Jason Leffler Released From ...
Jason Leffler Released From #11 Car
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C., (Aug. 8, 2005) - Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has released driver Jason Leffler from his driving duties with the #11 car in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Terry Labonte will compete in several of the upcoming Nextel Cup races in the #11, beginning this weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. JGR will also turn to its NASCAR Busch Series drivers - J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin - to split driving duties in the #11 in the remaining Nextel Cup races where Terry Labonte is not scheduled to drive.
"This was a difficult decision," said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. "Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing had high hopes for Jason and the #11 team, but our performance wasn't meeting the expectations all of us set forth at the beginning of the year.
"It hasn't been for lack of effort, as Jason is a talented race car driver who worked incredibly hard and was terrific with our sponsor.
"With an experienced veteran in Terry Labonte, the #11 will benefit from his 25 years of Nextel Cup racing, and ideally, climb higher in points. In looking toward next year, J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin will get some valuable seat time at the Nextel Cup level that will allow us to build the #11 into a race-winning contender for 2006 and beyond."
Terry Labonte's addition to JGR is a natural, as Terry's younger brother, Bobby, is a 10-year veteran of JGR, having piloted the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet since 1995.
The Labonte brothers are the only brothers in NASCAR history to win NASCAR Cup Series championships. Terry won the title in 1984 and 1996, while Bobby won in 2000.
"We want to thank Hendrick Motorsports for allowing Terry to assist us with the #11 team," said Gibbs, whose team now features three NASCAR Cup Series champions in Bobby, Terry and 2002 series champion Tony Stewart. "In planning the future of the #11 team, we looked around the Cup and Busch Series garages and decided that the two best talents were already driving for us. J.J. and Denny are exceptional race car drivers, and we felt it was important to give each of them a shot at Nextel Cup."