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Gibbs threesome strictly old school
02-13-2009, 07:36 PM
Post: #1
Gibbs threesome strictly old school
Gibbs threesome strictly old school

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Don't be fooled by their boyish looks.

Look closely at Joey Logano, 18, Kyle Busch, 23, and Denny Hamlin, 28, and you'll see something largely missing from NASCAR for almost a decade — old-school character.

Each may have a different driving style, but the Joe Gibbs Racing trio all share back-to-basics traits.

To start with, in an age of points racing, this team seems to have only one objective: winning.

"I've been a goal setter, but I've never gone into a race saying, 'Hey, I want to finish here,' or 'For a day to be successful, I have to finish here.' I don't have that in me for some reason," said Logano, who won in his third Nationwide Series outing last season. "I go to win every race. That's how I go into them. You gotta be realistic about it, too, but you gotta have that 'win' mentality going into it. But it's the Cup Series — it won't be easy."

Of course, wanting it is not enough. These guys are willing to go further than expected.

"I can assure you that I'm more focused than I've ever been on the racing aspect of it," said Hamlin, who qualified for the title-deciding Chase for the Sprint Cup in each of his three full seasons. "A lot of people say that, but I work my guts out in the gym to try and be better.

"Every time I think I'm working hard, I always picture someone else who's working a little bit harder than I am so I push myself a little bit more. Even when I go to a test session, if I need to work on something, I don't need to be up in the lounge when they're making changes — taking a nap. I need to be underneath that car wondering what I can do, what better feedback I can give them, and give them all the feedback I can.

"I'm really trying everything I can to be better — to be the best that I can be — because I'm tired of hearing that I have potential. I want to show that I have results instead."

The Gibbs troop is willing to fight for every inch — even to the point of angering the competition. For example:

# Hamlin battling Brad Keselowski for second place in a Nationwide Series race in Charlotte last year.
# Busch's skirmishes with Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in separate races as he battled for the win.
# And most recently, Joey Logano pulling a daring, but ill-advised, move on the last lap of the 2009 All-Star Showdown.

Most importantly for fans, the Gibbs drivers aren't afraid to be themselves.

Since the loss of Dale Earnhardt in 2001, many have lamented the "robotic" nature of modern drivers who say and do all the right things in order to please their owners and sponsors.

That's not the case at JGR.

"I think (Joe Gibbs, owner, and J.D. Gibbs, team president) don't want us to be so polished, they don't want us to be so dress-pant/white-collared guys. We can wear our blue jeans with our Vans shoes or whatever, T-shirts, what have you," explained Busch, who bowed to booing fans after many of his modern-day-record 21 NASCAR wins last season. "They are more laid back. They allow you to be more yourself and be more passionate, more driven and more outspoken because that's who you are. You don't want people to be dull.

"It's way easier for yourself to be yourself instead of trying to be someone you are not and still getting in trouble for that. You can try to be as clean, cool and collected as ever, and yet when you do something or say something the wrong way, you are still in trouble for that. So you might as well be allowed to be somebody you are and get in trouble for some of the mistakes that you make and try to learn from those."

Sure, there have been drivers who exhibited some of these traits in recent years, but none had all the qualities in one package like Earnhardt and other NASCAR legends like Darrell Waltrip in their heyday.

That's not to compare Busch, Hamlin or Logano to legends of the sport — it will take years to determine if any of them reach that level of success. But if the three young drivers continue to race, perform and act the way they have, they will thrill and enrage fans.

In short, they'll entertain.

Fans miss having a colorful character to cheer for or against. Having three drivers who are willing to mix it up even with the most popular drivers on the circuit for the win or simply another position on the track may anger some at first, but NASCAR fans recognize and appreciate those willing to risk it all.

It worked for Earnhardt. It worked for Waltrip. And if they keep up their old-school ways, it'll work for Busch, Hamlin and Logano.

Even if they look too young to drive.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nascar/story/92...old-school

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