Joe Gibbs Driven, the automotive aftermarket division of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), will make its first appearance as a primary sponsor of a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race car when JGR development driver Aric Almirola attempts to qualify for his first Nextel Cup race March 9 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Joe Gibbs Driven offers a line of JGR-owned high-performance racing oils and lubricants products developed by JGR’s three-time Nextel Cup championship-winning engine builder Mark Cronquist and used by JGR’s Nextel Cup and NASCAR Busch Series teams. Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil is sold nationwide to racers at every motorsports level. Other licensed products in the Joe Gibbs Driven family are Additech Fuel System Cleaner and Sellars Shop Towels. Both will adorn Almirola’s No. 80 Joe Gibbs Driven Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS at Las Vegas.
“We’re strong believers in the ability of Aric Almirola and in the quality of Joe Gibbs Driven products,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. “Aric is young and has proven himself in a very short period of time. But with Joe Gibbs Driven, we’ve spent many years investing our resources into making Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil the best engine lubricant on the market. After not being able to find an oil that met the standards our engines required, we went to work in creating a product that exceeded our own high standards. In the two years since Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil hit the marketplace, we’ve seen tremendous growth and have built a nationwide distribution system. Aric and Joe Gibbs Driven are a perfect fit to race together at Las Vegas.”
Almirola, a Tampa, FL, native of Cuban descent, began his JGR career in 2004 driving a late model in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series at the .4-mile Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, NC. After scoring two wins, six top-fives and 15 top-10s, Almirola traversed the Southeast competing in regional late-model races. By the end of 2005, Almirola was running a limited schedule in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, which led to a full-time Truck Series ride and a nine-race Busch Series schedule in 2006. Three years after racing late-model stock cars, Almirola has a slate of 18 Busch Series races and four Nextel Cup races (Las Vegas, spring Richmond, spring Charlotte and spring Dover) on tap for 2007.
Almirola was one of JGR’s first prospects via the diversity program founded by JGR and the late Reggie White, an initiative that traces its roots back to May 2003. In partnership with White, a Hall of Fame defensive end who played in the National Football League, JGR formed the diversity program to create a grassroots stock car team that would identify and assist minorities with the desire and talent to make a career in motorsports. And in January 2004, the diversity program became reality, thanks in large part to the support of JGR’s sponsors.
Led by the 22-year-old Almirola, JGR’s driver development program is flourishing. The up-and-coming wheelman began the 2007 season by winning the pole for the season-opening NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona (FL) International Speedway.
Daytona marked Almirola’s second Busch Series pole in 10 Busch Series races. His first pole came on June 24, 2006 at The Milwaukee Mile when Almirola qualified the No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet for regular driver Denny Hamlin, who was commuting from the Nextel Cup race weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA.
“Three years ago I was racing late models, and to think that I’ll be trying to qualify for my first Nextel Cup race at Las Vegas is something I’m pretty proud of,” said Almirola. “Everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing obviously believes in me or else they wouldn’t be putting me in this situation, so that definitely gives me a lot of confidence. It’s a good feeling to know that everybody supports me 100 percent.”
Joe Gibbs Driven is supported by an integrated marketing program, where taking the brand to the track highlights the unique synergy offered by JGR to its partners. It’s a natural extension that allows Joe Gibbs Driven licensed products to be cross-promoted within motorsports and the automotive aftermarket.
To learn more about Joe Gibbs Driven, visit http://www.JoeGibbsDriven.com.