Denny Hamlin

3.4129895885072 (2017)
Posted by kaori 04/06/2009 @ 02:13

Tags : denny hamlin, drivers, motor sports, sports

News headlines
Dover: Denny Hamlin NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview - PaddockTalk
Hamlin, Gibbs Make Special Delivery in DC: Driver Denny Hamlin and team owner Joe Gibbs will visit Washington DC on Thursday to deliver a custom designed Disaster Response Unit to the DC-area Salvation Army. The vehicle, used in disaster situations to...
Breaking down the top 12 after Lowe's -
5. Denny Hamlin, 1575. Hamlin just missed his first top-10 finish at Lowe's in two years when his finish matched his car number (11). Though Hamlin is a rock-steady fifth in points, he hasn't shown strength outside short tracks and restrictor-plate...
Denny Hamlin: Cautious Optimism about Coca-Cola 600 - Rotowire
Hamlin doesn't have much love for Lowe's Motor Speedway, so it shouldn't be surprising that he looks at Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at the 1.5-mile track with little more than cautious optimism, reports. Hamlin's career stats show that he's...
Leffler carries momentum into 200th Nationwide start - Bleacher Report
Denny Hamlin won in the spring. Hamlin began a three-race Dover winning streak for Gibbs with a victory in the No. 20 Toyota in the fall race in 2007. “Everyone back at our Nationwide shop does such an outstanding job of having the car prepared for...
Hamlin Quickest In Day's First Practice -
Lasting just forty-five minutes, Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin topped the charts with his No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota. Hamlin ran a total of twenty-seven laps during the session, posting the fastest speed of 184.338 mph. Roush Fenway Racing's Greg...
DC Salvation Army Receives Very Special Delivery from FedEx with ... - WELT ONLINE
(NYSE: FDX) enlisted the help of former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs and professional NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin to make a very special delivery to The Salvation Army-National Capital Area Command at the organization's Harbor Light Center in Washington DC...
Four Wide: Denny Hamlin wants to wash your car. Let him. - Yahoo! Sports
Come on down to Denny Hamlin's Speed Wash! Denny Hamlin has opened two car washes in the Richmond, Va. area, and you're guaranteed to get 95 percent of a good wash until we puncture your tire! [Full Throttle] • Junior Johnson tries to pick the best...
Lowe's: Denny Hamlin NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview - PaddockTalk
Hamlin at Lowe's Motor Speedway: The Coca-Cola 600 will mark Hamlin's eighth Cup start at Lowe's Motor Speedway and 127th career Cup start. In three previous Coca-Cola 600 starts, Hamlin has narrowly missed out chances to win the prestigious event....
Darlington: Denny Hamlin race report -
Darlington, SC -- Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished 13th tonight in a physical, searing hot Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway. The action started early for...
Backing down? Not really an option here -
By Jim Utter - Tempers flare between the crews of (88) Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin's (20) team following the Carquest 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 2008. JEFF SINER -- (09/23/08) Brad...

Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin's #11 FedEx Chevy being inspected at the November 12, 2006 Checker Auto 500

James Dennis Alan Hamlin, Jr. (born November 18, 1980 in Chesterfield, Virginia) is an American race car driver. He currently drives the #11 Fedex Car for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.

Hamlin began his racing career in 1988, at the age of 7 years old, racing go-karts. By 1997 at 15 he won the WKA manufacturers cup at the age of 16, he was racing Ministocks. In his first stock car race, at Langley Speedway, Hamlin won the pole position, and won the race. He then progressed to the Grand Stock division in 1998, and moved on to Late Model Stock Cars in 2000. In 2002, he won ten Late Model races, and surpassed that in 2003 with 25 wins, and 30 poles, out of 36 races. In 2004, while competing full time in Late Model Stock Cars, Hamlin was signed to a driver development contract with Joe Gibbs Racing.

In 2004, Hamlin competed in five NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) races with EJP Racing, and had a tenth-place finish in his NASCAR debut at Indianapolis Raceway Park. He later ran his first career ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, finishing third in the #10 Pontiac owned by Andy Hillenburg. His final start of the year came at Darlington Raceway, when he made his Busch Series debut. He qualified twenty-seventh but finished eighth in the #18 Joe Gibbs Driven Performance Oil Chevy.

Hamlin ran the full season in 2005 after he replaced Mike Bliss in the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet in the Busch Series. He ended up finishing 5th in the final championship points standings as a rookie in that series, with 11 top 10's and earnings of $1,064,110.00. Hamlin also ran his first Nextel Cup Series races in 2005, making his Cup debut at Kansas Speedway as driver of the #11 FedEx Chevrolet for the 2006 season, after Jason Leffler was released, and made seven starts in in the Cup series in 2005. He finished the Cup season with three top 10 finishes in those seven starts and one pole at Phoenix International Raceway.

In 2006, Hamlin ran his first full season in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, and during the year he drove in both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series full-time. In Hamlin's first restrictor plate race as a Nextel Cup driver, he beat all the previous year's (2005 season) pole winners in the 70-lap 2006 Budweiser Shootout. Hamlin became the first Rookie of the Year candidate to take home the Shootout victory. Hamlin achieved his first career Busch Series victory at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez (March 5). On June 11, Hamlin scored his first career Cup Series win at the Pocono 500, where he also won his second career pole. He achieved his second career win on July 23, in the Pennsylvania 500 also at Pocono Raceway becoming only the 2nd rookie in Nextel Cup history to sweep both races at a track during the same season (Jimmie Johnson did so at Dover International Speedway in his rookie season in 2002), both from the pole position. In the Cup Series, Hamlin won the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award and finished third in the final Cup standings, scoring the highest points finish ever for a rookie in the modern era of NASCAR. Hamlin thus became the first ever rookie to make the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.

Hamlin started the 2007 Cup season by finishing 28th in the Daytona 500. He won his third career cup race at the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Hamlin clinched a spot in the Chase for the Cup and was seeded sixth, 50 points behind the leader, but finished 12th overall in the final standings. In the Nationwide Series, Hamlin scored victory three time including Darlington, Michigan, and Dover in the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevy.

In 2008, Hamlin had a near identical season as before, but moved up to eighth in points, and won early in the season at Martinsville Speedway. He won three races in the Nationwide Series, driving both the #18 and #20 entries for Gibbs, as well as the #32 Dollar General/Haas Avocados Toyota Camry for Braun Racing. He will continue driving the #11 Toyota in Sprint Cup in 2009, as well as sharing the #20 Toyota for Gibbs in the Nationwide Series.

To the top

2006 NASCAR Busch Series

25th Busch logo.jpg

The 25th season of the NASCAR Busch Series opened February 18, 2006, at Daytona International Speedway and concluded November 18, 2006, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Kevin Harvick, driving for not only his own team, Kevin Harvick Incorporated, and for Richard Childress Racing, was declared champion.

There has been some controversy of the use of NEXTEL Cup teams with their drivers in Busch Series races, most notably at NEXTEL Cup tracks where there are Busch Series support races. This has been dubbed by FOX Sports announcer Mike Joy as "Busch Whacking", and many underfunded (or one-car) teams have failed to qualify for these races because of this. The 2006 season has been notable for those "double duty" drivers even traveling to sites where there are stand-alone races at Nashville Superspeedway, Kentucky Speedway, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and The Milwaukee Mile just to name a few, even on the rare weeks where there are no NEXTEL Cup races. Kentucky was the big upset where one of the underfunded one-car teams took advantage and pulled off the big upset. In the end, Kevin Harvick, who drives for Richard Childress Racing in the Cup series, won the 2006 championship on October 13, the second of his career having previously won in 2001. There is talk about limiting the number of "Busch Whackers" in each race or capping the double-dippers appearances for the entire season and even having a "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" playoff system in place for the 2007 season since Harvick was so domiment during 2006 as NEXTEL Cup drivers won every race but two in the season.

The following is a list of all full-time teams as of race 5 in the 2006 season.

The Hershey's Kissables 300 race was held February 18, 2006, at Daytona International Speedway. J. J. Yeley won the pole.

Failed to qualify: Kertus Davis (#0), Jay Sauter (#01), Kevin Lepage (#56), Chad Chaffin (#05), Larry Hollenbeck (#62), Chris Wimmer (#23).

On February 25, 2006, the Busch Series took to California Speedway for this 300-mile race. Carl Edwards was the polesitter.

Failed to qualify: Derrike Cope (#49), David Gilliland (#84), Chris Wimmer (#23).

This road-course race took place March 5, 2006 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico. Boris Said won the pole.

Failed to qualify: Eduardo Goeters (#49), Stan Silva Jr. (#65), and Chris Wimmer (#23).

On March 11, 2006, the Busch Series raced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Matt Kenseth started from the pole position.

Failed to qualify: Jorge Goeters (#49), Kertus Davis (#0), Chris Wimmer (#23).

The Nicorette 300 was held March 18 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch was the polesitter.

This race was held March 25 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Qualifying was snowed out and the field was set by current owner points. As a result, Kevin Harvick started from pole. The race was also halted by snow and drivers, crews, and fans amused themselves by throwing snowballs and building a snowman. The race was restarted after a 90 minute delay and run full-distance.

This race was held April 8 at Texas Motor Speedway. Denny Hamlin won the pole. The race finished under a green-white-checker finish and was won by Kurt Busch in his first Busch Series start.

This race was held April 15 at Nashville Superspeedway. Denny Hamlin won the pole.

This race was held April 21 at Phoenix International Raceway. Jason Leffler won the pole. The race finished under a green-white-checker finish as Kevin Harvick won his second race in a row.

This race was held April 29 at Talladega Superspeedway. J. J. Yeley won the pole.

As there were the maximum of forty-three cars to race, there were no drivers or teams that failed to qualify.

This race was held May 5 and May 6 at Richmond International Raceway. Jason Leffler won the pole. The race start was delayed approximately 1 hour for rain, after 13 laps rain fell again and the race was stopped for approximately another 43 minutes. The race eventually finished after midnight local time, resulting in the race occurring over two days. Kevin Harvick won his third Busch race of the year.

This race was held May 12 at Darlington Raceway. Denny Hamlin won from the pole.

This race was held May 27 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Matt Kenseth won the pole.

This race was held June 3 at Dover International Speedway. Qualifying was rained out, and the field was set by the rulebook, with the top 30 teams taking the first fifteen rows. Because of that, Kevin Harvick was awarded the pole position.

As there were the maximum of forty-three cars needed to race, no drivers or teams failed to qualify.

This race was held June 10 at Nashville Superspeedway. Todd Kluever won the pole.

This race was held June 17 at Kentucky Speedway. Denny Hamlin won the pole. In a stunning upset, David Gilliland became the first winner in the 2006 season that was not on a team with a Nextel Cup driver. Jeff Fuller was involved in a severe crash where, trying to avoid the spinning car of Jason Leffler, Fuller hit the inside wall at full speed, and the car practically imploded on impact. Fuller suffered a broken wrist and thumb.

This race was held June 24 at The Milwaukee Mile. Aric Almirola won the pole in the car normally driven by Denny Hamlin who actually drove the race in the car and started from the back. As a result, Paul Menard started the race from the pole position. He then went on to capture his first Busch series victory. This race was strange for the fact that only 41 cars started the race, instead of the usual 43.

The Winn-Dixie 250 was held June 30 at Daytona International Speedway. J. J. Yeley won the pole.

This race was held July 8 at Chicagoland Speedway. Carl Edwards won the pole. Casey Mears captured his first NASCAR victory using an alternate fuel strategy.

This race was held July 15 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Kyle Busch won the pole. Clint Bowyer dominated early in the race but Carl Edwards captured the victory.

The Goody's 250 was held July 22 at Martinsville Speedway. Clint Bowyer won the pole.

The Busch Silver Celebration 250 was held July 29 at Gateway International Raceway. Denny Hamlin won the pole.

The Kroger 200 was held August 5 at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. Denny Hamlin won the pole.

This race was held August 12 at Watkins Glen International. Kurt Busch won the race from the pole. Kurt Busch and Robby Gordon cut off track several times to duel on the final lap.

Top ten results: 202.45 miles/83 laps due to green-white-checkered rule.

This race was held August 19 at Michigan International Speedway. Mark Martin won the pole.

Top ten results: 127 laps/254 miles due to green-white-checkered rule.

This race was held August 25 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Ryan Newman won the pole.

This race was held September 2 at California Speedway. Clint Bowyer won the pole.

This race will be held September 8 at Richmond International Raceway. Jeff Burton won the pole.

This race was held September 23 at Dover International Speedway. Scott Riggs won the pole. Clint Bowyer held off Matt Kenseth in a green-white-checker finish.

The Yellow Transportation 300 was held September 30 at Kansas Speedway. Matt Kenseth won the pole.

This race was held October 13 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Carl Edwards started from the pole. Dave Blaney would earn his first career Busch Series win, and Kevin Harvick, despite failing to finish on the lead lap for the only time in the 2006 season, clinched the Busch Series Championship following a wreck involving second-place driver Carl Edwards and Casey Mears on lap 199 (at the start-finish line from lap 198 to lap 199) of a scheduled 200-lap race.

This race was held October 28 at Memphis Motorsports Park. Johnny Sauter won the pole. Juan Pablo Montoya made his NASCAR debut in this race.

This race was held on November 4 at Texas Motor Speedway. Mark Martin won the pole.

The 200 was held November 11 at Phoenix International Raceway. Sam Hornish, Jr., the 2006 IRL champion, made his NASCAR debut here. Matt Kenseth won race from the pole.

Top ten results: 203 miles/203 laps due to green-white-checkered rule.

The Ford 300 was held November 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Kevin Harvick won the pole.

Also, John Andretti was officially considered a Busch Series rookie of the year contender for 2006, even though he is a Winston/Nextel Cup veteran.

ROTY favorite Lamar was released early from his ride at KHI while leading the standngs. Eventually, the ROTY came down to a fight between NEXTEL Cup veteral John Andretti and former USAR Pro Cup driver Danny O'Quinn Jr. Eventually, O'Quinn, despite being released for one race to prepare David Ragan for 2007, he still managed to hold off Andretti to win the title by only a point. Another preseason favorite and 2005 NCTS Rookie of the Year, Tood Kluever, struggled in his transition to the Busch Series. Another USAR driver, Mark McFarland, had an up and down year and was replaced by Shane Huffman. Joel Kauffman and Chris Wimmer made bids for ROTY, but were released from their rides. A.J. Foyt IV, in his transition to stock cars, was released due to a Dodge development deal.

This was the last year that FOX Sports/FX, TNT, and NBC covered the Busch Series. Starting in 2007, as part of a new TV contract with the television networks of The Walt Disney Company, ESPN 2 will cover the entire Busch season with select races on ABC.

To the top

2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

#48-Jimmie Johnson takes the green flag along side #55-Michael Waltrip in the start of the 50th running of "The Great American Race".

The 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series began on February 9, 2008 at Daytona International Speedway with the Budweiser Shootout, followed by pole qualifying on Sunday, February 10, 2008 for the 50th Daytona 500 on February 17. The season continued with the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup beginning on September 14 with the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and concluded with the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16. Due to the merger in 2005 of Sprint and Nextel, NASCAR's premier series was known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning with the 2008 season, crowning the first champion under the new Sprint sponsorship. The series has no connection with Sprint car racing, as NASCAR uses stock car bodies. Coors Light also replaced Budweiser as Official Beer of NASCAR, thereby becoming the new sponsor of the Pole Award given to pole winner in each Sprint Cup Series race. However, Budweiser was still the official sponsor for Bud Shootout at Daytona in February.

All Sprint Cup races utilized the Car of Tomorrow (CoT) template. NASCAR announced on May 22, 2007 that the original timetable, which would have the full-time use of the single car template in 2009, was being abandoned as 80% of all owners were in favor of moving the full-time use of the CoT one year ahead so they would not race with two sets of rules for all but ten races. The cars approved for the 2008 season were the Chevrolet Impala, the Dodge Charger, the Ford Fusion and the Toyota Camry. Dodge had used the Avenger in the 2007 CoT races, but stated that the Charger would be used full time in 2008.

The Economic crisis of 2008, with high gas prices over US $4 a gallon caused NASCAR's largely blue-collar fan base to feel the pinch. While Bristol was one of a few tracks that still sold out, others saw crowds shrink. Daytona International Speedway sold out the Daytona 500, the Coke Zero 400 did not. Some track ticket packages now included all-you-can-eat deals, and tracks also offered nearby campgrounds to entice those who come for several days to see Nationwide and Craftsman Truck races. For their fall race, Lowe's Motor Speedway offered discounts on local hotel rooms, novelties and food and drink.

The economy also affected the teams themselves with high diesel fuel prices, with that fuel needed to power the semi-trailer trucks which transport the race cars to and from racetracks. Sponsorships also grew increasingly harder to come by, further increasing the gap between teams. Before the season began, Morgan-McClure Motorsports ceased operations for their single-car team, while Yates Racing had no major sponsor on the #28 and #38 cars that they run in the series, as their M&M's sponsorships moved to the Joe Gibbs Racing's #18 team. The Yates team made do in piecemeal fashion, finding companies to sponsor a few races at a time, a practice that paid the bills but stretched the marketing department. As a result of the cutbacks, half of the one hundred employees at Yates were laid off.

Even better sponsored teams struggled. On July 1, Chip Ganassi Racing shut down its #40 team with 2007 IndyCar Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti driving because of a lack of sponsorship funding, becoming the first major victim. Ganassi Racing lost 70 jobs as a result of the closure. Other companies also switched teams for 2009. Caterpillar Inc., despite its decade long relationship with Bill Davis Racing and its flagship #22, moved to Richard Childress Racing's #31 car driven by Jeff Burton, while General Mills, associating itself with Petty Enterprises since 2000, also left to head for RCR's fourth team.

To counter many of these problems, teams also took on financial partners, much like Fenway Sports Group joining Jack Roush and George Gillett teaming up with Ray Evernham last year. In June 2008, Petty Enterprises sold a majority share to Boston Ventures as another example of the economic struggles.

See 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup for the final standings.

Teams that were required to qualify on speed each week are listed with their owners' points standing in bold.

The following is a list of teams that tried to run the full 36 race schedule in 2008.

NOTE: Chase teams standings have a yellow background.

NOTES: 1. Bill Davis Racing's #27 team suspended operations on March 10, 2008, due to lack of sponsorship. The team had originally planned to run the full schedule with former F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve. That team is officially listed as 47th in owners points. 2. Chip Ganassi Racing's #40 team suspended operations on July 1, also due to a lack of sponsorship. Dario Franchitti was to have run the full schedule, and was listed as 40th in owners points at that time. Bryan Clauson was scheduled to run in the #40 at the Bank of America 500 and the Pep Boys Auto 500, but both times qualifying was rained out and the car did not make the field.

Drivers in bold were released during the season.

The following is a list of teams that ran part time in 2008.

The 2008 season marked the second year of television contracts with FOX, TNT and ESPN/ABC. The biggest changes involved ESPN and ABC, as Dale Jarrett became the network's lead race color commentator and Rusty Wallace became the pre-race analyst. Dale, who completed his driving career with the Sprint All-Star Race XXIV, followed in the footsteps of his father, Ned, who worked with ESPN through most of the 1980s through the 2000 NASCAR season. Allen Bestwick took over the hosting role for all races as well as some editions of ESPN 2's NASCAR Now, replacing Brent Musburger and Suzy Kolber on the pre-race show, with Shannon Spake taking Bestwick's place as pit reporter. Also, veteran NASCAR reporter Nicole Manske (along with Ryan Burr) took over as a part-time host of NASCAR Now show for Erik Kuselias. No major changes were made by Fox and TNT for the 2008 season.

One innovation was FOX's "Gopher Cam", placed below the track near the inside of the turns for a unique perspective. In the need for a name for their new mascot, Fox turned to internet users and even drivers for suggestions, and the gopher cam mascot was named "Digger". "Digger" is now emblazoned on T-shirts, hats and even as a plush toy. Another innovation was TNT's "RaceBuddy", an internet application that showed multiple views of the race and radio feeds from drivers (using's RaceDay Scanner).

In Canada NASCAR races were seen on TSN and RDS in English and French, while Speed Channel Latin America held the rights in Mexico and all of Latin America, including the Bud Shootout, the Gatorade Duels and the Sprint All-Star Race.

Sky Sports held the rights in Great Britain, while Five US aired a one-hour highlights package preceding each race. In Australia the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season was covered by FOX SPORTS as usual however, Free-to-air TV's TEN HD presented marquee events live along with one hour highlights packages from all other rounds the Saturday after the event. TenHD also presented the entire Nationwide series season, marking the first time that a full NASCAR Championship was shown on Free-to-Air TV in Australia, mostly due to Marcos Ambrose's involvement in the series. NTV held the rights in Japan, while Sky Italia held rights in Italy (only NNS) and Premiere Sport held the German rights. In Spain, Teledeporte broadcasted six live races and hour-long summaries of the remaining thirty.

On January 21, 2008, NASCAR announced various competition changes for the 2008 season.

The first tests followed the change of the calendar at Daytona International Speedway in the first two full weeks of January. Teams that finished in odd numbered positions (1, 3, 5, etc.) through the 2007 USG Sheetrock 400 tested January 7 through 9, while even numbered finishers (2, 4, 6, etc.) through that same period tested January 14 through 16. Speed televised nightly reports throughout this period, as well as the events of the annual Media Tour in Charlotte and the tests in Las Vegas (held on January 28 and 29th) and California (held on January 31 and February 1).

On April 15, an additional practice session was announced by NASCAR at Lowe's to be held on May 5 and 6th due to problems that were unforeseen at both Las Vegas and Texas during their spring races.

See List of 2008 NASCAR races for a complete list and schedule of the 2008 season races.

The 2008 NASCAR season and the 2008 edition of Speedweeks began with the thirtieth annual Budweiser Shootout on February 9 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. The non-points race, featured the previous season's pole winners and past winners of the event. Following tradition teams randomly picked their starting positions, Kurt Busch drew the pole, but ultimately had to start near the rear due to a crash in final practice. The 2008 race set a record with 23 drivers starting the race, the largest field ever in the event. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won his first NASCAR race with his new team Hendrick Motorsports and his first Sprint Cup Series win since May 2006 at Richmond, leading a record 47 of the 70 laps.

Qualifying for the 2008 Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida at Daytona International Speedway took place on February 10 of that year. Jimmie Johnson won the pole with Michael Waltrip starting second who had been the center of controversy during a cheating scandal in last year's race.

The Gatorade Duels were held on February 14, 2008, which established the starting order for the 2008 Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the first race which was wreck free, while the second race was won by Denny Hamlin driving a Toyota. This was the first win for Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series, and the first win by a foreign make since 1954. Bill Elliott driving the #21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing failed to race his way in during the first duel, this will be the first time the Wood Brothers team has not competed in NASCAR's signature event in 46 years. A wreck in the second race on Lap 17 took out Jacques Villeneuve, Stanton Barrett, Dario Franchitti, and Jamie McMurray after Villeneuve got loose in Turn 3.

Also qualifying for Daytona 500: Brian Vickers (#83 Team Red Bull Toyota).

NOTE: Race Two finish was extended four laps due to green-white-checker finish rule.

The 50th annual running of the Daytona 500 was held on February 17, 2008, marking the 50th anniversary since the inaugural running in 1959. Ryan Newman won the race with teammate Kurt Busch finishing second, it marked team owner Roger Penske's first win on a restrictor-plate track. The win also ended Ryan Newman's 81 race winless drought in Sprint Cup Series racing. Jeff Burton led during the last restart with 3 laps left and immediately lost the lead. Tony Stewart led during the last lap but it was the Penske Racing teammates of Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch who denied Stewart the win as he tried for the 10th time to win the race.

NOTE: Robby Gordon, owner/driver of the #7 Dodge, was penalized both 100 championship driver and owner points after NASCAR officials confiscated an unapproved Dodge Charger nose piece on his Car of Tomorrow during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500 on February 8. Gordon's crew chief Frank Kerr was fined $100,000 and suspended for the next six Sprint Cup Series events until April 9. The points penalty dropped him to 40th place after finishing 8th in the season opener. However, on March 5, an appeals committee overturned the point penalty and suspension, but increased the fine to $150,000. Gordon's infraction occurred because of a nose that Gillett Evernham Motorsports had given the team was not yet approved. The team had switched to Dodge from Ford after Daytona testing and has assistance from Gillett Evernham Motorsports, which gave the nose in question.

The 2008 Auto Club 500 was run on February 24 and February 25 due to rain at the newly renamed Auto Club Speedway of Southern California (previously California Speedway) in Fontana, California. Qualifying was canceled for the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series after periods of rain showers fell for most of the day on Friday. As a result, the race lineup was determined by the NASCAR rule book. The race began on late Sunday afternoon but was red flagged and eventually postponed until Monday morning. Veteran NASCAR driver Mark Martin made his 700th Sprint Cup Series start. The first caution of the race was brought out when Denny Hamlin lost control in Turn 3 after running over some water that had seeped up through cracks in the track surface. The next caution involved a large wreck when Casey Mears spun out in Turn 2 after also running over water. The wreck collected Casey's teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr..

Reed Sorenson and Sam Hornish, Jr. were also involved. Hornish hit Sorenson's car causing his car's hood to come up and hit his windshield obscuring his vision leading him to rear end the back of Casey Mears' car causing Mears' car to tumble onto its side. The race was red flagged as track workers cleaned up and tried to repair the water problem by cutting into the track. Drivers who were involved in early wrecks notably Earnhardt, Jr. and Mears complained that NASCAR should not have started the race with water still seeping onto the track. Eventually a seventh caution for rain put the race on hold, at 11:00 PM PT (2:00 AM ET), NASCAR decided to postpone the remaining race laps until Monday morning at 10:00 AM PT (1:00 PM ET) due to seeping water on the track. When the race resumed, it was Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson leading the race until Carl Edwards took the lead from Johnson to win his first race at Auto Club Speedway. The Nationwide Series race was run one hour after the conclusion of the Sprint Cup race.

The UAW-Dodge 400 was run on March 2 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch, a Las Vegas native won the pole and led 56 laps in the race before slipping to 11th. Matt Kenseth also ran strong during the race leading 70 laps and was running third with five laps to go when he was spun by Jeff Gordon. Gordon's car hit hard against the inside retaining wall head on at 180 miles per hour, and the wall did not have a SAFER barrier, this caused his car's radiator to fly out from the chassis into the path of oncoming traffic. Kenseth was able to recover from the spin without hitting anything. The wreck brought a red flag on lap 264 as track workers cleaned up, Jeff Gordon walked away sore from the wreck and made the point that SAFER barriers should be installed to the inside walls. Carl Edwards went on to win his second race in a row and the ninth of his career.

Following the race it was announced that the #99 car driven by Edwards had failed post-race inspection. On March 5, Edwards was docked 100 championship points with team owner Jack Roush also docked 100 owner points. Carl Edwards' crew chief Bob Osbourne was fined $100,000 and suspended for six races until April 30. As the 99 team qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the team did not receive 10 bonus points for the UAW-Dodge 400 victory used for determining the Chase seeding order.

NOTE: Burney Lamar (#08) withdrew prior to qualifying.

The Kobalt Tools 500 was held on March 9 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon won the pole. Carl Edwards had the car to beat along with Kyle Busch, although Edwards' engine expired late in the race. Busch would go on to lead 173 laps and win the race giving Toyota its first Sprint Cup Series victory. The win also marked the first win by a foreign make since 1954.

The Food City 500 was held on March 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Qualifying was canceled due to a day-long rain on March 14, and as a result, the field was set by NASCAR's rulebook, giving Jimmie Johnson the 2007 series champion, the pole position. Jeff Burton won the race after it was extended six laps due to the green-white-checker finish rule when Denny Hamlin had fuel pump problems on the final restart.

NOTE: Race extended six laps due to green-white-checker finish.

Failed to make race as qualifying was canceled due to rain: Patrick Carpentier (#10), Jeff Green (#21), John Andretti (#34).

As a result of the standings after this race, two teams that were not in the Top-35 in owners points, the #83 Red Bull Toyota Camry of Brian Vickers and the #2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger of Kurt Busch (owners points were given to the #77) will be locked into the Top 35 after the first five races.

The Goody's Cool Orange 500 was held on March 30 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Jeff Gordon won the pole. Kyle Petty failed to make the race after Dario Franchitti tied with his qualifying time, due to the fact that Franchitti was 38th in owners points and Petty was 40th, marking the first time since 2004 that he failed to make a race. Denny Hamlin won this race, the second for Toyota in Sprint Cup history. The race was notable for having 20 caution periods, the second most cautions during a NASCAR Sprint Cup race; only the 22 cautions at the 2005 Coca Cola 600 holds that record.

The Samsung 500 was held on April 6 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the pole. The race was won by Carl Edwards who started 2nd and led 123 laps. The major story of the race weekend was Michael McDowell's near head on crash during qualifying after he lost control heading into Turn 1 on his second lap. McDowell's car slammed into the Turn 1 SAFER barrier and spun upside down for several hundred yards before the car began a series of at least eight barrel rolls, coming to rest at the bottom of the race track near the infield. McDowell exited the car and was ok. Qualifying was delayed 1 hour and 12 minutes as NASCAR officials assessed and repaired damage to the SAFER barrier.

NOTES: 1. Race extended five laps due to a green-white-checker finish. 2. During post race inspection Ryan Newman's #12 car was found to be one-eighth of an inch higher beyond the allotted half-inch tolerance. As a result, Newman and car owner Roger Penske were penalized 25 championship driver and 25 championship owner points, respectively. Crew chief Roy McCauley was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until December 31.

The Subway Fresh Fit 500 was held on April 12 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Ryan Newman won the pole. Coverage of the pre-race was interrupted when FOX switched over to cover the remaining Yankees-Red Sox baseball game. Jimmie Johnson won the race by not pitting for fuel during the last laps. The win marked Hendrick Motorsports' first win of the 2008 season.

The Aaron's 499 was held April 27 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. The race marked the one-quarter mark of the season. Joe Nemechek won the pole. David Stremme substituted for Dario Franchitti, who fractured his left ankle in a hard crash during the Nationwide Series Aaron's 312 race. Kyle Busch won the race after leading only 12 laps. The race featured only eight cautions. Most of those cautions were results of one or two car incidents. However, the last caution was a result of the "Big One" that occurred in the final moments of the race. Because the crash occurred after the white flag had been waved, the race was allowed to finish under caution.

The Crown Royal Presents The Dan Lowry 400 was held on May 3 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Denny Hamlin won the pole and went on to lead 381 of the 400 laps. However, a leaking right-front tire caused him to fall back with 18 laps left. It then appeared that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. whose last Sprint Cup win came at this race two years ago would be able to win the race and end his winless streak, but was spun out by Kyle Busch with Three laps to go. The race was won by Clint Bowyer who was running third at the time of Earnhardt's spin.

NOTE: Race was extended by eight laps due to green-white-checker finish.

The Dodge Challenger 500 was run May 10 at the newly repaved Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. Greg Biffle won the pole, breaking Ward Burton's long standing pole speed by 5.6 mph (9.0 km/h), mostly due to the repaved surface on the track. Kyle Busch was the winner of the race. this would be the last race under the "Dodge Challenger 500" name; next year the race will return to the original name of the Southern 500.

Sprint All-Star Race XXIV and the Sprint Showdown were both held on May 17 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Charlotte, North Carolina suburb of Concord. This non-points race involved winners of the 2007 and 2008 season, along with past Sprint Cup champions and All-Star Race winners from the past decade (1998 through 2007) plus the top two finishing drivers of the Sprint Showdown and a driver voted in by fans from the Showdown who's car had to be raceable. On the line was $1,000,000 in prize money for the winner. Kasey Kahne finished fifth in the Showdown and was voted into the All-Star event and went onto capture the victory, becoming the third driver to qualify from the preliminary race and win the main event and the first chosen by the fan vote to do the same. The only cautions the race had was after all 4 segments ended which was 4 cautions.

NASCAR's longest race in terms of distance, the Coca-Cola 600 was run on May 25 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte. Kyle Busch won the pole. Tony Stewart led the race in the final laps after making a pit stop for fuel only, but with three laps remaining Stewart blew a tire giving the lead to Kasey Kahne who was running five seconds behind. Kahne and Greg Biffle finished first and second respectively for the second week in a row. Kahne became the first driver to win the Coca-Cola 600 and the All-Star Race in the same year since Jimmie Johnson in 2003, and the sixth overall.

The Best Buy 400 was held on June 1 at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Greg Biffle won the pole. A wreck on Lap 17 ruined the day for championship contenders Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Clint Bowyer, and Kasey Kahne. The wreck occurred when Elliott Sadler made slight contact with David Gilliland, Sadler's car spun out and blocked traffic down the narrow backstretch. Polesitter Greg Biffle dominated the early laps leading 164 of them. Although an alternator problem on Lap 170 forced Biffle to relinquish his lead to teammate Carl Edwards. Biffle switched batteries and kept going, although he was forced to leave the cooling fans off inside his car. In the final 153 Laps there were no cautions allowing Kyle Busch to build a lead over 8 seconds to second place runner Carl Edwards. Busch took the lead from Edwards during green-flag pit stops that ended on Lap 237. Only the top six cars managed to stay on the lead lap.

The Pocono 500 was held on June 8 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Kasey Kahne won the pole, he went on to win the race. Starting with Pocono TNT started its' six race broadcast schedule. Kyle Busch qualified tenth but in the second practice hit the wall and started from the back. He finished dead last after a crash with Jamie McMurray, but had a big enough cushion in the standings to remain in first place over Jeff Burton by 21 points.

NOTE: Tony Raines (#34) withdrew before the qualifying session.

The LifeLock 400 was held on June 15 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Qualifying was cancelled because of rain after twelve drivers took times, and the field was set by the NASCAR rulebook. With a green-white-checker finish extending the race, and fuel economy usage, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won his first points paying race in 76 attempts in the first win by a driver from North Carolina in a NASCAR Sprint Cup race since October 2006 at Talladega when Brian Vickers won; ironically, Vickers won for Earnhardt's new team, Hendrick Motorsports. It also marked the first time a Chevrolet has gone to victory lane in the last 14 Sprint Cup races there.

Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: Jason Leffler (#70), Tony Raines (#34). NOTES: 1. Race extended three laps due to green-white-checker finish. 2. The #87 Denver Mattress car driven by Kenny Wallace as well as the #08 car without a driver were withdrawn earlier in the week.

The first of two road course races on the schedule, the Toyota/Save Mart 350, was raced at Infineon Raceway at Sears Point in Sonoma, California on Sunday, June 22. Kasey Kahne won the pole, but Kyle Busch dominated the field again starting from the 30th position and winning.

Failed to Qualify: J.J. Yeley (#96), Scott Riggs (#70), Dario Franchitti (#40), Brandon Ash (#02) NOTE: Race was extended by two laps due to green-white-checker finish.

The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 was raced on Sunday, June 29 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. The big surprise was sprung in qualifying when following a rain delay of nearly two hours, Québécois Patrick Carpentier won the pole position over Bobby Labonte. Another big surprise was when Kurt Busch won the race, curtailed 17 laps shy of the scheduled distance as severe thunderstorms hit the area under the seventh and final caution.

NOTE: Race was cut short to 283 laps due to rain.

The Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola was held on July 5 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Martin Truex, Jr.'s car was seized by NASCAR, after the roof template would not fit during opening day technical inspection. Penalties of 150 owner and driver points penalties and a $100,000 fine along with his crew chief and his assistant (car chief) were both suspensded for six races being announced on July 8. Paul Menard won the pole, the first of his Sprint Cup career. Tony Stewart became extremely ill on lap 73 and was replaced by former teammate J. J. Yeley. Kyle Busch won his sixth race of the season and the tenth of his career.

NOTE: Race was extended two laps under a green-white-checker finish.

The second half of the season began with the 400, held under the lights for the first time on July 11 at Chicagoland Speedway in in the Chicago, Illinois suburb of Joilet. It also served as the conclusion of TNT's Summer Series schedule. Qualifying was cancelled due to rain, so the field was set by NASCAR's rulebook. Points leader Kyle Busch won his seventh race of the season.

Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: Johnny Sauter (#08) and Tony Raines (#34).

The Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, kicking off ESPN and ABC's portion of the schedule, was run on July 27 at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Indianapolis suburb of Speedway, Indiana. Jimmie Johnson won the pole and then the race, which was slowed by nine out of eleven competition cautions because of extreme tire wear.

The Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 was held on August 3 of this year at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. For the second straight week, Jimmie Johnson won the pole, but this time, it was Carl Edwards getting the win.

Failed to qualify: Chad Chaffin (#34).

The Centurion Boats at the Glen, the second and final road course race of the season, was held on August 10 at Watkins Glen International in the New York village of said racetrack. Qualifying was canceled due to rain, and the field was set by the rulebook. Kyle Busch swept both road races with his eighth Cup win and sixteenth overall in all three major series, and clinched the top position in the Chase for the Cup.

Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: Boris Said (#60) and Brian Simo (#34).

The 3M Performance 400 was held August 17 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Team Red Bull's first pole position was earned by Brian Vickers in qualifying. A varitable parade of Roush Fenway Racing was led by race winner Carl Edwards, as four of the top five were all from the RFR stable and all five made the top ten.

Failed to Qualify: Johnny Sauter (#08).

The Sharpie 500 was held August 23 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Carl Edwards, the defending race champion, would start on the pole and in the process, wrapped up a position in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He then would go on to win the race, but on-track fireworks ensued afterwards when runner up Kyle Busch, whom Edwards would pass with 30 laps to go on a bump and run, turned Edwards' #99 Office Depot Ford sideways on the cooldown lap.

Failed to qualify: Jeff Green (#34), Johnny Sauter (#08), Patrick Carpentier (#10), Stanton Barrett (#50).

The Pepsi 500 was held on August 31 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. As part of the 2009 NASCAR realignment, this became the final race to be held here on Labor Day weekend. In 2009, this race becomes part of the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup, taking over the spot occupied for the fall race at Talladega Superspeedway, and was to have concluded ESPN's portion of the television schedule. Jimmie Johnson took the pole position, and dominated the race to win.

Failed to qualify: Tony Raines (#70).

The final "regular season" race, the Chevy Rock and Roll 400, was scheduled to have been held on Saturday, September 6 at Richmond International Raceway in Henrico County, Virginia. However, Tropical Storm Hanna forced a postponement to Sunday, September 7 in the afternoon and television was moved from ABC to ESPN due to prior commitments to carry an WNBA game and an IndyCar Series race from Chicago, Illinois. This race set the field for the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup with the top 12 drivers becoming eligible, and having their points reset to 5,000 with a ten-point bonus for each win they earned in the first 26 races of the season. As Hanna canceled qualifying for the race, the field was set by rulebook.

Failed to make race as qualifying was canceled due to rain: Joey Logano (#02), Sterling Marlin (#09), Tony Raines (#34).

Drivers in green made Chase for Sprint Cup.

The first race of the 2008 Chase, and the 27th race of the season, the Sylvania 300, was run September 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Qualifying was canceled due to rain, so for the second week in a row, NASCAR's rulebook set the field. When Kyle Busch suffered mechanical problems with a bad sway bar, Greg Biffle won his first race since last October.

Failed to make race as qualifying was canceled due to rain: Tony Raines (#34) and Carl Long (#46). NOTE: The #02 car, which was to have been driven by Joey Logano was withdrawn as he was entered in the #96 ride.

The Camping World RV 400, the second race in the 2008 Chase and the 28th race overall, was run September 21 at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Jeff Gordon won his third pole of the season, but it was Greg Biffle winning his second straight race.

Failed to qualify: Chad Chaffin (#34), Johnny Sauter (#08), Stanton Barrett (#50).

The Camping World RV 400 presented by Coleman, the third race in the Chase and the 29th overall this season, is scheduled for September 28 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Juan Pablo Montoya won his first NSCS pole for this race, however, he was disqualified and placed in the back of the field because of illegal shock absorbers that exceeded the maximum allowed by NASCAR, and Jimmie Johnson, who was second, was awarded the pole and went on to win the race.

Failed to qualify: Michael McDowell (#00), Johnny Sauter (#08).

The AMP Energy 500, the fourth race in the 2008 Chase and the 30th overall in the season, was held on October 5 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Tony Stewart won the race, his first victory of the 2008 season, ending a winless streak of 43 races. Travis Kvapil pulled off a "Talladega Surprise" and won the pole position. In a race that saw a record 64 lead changes among 28 drivers, Regan Smith crossed the finish line in first place. However, he was dropped to 18th place (the last position on the lead lap) for illegally passing eventual winner Stewart in the tri-oval by driving below the yellow line on the inside of the track, which is prohibited at restrictor plate tracks. This race will be moved to November 1, 2009 as part of the 2009 NASCAR Schedule Realignment and the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway will be run in this spot next season.

Failed to qualify: Patrick Carpentier (#10) Sam Hornish, Jr. (#77). NOTES: 1. The #08 car, which was to have been driven by Boris Said, was withdrawn earlier in the week. 2. Race extended two laps due to green-white-checker finish rule.

The Bank of America 500, the sole night race on the Chase schedule which marks its' halfway point and the 31st overall race of the season, was held Saturday night, October 11 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Charlotte, North Carolina suburb of Concord. Qualifying was cancelled due to rain and the field was set by the rulebook for the eighth time this season. Jimmie Johnson was the polesitter, while Jeff Burton won the race and became a contender in the 2008 Chase once again.

Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: Brad Keselowski (#25), Bryan Clauson (#40), Derrike Cope (#75), Scott Speed (#82).

The TUMS QuikPak 500, race number six in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and the 32nd overall race of the season, was held on October 19 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Qualifying was cancelled due to rain, and the field was set by the rulebook for the ninth time this season. Jimmie Johnson was the winner.

NOTE: Race extended four laps due to green-white-checker finish rule.

Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: Sterling Marlin (#09), Derrike Cope (#75).

Following the race at NASCAR's Research and Development Center, an inspection found that Team Red Bull's #83 Toyota, driven by Brian Vickers, had sheet metal that was thinner than required. As a result, crew chief Kevin Hamlin and car chief Craig Smokstad were suspended indefinitely, Hamlin was fined $100,000 and the team lost 150 owner and driver points.

The Pep Boys Auto 500, the seventh race in the Chase and the 33nd overall event this season, was scheduled to be raced on Sunday, October 26th at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. As part of the 2009 schedule realignment, the race will be run in 2009 on Labor Day weekend and be replaced in the Chase schedule by the Pepsi 500 in Fontana, California while the date for this race will be used to run the AMP Energy 500 in Talladega, Alabama. For the third consecutive race and 10th overall this season, qualifying was cancelled because of rain, which meant Jimmie Johnson would be on the pole. Carl Edwards won his 7th race of the season.

Failed to make race as qualifying was cancelled due to rain: Joey Logano (#02), Bryan Clauson (#40). NOTE: The #08 car, which was to have been driven by Johnny Sauter, was withdrawn earlier in the week.

The Dickies 500, the third-to-last race in the Chase and the season (race eight in the Chase and race 34 in the overall season) was held on November 2 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Jeff Gordon won his fourth pole of the year and his first at the track. Carl Edwards won his second consecutive race at the track making it his eighth win of the season.

Failed to qualify: Johnny Sauter (#08), Max Papis (#13), Bryan Clauson (#40), Chad McCumbee (#45), Tony Raines (#70).

The Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, serving as the penultimate Chase (ninth) and season (35th) race, was held on Sunday, November 9 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Jimmie Johnson increase his Championship lead by winning the race and leading the majority of it. The race was delayed for just over an hour due to a light rain shower at Lap 44, and a 9 car pileup on lap 273.

NOTE: Race extended one lap due to green-white-checker finish rule.

The 2008 season and Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship ended at Homestead, Florida's Homestead-Miami Speedway with the final race of the season, the Ford 400 on November 16th, 2008. Carl Edwards won his ninth race of the season.

Failed to Qualify: Max Papis (#13) Sam Hornish, Jr. (#77), Ken Schrader (#96).

Robby Gordon was originally docked 100 points following the Daytona 500 for use of an illegal nose on his car; however, on March 5, the points were given back to his drivers and owners points total, but the team was fined $150,000 instead of $100,000 for said infraction.

To the top

2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

The 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season started at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 12 with the Bud Shootout and ended on Sunday, November 19 with the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup began with the Sylvania 300 on Sunday, September 17 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing, was the defending series champion, but lost out in defending his championship this year, having finished outside of the top 10 in the points standings after the Chevy Rock and Roll 400. He did, however, claim a $1 million (US) bonus as the best finisher outside the Chase for the Nextel Cup drivers, winning three of the ten Chase races.

The 2006 season was the first for Ford's all-new Fusion, which replaced the Taurus both in NASCAR and in showrooms. Also, a new version of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, called the Monte Carlo Super Sport (SS for short) debuted on the circuit.

Several new drivers were in their first stint as regulars on the NEXTEL Cup circuit in 2006. Martin Truex Jr. raced the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) after winning back-to-back Busch Series championships in 2004 and 2005. The #15 car, which was vacated by Michael Waltrip, is being driven by another rookie, Paul Menard, and is being sponsored by his father's Menards Home Improvement stores and ran a partial schedule of seven races.

The vacancy left following Rusty Wallace's retirement from the Penske #2 Miller Lite Dodge, was filled by former 2004 NEXTEL Cup champion Kurt Busch. Jamie McMurray took over for Busch in the #26 Sharpie / Crown Royal / Irwin Tools ride for Roush Racing which had previously been the #97. In addition, Mark Martin continued his "Salute to You" tour for an encore with new sponsorship from AAA and 3M, who replaced Viagra on the hood of the #6 Ford.

With the egressing of both McMurray and Sterling Marlin from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Casey Mears became the senior driver and moved from the #41 Target Dodge to the Texaco Havoline #42 car. Reed Sorenson took the wheel of the #41 Target ride and David Stremme became the pilot of the #40 car sponsored by Lone Star Steakhouse and Coors Light. Marlin, who was the driver of the #40 a year ago, drove the #14 (formerly #10) ride for MB2 Motorsports, which was sold to resort magnate Bob Ginn during the season, with partial sponsorship from Waste Management. Scott Riggs took the #10 Valvoline-sponsored car and number to Evernham Motorsports, where they switched from Chevy to Dodge.

The #66 (formerly #0) car, now with full-time sponsorship from Best Buy Electronics stores and vacated by Mike Bliss, was driven by Jeff Green, leaving Petty Enterprises' fabled #43 Cheerios car open for former Joe Gibbs Racing driver (and former Cup champion when the series carried the Winston Cup Series banner) Bobby Labonte to step in, and new teammate/boss Kyle Petty has brought Wells Fargo, NTB and Schwan's to the #45 Dodge he drives, with Schwan's moving from the #49 ride. J. J. Yeley took the wheel of JGR's #18 Interstate Batteries ride and Denny Hamlin, who scored three top ten finishes at the end of last season in the #11 FedEx ride, earned the full-time seat for 2006, paying off with two wins and Rookie of the Year honors.

Waltrip and his sponsor, NAPA, left DEI for Bill Davis Racing and the new #55 car, but ownership was transferred to the newly merged (with the old #77 team) Waltrip-Jasper Racing in order to ensure that Waltrip made the first five races. Despite the change, the #55 still receives most of its equipment and crew from Bill Davis Racing. On January 23 in Charlotte, North Carolina as part of the annual Media Tour, NASCAR announced that the Toyota Camry will be added to the series in 2007, and become the first non-American brand to run in the premier series since Jaguar raced in the mid 1950s. Waltrip-Jasper Racing and BDR will become one of the first Toyota teams because, despite the fact that they currently race Dodges in Nextel Cup, they have done so without Dodge's support because BDR races Toyotas in the Craftsman Truck Series. The team recently hired Dave Blaney to take the wheel of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge. A third Toyota team, which will carry the #83, will be owned and sponsored by Red Bull Energy Drink, with Brian Vickers scheduled to drive. There were stories that they would also buy the #7 Jim Smith-owned team driven by Robby Gordon, who is sponsored by Red Bull, but those were denied. Bill Elliott, the 1988 series champion drove in an attempt for three races for Red Bull in a Dodge, as the 2006 Camry was not approved for racing. He didn't make any of the races in the ride, nor did former Champ Car driver A.J. Allmendinger.

Hall of Fame Racing, a new NASCAR team created by former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, fielded their first car, the #96 sponsored by Texas Instruments' DLP technology. Terry Labonte, a two-time series champion, drove the car for the first five races utilizing the past champions provisional rule, as the team was new at the start of the season, and Tony Raines took over at Martinsville. Terry Labonte will officially wound down his career "Texas Style" in the #44 Hendrick Motorsports second Kellogg's ride following the Dickies 500 race in November in his home state at Texas Motor Speedway, finishing 34th.

Brent Sherman took over the #49 Dodge for BAM Racing with new sponsor Serta Mattresses and State Water Heaters, but was replaced by Kevin Lepage, who had started the season in the Peak Fitness Racing #61, which was the #66 in 2005. Ken Schrader moved to the famous Wood Brothers #21 Ford for Ricky Rudd which not only has the U.S. Air Force and Ford Motorcraft sponsorship, but also Little Debbie on board as a new sponsor, and the #07 car, sponsored by Jack Daniels with Blaney's departure, was piloted by Clint Bowyer for Richard Childress Racing.

Other moves saw Scott Wimmer moved to the Morgan-McClure Motorsports Aero Exhaust Chevrolet replacing Mike Wallace, Travis Kvapil moved from the Jasper team to the PPI Motorsports Tide Chevrolet team. Front Row Motorsports hired Chad Chaffin to run for Rookie of the Year honors and Randy LaJoie, who has been replaced by Chad Blount, to run full time in its #34 and #92 teams, then bought Peak Fitness Racing's #61, suspending the operations of the #92 car. Chaffin planned to run for rookie of the year. Furniture Row Racing announced it would run full time with Kenny Wallace in the #78 Chevrolet.

The silly season never ended after that. Competitive Edge Motorsports closed, Marathon Petroleum Company now to sponsor Kyle Petty. Jeremy Mayfield was released for Evernham Motorsports, Elliott Sadler was released from Robert Yates Racing. Sadler will drive the #19 for Evernham and David Gilliland will drive #38 of Robert Yates Racing taking effect at GFS Marketplace 400. Scott Wimmer parted from Morgan-McClure Motorsports, and in a game of musical drivers, 2002 Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton, who had been sitting on the sidelines, took over late in the season. Mike Bliss took over in the #49 for BAM Racing.

List of full time teams of 2006.

NOTE: An asterisk (*) in each Top Ten finish denotes a rookie driver.

This non-points race, which involves the previous season's pole winners and past Shootout winners, was held February 12, 2006, at Daytona International Speedway after a postponement of one day due to rain, and in a major upset, rookie Denny Hamlin won the event after qualifying at the Checker Auto Parts 500 last November in Phoenix.

Jeff Burton won the pole for the race with a speed of over 189 mph, and would start alongside Jeff Gordon in an all-Chevy front row. Gordon would win the second Gatorade Duel (his third career victory in a Daytona qualifying race) after Elliott Sadler won in race 1, which was delayed by showers.

The weather dawned cloudy and cold for the 48th running of "The Great American Race", as Jeff Burton led the field to the green at 2:45 p.m., the latest scheduled start in the history of the race (so as to get a finish in prime time.) There were several lead changes in the early going in route to a race record of 32. Tony Stewart was a magnet for controversy, tangling with Jeff Gordon on lap 48 and Matt Kenseth on lap 106. Stewart was penalized for aggressive driving after the Kenseth incident, in which he blocked the 17 car down into the grass on the backstretch, which led to a Kenseth spin. Kenseth took matters into his own hands and was black flagged for hitting Stewart's car in retaliation on pit road. All three drivers involved in the incidents would repair their cars and get back into contention. Carl Edwards, a popular dark horse candidate for the Nextel Cup title, got off to a bad start when he was collected in a five-car incident on lap 80 that included Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty and two other cars. Edwards finished 43rd and last.

Jimmie Johnson had one of the strongest cars all day, despite the suspension of crew chief Chad Knaus for rules violations. He took the lead with 10 laps to go just as the caution flag came out for an incident between Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray. It set up a 10-lap battle for the win, which was extended into "overtime" when McMurray and Jeff Burton collided on lap 197. The green-white-checker finish was anti-climactic, as Casey Mears and Ryan Newman battled for second, leaving Johnson to take the victory. The race ended under caution just before Johnson crossed the line. The 48th Daytona 500 was the first win for the 48 car on a restrictor plate track and his 19th career victory.

Body styles and engines were the story in the second race of the Nextel Cup season, the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway on February 26. Kurt Busch won the pole (187.086 mph) using a 2004 Dodge Intrepid-styled body, as opposed to the new Dodge Charger, which his Penske Racing team believed was aerodynamically superior. Bobby Labonte and the #43 team ran the Intrepid as well. Others, including Evernham Motorsports drivers Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne, drove the Charger.

On race day, Greg Biffle dominated, leading 168 of the first 218 laps. Biffle won last year's spring race at California, finished second in the fall, and had won the Busch race the day before. Tony Stewart was the fastest Chevy in the early going. He overcame the car falling off the jack on a pit stop and an unscheduled stop for a flat tire to claw his way back among the leaders only to have an engine failure at lap 215, ending a string of 30 straight races without a DNF. Biffle continued up front until lap 226. He reported to the crew that his engine had lost a cylinder and a few laps later, he retired to the garage. This left Matt Kenseth to take the lead and only a late-race caution kept him from pulling away. Smoke and oil from the #4 car of Scott Wimmer brought out a yellow with three laps to go. Kenseth easily held off Jimmie Johnson in the green-white-checker finish to earn his 11th career win.

After a week off, the Nextel Cup series returned to action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 12, 2006 for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. Greg Biffle clocked the fastest lap in qualifying at 172.403 mph.

In the third consecutive race to require a green-white-checker finish, Jimmie Johnson blew past Matt Kenseth on the last corner of the day to get his 20th career victory and second of the season. Kenseth looked like a good bet to cruise to victory before Denny Hamlin and Kenny Wallace wrecked three laps from the end, bunching the field and leading to the overtime finish. Before the lap 268 restart, Kenseth told his crew that his engine felt weak, but he was able to protect the lead until the last corner, where Johnson, who had not led all day, overtook the 17 car on the high side to take the win by a half a car length.

There were no extra laps in race four of the Nextel Cup season, the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but there was an extra day, as rain showers forced the green flag to be moved to Monday, March 20 at 11 a.m. Television coverage moved to cable's FX channel for the race (with some exceptions).

Kasey Kahne sat on the pole with a speed of 192.553 mph, edging Ryan Newman by .002 seconds. Bill Lester qualified 19th in the #23 Waste Management Dodge Charger, becoming the first African-American to start a NASCAR Nextel Cup race since 1986. He finished 38th, six laps down. Last year's Atlanta winner, Carl Edwards eliminated himself from contention early. He damaged the front end of the 99 car after hitting Dave Blaney on pit road on lap 45 during a caution to address the stopped car of Kyle Busch. Bobby Labonte ran in the top 10 for the first 50 laps before his engine failed on lap 55. Another scary incident took place on pit road during the sixth caution of the day (laps 189-197), when Reed Sorenson hit John Slusher, catch can man for Robby Gordon's crew, as he pulled out of his pit stall. Slusher was attached to a backboard but treated at the infield care center.

Several rookies had good days at Atlanta. Paul Menard and Reed Sorenson finished in the top ten, and Denny Hamlin led 16 laps. He was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop because of a loose condition, and finished 31st.

On the track, the 9 car was near the front all day. Kahne took the lead from Greg Biffle with 79 laps to go. Despite a challenge from Mark Martin, Kahne was not seriously challenged down the stretch and visited victory lane for the second time in his career. Kahne was the first driver to win from the pole since Matt Kenseth in the 2005 Sharpie 500.

The fifth race of the season, the Food City 500, was held at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 26, 2006. Qualifying was cancelled on March 24 due to snow, sleet and rain, and the field was set with top 35 owners points from 2005, the Champion's Provisional (for Terry Labonte) and seven others, based on qualifying attempts in 2006. As a result, 2005 champion Tony Stewart sat on pole.

The race featured 18 cautions, and over 100 of the 500 laps were run under the yellow flag. Points leader Jimmie Johnson made contact with the car of Reed Sorenson which caused a flat tire and put the 48 car multiple laps down. He finished 30th. Lap 188 saw the most notable wreck of the first half of the race, as Clint Bowyer spun Dave Blaney, causing a chain reaction that collected David Stremme, Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip and brought out a red flag to clean up.

Jeff Gordon spun Martin Truex Jr. out on lap 415 in an incident that collected Jeff Burton, Robby Gordon and J. J. Yeley. Kurt Busch, who had made up two laps lost earlier in the day due to tire problems, used the "bump-and-run" to nudge Matt Kenseth out of the lead with four laps to go. Jeff Gordon used the same tactic to take third, but on the final lap, Kenseth used the bump and run to spin Gordon out as Busch raced to victory. Gordon finished 21st and was involved in a shoving match with Kenseth on pit road after the race, for which he was put on probation and fined $10,000 by NASCAR.

The win was Busch's fifth in 11 career races at the Tennessee track and the fifteenth in his career. It was Dodge's first win at Bristol since Richard Petty in 1975.

Failed to make field: Chad Chaffin (#34), Mike Skinner (#37), Mike Garvey (#51), Derrike Cope (#74), Kenny Wallace (#78), Morgan Shepherd (#89), Chad Blount (#92).

The sixth race of the season, the DirecTV 500, was held at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2006. Jimmie Johnson won the pole.

The Samsung/Radio Shack 500, the seventh race of the season was held at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2006. Kasey Kahne won the pole.

Failed to qualify: Brent Sherman (#49), Chad Blount (#92), Kenny Wallace (#78), Chad Chaffin (#34), Stanton Barrett (#95).

The Subway Fresh 500, the eighth race of the season was held at Phoenix International Raceway on April 22, 2006. Kyle Busch won the pole.

The ninth race of the season, the Aaron's 499, was scheduled to be held at Talladega Superspeedway on April 30, 2006. However, due to rain starting one lap prior to the green flag, the event was postponed until the following day. Television coverage was moved from FOX to FX except for several FOX stations which elected to carry the race. Elliott Sadler won the pole. The Aaron's 499 was one of five impound races this year in the NEXTEL Cup Series.

The Crown Royal 400, NASCAR's tenth race of the season was held at Richmond International Raceway on May 6, 2006. Greg Biffle won the pole. This was the second impound race of the 2006 season.

The Dodge Charger 500, the eleventh race of the season was held at Darlington Raceway on May 13, 2006. Kasey Kahne won the pole.

This non-points race doubleheader was held May 20, 2006, at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Scott Riggs won the pole for the NEXTEL Open, while Kasey Kahne won the All-Star Challenge pole in the unique three-lap qualifier that included a required four-tire pit stop.

§ - Winner of NEXTEL Open.

The twelfth points-paying race, the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR's longest race in terms of distance, was run on May 28, 2006 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Scott Riggs won the pole.

Failed to qualify: Kevin Lepage (#49), Hermie Sadler (#00), Chad Chaffin (#61), Michael Waltrip (#55)+, Stanton Barrett (#95), Mike Garvey (#51), Chad Blount (#34), Carl Long (#37), Kirk Shelmerdine (#27), and Kertus Davis (#72).

The thirteenth race of the season, the Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America, was held at Dover International Speedway on June 4, 2006. Ryan Newman won the pole for this race.

Failed to qualify: Carl Long (#34), Donnie Neuenberger (#52), Chad Chaffin (#61), and Stanton Barrett (#95).

The Pocono 500, the fourteenth race of the season was held at Pocono Raceway on June 11, 2006. Denny Hamlin sat on pole and led 49 of the first 50 laps before crashing and coming back from 40th place to become the first rookie to win in 2006.

The fifthteenth race of the season, the 3M Performance 400, was held at Michigan International Speedway on June 18, 2006. Kasey Kahne won the pole.

Race number sixteen on the 2006 schedule was the Dodge/Save Mart 350, the 100th road race in Cup history. The race was held at Infineon Raceway on June 25, 2006. Kurt Busch won the pole.

The Pepsi 400, the traditional "halfway point" of the season, and the seventeenth race of the season, was held at Daytona International Speedway on July 1, 2006. Boris Said won the pole, his first on an oval. This race was the third impound race of the season.

The USG Sheetrock 400, the Nextel Cup Series' eighteenth race of the season, was held at Chicagoland Speedway on July 9, 2006. Jeff Burton won the pole. Jeff Gordon won his second race of the year after the race was extended to 270 laps due to a green-white-checker finish after spinning out leader Matt Kenseth with three laps remaining.

The nineteenth race of the season, the Lenox Industrial Tools 300, was held at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 16, 2006. Ryan Newman won his second pole of the season. Kyle Busch got his first win of 2006 in a race extended by the green-white-checker finish rule in which a caution setting up the green-white-checker finish was extended due to another crash under caution involving Michael Waltrip and Robby Gordon just before the green flag was to have flown on lap 304.

The twentieth race of the season, the Pennsylvania 500, was held at Pocono Raceway on July 23, 2006. Denny Hamlin took the pole in qualifying and went on to win the race, earning his second career win and sweeping both races at Pocono.

The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, the twenty-first race of the season and the second richest race on the Nextel Cup circuit, was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 6, 2006. Jeff Burton won the pole. Jimmie Johnson came back from 38th place to become the second driver to win both the Daytona 500 and the Allstate 400 in the same season, first accomplished by Dale Jarrett in 1996.

The AMD at The Glen, NASCAR's second and final road course race of the season and the twenty-second race on the season, was held at Watkins Glen International on August 13, 2006. Kurt Busch won the pole.

The GFS Marketplace 400, the twenty-third race of the season was held at Michigan International Speedway August 20, 2006. Jeff Burton won his fourth pole of the year. Matt Kenseth held off Jeff Gordon in the closing laps to earn his third victory of the season.

One of the most popular races on the circuit, the Sharpie 500, NASCAR's twenty-fourth race of the season was held on August 26, 2006 under the lights on the 0.533 mile Bristol International Speedway. Kurt Busch won the pole for this event. Matt Kenseth won his second straight NEXTEL Cup race and, along with points leader Jimmie Johnson, clinched a berth in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.

Failed to qualify: Chad Chaffin (#61), Hermie Sadler (#00), Mike Wallace (#09), Mike Skinner (#37). NOTE: Morgan Shepard (#89) and Stanton Barrett (#30) withdrew from qualifying.

The twenty-fifth race, and the penultimate race prior to the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup was the Sony HD 500, held at California Speedway on September 3, 2006. Kurt Busch won the pole.

The twenty-sixth and final race prior to the Chase, the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 was held at Richmond International Raceway on September 9, 2006. Following this race, the top ten drivers in point qualified for the ten-race Chase. Richmond-area native Denny Hamlin won the pole in front of his hometown fans, and clinched a spot in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. This was the season's fourth impound race.

With the top ten positions all locked in, the playoff began.

The Sylvania 300, the first race in the 2006 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, was held September 17 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Kevin Harvick won the pole and the race, becoming the overall points leader for the first time in his career.

The Dover 400, the second race of the 2006 Chase, was held September 24 at Dover International Speedway. Jeff Gordon won the pole.

The third race of the 2006 Chase, the Banquet 400, was held October 1 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Kasey Kahne won the pole. Tony Stewart captured his third win of the year despite running the last half of the final lap with no fuel.

Considered the wild card track of the Chase, the fourth race on the 2006 Chase, the UAW-Ford 500 was held on the newly-repaved Talladega Superspeedway Sunday, October 8, 2006. The repaving was the first on the 2.66 mile trioval since 1979. David Gilliland won his first career pole. This race was the fifth and final impound race of the season. Brian Vickers won his first Nextel Cup race when he was declared the winner after he, Jimmie Johnson, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. made contact on the final lap.

Race number five on the 2006 Chase, and the halfway point of the playoff, the Bank of America 500, was held on Saturday, October 14, 2006 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. The event is the only Saturday night race in the Chase. Scott Riggs won the pole, and Kurt Busch had his 3rd-place run disqualified due to an unapproved right rear shock absorber. It cost him 50 points (along with a similar deduction for Penske Racing) and $25,000 (US) in fines as well as a four race suspension for his crew chief.

The sixth event on the Chase, the Subway 500, was held on October 22, 2006 at Martinsville Speedway outside Martinsville, Virginia. The .526 mile track is the shortest in the NEXTEL Cup series and the Chase as well. Kurt Busch won his sixth pole of the season. Ward Burton, the 2002 Daytona 500 champion, returned to the circuit to drive the Morgan-McClure #4 Chevy after a two-year absence.

The seventh Chase event, the Bass Pro Shops 500 was held at Atlanta Motor Speedway, located in Hampton, Georgia, on October 29. Qualifying was rained out, and the starting order was set by owner points, with Matt Kenseth sitting on the pole. A. J. Allmendinger was to have made his NEXTEL Cup debut here. Tony Stewart captured his second race win in a 2006 chase race.

The eighth Chase race, the Dickies 500, was run on November 5, 2006 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. This was the final race for two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Terry Labonte as he officially drove off into the sunset in 36th place. Brian Vickers, the last car to qualify, edged Elliott Sadler, next to last to take time, for the pole in this race.

The ninth race on the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, the Checker Auto Parts 500, will be held at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona on November 12, 2006. Jeff Gordon was the pole winner, while the championship provisional was used by Bill Elliott.

The final race of the season, and the last race in the 2006 Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, the Ford 400, was run on November 19, 2006, at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ford Championship Weekend will crown the next champion at the track. Kasey Kahne won the pole, and won the Bud Pole Award overall championship for 2006, while for the second straight week, Bill Elliott used the Championship Provisional. Juan Pablo Montoya, making his NEXTEL Cup debut, qualified 29th, but finished 34th after his car hit the wall after being clipped by Ryan Newman and caught fire on lap 251.

° - Clinched 2006 NEXTEL Cup Championship.

Failed to qualify: Michael Waltrip (#55); Todd Kluever (#06); Ward Burton (#4); Brandon Whitt (#72); Kenny Wallace (#78); Mike Skinner (#27); Derrike Cope (#74); Kevin Lepage (#61); Carl Long (#46); Chad Chaffin (#34). Note: Morgan Shepherd (#89) withdrew after his only car crashed during practice.

These ten drivers competed in the Nextel Cup Championship.

The battle for ROTY was expected to be fierce, as many predicted that two time Busch Series Champion Martin Truex Jr. would handily win the award, and possibly be a chase contender. However, this was not to be as Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin shocked the NASCAR world the previous year by winning his first career pole at Phoenix while driving a part time schedule. Hamlin again got everyone's attention by not only winning the Bud Shootout in his first attempt, but becoming the first rookie to sweep a racetrack(Pocono Raceway) since Jimmie Johnson accomplished that same feat at Dover. As Hamlin ran away with ROTY, his other competitors had up and down years. Although Clint Bowyer scored a surprising top-ten finish at Daytona, he was not a factor. Hamlin's teammate, J.J. Yeley, struggled mightily. Ganassi rookie Reed Sorenson had an up and down year, scoring his first top five at Michigan but was plagued by bad breaks. David Stremme was constantly fighting to stay within the top 35 in owners points throughout the year, and Brent Sherman was released from his ride with BAM Racing 1/3 into the year.

Until March 6, 2006, NASCAR was without a recognized Hall of Fame. Charlotte, North Carolina, where most NASCAR teams are based near, was chosen over six other candidates (Atlanta, Georgia; Talladega, Alabama; Kansas City, Kansas; Detroit, Michigan; Richmond, Virginia and Daytona Beach, Florida) for the NASCAR Hall of Fame which will be located in the new Charlotte Convention Center, and is scheduled to open in 2009 or 2010. Unlike other sports' halls of fame, which are run mainly by nonprofit organizations, NASCAR will own and operate this hall directly. Winston R. Kelley, a respected motorsports broadcaster and vice president of Duke Energy, a Charlotte-based electrical provider, was named the hall's executive director on June 29.

The 2006 season marked the final year of television contracts with FOX/FX/SPEED and NBC/TNT. NBC aired the Daytona 500 to officially start the season on February 19, with FOX/FX picking up coverage the following week in California up to the Pepsi 400 July 1. FOX and TNT began new eight-year contracts while ESPN (and ABC) both joined in, taking over for NBC.

To the top

2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series


The 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series began on February 16, 2008, at Daytona International Speedway with the Camping World 300. The season will conclude on November 15, 2008, at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the Ford 300. NASCAR's second-tier series will be known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series beginning with the 2008 season, ending the 26 year sponsorship by Anheuser-Busch's Busch Beer. The seven-year agreement gives Nationwide Insurance the exclusive rights to tie its brand to NASCAR's second most popular racing series.

The following table shows the 2008 schedule published by NASCAR. Race names are subject to change.

Bold Italics - Indicates current or next race.

The following is a list of teams that are trying to run the full 35 race schedule in 2008.

The following is a list of teams that are running part time in 2008.

See List of 2008 NASCAR races for a complete list and schedule of the 2008 season races.

The Camping World 300 presented by Chevrolet was held February 16 at Daytona International Speedway. Tony Stewart won the pole and then went on to win the race. Stewart became the first driver to win the season opening Nationwide Series race at Daytona from the pole.

NOTE: On February 20 NASCAR announced that seven Nationwide teams had been penalized due to rule violations during Speedweeks at Daytona. The most notable was Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s #5 team whose crew chief was fined $25,000 and suspended for the next six Nationwide Series events until April 9. Earnhardt Jr. was penalized with the loss of 50 driver points, while car owner Rick Hendrick was penalized 50 owner points. An altered rear spoiler was found during post practice template inspection which enhanced the aerodynamic performance on the car. On March 4 it was announced that some teams had their penalty's upheld and some rescinded by the National Stock Car Racing Commission. Rusty Wallace, Inc. had 3 penalty's rescinded on the #64 car driven by David Stremme. The commission also amended 2 of 3 penalty's issued to Richardson-Hass Motorsports' #14 car driven by David Gilliland. The commission also reduced a fine against Kevin Harvick Incorporated #77 crew chief Charles Wilson from $15,000 to $5,000 and also reduced a suspension from the next 6 races to only 4 races. The commission opted to uphold penalties against the JD Motorsports #0 car driven by Kertus Davis. The commission also decided to amend 2 of 3 penalty's issued to the Phoenix Racing #1 car driven by Johnny Sauter.

The Stater Brothers 300 was held on Monday, February 25 due to rain at the newly renamed Auto Club Speedway of Southern California (previously California Speedway) in Fontana, California. Jeff Burton won the pole due to qualifying being canceled after being rained out. The race was scheduled to be held on the 23rd, but water seeping onto the track surface prevented this, and it was then scheduled to be held after Sunday's Auto Club 500. More rain postponed that, and again also delayed the Nationwide race to Monday, an hour after the completion of the Sprint Cup Series race. Tony Stewart dominated most of the day leading 139 of 150 laps with fellow Toyota driver David Reutimann sitting in 2nd for much of the race.

Did Not Qualify: None only 43 entries.

NOTE: Eric Norris driver of the #14 Carl A. Haas Motorsports entry withdrew, making only 42 starters.

The Sam's Town 300 was held on March 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.Brian Vickers won the pole. Just like the previous two weeks, Tony Stewart dominated the race. However, his chance to score his first Vegas win were dashed on lap 138 when he spun while alongside David Reutimann. Hometown hero Kyle Busch had to start in the back but worked his way through the field and took the lead after a lap 63 pit stop. However, his day would end on lap 103 when he cut a right front tire. Another strong car, the #29 of Jeff Burton, worked his way through the field following an unscheduled pit stop. However, on lap 158, his engine blew while challenging Mark Martin for the lead. Eventually, after 12 cautions, the race would turn to three drivers: Martin who was seeking to return to Victory Lane, Carl Edwards who was looking to keep his momentum going after his Cup win in Fontana, and Brad Keselowski, trying to make a name for himself and become the first non Cup Series driver to win since Aric Almirola last year. On lap 195 while Edwards and Keselowski were going side by side at the start/finish line, Martin tapped Edwards in the rear, spinning him into Keselowski and sending the race into overtime. Martin would easily fend off former teammate Greg Biffle for his first Nationwide Series win of the season. Martin later apologized to both Edwards and Keselowski in victory lane.

The Nicorette 300 was held on March 10 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Jeff Burton won the pole. As usual, the race would be dominated by Sprint Cup Series points leader Kyle Busch. Busch hoped to make history by being the points leader in all three of NASCAR's top racing circuits. He would do so to an extent, leading 153 laps. However, Busch's hopes would be derailed by a flat tire while entering turn 1. His misfortune would open the door for other drivers such as Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, and polesitter Burton. David Ragan would take the top spot after pit stops under the caution for Busch's crash. However, Burton and Kenseth took first and second on lap 177. Things would stay this way for 9 laps until Kenseth made the pass for the lead. The main highlight of the race came on lap 189. While exiting turn two, Dale Earnhardt Jr. attempted to pass Eric McClure. However, McClure spun in front of Dale Jr., turning him into the wall and into the path of rookie Bryan Clauson, who hit McClure's car as it hit the wall, lifting it off the ground. This brought out a red flag lasting several minutes. Although Kenseth led with three to go, debris from Ragan's car brought out a green-white-checkered finish to lap 198, with Kenseth holding off Harvick for his first win of the season.

The Sharpie Mini 300 was held March 15 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Scott Wimmer won the pole. Unlike other races, Kyle Busch would not dominate this one, as he was taken out by a spinning Martin Truex Jr. on lap 13. 2006 Champion Kevin Harvick had one of the best cars all day but fell out of contention after his tire changer failed to secre a lugnut on lap 102. Clint Bowyer dominated the race, leading for 119 laps. However, the move of the race came on lap 164 when Bowyer and eight others stayed out on the track as rain began to hit the track. Up to that point, Bowyer had been fending off a charging Kasey Kahne for the past 40 laps before the rains hit. The cars would be pulled onto pit road on lap 171 and Bowyer would be declared the winner after a 47 minute rain delay.

The Pepsi 300 was held on March 22 at Nashville Superspeedway. Kyle Busch won the pole. As usual, Busch would dominate the race, leading 125 laps. However, his bad luck would continue as he spun coming out of turn 4. This move handed the lead to Bristol winner Clint Bowyer who held the top spot until teammate Scott Wimmer passed him with 20 to go. Wimmer would hang on to snap his 57 race winless streak (since Pikes Peak in 2003) and become the first non-Sprint Cup driver to win a race in 2008.

The O'Reilly 300 was held on April 5 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Kevin Harvick started from the pole after qualifying was rained out. Kyle Busch won the race, it was his first Nationwide Series win of the 2008 season. Busch led four times for 126 laps, including the final 43 laps of the race. Kevin Harvick who led 55 laps broke an axle on his first pit stop and lost 21 laps while his crew replaced it, he finished 34th. Tony Stewart went down a lap with an unscheduled pit stop on lap 71 after cutting his right rear tire. He had run over a lug nut on pit road during a green-flag pit stop on lap 56. Only 14 cars finished on the lead lap.

Failed to make race as qualifying was canceled due to rain: None only 43 cars.

The Bashas' Supermarkets 200 was held on April 11 at Phoenix International Raceway. Kyle Busch won the pole. As usual, the race would be dominated by Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch. Busch hoped to make history by being the points leader in all three of NASCAR's top racing circuits.

The Corona México 200 was held on April 20 at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, Mexico. Colin Braun won the pole. Kyle Busch won the race after passing Scott Pruett with 9 laps remaining. Busch warned over his radio that Pruett would get dumped if he kept blocking him, a reference to the 2007 race. The win was Busch's first on a road course and his third straight Nationwide Series win. Scott Pruett led 36 of the 80 laps and wound up finishing third. Road course veteran Boris Said struggled for most of the day and was spun out by Marcos Ambrose with 28 laps remaining. The damage took Said out of the race, and he angrily ponited at Ambrose. Boris commented that "He either made a mistake or he's incredibly stupid, and I don't think he'd make a big mistake like that. I wouldn't expect it from him. "I'm not going to get mad, I'm just going to get even." Ambrose finished the day in second place, his best finish in the Nationwide Series.

The Aaron's 312 was held on April 26 at Talladega Superspeedway, in Talladega, Alabama. Tony Stewart won the pole and later went on to win the race. Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. dominated much of the race running in first and second place respectively. 2007 IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti blew a tire on lap 11 and spun around onto the apron in Turn 3 into the path of the #91 car driven by Larry Gunselman who slammed into the driver's side of Franchitti's car. Franchitti suffered a fractured left ankle and minor contusions from the hard impact, the injury would sideline him for 5 Sprint Cup Series races. The big wreck (often dubbed "The Big One") occurred on lap 71 when Kevin Lepage was coming off pit road and merged immediately in front of the lead pack traffic. Lepage was only running around 115 mph when the wreck happened compared to the leaders who were running 191 mph. Several contenders were taken out including Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. The race was red flagged to clean up debris. Around 16 cars were involved in the wreck, during the race several drivers were penalized for blending onto the track to early, instead of blending at Turn 2. Lepage publicly apologized for the incident the next day saying "I made a huge driver error by blending onto the racetrack in the wrong area. This caused a multi-car accident and changed the outcome of the race for many teams." Dale Eanhardt, Jr. waited to make a last lap pass down the backstretch on Stewart but didn't have any drafting help, Dale would cross the finish line in sixth position.

Failed to Qualify: None, only 43 cars.

The Lipton Tea 250 was held on May 2 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Kasey Kahne won the pole. The race, like the previous year's featured pit strategy as a key factor. Bryan Clauson (#41) spun out on lap 247 with only 3 laps left bringing out the eighth and final caution. Virginia native Denny Hamlin who was leading at the time of Clauson's spin made a pit stop during the caution for four fresh Goodyear tires. On the restart of a green-white-checkered finish Hamlin blew past Carl Edwards and race leader Kevin Harvick who both opted to not pit during the late race caution. It was Denny Hamlin's sixth Nationwide Series career win and also Joe Gibbs Racing's seventh Nationwide Series victory in 2008. Kyle Busch came from a lap down to finish third, even after Steve Wallace got into Busch on the final lap. Kyle retaliated at Wallace after the checkered flag and spun out fourth place finisher David Ragan in the process. Busch and Wallace had a small altercation on pit road after the race. Wallace who was seated in his #66 Chevy grabbed Busch's helmet when Busch confronted him about the incident.

The Diamond Hill Plywood 200 was held on May 9 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina. Carl Edwards won the pole. Denny Hamlin who won the previous race and was the fastest in the two final practice sessions hit the wall on his qualifying lap and failed to qualify. Carl Edwards, who won the pole, chose to start on the outside of Bowyer, the second-place qualifier. But scraped the wall while racing Bowyer on the opening lap. Edwards' bad luck would continue when on lap 2 his #60 Ford blew the right-front tire and smacked the Turn 3 wall causing his race to end early. Matt Kenseth led Tony Stewart by more than two seconds with 46 laps left in the race but Kenseth made a pit stop on lap 121, complaining that his wheels were chattering. The crew put on four tires and sent Kenseth back on the track, but Kenseth wrecked in Turn 4 on lap 128 trying to catch the first car one lap down. The race was red flagged with 19 laps remaining as track crews cleaned up after Kenseth's wreck. David Ragan spun on lap 138 and hit the wall bringing out the seventh caution. Mark Martin's engine stalled on the restart with three laps remaining due to fuel pickup problems, triggering a six-car wreck, the race was red flagged again for cleanup. Stewart led the field to the restart of a green-white-checker finish on lap 148. Tony Stewart pulled away from Clint Bowyer and went on to win his first race at Darlington Raceway. It was Stewart's fourth victory in the 2008 Nationwide Series, and the sixth of his career. It marked the eighth win for Joe Gibbs Racing in the 2008 Nationwide Series, and the fourth consecutive victory for the team's #20 car.

The Carquest Auto Parts 300 was held on May 24 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina a suburb of Charlotte. Brian Vickers won the pole. Kyle Busch driving for Braun Racing won the race, ending the four-race winning streak of Joe Gibbs Racing. During the final caution (#88) Brad Keselowski tapped (#20) Denny Hamlin's bumper as the cars circled the track behind the pace car. Keselowski was upset with the way Hamlin had raced him. Hamlin retaliated by turning right into Keselowski's Chevrolet, damaging the left-front fender. The move by Hamlin upset Dale Earnhardt, Jr. owner of the #88, who was running fourth right behind the #88. While still under caution Earnhardt drove up and tapped Hamlin's bumper. After the incident an angry post race confrontation erupted between the #88 JR Motorsports crew and the #20 Gibbs crew. The confrontation resulted in three members of the JR Motorsports crew being fined by NASCAR and one member was also suspended for one race.

The Heluva Good! 200 was held on May 31 at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Carl Edwards won the pole. The start of the race was delayed for three hours due to heavy rain. This race marked the much anticipated debut of 18-year-old driving sensation Joey Logano drving the #20 GameStop Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Dario Franchitti made his first start since breaking his ankle in the Aaron's 312 at Talladega. Kyle Busch driving for Braun Racing led 68 laps, but various problems dropped him back in the field. Busch made a pit stop on Lap 105 while leading, but contact between his #32 Toyota and Brad Keselowski's #88 Chevrolet forced both cars back to pit road under the third caution of the race. Busch had rallied back to the eight position when on Lap 169, Braun Racing teammate Jason Leffler lost control of his car and knocked Busch into the Turn 2 wall. From then on, Denny Hamlin would hold off polesitter Edwards and David Stremme over the final 28 laps to win the race. It would be Joe Gibbs Racing's ninth victory in the 2008 Nationwide Series. Joey Logano was able to keep his car in one piece and finish sixth, despite making contact with Kasey Kahne on pit road early in the race.

The Federated Auto Parts 300 presented by Dollar General was held on June 7 at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tennessee. The 18-year-old phenom Joey Logano won the pole in his second ever start. Logano led early for 60 laps. Though Logano, Clint Bowyer, David Reutimann, and others headed for the pits on Lap 79, Brad Keselowski stayed out. This move put Keselowski on a different fuel strategy, pitting late with 41 laps to go instead of pitting with the rest of the field with 77 to go. On Lap 89 Logano was taken out of contention during a four wide race through Turn 4. His #20 Toyota was clipped by Greg Biffle's Ford, turning him sideways into Busch's car before shooting up track and into the outside wall. Late in the race fuel became an issue as Reutimann appeared to have his second Nationwide career win in the bag while being pursued by Bowyer and Kyle Busch. However, a caution brought out by a spinning Brad Teague ruined Reutimann's hopes of victory, as he was passed by Bowyer and Busch on the restart with 8 laps to go. As Bowyer made contact with Reutimann, Keselowski made his move to the inside of Bowyer, taking the lead and eventually his first ever win in his 49th start.

The Meijer 300 presented by Oreo was held on June 14 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky. 18-year-old phenom Joey Logano won the pole. From the drop of the green, Logano and teammate Kyle Busch dominated the race, leading a combined total of 116 laps, with Busch leading a race high 85 laps. It would be the Logano and Busch show until lap 163 when Busch spun coming out of turn 2. From there, Logano went on to win the race, becoming the youngest winner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at only 18 years and 21 days, beating Casey Atwood's long standing record of 18 years, 10 months and 9 days set when he won at Milwaukee in 1999.

The Camping World RV Rental 250 was held on June 21 at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin. The defending 2007 NASCAR Busch Series champion, Carl Edwards, won the event, end his 36-winless streak drought. Edwards had start in the back, due to not making to the track for qualifying. Last week's winner, Joey Logano finished hard strong 2nd. While points leader, Clint Bowyer finished 3rd.

The Camping World RV Sales 200 was held on June 28 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Landon Cassill won the pole but started from the rear due to an engine change. Cassill gained 28 positions but on Lap 47 a tap from Bobby Hamilton, Jr. sent his #5 Chevy into the wall and ended his day. He finished 34th. Tony Stewart who started 8th dominated the race in the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota leading 75 of the 200 laps. Fellow Joe Gibbs driver Kyle Busch also fared well starting 4th and leading 63 laps eventually finishing 3rd. The Braun Racing #32 and #38 cars were painted black, with no sponsor decals on either cars as a symbol of mourning for the team owner's mother, Linda Braun, who passed away before the race. David Reutimann led 25 laps and managed a 7th place finish in his Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. Nationwide points leader Clint Bowyer started 2nd and led 36 laps before finishing 9th. Greg Biffle crashed on the last lap causing the race to end under caution with Stewart, Hamlin, and Busch claiming the top 3 spots. The race marked the first 1-2-3 Nationwide Series finish for Toyota. Stewart's win was the eighth of the season for the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

The Winn-Dixie 250 Powered by Coca-Cola was held on July 4 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Denny Hamlin won the race.

NOTE: Race extended 5 laps / 12.5 miles due to a green-white-checker finish.

The Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola was held on July 11 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Sprint Cup Series regular David Reutimann won the pole. Denny Hamlin started the race in 41st position after a mechanical problem in qualifying forced him to start from the rear. Hamlin rallied back and finished 2nd having one of the fastest cars near the end of the race. Tony Stewart missed a shift at the start of the race causing Kevin Harvick to slam into the back of Stewart's car taking both drivers out of contention for the win. The first caution flag flew on Lap 56 when Jason Leffler spun into the infield grass during green flag pit stops. The second caution was brought out on Lap 63 when Matt Kensth's #17 car spun coming off Turn 4. The third and final caution came out for debris from Tony Stewart's #20 car. The race stayed green setting a record average speed, Kyle Busch had a 3.120 second advantage over Denny Hamlin when he took the checkered flag. The win was Busch's fifth 2008 Nationwide victory, and the 16th of his career. The win gave Joe Gibbs Racing a series record tying 13 wins in a single season, matching in 20 races the 13 wins Richard Childress Racing scored in all of 2007.

The Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 was held on July 19 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Carl Edwards was the winner.

The Kroger 200 was held on July 26 at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont, Indiana. Kyle Busch was the overall winner.

The Food City 250 was held on August at Bristol Motor Speedway. Brad Keselowski was the overall winner.

The Camping World RV Sales 200 was held September 20 at Dover International Speedway. Kyle Busch won the pole and then went on to win the race.

The Kansas Lottery 300 was held at September 27 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Denny Hamlin is the race winner.

The Dollar General 300 was held on October 10 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina suburb of Concord. Kyle Busch was the winner.

The Kroger On Track for the Cure 250 was held on October 25 at Memphis Motorsports Park in Charlotte, Tennessee suburb of Memphis. Carl Edwards was the winner.

Did Not Qualify:#90-Johnny Chapman; #30-Stanton Barrett; #09-John Wes Townley; #0-Larry Gunselman; #56-Travis Kittleson; #75-Tim Weaver.

The O'Reilly Challenge was held on November 1 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas suburb of Dallas. Kyle Busch was the winner.

Did Not Qualify:#89-Morgan Shepherd, #05-Burney Lamar, #09-John Wes Townley, #31-Kenny Hendrick, #91-Justin Hobgood, #78-Johnny Sauter, #84-Mike Harmon.

The Hefty Odor Block 200 was held on November 8 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona suburb of Phoenix. Carl Edwards was the winner.

The Ford 300 was held November 15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida suburb Miami.Edwards wins the race. Clint Bowyer wins his first championship.

Did Not Qualify:#30-Stanton Barrett, #05-Casey Atwood, #35-Danny O'Quinn, Jr., #70-Mark Green, #23-Robert Richardson Jr., #09-John Wes Townley, #73-Kevin Lepage, #89-Morgan Shepherd, #78-Derrike Cope.

To the top

Joe Gibbs Racing

Joe Gibbs Racing logo.png

Joe Gibbs Racing 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 amassed three Sprint Cup Championships since the year 2000 and participated in other lower-tier NASCAR series for driver development, winning one championship in the East Division of the NASCAR Camping World Series.

Despite past success with General Motors, winning its three championships with Pontiacs and Chevrolets, the team switched to newcomer Toyota in 2008. They currently field the #11 FedEx Toyota Camry for Denny Hamlin, the #18 M&M's/Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Kyle Busch, and the #20 The Home Depot Toyota Camry for Joey Logano in the Sprint Cup Series, and two teams in the Nationwide Series with primarily its Sprint Cup drivers. JGR also fields the #18 Slim Jim Toyota Camry for African-American development driver Marc Davis in the Camping World East Series.

JGR occasionally fields a fourth car for R&D purposes. In 2007, Aric Almirola made his NEXTEL Cup debut in the #80 car at Las Vegas. 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.

In 2008, Joey Logano drove this car, renumbered as 02, with The Home Depot sponsorship and a reverse scheme of teammate Tony Stewart's. He was to make his Sprint Cup debut at Richmond International Raceway, but qualifying was rained out by Tropical Storm Hanna and at Atlanta qualifying was rained out so he could not race. This car will return in 2009 with sponsorship from Farm Bureau Insurance, who has been banned from the Nationwide Series due to the Viceroy Rule. This car will most likely be driven by JGR development driver Marc Davis.

Previously JGR's research and development car, what is now the #11 car debuted at the 2003 Pepsi 400 as #80, driven by Mike Bliss and sponsored by Advair and 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, and Ricky Craven finished 30th at Talladega, and J. J. Yeley running two races in the car. The car went full-time in 2005, receiving sponsorship from FedEx and Jason Leffler driving. Leffler was released after struggling in 19 starts and Yeley, Terry Labonte, and Denny Hamlin finished out the season. Hamlin had the most starts (7) and finished in the top 10 three times. He 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. By the end of July 2006, Hamlin had three poles and three victories (the Budweiser Shootout and both Pocono Raceway races) to give the rookie a berth in the Chase for the Cup, where he would finish 3rd in points. In 2007, Hamlin won the first of two races at New Hampshire International Speedway in 2007, and finished 12th in points.

Joe Gibbs Racing debuted at the 1992 Daytona 500 with Dale Jarrett driving the car 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.

After Jarrett slipped to 16th in points in 1994, Bobby Labonte took over, and drove the car until the end of 2005. Labonte won 21 races in the car, and won the then Winston Cup championship in 2000. Since then, Labonte had slipped, as his best finish in the points since then is 6th in 2001, and has not won since 2003 season finale at Homestead. The team was progressing in 2004 until the team made a midseason firing of crew chief Michael McSwain, and Brandon Thomas took over for the rest of the season. 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, including a loss in the final turn at the Coca-Cola 600, and a poor finish in the 2005 season led to a split between Labonte and JGR after 11 seasons.

After Labonte's departure, Gibbs announced that Busch Series driver J. J. Yeley would replace Labonte in the #18 for 2006 and 2007. Yeley raced two seasons for Gibbs, and after failing to finish higher than 21st in points, he moved to Hall of Fame Racing. On August 14, 2007, Kyle Busch signed a contract to drive the number 18 with Joe Gibbs Racing through 2010. M&Ms will sponsor the Gibbs #18 car in 2008, with Interstate Batteries dropping down to sponsor the team's #18 Nationwide Series car.

Kyle Busch gave Toyota its first Cup win on March 9, 2008. Busch led 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 6 other races at Talladega, Darlington, Dover, Infineon, Daytona, Chicagoland,and Watkins Glen all after only the first 23 races.

Tony Stewart trotted out the #20 Home Depot car at the 1999 Daytona 500, qualifying on the outside pole. He won three races as well as the NASCAR Rookie of the Year honors. Since then, the car has seen very few changes, as Stewart has won 33 races as well as the 2002 championship. He won his second championship in 2005. Home Depot has been the primary sponsor of the car since its debut.

Tony Stewart picked the #20 for this car, as a way to honor a former car owner in sprint car action, Glen Neibel, whose yellow #20 sprint cars were known for having six-cylinder engines instead of eight-cylinder engines in order to run a lighter car.

On June 9th, 2008, Tony Stewart was granted a release from his final year of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing and will move to Haas CNC Racing, renamed Stewart-Haas Racing due to Stewart's 50% ownership. On August 25th, 2008, Joe Gibbs Racing announced Joey Logano would replace Stewart as the driver of the #20 car for the 2009 season in the NSCS.

The current 18 car came under Gibbs control when he purchased the #44 Shell Oil Pontiac from 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 Stewart driving, 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, but Labonte ran only one race before he suffered shoulder injuries in a qualifying crash at Darlington. Late in the year, Jason Leffler 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 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 200 because of sponsorship issues. Mike McLaughlin took his place, and finished seventh in points that season. Despite not winning again in 2002, he moved up to fourth place in points. However, Gibbs wanted his son Coy a ride in the car, and forced McLaughlin out. In his rookie season, Gibbs had two top-ten finishes and finished runner-up to David Stremme for Rookie of the Year. Despite new sponsorship from Vigoro and The Home Depot, the team decided to run a part-time schedule in 2004, with Labonte returning for two races and J. J. Yeley running seventeen races, garnering four top-ten finishes. 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 late November, former Brewco Motorsports development driver Brad Coleman signed a contract to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing. Coleman ran 17 of the 35 NASCAR Nationwide Series races during the 2007 season, sharing the #18 Chevy with Tony Stewart, Aric Almirola, and Kevin Conway. Carino’s Italian Grill sponsored Coleman, while Z-Line Designs sponsored Conway and Goody's/ConAgra Foods sponsored Almirola and Tony Stewart. Almirola put the car on the pole at the season opener at Daytona, while Coleman earned his first career Busch Series pole at Talladega.

The 19 car debuted at the CarQuest Auto Parts 300 in the 2005 season, driven by 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.

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 NASCAR 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 Aric Almirola drove the 20 in 2007 with Tony Stewart also piloting the #20 at Atlanta. Hamlin took the car to victory lane four times including Darlington, Milwaukee, Michigan, and Dover with Milwaukee being credited to Almirola for starting the race. The #20 finished 2nd in the owners points behind RCR's #29.

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 have won races driving it in 2008.

Through the race at Chicagoland Speedway, JGR has won 14 of the 22 Nationwide races in '08 and its drivers have won 15 races overall (Busch won the Dollar General 300 driving for Braun Racing).

On August 17, 2008 both Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide cars (18,20) were found to have illegal magnets attached to the pedals, which were used so that the pedal couldn't be pushed all the way down, so the car would give a false horsepower reading when attached to a dyno machine. Three weeks earlier, all Toyota Camrys in the Nationwide Series, were ordered by NASCAR to reduce Horsepower by 15 hp (11 kW) to make the Camrys more equal in power to the Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge race cars. It is alleged that JGR members attached the magnets to the pedals to give the dyno (horsepower tester) a false reading. Joe Gibbs and son, J.D Gibbs, were outraged about the incident, citing that an internal investigation within JGR will take place to find out who was involved and said that punishment will be handed out to anyone involved. NASCAR is expected to hand out the penalties to JGR by August 19, 2008.

In 2009, Brad Coleman will return to Joe Gibbs Racing and the #20 will be piloted by the team of Hamlin, Logano, and Coleman.

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.

To the top

Source : Wikipedia