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Michael McDowell to Drive for JGR in Nationwide Series

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today that Michael McDowell will join their team of drivers for the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season.

McDowell is currently slated to drive in both Nationwide Series races in Iowa for Pizza Ranch behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota Camry with the potential to add additional races to his schedule for JGR.

“Anytime you have the opportunity to work with someone with the talent and character of Michael you are excited,” said JGR President J.D. Gibbs. “We are blessed with a great group of drivers across all three of our entries in the Nationwide Series next season.”

Joe Gibbs Racing has experienced tremendous success over the past three seasons in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Last season the No. 18 Toyota team captured the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship behind the strength of Kyle Busch’s amazing record 13 victories despite driving in only 29 events. In 2009 the 18 team captured the combined Driver’s and Owner’s titles as Busch drove the full season. Meanwhile, JGR’s No. 20 Toyota team earned the organization’s first NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship in 2008. All together JGR has won an incredible 49 races in the Nationwide Series over the past three seasons.

“These JGR race teams have an incredible performance history” said McDowell. “This is a great opportunity and I am honored to represent Pizza Ranch in their home state of Iowa and drive the No. 18. I appreciate the confidence Pizza Ranch and JGR have in me and plan to make the best of it. ”

This will mark McDowell’s fifth year racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series after making his debut with three races during the 2007 season. He added two more races in 2008 and competed on a full-time basis in 2009, earning five top-10 and 18 top-20 finishes while starting 34 of the season’s 35 races. Last season he competed in 33 of the 35 races with one top-10 and 10 top-20 finishes. McDowell also competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series where he has made 52 career starts over the course of the past three seasons.

McDowell, 26, and his wife Jami live in Huntersville, NC with their two-year-old son Trace.

How It’s Made: NASCAR Hoods

MEET JAY BRASSARD – HOOD FABRICATOR

We all know the importance of the parts under the hood of a racecar, but in NASCAR the hood itself plays several very important roles.

*Editor’s Note: This article was originally composed during the 2011 NASCAR season. Since then, NASCAR has switched to carbon fiber hoods and decklids in competition. Read more about the new hoods here. This article is still provides a great look into the JGR Fabrication shop. We hope you enjoy it!

Aerodynamically speaking, the hood must fit seamlessly onto the body of our Toyota Camry. When you’re traveling at 180-200 mph, even the smallest lip can affect the car’s ability to cut through the air. Beyond the edges of the hood, per NASCAR rules the hood must maintain its original shape and angles under extreme forces. At times the air traveling beneath the car will try to suck the hood down towards the track, creating a large dent in the middle of the hood. This buckling can cause wind resistance to be reduced – an advantage that NASCAR does not permit. To counteract this, several support bars are built into our hoods.
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