What started by chance now has become tradition for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Sunday night, team owner Joe Gibbs, family members, friends and team executives celebrated Denny Hamlin‘s Daytona 500 win by going to a Steak ‘n Shake near Daytona International Speedway.
It’s just as Gibbs did in 1993 after winning the Daytona 500 with Dale Jarrett. The team continued the tradition last year when Kyle Busch won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch, wife Samantha, crew chief Adam Stevens and others joined Gibbs at the restaurant.
Gibbs said the tradition started by accident after the 1993 Daytona 500.
“We were in the winner’s circle for maybe 15 minutes,” Gibbs said of that triumph, which was the team’s first Sprint Cup victory. “We really didn’t know what the heck was going on. On the way out, we grabbed the trophy. Then when we won the Brickyard (last year), all the guys said let’s go to Steak n’ Shake and (Sunday night) they wound up down there, too.”
They also brought the trophy to the restaurant Sunday.
“The place was packed,” Gibbs said. “We were in the parking lot, and we started taking pictures (with fans). It was fun. It’s kind of one of those rare things that just kind of happened.”
David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, got a text from a Gibbs executive that they were at the restaurant, and he left a reception to join them.
“You watched the fans, it was full of people, the young fans, that’s the cool thing, young fans working up the courage to come over and ask (Gibbs) if they could have a picture with him and the trophy,” Wilson said. “Once one did, it started a flood.”