Transcripts: Joe Gibbs, James Small – Dover

HE MODERATOR: We’re joined by our winners. We’ve got a few team members from Joe Gibbs Racing. We’ve got crew chief James Small and team owner Joe Gibbs. Congratulations to both of you. We’ll open it up for questions.

Q. Coach, first for you, seeing Martin back in Victory Lane here, what does it mean to see him end this 54-race winless streak, especially here at his home track?

JOE GIBBS: It was huge for all of us, really. Martin, James, they worked their rear off last year. There were so many times that we thought we had a race, and it was a late caution, or something happened to us. When that happened today, I went, Not again.

Great call by James to get us out with two tires.

But really, Martin, I’ve just got to tell you, James will tell you this, Martin may be the calmest, rational athlete I’ve ever been around. He handles everything so — just in the right way, in our meetings and everything.

When bad things happened last year, he never got upset about it from the standpoint of rationally talking to you. He’s just a great person and great athlete, I think. It meant a lot to us.

Q. Obviously Ryan got the win here on Saturday, as well. This is his second stint with the organization. What’s different about Ryan over a decade later than the first time he was behind the wheel of one of your cars?

JOE GIBBS: Yeah, I thought it was great for the Truex family, and to have the dad here and everybody celebrating, I think obviously it’s a first for us. Never had two brothers like that win races on the weekend.

But we would love to have Ryan in the car. He does a lot of simulation work for us. He’s a dedicated young guy, and as everybody knows, it’s hard to get sponsorship. We work our rear off.

I talked to Todd Moore. He called me right after the race on Saturday, and we committed to work hard this year to try and get Ryan in more races.

Q. James, what was your reaction when the caution came out, and the idea to take two tires over four?

JAMES SMALL: I was like, Yeah, not again. It was like seems like it always gets us.

Yeah, the two-tire call, given there were still only eight people on the lead lap, I thought there was others that were going to do it, especially like the 12, in a situation just like us.

I was a little worried. Even though we had the gaps and the spacing and everything with the other cars, even in a straight fight with the 1 on pit road, that crew is exceptional. I thought on a four-tire stop they would probably beat us, which given the times, they probably would have.

That made it a little easier, as well. And I knew if we could get the lead, we could clear out there even though we had a lot of laps on tires, and it was definitely helpful that the 12 and the 20 also run the same deal.

Yeah, it was just great to see.

Q. Coach, for you, your grandson Ty had a great run going, as high as the top 5. I’m curious what you thought of his performance, too.

JOE GIBBS: I was really proud of Ty. We had a fueling issue on that last stop, and we didn’t get enough fuel in the car. So that’s the reason why we had to start saving fuel, and that put him back, or I think we’d have had all of our cars top 10 today, which is so exciting for us.

We’ve been a little off. Everybody knows that. We know it. So this was a big deal for us today, for our race team, and just appreciated all of our teams fighting the way they have to get the year started.

Just talked to all the Toyota guys, also, and they’re thrilled. It means so much to our sponsors. Johnny Morris, he put Martin on live to his entire company from the winner’s circle. Love Johnny. So for Reser’s and Auto Owners, it’s just so important for us. Sponsorship in this sport is huge. You can’t race cars unless you get great partners.

Q. James, there was one point in the race where you and Martin were kind of chirping at each other. Is that just normal, or were you like, Oh, we’ve gone a little bit over the line?

JAMES SMALL: It’s normal. I’m fairly emotional. I was calm all race, but he was killing me through the middle there because it’s hard. He can’t see what’s happening in the race, as well, with the other cars and the lap times and everything.

I think he thought that in that second stage there where we ran longer and all that that we actually lost a lot of time. But we gained time and you could see where it was going to go. Obviously we came from the back after our issue on pit road, and all the way up to fourth in that stage.

We had a plan and stuck to it. And yeah, I already apologized to him for getting on his ass.

Q. Joe, I assume you’ve probably already started talking to Martin about next year. How important is winning a race do you think to trying to convince him to keep going?

JOE GIBBS: You talked about was that normal? No, it was Abby Normal. What movie? Young Frankenstein. Come on! What’s wrong with you guys? That’s the best movie ever. Abby Normal.

Now, these guys go at it every now and then because they’re so competitive.

What was the question?

Q. The question was, I assume at some point you’re going to have to try to convince Martin to continue next year. I’m curious how much do you feel like a win helps in convincing him, if at all?

JOE GIBBS: I think it’s huge, and we are constantly talking to Martin about next year. We want him to stay with us as long as we can convince him to do that. I think the best way of doing that is winning races, or have a chance to win a championship. I think that’s the best sales job we can do.

Q. Kind of circling back, obviously Martin Truex winning this weekend and his brother, your grandson in a car for you, and last year in the Toyota camp Kyle and his brother Curt, how much of an embodiment with your team and just in general in recent years still shows that NASCAR is truly a family sport?

JOE GIBBS: Well, I think it is a family sport. Everybody in here knows it. We all travel together on the weekends.

When something bad happens to a family, which has happened to us, the entire NASCAR family rallied for us, twice, and I appreciated that so much.

We’re just thrilled to be a part of it. We love it. We’re going on 32 years for us. Our family, I think, always wants to be in this. I’ve got grandkids coming, and two of them are already on the race teams and after it.

It’s a huge deal. And I think the NASCAR family is tight-knit and pulls for each other, and they love great weekends and great stories like this.

Q. James, I want to know, I’m curious about the two-lap undercut you guys had. The final green flag pit stop a two-lap undercut. What led to that? Was it the fact that track position is really important at a track like Dover?

JAMES SMALL: Yeah, definitely. I was watching the laps count down there, and just you watch the cars around and what lap traffic was coming up, and it was just so hard to pass. I knew we were like right in our window where I thought it was going to be okay, and just made sure we waited until the last minute to call him and to make sure that he couldn’t get down there, as well. It worked out.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, James, you guys are good to go.


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