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Joe Gibbs Racing Announces 2015 Crew Chief Lineup

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today crew chief assignments for each of its four 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and three NASCAR XFINITY Series teams.

JGR’s 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crew Chief lineup:

Jason Ratcliff, No 20 Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth
Dave Rogers, No. 11 Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin
Darian Grubb, No. 19 Toyota driven by Carl Edwards
Adam Stevens, No. 18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch

JGR’s 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Crew Chief lineup:

Eric Phillips, No. 18 Toyota driven by Daniel Suarez
Chris Gayle, No. 54 Toyota driven by multiple drivers
Mike Wheeler, No. 20 Toyota driven by multiple drivers

“With the expansion of our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operations to four teams next year with the addition of Carl Edwards, we have been able to take a step back and evaluate each of our teams and make decisions that we feel are best for our organization long term,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing.

“Like Jason and Dave previously, Adam (Stevens) has clearly proven that he is ready to move into the Cup Series and we feel that his familiarity with Kyle (Busch) provides the opportunity for us to make that move now. We think pairing Dave (Rogers) with Denny (Hamlin) and Darian (Grubb) with Carl (Edwards) will also make each team stronger heading into next season. Jason (Ratcliff) and Matt (Kenseth) came together quickly and we felt it was in the best interest of the 20 team to keep it as is.

Stevens joins the Sprint Cup Series after spending the previous four seasons as a crew chief in JGR’s NASCAR Nationwide Series. Over that time, Stevens has been a part of 31 wins, 73 top-five and 95 top-ten finishes in 124 starts.

“The XFINITY Series has been very important to us at Joe Gibbs Racing. Not only from a driver development standpoint, but also in the development of crew chiefs and other team members that eventually make their way into our Cup programs. Mike Wheeler has been a vital part of our success with Denny on the Cup side and we’re excited that he will have a chance to be a crew chief. It is a similar transition to the one we made with Chris Gayle a couple of years ago, and Chris will remain with us, but move over to the 54 Toyota with Kyle. We’re also excited to have Eric Phillips join our operations from KBM to work with Daniel Suarez next season.”

Mike Wheeler has been with JGR since December 2002 and served as the race engineer on the No. 11 Cup team since that team’s formation in 2005. He will now serve as crew chief on the No. 20 XFINITY team which will run a full season with multiple drivers. Gayle, who has served as the crew chief on JGR’s No. 11 Nationwide Series team the previous two seasons and was an engineer on JGR’s No. 18 Sprint Cup Series team prior to that, will now lead the organization’s No. 54 XFINITY Series team. Eric Phillips joins JGR from Kyle Busch Motorsports where he served as crew chief for the NASCAR Camping World Series Owner’s Championship No. 51 Tundra team. Phillips, who joined KBM in 2010, will work with Daniel Suarez on the No. 18 XFINITY Series team in 2015.

XFINITY Series Crew Chiefs for 2015

2015 Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series Crew Chiefs will be Eric Phillips for the No. 18 team, Mike Wheeler for the No. 20 team and Chris Gayle for the No. 54 team

Race Report: Homestead-Miami, The Championship 4

With the championship on the line Denny Hamlin led tonight’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with just eight laps remaining, but a series of late cautions proved too much to overcome as Kevin Harvick was able to use fresher tires to make his way to the front for the race win and to claim the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Meanwhile Matt Kenseth finished in sixth-place while a broke axle left Kyle Busch back in 39th.

Hamlin who was confident in his team all week started his No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota from the eighth position and it didn’t take long to understand why the veteran driver was so optimistic. Hamlin maneuvered his way into the top five and led for the first time on lap 64. There was little doubt that the FedEx Camry would be a factor all night. Hamlin would lead five times for a total of 50 laps over the course of the race. He was up front late when the team made the call to remain out to maintain its track position with 18 laps remaining. Hamlin would restart second to Jeff Gordon and would grab the lead and began to drive away from the field. However two late cautions allowed several other teams that had come down pit road for four tires on the earlier stop to gain ground on the ensuing restarts and ultimately the four fresh tires on the 4 car proved too much to overcome. Hamlin would get caught three wide in the middle on the final restart and ended up finishing seventh. He completes his season officially third in the standings.

Kenseth started the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota in the fifth position and was holding steady in the top five when he would get a bit loose and scrape the outside wall. The 20 team would make an extended stop to work on the car and Kenseth would drop back outside the top 15 for the restart. He would patiently work his way back toward the front of the field over the course of the night and was able to earn a strong sixth-place finish. Kenseth completes the season seventh overall in the point standings.

Busch started the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota in the seventh position and was racing just outside of the top ten through the early portion of tonight’s race. The M&Ms crew made adjustments to help the 18 Camry turn better and Busch was able to race his way back into the top five. He would come down pit road under caution on lap 117, but his left rear axle broke as he attempted to exit the pits forcing the team to push the car back to the garage for repairs. He would return to the race 20 laps down and go on to finish the night in 39th. Busch completed the season 10th overall in the points standings.

Kevin Harvick won the race followed by Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top five. There were 13 cautions for a total of 52 laps and 18 lead changes among five different drivers.

Joe Gibbs Racing would like to thank all of our partners for their support throughout the 2014 season. Preparations are already underway for 2015 with the Daytona 500 scheduled to open the season on Sunday, February 22.


Thank You to Our Veterans!

Joe Gibbs Racing is proud and fortunate to have many military veterans on our team. Between them, all five branches of the Uniformed Services are represented. They have served in different capacities all over the world whether in conflict or peacetime. And even though they represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds, they all share a common bond of courage and sacrifice while serving and protecting our country.
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