NASCAR Nationwide Series: Ford 300
Topics: Ford 300
November 15, 2008
THE MODERATOR: This is your fifth overall NASCAR championship in a variety of series and your first NASCAR Nationwide series championship. Congratulations. Your thoughts?
J.D. GIBBS: Thank you. Really for us it was special to have all those guys, Kyle and Denny and Tony and Joey get in that car and run it, and then for the guys at the shop that have worked all year long, it would have been real frustrating to go the whole year and not have something to show for it.
Now to be able to come down to Orlando and celebrate as a team, we've never done that before as a Nationwide team. That's a big deal for us. So we're real excited about it, and I think for our team, it meant more than -- I would say most championships mean to other teams. I mean, this was a big deal for us and for the guys that worked so hard, because really, Nationwide you have guys that do a little bit of everything, and they're not so specialized. They really work their tails off.
Q. Did you ever consider putting Logano in the 18 and putting Kyle in the 20 just because you had that --
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, we did. When we first started way back when, we said, hey, Joey, here's the deal, obviously this car is way up in points. We can let that ride and you stay in it and go, or we can switch you to the 18. Are you comfortable doing that? He said, I want to learn, and part of learning is the pressure. I'm ready for that. I think it's going to help me be a better driver down the road. He said from day one, bring it on, and to his credit was able to pull it off under pretty rough circumstances a lot of times.
Q. What do you think is more impressive -- Richard talked about the ability of your team to win the championship with four different drivers, or being able to do it after the penalty situation that took place, still being able to do it?
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, I think it's a combination. You know, that was a hard situation. I think that was encouraging for our guys -- crew chiefs are now at home. Six other guys are now at home. To go back and have the guys at the shop step up -- some guys have never been on the road before, and do things that were asked of them that weren't comfortable and were difficult, I think that was -- that meant a lot. You know, I think that kind of for us is going to make it a real strong foundation for years to come. Those guys went through hard times together, came out of it and were still able to win that championship.
On top of it, you have a young guy in the car, he's really good, but he didn't have much experience. So to put all that together and come out with the championship means more than you know.
Q. What has Steve deSouza meant to this team, to this organization? Is he kind of the unsung hero almost?
J.D. GIBBS: Is Steve up there asking that question (laughter)? I think Steve really -- ten years we've been doing this, and Steve has kind of been guiding us along the way. To have this year is just kind of a testament to all the work he's put into it as kind of overseeing -- look, we've got a lot of stuff going on in the Cup shop. Nationwide is extremely important to us, but Steve kind of runs that for us. As far as our Diversity team and our Camping World team, I know for him it feels really good, and just having them -- to be able to celebrate with them next year is going to really be a special time.
Q. There's a thing about an Asian curse, being born in interesting times. You switched manufacturers, you had many drivers in the cars. As you talked before, you overcame the penalties. Have you ever had a year like this? What does that do for next year?
J.D. GIBBS: Really each year is kind of special and crazy in its own way. You know, I remember back when we won the championship with Tony, the one we won with Bobby in 2000, we were just good and nothing happened all year long. But everything after that, there's always been some real positives and always been some negatives to go to. I think what that does for us, it helps build a stronger team.
But this year, yeah, it's a new manufacturer, we had to put a new motor together in a matter of a month, and then you have new drivers in the mix, so it was a lot to ask of all of our guys, but I think the encouragement was they were able to do that.
Again, I go back to what I said before, they're bonded closer now than they ever would have been if we just went all year and didn't have any issues. I think that's the great foundation we have going forward.
Q. Is this the team that you're going to have Logano paired with next year, and does winning this help at all for him going for the driver's title next year?
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, I think right now we're still trying to figure out what it looks like. I think we'll probably turn Kyle loose, and we haven't figured out which team is which right now, but I think we're probably going to turn Kyle loose and run for the whole thing it looks like, and then we'll have a combination of Joey will run for a good bit, Denny will probably fit some in, and then we'll have one more piece of the puzzle to kind of fill. We'll have two cars next year.
Q. Do you know, does Dave Rogers get to come to the banquet and celebrate with you guys?
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, Dave does get to come. He has to sit in a room down the hall (laughter). He gets to come and celebrate by himself.
No, we're going to bring all the guys down to Orlando, even the shop guys and the road guys. We've never won a championship in Nationwide. We've done it in Cup, but I think it's going to be real special for those guys to take their families and come down there and enjoy the weekend.
Q. Just wondering if you could comment a little bit on this series as a developmental tool for drivers and for your team and how that's worked for you.
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, it's been invaluable to us, and a lot of it is it's difficult from a driver's standpoint because, hey, I don't care what series you're in, because it's expensive, it's hard. We invest in it because you have the drivers, but just as importantly, we probably have 65 guys in our Cup shop that came through our Nationwide shop. That's a big deal. That's a training ground. You get to watch them, how do they work with people, how they communicate, and then when you kind of get them in our mold I'd say, they kind of get indoctrinated; you see the guys ready to go to Cup.
I think the biggest thing for us, all the guys, as well as drivers, putting the pieces together and being able to grow and develop, and then when you put those guys in the Cup Series, they're attached to that Nationwide series, they appreciate it and they communicate more with those guys and it just grows that bond closer between both teams.
Q. Rick Hendrick was in here yesterday in reaction to the new testing policy saying basically that he would prefer a system where you used telemetry, data acquisition coming into the track on Friday and use that to tune the cars. Is that something you would also be in favor of?
J.D. GIBBS: That's not a bad idea. I know NASCAR has looked at it before. I think where we are now is we would love to see maybe 12, 14 tests. 24 is probably too many.
The problem is it's not so much the testing that's going on, it's just we just need these teams to survive.
Testing aside, we just need the teams -- part of it is, look, even if you brought telemetry to the track, you could do that, I'm not sure that helps the teams that are just trying to keep their head above water. I think NASCAR's decision, let's just get through this and a year from now kind of reevaluate it and see.
Q. Along those same lines, Jack Roush had said something about perhaps a gentlemen's agreement among the team owners not to do the go to the tracks that aren't in the NASCAR series kind of thing and wondered if that was possible, because if they really wanted to save money, the only way you'd really do that is by not testing at all, and Richard Childress appeared to be somewhat open to that. Is that something that you would consider?
J.D. GIBBS: Well, first you have to assume that we're all gentlemen (laughter). I think for us that is good wisdom, and when it comes to technical things, how the sport works, Jack is probably second to none when it comes to -- that's probably good wisdom on that.
I do think the difficulty for us next year is, look, we've got a guy who's never been to these tracks. I agree with the testing, but how do you make it so a young guy at least gets his feet wet and tries some things? Do you do a little bit extra, give him a half hour at the racetrack? What can he do?
So I think for us, I agree with him that that's probably a good plan. But for our young guy, how does that fit? I would say, too, that I think overall, there will still probably be some testing going on here, Rockingham, just trying stuff out before you hit the track with it. But I do think not having to have all four cars unloaded at a track is going to be a huge, huge savings for all the teams, all the owners. It's up to the owners to make sure -- look, it's expensive for the team. We've got to police it ourselves and make sure the value isn't lost on running here and there, testing odd stuff.
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