On Wednesday, Joe Gibbs Racing ended a 16- year relationship with General Motors and announced a new agreement with Toyota Motorsports. The new contract will have two-time Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart, 2006 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Denny Hamlin and recently- signed Kyle Busch using
It is a coup for
The move creates instant credibility for the Nextel Cup program.
"Any manufacturer would be privileged to be sitting here today at this historic press announcement," said Jim Aust, President and CEO of Toyota Racing Development.
Since coming to NASCAR Nextel Cup in 1992, JGR has become one of the dominant teams, collecting 58 wins and winning championships in 2000 (Bobby Labonte), 2002 and 2005 (Stewart).
So far this season JGR drivers have won two poles, four races and sit second, third and 20th in the standings. Both Stewart and Hamlin have already clinched spots in the "Chase for the Nextel Cup."
"I'm excited about this," said Stewart at the press conference. "It's a good opportunity for us to take a leadership role and have a little more input. The only way you constantly stay ahead of the game is by being leaders, not followers. That's why I signed up with Joe Gibbs Racing in the first place and that's why I'm currently looking to extend my contract."
"Everybody talks about the engineering and technology that