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September 24, 2017

Joe Gibbs

Adam Stevens

Loudon, New Hampshire

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our race‑winning crew chief Adam Stevens and our race‑winning owner Joe Gibbs of the No.18 M&M's Caramel Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Adam, the 18 car, fast on Friday and in Victory Lane on Sunday, that has to give you a good feeling walking away from that.
ADAM STEVENS: Yeah, just shows what our team is capable of and the type of job everybody back at the shop is doing, coming to the racetrack prepared and executing all weekend and having great pit stops and having something to show for it for a change, so we're pretty proud of the effort.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, there seems to be a lot of positive energy right now around the 18 team, Joe Gibbs Racing and all of Toyota. Explain what is behind that right now.
JOE GIBBS: Well, I think Adam mentioned it, that we've got so many great partners back at the race shop. Everybody working on the car, we had a big meeting this week. We talked about everybody that touches the cars, all the hard work. I wished all those guys could be here. They can't. And so I just want to shout out to J.D. and the whole crew back there, our front office and everybody. It takes a lot to travel, get here, get everything prepared, the cars, race the cars. It's really hard. It takes a real effort. We're just blessed to have a lot of great people there, and so I'm just thankful to be a part of it.
I thought today was‑‑ really appreciate the crowd here. I've mentioned that our sponsors, a number of them, have hospitalities here. It's a huge deal for them. We're in the Northeast, and so it's a big deal for us. So we appreciate all of our fans and everybody that supports it, all of our partners, obviously M&M's today, Caramel, is a big part of their new kickoff, Toyota, our partner there. So it takes a lot to do this. So I really appreciate all of them and the way they support us.

Q. You mentioned great pit stops today. Just explain how that transition is going and how crucial that's going to be towards your run.
ADAM STEVENS: Well, pit stops are a key to the sport. They have been for as long as I've been involved, and they'll continue to be I assume. You know, we had a couple hiccups last week, and like I said pre‑race, loose wheels happen, they happen to everybody, and then we made a mistake serving our penalty, our or changing tires to fix the loose wheel, and I put as much of that on myself for not covering all my bases communicating with a new group of guys. I could have done a better job, and it bit us.
Moving forward from that, you know, they're trained professionals. They're the best in the world at what they do, and we made that decision based off of months and months of data and lots of meetings and lots of heartache, and we're not going to un‑make it based off of one week's data. I think it showed today that that was a good call, and I think the guys did a great job and rose to the occasion, and I expect nothing less of them the rest of the year.

Q. Coach Gibbs, can you just talk about the presence here with the sponsors in the Northeast that you have, but honestly losing a race after all the success you guys have had here must be disappointing even though you're going to a bigger market next September?
JOE GIBBS: Yeah, losing the race here. I'll tell you, we've always enjoyed coming here. It's huge for us, coming to this part of America. It's a big deal. It always has been. Yeah, we'd love to have races here. We'd love to have two races here. But we also know with our sport there's a lot going on, a lot of decisions have to be made and what's best for the sport. I'm really not a part of that. But I can say that we love coming to Loudon. It's been a great racetrack for us and a number of our drivers. Yeah, you hate that, but I was thrilled today with the crowd and the way everybody seemed to enjoy themselves.

Q. Coach Gibbs, some of the NASCAR owners expressed their opinion about players in the NFL not standing for the National Anthem. I just wanted to get your opinion on that sort of thing.
JOE GIBBS: Well, I think for us, and obviously I can't speak for everybody on our race team, but for us, so much has been sacrificed for our country and that flag, and I think we really feel that heart to heart, most of the people that I kind of feel like that are with us, and so I think for us, it's just a big deal for us and to honor America. So that's the way we look at it, and I think I'm proud of the way we've represented ourselves, and I'm proud of this sport, too. I think this sport has a certain way they look at things. I really appreciate that.

Q. After the race you told Kyle to take it easy on the burnout, that you didn't want to have any uncomfortable meetings later this week with NASCAR. Is NASCAR starting to crack down on the burnouts and what happens as far as destroying the cars so they can't be inspected properly in the post‑race?
ADAM STEVENS: Well, if you go look and listen, I didn't mention NASCAR at all. But you know, just given the media attention that some of the drivers have brought to the 78 last week, and I mean, it's obvious that he wasn't trying to do anything other than celebrate, and if we can avoid that, I would just avoid it. We have nothing to hide, and they're more than welcome to look at our car like they always do. It's just a distraction that we don't need, so I was just trying to avoid that distraction.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on the victory. Congratulations on making it to the next round of the playoffs, and good luck next weekend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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