News & Media

McDowell to drive both Iowa races for JGR

January 17, 2011, Team Release,

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Joe Gibbs Racing announced Monday that Michael McDowell will join their team of drivers for the 2011 Nationwide Series season.

McDowell is currently slated to drive in both Nationwide Series races at Iowa in the No. 18 Toyota with the potential to add additional races to his schedule for JGR.

"Anytime you have the opportunity to work with someone with the talent and character of Michael you are excited," JGR president J.D. Gibbs said. "We are blessed with a great group of drivers across all three of our entries in the Nationwide Series next season."

Joe Gibbs Racing has experienced tremendous success the past three seasons in the Nationwide Series. Last season the No. 18 team captured the Nationwide Series owner's championship behind Kyle Busch's record 13 victories despite driving in only 29 events.

In 2009 the No. 18 team captured the combined driver's and owner's titles as Busch drove the full season. Meanwhile, JGR's No. 20 team earned the organization's first Nationwide Series owner's championship in 2008. In all, JGR has 49 victories in the Nationwide Series the past three seasons.

"These JGR race teams have an incredible performance history" McDowell said. "This is a great opportunity and I am honored to represent Pizza Ranch in their home state of Iowa and drive the No. 18. I appreciate the confidence Pizza Ranch and JGR have in me and plan to make the best of it. "

This will mark McDowell's fifth year racing in the Nationwide Series after making his debut with three races during the 2007 season. He added two more races in 2008 and competed on a full-time basis in 2009, earning five top-10 and 18 top-20 finishes while starting 34 of the season's 35 races. Last season he competed in 33 of the 35 races with one top-10 and 10 top-20 finishes. McDowell also competes in the Sprint Cup Series where he has made 52 career starts in the past three seasons.

McDowell, 26, and his wife, Jami, live in Huntersville, N.C., with their two-year-old son, Trace.