Rockwell Automation to Bow Out of Motorsports after 2007 Season Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 NASCAR Busch Series Team Rolls On HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 20, 2007) -- Rockwell Automation, a global leader in industrial automation controls and ...
Rockwell Automation to Bow Out of Motorsports after 2007 Season
Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 NASCAR Busch Series Team Rolls On
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 20, 2007) -- Rockwell Automation, a global leader in industrial automation controls and information solutions, will finish its 11-year motorsports tenure with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR). The No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet campaigned by JGR in the NASCAR Busch Series since 2003 will see its final race in Rockwell Automation's red and white livery at the Busch Series season finale Nov. 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"Rockwell Automation has been a great partner to Joe Gibbs Racing," said J.D. Gibbs, President of JGR. "We use the term 'partner' because they've been more than just a sponsor. Just as they used NASCAR to increase their business, they helped us develop programs and equipment utilizing their various business units to make our entire organization more efficient. The personnel, tools and services provided to us will live on via the continued success of our race team.
"There are many great memories and stories of our time with Rockwell Automation. One of our favorites is the conversation between now retired president Joe Swann and a young Denny Hamlin back in late 2004. In the meeting, Mr. Swann asked Denny why he should consider him as their driver. Denny's answer, which won him the job, was 'because I can win races for you,' and the rest was history.
"Everyone we've dealt with at Rockwell Automation has been first class, and we're certainly appreciative of their contribution to Joe Gibbs Racing. We hope to find a new sponsor for the No. 20 team that's as fun and as involved as Rockwell Automation has been with us."
After serving as a major associate sponsor since 1997 with a handful of Busch Series teams, Rockwell Automation stepped up as a primary sponsor in 2000 with Richard Childress Racing. Rockwell Automation joined JGR in 2003, and in two seasons with then reigning NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike Bliss at the wheel, the No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet scored a win, three poles, 15 top-five finishes and 28 top-10 finishes while leading 245 laps.
In 2005, a heralded late model stock car driver from Chesterfield, Va., took over JGR's No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet. Hamlin, then a Busch Series rookie, enjoyed a modest season with 11 top-10s before breaking out in 2006 with two wins, seven poles, 12 top-fives and 23 top-10s with 595 laps led.
Thus far in 2007, Hamlin has shared the No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet with development driver Aric Almirola. Together, the driving duo has scored three wins -- the most recent of which came via Hamlin in Sunday's Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway -- five poles, eight top-fives and 14 top-10s with 487 laps led. Currently fourth in owner points 25 races into the 35-race schedule, 2007 is on track to become the third straight season where the No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet has finished in the top-three in owner points, and the fourth straight year its finished in the top-10.
"Rockwell Automation is proud to have been an active sponsor in the NASCAR Busch Series for 11 race seasons, especially the last five seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing," said Bob Ruff, Senior Vice President, Americas Region of Rockwell Automation. "I want to personally thank Coach Gibbs and J.D. Gibbs for providing us with outstanding race cars and great drivers like Denny Hamlin for our customers and employees to get excited about each weekend."
Despite not wearing the colors of Rockwell Automation, the No. 20 Busch Series team fielded by JGR will contest the entire 2008 Busch Series schedule, as will JGR's No. 18 Busch Series team. Driver and sponsor combinations for the Nos. 20 and 18 teams will be announced in January 2008.