Wednesday, Dec 06

Joe Gibbs Press Conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by the team owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, Joe Gibbs. When we had the final restart, we had Denny and Kyle battling together. I'm sure you were glad to have two in the hunt, but that also can provide a little bit of nervousness. Talk about those final laps and ultimately Denny bringing home the checkered flag here in a race he's been working to win for many years now.

JOE GIBBS: I've always said when I get the most nervous is when two of our cars are up there late because both of them want it so bad. You could tell Kyle was after it, Denny was. That's your greatest fear. The restart before that the two lead cars took each other out. That's what you're so afraid of.

That race, I don't know how to explain it really. There was so much in it. I guess I've used a football term, that was physical. There were people pounding on each other.

Really, really proud. We had some real disappointments on the 20 tonight. Really hurt Chris. Felt bad about that. And Martin, Bass Pro. Johnny was here. You just hate that. You hate the disappointments like DeWalt. But then you have the thrill of victory there.

I think Kyle gave it everything. To wind up with our two cars up there like that at the end, it was really special. That pit crew, just for everybody here, you probably already have heard that, but two of those guys, that was only the second time they ever went over the wall. That was our crew that was filling in for our suspended group.

Really it was a great story. That's one of the great things about sports. I think that's the reason why we always like it, sports so much, it's the greatest reality show in the world. Nobody pictured that tonight would be our two cars winning. The stories that are all behind that. That's one of the most obviously challenging races to go 600 miles.

I got to tell you, it was a thrill for me to be a part of it. God's blessed us with so much. Coy, myself, I always think about J.D. when we win a race like that, particularly here. Just really appreciate being a part of it.

THE MODERATOR: We'll go to questions.

Q. You were talking about having two cars battling at the end. Especially with a coaching background, how are you coaching those guys behind the scenes with different personalities, emotions right after a race like this?

JOE GIBBS: Yeah, I think first of all the reason why I do really enjoy the fact, it's totally different than football from the standpoint you got four teams. You're trying to get four teams to work together. That's really hard. It's really different. That's the reason why I think so many of our fans love the challenge of it. They know that. So that's something about our sport that's really different and a real challenge.

At the race shop we work together. Four cars at the racetrack, we're competing against each other. Our sponsors are such a big story, like FedEx tonight, calling Fred, Catherine, Monica, everyone over there. It's just a great experience. Called Bob Carter from Toyota, Jack and Dave. That's a big part of the story.

Then the personalities, yeah. Our drivers are very different, very different personalities. I think we got a great group there, though. They share everything in our competition meetings. I think it really makes us better.

Anyway, I'm just thrilled to be a part of it.

Q. Denny talked about this being so special. Did you know how special this was to him? What is it about the Toyotas that have figured it out on the mile-and-a-half's?

JOE GIBBS: I would say with Denny, you know, to race that hard that long and to be here and know how important this race is right here in our backyard, this is just a huge deal.

I've had experiences here where Bobby Labonte won his first race here and everyone was crying in the winner's circle. It's very emotional. Everything that goes with it.

I really thank Bruton and Marcus for all they do here. This is a real showpiece for us. Think about this. Our race team is here in Charlotte, so we have our sponsors come here all the time. A part of their weekend, besides studying and meeting at our place, they get to come over here. Interstate group, we've been with them 31 years, they came over here, rode cars. Christopher took them around, made laps. They got to drive cars themselves. You talk about an experience that people are not going to forget. It's a thrill for us to obviously be here and be a part of all this. I appreciate them.

I had a chance yell at Bruton on his 90th birthday. It was awesome. Bruton and I have shared a few things in the past. It's fun kind of being a part of all this.

Q. The last time the Coke 600 was as eventful as tonight's was 2005. That was the race where Bobby Labonte ended losing it off of turn four to Jimmie Johnson. After all of what we saw tonight, what is it like to be on the other end of a race like this?

JOE GIBBS: Well, it's a thrill. You know, first of all, when we come here it's going to be the longest. Tonight I would say, like I said, one of the most physical, exhausting, punishing races. So to go through all that, to survive it really, have a chance to win it, have three of our cars up there, didn't with Martin, I think he finished 12th or something like that, really proud of our guys, proud of our people.

You win with people. It's not cars. We got great people. I just thank God that we're a part of a real family race team. It's really what it is. We got people. This Christmas we gave out 30-year celebrations to some of our people, been there 30 years and built the race team.

Q. Which one of the Hogs do you think would have lasted this long in this race?

JOE GIBBS: The Hogs, man, I got to tell you. I remember those guys. This is a few memories.

I don't quite understand the question there.

Q. Joe Jacoby.

JOE GIBBS: You were talking about the Hogs. You talk about a group now that will turn you inside-out, it's that group.

No, I was blessed to be around great players in the NFL. I've been blessed to be around great players here. Chris Gabehart organizing all that, doing all he had to do this week. He's the coach here.

Q. The current success of Toyota...

JOE GIBBS: The wins, we got off to a slow start this year. We haven't had the wins. I do think over the last three weeks we're starting to find our way.

I think with the new car it's just a different package. Like I said, other people have done a better job than we did earlier. So we're playing a little bit of catch-up. I think right now, though, we're starting to find our way.

Q. On pit road you had some successes, some problems. David Wilson talked recently about the effort to try to get pit road cleaned up. Has this been a difficult problem to address?

JOE GIBBS: Yes. It's a totally different challenge. We have single lug nut now. Total different choreography. Some people have handled it better than we have.

Certainly I really feel terrible that we've hurt Christopher, DeWalt, tonight Yahoo and his sponsors there. We've also hurt Martin. You really feel like you let people down when that happens.

So we're behind. We got to find a way to fix it. To me most of the time that's hard work. We got some of our crews going two-a-days. We need to find a way to fix it.

Q. You said you didn't know how to explain this race. Cars spun out, flipped. Was this a good day for the Next Gen car?

JOE GIBBS: I think for sure. Everybody else will judge that. But I felt like certainly there was a lot of action and everything. I think, like I said, I would say this was a real challenge. I mean, if you can get through that, everything that happened tonight, a lot did happen.

I know everybody, all the fans, will kind of make a decision on that. I think all of us that are racing the cars are still getting to know it. I think we're making improvements as we go with it. I think NASCAR is fully onboard. That's really good.

I think our fans, we've had some real good races, and there's been real positives with it.

THE MODERATOR: Joe, thank you for spending some time with us.

JOE GIBBS: Thank you all.



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