Jason Leffler and his new ride
Joe Gibbs Racing
announced today they will field a third team with driver Jason
Leffler for the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season with sponsorship from
Leffler will join 2000 Nextel Cup Champion Bobby Labonte and 2002
Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart in the JGR stable. JGR also fields
cars in the NASCAR Busch Series for drivers Mike Bliss and J.J.
Yeley. Dave Rogers, who served as race engineer for Tony Stewart’s
car from 1999-2004, will serve as Leffler’s crew chief on the No. 11
The partnership brings together the Gibbs name and FedEx for a
second time. JGR owner Joe Gibbs, a three-time Super Bowl-winning
coach and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, coaches the
Washington Redskins at FedExField in Landover, Md.
“Obviously, this couldn't have been more appropriate for JGR. FedEx
and I enjoy a strong relationship with the Redskins, and I am
excited to extend that winning relationship to NASCAR,” Gibbs said.
“FedEx is one of the most admired and recognizable companies in the
world, and I’m happy to have such a renowned addition to the team.”
“Our relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing in America’s fastest growing
sport is a strategic fit for the FedEx brand and a strong extension
of our sponsorship portfolio,” said T. Michael Glenn, executive vice
president of FedEx Corp. “Success on the track depends on
reliability, precision, teamwork and speed, and our employees and
contractors deliver those values to our customers every day.”
Leffler, 29, from Long Beach, Calif., has competed in all three of
NASCAR’s top divisions, including 27 starts this season in the
NASCAR Busch Series. He has also competed in the Indianapolis 500
and the USAC National Midget Series, where he won three consecutive
titles from 1997-1999.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to drive for FedEx and Joe
Gibbs Racing,” Leffler said. “I look forward to representing a great
company like FedEx. JGR is one of the best teams in the business, so
I’m looking forward to a great season in 2005.”
Rumors of Leffler’s imminent appointment to JGR were so rampant that
his Busch Series car owner, Gene Haas, released him last week from
his ride despite Leffler’s third place standing in the Busch Series
points. Leffler’s lawyers sought an injunction to keep him in the
car, but in the end Haas won out.
This will be Leffler’s second stint with JGR, having competed in a
Busch Series ride for the team in 1999 and 2000 making 35 starts.
JGR had planned to move Leffler up to the Cup division after a few
more seasons in the Busch Series, but instead Leffler jumped ship
and took a ride with Chip Ganassi’s Cup operation for the 2001
After a dismal season posting just one top 10 finish, Leffler was
released by the team and returned to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck
Series and the NASCAR Busch Series.
“When I left (JGR), it was a mistake,” Leffler said. “I’m just
grateful to be back here at Joe Gibbs. It’s incredible. Their
commitment to win is second to none.”
The team will begin testing following the conclusion of the NASCAR
Nextel Cup season on Nov. 21, looking to make their debut in the
2005 Gatorade Twin 125’s in February.
The author can be contacted
to discuss this article