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August 19, 2017

Joe Gibbs

Adam Stevens

Bristol, Tennessee

THE MODERATOR: We will continue on with our post race media availability. We're joined by our winning crew chief, Adam Stevens.
Adam, your Camry led 156 laps tonight with a dominant driver behind the wheel. How refreshing is it to see this 18 team really hitting its stride right now.
ADAM STEVENS: Yeah, you know, it's good in a couple ways. Traditionally as a team, I feel like we come out of the box strong each year, are able to chip away a couple wins early. We had the speed to do it earlier this year. But dag‑gone it, we just couldn't capitalize.
Still showed the speed here through the summer stretch. But we're starting to be able to put some races together, and that feels really good.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open the floor for questions.

Q. Did Kyle seem different tonight attitude‑wise? He seemed really calm, really focused on the radio. At one point he said whatever you want to do he'll try. Was that any different for him coming in knowing what was on the line?
ADAM STEVENS: I could see why you would say that. But, you know, as the races go on and we get closer and closer to the Chase, he seems to find another level of focus. I think we saw a little bit of that tonight.
This is a big deal to him. Winning the race is a big deal. He definitely was focused and had his eyes on the prize.

Q. Were pit stops a beat off tonight? Was that the crew, something with the car?
ADAM STEVENS: No, the car pit fine. I mean, pit ability‑wise. We keep up with that, check it at the shop, check it again on the track. Everybody was happy with how it drew out, how the tires came out. We just missed a little something on pit road. One time we had an issue on the front, one time on the back. You know, I feel like we're about half a step off there and we're going to have to clean that up heading into the Chase, for sure.
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by our race winning owner, Joe Gibbs.
Coach, what a race tonight. A fantastic accomplishment by Kyle, pulling off the weekend sweep. Walk through what that means from your perspective.
JOE GIBBS: Well, I just think it says a lot about Kyle. I always reflect back to everybody back home that works on the cars. We got a whole group there that everybody that touches the cars, front office, everybody working together. I know Adam really appreciates their effort, dedication.
But Kyle, obviously that's his Truck. Did a fantastic job with that. Then to come back at XFINITY and do what he did there. Then tonight was just spectacular. It was great. Really appreciate the talent he has. It's fun kind of being a part of all this.
I'm thrilled, like I said, I just appreciate J.D. and everybody back home. I talked to all those guys. I talked to all the Toyota guys, all the Mars guys, a lot of phone calls. Everybody is happy.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.

Q. Adam, do you feel Kyle, the way he races when he's going for a sweep like this, changes at all? Would it be change for the good or for the bad?
ADAM STEVENS: You know, that's something you worry about when you have an extra layer on top of a normal race. As a crew chief, you need to keep him focused, make sure that he's not elevating his risk level too much, making mistakes.
I think he did a really good job of being aggressive, but really mitigating the risk. There was times that he could have pushed, and he may have given somebody an inch.
So he really did a great job of keeping the big picture in mind.

Q. Were you rooting for him last night or not?
ADAM STEVENS: That's an odd question. But, no, I'm always rooting for him. You know, it is an extra level of stress, though, in my seat because it is such a big deal in the sport and such a big deal to him. There's really only so much you can do. Not like I'm going to pull something out of my hat.
It was pretty cool to see him accomplish that. It was pretty cool for the other teams and other crew chiefs to be part of that as well. I've been in the midst of that, trying to get a sweep, and felt that pressure as well. Kudos to those guys.

Q. Before the race, you saw the odds. Don't bet against Kyle Busch, at least not at Bristol. How do you take this momentum going forward into the Playoffs and trying to secure him another championship?
ADAM STEVENS: Well, I think it kind of shows what the team's capable of. We've had good speed and prepared good cars. Like coach says, everybody back at the shop doing all the right things. And we're just starting to put the whole race together. Kyle is doing a great job behind the wheel, really focusing on the finish of the race, making sure we have what we need with our adjustments, all the fenders on the car, all the brakes on the car that we can go out there and run hard at the end. The pit crew didn't start off that great, but they were able to shake it off and rebound from that. I think that bodes well for us heading into the Chase.

Q. Adam, what are the benefits for you guys when Kyle runs in companion events? Are there any negatives as far as he has so little time to devote to each one of them?
ADAM STEVENS: Well, the benefits are week‑to‑week. This week there was the big benefit because we were on the same tires. There was a track surface treatment. We don't see that a lot. That stuff they put down changes the racetrack. How it changes through the race is something that he was able to learn two more occasions than a lot of guys we raced against. The grip level changes, the preferred groove changes. I think it was an advantage this week. I think it showed with how the line moved around and how we adjusted on our car.
The second part of your question, you just have to communicate. We have a lot of face time in the coach lot after practice and after the races, text each other back and forth, stay in communication with the other crew chiefs on his other teams. Just a little bit extra effort, but that's what it takes.

Q. Coach, we got to see a pretty spirited battle between the present and future of the No.20 team tonight. What was going through your mind watching Erik Jones fight for his first win of his career, and Matt Kenseth scratching, clawing to get the win that will get him into the Playoffs?
JOE GIBBS: I think it was a big deal for both guys. Last week I know it was a heartbreak for Matt. I reflect back to that because Erik last week had a heck of a race. He was going for that thing, his home track really at Michigan. Had a great finish. Then Matt, it was a heartbreak.
It was great to see Matt bounce back this week. Matt, if you go back and check his history, he's really good here. I thought he gave it everything he had. I think it was a spirited battle. I really think all three of them were up there kind of going after it.
So I think it was big for both of them. We're really proud of everybody there. Felt like Daniel, too, fighting through things. Appreciate Adam and his leadership on the 18 team.
I think for both of them, tonight was a big night for both of them. They fought extremely hard. It was a huge deal for Matt. I think he jumped up one spot in the Playoffs deal. A big deal for us.

Q. Adam, when Kyle talked to us last night, he said he expected the tach to be changed a little bit to make sure he didn't speed on pit road. You ended up pitting in that section. Was that on purpose because he sped on Wednesday? Did you do any changes to the tach?
ADAM STEVENS: We did not do any changes to our settings. We kind of base that off the previous race. We were confident in what we had. There haven't been any changes to pit road that would necessitate a change there.
We do feel like that section reads a little bit quicker than the other sections, so that was a calculated move to take it out of play with the pit selection. We qualified so poorly I was worried we weren't going to have a gap back there to choose. Thankful that worked out.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations and good luck in two weeks in Darlington.
JOE GIBBS: Thanks to Toyota, too. David is back there in the back. Thank you. Big night.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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