There had been rumours that JGR's play to sign Carl Edwards over the summer was with the idea to put him in the #20 to satisfy Home Depot, who want the same sort of success for their car that rival chain Office Depot have with Jimmie Johnson in the #48 with five consecutive Cup championships to its credit. When that failed to come off, there were questions about whether Home Depot were entirely happy with the status quo going forward given the race return on their cash investment.
"Without getting into detail, that's not the case," asserted Gibbs. "But I can't really get into all of that." However, he did agree that "first and foremost is performance ... you have to have that, wherever you are," and that Logano would definitely have to up his race performance sooner rather than later.
"We want to do better than we are right now," agreed Logano, aware that the clock was ticking. "We're going to keep working hard and improving."
"He's been great at the store visits," insisted Home Depot's DeFeo, keen to put a stop to rumours of the sponsor's dissatisfaction with the young driver. "He's shown terrific improvement in his time in the sport. He's done everything we've asked."
JGR also said that there had been no real prospect of retaining the Home Depot exclusive deal for the #20 and using the Dollar General backing to launch a fourth team. "I think if you're going to do a fourth car, you'd better have a whole lot more than 12 covered to make it work," said Gibbs, who conceded that the team had sounded out other potential sponsors to raise the 12-race backing up to a full season. "Even if you had 25, and you had to go write a check for the rest, it's not going to work."
Last week Dollar General announced that it was pulling funding from Turner Motorsports, leading that team to let lead driver Reed Sorenson go with immediate effect and to warn of downsizing and lay-offs for the team as a whole in 2012.
In IndyCar, Sarah Fisher revealed in the wake of her team's maiden victory at Kentucky that Dollar General were ending their sponsorship of Sarah Fisher Racing at the end of the current season, leaving SFR's future plans in the balance as well.
"I look forward to seeing Kyle and Joey and Brian in Victory Lane. Being there with Sarah Fisher Racing was wonderful, but our customers lean toward NASCAR. Our demographic is middle America," explained Dreiling. "That's what led us to JGR - a passion to win and do things right ... We have a thrilling and busy year ahead."