Mega Millions lottery winner Joe Denette has formed Joe Denette Motorsports to compete in Camping World Truck Series. JDM will make its debut in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway and plans to run the full season with Jason White (LEFT) as its driver.
Denette, a Fredericksburg, Va., native, did not have a promising start to 2009. He was laid off from his job of seven years and had been unemployed for four months. However, that didn't stop Denette from partaking in two of his most cherished hobbies – NASCAR and playing the lottery.
After winning four tickets to the May 2, 2009, Cup Series race at Richmond International Speedway via a radio contest, Denette's luck began to change. On the day of the race, Denette found out he was holding a winning lottery ticket worth more than $70 million.
Part of his winnings included a pace car ride around Richmond International Raceway by Mega Millions lottery promoter and Virginia native, Hermie Sadler. The two kept in touch and when Denette decided he wanted to start a race team, he leaned on Sadler to point him in the right direction. With guidance from the part-time driver and full-time SPEED analyst, Denette opened the doors of Joe Denette Motorsports in January 2011.
"I've been a NASCAR fan my entire life," Denette said, "however, I've always wished I was a part of it in some bigger way. In May 2009 when I won the lottery, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with part of my winnings and give back to the sport I've always loved.
"In August 2009, I teamed up with Hermie Sadler and we entered the Truck race at Bristol with him as the driver. Since then, I've supported him for several races in 2010. Now, I am taking the next step and starting a team with the guidance of my great friend and mentor, Hermie Sadler."
Joe Denette Motorsports will field Chevrolets from its shop in Huntersville, N.C., and will have a technical alliance with Kevin Harvick Inc. JDM will field the Truck Series entries and KHI will provide chassis and technical support.
The team has partnered with driver Jason White and GunBroker.com Racing for 2011. This season will mark White's fourth full-time stint in one of NASCAR's premier divisions. White will again drive the No. 23 carrying the familiar GunBroker.com paint scheme but will make the transition to Chevrolets powered by PME engines.
Coincidentally, Denette purchased 23 lottery tickets when he played the Mega Millions lottery in 2009 and among those was the winning ticket.
"When the opportunity presented itself to work with Jason White and GunBroker.com I couldn't turn it down, " Denette said. "Jason is such a talented kid and has grown so much over the past few years as a driver. Joe Denette Motorsports will provide the platform he needs to excel in 2011."
White has more than 100 starts in the Truck Series, leading 127 laps, notching five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s along with one pole award that came in the season opener at Daytona in 2010. White capped the 2010 season with a series best 10th-place finish in the championship points battle and plans to contend for his first series title in 2011.
"I feel like I'm finally somewhere that I can grow, be competitive and race for wins," White said. "We were so close to Victory Lane last year on numerous occasions and we just fell short. With this team and my sponsor, GunBroker.com, behind me this year, I feel like we will be very competitive and not only win races, but contend for a championship."
Calling the shots for White and the No. 23 team will be Chad Kendrick. Kendrick comes to Joe Denette Motorsports from Germain Racing and has more than three years of experience as a crew chief working with drivers such as Timothy Peters, Stacy Compton, Max Papis and Narain Karthikeyan.