26 March 2015
NASCAR: JGR president JD Gibbs hit by health issues
The president of Joe Gibbs Racing has been forced to scale back his involvement with the team as he starts treatment for issues with brain function.
Joe Gibbs Racing announced this week that its president JD Gibbs has been forced to curtail his involvement with the team's operations while he undergoes evaluation and treatment for concussion-like symptoms impacting brain function that he has been experiencing for the last six months.
JD Gibbs, 46 is the son of JGR founder and former NFL head coach Joe Gibbs, and was named president of JGR in October 1997. He is himself a former driver, with five NASCAR Xfinity Series starts and eight in the Camping World Truck Series.
Gibbs had previously spent time learning the organisation from the ground-up by working as a pit crew member for the group, changing tyres on the 1993 Daytona 500-winning entry of Dale Jarrett that proved to be the first Sprint Cup win for the organisation.
JGR employees were notified of Gibbs' situation early on Wednesday at the team's headquarters in Huntersville, North Carolina. Gibbs will still oversee day-to-day management issues but will have limited attendance at venues on race weekends.
"All members of the NASCAR and France family extend our thoughts and prayers to JD Gibbs and his loved ones," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France in a statement.
"We've all watched JD grow up within our community, and he always has represented himself, his family, the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization and NASCAR with the utmost professionalism, enthusiasm and energy," France added. "We wish him the best during this time and eagerly anticipate his recovery."
"Thinking about JD and the whole Gibbs family," said the current driver of the team's #11 entry on Twitter. "I get the privilege to drive for this family organization each weekend for the last 10 years."
"Please keep JD, Coach and the @JoeGibbsRacing family n your thoughts n prayers. Stay strong," added Kyle Busch, himself currently sidelined from competition after being injured in a support race at Daytona on February.
Former drivers for the team including Tony Stewart and Joey Logano also added their support on social media.
"Hoping the best for JD Gibbs and the entire Gibbs family," said Stewart, who drove for JGR for ten seasons between 1999 and 2008 before leaving to set up his own team with Gene Haas. "Such a huge honor to drive and learn from a great family."
"My thoughts are with JD and the entire Gibbs family," said Logano, who now drived with Team Penske. "They took chance on me early. Get well soon."
Fontana penalties issued
Circle Sport Racing crew chief Slugger Labbe has been fined $50,000 and suspended for the next three Sprint Cup races after three inspection infractions were discovered on the first day of Sprint Cup track activity last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
NASCAR deemed that a three-quarter inch diameter magnetic steel truck trailing arm mounting bolt was not installed horizontally on Brian Scott's #33 entry in breach of section 20.14.2 of the Sprint Cup rule book, and that the truck trailing arm monoball sleeve did not meet the required specifications.
In addition, the truck trailing arm mounting bracket adapter was machined from aluminium solid instead of magnetic steel flat plate of specified thickness as required by the rules.
Overall that meant that the car was in violation of rule 20.20 which states that installation of additional components and/or modifications of existing components to affect the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle will not be permitted. Labbe himself was also found to be in breach of section 12.1 relating to actions detrimental to stock car racing.
In total that meant NASCAR saw Labbe's infraction as a P4-level penalty, resulting in the suspension and fine. Car owner Joe Falk was also docked 25 championship points.
Also penalised following Fontana are five crew members working on Blake Koch's #8 NASCAR Xfinity Series team.
TriStar Motorsports crew member Mark Armstrong has been fined $1,500 and suspended from NASCAR until April 21 with probation until the end of the year, while crew members Tyler Bullard, Nathaniel House, Jeremy Howard and Ryan Mulder have also all been placed on NASCAR probation until December 31.
According to the penalty announcement, all five were involved in a pre-race incident at Fontana on March 21 and failed to comply with a directive from track security personnel.
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