2005 ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD Post-Race Press Conference Sunday, Aug. 7, 2005 Tony Stewart, Greg Zipadelli, J.D. Gibbs MODERATOR: We're joined in the media center by J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. J.D., first win for Joe Gibbs...
2005 ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD
Post-Race Press Conference
Sunday, Aug. 7, 2005
Tony Stewart, Greg Zipadelli, J.D. Gibbs
MODERATOR: We're joined in the media center by J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. J.D., first win for Joe Gibbs Racing at the Brickyard. How do you feel?
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, actually we did win with Bobby a few years back. So for us -- I was not here for that one.
MODERATOR: Your first win.
GIBBS: My dad took all the credit for that one. I guess I can take all the credit for this one.
It was a big deal for us, a big occasion for JGR, but for Tony, watching him with his mom and dad, tears in their eyes, realizing he grew up down the road, fun to be part of that.
MODERATOR: I'd like to open it up for questions.
Q: For a team that started out pretty shaky this year, you sure come on strong. Bobby had a good day today, too, until the tire blew off the car.
GIBBS: I remember talking to you at the beginning of the year. We're kind of pumped up. It just goes to show, this is a humbling sport. You think you have all it figured out, you're in good shape. Tony did struggle some kicking the year off.
I think what it shows is we have a great group of guys who are at the shop putting the cars together and the engine together. It just took a while for some of that stuff to show through.
Bobby was rocking and rolling today. Jason had a couple cut tires. Just the momentum, that's worth a lot for us. You kind of see that building.
Q: Have you been properly briefed on what this place means to an Indiana-born racer?
GIBBS: Yeah. In '97, I was here with Dave Alpern, a buddy of mine, we were here trying to talk Tony Stewart into come and race Busch cars for us at JGR. He wasn't sure. He loved the IndyCar thing. We were saying, "Man, come over here, Charlotte." He let us know right then and there how important it was to him, this place. That was kind of neat looking back there as how far he's come.
I think being with him today and how much he appreciates the opportunity and how much we appreciate being with him, it was a special deal.
Q: Have you had a chance to talk with Coach Gibbs since the win?
GIBBS: I did. He was in D.C. He's got his hands full up there with the Redskins. He couldn't make it today. He was pumped up. He is up there with my two oldest boys. They were watching the race after a big old team meeting they had there. It was obviously special for him. I think we put this team together in '91 as kind of a family deal. To kind of watch it grow and share that with him is special.
Q: First time you had the points lead, too, isn't it?
GIBBS: Are we leading right now?
Q: You are leading right now.
GIBBS: I didn't know that.
Q: By about 75. It all bunches back up at New Hampshire.
GIBBS: It's one of these deals, when you realize that, you kind of say to yourself, "Dang, why are we doing this new system, this 10-race deal? I'll take the old deal."
No, it's a special deal for us. Obviously, that 10 races, all the key is building momentum toward that. For us, again, this is a humbling sport. We kind of got knocked around a little bit as the season started. To be here now is special.
Q: From your perspective, can you describe what it's like seeing the streak Tony is on recently?
GIBBS: Yeah, no, I mean, as far as watching him the last month, kind of the momentum he has, is that what you mean?
I think for us, what it does, is it kind of builds -- it kind of -- once you see Tony running well, you kind of watch Bobby. Over the past couple months, he started running better. That stuff carries over to the whole shop. We have 350 guys and ladies now at the race shop working on these teams. It's a special deal for all those people. That's kind of what we're here for.
Racing is not like a lot of other businesses. You're there to win. If you win, it takes care of everything else. If you don't, you'll be doing something different in a while. That's why it means a lot to us.
Q: Tony hasn't always seemed to be a real happy guy, been known to have a temper, which is why fans love him so much. This year he seems to be at least outwardly more at ease, more happy, more peaceful. Is there anything that you would attribute that to?
GIBBS: Yeah, you know, I think really what -- I think for us with Tony, really what he has been over the years, he's been really focused. When you get around that racetrack, that's when he's had issues. Apart, away from the track, he's been great, always has been. But now I think he has moved back to Indy, he's around some of the guys he's comfortable being around. That's probably helped him out. Zippy and him have been around so long, they really trust each other, grown like any relationship.
I think for him, he really just has a peace about him. I think this is one of his goals in life. He still has that fire, and we see it. What we see now is just a little more relaxed.
MODERATOR: As you can see, J.D. has been presented with the owner's trophy.
GIBBS: That's impressive. That's good.
Q: How much did the trophy cost you?
GIBBS: This trophy is an expensive trophy here. Well worth it. You're looking at my kids' inheritance right here (laughter).
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Congratulations.
GIBBS: Thank you.
MODERATOR: We're joined by Greg Zipadelli, crew chief of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet.
I guess the first question is, we heard there's a rumor that you were going to be getting a bonus if Tony won today. Is there truth to that rumor?
GREG ZIPADELLI: I don't know. We'll see if it happens. But that's not the important part. The important part is we come out every week to try to do our best, represent Home Depot and Joe Gibbs Racing. I'm proud of this group for what they did today.
MODERATOR: How are you feeling right now?
ZIPADELLI: I'm struggling. I've had pneumonia for a week. I want to say thank you to everybody in the infield cure center. I was in there for treatment this morning before we went to the pit box. I was in there yesterday afternoon. Emotionally I feel -- it's hard to explain. Physically, you know, a little under the weather. But we'll get better.
MODERATOR: We'd like to open it up to questions.
Q: Are you still shaking from all of that celebrating out there?
ZIPADELLI: I was actually shaking the whole entire race. Like I said, I went to the care center, and they gave me a lung treatment to try to open up my bronchioles there, a steroid thing. Honest to God, I left there and I thought I was going to be able to float to the pit box.
I don't even think this has set in yet. I mean, this is just amazing, to be part of Tony's first win here at the Brickyard. I know how important this is to him. It's just an awesome day.
Q: With the coach up there in training camp, are you going to ban him from all future Brickyards since you won in his absence?
ZIPADELLI: I don't know. He's been here when Bobby won. I think we've -- sometimes in the past we've been our worst own enemy. That's one of the things that we've worked on this year, and everybody's doing a great job of making even bad days good. And today, giving up all that track position early when we decided to put some rubbers on the right rear, there's some days that might have been the bad thing. With his patience that he's shown this year, let us do our thing, slowly get him back up there, good pit stops, be there when it counted.
Q: So with the treatment they gave you at the care center, you actually were on steroids for this race?
ZIPADELLI: Yeah. I don't know if I want to print that. But, yeah, I forget, Prednisone, I think, and something else they had me inhaling. Thanks to them, because I wasn't in very good shape before.
Q: Are you the championship favorite now?
ZIPADELLI: I hope not just because I just want to go out and do it. I'm not much on favorites and all those other things. We'll just let what we do speak for itself. Right now this team, we have never in our career -- we've had some pretty good rolls and some good seasons, but right now this is an all time high.
Q: Anything specific that you remember hearing from Tony through the radio as he crossed the line? Anything he said afterwards that will stick with you for a long time?
ZIPADELLI: There's some things, you know, you just -- it will always stick with you. I mean, just thinking about it, walking up to him and seeing that smile on his face, you know, will be a vision burned in there forever, knowing that this day is so special to him, myself, this team. I mean, this is a pretty big (inaudible) to be able to put your name next to.
Q: Past performances at the Brickyard, the team has been plagued by late fades. What did you learn from those that helped today?
ZIPADELLI: I mean, we've learned what's happened to us in the past, to be patient. Our goal is to be there at the end. Like I said, we've had a lot of good cars in the past here and at other places and have self-destructed. You know, Tony's maturity, this whole team I think is at their best right now, understanding that we are capable of taking bad days and turning them into OK days or even great days, but we have to be patient. We have to let the cards fall when they fall. You can't make things happen. You have to be smart about what you do. You have to be able to go out and execute it.
Q: You said earlier this week that this race to you was kind of just another race; you didn't really see it through the eyes that Tony did. Are you starting to understand the way he feels about it?
ZIPADELLI: Well, you know, my role of needing to look at all 36 races, all 38 races, is different than his. I have a lot of personal places that I'd like to win and things like that. But when you've got as much pulling on you and worried about things, you just -- I don't know, I can't find time to get wrapped up in much. I mean, right now I'm thinking about what are we going to do to go to the Glen. This is awesome. There's a time to celebrate. But I'm afraid of celebrating or putting my guard down too quick or not quick enough and letting it carry on to Tuesday, Wednesday, not doing a good enough job going to the Glen. I feel we had an awesome test up there Tuesday, and there's absolutely no reason in the world we can't go up there and win there. I mean, that's how good we were.
Continued in part 2