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September 12, 2015

Clint Bowyer

Kyle Busch

Jimmie Johnson

Jamie McMurray


THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Clint Bowyer. Heard you say on TV earlier tonight the pressure is off. Talk about how you're feeling right now.
CLINT BOWYER: Relieved. Obviously everybody knows the news, all the stories, all the stuff. But to be able to battle through that, all the people at the organization, just a great deal of thanks, to keep your head down, keep digging, got ourselves in the Chase.
A big monumental thing for an organization to go through what we're going through and to push through and get into the Chase, this is the best of the best, the elite of all of motorsports. MWR is once again part of it.
Really proud of Billy Scott, everybody on our Toyota. Everybody. David Ragan came onboard and filled that seat and did a great job, was a great teammate. Brian Pattie has been my crew chief and got me to where we are.
Anyway, that's it. That's all I have to say.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take a couple questions for Clint.

Q. Did you ever doubt this? You seemed really confident you were going to pull this off tonight.
CLINT BOWYER: I doubted it early summer. That's when I doubted it. I just didn't see this. You know, I'm optimistic always, your thought process. But I'm also a realistic person and set realistic goals and understand the realism behind what you're up against.
I just didn't see it through the summer months. We weren't clicking. Didn't really have a person in that other car that was consistent. It was in and out, in and out. All of a sudden made a couple changes within the organization. David came onboard and we really took off.
Billy Scott, have a lot of confidence in him. He's a young crew chief. He's just eager. He's full of piss and vinegar. He really dug deep and put us in this situation. Proud of his efforts and happy for him as a person.
All these crew guys, they're all looking for jobs in the future. This is a big accomplishment. Feather in their hat looking for work.

Q. It's been a tough couple years. Probably been tough to stay positive. You got some good news tonight. What is the overriding emotion you're feeling?
CLINT BOWYER: That's it. The pressure's off, man. For us, that's a huge, huge accomplishment for MWR. Not saying that we're done by any means. Nobody expects you to do anything. I've done it before. I've been both ways. I've went into the Chase and been really, really good back in 2012 and '13. Then with RCR back in the day, I've inched into the Chase like I am now and raced him to the last race.
It actually is easier coming into it the way we are right now because the pressure's off. We go in there. We're pushing ahead and go for broke every single weekend. All of a sudden if you can get yourself down to the last two or three rounds, it starts getting nerve‑wracking again.
For right now we're going to take this in, have fun with it, go to Kansas, and then try to perform at Chicago as we need to.
THE MODERATOR: Clint, thank you for your time tonight.
We are now joined by our top seed in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Jimmie Johnson.
Jimmie, you've been in this position before, but tell us how you're feeling tonight looking ahead to Chicago.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Excited to get to the post‑season. Honestly excited to get to the Chase. They're great racetracks for the 48 team. We've been able to find some speed and consistency for the last couple weeks, that's been nice. Definitely have not had the summer we would have wanted to have. Many of you know we've been in this position before through different years we've been able to win the championship.
I don't think it's a true sign of where we're at. But we certainly want to be better and looking forward to getting to the tracks that we really perform at.
THE MODERATOR: We are also are joined by our second‑place finisher tonight, Kyle Busch. Congratulations on making the Chase. Obviously a rollercoaster season for you. But talk about your thoughts sitting here tonight.
KYLE BUSCH: It certainly was a rollercoaster season, probably more for my team and guys and everybody that started the season in Daytona, switching seats out, having other drivers in my car.
Can't say enough about the team and the effort, Adam Stevens, everyone that continued to focus and work hard, wait for the star quarterback to come back.
Once I did come back, they were all ready, ready to perform. Felt like we did a really good job of that. Maybe the first month was a little rough. After that, once we got through Sonoma, it was on. We had a really good stretch and still continue to run strong each week.
Real proud of everybody on this Toyota Camry. Makes our job easier week in and week out to have fast racecars. Now it's to focus and put your head down to the dirt and make sure that you get all you can get when you go through these next 10.
THE MODERATOR: Also joining us a newcomer to the group, Jamie McMurray.
Jamie, we had you hanging for a little bit last week at Darlington.
JAMIE McMURRAY: That was mean.
THE MODERATOR: You earned your stripes tonight by starting the race. Congratulations on your first Chase. Tell us how you're feeling tonight.
JAMIE McMURRAY: I'm super relieved. I've been the guy on the outside trying to fight my way in, and I've also been in this a couple times and been knocked out at Richmond.
A much different night, laid‑back weekend. I brought my family with me this weekend so we could all enjoy it together. My little girl had a fever when we got here, my little boy has a fever now. It's been raining with my wife and two kids in a bus. It's been a party.
I'm actually next to Bowyer, but it's much different than what he has going on now.
No, it's awesome. I'm thrilled to get to be a part of it. Our team has been super consistent this year. It's been great. Matt McCall has done a phenomenal job coming in being a rookie crew chief. I'm super proud of him and our whole team. Yeah, a nice job.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take a couple of questions.

Q. Kyle, what is it going to take for these other guys to have anything for JGR?
KYLE BUSCH: Other guys who?

Q. The ones who do not drive for JGR.
KYLE BUSCH: Nothing. They look really good. They're fine where they're at, so keep digging (smiling).
I mean realistically, I don't know. As a group, collective whole, with the off‑season restructuring of crew chiefs, having Carl Edwards coming in, being able to have that fourth team elevated our program to that next level.
Joe Gibbs Racing was at two teams for a long, long time, three teams for a while. This is our first season with four, and it seemed to have clicked right off the bat. That's all I can allude to.

Q. Kyle, with what you've gone through this year, to get to this point, get into the Chase, is it sweeter than it has been before?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't think it's any sweeter to make the Chase than it has been in previous years. I think the way our team is running right now, the way that Joe Gibbs Racing has been showing some strength, it certainly makes this Chase a heck of a lot sweeter.
We all feel like we've got a great opportunity or the best chance to be able to come out here and perform, to make it to the final round and win a championship for Joe.
I think that's probably the sweetest satisfaction of all of it, is just going into each week, being at the racetrack, having fast cars to drive.

Q. Jimmie, you go into the Chase as the number one seed. Why do you think no one is talking about your prospects for a seventh championship? Are you content to fly beneath the radar?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: No (laughter). I was supposed to give a yes or no answer, so...
Truth be told, we haven't run like we should over the summer months, so that's why we're not in the conversation. But we've been here before. Final 10 races are good for us, good tracks. I think in some scenarios this championship battle is a bit more forgiving. If we were consistent through the first nine, be a chance to be in the final four, we have 10 more weeks to get our stuff straightened out and find the speed we need.
I don't think we're in too bad of shape. That 4 car is running our equipment, been up front a bunch. We just got to make a better mouse trap with our race cars. Working hard to get there.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you. Congratulations. See you in Chicago.

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