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November 6, 2016
Fort Worth, Texas
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the winning owner, Joe Gibbs, who earned his sixth Cup win at Texas Motor Speedway.
I know you enjoy winning at Texas. Talk about your win.
JOE GIBBS: Yes, just a total team effort. Such an awful week last week for Carl, the whole team. I went over to him in the garage area when we were trying to repair the car. He just looked at me and said, Hey, I got to win next week.
We all know how hard that is, to be able to pull that off. But I'd say that Dave did a fantastic job, our crew chief, getting the car ready. Had a fast car all weekend.
Carl did a great job of kind of working his way toward the front. Then we had a total team effort. We had an unbelievable pit stop at the end. It took everybody tonight. It was a great night for Sport Clips.
If you think about that car, it's hugely important for us because I got a chance to call Stanley, Black& Decker is on that car, ARRIS is a big part of that partnership, Subway and Interstate Batteries. I got a chance to call all of them and thank them. That's a huge deal for our sport.
We love coming to Dallas. I did six hospitalities today, all our sponsors were here. We had a good group yesterday for the XFINITY race.
Obviously it's a great sporting capital of the world here, and certainly with this racetrack, it's a huge deal for everybody in motorsports.
Thrilled for us. I always like to thank everybody back at the race shop, all of our employees there. J.D. and the whole group back home. Really proud of our team. Lord has given us a great group of people that make up our team.
Our partner Toyota is just a huge deal for us. We're thrilled that it's a real partnership with them. They do so much to help us get to the front. It's an extremely competitive sport, as we all know, and that's what we love about it.
THE MODERATOR: Also joined by winning crew chief, Dave Rogers. Talk about the challenges that the weather presented.
DAVE ROGERS: This is a great race for our entire Sport Clips Toyota Camry. It's a total team effort. We dug ourselves into a hole a little bit at Martinsville. When I walked up to Carl, he said, No problem, we're going to go win Texas. Everyone on the team stepped up all week long. Everyone worked extremely hard, put everything we had into this race to come out and perform well.
Then we got an opportunity at the end of the race to showcase some of that. Our pit crew put together a great pit stop, took the lead on pit road, then the rest is history.
The end of the race with the rain, that was stressful. The racing and the pit stops, the adjustments, all that. Same day, different stuff. But the rain was a challenge because we could see the small cell coming. We knew the track was going to get wet, but we didn't know if we were going to lose the track, if NASCAR would try to throw it green again. Somewhat of a gamble. That was a stressful but exciting time.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Dave, I know you weren't the crew chief a year ago, but Carl gets stymied by rain at Phoenix, then here at Texas back in the spring, a pit stop ruins the day. Do you think any of those situations played into anything this weekend, and how ironic is that things that hurt him in the past don't hurt him today?
DAVE ROGERS: Yeah, you know, I didn't give any thought to that. I guess it's vindication of some sort. You always play the game as hard as you can. Past is the past. Not a reflection of tomorrow. We didn't think of that. We knew we had a good car in the spring. We knew if we could repeat that performance, execute all day long, in all phases of the game, we knew we would be up front.
The rain, Mother Nature, it's hard to control that. But, yeah, it's a good vindication. It feels great to have things go your way all day long. That's what it did today, so it feels good.
Q. Dave, this question is not specific to tonight, but just an overall comment on teams having more trouble getting through tech with one or two passes than ever before. What is the problem with teams having to go back around many times to get through tech?
DAVE ROGERS: I think it's simple. I think it's competition. Everybody is playing the game as hard as they can play. I think the major problems this weekend were templates. NASCAR officials do a great job of policing the sport, but they have a gauge block, some is 50,000 tolerance, some is an eighth inch tolerance. Different tolerances. If you can get 60 instead of 50 or 70 instead of 50, you're trying to get every little bit of it you can.
Some of it's up to interpretation. You have seen the grid out there. It's huge. It's a big thing. All these templates are bolted together.
Well, every race team has one. We try to do our very best to keep ours in check with what NASCAR's is. The only way we can monitor that process is we put those templates on at the shop. Everything fits. We think, They're going to be happy with it.
We come here, template is a little different. We took 10 thou too much or 20 thou too much. NASCAR is asking us to fix it.
I think NASCAR does a great job of policing the sport and keep it competitive. Likewise, the competitors are doing a great job of competing and putting the best cars on tracks as possible.
Q. Dave, with the big delay of the start, did you have to rework your whole strategy? Looking at the total so far in the season, your car seems dominant. Is this because engineering‑wise you do a lot of things in‑house, aero package and engine?
DAVE ROGERS: The first question about strategy and the rain delay, the biggest challenge to me during rain delays is keeping people focused, keeping the team intact. The guys that jump over the wall, they're athletes. By all means, they're tremendous athletes. They do work off controlled adrenaline. It's hard to get excited for the game, then wait several hours. Your body kind of drains down. You have to eat again, get ready. Then you have to be mentally prepared to play the game at a later date, or later time.
Rain delays always make me nervous because it's a great opportunity for mistakes. It kind of gets people to take their guard down, get lackadaisical about things. That was the biggest challenge.
But this is the greatest group of guys I could ever imagine working with. They're professionals. They work hard. They take a lot of pride in their work. Knock on wood, we've had some rain delays, and I haven't seen it bite this team yet. They're great.
The second question about dominance, I think coach talked about that. We just have the greatest support staff available in motorsports, in my opinion, at Joe Gibbs Racing. The engineering department, all of our partners, Toyota, I can't say enough about Toyota. They do so much just helping us with several technical aspects of the car, simulation, just different engineering tools that we use, then providing powerplants.
I've been working with coach a long time. I'm proud of that. He's a phenomenal leader. One thing he told me when we first started working together is, It's not cars that win races, it's people that win races. He's 100% right. We're fast because we have great people back at Joe Gibbs Racing developing these cars, developing the sim tools. That's why you see all four teams running up front.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the winner of tonight's race, Carl Edwards, driver of the No.19 Sport Clips Toyota. Talk about delivering tonight in the clutch.
CARL EDWARDS: It's really an amazing team that I've got. Just glad to be a part of it. I appreciate Coach Gibbs being a part of this, drive these racecars.
This is really a good test for us. We had the adversity last week. We knew what we had to do. To be able to actually go do it is great. That was really nice.
Now we know we can do it. We've been through it. We just have to go to Homestead and do it again.
Like I said then, I'll say it again, anything short of a championship will be a disappointment. We have a championship‑caliber team, parts, crew, pit crew. We need to be able to go do it.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.
Q. Coach, you have now one in. There's only two spots open. Three drivers there. Very tight in the points. How do you manage that this week? Is there any downside to having your teams in this position?
JOE GIBBS: No, I don't think there's a downside. I think really next week will be super competitive. We're going up against, besides our team, great competitors, Harvick, Joey. This is going to be a real battle.
I think it will be great for the fans. We'll pack the place. It will be great TV. I think it will be a real battle.
For us and our guys, I know all three of them want this. They really want it bad. Kyle, Matt and Denny, all three of them will give a great effort. I think we'll just be focused on trying to give them everything that we can this week, and then we'll tee it up. I think it should be a great race in Phoenix.
That's one of the things you love about pro sports, you don't know what's going to happen. Like tonight, I think everybody would have said Carl was a longshot to be able to get in and do this. It's just a great effort. Those are the great things we love about our sport.
Q. Any message you give these three guys, or let it play out?
JOE GIBBS: No. I think all three of our guys are going to give it everything they've got. I think we share everything. We talk about a lot of things. We have great competition meetings. Had one last week, another one this week. Share everything.
When we go to the racetrack, it's going to be everybody going for it.
Q. Carl, can you compare standing in the rain at Phoenix 35 races ago to standing in the rain here today?
CARL EDWARDS: That was brought up. Yeah, I hadn't thought about that until somebody brought it up out there. This rain was a lot more welcomed than that rain. That was very frustrating.
But that's the way this sport goes. It's close. Like coach said, we got amazing competitors. They make it tough. That's what makes things like this special, is the guys we race against.
I felt like tonight we didn't just win because of the rain, I felt like we were in a position where we could win either way. That was a real testament to Dave, TRD, coach, everybody I'm sure you talked about, having a great racecar.
Q. I don't think I've ever seen you as disgusted as you were after Phoenix because you ran in the top five all night. For whatever happened before the pit stops, you got in the back, do you think it could have been maybe a bit of a catalyst, the fact you never got to really go to Homestead and show what that team was made of, and now you do? Does that give you something more to look forward to?
CARL EDWARDS: This sport very is tough because the outcome a lot of times is not reflective of how well you did. Like last weekend, the record books will show whatever position we finished. We actually performed very did, did a really good job.
One of the first things my dad told my about racing, There's a thousand ways to lose a race. None of those thousand things can happen. You have to have everything go well.
Those disappointments like Martinsville or Phoenix last year, or 2011, that battle, that's just part of the sport. That's what makes victories and days like this and championships so special. You have to do everything right.
Q. Where does this rank in terms of a clutch performance, because you really needed to pull something out like this, and you did?
CARL EDWARDS: I think it's really high up there for me. We did a good job. I felt like we worked hard in practice. We spent a little bit of time last night discussing what we were going to do. Dave actually ran me off from his bus, told me that no other driver was arguing with their crew chief.
DAVE ROGERS: I didn't mean it like that (laughter).
CARL EDWARDS: I can't remember what I asked. I was probably the only one that was wearing his crew chief out at that point.
DAVE ROGERS: It paid off, you won.
CARL EDWARDS: Sorry, I don't know what you asked me. Oh, where does it rank.
I feel like this is what we needed to do. We were able to do that. There's a lot of pride in that. This sport is so tough. To be able to run like we did tonight, for the pit crew to perform the way they did, it's really great. I think it's a testament to the team that Coach Gibbs has put together.
Q. Carl, does the next seven days become the most relaxing of the season for you, or does it stay just as intense?
CARL EDWARDS: You don't know me very well. Man, I will not be relaxed. This is the part that I love. I mean, next week, we want to go win the race. Really starting right now, in Victory Lane, Dave was actually trying to shut me up. I started talking about Homestead already.
Everything we do now will be geared to making sure that that Homestead weekend, we do it perfectly. So, yeah, I relish the opportunity to go focus for the next 14 days on trying to give a championship effort.
Q. This is a tire that will be used at Homestead. It has been used at Chicago. How is the comfort level with the tire at this point? Is that something that is really that meaningful at Homestead or will things be different at a different track?
CARL EDWARDS: I think it's a big deal. I think there are some things that I learned tonight that we'll discuss, that we can apply. Everybody will be doing that. Everybody knows how important that race is at Homestead. All the notes from tonight, the things I felt this weekend, I have some ideas that I'd like to discuss with Dave. So it was a good practice.
Q. Could you not get as much out of it because of the conditions?
CARL EDWARDS: You never know what the conditions will be. We could be in the same conditions at Homestead. It's neat to be able to run a tire like this on a track like this. It's neat to be able to do that right now, a couple weeks in advance.
Q. Carl, as much as you didn't want what happened at Martinsville to happen, did it allow you to make a pretty easy decision to stay out or pit when the rain started to fall?
CARL EDWARDS: I didn't make that decision (laughter). I didn't want to be any part of that decision.
I think, just like anything, coach has probably been through more of this than anyone. When things go bad, sometimes it makes it really simple. As soon as we had that trouble at Martinsville, first thing we all said was, We've got to go win Texas, that's what we have to do.
You always wonder in this sport if you can step it up or do something better. I feel like everyone did this weekend. We actually were able to do that.
Now we get the opportunity to do the same thing at Homestead. We have to go there and win that race. Like Dave said after Martinsville, We knew we were going to have to at least win Homestead, so now we need to get with it earlier. I felt like we did that.
JOE GIBBS: I didn't want to have anything to do with that decision either. The guy on the end did (laughter).
Q. Coach, we have two races left in the Sprint Cup career of Tony Stewart. Do you remember the first time you either heard his name or the first time you encountered him? What is your fondest memory of him as a driver?
JOE GIBBS: Actually, I'm going to write a book on that. It was a wild set of circumstances. Started picking up his name and everything. He was just coming out of open‑wheel, had suffered an injury. A lot of people were talking about him.
He had a contract. So it was a long process of going through that, trying to work it out with the owners that had him at that point, then to work it out with him.
In our sport, I think he's great for our sport. He's somebody that is a superstar really. I'm glad that he's going to stay involved with our sport going down the road. I'm sure he's still going to be driving stuff, just may not be over here.
Q. Do you have a favorite memory of him when he drove for you?
JOE GIBBS: Well, when you have I think 30 wins or something, I don't know what it was, we had all kinds of things happen. Yeah, I got some memories.
I think Tony, the biggest thing about him, he has a tremendous passion for what he does. I can remember the very first time I talked to him. We sat down. He said, I want to tell you something right now, I'm not ready for Cup. It was a shocker for me. He said, I want to run XFINITY for at least a year, maybe two years. I think he had a real strong feeling about himself. I think that's one thing I remembered right off the bat, he said, Hey, I'm not ready.
We raced that year in XFINITY. He didn't win a race. Probably could have won five or six, though. He was right there. Then he said, Okay, we're ready to step up.
But I thought that was interesting. Says a lot about him.
Q. Carl, 2011, you were battling Tony Stewart in a dramatic championship. Here you are in his final season. Do you find the ironic that you have a chance to go to Homestead in his final season and clinch the championship?
CARL EDWARDS: I was really hoping he'd be there and I could beat him, we'd be even (smiling).
That was truly the neatest thing I've been involved with in motorsport. That was so much fun. You talk about buildup and focus, being able to execute. That weekend, that race, had a lot of pride in the way we dealt with that and raced.
I felt like ever since that checkered flag fell, man, I just wanted that opportunity again. Now we get it. It took a couple years. But I'm ready. That was a lot of fun.
Q. Carl, can you give some information about track position after this big delay?
CARL EDWARDS: The first couple laps, I told Dave, This is like qualifying. It was fast. I don't know what the times were, it felt like all night the track was very fast, especially after the yellow flag stops.
But the tires held up well. We didn't have any issues. I think that's a testament to Goodyear. They did a good job.
Q. Carl, what does it mean to get back to Miami?
CARL EDWARDS: It's a huge opportunity. I'm really grateful to everybody that's making it happen. I see how much work goes in, how much Coach Gibbs puts into this, Dave, everybody at TRD. Yeah, it's an opportunity.
It's so much fun, you guys. Just the idea of getting to race for a championship, getting that opportunity. It's not just going there like we did in 2011 to race against one guy in championship form, we're going to go there and race against three guys, one of which is a six‑time champion, top of his game. I know whoever else in there is going to be tough as nails.
I mean, it's cool. If we're able to win that, stand here 14 days from now with that championship trophy, we're going to have earned it. That's as good as it gets.
Q. Do you feel that big sense of change? You came into this race way outside. Now you're talking about the championship. The momentum swing, what that must be like for you.
CARL EDWARDS: It's great. When we made it to this round, I was very certain, I felt very confident. We talked about it. We felt like we could win at Martinsville. We could win Texas. We could win Phoenix.
I know when the trouble happened at Martinsville, a lot of people probably thought, That's it for them. But we really did have a lot of confidence. That's easy to say now because we won the race, but it's the truth, we really did.
It's nice to be able to pull through, make that happen. Now we just got to dig in and do it again.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Congratulations.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports