Joe Gibbs Racing sells minority stake in team – NBC Sports

Joe Gibbs Racing has sold a minority equity stake in the organization to Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment and Arctos Partners, JGR announced Tuesday.
Josh Harris, the founder of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, is the head of the new ownership group for the NFL’s Washington Commanders, pending approval by team owners.
In a release, JGR announced it had “received a significant investment” for the minority stake in the team. Joe Gibbs Racing also stated Gibbs will become a limited partner in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, pending approval by the NBA and NHL. Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
“Josh Harris, David Blitzer and their entire team have a vision that has delivered winning franchises in basketball, hockey, soccer and youth sports. Their teams are among the most successful in their leagues in growing audience and sponsorship and their commitment to the communities they work in are unparalleled.  I am excited to join the HBSE family and to have their support in growing Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Joe Gibbs in a statement.
Said Harris: “In recent years I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know Coach Gibbs and am proud to count him as a trusted friend and advisor. Joe is a winner. First in football and then with Joe Gibbs Racing, he has led organizations that build winning cultures based on strong values and a deep commitment to family and faith. This investment and partnership aims to support his vision and allow Joe Gibbs Racing to continue its track record of excellence long into the future.”
Joe Gibbs Racing was founded in 1992. Its first win was the 1993 Daytona 500. The organization has 204 Cup wins and 197 Xfinity wins. JGR’s Cup drivers this season are Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell and Ty Gibbs.
With drivers tightly bunched at the top of the points standings, the 2023 season is poised to be one of the most competitive seasons in recent memory. But are the statistics deceiving?
NASCAR’s playoff format rewards sustained performance during the first 26 races because the driver leading the points at the end of the regular season earns 15 additional playoff points. The second-place driver earns 10 points. Chase Elliott demonstrated how important those points can be last year when they helped get him through less-than-stellar execution during early playoff rounds.
I list the Cup Series points standings after 16 races in the table below, along with how far behind the leader each driver is.
A table showing the current Cup Series rankings as of race 16
Six drivers are within 32 points of leader Martin Truex Jr. That list includes two drivers, Ross Chastain and Kevin Harvick, who have not won a race this season.
Four more drivers are within 100 points of Truex. Brad Keselowski is 101 points behind and Tyler Reddick 105 points away from the leader.
This certainly looks like a tight race. The problem is that it’s a snapshot in time. That is, it’s only one set of data points.
Without context, there’s no way to know if this season is exceptional or merely a little above average. To provide that context, I gathered points standings after 16 races starting with 2011. To simplify the analysis, I calculated how many drivers were within 50 points of the leader after the first 16 races of each season.
There is one caveat in going back so far. The concept of a ‘regular-season championship’ (and getting bonus points for winning it) didn’t start until 2017. In previous years, drivers may not have contested as vigorously for the points lead after 26 races because there wasn’t as much to be gained then compared with now.
With that caveat in mind, I plotted the number of drivers within 50 points of the leader after 16 races from 2011-23.
a vertical bar chart showing the number of drivers within 50 points of the leader after the first 16 Cup Series aces
In three of the 13 years surveyed, the points leader had more than a 50-point lead over his closest competitor.
In none of these three years did the points leader at 16 weeks go on to win the championship.
In four additional years (2016, ’17, ’19 and ’21), only one driver was within 50 points of the leader. None of the drivers leading the points after the 16th race in these years won the championship, either.
So in a little more than half the seasons, no more than one competitor was within 50 points of the leader after 16 races.
The 2023 season, with its six drivers within 50 points of the leader is the most for the 13 years studied. That necessarily makes the competition tight for the lead, but also for positions two through seven.
Before we proclaim 2023 the most competitive season, let’s examine what typically happens as the series moves closer to race No. 26 and the end of the regular season. I show the same graph of number of drivers within 50 points of the leader — but after 25 races. When comparing this graph to the previous graph, remember that this graph only goes up to 2022.
a vertical bar chart showing the number of drivers within 50 points of the leader after the first 25 Cup Series aces
The number of competitors within 50 points of the leader increased later in the season in only three of 13 years. It stayed the same in three years and decreased in the other seven years.
Notably, the Cup Series has not had more than one driver within 50 points of the leader going into the 26th race of the season since 2013. That includes 2022, the first year of the Next Gen car.
The 2022 season is a good illustration of how these numbers vary from race to race. I graph below the number of drivers within 50 points of the leader by race number in 2022.
A vertical bar chart showing the number of drivers within 50 points of the leader as a function of race number for 2022.
The number of drivers within reach of the leader decreases as a season wears on. In 2022, Elliott had three bad finishes from Kansas (race 13) to Gateway (race 15), allowing five drivers to get within 50 points.
Then Elliott went on a summer tear, earning first or second place in five consecutive races from Nashville to Pocono. By week 20, all five contenders had fallen more than 50 points from Elliott’s lead.
Although this year has six drivers within 50 points of the leader going into Sunday’s race at Nashville Superspeedway (7 p.m. ET, NBC), 2023 has been an extraordinary year for penalties. NASCAR has levied more than $1 million in for technical violations. The sanctioning body has taken back 395 driver points and 45 playoff points for various infractions this season.
In the current standings, William Byron is 13 points behind Truex. Without Byron’s 60-point penalty, he would have 572 points to Truex’s 525. Then Truex would be the sole driver within 50 points of leader Byron. The next closest drivers, Blaney and Chastain, would both be 71 points out of the lead. Instead of six drivers on the graph, there would be only one.
The 2023 season has also been exceptional in the number of drivers missing races.
Neither of those factors changes the current points race. But they do illustrate how much the numbers can change due to external factors.
So is 2023 the most competitive season in the stage-racing era?
This week it is.
The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Nashville Superspeedway this weekend to begin 20 consecutive weekends of racing. The Xfinity Series and Craftsman Truck Series also will compete this weekend at Nashville.
Nashville marks the return of NBC and USA Network broadcasting Cup and Xfinity Series races. Here are details on where to watch Cup and Xfinity races the rest of the season.
Friday: Partly cloudy in the afternoon with a high of 81 degrees. Forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 81 degrees at the start of the Truck race.
Saturday: Partly cloudy with a high of 86 degrees and a 3% chance of rain at the start of the Xfinity race.
Sunday: Partly cloudy with a high of 84 degrees and a 21% chance of rain at the start of the Cup race.
Garage open
Track activity
Garage open
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Garage open
Track activity
Noah Gragson has been medically cleared to return to racing and will be back in the No. 42 car for Legacy Motor Club, the team announced Wednesday.
Gragson suffered concussion-like symptoms after a crash June 4 at World Wide Technology Raceway. He sat out the June 11 race at Sonoma.
Gragson enters Sunday’s race at Nashville Superspeedway (7 p.m. ET, NBC) 33rd in points. His best finish this season is 12th at Atlanta. The team stated that NASCAR has granted Gragson a waiver for playoff eligibility.
Nearly eight years after Dale Earnhardt Jr. all but pleaded for a company to align with Josh Berry to run a full Xfinity season, Berry will get the chance to be a full-time Cup driver.
Stewart-Haas Racing announced Wednesday that Berry will take over the ride for Kevin Harvick when the future Hall of Famer retires after this season.
“Every time he’s got an opportunity, he’s made the most of it and that’s the traits that championship drivers are built off of,” SHR co-owner Tony Stewart said of Berry at Wednesday’s announcement at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt is thrilled with the opportunity Berry will have.
“What a team will get when they sign Josh Berry to a Cup deal is a driver with great race craft and a turn-key winner,” Earnhardt said. “Whereas it’s incredible and a great opportunity to sign a young driver that will develop into a champion, I believe you get to skip those years of development with a guy like Josh, and you get right into working on the championship part and winning races because he’s there mentally, professionally, and in talent.”
This completes quite a journey for Berry, who seemed headed only for a successful Late Model stock car career at one point.
“It was an amazing journey to get here,” Berry said Wednesday.
Berry was 24 years old when he finished seventh at Richmond in Sept. 2015, scoring his first Xfinity top 10. It came in his third career Xfinity start and only one of that season. After the race, Earnhardt said: “I’m ready to race Josh every week. We’ve just got to find a partner.’’
None was found for years.
Berry’s big chance in the Xfinity Series came in 2021 when he was scheduled to run 12 races for JR Motorsports before Sam Mayer turned 18 and could run the series.
Berry won at Martinsville in his sixth start that season. Earnhardt admits he “cried like a baby” for joy because of the long road Berry had traveled to that point.
“I felt like I had watched my own son or brother win a race,” Earnhardt said.
Berry’s success in those limited races led to a full-time Xfinity Series ride with JRM last season. Berry won three races and finished fourth in the points.
He returned for this season. Berry, 32, also drove five races for Chase Elliott in Cup when Elliott was injured in a snowboarding accident. Berry finished a season-high second at Richmond. He drove three races for Alex Bowman after Bowman was injured in a sprint car crash.
Stewart said that the team had made its decision before Berry served as a sub for either Hendrick driver.
Harvick will become an analyst for Fox Sports next year for the company’s NASCAR broadcasts. With 20 races left in his Cup career, Harvick has won 60 races and scored 437 top 10s in 806 starts. He also won the 2014 Cup title.
Berry will join a Stewart-Haas Racing team that has Chase Briscoe, Ryan Preece and possibly Aric Almirola. Although Almirola signed a multi-year contact extension last year, he recently admitted that his plans for next season are “fluid.” Stewart said sponsorship on the No. 4 car for next season is open as the team talks with existing sponsors and other potential sponsors.
Kevin Harvick Inc. also announced that Berry has joined the group as a client. Other drivers who are clients of KHI are Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Preece, Harrison Burton, Todd Gilliland, Riley Herbst, William Sawalich, Brent Crews and Keelan Harvick.


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