Joe Gibbs Racing press release
LOGANO HELPING JGR No. 18 IN SEARCH FOR OWNER’S TITLE: While most people are used to seeing Joey Logano behind the wheel of the No. 20 Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, this weekend things will look a little different. Logano will pilot the No. 18 Sport Clips Toyota, normally run by Kyle Busch, this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in an effort to help the No. 18 team win its third-straight NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship and fourth-straight for Joe Gibbs Racing as an organization. Logano was a part of the championship winning team from 2008, when he and several other drivers shared duties in the No. 20 JGR Toyota. The last two seasons (2009, 2010), Kyle Busch and others have helped the No. 18 JGR team win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship. Heading into this weekend’s event at Chicagoland, the No. 18 team holds a 48-point lead over the No. 60 Roush-Fenway Racing team and a 100-point lead over the No. 6 Roush-Fenway Racing team with just seven races remaining. Busch, Kelly Bires, Michael McDowell and Drew Herring have all spent time behind the wheel of the No. 18 JGR Toyota during the 2011 season. It won’t be Logano’s first time ever driving the No. 18 in Nationwide Series competition. He drove the No. 18 Toyota during his rookie season of 2008 at Michigan, finishing seventh.
LOGANO-BUSCH ONE-TWO BECOMING A NORM: Despite the fact that JGR teammate Kyle Busch is taking this weekend off in Chicago, the two recorded their 10th-career one-two finish a few weeks ago at Bristol in an amazing photo finish. In fact, both of Logano’s races at Chicagoland Speedway have resulted in one-two finishes between he and Busch. In 2009, Logano beat Busch to the checkers, while last season, it was Busch getting the upper hand. Logano and Busch have finished first and second in 10 races since the start of the 2009 season. Of those 10 head-to-head battles, Logano has won four (Nashville 2009, Kentucky 2009, Chicago 2009, Kansas 2009) and Busch six (Loudon 2009, Texas 2010, Chicago 2010, Dover 2010, Talladega 2011, Bristol 2011).
CHASSIS: The JGR team will take chassis #132 to Chicagoland Speedway. That chassis last raced at Loudon, where Logano ran in the top-five much of the race before two late spins ended his day early. The team will take chassis #117 as a backup.
Joey Logano Quotes:
“I’m ready to get back in the Nationwide car this weekend at Chicagoland. Chicago has been a really good track for me on the Nationwide side. I’ve got a first and a second in my two races there. That is a pretty good track record I guess. And it’s a track that I like a lot. There are some similarities to Kentucky, where we’ve always been pretty good as well. Kentucky, Kansas and Chicago have been three really good tracks for me in my Nationwide Series career and I’ve won at all three, so that goes to show you we’ve always been strong on the 1.5-mile tracks. This year, we haven’t been as strong on the mile-and-half tracks with the new Nationwide Series car, but we are getting there. We are learning things at each track we go to and using that to make the cars better for the next time we go back to one. We’ve got our work cut out for us because some of the other cars have been really strong on the intermediate tracks, but I have total confidence in my guys. Every time we unload at the track, I feel like we have a shot to win and it will be no different this weekend.
“The crazy thing about this weekend will be driving the No. 18. It will be weird to climb in the window of the car and see the No. 18 on the side instead of the No. 20. But that is what we need to do as an organization to help the No. 18 team win the Owner’s Championship. This team has had a lot of great runs this year and won a lot of races with Kyle. Hopefully we can go out there and get another win and help extend that points lead. And, at the end of the year, it would be pretty cool to know you were a part of helping the team win a third-straight Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship and four-straight for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Championship team from 2008 when we won it with the No. 20 team. That was an amazing feeling and started a pretty strong stretch for JGR as an organization. I know Joe (Gibbs), JD (Gibbs), Steve (DeSouza) and everyone associated with the Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide program takes great pride in it and that winning the Owner’s Championship is something we want to do going into the year. To be able to win four-straight Owner’s titles, especially with the number of different drivers who have been in the No. 18 this year and the really tough competition that the Nationwide Series has this year, would be amazing feat.”