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March 10, 2019

Joe Gibbs

Adam Stevens

Avondale, Arizona

THE MODERATOR: We are currently joined by members of our race winning team, team owner Joe Gibbs and crew chief Adam Stevens. Congratulations to you both.
We'll open it up to questions.
JOE GIBBS: How come Kyle gets to sit in the middle all the time? It's crew chief and owner that gets us here (laughter).

Q. Adam, after the race, Kyle mentioned fuel consumption. How precise can you do a fuel consumption before the race? With all these unknown factors with the caution laps, do you have to adapt all the time the fuel consumption?
ADAM STEVENS: Yes, absolutely. You can only gauge your race mile‑per‑gallon leading into the race based off of practice and past history. The mileage always gets better because the lap times are always slower. You never run long enough in practice to know exactly what that's going to look like.
The race conditions are always a little different. There's always a small percentage change even above what you anticipate. But you get a handle on that as the race progresses. Cautions mess it up bad. It's really hard to tell how much fuel the driver saves under caution, so you're trying to account for that. The more caution laps there are, the harder it is to really calculate. The more green laps there are, the easier it is.
So much is in the driver's hands, how he's using the throttle and the brake. It's a lot to keep up with through the event.

Q. (No microphone.)
ADAM STEVENS: No, nothing at all. All he has is what we tell him. There's no feedback from the car at all.

Q. Numbers aside, where does Kyle rank among the all‑time greats?
ADAM STEVENS: Take that one, coach.
JOE GIBBS: I'm always leery about 'all time' when you start talking in pro sports because there's been so many great ones.
I do think Kyle has the unusual ability of some athletes. Been in football, you see it over there sometimes, not very often, over here. It's the guys that when they put the helmet on, I think really if he won 500 races, it wouldn't change. He goes for it every single week.
He's got a determination and a drive that's just very unusual, so I certainly think, you guys will probably determine where he winds up in history, but it won't be me, I've only been here for 28 years, but I would say that Kyle has probably got a chance to really do something great.

Q. Adam, do you want Kyle to skip the Xfinity race next week so that you potentially be the guy to get him to 200?
ADAM STEVENS: Man, I offered that joke up to Claire a few minutes ago. It would be kind of nice. Maybe I'll have to take him for some bad sushi or something on Friday night.

Q. What do you think 200 will mean to him?
JOE GIBBS: I think he is driven by things like that, by records. I really think. I know how bad he wanted to be able to win at every racetrack, because I could pick up from him, talking, how bad he wants things.
I think he's driven by trying to do something great. I think it will be a big deal for him. I know the Xfinity thing, I'm telling him, Hurry up, will you, so everybody gets mad at us when we go to Xfinity with you.
I know he's driven, wants a hundred over there, that's a big deal for him, too. I think probably somebody like that, I wasn't any kind of a real good athlete, so I don't know, but sometimes great athletes like that think a little different. I do think he's challenged by things and loves the idea of accomplishing some real goals.

Q. Adam, everybody was thinking this is going to be somewhat of a track position race. Did it turn out to be more extreme than you or other crew chiefs anticipated based on strategy?
ADAM STEVENS: I would say no. I mean, I thought it was going to be even harder to pass than what it was. It's never easy to pass. It shouldn't be easy to pass. There were a lot of guys having to pass cars, come up through the field.
We had to pass cars on a lot of occasions. With the way the cautions fell, there was a lot of tire strategy. That jumbled the field up. Some of the better cars that took that opportunity to gain some track position were able to hold onto it. It was pretty interesting.
There's going to be a lot of data for us to dig into so we can plan how we're going to strategize the next race when we come back.

Q. Coach, you've dealt with a lot of elite athletes. What is it specifically that distinguishes those elite athletes like a Kyle Busch over the rest of the competition?
JOE GIBBS: I think for me, you know, it happened in football where we had some guys that all of a sudden on Sundays when they put the helmet on, you kind of look at them, they get it. They know what the sport's about. They are after it. They're determined. It's not often you find it.
Certainly I think with Kyle, over here in this sport, I think Kyle is one of those guys. When he puts the helmet on... If there's something in front of him, I don't care whether the car is able to get there or not, he's trying to get there. I just think he's an unusual talent. I think all of us that watch sports, me included, really appreciate those great athletes.
Somehow they have a gift. We don't know how that happens. How does that happen? He goes to the test many times, and when we put the equipment on the cars to actually test, he can drive the thing when it's several degrees past when the normal person can drive it. That's just a gift. I think we all kind of appreciate athletes that have that.

Q. Can you touch on Martin Truex Jr., how he's acclimated to the organization.
JOE GIBBS: Very well. I was talking to Cole today. The last two weeks there's been a couple runs in there where they've been super fast. At the end of this race they were. It was great. I think it's just a matter of time with him.
I think Adam probably can get a feel for it, but Cole coming over, I think our crew chiefs really work well together. Chris coming onboard. I think we got four guys there that are very bright and work well together.
One of the great things I love about this sport, it's different from a team standpoint because over here you got four teams that have to work together. Back at the race shop it is that, we treat everybody as one team. When you come to the racetrack, you have to be able to work together, solve problems. Then when the race starts, everybody is kind of on their own.
I love that aspect of our sport because it's hard. It's hard to get four teams to work together, four crew chiefs, four drivers. I really appreciate that part of our sport.

Q. Joe, last night you flew down to Pensacola to watch Ty make his ARCA debut. Talk about how impressive he was last night.
JOE GIBBS: Now you're talking about really being nervous. I'm much more relaxed here. That's nervous when your grandkid is racing something. You have sweaty palms. It was his first ARCA race. We were proud of him. He qualified 10th, fought his way up to second, had kind of a mix‑up in the last pit stop, came out sixth, and was able to work back up to second.
I think it's fun for us, the family. I got seven grand boys. They're all in all kinds of football, basketball. I got one grand girl. She's into horses. I got this one, all he's ever wanted to do is race. It will be fun to kind of watch him. Yeah, that was a short night.
I really appreciate what Phoenix has done, this racetrack. The fact that that fan experience here is awesome. One of the things we got going for our sport, our fans, race fans, when they come to the racetrack, they got a chance to get driver's autographs. We go to hospitality, those suites. You go up visit, ask questions. I just think the fan experience for us is really something special in our sport. I love that aspect of it.
Of course, the one thing I wanted to just touch on. Toyota, Interstate Batteries, Mars, us resigning with them, so important. It's a total team effort. Our sport is totally different in that you have to have a great sponsor. I wanted to thank them.
I really appreciate what has been done here. I think this is where our sport needs to go. When you get fans that are standing right in the garage area with the cars being worked on, I think it's an awesome experience. I think that's really what happens in our sport. Those are things you can't buy. Somebody comes to the racetrack, has a great experience, gets a chance to get an autograph, be right there with the cars worked on, be on pit road. I just really appreciate that.
I wanted to say I really appreciate this racetrack and what they've done to make that kind of experience and help our sport.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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