Gibbs switching to Toyotas for 2008 NASCAR season
Team ending 16-year relationship with General Motors
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Joe Gibbs Racing, winners of three Nextel Cup Series championships and more than 70 NASCAR races, will campaign Toyota Camrys in the Sprint Cup Series and Grand National Series beginning in 2008.
"We look forward to partnering with Toyota in NASCAR in 2008. Toyota will be hands-on with us as we become an integral part of their long-term development in NASCAR," said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR.
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In securing its future, David Caraviello says Toyota is following traces from the past.
"We have 420-plus families that are our No. 1 priority, and taking care of them for the future is very important to us. Our people have made us as successful as we are today, and it's those same people who will ensure our success in the future. When our teams win, those families win. We're thrilled for everyone at JGR who will benefit from this."
"This decision was made by all of the key leadership at JGR," said Jimmy Makar, senior vice president of racing operations for JGR. "It was a decision made by the people in our competition department, who live by the one question whenever a decision is made regarding Joe Gibbs Racing: 'Will this make us more competitive on the race track?' The consensus answer was yes."
JGR has been associated with General Motors since its debut in the 1992 Daytona 500.
"General Motors has been associated with Joe Gibbs Racing for 16 years working together winning races and championships. While we understand the business nature of racing, we are disappointed in J.D.'s decision and announcement [Wednesday]," said Brent Dewar; General Motors North America vice president of vehicle sales, service and parts. "With our long-standing relationship and record of winning with them, we hoped they would remain with Chevrolet. We will continue to support our JGR drivers in this year's Chase for the championship. We wish JGR well as they go forward, and Chevrolet will compete against them on the track next year to defend its title as the winningest name in racing."
The team fielded Chevrolets from 1992 through 1996, switched to Pontiac in 1997, and then switched back to Chevrolet in 2003. Two of its championships came with Pontiac -- Bobby Labonte in 2000 and Tony Stewart in 2002 -- while the most recent championship came with Chevrolet in 2005 at the hands of Stewart. Two of JGR's drivers -- Stewart and Denny Hamlin -- are currently in position to challenge for this year's championship.
"General Motors has been a great partner to Joe Gibbs Racing, and we've been able to celebrate many victories together," said Joe Gibbs, owner and founder of JGR. "GM has many great teams, and moving forward, we know they will continue to be very successful. It's our hope we can deliver to GM their 38th Cup Series championship this season as a way to cap our 16-year relationship with them."
"Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the most respected teams in NASCAR, a championship-caliber race team and a first-class organization," said Jim Aust, vice president of Toyota Motorsports and president and CEO of Toyota Racing Development, USA. "We are confident that partnering with the Gibbs team will raise the level of our entire Toyota NASCAR program, and will be beneficial to all of our current teams racing the Toyota Camry."
Joe Gibbs Racing will be joining Bill Davis Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Team Red Bull as the teams that will be racing Toyotas when the 2008 season kicks off in February at Daytona International Speedway.
"Our motorsports heritage has taught us the value of working with experienced teams and partners," Aust said. "We have built excellent relationships with the current teams as we have developed the Toyota Camry Cup program during our first year of NASCAR competition, and we look forward to developing a similar relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing.