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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: CROWN ROYAL PRESENTS THE JEFF KYLE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD


July 26, 2015


Joe Gibbs

Adam Stevens


INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

THE MODERATOR:テつ We're going to continue with our post‑race victory lane interviews, and we've now been joined by our race winning crew chief Adam Stevens.テつ Adam, this is your third win in a row in 2015 with Kyle in the No.18 team.テつ Just a quick stat to throw out, that in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, you and Kyle have 52 starts and 19 wins.テつ You now have nine starts together in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and you now have four wins in that column.テつ Just talk a little bit about the relationship you have with Kyle and really what makes the No.18 team so strong.
ADAM STEVENS:テつ Well, you know, that's a really good question.テつ I've thought about it some because I've been asked some, but it's hard to put your finger on it.テつ Kyle and I just‑‑ we look at race cars and racing the same way.テつ We both know that it's not about making any one item on the car or any one strategy or any one weekend perfect, it's about making all the 10 or 12 things that make a car go fast as good as you can and moving on to the next one.
Kyle is the type of person that when you need to relay some information to him, you can't be afraid to tell him in a way that he's confident in it.テつ We just have a tremendous amount of respect for each other, and we approach racing and race cars in general the same way.
THE MODERATOR:テつ As we mentioned, you just won your first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race as a crew chief a couple weeks ago, but now you can not only talk about this season from that standpoint but now you also have a Brickyard 400 win.テつ Talk about the emotion of today and really what it means to have the opportunity to kiss the bricks just a little bit ago.
ADAM STEVENS:テつ Right, well, man, that's crazy when you think of it like that.テつ But a little bit about the Brickyard.テつ As a boy growing up I can tell you that there's not another racetrack that more important to me to get a victory at.テつ I felt that way when we won on the XFINITY side.テつ I felt that way when I was able to be a race engineer on Zippy and Tony's teams and win a couple races.テつ The history of racing at this track is unmatched anywhere on this planet.テつ To lead a team that put together a car that put together a weekend and a setup and did all the right things to bring home the trophy is something that I can hang my hat on for the rest of my life.

Q.テつ Adam, did you watch yesterday's race, and were you the least bit concerned about the health of your driver as you got up this morning and started getting everything ready?
ADAM STEVENS:テつ Sure, I watched the race.テつ I was out on pit road looking at the tires like all the rest of the crew chiefs and watched the rest from my motor coach and saw how dehydrated he was and how slap wore out he was and went and spent some time with him in the infield care center and we talked a little bit about the race car and how today was going to go.テつ Visited with his crew chief and their interior guy and talked a little bit about what they had to keep him cool and what they thought could have been better, and got with my car chief and my interior guy and made sure that we did everything we could, even to the detriment of the performance of the car, to make sure that he was comfortable today.

Q.テつ Friday after the first practice, all the cars in the Gibbs stable had their engines changed.テつ Was there something specific that you found there, and how much of a difference did it make?
ADAM STEVENS:テつ Right.テつ With the extra practice time they gave us, we have mileage limits, and we were concerned coming into the weekend that with the extra practice that we would reach the mileage limit, and it's just a safety precaution.テつ A lot of teams changed engines so there were very few that didn't, so the way the schedule was laid out we only had like an hour and a half between second and third practice, so it didn't make sense to change it there, and you want to get some laps on it before you qualify, so the only break that made sense was after first practice.

Q.テつ Being a crew chief not only involves turning wrenches but being a bit of a psychologist, and after listening to Kyle yesterday talk about the Kyle Busch caution and the caution flew at the end of the race today, I immediately heard you come on the radio and remind him to focus on the task at hand and to look forward, not worry about what was behind.テつ How important did you feel it was at that moment to pull him back and get him centered on what the job was at hand?
ADAM STEVENS:テつ Well, I think it's important.テつ All he needs is information.テつ Every caution we had was completely legitimate, well‑founded, needed to throw the caution.テつ If you don't tell him that and then they get the mess cleaned up before he gets to that part of the track, he doesn't know why the caution is out.テつ It's not rocket science sometimes, but I'd get frustrated, too, if I had a lead late in the race and the caution comes out and you don't see the debris or you don't know why the caution comes out.テつ A lot of times a little bit of information goes a long way.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Coach Joe Gibbs has now joined us.テつ Coach, we'll start about your thoughts and emotions of today, the final restarts there at the end, and obviously with the win yesterday and the win today, JGR had the opportunity to officially sweep here at the Brickyard.テつ Talk about the organization, the win today, and your thoughts there.
JOE GIBBS:テつ Yeah, it was three restarts.テつ I had a heart attack on all three.テつ I think what happens at the end like that, you put so much into this, everybody here knows this, all of you do that have been around racing, you put so much in this, and I think for us to have a chance to win a race, and I think that's the reason why anything that you'd think would keep you from winning it‑‑ there was Kyle out front and they call a caution.テつ It's so much emotion.テつ So for all of us we kind of‑‑ all of us just feel like this is a special time for us.テつ This doesn't happen very often in sports where you have a story like this, particularly in pro sports.テつ It's just very hard to do, so we're going to enjoy this for sure.
We love coming here.テつ Indy is a big part of our fan base, and it's also a big racing community and it's also a big spot for all of our sponsors.テつ Give you some idea, J.D. and I did six hospitalities today.テつ Six of our sponsors were here and entertaining.テつ It's just a huge deal for us, and to be in this part of the country, a sporting capital like Indianapolis, is really a big deal for us.
The other thing I reflect on is the total team it takes to do this.テつ I know Adam and Kyle will tell you this, it's everybody back at the race shop, engineering, fab shop, the motors from TRD.テつ It's everybody it takes to put this together and work, and I know everybody here appreciates it, but when you get that many people working so hard, and for a year and a half we were behind, and we all kind of went to work and we've been after it hard.テつ There's been a lot that was put into this.
So I'll say a big thanks to everybody back there, to our partners in particular, Mars.テつ That's the other thing about our sport that I really enjoy, because in football, baseball, basketball, you really don't have to have a sponsor.テつ Here, they're a huge part of this, and so when I have a chance to call Grant and Victoria and Forrest and everybody at Mars, you really thank them because if they weren't in the sport‑‑ Mars has been in it now 27 years.テつ You think about that.テつ They love it, as a family, and that's a huge deal for us to have a chance to be with them, race with them.テつ So it's that kind of an emotion, a story, that involves so many people.
For Skittles to be on board today was a thrill for us.テつ Really the last thing I focus on is Kyle.テつ To think that he could go through what he went through early this year at Daytona and all of the heartbreak that went with that, and there's all kinds of questions when you come back out of a wreck like that, how it's going to affect you mentally, physically, and to see him bounce back and do what he's done and to win four out of the last five, I mean, he is‑‑ I think it's a special sports story, like I said before.テつ He just keeps adding to it.
THE MODERATOR:テつ And also worth noting that here at Indianapolis was the final race that Toyota needed to be able to check off winning at all active tracks.テつ You had the opportunity to help them do that today.テつ Talk a little bit about being the team that was able to do that.
JOE GIBBS:テつ Well, it's special for us to be a part of the Toyota team, and when we got together a few years back, David is here, I called Bob Carter, I called Ed, everybody at Toyota.テつ It's like‑‑ they're like our partner.テつ They have engineers that work with us, embedded with us.テつ The motor program, they've worked so hard on the motor program.テつ As most of you know, we went through kind of a tough stretch there, and to see all of that bounce back and all of us hang together, I think sometimes that's the greatest thing in sports, when you're actually down, you know, that's the one thing that tests us, real adversity.テつ And so it's tough to hang together.
I think we did it, came out the other side.テつ I think we're a lot better because of it, and so I really appreciate Toyota.テつ It's great to see that they've won at every track, and that's awesome for us to be a part of their team.

Q.テつ Adam, you mentioned sacrifice, making the decision to sacrifice a little performance for the sake of Kyle's health.テつ Can you describe that a little bit more, and when did you‑‑ describe what you did and when you did it?
ADAM STEVENS:テつ Yeah, just going into the race today.テつ These cars are sealed up so tight, that's the way they run the fastest, and it makes the interior of the cars really hot.テつ And with the tail extension of this new package and the big spoiler, there's just not the air moving inside or under the car, and that's adding to the heat.テつ We just dumped some air into the cabin to keep the air circulating.テつ It's not rocket science.テつ But we run better when Kyle is healthy.テつ Certainly run better when he's in the car.テつ We've got to keep him in there.

Q.テつ You were talking about how special this is with Kyle.テつ With the run that you're going through right now, can you recall anything similar to this from your days in the NFL where a guy just came back from a devastating injury and all of a sudden just everything started to go his way?
JOE GIBBS:テつ Well, you see individuals at different times in sports, you know, in football when I was there, you see individuals with heroic stories coming back from real bad injuries.テつ So you know, you see some of that.テつ It's just this one I think‑‑ obviously it's in this sport.テつ We've seen Denny bounce back where he had‑‑ but we don't get many injuries over here, really.テつ We've been 24 years, J.D. and I and everybody at the race team, one of the things we love about this sport, yes, you're racing cars at 200 miles an hour so you can have accidents and what have you, but up until Denny's back, which came three years ago, we'd never had a driver miss a race in 24 years.テつ So I think that's a credit to NASCAR and all the hard work that goes into making our cars safer and safer.
But to have Kyle‑‑ that happen to Kyle and come back from that, I think it was a total team effort, and I appreciate Adam being able to hold everybody together for 11 weeks.テつ That's hard to do.テつ You think you're probably out of the Chase?テつ All those guys.テつ You look at them and look at their eyes, hey, there was no backing up.テつ They were after it, and we talked about, hey, if we get Kyle back, when we get him back, we've got a chance, but it was really a chance.テつ It was not‑‑ everybody here would have probably said it's probably not a good one, including me.
But it's just worked out unbelievably.

Q.テつ Coach, you guys have struggled enough that if somebody had said you were going to win four out of five races sometime in the 2015 I think some people would have been surprised.テつ How in the world have you guys gone from where you were from last year to where you are now?
JOE GIBBS:テつ Well, I think the best way to describe that is in sports, it's so easy to tip over and get going in the wrong direction, and I say that, if you think back, in '13, we were on a roll.テつ We led the most laps, won the most races.テつ We had Matt after it.テつ We were kicking it.テつ Is it '13 or '12?テつ '13.テつ We go all the way through that season and we go to Homestead and we wound up like one, three, five.テつ So we had it all together.テつ And then there were a few changes to the car, and would you know it, all of a sudden we're in the back of the field, really, at intermediate tracks, and we struggled there for well over a year.テつ It was a lot of hard work.
I think I go back to that to show you how you can be on the top in pro sports, and a few little things turn, you can go right to being mediocre or in the back of the pack, and then I think it takes a lot of hard work to get back, and that's what I'm so proud of our team.テつ It took us a full year and a half, but we bounced back.テつ So I think in pro sports you see that, and really what you have to say about pro sports, the hardest thing is what?テつ To stay up there.テつ It's hard.テつ How many times do you see a pro sports team really have a dynasty last for quite a while.テつ It's just hard to do.

Q.テつ Joe, can you kind of talk about the costs of running the aerodynamic packages at certain races?
JOE GIBBS:テつ The cost?テつ Yeah, actually NASCAR, I think, has been real aware of that, and I think they've tried to do a good job of making the changes so it's bolt‑on stuff, and Adam is a better guy to talk to, but I don't think it's been a real costly deal, and they've been mostly with kind of the front underneath portion of the car that you can change some and the back spoiler.テつ They've done a good job of trying to keep it down.テつ It hasn't been big changes to the roof line or something like that that would cost us a lot of money.

Q.テつ I believe he's sitting right behind us; how much enthusiasm did it add to your organization to have J.D. here with everybody?
JOE GIBBS:テつ Yeah, J.D. is sitting on this side.テつ It was awesome for all of us, and it was great from a family standpoint.テつ I called Pat immediately, my wife.テつ I called Coy.テつ I had a grandson racing over here racing go‑karts.テつ I called him.テつ He's the biggest race fan in the world.テつ So as a family, we really, really enjoy what we do.テつ We're a family that races, and we're all in it.テつ Coy's motocross team was in Washington yesterday, and so we race as a family, really.テつ So they're normally the first thoughts.テつ J.D. will tell you this, I was thrilled that he got to hold the trophy and he got to take a lap with Kyle.テつ They kicked me out of the car.テつ I think I'm a little ticked off at J.D.テつ I think Kyle likes J.D. better than he does me, but that's a separate issue.テつ I think because J.D. signs the check.テつ (Laughter.)

Q.テつ Adam, three wins in a row with three completely different aero packages.テつ In the modern era of competitiveness where everything is so close and it's so hard to distinguish yourself from the pack, how hard was it to put together three different race cars with these different packages that ultimately ended up kicking everybody's butt?
ADAM STEVENS:テつ Well, I think it has a lot less to do with myself or my individual race team as much as it has to do with the entirety of Joe Gibbs Racing.テつ These cars don't go fast because of one person.テつ I've said it before; you take one person out of the 550 that work at Gibbs, and the whole thing comes crashing down.テつ Everybody has to execute and do their job.テつ And when everybody does that, you can adjust quick.テつ Having trust in the people that work with you is a big deal, and everybody puts their ideas in of what's going to make these cars go, and everybody gets to work on it.
You can't underestimate the hard work and the dedication of the folks back at the shop that make these cars go fast.

Q.テつ Adam, there seemed to be a lot of talk after the race that after a couple laps after a restart you were pretty much at where you were at.テつ I'm curious, did you have a very good restart car, and did the fact that there was the potential for limited passing make it any easier to make sure to put in an air duct to cool Kyle?
ADAM STEVENS:テつ You know, the air duct question is just he has to be fresh and ready to go at the end of the race, so that was an easy decision.テつ He has to be 100 percent.テつ He can't win the race if the car is 1 percent quicker and he's 5 percent slower.テつ It doesn't work that way.テつ But the racing today, I thought it looked like‑‑ about like a normal Indianapolis race.テつ The good cars could pass cars and come to the front.テつ But it's always a track position race.テつ I didn't feel like it was a major difference one way or the other from my seat.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Adam and Coach, congratulations on the win today.テつ We appreciate you coming in and visiting us, and we wish you the best of luck next weekend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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