HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Joe Gibbs Racing revealed a clean, new look for the No. 11 Toyota to be driven by Denny Hamlin in the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Monday, carrying longtime sponsor FedEx’s familiar logo but as part of a prominent, brighter design.
Hamlin said Monday that he hopes the outlook is also brighter, as he tries to rebound from his first winless season since joining NASCAR’s top division in 2005.
“We had that (previous) one for two years,” Hamlin said. “I’m deeming that one as bad luck, and now we’re moving on from scratch.”
The design breaks from the darker paint schemes that had adorned the No. 11 in years past, with large swatches of white on the hood and doors replacing the predominantly purple and black schemes from previous seasons. The patches of white evoke the classic design of FedEx’s delivery trucks and envelopes.
The new look debuted on Joe Gibbs Racing’s social media channels Monday morning. The first full glimpse of the No. 11’s primary design is scheduled next month at Daytona International Speedway, where Hamlin claimed the Daytona 500 crown in 2016.
“Typically it’s either been all purple, kind of all black with a little bit of color, but bringing back the white, something we haven’t had on the FedEx car since the inaugural season; it’s awesome,” Hamlin said. “Just to me, I like white race cars — just very clean. And then when you add in the purple and the orange, it’s a great combination and it’s a car that will be easily seen on the race track, no doubt.”
The paint scheme ranks as one of several new wrinkles for Hamlin this season. Chris Gabehart will be the No. 11 team’s new crew chief, replacing Michael Wheeler, who joins Leavine Family Racing after a three-season pairing with Hamlin at JGR.
Gabehart has worked with Hamlin in a total of four NASCAR national series races, including an Xfinity Series victory at Michigan International Speedway in 2017. His challenge this year includes a jump to the premier series after three seasons on the Xfinity side, plus an adjustment to a new rules package for 2019.
“There is a lot of new, whether it’s the look of the race car, the look of the race team or the rules package, on pit road … there is a lot of new and a lot to look forward to,” Gabehart said. “Certainly the results aren’t anything that’s promised, you’ve got to go out and earn them, but I can promise you that the approach is going to be a lot different, by default.”