NASCAR

Gibbs team to keep engine program

Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch heads back to the garage after blowing an engine at Las Vegas.
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Lee Spencer

Lee Spencer is the Senior NASCAR Writer for FOXSports.com. She has provided award-winning coverage of auto racing over the last 15 years. Spencer has lent her expertise to both television and radio and is a regular contributor to SiriusXM Radio and the Performance Racing Network. Follow her on Twitter.

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SPARTA, Ky.

Will Joe Gibbs Racing still have an independent engine program after 2011?

Top guns

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing has seen several victors this season. Take a look at the 2011 Sprint Cup race winners here.

With Red Bull Racing’s future up in the air, that’s a sizeable loss of income to the Toyota Racing Develop engine program. While its largest NASCAR customer, Michael Waltrip Racing, remains in the Toyota fold, the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based company understands that there’s power in numbers.

Reliability has been an issue for the Joe Gibbs Racing engines. There have been three engine failures in competition for Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano plus additional engine changes for problems during practice and qualifying.

So will JGR marry its engine department with Toyota Racing Development at the end of the season?

TRD racing boss Lee White says "No."

“No, they’re not shutting down their engine shop and no we will not be building their engines,” White said. “Of course, hell can freeze over and pigs can fly, but not in this world.”

White says there is an ongoing partnership between the two identities to create “a one-engine deal” in the advent of fuel injection to reduce costs and improve performance.

Currently, the JGR engines would not even fit in the other Toyota cars with their  configuration.

Given TRD’s 30 years of racing technology, White feels the relationship can benefit both parties.

“Apparently, people are out looking for jobs and that precipitates the question,” White said. “I don’t know where the speculation comes from other than the fact that we’ve been working very, very close to try and manage budgets, number one, trying to consolidate the problem with help with managing budgets and eliminate parallel development programs. We’ll end by doing that with solid performance and reliability.”

While the Red Bull and Michael Waltrip Racing cars only have one failure among the four teams — Kasey Kahne after qualifying fourth at Dover International Speedway for Red Bull — there have been complaints about speed across the board. That hasn’t been a problem for the Gibbs cars. The organizaton has three wins this season between Busch and Hamlin and a pole from Logano at Infineon Raceway last month.

Tagged: Michael Waltrip

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