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September 6, 2015

Carl Edwards

Joe Gibbs

Darian Grubb


THE MODERATOR: We'll continue on with our post‑race availability for tonight's Bojangles Southern 500. We are joined by our race winner Carl Edwards and race‑winning crew chief Darian Grubb. This is Carl's second win of the 2015 season. It is also the 75th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win for Toyota. Carl, an exciting finish to tonight's race. Tell us about those closing laps holding off Denny and Brad.
CARL EDWARDS: Well, I feel like my pit crew ought to be sitting up here doing interviews. They won that race for us. It was just amazing to come down third and to go out leading the race. Darian, all the guys, nobody gave up tonight. We were two laps down. We fought back hard. It's a huge win for us. Southern 500, it's obviously one of the most sought‑after wins in the world of motorsports. But tonight we had Bob Stanzione and his family from ARRIS here. They took a huge chance coming on board starting this fourth team, really made all this possible, and just really cool to be in victory lane with them.
THE MODERATOR: Darian, critical pit stop for the team with 12 laps to go. Tell us about the team effort and getting Carl off pit road in first.
DARIAN GRUBB: They just did an incredible job all night, the whole ARRIS Toyota team from Joe Gibbs Racing, everything that they've done, all year they've been phenomenal and at least tonight we were able to show off a little bit and put him out there in the lead and have a chance to win. We've had some really good runs this year and they've been able to knock it out of the park when it mattered, and this still wasn't their best stop of the night. They had six stops that were under 11 seconds. It was an incredible night.
THE MODERATOR: We are also joined by our race‑winning team owner Joe Gibbs. Tell us a little bit about the team's performance tonight and momentum heading into the Chase in just two weeks.
JOE GIBBS: I think first of all, to come to Darlington, this is really the heart of racing country, and it's a thrill for us to come here. We love this race. It's extremely hard to win. You know, I think we had like 19 pit stops, were fighting all night long, and if you drew this one up tonight, I don't think you could draw up a bigger victory for us. We mentioned, Carl did, that we had Bob Stanzione and all the ARRIS people, for them to come on board this year and sponsor all the way across the board, including our Cup deal is huge for us, it's big for the ARRIS company. That was a big deal. Toyota, to be able to get them a 75th win for them, they're a great partner for us, great support, and then for everybody, I reflect on everybody back home, all the people at the shop that have worked so hard. J.D. and the team back there, everybody in our front office, and Todd Meredith deserves a lot of the credit here. Todd rarely doesn't come around a lot of our celebrations, but he really runs all of our operations that have to do with racing. He's really the racing guy. And it's a big deal for us.
You've got to have a great crew chief like Darian. I don't think anybody calls a race better than Darian. He just has a knack for it. He's won a championship obviously doing that, and it was big tonight, and then the pit crew, just like Carl said, and then you've got to have somebody who can really drive a race car.
A thrill for us, and really if you drew it up, you couldn't draw up a more exciting deal for us, everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Q. Joe, Kyle clinched a spot guaranteeing himself a spot in the top 30. How big an accomplishment is that, especially when you look back not to May but even mid‑June after Michigan?
JOE GIBBS: Yeah, I think that's also a great sports story. Everything that happened to us there at Daytona and then for him to bounce back in 11 weeks, I felt like the odds were against us. And for him to be able to pull this off and come back, win four times and get back in the Chase tonight‑‑ they had a great game plan, Adam and Kyle. They talked all night about the game plan, what they wanted to do, and first up was to make sure that they had enough points tonight that they didn't have to worry next week.
So that was a big deal for them, and it was great for Kyle, and obviously it was great for everybody else over here at the 19 car and Carl.

Q. Obviously most people know how you feel about the low downforce package. At this point do you feel like there's enough people in the industry, fans, in the garage that agree with you to make it a reality for next year?
CARL EDWARDS: Well, I hope that‑‑ I mean, I'm a pretty‑‑ I kind of shoot for the moon kind of guy, and I hope a race like tonight makes them think about the idea of running this even in the Chase. Everybody has developed this package. I believe it's pretty obvious that it races really well and it's really fun to do and it's fun to watch. But even if we don't, I hope next year they really consider going farther this direction. When you watch David Pearson's car run around here the other day and you go back and watch some of those old races, we weren't racing aerodynamic devices. I really think tonight, for me as a race car driver, that's the stuff I dream about, 25 laps to go Southern 500, I'm racing with two champions, we're swapping the lead back and forth and I think you're able to do that because there's less aerodynamic influence and the tires fall off and it's really fun.
I really applaud NASCAR for running that package here. I think it's really cool that they're able to go that direction or are willing to. I just hope they keep going more.

Q. For Carl, you've been close here. You've talked about the importance of this race. Did this settle a score for you or check the box, particularly based on 2011?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know. I feel like every race is different, and I never feel like a place owes me anything. I feel like it's an honor to drive here. Tonight just was really special for a number of reasons, not just because it's the Southern 500 but because of how well my crew worked on pit road, how well Darian called the race. We came back, we didn't quit. All the people, like Coach said, from ARRIS. This whole deal, this fourth team, a lot of people really had a lot of faith in me and Coach and Darian to come on board and do this, and so a win like this is really special, especially leading into the Chase. This is what we needed. We just needed a shot in the arm and needed to have a good night like this. All over it's cool.
I hope I never forget those last 25 laps. That was really fun and the restart was fun, but truly racing with Brad and Kevin was a blast. I really had a good time.

Q. You won the Coke 600 and tonight was obviously the longest race time‑wise of the season. What is it about these long‑distance races that kind of suits your style so well?
CARL EDWARDS: Well, Darian won us the Coke 600 with an amazing pit call. He just did a great job. But I do like the longer races. I think growing up it was so cool to me that NASCAR raced these long events, these tough races, and I really enjoy them. I've got a great team from CTS with Dean Golich as a trainer, Rob Hulett, the guys at Hulett House Gym, they help me a ton to try and stay in physical shape. Darian does a really good job of trying to keep me calm. Before the race we talked about our strategy for the race.
It's fun. These things are like a big adventure. You go out there and you race for three or four hours and you try not to tear anything up. It was so cool tonight to be able to come back from two laps down. That was really fun to be a part of something like that.

Q. Darian, could you talk about when you guys got caught two laps down, how you thought through the process and how you just sort of probably rallied the troops together to get a game plan to get Carl back on the lead lap and how you reacted to that tonight?
DARIAN GRUBB: Yeah, it was mainly not giving up, made sure everybody kept faith that we could get back there. We knew the car was fast because I think we started out, we went from 16th to 5th in the first 40 laps. We knew we had speed, so we just had to make sure we put him in the right situation. We didn't take the first opportunity to try to do a wave around because we ran such fast laps after coming in to pit under green and we thought we'd used up too much tires, so then we went I think it was 27 green‑flag laps the time we stayed out. It was a big risk but we had to, and Carl did a great job saving the tires during that whole run and still managing it and making sure we stayed in front of the leaders when the caution came out, and it came out with about 20 laps until we had to pit. It ended up working out and worked our way right back to the front for the lucky dog position and got back on the lead lap, so it was just a testament to the team to never give up and keep fighting really hard.

Q. With this package, there's not a lot that you can take out of this for the Chase, but you can take pit stops out of it and you've been so good over the past year and a half or so on pit stops. Is there something really comforting about that going into the Chase?
JOE GIBBS: Yeah, again, I give a call‑out to Todd Meredith, and we have three guys assigned to our pit crew. Todd leads the group over there. The wild thing about this, this is a first‑year group right here for the fourth car that Todd put together, and Mike Lepp is in that group, too, and they just do a great job. We spend a lot of time on it. Obviously everybody in the sport does. Everybody realizes how important it is, and I think you're battling up there tonight with all those teams have great pit crews. I think that's an interesting part of our sport because it really is, it's a lot like the other sport that I was in where you film things, you're training all the time, you've got mandatory practice, and so I think it's become a huge part of this sport, and I think it's fun, and I think the fans, too, like it.
You come on pit road, you don't know what's going to happen. I think that's a great part of our racing because on a pit stop, a lot of things can happen. There can be penalties, you can have guys, great stops like we had tonight, and it's the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat when you come on pit road, so I think it's a big deal.
CARL EDWARDS: I'd second all of that and I just have to say that it really is cool tonight really felt like we used every part of our team. I got to drive the car real hard. Darian had to make tough decisions, the pit crew had to perform and it was truly a fun night from a team aspect.

Q. Does it take pressure off you as a driver in the Chase knowing that those guys are going to pick you up?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I can tell you that it's a lot easier to pass guys on pit road for me than to pass them on the racetrack. So I'm really proud of my guys. Just like Coach said, it's an interesting part of the sport because man you're just on that knife edge. To perform that fast my guys are just letting it all hang out and they're able to do that, so I'm really happy to be involved with them, to be on the same team as them.

Q. Carl, you just spoke about how exciting and fun it was to race with a couple of former champions. Do you feel that emotion in the car or is that something afterwards you can go, hey, that was fun, or do you actually feel some of those emotions in the heat of battle?
CARL EDWARDS: I probably had a little bit too much fun sometimes out there. I really do enjoy it while I'm racing. It is fun. It was fun to just dig down and to try to catch those guys and to battle them, and then watching those guys battle, it's like, man, I hope they really get into it so I can catch them again. It's fun. It's what I live for. It's so neat with all the things going on in my world and everything happening, it's so cool to just be sitting in that car and not thinking about anything but those two pedals and that steering wheel and trying to get those guys. It's just pure fun.

Q. Carl, one driver out there kind of described these cars had kind of become idiot‑proof in a sense with the packages over the years. With what you experienced here and at Kentucky, can you give a sense of how much‑‑ in what more ways is your talent having to come out? Are you being challenged as a driver, and what that's going to mean for next year and what kind of a driver you'll have to be next year when this package is most likely put in place in a lot more places?
CARL EDWARDS: I really think we're at a bigger crossroads than most people realize. I think this is an opportunity for the sport to go in one of two directions. They can go the direction of making the sport competitive because the cars are easy to drive and everyone's car is about the same and we can basically have Talladega every week, or they can go the direction of making the cars extremely hard to drive and showing the massive talent of the drivers, the crew chiefs and the pit crews, and I hope that they take the latter. I hope they really keep going this direction.
If you think about tonight and Kentucky, it's really a step back to what 2010 or '11 as far as aero influence on the cars, and to me when I watch these tapes from the 60s and 70s, especially here, I think, man, how awesome could this racing be right now with as competitive as it is, everyone has the same information, everyone has the same tools, and to really put it back in the drivers' hands, I think it would change the sport in a huge way, in a great way, and I think it would be a lot of fun, so hopefully they continue this direction.

Q. How would you have to change as a driver for next year if this package is in half or two thirds of the races?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I mean, if we keep going this direction and taking the downforce away and taking aero influence away, you're going to have to step up your game as a driver. You really have to. You've got to dig deep. You've got to manage the tires. You've got to work better with your crew chief. It really makes it a lot of fun. That's the stuff that to me that stock car racing is about. That's what NASCAR is about, and I truly applaud NASCAR for running this package and trying this and doing it, and hopefully they like it as much as we do.

Q. Carl, you've got a guy, your crew chief has obviously won a Cup title before. As you get ready for the Chase‑‑
CARL EDWARDS: He tied for a win, OK?
DARIAN GRUBB: I got the ring.
CARL EDWARDS: I know. That's all I got.
No, here's the deal. Darian is a championship crew chief. I've worked against him. I've raced against him, and I've worked with him, and it's like Coach said, there is nobody that calls a better race than Darian Grubb. That's it. We've just got to go dig deep and give each other 100 percent and go get a championship together. That would be so cool, especially after what he did to me in 2011. It would mean a lot to win a championship with him.

Q. Darian, you're known for taking chances from time to time. Caution flag flies with 11 laps to go so you know the restart is going to be under 10. Was there the remotest thought of doing a two‑tire stop on that last stop?
DARIAN GRUBB: Absolutely not. We had one set of stickers left there in the pit stall, just based on the way that we had played the race, and we knew at that point that we had to have a fighting chance with four tires just to make sure we could give him a shot, and I think everybody on pit road knew it. That was a long enough green‑flag run before that that you had to have the tires.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for joining us, and congratulations on the win tonight.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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