Joe Gibbs Racing hit a milestone Sunday afternoon, crossing the 400-win mark in NASCAR with Denny Hamlin’s victory at Kansas Speedway.
Hamlin earned his 49th career win in the NASCAR Cup Series after last-lap contact and a pass on Kyle Larson. All of Hamlin’s wins have come driving for Gibbs.
Joe Gibbs now has 203 wins in the Cup Series. The other wins to make up the 400 are from the Xfinity Series, where the organization has won 197 times.
“It’s a thrill,” team owner Joe Gibbs said. “When we started in racing, our very first year in ’91, we had 17 people and raced one car. We just kept building and building and building. I didn’t dream that it would be anything like where we are today.
“I’m just thrilled for all of our people that helped build our race team. That’s the people back in town. I appreciate, obviously, all of our sponsors; it meant so much to me today to be able to call Fred Smith and talk to him. As we know, in our sport, the thing that’s really different is our sponsor partners, and I call them partners.”
Fred Smith founded FedEx, the winning sponsor at Kansas Speedway on Sunday. FedEx is a longtime Gibbs partner and has been with Hamlin since he joined the Cup Series with JGR in late 2005.
“The other wild thing that I’m not sure…has been done before, but I called Norm Miller at Interstate Batteries. He’s been here for all 400,” said Gibbs. “Can you imagine that? I just thanked Norm so much for getting us started. If it hadn’t been for him, we may not be in racing. We love it, and just really appreciate everything today and appreciate the crowd here and everybody.”
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Interstate Batteries is in its 32nd season of partnership with Joe Gibbs, appearing on all four cars this year. It was the organization’s founding sponsor.
Drivers who have won Cup Series races for Gibbs include Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Christopher Bell, Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett.
In the Xfinity Series, the organization has won with Ryan Truex, Sammy Smith, John Hunter Nemechek, Brandon Jones, Ty Gibbs, Daniel Hemric, Busch, Bell, Harrison Burton, Ryan Preece, Jones, Hamlin, Daniel Suarez, Sam Hornish Jr., Elliott Sadler, Kenseth, Logano, Stewart, Aric Almirola, Mike Bliss, Mike McLaughlin and Labonte.
“I grew up in football on that side (in the NFL) and I was the technical guy, helped design stuff, called plays,” said Gibbs. “That’s a thrill. Over here, I’m not the technical person, so I try and focus on the people and the sponsors, and the great thing about over here, too, is my family.
“I think back to J.D. J.D. spent his entire professional life building our race team and then Coy, when his brother got sick, stepped over. And Coy and his son Ty, everything that’s taken place. Heather’s (Coy’s widow) now stepping into our ownership role. It’s family.
“So, on this side, it’s a thrill for me because I missed so much of both boys when I was coaching and (being) after it so much, and I got a chance to relive some of that time with them. Obviously I miss them, but they were a big part of building this, too.”