Gibbs team signs Busch Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), winners of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championships and over 70 NASCAR races, has signed 22-year-old Kyle Busch to drive for the No. 18 team in Nextel Cup beginning in 2008.
“We’re extremely pleased to have Kyle Busch as a part of the family here at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. “Kyle is extremely talented, as his track record has proven, and he had a lot of teams to choose from in determining who would give him the best chance to win. Obviously, we’re glad he chose JGR, and he’ll have all the tools and resources he needs to win races and contend for championships.”
Busch comes to JGR a proven winner in each of NASCAR’s national touring series, with four NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victories, eight NASCAR Busch Series wins and four Nextel Cup triumphs. “After talking with a lot of different teams and visiting their shops, Joe Gibbs Racing is where I want to be,” said Busch, JGR runs through the 2010 season. “The Nextel Cup Series is filled with good teams and good people, but the moment I saw the shop and began talking with Joe and J.D. Gibbs, there was a level of comfort that made me feel like this is where I belong.
“I want to win races and championships, and Joe Gibbs Racing’s three-car/one-team philosophy gives me the best opportunity to do that.”
Busch will take over for J.J. Yeley, current driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, following the conclusion of the 2007 season. He’ll begin pre-season testing as a teammate to two-time Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart and 2006 Nextel Cup rookie of the year Denny Hamlin.
The 2008 season will mark Busch’s fourth full season in Nextel Cup. He currently competes for Hendrick Motorsports, where he ran a six-race schedule in 2004 before joining the series full-time in 2005.
While at Hendrick, Busch scored a number of milestones. The Las Vegas-native began racing at age 12 and reached NASCAR’s premier series in just eight years. As a result, Busch lays claim to being the youngest Nextel Cup rookie of the year, winning the title at age 20 on the heels of two wins, a pole, nine top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes. His inaugural win at California Speedway in September 2005 made Busch the youngest Nextel Cup race winner (20 years, 4 months, 2 days). A prelude to that win was Busch’s pole at California when the series first visited the track in February, making Busch Nextel Cup’s youngest pole winner (19 years, 9 months, 24 days).
Busch’s sophomore season proved his rookie year was no fluke, as the 2002 honor graduate from Durango High School finished the 2006 season with one win, a pole, 10 top-fives and 18 top-10s. The strong season earned Busch yet another milestone, as he became the youngest Nextel Cup driver to qualify for the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Busch continues to showcase his skills in 2007. He currently sits eighth in points with a March win at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway highlighting his five top-fives and 12 top-10s, and he appears poised to make a repeat appearance in this year’s Chase for the Nextel Cup.
“While excited about my new opportunity with Joe Gibbs Racing, I remain committed to finishing this year strong and running for the championship,” Busch said.
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