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McPizza: Michael McDowell gets two races with Joe Gibbs Racing

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Michael McDowell will drive at least two NASCAR Nationwide Series races for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2011.
Michael McDowell will drive at least two NASCAR Nationwide Series races for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2011.

Special to the Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

Michael McDowell will drive select NASCAR Nationwide Series races for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2011, including the two Iowa Speedway events in the No. 18 car.

Sponsorship for the Iowa races comes from Pizza Ranch. Additional races could be added to McDowell's schedule.

"Anytime you have the opportunity to work with someone with the talent and character of Michael you are excited," JGR president J.D. Gibbs said.

McDowell, 26, has started 72 Nationwide and 52 Cup races in his career.

JGR will field three cars in the Nationwide Series in 2011. The No. 11 car will be driven full time by Brian Scott, Kyle Busch will run the majority of the races in the No. 18 and Joey Logano the majority in the No. 20. Denny Hamlin is expected to compete in select events as well, as will Matt DiBenedetto and Brad Coleman.

"These JGR race teams have an incredible performance history" McDowell said. "This is a great opportunity and I am honored to represent Pizza Ranch in their home state of Iowa and drive the No. 18. I appreciate the confidence Pizza Ranch and JGR have in me and plan to make the best of it. "

McDowell has not announced any other NASCAR plans for 2011. He will drive in the Rolex 24 At Daytona as a teammate to AJ Allmendinger at Michael Shank Racing.