Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Crowned NASCAR Team Champs
Kyle Busch, Brad Coleman and Jason Ratcliff combine to win NASCAR Nationwide Series
MIAMI, FL (November 23, 2010) - The Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 NASCAR Nationwide Series Team led by crew chief Jason Ratcliff with drivers Kyle Busch and Brad Coleman were honored as 2010 Team Owner Champions last night during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Awards Banquet at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.
The team clinched the win over Penske's No. 22 Dodge team with a season ending victory by Kyle Busch at Miami-Homestead Speedway on Saturday, putting the No. 18 Toyota up by 71 points for the year and claiming it's third straight championship.
"It was obviously a tremendous blessing for us to have the opportunity to win another owner's championship with Kyle and Brad in the car this year. Both of them did an outstanding job," said crew chief Jason Ratcliff.
Busch credited part-time teammate Brad Coleman for helping win the title.
"We wouldn't be here tonight if Brad hadn't done his job and given us some good finishes," he said of Coleman, who drove six of the year's 35 races while Busch was off Cup racing. "He did a great job and kept us in it."
Coleman couldn't hide his delight. "It's really good to have a backup driver like Kyle Busch," he said, grinning. "I wasn't sure who was going to pick up the slack this season when I decided not to run a full schedule but Kyle stepped in and did the job!"
The Miami-Homestead media center erupted at Coleman's funny comments.
Winning the owners' championship was a big deal for everyone on the team, including team owners J. D. Gibbs and Joe Gibbs.
"It's a huge deal for us because it lets the crew say, 'We're the best,' " said J.D. Gibbs, team president. "It's gratifying to see the team appreciated for doing their job so well. It's a testimonial to the guys back at the shop."
Team owner Joe Gibbs was elated. "We're thrilled. I really appreciate Jason Ratcliff, the team here, Brad Coleman and Safeway Driving Schools. I also want to say thanks to Combos, Interstate Batteries and NOS. It's really hard to put together a team like that to allow us to race in the Nationwide Series. But with Kyle Busch and Z-Line, we really appreciate it. We're thrilled to be a part of it. J.D. (Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing president) works mostly on the Nationwide side, and I take the credit for it. In any case, it's a thrill for us and I appreciate it. And Toyota. I really want to make sure that the championship here and what they've done for us, we couldn't be up here if it wasn't for Toyota. I really appreciate them."
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will be off until the 2011 season takes the green flag at Daytona in February and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Team will begin defense of their title.