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NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE


November 12, 2014


Richard Childress

Walter Czarnecki

Joe Gibbs

Tony Stewart


MIKE MASSARO:テつ Gentlemen, congratulations on the accomplishments of your team and getting to this point where you are perhaps just one win away from claiming a Sprint Cup Series championship to add to your collection.テつ Tony, I want to start with you.テつ You've got a unique perspective on the situation.テつ You've run in a championship finale race a few years ago.テつ You had to win that race to win the championship.テつ How does that experience spill over to the 4 team in this situation in terms of what you're trying to communicate to them in terms of the performance and the mindset they need to bring to the racetrack this weekend?
TONY STEWART:テつ Well, you know, I think in all honesty, it's not so much what happens this weekend but it's all the work that they've done from last December when Kevin and Rodney had their first test together.テつ I think it's everything they've done up to this point that prepares them for this week.テつ But obviously championship week is always a little bit different.テつ The emotions are a little different, the nerves go up a little bit.テつ But we've talked to both Kevin and Rodney and their guys, and they've just been doing the same thing all year, and that's what we told them for this week is don't do anything any different than what got you here.
I think they're as prepared as they can be.テつ I think they've done a great job up to this point, and I don't think there's a team out there that's as ready as these guys are.
MIKE MASSARO:テつ Richard, I want to move on to you.テつ I had the opportunity to spend a little time in the Richard Childress Racing Museum this past weekend and it was filled with championship trophies and winning race cars, a deep heritage of winning at your organization, six Sprint Cup Series championships, but it's been 20 years since the last one.テつ What's it been like for you trying to get that seventh?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:テつ We've been after it for 20 years.テつ You know, we've been runner‑up, we've been in the hunt for the last two or three years off and on with Kevin, once with Clint.テつ 2000 we missed it by a few points.テつ I think Labonte won it.テつ We've been right there, but we haven't been able to close it off.テつ It's great to be here and be in the Final Four and have a good shot at it.
MIKE MASSARO:テつ Walter, I want to move on to you.テつ It took 29 seasons before Penske got their first Sprint Cup Series championship, and now here you are with a chance to win two in three years.テつ What does that mean to you, Roger, and this organization?
WALTER CZARNECKI:テつ Well, you're correct.テつ 29 years to get here.テつ The first one came with a lot of drama, I would say.テつ We really felt that when we broke through and Brad won that championship two years ago that we were in a position, particularly when Joey Logano came on the team at the beginning of last year, we felt we were really in a position to be able to extend that and win more championships, and I think we've demonstrated that this year, certainly.テつ But it means a lot with the great heritage of our team and all types of motor sport for the last 49 years.テつ I think everyone will agree on our team that winning the Sprint Cup championship is probably the most difficult, the most challenging, and maybe the one that's most rewarding, so we're really looking forward to competing with these three other great teams and those three other great drivers to get another championship.
MIKE MASSARO:テつ Joe, we move on to you.テつ Denny was up here, and we talked to him about 2010 when he came so close to winning the championship.テつ You saw how that affected him first hand.テつ You've also witnessed what he's gone through the last couple years, the adversity he's had to overcome.テつ What have you seen out of Denny in terms of what's driven him, what's motivated him to this point?
JOE GIBBS:テつ I think when you watch Denny, in 2010, I think that was absolutely devastating for him.テつ I know when we walked out of the media center up there, he turned to me and he made a comment like, "I cost us that championship."テつ I said, "Denny, you got us here."テつ But it was truly devastating for him.
I think Denny has matured.テつ I think this last weekend was a good example.テつ That car was‑‑ we had everything in the world happen to us, went down a lap twice, and between he and Darian, they just kept fighting.テつ I think he showed great poise.テつ So I think he's probably like a lot of the great drivers; I think he's matured some, and I think certainly we're excited about having this opportunity and to be in this situation is really special, and we really appreciate it.
MIKE MASSARO:テつ One thing you can say about Denny as we can say for all four championship contenders, they are hungry for this title as I know you are, as well, gentlemen.テつ Best of luck, and we wish you good fortunes on Sunday afternoon.
Time now to turn it back over to Kerry Tharp and the assembled media.
KERRY THARP:テつ We've got the opportunity now to ask questions to our four contending car owners, so let's get started.

Q.テつ In 2011 you said you'd wreck your own mom to get a championship.テつ I'd like to know for all the owners, would you be okay with your ‑‑ or would you want your driver to wreck somebody to get a championship if you had to do it to win?
TONY STEWART:テつ I don't have to worry about it.テつ I'm not in it.

Q.テつ Tony, in 2011 at this press conference, you certainly had some fun with Carl Edwards.テつ Kevin tried to have a little fun with Joey there.テつ I'm sure you were listening backstage.テつ How did he do?
TONY STEWART:テつ Actually I wasn't.テつ I was back there talking to these three and acting like I knew what I was doing.テつ We were having fun back there.テつ But I don't know what they said actually.テつ We really couldn't hear back there.テつ I was kind of anxious to hear it myself, so I'm sure I'll get a chance this evening to hear what everybody said.

Q.テつ How much carries over to once you get on the track?テつ How can that play a part with what you do on the track, whether it's speed or how you go out and practice?テつ Because I think ‑‑ didn't you try to do some things every during practice with Carl?
TONY STEWART:テつ We didn't do anything in practice actually.テつ I really think when it comes time and you get in the car, you kind of get in that mode that got you there, like we mentioned earlier.テつ You really don't change anything that last day.テつ I mean, granted, those guys know and we know as owners that there's three other guys that we're really focused on for this weekend.テつ But for those guys, you really don't want to break that rhythm.テつ You don't want to break that pattern of how you got to this point.
You know, I think it's a lot of fun, and it was a lot of fun messing with Carl when we were up here three years ago, and I'm sure that Kevin had fun with the rest of them.テつ But when it comes to getting in the car, it's down to business as usual.テつ I've seen a fire and determination in Kevin Sunday night through this week that I haven't seen all year, and I've never seen somebody that has been so excited at an opportunity to be really nervous.テつ He's been more excited than nervous, and I think that's something I've been really excited to see as an owner.

Q.テつ Tony, you appeared to get a little bit emotional in victory lane last week.テつ What does it mean for you to have Kevin in this championship hunt, considering the rough year you personally and Stewart‑Haas Racing has had?
TONY STEWART:テつ Well, I think the main thing was from the first test that they had in December after the season was over last year, they showed a lot of speed.テつ You know, with this format, there's so many things that can go wrong, and one bad day can change the complexion of whichever phase of the Chase you're in at that time.テつ Just to get to this point and to accomplish that goal, I think it's something both Gene and I are very, very proud of.
You know, and it is‑‑ it's been a hard year.テつ But at the same time, I think those guys have been, week in and week out, very consistent, and it's been that way from the first December test that they ran together all the way through this weekend.テつ I think for us it's just gratifying that that speed and that consistency has paid off to get them to the show this year.

Q.テつ Walt, you mentioned in your opening remarks the great heritage of your organization.テつ I don't know if you can speak for Roger, but maybe you can speak for the entire organization and what it would mean, you've already won the IndyCar championship this year.テつ You might win the Nationwide owner's championship on Saturday and possibly the Cup championship on Sunday.テつ What would that sweep mean to you guys?
WALTER CZARNECKI:テつ Well, I think, if memory serves, we would be the only team in North America ever to win two major championships, let alone three, ever.テつ So that will be quite an accomplishment, and certainly we're aiming for that.
I think that the fact that we won 11 races in Sprint Cup this year, won another six in Nationwide, really was a testimony to the organization.テつ And there are a lot of teams that say, well, that's a pretty good year, and it really is.テつ It's actually the best year‑‑ as you may know, the best year we've had in the Sprint Cup.テつ Rusty Wallace won 10 races in 1993, so, combined, we have 11.テつ Arguably, it would be the greatest achievement in the history of our company.
Someone told me that only one other‑‑ I think there were two other teams that did this, and they were in Europe.テつ I think it was Ferrari and Mercedes‑Benz, and someone will call me on this, that won Formula1 and a sports car championship in the same year.テつ I don't know what the years were.テつ To be able to accomplish this would be really quite something, and that was really our goal from the beginning of the season.テつ Maybe we didn't verbalize it quite that way, but we really felt we were going to be competitive in all three of these series, and the results have demonstrated that.

Q.テつ Tony, you've known Harvick forever, won races for him in his cars, seen him come up from the guys jumping over cars and strangling people.テつ You brought him in because of talent, and you brought him in because of what you saw in terms of potential for him as a race car driver, but as a friend, how badly would you like to deliver this for him in his career?
TONY STEWART:テつ Well, I think our part has kind of been getting to this point.テつ Definitely he's been a great friend, and I think there's a lot of similarities between us and our driving styles and attitude, temperament, everything across the board, and I think that's why we've been such good friends for so long.
But to be a part of this opportunity with him is what I'm most proud of.テつ No matter what happens on Sunday, just the work and the journey to get to this point is what really I'm proud of.テつ But trust me, I'll be one of the first ones down there if we are able to accomplish our goal on Sunday.テつ It would be great to be a part of it with him as a friend.

Q.テつ Tony, I just wanted to ask you, given the scramble of the last few weeks, if you've been able to take any time for a little personal reflection on sort of what this means, given what you've been through the last 18 months.
TONY STEWART:テつ Well, I think we've separated it in all honesty.テつ When it comes to the business side of it and running four teams, I mean, you have to stay focused on what you're doing.テつ It's not‑‑ this weekend doesn't have anything to do with me as a person, it's about what Gene Haas and the entire organization has been able to do and what an accomplishment it's been for Kevin and Rodney Childers and this whole team.
I think we've just done a really good job of trying to separate it and stay focused on the task at hand.テつ There's other people that we're responsible for that the personal side for me, it doesn't matter.テつ It's my job to make sure I'm doing everything we can to give those guys an opportunity to be in this position, and that's what we've done with Kevin this year.

Q.テつ Richard, not only 20 years since your last championship, but this is your best shot at winning a title during the Chase era.テつ What does that mean after having Kevin leave after last season and kind of the reorganization your team went through in the off‑season to be back and to be in the Championship Round?
RICHARD CHILDRESS:テつ It's great to have an opportunity to run for the championship.テつ Like I said earlier, we've been in there several years with the opportunity to win it, but never pulled it off.テつ To have Ryan in the car this year and knowing his ability and everyone at RCR is really hungry for that championship, and we're just going to go out and give it our all.
KERRY THARP:テつ Thank you, gentlemen.テつ That's going to conclude the on‑stage portion of today's championship media day here at the Doral, and we certainly appreciate everyone being here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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