Denny Hamlin and Joe Gibbs reminiscence on JD Gibbs
38-year-old, Denny Hamlin just claimed his second Daytona 500 win. It’s also the second win for NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs.
Hamlin drove to victory lane on Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. He teammates, Kyle Busch and Erik Jones filled the podium.
Joe Gibbs Racing was racing with heavy hearts during Speedweeks. It was their first time to the race track since Joe Gibbs lost his son JD GIbbs.
In 2015, the team announced that JD Gibbs was battling “conditions related to brain function” and he took a step back from the team. JD Gibbs passed away at his home on January 11, 2019.
Denny Hamlin said previously, “JD was instrumental in bringing me to JGR. He was, you know, the reason. He is essentially the reason I got hired at JGR.”
Joe Gibbs on winning the Daytona 500
Jacob Seelman: What’s going through your mind?
“I’d just like to retrace for a second, what happened tonight. It’s the most emotional and the biggest win I’ve ever had in my life in anything,” NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs stated after the race.
“JD built our race team. He was the guy that ran day to day operations for 27 years. He invested his occupational life in our race team.”
JD Gibbs traveled to Hickory Motor Speedway to watch Denny Hamlin turn some laps in the middle of the winter. Gibbs returned to Charlotte and put Hamlin on his father’s radar.
“He went up to purchase some late model stuff from Denny and struck up a relationship. He put him in a test, put him in a truck and an Xfinity car at Darlington.”
Hamlin made his NASCAR debut in a 2004 truck race via EJP Racing. In the same year, he made his debut with JGR at Darlington where he finished 8th in the NXS event.
“Finally he said, ‘We need to sign this guy.’ “
Denny Hamlin: “Thank you for that first check by the way. I got a set of rims for my truck and a plasma TV. I was a hit in my town!”
“This is the truth, he had nothing,” Joe Gibbs jumped back in. “Three years later, he bought a house next to me that was twice as big as my house.”
“That tells you, I get the wrong end of everything.”
Joe Gibbs on JD Gibbs
Denny Hamlin made his full-time NASCAR Cup Series debut in 2006. He won The Clash that year in his very first race as a full-time driver.
Hamlin returned to victory lane on Sunday, JD Gibbs was printed above the door.
“JD’s favorite number was #11. When he raced, that’s what he had. Denny put JD over the door post on that car.”
“To have that take place. We’ve been to Daytona 27 times. We had won twice before.”
“I guess everybody could say, ‘That just happened.’ I don’t believe that just happened. I think the Lord looked down on us.”
“It was just an unbelievable night. The whole thing was just a special memory for me. It’s one I’ll never forget and it’s the most emotional night of my occupational life.”
Joe Gibbs Racing swept the podium. As Hamlin went to victory lane his teammates of Kyle Busch and Erik Jones finish right behind him.