 12 11 01 Ryan Preece # 13 12 0 Garrett Smithley # 14 13 78 BJ McLeod # 15 16 15 Travis Kvapil (i) 16 15 52 Joey Gase 17 17 74 Mike Harmon 18 14 90 Todd Peck 19 18 13 Timmy Hill (i) 20 19 93 Josh Wise (i) * Ty Dillon and Justin Allgaier are Dash 4 Cash-eligible for the main race.
Joe Gibbs Racing
Manufacturer: Toyota Engine manufacturer : TRD Debut season: 1992 Owner standings Joe Gibbs Racing was launched in 1991 by former NFL head coach Joe Gibbs. As Gibbs looked to move from coaching to a new chapter in his career, his friend Don Meredith was looking for opportunities to race in NASCAR, and the team was born with its first season of premier series competition coming in 1992. In 1993, driver Dale Jarrett won the Daytona 500 for JGR's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. Bobby Labonte took to the drivers seat, replacing Jarrett, in 1995. Since then, the team has claimed three championships in the series: in 2000 with Bobby Labonte and '02 and '05 with Tony Stewart , who became the team's second driver in 1999. The team expanded to a third full-time car in 2006 with J.J. Yeley behind the wheel. 2012 brought Joe Gibbs Racing its 100th Cup win, when Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . In 2015, JGR expanded to a fourth full-time car with Carl Edwards behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota. JGR is based in Huntersville, NC, with over 450 employees in a facility of 250,000 square feet. Visit the team's web site here. Follow Joe Gibbs Racing on Facebook and Twitter . Driver: Denny Hamlin Car Number: #11 Hometown: Chesterfield, VA Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie Year: 2006 Primary team members: Crew Chief: Mike Wheeler " Hometown: Southold, NY Car Chief: Leo Thorsen " Hometown: Stoughton, WI Spotter: Chris Lambert " Hometown: Kannapolis, NC Over-the-wall crew: Gasman: Caleb Hurd " Hometown: Pulaski, VA Front Tire Changer: Dustin Necaise " Hometown: Gulfport, MS Front Tire Carrier: Brandon Pegram " Hometown: Statesville, NC Jackman: Nate Bolling " Hometown: Swanton, OH Rear Tire Changer: Mike Hicks " Hometown: Salisbury, NC Rear Tire Carrier: Heath Cherry " Hometown: Belmont, NC Pit Crew Coordinator: Paul Alepa " Hometown: Vienna, VA JGR Athletic Director: Mike Lepp " Hometown: Charlotte, NC Road crew members: Truck Drivers: Frank Hodel " Hometown: High Bridge, NJ, David Ott " Hometown: St. Mary's, PA Tire Specialist: Kerry Ferris " Hometown: Perry, NY Shock Specialist: Drew Bible " Hometown: Coldwater, MI Engineer: Matt Beckman " Hometown: Glenview, IL Engineer: Sam McAuley " Hometown: Huntersville, NC Mechanic: Troy Welty " Hometown: Manchester, PA Mechanic: John Furino " Hometown: East Meadow, NY Interior Mechanic: Sean Kerlin " Hometown: Marysville, PA Driver: Kyle Busch Car Number: #18 Hometown: Las Vegas, NV Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie Year: 2005 Primary team members: Crew Chief: Adam Stevens " Hometown: Portsmouth, OH Car Chief: Nate Bellows " Hometown: Fairfax, VT Engine Specialist: Mike Johnson " Hometown: Bozeman, MT Spotter: Tony Hirschman " Hometown: Northhampton, PA Over-the-wall crew: Gasman: Tom Lampe " Hometown: Beatrice, NE Pit Support: Marcus Bonicelli " Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO Pit Support: Jeff Koons " Hometown: Greenfield, IN Front Tire Changer: Josh Leslie " Hometown: Mount Clemens, MI Front Tire Carrier: Brad Donaghy " Hometown: Orange County, VA Jackman: T.J. Ford " Hometown: Charlotte, NC Rear Tire Changer: Jake Seminara " Hometown: Steubenville, OH Rear Tire Carrier: Kenny Barber " Hometown: Hoosick Falls, NY Road crew members: Truck Drivers: Brendan “Slim” Greene " Hometown: Midland, NC, Jamie “Montana” Price " Hometown: Choteau, MT Tire Specialist: Gregory Katzke " Hometown: Wausau, WI Shock Specialist: Chris Chase " Hometown: Nichols, NY Engineer: Ben Beshore " Hometown: York, PA Engineer: Gene Watchtel " Hometown: Clearwater, FL Front End Mechanic: Brandon Griffeth " Hometown: Pittsfield, IL Rear End Mechanic: Chris Jones " Hometown: Smith Mountain Lake, VA Mechanic: Todd Foster " Hometown: Birmingham, AL Interior Mechanic: Wesley Lape " Hometown: Sinking Spring, PA Driver: Carl Edwards Car Number: #19 Hometown: Columbia, MO Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Primary team members: Crew Chief: Dave Rogers " Hometown: Marshfield, VT Car Chief: Eric Phillips " Hometown: Canton, IL Engine Specialist: James Dudley " Hometown: Porterville, CA Spotter: Jason Hedlesky " Hometown: Clinton, MI Over-the-wall crew: Gasman: Kenneth Purcell " Hometown: Savannah, GA Windshield: Zack Miller " Hometown: Vista, CA Front Tire Changer: Clay Robinson " Hometown: Simi Valley, CA Front Tire Carrier: Kevin Harris " Hometown: Sanford, FL Jackman: Trey Burklin " Hometown: Charlotte, NC Rear Tire Changer: Matt Ver Meer " Hometown: Montezuma, IA Rear Tire Carrier: Kip Wolfmeir " Hometown: Kingdom City, MO Road crew members: Truck Driver: Kyle Bazzell " Hometown: Fairbury, IL Truck Driver: Bob Hannigan " Hometown: High Bridge, NJ Tire Specialist: Jamie Turski " Hometown: Trumbull, CT Shock Specialist: Ron Denton " Hometown: Bristol, VA Engineer: Lee Hallman " Hometown: Claremont, NC Engineer: Kenny Oates " Hometown: Miami, FL Mechanic: Matt Tyrrell " Hometown: Ft. Lauderdale, FL Fuel Runner: Ben Surface " Hometown: Pulaski, VA Driver: Matt Kenseth Car Number: #20 Hometown: Cambridge, WI Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie Year: 2000 Primary team members: Crew Chief: Jason Ratcliff " Hometown: Sumter, SC Car Chief: Jeff Meendering " Hometown: Concord, NC Engine Specialist: Gregg Wilson " Hometown: Charlotte, NC Spotter: Chris Osborne " Hometown: High Point, NC Over-the-wall crew: Gasman: John Eicher " Hometown: London, KY Front Tire Changer: John Royer " Hometown: Otis, KS Front Tire Carrier: Joe Crossen " Hometown: Salisbury, NC Jackman: Jason Tate " Hometown: Statesville, NC Rear Tire Changer: Adam Hartman " Hometown: Oxford, NC Rear Tire Carrier: Blake Haugland " Hometown: My. Ayr, IA Road crew members: Truck Driver: Dennis Valverde " Hometown: Albuquerque, NM Truck Driver: Tom McCrimmon " Hometown: Mount Pleasant, NC Tire Specialist: Jerold Shires " Hometown: Waiteville, WV Shock Specialist: Scott Myers " Hometown: Modesto, CA Engineer: Michael Lorusso " Hometown: Asburn, VA Engineer: Levi Porter " Hometown: Wyben, MA Mechanic: Alan Buzze " Hometown: Onondoga, NY Mechanic: Jason Overstreet " Hometown: Clearwater, FL