JGR moves benefit more than just team
August 19, 2014, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com
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The long-anticipated Joe Gibbs Racing announcement that it will add Carl Edwards as a fourth driver next year is big, if not unexpected, news in the NASCAR landscape.
But equally as significant was the accompanying news of Mexican hot shoe Daniel Suarez getting a full-time NASCAR Nationwide Series ride at JGR and that the sport is getting a pair of multibillion-dollar companies in ARRIS and TELMEX as new sponsors/partners.
What's good for JGR is good for NASCAR.
Adding Edwards to a lineup that already includes former premier series champion Matt Kenseth and a pair of perennial contenders in Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin elevates the Joe Gibbs team in star power and can-do. There is no weak link in talent, and if the chemistry is right and the Toyotas are fast, it gives JGR a legitimate chance to breathe -- heavily -- down the necks of Hendrick Motorsports' and Stewart-Haas Racing's established fearsome foursomes.
A fourth car at JGR is an exponential jump in resources, and maybe that will be the difference in sealing the championship deal for the team.
There will be a lot of loud speculation and debate about Edwards' potential contribution to JGR. Will he fit in with the other drivers? How will he adjust moving from Ford to Toyota? Will the additional team ultimately be more beneficial or extra weight to the operation?
Back in the NASCAR offices and corporate boardrooms, that same sort of excited buzz is generated by the business end of this deal.
Robert Stanzione, CEO of ARRIS Group Inc., and Carlos Slim Domit, CEO of Mexican telecommunications giant TelMex, shared the stage with Edwards, Suarez and all the JGR executives during Tuesday's official announcement.
After giving a little background about ARRIS -- a multibillion-dollar company that manufacturers equipment like modems used by cable companies to transmit high-speed data -- Stanzione asked the audience of mostly press members to raise their hand if they had ever heard of ARRIS before.
"I see maybe four hands,'' he said smiling with the knowledge that was about to change.
By the end of the formal presentation, it had already as news got out that ARRIS will be the primary sponsor on Edwards' No. 19 Toyota for 17 races in 2015 and will team up with Suarez full time in the Nationwide Series and a handful of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events driving for Busch's team.
It gives the sport diversity both in Suarez, but also in terms of a corporate partner in ARRIS committed to several platforms and Escuderia TelMex commitment to further developing Mexican drivers to compete in NASCAR.
The star power here is not just limited to Gibbs and Edwards, but includes world-renowned corporations willing to make huge financial commitments on the solid bet that it will pay off in success and notoriety.
And history shows that kind of commitment can be contagious.
"This is one of the biggest days in Joe Gibbs Racing's history,'' Gibbs said Tuesday.
And as it turns out, a big day for all of NASCAR as well.