Fan Awards: Owner Of The Year

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    RacingOne continues our annual NASCAR Fan Awards for 2008 with the 11th of 12 categories and a look back at our pick for the owner of the year in 2008.

    They did not win the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, but Joe Gibbs Racing had a stellar year that was filled with many victories, big news stories and even controversy.

    Joe and JD Gibbs brought in Kyle Busch from Hendrick Motorsports, and sponsor M&M’s, to the No. 18 team to start the 2008 season. They also switched from Chevrolet to Toyota in the offseason. It didn’t take long for Busch to click with the new Toyota as he gave the manufacturer its first Sprint Cup victory at Atlanta. Busch would go on to win seven more times before finishing 10th in the final standings.

    Denny Hamlin was the top finisher among the team in the standings in eighth. Hamlin also gave Toyota their first non-points paying win in the Gatorade Duel at Daytona and scored the victory in the spring race at Martinsville after finishing in the top five twice in five previous races there.

    One of the big announcements from the team came in July when they honored Tony Stewart’s request to be let go by the team following the 2008 season so he could form his own team at Stewart-Haas Racing. Before the season was out Stewart was able to continue his streak to 10 years of at least winning one race by capturing the checkered flag at Talladega in October. The win was his 33rd and last with JGR.

    The Gibbs Racing Team kept the news rolling as they announced that 18-year-old Joey Logano would replace Stewart behind the wheel of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in 2009 when he will run for Rookie of the Year honors.

    Logano tuned up for 2009 by running 19 Nationwide Series races after turning 18 in May. Logano won in just his third career start to become the youngest race winner. He went on to capture 13 more top 10s en route to helping the No. 20 team (with Stewart, Hamlin and Busch) give JGR their first Nationwide championship in the form of an owner’s title. Busch won once (Mexico City) in the No. 20 along with eight wins in JGR’s No. 18. Busch’s other Nationwide win came with Braun Racing to push his season total to 10, tying Sam Ard’s 1983 record.

    Joe Gibbs Racing also faced controversy in August after Jason Ratcliff and Dave Rodgers, crew chiefs for the Nos. 18 and 20 teams, respectively, were suspended by NASCAR for rule violations discovered by NASCAR inspectors prior to post-race testing on the chassis dynamometer at Michigan. The team was also dealt a 150-point deduction.

    The announcement did not slow the team down as the No. 18 went on to win five more times along with the No. 20 taking the owner’s championship, even after the points deduction.

    At the end of the year, JGR wound up with 29 victories, 10 in Cup and 19 in Nationwide. The win total in the Cup Series equaled their season-best since 2000 with Bobby Labonte and Stewart.

    That's our pick for the owner of the year. Tell us yours.

    Some of the other nominees

    Rick Hendrick: Last year's pick for RacingOne owner of the year, Hendrick, scored his eighth Cup Series championship with Jimmie Johnson in 2008. It was also his third consecutive with Johnson.

    Richard Childress Won the Nationwide Series championship with Clint Bowyer. He also finished fourth, fifth and sixth with drivers Kevin Harvick, Bowyer and Jeff Burton, respectively, in the Cup Series standings.

    Bill Davis Davis won his first Truck Series title with Johnny Benson before selling a majority stake in BDR to Triad Racing Technologies at the end of the year.

    There are two options to vote

    1. Email your selection to press@racingone.com

    2. Vote for your favorite owner based on our nominees here.

    Note: Other selections are welcome by email.

    Previous Categories
  • Biggest Story
  • Most Improved Driver
  • Best Paint Scheme
  • Best Commercial
  • Best Confrontation
  • Best Sprint Cup Race
  • Best Nationwide Race
  • Best Truck Race
  • Best TV Show

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