Interstate Batteries, one of the most tenured team sponsors in NASCAR history, begins its 33rd season as the founding sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) when the NASCAR Cup Series kicks off its points-paying season with the Feb. 18 Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The brand‘s iconic green livery will not only continue to have a major presence across all four of JGR‘s NASCAR Cup Series entries in 2024, but will now see its schedule add a “Crown Jewel” race in NASCAR‘s top series.
Interstate Batteries will have 11 primary sponsorships in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2024, a similar number of schemes to last year‘s expanded presence amongst all four JGR Toyota Camry XSEs. Along with another appearance in the Daytona 500, Interstate‘s colors will have co-primary sponsorships at the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May, and the Cup Series season finale at Phoenix Raceway.
Christopher Bell, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry for JGR, kicks off the Team Interstate effort as a co-primary sponsor in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18 as the Championship 4 driver from 2023 looks to bring home his first Harley J. Earl trophy. Interstate Batteries returned to the Daytona 500 last year for the first time since 2007, riding along with then-rookie Ty Gibbs.
The Daytona 500 will always hold a special place in the respective histories of Interstate Batteries and JGR, as they won their first race together 31 years ago, in the 1993 Daytona 500, with driver Dale Jarrett.
Bell and Gibbs will run the majority of Interstate Batteries‘ races, with veteran Denny Hamlin in Interstate colors for two races and Martin Truex Jr., carrying a primary Interstate Batteries sponsorship for one race. Hamlin, a winner of 51 NASCAR Cup Series races, will drive the No. 11 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry XSE in the March 26 race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, as well as the NASCAR Cup Series first-ever race at Iowa Speedway in Newton on June 16. Truex, the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion, will again pilot the No. 19 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry July 23 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
“From the very beginning, our partnership with Joe (Gibbs) and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing has made us feel like we are a part of their family,” said Norm Miller, Chairman Emeritus, Interstate Batteries. “We are very excited to not only return for our 33rd season together, but to add yet another ‘Crown Jewel‘ event to our schedule with the NASCAR Championship Weekend as we return to the Daytona 500 for the second year in a row. Our Daytona 500 win back in 1993 with Dale Jarrett will be a day I‘ll never forget and we are hoping, now 31 years later, Christopher and the entire 20 team get us back to victory lane in NASCAR‘s biggest race.”
After racing at Daytona, Bell returns to Interstate Batteries colors March 3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he finished in the runner-up spot in October in a thrilling playoff-race finish with Kyle Larson. The six-time Cup Series race winner will next be in his Interstate Batteries livery back in Daytona for the annual summer night race on Aug. 24. Bell, who has appeared in the Championship 4 the past two seasons, will hope to make it back for a third year in a row when Interstate Batteries is co-primary sponsor for the season finale at Phoenix.
Gibbs kicks off his slate of Interstate Batteries races with an April 14 visit to the backyard of Interstate‘s Dallas headquarters, Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, and as co-primary in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on May 26, June 30 at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, and the Oct. 13 return to the Charlotte Roval.
“We saw a lot of excitement among the Interstate system last season when the partnership expanded to all four JGR drivers and teams,” said Lain Hancock, President & CEO, Interstate Batteries. “We are thrilled to be able to add the NASCAR Championship Weekend in Phoenix to go along with our other marquee races, the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600, as we look forward to another successful year for Team Interstate.”
Interstate Batteries helped launch JGR in 1992. In the 32 years that have followed, JGR has scored 200 Cup Series victories — a number that includes four Daytona 500s — and five Cup Series championships. All of JGR‘s firsts — win (Jarrett, 1992 Daytona 500), pole (Bobby Labonte, April 21, 1995, at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia) and championship (Labonte, 2000 Cup Series title) have come with Interstate Batteries as the primary sponsor. When all of JGR‘s successes are added up across each NASCAR series in which it competes, its race victories total more than doubles to 413 (200 in the Cup Series, 193 in the Xfinity Series and 20 in the ARCA Menards Series) with 12 total championships (five in Cup, six in Xfinity and one in ARCA).
“We wouldn‘t be where we are as a race team without the support from our founding partner Interstate Batteries for the past 32 race seasons,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “To think we are entering our 33rd racing season together speaks to how special our partnership has been and the relationships we‘ve built with everyone at Interstate Batteries. I‘ll be forever grateful to Norm and Tommy Miller, who gave us a chance when we didn‘t have a building, cars or even employees. We are blessed to continue to work with great people like Lain (Hancock) and his entire team. There are few partnerships that have stood the test of time like Joe Gibbs Racing and Interstate Batteries have.”
Gibbs, along with three of the drivers who have raced for JGR since its inception in 1992, have been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Jarrett was ushered into the Hall in 2014 while Gibbs, Labonte and Tony Stewart were enshrined together as part of the Class of 2020.
— True Speed Communications —