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September 12, 2015

Joe Gibbs

Jason Ratcliff


THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our winning race crew chief, Jason Ratcliff.
Jason, obviously a heck of a race out there and certainly a way to cap off the final race heading into the final 10 races for the Chase. Talk about the dominating car you had out there tonight.
JASON RATCLIFF: I felt like a few months ago when we were here, we had a really good car. We've made a lot of headway since then.
I felt good coming into this weekend. When you go to set a game plan for the season, you want that momentum going into the Chase. To come into Richmond, have a really good weekend, have a victory, go into the Chase with a tie for the points lead, I can't think of a better way to plan it.
So good weekend for us. Our group's doing a spectacular job. We saw four teams up there nose to tail at one point tonight. Really excited about going to Chicago next week. We'll celebrate this for a few hours and then get our game face on and get ready for Chicago.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by owner Joe Gibbs.
Joe, obviously Richmond seems to be a special place for you guys. Talk about your thoughts on the Chase. Obviously the Chase is very well‑represented for Joe Gibbs Racing. Talk about the success your team has had this year.
JOE GIBBS: I think it's a total team. Everybody back at the race shop, J.D., all of our team. I feel bad for everybody there because they can't celebrate with us. They're not in the winner's circle. As Jason will tell you, we have so many people working in the different departments there. It's really their victory.
I'm always thrilled with our sport, you have a sponsor that goes with you. Dollar General, they're in the sport. They are there for three and a half hours tonight on the racetrack. That's the thing that's different about our sport, which I love.
So they're right there with us. Rick, Todd, all the guys at Dollar General. It's a thrill for us, along with Toyota, our partner, to have all those guys go with you on a victory. That's really special.
Obviously we're thrilled. Todd Meredith runs our operations. Everybody over there has worked so hard. We got people working overtime trying to get caught up after last year. It's been a lot of hard work, but I'm thrilled where we are.
Now the problem is, I think for the next three weeks I'll be ready to throw up at any minute. That's the bottom line (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: We certainly hope that doesn't happen. Again, congratulations to both of you.
We'll open it up to questions.

Q. Joe, where do you think your team is compared to Harvick? Harvick has been so consistent. What are you going to have to do to have somebody beat him?
JOE GIBBS: Well, I know that they've been on kind of a record deal there this year. He says they're stronger than last year. I believe that. I think obviously that's a very strong car.
But I think everybody that gets in this thing from here on out, you got 16 teams, we always talk about winning being super important. To be quite truthful, being consistent is going to be a huge part of it, too.
All 16 of these teams earned their way in. If somebody gets hot down the stretch, we've seen it before, if somebody gets hot, they got a chance to win a championship. I just hope it's one of our cars.

Q. Coach, how nervous were you when you had the cars 1‑2‑3‑4 lined up?
JOE GIBBS: That is the most nervous that I get in a race. Tonight I saw them up there. I saw some beating and banging there. I saw a hand come out the window and I wasn't sure what it was showing for a minute or two. I got a little nervous there.
I think that's when I'm always the most nervous, when you got your cars up front and having a good night.
Our guys, though, I think they all handled it the right way it seems like. I know Matt came over the mic there and said his situation there with Carl, he kind of straightened that out, so I thought that was good.
It was a thrill seeing ourselves up there.

Q. Joe, there's been a lot of talk over the last week about there being a potential for all four drivers being in the final round. Obviously that's far off from now. Would you even be able to enjoy that?
JOE GIBBS: Obviously you'd love that. But that's a dream. It's hard for a dream to come true. I don't think anybody here is realistically thinking about that's a possibility. I think there's so many good cars in there. We were just talking about the 4 car, the 22, the 2. All those cars are capable of winning a championship, period.
We're just thrilled to have our four in there. It's big for our sponsors. To get FedEx in there is an awesome deal. Seems like Denny is going to be okay with his knee. We were concerned about that. ARRIS, a new sponsor for us, to have Carl be able to get them in, in our first year being together was really great.
Of course, Kyle coming back from a serious injury, to be able to do what he's done, that was a huge deal for us this year and for M&M's. He's been in this sport for 27 years. For the Mars company, it's a thrill for us to have our sponsors in there.

Q. Joe, how concerned are you that Denny's knee will impact his performance over the next 10 weeks?
JOE GIBBS: I feel real confident. We've been through this before. Last time it was with his braking leg. He handled that well. We got the best people in the world looking at him, Dr. Hysell (ph) and Dr. Connor. They all feel the same way.
Really, the ACL is an injury that you can actually go with for a while. He'll have surgery when the season's over. But we feel very comfortable. We had Aric going to stay. Denny said after yesterday's work he can go home, so he's confident.

Q. Joe, obviously you've been in sports with long seasons. To think six months ago you had Kyle with his situation, Carl struggling, making mistakes, putting himself in a hole. As an organization you guys were making progress but still not there at that time. How do you look at where you were to where you are now, and with a couple more months left in the season, is this described as a journey?
JOE GIBBS: I think part of our sport is just that. You go 38 weekends. Man, it is a long grind. The best people in the world racing cars. It's super competitive. To be quite truthful, if you look back for us the last two years here, we struggled. Tonight was kind of a breakout thing for us.
I think it is a very long season. I think that's part of the attraction of our sport. It's great for sponsors to be able to reach out to six and a half million fans every weekend for 38 weekends. That's a huge deal. I think that's a big part of the attraction that we have for sponsors.
So that's part of our sport. It's extremely hard. But I think also it's very rewarding to do this, to be able to get in the Chase. To win a championship, it's super hard. We're a good example of that. It's been a long time for us.

Q. Coach, looking back at the beginning of the year you had Kyle out of the car, J.D.'s health problems became public, you've talked about the progress you've needed to make. A lot of your drivers and people in your organization have credited you on keeping the organization focused and on track this season. I wonder how difficult it has been for you watching this recall unfold and how satisfying it is to get to this point when you may not have thought it was even possible earlier in the season.
JOE GIBBS: I think, obviously, everybody knows the toughest thing for me has been the things that we've been going through with J.D. I will say this, though: our racing family, that includes everybody here, being as nice as they've been. I can't tell you how many people walk up to me and tell me they're praying for J.D.
Our team back at Joe Gibbs Racing are so supportive and everything, it definitely really helps. I think that in sports, that's the time that you get tested.
Things weren't going well for us early this year. We all said that '14 was one of our toughest years. In life you go through some tough stuff. But also I think in going through some of those tough times, it can really build character, and you get a chance to study everybody. That's one of the best times to study people, as we know, because human nature being what it is, we have a tough time dealing with adversity.
But our guys, nobody's pointing fingers or anything. Everybody was saying, Hey, we're going to go after this. That's what happened. A lot of hard work. Just like us right now being successful, you know that all those other teams out there, they're coming. It's a very competitive thing, pro sports. The hardest thing in pro sports is staying up there. So that will be our challenge now.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on your win tonight as well as the Chase. We look forward to seeing you in Chicago next week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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