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JOE GIBBS RACING MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 14, 2007
MIKE ARNING: On behalf of everyone with Joe Gibbs Racing, I want to welcome you and thank you for your attendance in today's press conference. I'd like to introduce J.D. Gibbs, Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries, and our No. 1 draft pick for the No. 18 car beginning in 2008.
J.D., now you have your chance to sign a No. 1 draft pick. Present Kyle with his jersey now that he's joining Joe Gibbs Racing. Joe, of course, couldn't be here. He's well-entrenched in football. Kyle, he sent you a message. Here it is on the video screen.
MIKE ARNING: Obviously, a big day for Joe Gibbs Racing, but a big day for you.
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, I think it is. For everyone at JGR, it's a special moment for us. We had a chance to introduce Kyle to the team guys earlier. Obviously, they're extremely excited.
I think what encourages our guys, really Kyle had a lot of great opportunities. He could have gone to almost any team he wanted to that made offers, trying to get him on board. So I think what I told our guys, that's a huge compliment to them, the guys that have been here, some of them 16 years, to Norm, Interstate. That means a lot to our guys to know Kyle had all these options, chose our guys to really put him in cars that can win races and win championships.
The other thing I want to say is I leaned a lot on Denny and Tony during this process. I didn't know Kyle real well. I got a chance to spend some time with him. Both Denny and Tony said, Look, I'm telling you, off the track and on the track, there's no one that has the talent this guy has. And we think bringing him on board really gives us three guys that can win week in, week out, and really I think they were really encouraged. To hear that meant a lot to me because they really kind of dictate our future.
I will say getting to know Kyle really here for us is kind of special. He's got a great sense of humor. He's sharp. I think he's really passionate about what he does. He does really remind me a lot of Tony, which is kind of frightening, but I think at the same time we have a great relationship with Tony and we think we'll have the same thing for Kyle.
We want this to be Kyle's home for the rest of his career. He's only 22 years old. So we think we got a real special gift here in Kyle. I think it will mean a lot to our guys in the future of JGR.
MIKE ARNING: Kyle, emulating what J.D. just said, obviously it's great to have your future set with a competitive race team. Tell us why Joe Gibbs Racing is the place you wanted to call home.
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I think it has a lot to do with people and charisma and chemistry and everything like that. Even though I haven't had the opportunity to work with the team guys, many of the employees here at JGR, I feel as though I've got, you know, a strong field that can stand behind me and that we can work with and look forward to being able to have plenty of success with on the racetrack.
J.D., Joe, their hospitality they've given me, everything they've done for me, has just been awesome. Norm, met him a few years ago. Being part of the 18 with Interstate Batteries on board, looking forward to it. Looking forward to getting out there in 2008, trying to win some races, contend for some championships.
Ultimately, like J.D. said, hopefully be here for the rest of my career. It's definitely something that's been worthwhile, been waiting for, been trying to decide on. But it was an easy decision when looking at all the prospects and looking at all the decision-making properties that basically had to all sit down and put in front of you.
Really looking forward to 2008, hopefully being able to build a strong bond with Joe Gibbs Racing, being able to contend for championships.
MIKE ARNING: Normal Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries, you've been a part of Joe Gibbs Racing, so has Interstate Batteries, since they opened up their doors 16 years ago. Talk about the latest chapter with the No. 18 car.
NORM MILLER: Well, we are really excited about the whole thing. When we started talking with J.D. about the possibility of getting Kyle, and going over his record, just looking back and watching the progress that you've made through these years, we've been terribly excited, I'm telling you. We were hoping so, very much, that you would make that decision to choose JGR, then of course at Interstate get to ride in on that.
Going back for me, there's a lot of memories. We got in this thing in 1992 with Joe. We were the first logo on the door out there. So it's been just a phenomenal ride. We won a lot of races. I was on the airplane coming over here thinking about we've won at Charlotte, Talladega, Daytona, Indianapolis, Michigan, Pocono. I can name some 20 some odd races. And it's been a little dry lately. So our people, we have like 300 distributors that have been tremendously excited about the racing history and all that we've had. So they're beside themselves to have a chance to get back up front again, run up front.
With our company, we need to run up front for this to be a viable economic situation, if you will. So we're thrilled to see that. I looked at Kyle's record. 45% of his races he's in the top 10 since he's been racing in the NEXTEL Cup here. So we're excited. We're hoping to take as big a bite as we can get out of this thing and go out here and see that checkered flag shake again on the green car at some of these tracks.
KYLE BUSCH: That's right.
MIKE ARNING: Now we'll open it up to questions from our media.
Q. Kyle, obviously the question that we all want to know is the process, how difficult, how many people did you talk to, and what was sort of the process you went through, what was the tipping point that led you to this decision?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, you know, it was a great decision-making process that I was able to go through, a great learning experience as well, being able to sit down with the various owners, spend time with them, get to know them, build a friendly relationship with them all.
I think we went about it in the right way where everybody was pleased with the way it went down. I'm sure they were a little disappointed when I led into may phone calls a couple Mondays ago and my decision in who it was going to be.
But, you know, I felt like for myself, the time in my career, I made the right decision. You know, it was just all about laying all the cards out there, seeing what all the possibilities were, seeing who the teammates were going to be, who the team members were going to be, the crew chiefs, stuff like that.
I feel like at JGR, with everything that they've got going on here, they've got a great track record and also one that's second to none with the PR staff and everybody else that works here. It just felt right. It was a tough decision, but in the end I feel like I made the right one and I feel like it was an easy one.
Q. Can you outline how much different Hendrick is to Joe Gibbs, the drivers, the teams? Were you ever real serious about going to DEI?
KYLE BUSCH: I think to the first part of it about the differences between the drivers, I think as J.D. led into a little bit, Tony and I have a lot of similarities. That is a scary thing. But when you look at it, for who we are off the racetrack, I think it makes a lot of sense in why we're here, why we're together.
Denny and I are great friends on the racetrack as well as more so off the racetrack. So I felt like that was going to be a great fit.
Jeff and Jimmie, I've got a lot of respect for those guys. Obviously they're both champions in their own right, Jeff a four-time, Jimmie just last year. There's great equipment over there. There's great equipment over here.
You know I don't feel like I took a step back one bit. I feel like I'm actually right where I left. I feel like I will be able to go out there, contend week in and week out, get Norm here back to seeing that checkered flag again hopefully and being able to just put it on 'em next year.
DEI, there was the opportunity to go there. I felt very strongly about DEI as well as here at Joe Gibbs Racing. What set me apart, honestly, they were so similar it was really a hard decision. That's what it came down to in the end was DEI and here.
With the support from Joe and J.D., I just felt maybe a little bit more at home. But, you know, DEI's got a great repertoire over there, too. They've been coming on real strong here in the middle part of the season. Competition was definitely a tough side to look at. But I feel like in the end, it's the right decision.
Q. J.D., you joked twice now that Kyle and Tony are frighteningly similar. What do you do with Tony to keep him in line and can you do the same things with Kyle in that sense?
J.D. GIBBS: I missed something. Do we actually keep Tony in line (laughter)?
No, I think for us really it is -- in all seriousness, here is what I know. As a race team, first and foremost, you got to win races, you got to go fast. You have to have a chance to win those championships. If you don't do that, you don't put yourself in that position, you won't have sponsors, you'll lose team guys, you won't be here very long. So for us first and for most, NFL and other sports, you have to perform on the track. Clearly Kyle does that, as well as Tony, as well as Denny.
I think the second thing that I would say is Tony, for as intense and passionate as he is around the racetrack, I think a lot of people -- I think more and more so, but people don't see him off the track, all the stuff he does, his heart, the way he really cares about other people, the kids, the people he works with.
So I think I see a lot of that same thing in Kyle. Very passionate on the track, but really off the track, a good sense of humor, quick wit and I think will bond well with our guys and also is able to give back a lot to the community.
I think that's kind of where I see him and Tony. Really I think both those guys, as well as Denny, really know at the end of the day how much their team guys sacrifice. I think those guys are tight. I think we'll have the same thing with Kyle.
Q. J.D., you've talked about this, a lot of teams would shy away from putting these three big personalities, strong-willed individuals on the same lineup. What makes you, your dad, this organization, able to massage it and keep it all together?
J.D. GIBBS: I would disagree with you somewhat. I think if you offered Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch to most guys out there, they'd do that at all costs to make that work. You're talking about three guys that can obviously perform on the track. Forget about the fact Kyle is 22 years old. Denny is young. Tony, he's our mentor but he has matured a lot. I think he's able to share some of the stuff he's learned along the way, what not to do, what to do.
I think really for us, I think these guys put us in a great position as a team going forward. Everyone's asking about a fourth team, what does the fourth team look like. The way we are right now, I think if you want to do a fourth team in '09, that's great. If it's '10, great. We're in no hurry. Right now if you do well with the teams you have, you have a lot of options.
That's kind of our goal in bringing Kyle on board, you're going to have a lot of options to do other things from a sponsor standpoint and from a team-growth standpoint.
Q. The 18 car has not been very strong over the past few seasons. Were you concerned about coming to a car that hasn't had top performance? Were you given any assurances they would try to make the performance better at all?
KYLE BUSCH: Well, I think you look at the 20 and the 11, and you say, Well, what's going on with the 18? Is it team? Is it crew chief? Is it driver?
I've got a lot of respect out there for J.J. Yeley, his talents, what he's done in open-wheel ranks, stuff like that. When he came to the NASCAR ranks, he's been competitive. He's been a legitimate top 20 driver week in and week out. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors, whatever he does.
As far as the 18 ride, what I foresee going on with it, being able to run up front, the 20 and the 11 do it. You know, I hopefully think that everything will work out fine where we'll be able to jump in there and hopefully get the chemistry right right off the bat and be able to get up there and run competitive in the first few races or maybe even take a couple of them and throw them away and hopefully be able to run competitively through the middle part of the season to try to get towards the Chase next year.
Like I said, the biggest thing for me is just try to come out of here, be competitive to try to win races and win championships. But, you know, there might be a little bit of a growing period, but hopefully it's none too long where we can't catch back up. Maybe we can start off strong, be in contention to contend for the championship.
Q. Kyle, obviously this issue has come up a few times. Do you feel like you have to mature based on all the events that happened in the last few years as you come to this new team? J.D., talk about the drive to improve, to become deeper and stronger, what's going on in NASCAR that is inspiring teams to merge, grow?
KYLE BUSCH: You know, I feel like being 22, I've got a lot of time -- not a lot, but I've got some time and a lot of room to grow and become more responsible, more mature, things like that.
You know, being thrown in this light has just definitely shown a different aspect of life towards me. For the past couple years, I haven't shown probably my full potential. But there's plenty of it out there. I feel like I cannot necessarily change but probably bring out more of who I am.
I've got a great marketing staff now, great agency with MMI, Incorporated, Jeff Dickerson, where we're working on that, trying to bring out the real Kyle Busch, show everybody what it's all about, I guess who I'm all about. These guys here at Joe Gibbs Racing, obviously they saw a little bit of that as well as some of the other owners we were able to spend time with.
You know, I guess I'm different when the camera shines its light on me than I am when I'm behind closed doors.
J.D. GIBBS: For us, what you kind of see in the sport is interesting. I think, you know, ideally years ago when NASCAR put the cap at four teams, that kind of change a little bit. I thought it was a good decision. I personally would like to see them cap it at three, but four is what it is.
I think going forward, a lot of teams are trying to put themselves in the best position to be here for a long time. For us, part of the reason we made this decision is this helps us stay healthy as an organization for a long time to come. It's not really a sport where our business -- where you have a lot of equity. Your equity really is you have a building, you might have some planes. The parts, the pieces downstairs, you know, there's not a whole lot of value in that from a bank standpoint. I think the value is running well week in, week out. Both the value to Interstate, the sponsors, and the value to, you know, teams that want to have investors come in, that's great for them. I think it's probably good for the sport. It makes them healthy, makes them stronger, gives them opportunity to maybe take some of those assets and use them in other areas.
For us, we wanted to be a family-owned business for a long time to come. There's only a handful of teams that haven't made some type of merger. For us, we just want to stay kind of the way we are and grow and continue to win races and championships for a long time.
I do think the sport, the biggest barrier you run into is it's very expensive. As time goes on, it gets harder and harder to have the resources to do what you need to do.
Q. Kyle, as you're going through this process, a lot of people were speculating about you maybe want to go somewhere where you could be the No. 1 driver. 20 years ago there was a lot of that in the sport. As the sport has evolved, you have more and more multi-car teams where you have to -- the whole spectrum has to work for all of your drivers for the whole thing to be a success. Kyle, that No. 1 driver thing, did that even enter into your mind? Is that something you had to think about, where you fit into a pecking order?
KYLE BUSCH: It entered my mind. When I read about it actually I kind of laughed in the beginning because I didn't know where it came from. Never came from me. Jeff and I, we sat down and we were kind of tossing it back and forth. Did you want to be the No. 1 guy? Did you want to be the No. 1 guy? I never said nothing.
I think going to DEI, that was definitely a possibility. I think being the leader of a team or even being right there with Martin Truex at 22 years of age isn't something that I'm ready for, isn't something that I wanted to throw myself into.
I feel like I'm better and more competitive with myself being not necessarily a No. 3 guy, but I feel like I can be right there with Tony and Denny and their standards, be able to compete at their level.
Whether I'm third in the pecking order or not, I think the 18 team at Joe Gibbs Racing has always been the No. 1 team because of course they're the first team here.
NORM MILLER: Amen.
KYLE BUSCH: That's how I feel about it. I'm looking forward to bringing the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet back up to the No. 1 pecking order hopefully and just being able to compete and win and beat the rest of these boys here.
J.D. GIBBS: From our standpoint, I think we really are -- as a sport, here is what the drivers want to know: Do I have the best equipment you have to offer, best people? Are you surrounding me with the best people you have to give? I think that's the key for every team. That's our goal for each of these teams, make sure we surround the guys. I know we're doing the best we can to communicate every piece, every part, every engine, every car, all the parts available to everybody.
Obviously how much that crew chief and driver want to use those parts is kind of up to them. For us the key is making sure everything is available to all your teams. I think if you do that, that's half the battle.
Q. Kyle, last year in Vegas you were in the car and said Tony was trying to kill you. Earlier in the year he was saying you were going to hurt somebody. When did you make peace with each other? What was it like talking with him?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't remember when we made peace. I don't know if we ever did (laughter).
Tony and I, we've had an odd relationship I guess. I kind of came into this deal looking up towards him, have been one of his fans for a few years, like I had been with Jeff Gordon. Obviously Jeff has been my hero, per se. And Tony I've been able to look up to because he's been able to drive the wheels off of anything you put him in.
You know, that was a racing deal, that was on the racetrack. Couple weeks later we sat down and talked about it, put it all aside, figured that, you know, that we'd be better off as friends than as enemies.
To me, you know, Tony and I, I think we can get along very well being teammates. I think we can talk off the racetrack, we can talk on the racetrack. Having the opportunities I've had with him to go off and race in the dirt track stuff at El Dora and some other places, we've really got a sense to know each other. I sat and talked with him in Daytona this year for a while, kind of joked around with him a little bit. Here recently we've talked just a few words here or there in the garage area. But never really sat down and talked with him about the chances of me driving for Joe Gibbs.
But Denny and I, we probably talked about more of that than what I did with Tony. Tony has always kind of been his own person, his own guy that goes off and does different things. I've been the same thing because I have some interests of my own that maybe some other don't like. I think that's what kind of puts us in the same frame of mind.
Q. You talked about the real Kyle Busch. I think fans want to see the real athlete. For Kyle Busch, that's passionate, angry when he doesn't win. You're talking about controlling drivers at the beginning, even the coach. J.D., can you talk about how you let your athletes be themselves, show that passion. Kyle, can you talk about that. Hendrick is more of a buttoned-up organization. Do you allow your drivers to be more of themselves, while not going overboard, that we see the real Kyle, allow him to be himself.
J.D. GIBBS: I think for us, what people love about our sport is that it is kind of every man's sport. None of these drivers have gotten to where they are without someone busting their hump to get them this. I don't care if it's a family member, a local businessman. None of them got there by themselves. Whereas other sports, you can kind of say, I got there by myself.
I think what I love at our sport is these guys get here, I think, A, they realize there's -- it's no three strikes and you're out. They got to be careful the way they act. How do you balance being careful what you say, the way you act, with really showing who you are? That's a hard thing to figure out. For Kyle, he came in the sport as young as he was, that takes a while. I'm still figuring it out. I'm 38. I think for those guys to really kind of get a feel for how much do I show of my own personality versus how much can I control and be careful what I say, that's hard to do.
I do love the fact, our guys, we let our guys be yourself. I would say this for Hendrick's guys, too. I think they're themselves. Jeff, Jimmie, that's their personalities. They got neat personalities. Our guys got neat personalities. Don't try to change the way you are. You might have to be careful what you say. Just 'cause you're thinking doesn't mean everyone needs to hear it. I learn that from my dad. Still work on that one (laughter).
I think for Kyle, again, I think getting to know him the way I have the past several weeks and months really, I think what's impressed me most is when you get to know him, he's -- again, I come back to he's got a great sense of humor, makes me laugh, kind of a guy that you want to hang out with. I know guys that have worked with him in the past feel the same way about it.
Q. Can you be the real Kyle here?
KYLE BUSCH: I hope so. I mean, obviously like I need to learn from Coach Joe. But I say a lot of things probably I shouldn't say. I need to learn how to keep some of those to myself and not let everybody else know about it.
The biggest thing is I'm a passionate person. You know, I really like to win races. I really like to bring home trophies and stuff like that. When I don't, I'm upset about it. I'm not going to be happy for finishing second. I'm not going to be happy for finishing third. I'm going to be very disappointed in myself for whatever happens when I wreck a race car or something like that.
So, you know, I'm not going to be the guy that goes, Oh, shucks, darn, I guess there's next week, you know. I'm going to be the guy that's rearing to go and is ready to get back in that race car.
For me that's something that I've got to tame. I've got to learn to tame that. But, you know, like this past weekend, I mean, Jeff Gordon is the same way. He was upset that he spun himself out. We all are. But there's ways to show it. There's certain things to say. I guess I just haven't learned the charisma to be able to do that. Hopefully I can work on that. But hopefully the real Kyle Busch will show his true colors here at Joe Gibbs Racing and we can go further.
Q. Norm, a couple years ago you were selling some of the hood space off the 18 car. With this deal, are you going to be able to be on the sponsor for the entire season? Do you have to do the same thing to help raise the level of this team financially?
NORM MILLER: We're on the contract for '08. But we are also open to develop some type of partnership. We're talking with several people. We're hoping to get the best we can out of it all, come up with a good partner. But if push comes to shove, we'd be delighted to ride with Kyle here through the whole season. We're hoping that we can work all that out. Cards are kind of up in the air right now. They're going to settle down here hopefully like within a month that we'll know exactly where we stand.
Q. 10-race deal?
NORM MILLER: Gosh, we're talking right now anywhere from 6 to 15, in there, something like that.
KYLE BUSCH: I just drive the thing, so I don't care who sponsors it. I like Norm, so I'd be willing to work with him.
J.D. GIBBS: Free batteries.
NORM MILLER: We're happy to be hooked up with him. Seriously, whatever we can get on the car here, we'll be delighted. We'll be excited. Our people, we have like a million people that are engaged in selling Interstate Batteries as far as the businesses we're related with on a regular basis. So they're excited about the opportunity for the No. 18 again to have a chance to run up in the top five consistently. So we're excited about it and happy and looking forward to the future.
Q. Norm, the other two have addressed this. Are you as a sponsor willing to let Kyle be Kyle? Are you okay with everything that comes with him?
NORM MILLER: Oh, sure. I've got a 22-year-old grandson. I've got a son J.D.'s age. You know, we're all human. We know things are going to take place.
The key thing that I've seen in Kyle, I met Kyle a while back here, but I got involved with him just one night in Arena Racing. He was just a nice, polite young guy, excited about being racing. So we're happy with that. We want everybody to be their own person. Along with the opportunities, as with everything, comes responsibility. With exposing yourself to different situations or being exposed to different situations, you learn.
So we think Kyle's going to be great, I really do. I'm excited to present him as a sponsor to all our constituency.
Q. Kyle, I get the sense you feel you're somewhat misunderstood by the public. Can you talk about what you feel like public perception is versus what reality is with you? J.D., you keep talking about his wonderful sense of humor. Could you give us an example of where he maybe surprised you with that.
KYLE BUSCH: I think I've done a very good job at tricking everybody, that's for sure (laughter). You know, I show 'em the bad side. I don't show 'em the good side. Why show the good side? Then I'd be Carl Edwards or something. Just kidding. See, there's some sense of humor. They're laughing, good. No, I'm kidding.
You know, I don't know, with all the money I guess J.D. says he's paying me, I guess I got to go pay some more people to help me out and polish me up a little bit and give me some buffers here or there.
You know, I just like hanging out. I like to go wake boarding. I'll go skateboarding with my friends. I wear the messy hair just because I don't care what it looks like. I've got a lot of people that I've grown up with, a lot of people I've actually met from just out here. People ask I guess them and my bunch why exactly they picked me up and took me as a driver. What's the problem? He's just a guy that we work with. Really I guess I've got a few edges here or there, but hopefully none where I can't just grind 'em down a little bit and soften them up some.
I know there's a lot of people that are anxious here at Joe Gibbs Racing to try to work with me. I'm sure hopefully I'll be able to show them the real side of myself. Of course, there's a lot of people that I've got friends still over at Hendrick Motorsports that may or may not still want to work with me. That's completely up to them. From what I've heard, they're optimistic about being able to stay with me and stay a company.
J.D. GIBBS: Really for us, what you kind of get in Kyle, again, I didn't know him that well before we started this process. He's got that quick wit you kind of see in Tony. Denny has it too, more quiet way.
I think for us really, hey, when you do a job that's as stressful and as difficult as we do week in and week out, as long a season, you got to have that sense of humor. You have to let that stuff roll off your back at times. I think again that's -- getting to know Kyle, I kind of get the feeling he wants to really have fun and enjoy what he's doing. The way he kind of cuts up with the guys around him, I really appreciate that. I think he'll fit in here well.
I will say one thing, too, just on -- just really as far as our relationship with J.J. Hey, we love J.J. J.J. came in, dominated the open-wheel stuff. We ran in ARCA, we ran in Busch, in Cup. I really think a lot of J.J. and really wish the best for him. He's been a great partner here.
It's never one piece of the puzzle that is all of the issue. It's a combination of things. I think we just couldn't figure really for J.J. and his style, we probably couldn't give him what he needed to really go fast. I know he can. I've seen him do it. Again, like Kyle said, we wish him the best in the future. He's been a good partner for us and we wish him the best down the road.
NORM MILLER: I want to say the same thing. J.J. has fulfilled all of the "off-track, non-racing" responsibilities of being associated with Interstate, the No. 18 car. He's just as disappointed as we are that we haven't been able to turn out the finishes that all of us want. With Kyle, the opportunity came along. It's also an opportunity where we just expressed that we're going to look for a partner to be involved with us. So all of the ramifications of that have brought this situation to where it is today.
We appreciate very much his efforts. We, too, think that he has a winning talent. In all reality, our prayer is that he'll do great. We want him to be very successful in racing. We wish him the very best. We really hope so for the next 14 races. He's still driving the green 18.
Q. The rumors of a possibility of Joe Gibbs Racing going to Toyota next year, Kyle, how much did that factor into your decision? Did you take that into consideration? J.D., can you address that?
KYLE BUSCH: I did. I took it into consideration.
But as I looked at it, you know, I thought about it. I'm like, Well, Joe Gibbs Racing, they've done pretty well at what they've done so far. I feel like they'll make the right decision in choosing the company that steers their company in the right direction. Do I feel like Toyota has struggled a little bit this year? Sure, I have. Do I feel like Joe Gibbs and everybody here can try to turn that around? Certainly. If they're looking in that direction, more power to 'em. I'm going to let the man over here answer all those tough questions.
J.D. GIBBS: Really for us, not much change in really the past several weeks. We had some great conversations with GM here. Obviously had a great partnership with them over the past 16 years. We've been great partners as well.
I think going forward, we're just going to sit down. Really I want -- we're going through a process with all of our technical guys, figuring out where we need to be. GM, I think they just got a verbal agreement with Hendrick, the first team to kind of resign for next year. We're kind of in the same phase as I think a lot of the teams are. In the next several weeks, we're going to have to really figure out where our future is and our direction.
Q. Along those lines, Kyle, would your expectations for next season be different if it is Toyota?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't think so. I think Joe Gibbs Racing will come out of the box strong. They wouldn't make the decision if it wasn't right for them, if it wasn't economically right for their sponsors and the success rate.
You know, I've got a lot of great friends over at Chevrolet and have developed a strong relationship with those folks. Hopefully I can still have that whether or whether or not we do decide to switch over here at Joe Gibbs Racing.
To me I feel, like I said, Joe and J.D. here are going to make the decision that they feel is in their best interest and how they feel the competitiveness will stay and where it won't mess any of that up.
Q. J.D., can you tell us how much you're paying him and how long the contract is?
J.D. GIBBS: My dad said (indiscernible) five years. It's two. Actually for us, you know, I think the reality of it is, if you can drive these cars, drive them well, it's not a bad gig. I tried it. I was fired. So that's why I'm behind the desk now.
But for us, the value comes in - everyone will tell you this - if you can get a guy that can really drive these cars, be a great representative off the track, there's a huge value in that. The only way we stay in business as a team is if we go out there and run well week in, week out. A huge part of running well week in, week out is those drivers. We know that.
It's a pretty good chunk of change. But like my dad did say, Hey, we want our guys in debt as much as possible because they go a lot faster when they have to make those payments. Go buy some stuff, Kyle.
It's a two-year deal and then hopefully we'll grow that on from there.
Q. Steve Addington, have you had a chance to speak with him yet? How do you think that will all go?
KYLE BUSCH: I've had a chance to meet Steve here this morning. Actually I've met him a couple times, talked to him years ago in the Busch Series just here or there a little bit in 2004, maybe before that in 2003 when I was in the Ditech car when he was running with Jason Keller there.
I think he's a great asset to Joe Gibbs Racing. I feel like he's got the talents to be a crew chief. Obviously, if he didn't, he wouldn't be here. Look with him and Zippy, Mike Ford, I feel like that's a threesome that's pretty stout. They're obviously being able to go out there and win races with the 20 and the 11. I think Steve and I, being an addition to the 18 car, will hopefully prove that it can get out there and win races as well.
Q. J.D., you talked in the past about the contract extension for Tony. Where are you in regards to that? Now with Kyle, all three of your drivers are represented by the same company, what challenges or benefits with that?
J.D. GIBBS: I will say this, as far as Tony, we're in the process -- we still got several years left on his agreement, so we're in the process of doing that. We want to do that as quickly as we can, too, really keep him here. For as long as he wants to drive, we want him here. So we're going to work on that.
Hey, MMI, which we know was started -- our first dealings with Tony, he was with (indiscernible), who started MMI. He was a one-man show back then. Now he's got a small Army. He's the Mafia Don in the garage for all our drivers (laughter).
But here's what I know about that group there. The bottom line for those guys, for Eddie who works with Tony and Denny, what I appreciate about them is they really care about the guys. We've been with them for a long time, almost nine years. They really care about the guys. They want what's best for them. We have a great relationship there. If that was the case, I don't have a problem with it, but the case I've seen over the years, they really care about the guys, what's in their best interest, and I appreciate that.
MIKE ARNING: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. J.D., Kyle, Norm, congratulations.
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