Joe Gibbs on NASCAR action

Joe Gibbs on NASCAR action

On Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, team owner Joe Gibbs spoke about the action taken by NASCAR. The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing primary car for the Texas race failed tech inspection on Friday and was confisicated by NASCAR. The team had to...

On Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway, team owner Joe Gibbs spoke about the action taken by NASCAR. The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing primary car for the Texas race failed tech inspection on Friday and was confisicated by NASCAR. The team had to pull out the back-up car used at the Atlanta race for driver and current NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart.

Q: ON YESTERDAY'S ACTION BY NASCAR AGAINST THE '20' TEAM

"The first thing I want to say is that we believe in equal cars for the teams and let the teams make the difference. That's what NASCAR is trying to do and we support that. We want that. So, for us to be in this situation is something that we don't. First of all, I want to apologize to NASCAR. I want to apologize to Home Depot. This is our fault. We're trying to go back through a process of figuring out how it happened. Obviously, we've got fast race cars. All our other cars fit the templates. This one - there is kind of an unusual set of circumstances in our construction process here and we're trying go back and figure out exactly what happened.

"This thing is our fault. There is no excuse, so we apologize to everybody and we're going try to figure out a way now to add a process and make sure that it never happens again. That's generally our feeling."

Race winner Tony Stewart.
Photo by Dave Dalesandro.
Q: ARE YOU SURPRISED NASCAR KEPT THE CAR?

"NASCAR needs to enforce their rules, so we support that. They need to make their own decisions. I think they felt like this one was something where they needed to impound the car. That's our fault for being in that situation."

Q: ARE THERE ANY HARD FEELINGS BACK AT THE SHOP AFTER GREG ZIPADELLI'S COMMENTS YESTERDAY?

"No. I think the people at the shop know what their responsibilities are. With something like this, there are one of three things that could have happened back there. It's either somebody tried to cheat, which we know isn't the case. We don't believe in that. Somebody, through incompetence, can't get the job done - I don't think that's the case. Or, somebody just made a mistake. What we're trying to do is re-construct what happened and then try and implement - you know we're building a lot of cars right now, but everybody else out here is, too, and nobody else has gone through this. But, I'd say we shouldn't be the ones standing here. What we're trying to do is get to the bottom of it and then say, 'OK, look - we've got to implement one more procedure here to check our cars because we can't let this happen to us.' It's really just our fault and there is no excuse for it. Now, we're trying to figure out the right way to fix it."

Q: HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT IT?

"J.D. [Gibbs] got a call from the racetrack. I don't know if it was Zippy or Jimmy [Makar]. Then, I called Mike Helton right away. I said, 'Mike, what's the problem?' He explained it to me. We had a good discussion and I said, 'Hey, I understand.' I apologized for putting all of us in a bind like that."

Q: DO YOU WANT TO GET THAT CAR BACK?

"That car has got a lot of stuff on it we'd like to run here. It's got a carburetor, an intake manifold - there is a lot of stuff on that car that we would love to have the chance to run here. But, we understand when you mess up you've got to face the music. We understand that."

Q: ARE THERE OTHER CARS BACK AT THE SHOP WITH THE SAME PROBLEM?

"We've been going to the racetrack all year long and there's not been a problem with our cars.

"Our anticipation was that it was going to be like the backup car we pulled off and like the '18' car. That's why it was kind of a shock for all of us."

Q: DO YOU ANTICIPATE GETTING THE IMPOUNDED CAR BACK?

"I would hope so. But, I don't know. It's up to NASCAR. Whatever NASCAR thinks is best, we're going to do."

Q: DO YOU EXPECT TO RECEIVE A FINE NEXT WEEK?

"That's up to NASCAR. I'm not going to try and say. I'd say taking the car and taking all those parts we want to run is pretty substantial. But, whatever NASCAR thinks is best, we're going to abide by. When you mess up you've got to pay the price."

Q: DO YOU HATE THE REPUTATION THAT GOES ALONG WITH THIS?

"The point is, you shouldn't have this happen. One good thing is that we've got a 12-year history here. Everybody knows what our team stands for. Whatever everybody's opinion is, you've got to build it over a long period of time. That's why you don't want something like this to happen because you've kind of got reputation and worked hard to get it. That's why you shouldn't mess up and we messed up, and we're going to have to pay the price for it."

Q: WITH THE PR ISSUES THE TEAM HAD LAST YEAR, HOW IS HOME DEPOT'S ATTITUDE TODAY?

"I think Home Depot has always been great with everything like this. I hate that we put Tony and our race team here in a bind. They had to jerk out the backup car and now we've got to try to make as many changes and stuff to do the best we can to race the car. That's why you don't want this to happen. It could hurt your performance."

Q: IS NASCAR MAKING AN EXAMPLE OF YOU?

"I think NASCAR has got to take their stands and they've got to have discipline. They can't have people stepping outside the boundaries, so we support them 100 percent. It's our fault. Whatever the process is and how it got here - that's our job, and in this case, we didn't do it."

Tony Stewart.
Photo by Michael C. Johnson.
Q: HOW DID SOMETHING THIS BIG GET THROUGH THE SYSTEM AT THE SHOP?

"I think I have an indication from our guys here of what did happen. It was a little bit of a different process for this car. I think there are a lot of things. I don't want to get into the technical end of it because I'm not the technical person. But, when you put a back window in these things, there is a lot that can happen back there and we just messed up evidently on this one. This one went through a different procedure than what the other cars have been going through. I think it went straight to the wind tunnel or some process like that. I'm not sure exactly what all happened, but we're going to find out. We've got to fix it. We can't have this happen to us again. We've kind of embarrassed ourselves here."

Q: WHY DID THIS CAR GO THROUGH A DIFFERENT PROCESS?

"Because we're building a ton of cars and that's my point. It shouldn't have, but it went to the wind tunnel, I think, at one point in there, which was a little bit different - out of line - for what our other cars do.

"But, I don't even want to say that's what it is, yet. We've got to get back and go through everything with the fab shop and try and find out exactly what did happen."

Q: HAVE YOU ALREADY STARTED THAT FACT-FINDING PROCESS?

"Yeah. The fab shop is working on their end. We've got Jimmy and Zippy and everybody here working on this end trying to make sure. Probably what it's going to take is another procedure. We thought we had 100 of them. Everybody has to sign off on everything on those cars and we're probably going to have to have one more process here that we're going to have to institute.

"At the place where that car was off, I think it had been checked two or three times at our place and we kind of thought it was OK, so you're not worried about it anymore. It wound up biting us. There are a lot of things like that, but we've got to make sure it doesn't happen again. It's strictly our fault. Everybody else is building cars and everybody else got theirs down here and nobody else has had this problem. It's ours and there is no real excuse for that."

Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN WITH NASCAR?

"I don't know. That is strictly up to them. We're going to abide by whatever they think is right."

-gm racing-

Related links:

Tony Stewart's car confiscated by NASCAR

No. 20 Team statement on template issue

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Mike Helton
Teams CIP