Joe Gibbs Racing goes into Daytona Speedweeks as the new home of the defending Daytona 500 champion, as well as the new home to a former Nationwide Series champ and the runner-up for the past two seasons.
Matt Kenseth, driving the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry for the 2013 season, has two wins in the Daytona 500 (2009 and 2012), plus 11 other top 10 finishes in 26 total races at Daytona International Speedway. He also won the pole for the July race last season with Roush-Fenway Racing. Kenseth will also be in one of four JGR Nationwide Series entries in the DRIVE4COPD 300 on Saturday, driving the No. 18 GameStop Toyota.
Denny Hamlin, driving the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, has a best-finish of fourth in the 500, which he earned last season. His best finish at Daytona was a third-place finish in the July race in 2009.
Kyle Busch, in the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota, won the July race at Daytona in 2008; last year, Busch finished 17th in the 500. Busch will also be moonlighting for JGR – he’s in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota in the Nationwide Series race; he’s also racing in the Camping World Truck Series race Friday night for his own Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Joining Kenseth and Busch in the Nationwide Series are JGR newcomers Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers. Sadler, the runner-up in Nationwide Series points the past two seasons, gets behind the wheel of the No. 11 OneMain Financial Toyota with the potent JGR Nationwide Series program. He started on the pole for the season-opening Nationwide Series race back in 1997, finishing 15th; his last three starts at Daytona in the series ended in top 10 finishes (eighth in July 2011, third and sixth in two races in 2012).
Vickers, driving the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota this season, was Nationwide Series champion in 2003, the last time he ran the series full-time. In 11 Nationwide Series starts at Daytona, Vickers has six top 10 finishes.
The Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 takes the green flag on Saturday, February 23rd at 1:15 p.m. ET, while the Daytona 500 gets underway Sunday, February 24th at 1 p.m. ET. Follow this weekend’s action at www.nascar.com and joegibbsracing.com.
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