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April 24, 2016

Carl Edwards

Joe Gibbs

Dave Rogers

Richmond, Virginia

THE MODERATOR: We are joined now by our winning car owner and winning crew chief. Joe Gibbs Racing continues to enjoy a very successful 2016 season. This is back‑to‑back wins for Carl Edwards and the 19 team.
Let's hear first from Dave Rogers. Certainly this was an exciting race from all standpoints, a lot of passing, 23 lead changes, the most since 2007 here at this racetrack. Talk a little bit about that and about maybe racing during the day. Seemed like it gave a good pop to the race.
DAVE ROGERS: Everyone at NASCAR, Goodyear and the tracks are working really hard to make sure we're putting on the best show we can for our fans. Made some great rule changes this winter with the low downforce package. Goodyear is doing a great job of adapting and bringing new tires.
Richmond moved this to a day race so parents have a chance to bring kids to the racetrack. It added up to a fantastic race. There's a lot of racing. It's been a while since we've seen people on the very bottom and very top, and passing.
We fell back in the initial start of the race. We were able to race back to the lead. We lost spots throughout the race. Able to race back. Just great race.
I know the fans in the stands had to really enjoy the show today. Hats off to XFINITY. I know they're really excited to come onboard this season and capture a win. Great day for this Joe Gibbs Racing No.19 team.
THE MODERATOR: Coach Gibbs, Richmond has been a very, very good track for your organization. Just a couple hours down the road from where you had a lot of success as well as head coach for the Washington Redskins. I know winning here is special for you.
JOE GIBBS: It certainly is. I love coming here. I think our whole team does. When you ask fans to pick their favorite track, Richmond is right at the top.
It was a big weekend for Toyota. Huge deal for us. They're such a great partner.
I love coming here. The fan base here obviously with the Redskins, the greatest sports franchise with the fans that you have here in football, then to have this area also with racing, huge deal for us.
Like I said, we love coming here. It's a big deal for XFINITY. We had Comcast last week, so it's a huge deal for us there. Really proud of Dave and Carl, what they're doing.
A big day for us. Kind of my fear is always at the end when you got cars as good as we have, and drivers as good as we have, that you wind up with two of your teammates battling there. You wish it wouldn't happen. I think Carl would say that, too.
Certainly we had a lot of people here from Mars, Banfield Pet Hospital. You hate to have them miss out on something. At the same time I think you know it can happen.
It's one of those things that we're going to work our way through. We got great teams, great crew chiefs, great drivers. I'm thrilled just to be a part of it.
THE MODERATOR: Carl Edwards, back‑to‑back wins for the No.19 Toyota. Last week Comcast, this week XFINITY. Your second win here at Richmond, your 27th victory overall in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. A lot of lead changes, as I mentioned earlier, 23 lead changes. You grabbed the most important one there at the end. Tell us about that.
CARL EDWARDS: First off, if my cat ever gets sick, I don't care how much it costs, I will take it to the Banfield Pet Hospital if that helps (smiling).
Coach said it. It is a tough thing. The double‑edged sword of having great teammates is sometimes you have to race like that. Just a great day overall. Dave did a great job. Our cars was really fast.
About 20 to go, I was doing literally everything I could, everything I got, I could not catch Kyle, I could not get there. With one to go, I don't remember what Dave said to me, but it was extremely motivating under the white flag. I thought, Man, I'm going to dive down here into turn one really hard, hope I can get down there, maybe something will happen.
Kyle, at the same time, it looked like maybe his tires went away. Going down the back straight, I thought he'd spun his tires, they were hot. I knew I was going to run the bottom. Somehow he knew I was going to run the bottom, too. So he went there. He squared up the car, slowed down. He was pretty certain I was going to bump him. At that point it's like, Man, we're so much faster into the corner, I had to try something.
So, yeah, awesome win for us. Like coach said, I wish it was anybody but my teammate that we had to race like that with. Big picture to me, we both got wins and we're both in the Chase and it's fun to race your teammate for the win.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for this winning team.

Q. Coach Gibbs, what do you think your Tuesday debriefing meeting might be like and how that might go?
JOE GIBBS: I think when something like this happens, I don't think there's a game plan for it. You have no real organized way of handling it.
What you do is you start out and work your way through it. That's what we'll do.
So, you know, it's a tough thing because it's certainly painful for one side. You're on such a high with the other side. It's a tough thing. You kind of know what we'll do is kind of go to work and work our way through it.

Q. Carl, obviously you've been a big fan of the lower downforce rules package. You're doing very well now. Is this the most fun you've had in the series?
CARL EDWARDS: That's the most fun I've had at Richmond. That was a blast. I don't know what it looks like from the outside, but from the inside, all the cars were out there searching for grip. Crew chiefs are making changes. It really was about managing the Goodyears on the racetrack, sliding the tires around, the line you took mattered. It was really a lot of fun.
I had some great races with people out there. I think the day race, the heat helped, the lower downforce package helped, the Goodyear tire helped. It was just really a lot of fun to race.
So, yeah, it's been great.

Q. Carl, when you're grinding as hard as you were to catch Kyle, you get him that last lap, you realize maybe you can do something, do you even have time to consider the ramifications of doing that to a teammate, especially one who has kind of a little bit of a volatility gene like Kyle does?
CARL EDWARDS: No, there's no time to consider much. Really, to be honest, the last, what, 30 laps or something, I was just head down driving as hard as I possibly could. The first opportunity I even got, you know, to get that close to him was the last lap and really the last corner.
You're left as a racecar driver, What do we do here? We're here to win the race. You can either finish first or second. It's a tough decision. At this point in the season, we both got wins. Really it's about just going out for trophies and having fun. We still finished first and second. Nobody got wrecked.
But you can't just sit there. I wouldn't expect Kyle‑‑ if the roles were reversed, I'd expect him to bump me the same way. That's hard racing.

Q. Carl, what did you do in the car? Was the credit to Dave? Early on you didn't seem that fast, then all of a sudden you came on and won the race.
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know what happened there towards the end. I need to talk to Kyle. I'm curious what his car was doing because that last lap, it looked like he just wrung every bit of grip his tires had out of it and it looked like the thing finally gave in. It was so tough.
I grew up racing on dirt. This was a lot like a dirt race where you got all that TRD horsepower. You're looking at everything out of your front windshield, you want to push the pedal, the tires are spinning, it's so easy to kill these tires.
For me, I don't know exactly what it was. But there at the end it looked like Kyle's car really gave up on him.

Q. Your car early in the race, seemed like you weren't as good as you obviously came on.
CARL EDWARDS: At different points in the race we were good. Different points other people were fast. That was something that was strange. I couldn't quite put my finger on what was changing. Other people would come and go. Seemed like there were a bunch of people at points that were really fast. At the end fortunately we were pretty good.

Q. Carl, what is the process of the diplomacy when it's teammate versus teammate? Is it shoot him a text, Hey, buddy? Is it important to judge the temperature early?
CARL EDWARDS: We just talk about it. That's it.
I don't know. We haven't talked yet. We'll talk about it. I can say this. My teammates have been spectacular. They truly have been. Not just helping with things we need help, but from a motivational standpoint.
What Kyle was able to do particularly last year I think raised everyone's game. So I'm very grateful to have my teammates and to be a part of it.
Yeah, we're going to have times like this when you're running like this. We're racing each other for wins, which is really, really good. So hopefully it all works out fine.

Q. Dave, do you recall what you said to Carl that was so motivating? What prompted you to give him the go ahead there?
DAVE ROGERS: I don't remember what I said. But what prompted me is we wanted to win.
I think today, we can talk about the relations with the 18. Adam and I are great friends. Kyle and I are great friends. So I'm not worried about any relations.
If we look at the big picture, today was a great day for NASCAR. Our fans don't want to see teammate orders. They don't deserve teammates to fall in line. They deserve good, hard racing.
So I think today was a great day for the sport. It stinks that we had to move a teammate. I'm sure Adam and I will talk about it, and Carl and Kyle will talk about it. But I think it would be very disappointing to our fans if Joe imposed a team order and told us, Hey, have a parade instead of a race.
There's going to be plenty of days that the 18 is faster than us and they'll probably get to our back bumper and move us. We'll go down to Victory Lane, shake their hands, tell them, Good job. That's just a testament to Joe Gibbs Racing, allowing us to put ourselves in that position.
As far as what I said, I don't know. I just wanted to win. I wanted to be here and talk to you guys today. I told him whatever I had to say.

Q. Coach Gibbs, you've been here when there's been a waiting list for tickets. The grandstands were full. That wasn't the case today. Do you think today's race can be a step in bringing this back?
JOE GIBBS: I think definitely our fans are extremely loyal. They love great racing. I think today was a great race. I think the changes we made in the off‑season are great. I know that Richmond made a decision, too, that they wanted to have a day race so they could invite families and have more family participation. I certainly saw that.
I think for all those reasons, yeah. I think if we have great races, we know that got our fan support. And certainly here at Richmond, too. So I think we got a lot to look forward to in the future, I really do.
I think NASCAR has really been engaged with the teams over the last four years of trying to take steps, being aggressive, trying to do things to improve our racing.
I think currently where we are with the downforce package is a good example of that. We tried several things last year, then they made a good decision I think. Everybody was working together. I think the owners, the drivers and NASCAR were talking to each other. It's NASCAR's final decision. I think they made a great one.

Q. Carl, Tony Stewart was back today. At one point you guys were together for about 15 laps. You were trying to lap him, he was holding you off. Stirring little battle there. Tell us about that and about having him back.
CARL EDWARDS: I was real happy he was back till about five laps into that battle (laughter).
No, it's cool to have Tony back. He's done so much in the sport. He continues to do a lot in the sport. Let me tell you, the guy is competitive. He was trying definitely to stay on the lead lap. He did a really good job.
I was thinking during that, I thought, Man, what a heck of a first run to have back in the driver's seat. It was a 160‑lap run. He was wheeling the heck out of it. Good to have him back.

Q. Carl, last week with the backflip after the race you said it didn't quite land as well as you wanted it to. Do you feel more comfortable with it this week?
CARL EDWARDS: I over‑rotated a little bit last week. I under‑rotated a little bit this week. But it's okay. I'll get it right eventually. I haven't done backflips back‑to‑back like that for a long time, so bear with me.
Was it a good watch to race? It was fun driving. Thanks again, like coach said, to Richmond for doing this during the day. Really cool.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you and continued best of luck with Joe Gibbs Racing the rest of the season.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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