Joe Gibbs Q&A

The former head coach of the Washington Redskins, Gibbs owns the winning car of Bobby Labonte in the NASCAR Winston Cup. He gave Autosport.com his thoughts on adding racing success to his three Super Bowl triumphs

Joe Gibbs Q&A


"Well, I don't know how to put it into words. I think I held my breath, and I didn't think you could do that for 30 laps! I told everyone if they asked me which track was my favourite I told them Homestead. Last year we finished first and second and this year we won the championship and won the race. I don't think anyone could be happier. Our group is kind of a quiet group, but I'd say they are having the biggest celebration I think I've seen over there. I know that Tony [Stewart]'s group is excited too. Really when you look out there that is what excites me the most - there are so many stories out there. Norman Miller [boss of Interstate Batteries] gambled nine years ago and decided to sponsor a racecar when we didn't have a nut or a bolt, and to see him a part of a championship is a great story. When you look around and see everyone happy and enjoying the win, that's what makes it enjoyable for me."


"When I think back the similarity is so close between this and football. It's the best people in the world trying to do something. Here it took nine years. In football, I think we went to three super bowls in nine years. It's very hard and you have to have a group of dedicated people. You have to have great pit stops, office people, shop people, and engineering etc. It's hard to get a group like that. What I think is so great about this sport is that you can't buy it. It's chemistry. It takes a certain kind and I'm the most fortunate person in the world because when I look around at the people around here I know I am around great people."


"People always ask me if I thought about championships when I got into racing and I've got to tell the truth, the only thing I was thinking about was surviving. I remember when my wife and I went to a party and once we left she looked at me and said 'we're in the wrong deal.' I looked at her and said I know I don't know if we'll survive it. You start out like that, in three years we only won one race. This is a tough deal and I think that's why I appreciate it so much. I certainly didn't think we'd be like this."


"We had a little team prayer and I said it's been nine years and this is what we've been waiting for so lets give it our best shot. I don't have that much to say on this deal. I pretty much pick the people, stay out of the way and pay the bills. That's an excitement in itself trying to pay the bills! I think a lot of those guys have worked very hard for a long time and I told them to go out and do the best they could and Bobby will do his."


"That's a hard one for me, I don't think that's my place to comment. I think if you change the rules then you're going to race accordingly. I think Bobby was aggressive all year and he got four wins, and he went after it all year long. I know that was their game plan. But this is a pretty tough deal. I mean we had run 32 races and still didn't have the deal sealed up. In football the most you ever play is 21. This is 32 hard grinding weeks where you have to be there every week. In football, if you have a 30-point lead you can coast. In this you can't coast at all. You don't know what's coming."


"I thought I would always coach, I never thought I would be involved in racing. But when I got out of coaching it was the natural thing to do to get involved and I love it. I really do appreciate the competition. I really thought I would continue coaching and somebody else would run the team."


"Tony is very emotional, driven to win, he explodes - but that is his personality. Over time he will be able to control that I hope. Bobby is more reserved and controlled. But Bobby will go off at times. He has it in him. The strength of our race team is probably Jimmy, Bobby, and myself. Back when Dale [Jarrett] left it was Jimmy [Makar], everyone, and myself. We all sat there and discussed it and all of us wanted Bobby. The problem was he had a complicated deal going on of his own. So we made our decisions together. We do everything as a group. I don't want to upset this race team. We all have to work together."


"I would say last year is when I said that we had a chance at the championship with Bobby. We finished second and raced hard all year. Before that we were the kind of team that could win races but not a championship, so I would say last year. That is very much of my concern. I am afraid the higher we go with the sponsorship is going to rule out some companies. I'd say with Interstate, I don't know, but I would say that they spend 85% of their marketing dollars on this because they're not a big company and that's kind of scary. We just signed a five-year deal with them and we signed a five-year deal with Home Depot. But, for the smaller companies I am worried about that. It's a big step. We wouldn't have taken our deal if we didn't think we could compete. We feel great about that. It's overwhelming. We've worked hard to get here. It takes a lot off my shoulders and the team's shoulders. We can finally breathe a little bit. To beat the guys we beat, Earnhardt, Burton and Dale Jarrett is what makes it all special. Being on the road this much is a hard deal so that's where it's satisfying. Sunday was a great day for Joe Gibbs Racing."

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Labonte takes title as Stewart wins at Homestead

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