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Hall of Fame Racing, JGR decide to remove Logano from No. 96

10/1/2008 - NASCAR

Joey Logano will no longer pilot Hall of Fame Racing's No. 96 Toyota in 2008, team co-owner Tom Garfinkel told ESPN.com Tuesday.

Garfinkel said the decision was mutual between his team and Joe Gibbs Racing, for whom Logano is under a multiyear driving contract.

"It's a joint decision," Garfinkel said. "We talked to Gibbs and both decided that, for [Logano's] development and for our team, this the best thing for all of us. The best thing for all of us is for them to focus on Joey's development, and us to focus on our team."

Seeking to gain experience in preparation for his 2009 rookie campaign in Gibbs' No. 20 Toyota, Logano was scheduled to run five of the final 10 races of the current season in the Hall of Fame No. 96 -- a Gibbs satellite operation.

That foray began at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where Logano finished 32nd. He followed that up last weekend with a 39th-place effort in Kansas.

He was to return to the No. 96 at Lowe's Motor Speedway next week, and also was scheduled to drive for Hall of Fame at Martinsville Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.

Sprint Cup veteran Ken Schrader will drive the No. 96 at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, and likely the rest of the season.

"This was the best thing for everyone. This will allow Joey to concentrate on his remaining races in the Nationwide Series and preparing for next season," Gibbs told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "It also provides continuity for Hall of Fame Racing as they focus on their plan for the rest of this season and the future."

Marty Smith is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage. He can be reached at ESPNsider@aol.com.