Joe Gibbs Racing
No. 20 TEAM WELCOMES BACK JOEY & GAMESTOP: After taking nearly a month off from the NASCAR Nationwide Series, both Joey Logano and his primary Nationwide Series sponsor GameStop will return to the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this weekend at Watkins Glen International. And to celebrate, Logano will be driving a brand new JGR chassis branded solely with the GameStop logo and its familiar red and black paint scheme. Logano last raced in the Nationwide Series on July 16 at New Hampshire International Speedway, where he was running in the top five before a pair of late-race accidents took him out of contention for the win. From this point forward until the end of the season, Logano will miss only three of the remaining 12 Nationwide Series events (Montreal, Atlanta and Richmond). He will carry sponsor GameStop on the car for 10 of those races.
ROAD COURSE RINGER?: Joey Logano hasn’t spent much of his career being known as a “road course ringer” in either the NASCAR Nationwide or Sprint Cup Series. However, thanks to a lot of testing and a lot of coaching from a number of different instructors, namely Max Papis of late, Logano has turned into quite the road racer. Things started to turn around last season at Watkins Glen, when Logano raced his No. 20 GameStop Toyota to a second-place start and finish behind veteran road course racer Marcos Ambrose. Logano then followed that up with a third-place qualifying effort and a sixth-place finish in the Nationwide Series at Montreal last season. He continued his strong road course presence this season on the Sprint Cup side of things, picking up a pole and a sixth-place finish at Infineon Raceway just a month ago.
WELCOME BACK PIT CREW: Not only will Logano be returning to the No. 20 GameStop Toyota this weekend, so will his Sprint Cup Series pit crew, including front tire changer John Royer, who recently returned from a hand injury. On companion race weekend, Logano’s Home Depot crew gets in extra work by pitting the No. 20 GameStop Toyota in the Nationwide Series. And at Watkins Glen, pit stops are even more crucial, as the cars come down pit road the opposite direction they do on oval tracks, therefore making the pit stop work in reverse (the team changes left side tires first, then right side).
CHASSIS: The JGR team will take a brand new chassis to Watkins Glen this weekend. Chassis #20133 will make its debut this weekend with Logano behind the wheel. Chassis #20107, which has been an oval track car for much of the year, was recently transitioned to a road course car, and will serve as the team’s backup.
STAT OF THE WEEK: 10th. The Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 team currently sits 10th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Standings. While that might not be an impressive number to some, the stat seems rather impressive considering the team has made only 19 of 22 starts in 2011. In fact, the No. 20 team higher in the standings than 24 other teams that have made more starts in 2011. Those numbers for the No. 20 team comes on the back of two wins, seven top-fives and 13 top-10 finishes.
Joey Logano Quotes:
“I’m pretty excited about getting back behind the wheel of the GameStop Toyota this weekend and it couldn’t come at a better time. I’m not generally the best road racer out there, but I feel in the past year I’ve been making huge gains at it. Each time I get out there, I’m a little more confident. But the best way to make yourself a better road racer is to just get more seat time and to get as many laps in as you can. So this weekend, getting to get back behind the wheel of the Nationwide Series car and also getting to run the Rolex GT car before the Cup race will help me hone my skills a little more.
“I am definitely more confident on road courses now than I was a year ago. I’ve done a lot of testing and worked with a lot of people to help me get better. This year, I’ve been working with Max Papis, and he’s been a huge, huge help to me. But I think I could say I started turning the corner of road courses last year here at Watkins Glen in the Nationwide race. We ran great in that race and were the only car out there that could compete with Marcos (Ambrose, the eventual winner). Then, we backed that up with a strong run at Montreal with a stout field of road course ringers. Now, I’ve got a pole in the Sprint Cup Series at Sonoma to go with it, so I think I’m getting there. And, not only will I get the chance to make a lot more laps, but I really think we’ve got a shot to win this weekend. Our road course program on the Nationwide side of things is strong and if I can continue running like I have been, keep the mistakes to a minimum and keep the car on the track, I don’t see any reason not to be there at the end of the race.
“It feels good to get back in the Nationwide car and be back with GameStop too. Things are just so nice on the Nationwide side, because we aren’t running for any points or anything over here. It’s all about going for the win. So you just have a different. We can go out there and do what we need to do to get the win. I think it will be a good weekend and I’d finally like to get GameStop back into Victory Lane. They deserve another win soon.”
Adam Stevens Quotes:
“It will be nice to have Joey back this weekend as it seems like it’s been a lot longer than a month since he was last in the car. Joey has been improving a lot over the last year at road course racing, and our Joe Gibbs Racing road course program is pretty strong like we saw earlier this year at Road America (where Michael McDowell dominated in the No. 18 JGR Toyota). So I have total faith that as long as we can bring a good car to the track, Joey can drive it to the front.
“Watkins Glen is very fast and fairly wide, which makes it unique among road courses. The key is to be able to get turned and stay in the gas up thru the esses (turns two, three and four). You can fight ‘wheel hop’ under braking a lot at Watkins Glen, which makes the rear shocks very important. We have a solid shock program, so I think we will be strong there. You also use a totally different race strategy at road courses and calculate your fuel a little differently. But the weekend is always big because there are a lot of heavy hitters there too. There are a lot of Cup guys and road course ringers running this race, so whoever wins it will truly earn it.”