HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Transcript from the press conference from Homestead-Miami Speedway after the Ford 300 featuring NASCAR Nationwide Series owners champions Joe Gibbs Racing, including drivers Kyle Busch and Brad Coleman, crew chief Jason Ratcliff, owner Joe Gibbs and president J.D. Gibbs:
THE MODERATOR: OK, we've got up on the stage with us right now we're joined by not only tonight's race winner team here for the Ford 300, that is the No. 18, Z-Line Designs Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing. We also have the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series owners championship team, so congratulations all the way around. Just a couple of notes for Joe Gibbs Racing. This is their third consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series owners championship. It is their sixth national series owners championship overall, and they're going for number seven tomorrow in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with driver Denny Hamlin.
THE MODERATOR: OK, we've got up on the stage with us right now we're joined by not only tonight's race winner team here for the Ford 300, that is the No. 18, Z-Line Designs Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing. We also have the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series owners championship team, so congratulations all the way around.
Just a couple of notes for Joe Gibbs Racing. This is their third consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series owners championship. It is their sixth national series owners championship overall, and they're going for number seven tomorrow in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with driver Denny Hamlin.
For the No. 18 car driven this year by tonight's race winner, Kyle Busch, 29 times and Brad Coleman who is to my right here six times. For Kyle Busch, this is his 43rd NASCAR Nationwide Series victory. That's not a typo. 43 wins in this series, only five off of the series record held by Mark Martin, 48. 13th win in 2010. His second win here at Homestead Miami. I'll go to him first. Kyle, congratulations on yet another victory. Your 86th national series win.
KYLE BUSCH: It started off this weekend with a great team. You know, Jason and the guys prepared a great race car back in the shop along with all the chassis guys, the body hangers and the engine group too, that gave us a race car to come out here, put it up front, qualified second to Joey there and we came out here and were able to prevail and get the job done.
It was a heck of a race there with Harvick toward the end and battling back and forth with him a little bit. I thought I messed up and gave it away there. But we were able to rally and restart and get back by him to and get to the checkered flag first.
Really good day for us all around. I can't thank Jim and Monica Sexton enough from Z-Line Designs, and the people from Toyota, and NOS Energy Drink, Combos and Interstate Batteries, and everybody that's helped us win 30-40 or something races in the last three years since 2008, since me coming aboard to Joe Gibbs Racing team. Wouldn't be possible without these guys support to my right and Brad doing the job that he did as well this year, and the races that I wasn't able to attend and keeping us up in the points so we could go out there and get Joe where he is tonight.
Q. Crew chief Jason Ratcliff, just a terrific effort on the entire team's part. Talk about yet another win here tonight and also winning the owners championship and being the crew chief for that 18 car.
JASON RATCLIFF: Well, it was obviously a tremendous blessing for us to have the opportunity to be close to winning another owners championship with Kyle and Brad this year in the car, both of them did an outstanding job.
Last week we felt like we had a pretty good, as far as the point's lead goes last week, we had some trouble at Phoenix, kind of like we did last year. So it's very are gratifying to come into Homestead and have the kind of run that we had tonight. We were able to close the deal.
The guys again, great job on pit road. The guys, the mechanics that turned the wrench on this car, they did a great job preparing it at the shop. Lot of effort went into this car this week, lot of studying, lot of notes, and it paid off for us in the end.
THE MODERATOR: Brad Coleman, just your thoughts. Certainly played an important role in this championship. Six times you drove that No. 18 car. Your thoughts about being part of a championship team?
BRAD COLEMAN: Yeah, it's just really cool. I feel blessed to have a back-up driver like Kyle Busch (laughing). You know, when I decided not to do the full season, I was worried who was going to pick up the slack. This man stepped up and made it happen.
But in all seriousness, it's truly a blessing from God to be here and to be on this team with these great people and to be in this situation.
I want to apologize to Jason, because my foot was shaking in the pit box. I'm surprised if it's not rattled apart by now It's just a great year, and I'm very blessed to be here and to be a part of this team.
THE MODERATOR: That might be the comment of the year.
BRAD COLEMAN: I hope so.
THE MODERATOR: Let's go to coach Joe Gibbs. Certainly congratulations to you and your entire organization. A terrific year across the board. Your thoughts on another owners championship in the NASCAR Nationwide Series?
JOE GIBBS: We're thrilled. I think that's been well documented. Our struggles the first years in Nationwide Series and how hard it was for us. I really appreciate Jason, the team here, Brad, Safeway Driving Schools. I also want to say thanks to Combos, Interstate Batteries and NOS. It's rally hard to put together a team like that to allow us to race in the Nationwide Series.
But with Kyle, we really appreciate it. We're thrilled to be a part of it. J.D. works mostly on the Nationwide side, and I take the credit for it. In any case, it's a thrill for us and I appreciate it.
Q. J.D. Gibbs, you put a lot of time and blood ask sweat and tears into this race team. Your thoughts about winning the owners championship?
J.D. GIBBS: It's a huge deal for us. You kind of look back, and we started it in the first year with Bobby Labonte. All we learned over the years was what not to do and what to do. Watching Kyle and Jason and those guys coming together, and Brad in there as well, it's just a blessing for us.
I'm just trying to figure out, last year I get this nice leather jacket, looking for one this year and it's on my dad's shoulders. Come on, man, give your kid something.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Kyle, have you got another triple in you? And how cool would it be to win all three races on championship weekend and have bragging rights in all three series throughout the winter?
KYLE BUSCH: That would be really, really cool. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I feel like we've got a good race car, the M & M's Camry was good. Did a nice job. We worked awful hard on changing a lot of things and seeing what we could learn. With the heat of tomorrow, it's going to be crazy.
I feel like I do better at night than I do in the daytime. So with the daytime race tomorrow it will be a little hectic. We have to work as hard as we can to try to win the race, first of all. Then secondly we'll work towards trying to make sure we can do everything we can as a team to get Denny Hamlin a championship.
Q. I'll start with Kyle, from a relative sense, last night's owners championship for your own truck team. Tonight, big part of winning an owners championship for JGR, and tomorrow again you have a chance to win a race and help a teammate. Relatively speaking, talk about what each of those means and would mean?
KYLE BUSCH: It's a big deal for myself and what happened last night. Being able to win the owners championship in our first year out in the Truck Series. Yeah, it's a lesser series or might be a stepping stone. But it's still a big deal in what all we've gone through as a team, myself, and Rick Ren, and Eric Phillips and all those guys.
But to come out here tonight and work with Jason Ratcliff all this time, and to win as many races as we have this year and to do it in such a dominating fashion. I only look to my guy on the far right and say why didn't we run that the whole year? ... Better things have come of it, you know. Us being solidly the chase and having a consistent year over there. Being in position to help a teammate to win the championship.
So I'm looking forward to that tomorrow. Hopefully coming out of here with a JGR, Kyle Busch affiliated weekend, I guess you'd say.
Q. This is Kyle's 24th victory across the three national series, it's a record performance. Look back in your experience with different athletes and what this athletically, emotionally, inspiration alley for the organization, what does this season Kyle Busch has had mean?
JOE GIBBS: I think some people we all probably a lot of us want to race cars or play football or something. But only a few guys are gifted enough to do it. And I think Kyle has that gift, and it's a thrilled and he has a passion for it also. It's a little thrill for us to be a part of it.
And obviously this series, like I said, the fans and everybody that tuned into this, it's a huge deal for us to be a part of motorsports. We love it, our family, really, and J.D. and all of us, everybody back home. We love Motorsports, we love racing, and want to be in it forever, and hopefully we can do that. I think they'll be in it a little bit longer than I will be. But it's a thrill for us to be a part of it.
One thing I left out front, too, is Toyota. I really want to make sure that the championship there and what they've done for us, we couldn't be up here if it wasn't for Toyota. I really appreciate them.
Q. J.D., someone asked me this week what does this owners championship really mean? Does the average fan care about it? But from the organization's perspective, I think you put into what your organization has actually achieved. So what does another owners championship mean for you moving forward?
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, our first owners championship we won was two years ago. What it is is just a testament to all the guys back in the shop. Even though we don't have one driver on every race and going for a driver's piece. The owner's piece gives those guys just a notch for them to say, hey, we were the best this year. We prepared the cars the best, the motors, every aspect.
It was really kind of gratifying to see your team really appreciate it and enjoy it. That probably meant the most. Kind of to watch those guys really make a big deal of it. That makes me feel good. I know this time same thing around. It's a big deal and all those guys are celebrating right now?
J.D. GIBBS: I think in every series right now of our sport, you have to perform, a, to survive, and b, to get partners with you. And I think that's really helped out on the Nationwide side.
We have performed. We have great partners that have been with us for many years and hopefully many more to come. It's a different partner than you get on the Cup side. It place off really, well what each corporation gets from the Nationwide Series versus the Cup.
Q. Kyle, your thoughts on déjà vu moments? Do your wins ever kind of blend together in your mind?
KYLE BUSCH: A little bit, actually. Sometimes you forget how you won one. Like this weekend I won the Nationwide Series race last year, and I won it this year. The first time I did it, racing Carl really hard and I am being on my butt, and this year was Harvick and racing him. So sometimes I do.
Q. Kyle or Jason, either one, the TV guys ask you all whether winning the race was the top priority or protecting the championship. I think you said if you did one you did the other. Was that the approach coming in? If we win the race, the championship takes care of itself, or was there one specific goal a little bit higher than the other?
JASON RATCLIFF: Like you said, if you win the races, you're going to take care of the championship. They were both very important. Obviously, every week we go out all 35 races and our number one goal is to win the race. It was no different this week. But at the same time, that's definitely something you're thinking about.
Tonight we were watching where that No. 22 car was running. We were watching. Did he lead the lap? And we were calculating points and trying to keep up with it.
But our number one goal was, we knew if we went out and won the race, like you said, it was going to take care of itself. We focused on that all week, bringing a good car down here that Kyle could go out and lead a lot of laps with, and we were able to do that.
Q. Kyle, two races, you've won two races, you've played a part in winning two championships. How much of what you have accomplished with Joe Gibbs Racing kind of inspires you to go after the one that you're missing?
KYLE BUSCH: It inspires you a lot. Unfortunate circumstances kind of got us out of being out of that championship. I think it's still pretty cool to have the opportunity to go out and race as many times as I've been able to race, to win as often as I've been able to do that as well. It it's a great testament to the people that I'm surrounded with, with Jason, with Rick, and the Gibbs family and everybody that's helped me. You know what I mean. Next year we wanted to do it this. We fell behind too early. All we can do is do what we're doing and for Dave Rogers and myself working in the Cup Series.
I feel like we've done a lot of things that we really didn't expect to do. We won three races, maybe, but we were a lot more consistent. We had a lot of good finishes. We had a lot of good runs that maybe we could have finished a little better which we didn't.
So I felt like that was something to build upon and go into next year with a stronger feeling and a better relationship with Dave, and a better relationship with Dave that he has with Mike and Zippy, so we can all work together again to get all three Gibbs cars in the chase, and hammer out another championship, hopefully.