Gibbs plans to stay close to race team

Gibbs plans to stay close to race team

Joe Gibbs may have traded in the smell of the motor oil for the scent of pigskin But, at a media conference Friday morning at Daytona International Speedway, Gibbs made clear that his heart will not be far away from the track. Earlier this...

Joe Gibbs may have traded in the smell of the motor oil for the scent of pigskin But, at a media conference Friday morning at Daytona International Speedway, Gibbs made clear that his heart will not be far away from the track.

Earlier this year, car-owner Gibbs, announced that he would relinquish the reigns of his race team to son J.D., and return as head coach of the Washington Redskins. Gibbs coached the Washington Redskins to three Super Bowl victories from 1981 to 1992 before leaving the NFL to become the car owner of the championship cars of Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte.

Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.

"I do think that one of the things that gave me a real confidence is that our race team will be owned by us forever," said Gibbs of his decision. "Football is probably going to be a limited number of years. I feel like I can do something. The racing has been hugely important to our family, I feel real confident in our management team with J.D. (Gibbs, son) heading everything up."

The return to the NFL has been anything but any easy transition.

"I definitely feel like I am starting all over again," commented Gibbs. "I went back their and didn't wear any rings or any of that stuff that we did back in the old days. It really it the old days, twelve years ago, I look at this as you are starting all over again. I look it as you got to prove yourself again; it's been a real learning process for me so far. I look at it as a totally new venture; the past doesn't buy you anything but memories. So, we are starting from scratch."

The 63-year-old Gibbs said a huge part of his decision to return to the NFL was his son Coy. Coy Gibbs who never found success in the Busch series, made a decision that he wanted to leave racing and pursue a career as a football coach in his father's footsteps.

"I should have learned a lesson on that, you should never say never," joked Gibbs when asked why he went back after saying for years that he never would. "It wasn't one thing, this kind of series of events started really. I'll say it probably started first with Coy (Gibbs). He said I don't think I want to race next year, I don't think I am good enough, and I tried to talk him out of it. He said I want to think about doing something else. I listed about six things.and he wouldn't bite on any of it.

"Finally, he came in and said to me, I want to coach. And I about freaked out."

Gibbs could not confirm how many races he would be able to attend this season with his new commitment with the Redskins, but made it clear that he will miss his time at the track, and at least one of his drivers.

"Well, I get away from Tony (Stewart)," laughed Gibbs. "No, I got to tell you, Tony has been one of the fun things in my life."

"Both those guys have been a real thrill."

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Series NASCAR-CUP