CHARLOTTE, NC - (February 5, 2001) Joe Gibbs Racing announced today the hiring of Mike McLaughlin as the driver of the ...
CHARLOTTE, NC - (February 5, 2001) Joe Gibbs Racing announced today the hiring of Mike McLaughlin as the driver of the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Busch Series Pontiac. McLaughlin, a native of Waterloo, NY will team with Jeff Purvis, driver of the # 18 MBNA Pontiac to form a strong two car operation for team owner Joe Gibbs.
"Our guys on the # 20 Busch Grand National team have been through a lot this past year. We are all very encouraged by the experience and talent that Mike brings to our program," said JD Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Having a driver with Mike's experience should give us a great opportunity to find a full-time sponsor for the team."
McLaughlin brings a wealth of experience to the team, with 222 career Busch Series starts and five wins.
"I am excited about the challenges that I will face in 2001. The Joe Gibbs Racing Busch Series Organization has the potential to achieve success along the lines of their two Winston Cup teams," McLaughlin said. "I am looking forward to being a part of that success."
Vice President of Joe Gibbs Busch Series Operations, Steve de Souza, believes Mike will be a solid fit for the Busch Series program.
"We have had a number of potential candidates contact us about the opening. We looked at which way we wanted to go and decided that having a veteran driver would be the right move for the team, " de Souza said. "Once Mike's availability became known, we discussed the opportunity with him and signed him to drive the car. Our entire team is excited about working with someone with the experience and professionalism of Mike. Having Mike will help both of our race teams to achieve their goals."
McLaughlin is the second leading all-time money winner in the Busch Series with $3,582,702 in career earnings. He has recorded five top-ten points position finishes in seven full years on the circuit, including third place finishes in 1995 and 1998.
McLaughlin and crew chief Tim Shutt will spend the next two weeks preparing for the season opening NASCAR Busch Series race in Daytona Beach, FL on February 17th.