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Joe Gibbs Racing Announces Crew Chief Changes for 2016 XFINITY Series

Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announced today its crew chief lineup for the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series.

Chris Gabehart will move from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to the XFINITY Series to lead Rookie of the Year Contender Erik Jones in the No. 20 Toyota Camry. Gabehart most recently served as a race engineer on the No. 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team with Denny Hamlin.

Scott Graves joins Joe Gibbs Racing from Roush Fenway Racing and will lead 2015 Rookie of the Year Daniel Suarez in the No. 19 Toyota Camry. Graves won the 2015 XFINITY Series championship with Chris Buescher.

Chris Gayle will return for his fourth season as a crew chief at JGR and lead the No. 18 Toyota Camry team with Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and others.

Sponsorship announcements for the teams will be made at a later date.

Joe Gibbs Racing Announces Crew Chief Changes For 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season

Dave Rogers to Lead No. 19 Team with Driver Carl Edwards
Mike Wheeler Will Be Crew Chief for No. 11 Team with Driver Denny Hamlin

Joe Gibbs Racing announces changes today to its crew chief lineup in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the 2016 season.

Dave Rogers, who most recently served as crew chief for JGR’s No. 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, will transition to lead the No. 19 team in 2016 with driver Carl Edwards.

Mike Wheeler, who had spent 10 years with the No. 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team before transitioning to crew chief for JGR’s No. 20 XFINITY Series team in 2015, will return to work with driver Denny Hamlin in 2016.

Darian Grubb, who had served as crew chief on the No. 19 Sprint Cup Series team last season, is currently exploring several opportunities for the 2016 season.

Meanwhile Jason Ratcliff and Adam Stevens will continue in their current roles as crew chief of JGR’s No. 20 and No. 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams respectively.

“2015 was probably the strongest season we have ever had at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of JGR. “We won more races than we ever have, qualified all four teams into the Chase and were blessed to end it with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.

“I think every year you evaluate each of your teams however and sometimes during that process you find that a change might be in the best interest for all involved. Mike Wheeler is obviously someone that has a long history with Denny (Hamlin) and that No. 11 team. After seeing what he accomplished as a crew chief in our XFINITY Series program last year we felt the timing was right to move him back into our Cup program. Dave Rogers has also been successful in every role he has had with us and we think he will work well with Carl (Edwards) going into 2016.”

Kyle Busch Undergoes Scheduled Offseason Surgery

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Expected to Return for Start of 2016 NASCAR Season

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, had successful surgery this morning to remove two metal plates in his left foot and a metal rod and screws in his right leg. Busch is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of the 2016 NASCAR season in February.

The scheduled offseason surgery removed the plates, rod and screws that were used to help stabilize his foot and leg following injuries suffered in an accident at Daytona International Speedway in February 2015. Today’s surgeries were performed by Dr. Robert Anderson of OrthoCarolina and Dr. Stephen Sims of Carolinas Healthcare System.

Daniel Suárez Wins NASCAR XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award

In what has already been an impressive first full season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Daniel Suárez added another accolade to his resume Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway – the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. In doing so, he became the first Mexican-born driver and the second NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) graduate to receive the award in a NASCAR national series.

“Congratulations to Daniel and his Joe Gibbs Racing team for this great achievement,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president, racing operations. “Watching Daniel and Darrell Wallace Jr. battle throughout the season, two hard-nosed competitors, really speaks to their talent and I look forward to seeing them compete in NASCAR for years to come.”

Also a member of the 2011-2013 NASCAR Next classes, an initiative designed to identify the sport’s next generation of stars, Suárez captured the rookie honors over fellow NASCAR Next and D4D graduate Darrell Wallace Jr. The Monterrey, Mexico native made 33 starts in 2015, posting three Coors Light Pole Awards, eight top-five and 18 top-10 finishes.

“The Sunoco Rookie of the Year program has rewarded drivers for their dedication and competitive drive for more than a decade,” said Drew Kabakoff, Director Brand Marketing, Sunoco. “Daniel has shown both of those qualities and more in his NASCAR XFINITY Series rookie season and is laying the groundwork for an exciting career.”

Suárez will be officially crowned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner on Monday, Nov. 23 at the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Awards at the Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Florida.