An Interview With:
THE MODERATOR: This is your fifth overall NASCAR championship in a variety of series and your first NASCAR Nationwide series championship. Congratulations. Your thoughts?
J.D. GIBBS: Thank you. Really for us it was special to have all those guys, Kyle and Denny and Tony and Joey get in that car and run it, and then for the guys at the shop that have worked all year long, it would have been real frustrating to go the whole year and not have something to show for it.
Now to be able to come down to Orlando and celebrate as a team, we've never done that before as a Nationwide team. That's a big deal for us. So we're real excited about it, and I think for our team, it meant more than I would say most championships mean to other teams. I mean, this was a big deal for us and for the guys that worked so hard, because really, Nationwide you have guys that do a little bit of everything, and they're not so specialized. They really work their tails off.
Q. Did you ever consider putting Logano in the 18 and putting Kyle in the 20 just because you had that
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, we did. When we first started way back when, we said, hey, Joey, here's the deal, obviously this car is way up in points. We can let that ride and you stay in it and go, or we can switch you to the 18. Are you comfortable doing that? He said, I want to learn, and part of learning is the pressure. I'm ready for that. I think it's going to help me be a better driver down the road. He said from day one, bring it on, and to his credit was able to pull it off under pretty rough circumstances a lot of times.
Q. What do you think is more impressive Richard talked about the ability of your team to win the championship with four different drivers, or being able to do it after the penalty situation that took place, still being able to do it?
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, I think it's a combination. You know, that was a hard situation. I think that was encouraging for our guys crew chiefs are now at home. Six other guys are now at home. To go back and have the guys at the shop step up some guys have never been on the road before, and do things that were asked of them that weren't comfortable and were difficult, I think that was that meant a lot. You know, I think that kind of for us is going to make it a real strong foundation for years to come. Those guys went through hard times together, came out of it and were still able to win that championship.
On top of it, you have a young guy in the car, he's really good, but he didn't have much experience. So to put all that together and come out with the championship means more than you know.
Q. What has Steve deSouza meant to this team, to this organization? Is he kind of the unsung hero almost?
J.D. GIBBS: Is Steve up there asking that question (laughter)? I think Steve really ten years we've been doing this, and Steve has kind of been guiding us along the way. To have this year is just kind of a testament to all the work he's put into it as kind of overseeing look, we've got a lot of stuff going on in the Cup shop. Nationwide is extremely important to us, but Steve kind of runs that for us. As far as our Diversity team and our Camping World team, I know for him it feels really good, and just having them to be able to celebrate with them next year is going to really be a special time.
Q. There's a thing about an Asian curse, being born in interesting times. You switched manufacturers, you had many drivers in the cars. As you talked before, you overcame the penalties. Have you ever had a year like this? What does that do for next year?
J.D. GIBBS: Really each year is kind of special and crazy in its own way. You know, I remember back when we won the championship with Tony, the one we won with Bobby in 2000, we were just good and nothing happened all year long. But everything after that, there's always been some real positives and always been some negatives to go to. I think what that does for us, it helps build a stronger team.
But this year, yeah, it's a new manufacturer, we had to put a new motor together in a matter of a month, and then you have new drivers in the mix, so it was a lot to ask of all of our guys, but I think the encouragement was they were able to do that.
Again, I go back to what I said before, they're bonded closer now than they ever would have been if we just went all year and didn't have any issues. I think that's the great foundation we have going forward.
Q. Is this the team that you're going to have Logano paired with next year, and does winning this help at all for him going for the driver's title next year?
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, I think right now we're still trying to figure out what it looks like. I think we'll probably turn Kyle loose, and we haven't figured out which team is which right now, but I think we're probably going to turn Kyle loose and run for the whole thing it looks like, and then we'll have a combination of Joey will run for a good bit, Denny will probably fit some in, and then we'll have one more piece of the puzzle to kind of fill. We'll have two cars next year.
Q. Do you know, does Dave Rogers get to come to the banquet and celebrate with you guys?
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, Dave does get to come. He has to sit in a room down the hall (laughter). He gets to come and celebrate by himself.
No, we're going to bring all the guys down to Orlando, even the shop guys and the road guys. We've never won a championship in Nationwide. We've done it in Cup, but I think it's going to be real special for those guys to take their families and come down there and enjoy the weekend.
Q. Just wondering if you could comment a little bit on this series as a developmental tool for drivers and for your team and how that's worked for you.
J.D. GIBBS: Yeah, it's been invaluable to us, and a lot of it is it's difficult from a driver's standpoint because, hey, I don't care what series you're in, because it's expensive, it's hard. We invest in it because you have the drivers, but just as importantly, we probably have 65 guys in our Cup shop that came through our Nationwide shop. That's a big deal. That's a training ground. You get to watch them, how do they work with people, how they communicate, and then when you kind of get them in our mold I'd say, they kind of get indoctrinated; you see the guys ready to go to Cup.
I think the biggest thing for us, all the guys, as well as drivers, putting the pieces together and being able to grow and develop, and then when you put those guys in the Cup Series, they're attached to that Nationwide series, they appreciate it and they communicate more with those guys and it just grows that bond closer between both teams.
Q. Rick Hendrick was in here yesterday in reaction to the new testing policy saying basically that he would prefer a system where you used telemetry, data acquisition coming into the track on Friday and use that to tune the cars. Is that something you would also be in favor of?
J.D. GIBBS: That's not a bad idea. I know NASCAR has looked at it before. I think where we are now is we would love to see maybe 12, 14 tests. 24 is probably too many.
The problem is it's not so much the testing that's going on, it's just we just need these teams to survive.
Testing aside, we just need the teams part of it is, look, even if you brought telemetry to the track, you could do that, I'm not sure that helps the teams that are just trying to keep their head above water. I think NASCAR's decision, let's just get through this and a year from now kind of reevaluate it and see.
Q. Along those same lines, Jack Roush had said something about perhaps a gentlemen's agreement among the team owners not to do the go to the tracks that aren't in the NASCAR series kind of thing and wondered if that was possible, because if they really wanted to save money, the only way you'd really do that is by not testing at all, and Richard Childress appeared to be somewhat open to that. Is that something that you would consider?
J.D. GIBBS: Well, first you have to assume that we're all gentlemen (laughter). I think for us that is good wisdom, and when it comes to technical things, how the sport works, Jack is probably second to none when it comes to that's probably good wisdom on that.
I do think the difficulty for us next year is, look, we've got a guy who's never been to these tracks. I agree with the testing, but how do you make it so a young guy at least gets his feet wet and tries some things? Do you do a little bit extra, give him a half hour at the racetrack? What can he do?
So I think for us, I agree with him that that's probably a good plan. But for our young guy, how does that fit? I would say, too, that I think overall, there will still probably be some testing going on here, Rockingham, just trying stuff out before you hit the track with it. But I do think not having to have all four cars unloaded at a track is going to be a huge, huge savings for all the teams, all the owners. It's up to the owners to make sure look, it's expensive for the team. We've got to police it ourselves and make sure the value isn't lost on running here and there, testing odd stuff.
An Interview With:
THE MODERATOR: We are now pleased to be joined by our 2008 NASCAR Nationwide series champion, driver Clint Bowyer. He drives the No. 2 BB&T Chevrolet. Team and car owner Richard Childress; team crew chief Dan Deeringhoff. Congratulations on a super job and terrific effort tonight.
Clint, what's it feel like winning the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide series championship, your first series championship in NASCAR?
CLINT BOWYER: Man, it's just incredible. It makes you think back to how it all started. You know, working in a body shop in Kansas and trying to figure out how to what was the next move. You're out of money, your parents gave up three retirements to get you where you're at, and, you know, it was kind of the end of the road.
Out of nowhere, my cell phone rings and it was Richard. It was just unbelievable to think back how my career started with the race in Nashville and then winning my first race in the Nationwide series at Nashville.
You know, to be able to win our first championship with Dan and all the guys on the BB&T Chevrolet and all our partners, very proud to be able to do this for Richard. Kind of feels like giving back for taking a chance on me, and finally it paid off.
It took him a while, took me a while, but I finally had a chance, an opportunity to give back to him and just really proud of everybody at RCR, all the guys on the BB&T, Camping World, Chevrolet, everybody we're strong.
RCR, it's fun to be able to roll through RCR as a race car driver and know the guys and know that they're pulling for you and happy that you're racing for them. That's what Richard has formed there is a family atmosphere where a guy can go there and feel like family.
THE MODERATOR: Dan, your second year as chew chief in the No. 2 gets you a championship. What are your thoughts?
DAN DEERINGHOFF: That was pretty neat. I'm at a loss for words. I haven't eaten for three days (laughter). It's actually three years I've been crew chiefing there.
THE MODERATOR: R. C., you've got to feel good about this, this is your fifth NASCAR Nationwide series championship for RCR and the third time that you've either had or tied or won the driver car owner championship. So congratulations. What are your thoughts about this No. 2 car?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I'm really proud of the whole team, everybody worked so hard, and BB&T and Camping World. We started the year out to win the championship, and here we are.
I can't say enough about Clint Bowyer. I see in him what I've seen in some other drivers that were great, and I think he's got everything it takes to be the great one. I'm really proud for him and his family. It's neat to see a family atmosphere, his brothers and his mother and father and everybody around, and I'm just really proud of it.
And I'd like to congratulate the Gibbs organization. To go out and win owner's championship with four different drivers is just unheard of. I'm really happy that those guys if we couldn't win it, I was really proud for Joe and those guys, the way they accomplished it.
Q. What would Elvis say about this one?
CLINT BOWYER: Taking care of business, baby (laughter).
Q. Clint, how nerve wracking was that last restart? And, Richard, were you with him on the radio during that final caution? What did you say?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I think all of us was on at one time. We just told him to be cool and it would be it would all be good, and he did.
CLINT BOWYER: That's the hardest thing is you knew it was coming. Every time that we get into a deal where we're going to win a race or we have a good car, that always happens. We always have to go through the adversity for some reason, that last scare, before glory, before the end, whether it's good or bad.
You know, it's never easy, it seems like, for us in the Nationwide car. But you know, that's what championships are made out of. I remember racing at Lakeside and coming down to the last race and battling it out and having to beat the guy like we had last night with the Truck Series. I couldn't imagine going through that.
I had a 56 point lead and still had trouble with it. But 3 point lead going into that race, it was just incredible to watch that and think, oh, my God, this is fixing to happen to me tomorrow.
Just so proud of it's all about having good people, and Richard has surrounded me with good people, with Dan Deeringhoff, with everybody on this car. They're good people, they work hard and they accomplish their goals.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I'd like to throw one more thing in. That last week at Phoenix, I think that was probably the turning point for winning the championship is those guys got in there and dug and dug, and that car was killed in a front end, and if we ever had luck on our side, it was that day, we didn't lose a radiator. And our Chevrolet Monte Carlo just did a great job, and Clint drove it back to the front, and a couple more laps might have won the race with it.
I think that was a big turning point in winning the championship, being able to come in here instead of being 20 points ahead, being like we were.
Q. R. C., in 2005 you pulled me aside and you said, boy, have I found the guy. And historically you go with veteran drivers so your fab shop is not too busy, but in this case, since Harvick, you had finally found a young guy that you're like, he's the real deal. What was it that you saw in Clint even back then that you knew he had championship form?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Number one, he's got car control from being on dirt tracks and the type of racing. But I think it's to be a champion and to be what it takes to be successful in this sport it's the toughest motor sport I think in the world is you've got to have heart. And he has heart, and he knows when to dig, and I seen that even at the first races I watched him run. You've got to have heart, and he has it.
Q. Clint, the fact that it came against Carl tonight and that you had a chance to told him off, how special is that? Does it mean anything to you? And does it make it sweeter?
CLINT BOWYER: Absolutely. It was funny, I saw him at the steps leaving here, and he said he shared a story and we both thought it was funny we raced at the same race in Moberly, Missouri. It was my first asphalt race, went over there with a guy named Scott Traylor, his modified he let me have an opportunity. And had an awesome car. I mean, this thing was beautiful, top notch. Show up, and here comes this ragged out, turd of a race car that was way louder than everything else and for whatever reason had different tires than everybody else, and he killed us that day. And I'm like, who in the hell is that guy? It was Carl Edwards.
So we had that moment down there, and I told him, I said, "that's payback for Moberly." That was our first race together. We race a lot. He did a better job of wrecking my cars this year than I did. But we had a lot of fun, and still, it comes down to enjoying each other, and Carl is a hell of a race car driver. There's no way of getting around it.
You know, I'm damn proud to be able to beat a race car driver like that and a team and an organization like he's got behind him. It says a lot about ours and the people that surround me.
Carl, he's been a long time friend from those days, and I think it's a true testament to the stepping stones of NASCAR. We both came from the weekly racing series, went through the regional touring series and he went to the Truck series. Luckily I got the right phone call and went to the Nationwide series. It's fun to be able to come back here, what, five, six years later and be able to race each other for championships. It really is fun.
Q. For Clint and for Dan, I guess with about ten laps to go, Clint, you went three wide with a couple guys. Just how nervous did that make both of you?
CLINT BOWYER: Who am I talking to?
Q. Upstairs (laughter).
CLINT BOWYER: You know, the whole race I was three wide, behind, knew I had to catch up. You know, Carl has been doing a good job of putting the heat on. You knew he was going to. You knew he was going for it in Carl Edwards' style. But you knew that you had to stick to your guns, stick to the basics, stick to what got us to this point. And that's consistency, racing smart, and that paid off. It's paid off in years every championship I've ever won, it's consistency. It isn't the races won.
I mean, absolutely we wanted to win more races, but you'll give up a battle or two to win the war, and I feel like we earned the war.
Q. Same question for Dan.
DAN DEERINGHOFF: Ten laps to go and that caution comes out, it bunches everybody back up and you don't have time to not go two or three wide, you gotta get what you can. Clint did an excellent job of doing that and making sure we were padded well enough on this championship.
Q. For Clint, they said on TV that you guys had decided before the race not to talk about where Carl was, what position you were in, what the points were. Would that have just been a distraction for you?
CLINT BOWYER: That's funny you say that because halfway through the Cup practice, I'm sitting there and my Cup car is good and I'm thinking about this Nationwide deal and thinking, we haven't really talked about this Nationwide deal. Hey, I need to make sure I know where I need to be.
But that's the way it is. You go out there and do the best you can and race as hard as you can, and if that's not good enough, that's not good enough. You know, that's what got us to this point.
An exception, we made some mistakes, but they made more mistakes. It's nerve wracking. There's no way of getting around it. Dan said he didn't eat. I woke up at 5:30 this morning. Trust me, that doesn't ever happen (laughter).
Q. Clint, you touched on this just a minute ago. There are times during the season when you got frustrated because you believed you had a car that could win and you didn't, but when you look back at the year you had like 29 Top 10s and 35 races, never finished worse than 25th. Now that you have this trophy, is it easier to appreciate the ones that you lost earlier in the season?
CLINT BOWYER: It is, but it makes you think back on how much you appreciate the hard work of everybody back at RCR, the engine department. I don't know when is the last time we've had a DNF from the guys' hard work.
You know, I'll tell you another funny thing about Richard was he said how did we run here last year, and Danny said it was going good until we broke about two laps to go, and a motor broke is what happened.
You've got to push the envelope and make the boss nervous. If the boss isn't nervous, them guys ain't doing their jobs, in my opinion. Hat's off to the engine department, whether it be the Nationwide or the Cup program. They've come so far. Everybody at RCR has worked hard to get us to this point. We're fourth, fifth and sixth on the Cup side, and that's pretty consistent, pretty solid, and I think that's overall as an average better than anybody, any organization.
So that all happens back in the shop, and those people digging in the trenches, they don't get seen and talked about enough. Hopefully they all know that we appreciate this.
Q. For Richard and Clint, what has Dan meant to the team, and how has he been a steadying force this year?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I think he's one of the silent crew chiefs. You never hear a lot about him or anything, but he's as solid as any crew chief out there. We've got him next year. He's going to be doing a great job for us again. I'm just proud of what he's been able to do, and to lead the guys at the shop has really been a major deal, and he's a leader. That's what I've got to say.
CLINT BOWYER: I second that. I mean, in my opinion he's a lot like I am. He never shows up until the money is on the line, and then he's there. I feel like that's what won us this championship.
If you look at the race tonight, hell, I was nervous. I was like, we're not that good, how am I going to get up there? We work together, we work hard, and Dan makes good decisions, and by the end of the night we're where we need to be, and I think that we complement each other well, and I appreciate all of his hard work.
This has been a long time coming. We worked well together last year, had an incredible, consistent year last year, and it showed me that that's what it took to win a championship this year, and indeed that's what it was.
Q. Clint, any chance of you running to try to defend this championship next year? Or one is enough?
CLINT BOWYER: You know, with this new testing procedure, I can't wait for vacation (laughing). I'm going to run as much as I can. I love this series. I love what Nationwide has done for this series. I appreciate them coming in and helping stepping up to the plate. They really did.
I mean, times are tough, and this series is on top, and it's a lot of fun to be able to participate in this series, and I want to be a part of it as long as I can. Hopefully we've got a new guy coming to town, a spotter, Mike Dillon, his son, Richard's grandson Austin. He's been doing one hell of a job. He finished in a Top 5, whooped up on me at Memphis and really showed all of us his potential.
Believe it or not, there is a Dillon that can drive, and I think he's coming (laughter). I hope you print that so Mike Dillon can see that.
Q. I wonder for Richard and Clint, if you could talk about this series and how competitive it is and the opportunities it provides for young drivers.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: You know, I think it was two or three years ago there was a lot of conversation about Cup guys being in this series. Well, that's what watching these Cup guys race against a Kevin Harvick, when we moved him up, we knew he was ready because he could go out and race and outrun the Cup guys.
Then when Clint came along, to be able to watch him go out and race the Cup guys, we knew we was able to move him up. With Nationwide coming in and taking this series, it gave all of us an advantage to be out there and maybe take a chance on the next young kid. Joey Logano is going to be a star from it. That's where these guys come from, and you see them sit there and race these Cup guys, that gives the owners confidence to move a guy up.
Q. Am I correct in saying the driver pays for the whole championship party?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yes.
CLINT BOWYER: You said you were going to split it with me.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: No, I think the drivers pay for the party.
Q. Richard, to change gears a little bit, right before you came in, Jack Roush said that he would like to get an agreement amongst the Cup team owners to not skirt around the no‑testing issues by going to Pikes Peak, going to places like that, because he says all that's going to do is defeat the purpose of not testing anyway, you know, finding tracks in Canada, that type of stuff. Would you agree to such an agreement like that?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I think so, but I think what you're going to see, we've talked a lot about it, people doing a lot more in the technology world, and with the equipment and stuff that's out there and some of the programs and all that you can get today, I think we'll do a lot more ‑‑ if you've got ‑‑ it comes down to the tires. If we don't have the tires, there's no need in going.
An Interview With:
THE MODERATOR: We are pleased now to be joined by our race winner and crew chief and team owner up here on the stage. The race winner for today's Ford 300 is Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Save A Lot Ford; his crew chief, Drew Blickensderfer; and his team owner, Jack Roush. Congratulations, gentlemen. Terrific job not only tonight but throughout the course of this season.
Carl, your thoughts about winning today's race? Certainly made a great run at your second consecutive championship falling 21 points short but certainly put on a good show for us.
CARL EDWARDS: It was a great race, a lot of fun. I had a great time racing with Kyle. That was a great race. I know Clint had to be sweating those last few laps when some of those guys behind him had tires, and I thought, man, it can happen.
Drew did a great job, my guys did a great job and we had a car that was fast enough to win and we did everything right. Boy, if I could go back to the season and pick up 21 points, that would be great, but we can't. It's a full season. Clint earned the championship. He'll be a great champion.
You know, it's neat to see how excited his family was and how excited he is, and I'm as happy as I could be for another guy to beat me, and I hope he enjoys it.
Q. Drew, your thoughts, a lot of strategy had to unfold there towards the end, and it seemed like you made the right calls.
DREW BLICKENSDERFER: Yeah, you know, we had to do what they didn't do. Basically we wanted to put as much space between us and them as possible. The way it worked out, the 2 pretty much stayed on our game plan and they were running good enough that they could stay within four or five car lengths from us most of the time.
So, you know, it was tough to get off sequence with them. But, you know, at the end I saw last night's race, took stuff from that and knew that the only way we were going to have a chance to win the championship, let alone the race, was stay out. Hopefully
Clint was far enough back and he would come and get tired, but unfortunately it didn't happen.
THE MODERATOR: Jack, you've got to be proud of this race team and congratulations on a super year.
JACK ROUSH: It's been a super year. The race team has done a great job coming together. Drew is going to be really good in this business, I think as good as any of the crew chiefs that are famous for their success.
All of our sponsors have hung with us this year. It's been a great year. It's been a pleasure to be involved in the Nationwide series and to be this close for a second year.
If I look back, the only thing I was able to do as an owner was to be able to race with Carl and Drew in the Nationwide series, that would be enough for me. It's been a great pleasure.
Q. Carl, over this last stretch, both the Nationwide and Cup, all you've had to do is go out and run for the wins. Was that kind of a relief rather than worrying? I remember the fuel gamble you did in Fort Worth, but how do you feel about just being able to go out and run fast?
CARL EDWARDS: I'm kind of thinking about just racing like that all the time now. I can't imagine why you'd race for points. We seem to have accumulated a lot of points by just being aggressive. You know, there is a fine line. You have to be careful. I have taken a lot of not very smart chances, chances that were risky, but it has been fun. I've enjoyed it.
You know, tonight went as well as it could have. For one race it couldn't have gone any better. No matter how tomorrow goes, you know, the thing is that this winter I can go into this off season knowing that we're going to be tough next year. We're going to be tough here in the Nationwide series and in the Cup Series. We've grown a lot and had a lot of fun.
Q. Carl, I just wanted to ask you about the in race reporter stuff on television. We saw you again tonight. Maybe talk about what that's like for you? It's such a new thing and very interesting for people watching at home.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, a lot of people have commented on it and say they enjoy it, and I'm glad they do. It's very strange to be talking in your car and know that you're talking across to millions of people across the world, I guess, from your race car.
It's pretty neat.
I think Dale Jarrett does a great job with it, and I enjoy doing it. There are times, like tonight, and I think it was in Atlanta when it's like the last restart, we're leading the race, and here comes Dale asking me questions, and I think to myself, man, you know, should I be doing this? I don't know if I should be talking at this point. But it hasn't seemed to affect the racing, and it's kind of fun. Takes my mind off of any stress I have.
Q. Carl, you did about everything you could do tonight. You won, I think you almost led the most laps. As you exit here, does that leave you happier or is it frustrating that you came up short?
CARL EDWARDS: Well, definitely it's frustrating to not win the championship. I mean, that's what we set out to do this season.
Q. (Question about Clint Bowyer)?
CARL EDWARDS: One time I raced against him in Moberly, Missouri, and I beat him. It was awesome (laughter). That day felt real good. It doesn't make up for this day, but it felt good. Clint is a really good guy, man. It was so cool, his mom and dad come to the races, and the way he told me the story, he started racing out of the corner of his dad's tow truck shop, and he's a great racer.
You know, to get that day in Moberly if you would have told me that Clint and I would be racing for the Nationwide series championship in 2008 I think that was 2001 or something I mean, I would have laughed so hard. We were just a couple dirt racers having some fun there. It's very neat.
Q. For Drew, next year Carl is probably going to be the favorite to win the championship. Does that at all change your approach rather than coming in halfway through a season like you've done?
DREW BLICKENSDERFER: You know, I think it doesn't change our approach like Carl talked about earlier. He knew things that he could probably look back in the year and think maybe I should do this better. There's a lot of things I could have done better.
I've never been in a situation where I've raced for points. My rookie year as a crew chief I was fortunate enough to be with Danny O'Quinn, we won Rookie of the Year, but racing for points in and out against tough competition was new to me. There's certain things throughout the year that I look back on and think, man, we could have got five bonus points there, or, man, I shouldn't have been that aggressive with that.
I think the things I've learned over the last six or seven months on the 60 car have prepared me for championship battle.
Q. Carl, how long do you want to keep up the pace of doing both series full time?
CARL EDWARDS: You know, I don't know. I'm enjoying it right now. I mean, racing with Drew and these guys, I mean, Saturdays are a blast. To be able to win races and have my friends and my family here and have a chance to race for championships, it's good. So as long as Jack will let me do it and NASCAR will let me do it and we're competitive, you know, I plan on doing it for a while.
JACK ROUSH: That was a great question. I'm glad you asked it. I thought I understood next year was the last year you wanted to do it.
CARL EDWARDS: I'm kind of going a year at a time, but I don't really know. If I'm sitting here a year from now and we've won 10 races and a championship -- it's up to you guys.
CARL EDWARDS: We're going to go to London and do the Race of Champions, and then from London we're going to Thailand and doing some big bicycle ride adventure over there. I don't have an itinerary yet, but it will be exciting.
Now that we have less time off in January, I don't know what I'll do then. We're going to have some fun, I guarantee you.
We'll try to take a camera so you guys can see it. It should be exciting. Tom Giacchi in Bangkok is going to be priceless. So I'm excited.
Q. I just wanted to ask Jack, once you toyed with building a test track at some point a few years ago. With what was announced yesterday, have those plans come up in your head at all?
JACK ROUSH: You're the second person that's asked me that question. I have neither the money nor the inclination to build a test track and also have had conversations with Mike, and I don't have any intention to try to get around their test rules.
If we could organize a situation where all the established teams would hold hands and resolve not to test outside of the NASCAR mandated or approved testing, not go to the skid pads, not go to Canada, not to go to Pikes Peak or any of the places they're checking on, I'd be happier with that than to skirt around.
If everybody else does it, we may have to do it, too, but that's certainly not in the spirit of trying to save the teams money and trying to operate in these severe economic circumstances.
An Interview With:
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
THE MODERATOR: We're going to roll into our post race press conferences here for the Ford 300 at Homestead Miami. I appreciate these guys' patience up here today. We've got three of our competitors, including the team owner.
Our second place finisher in today's race, Kyle Busch. He drives the No. 18 Z Line Designs Toyota. And our 2008 NASCAR Nationwide series Raybestos Rookie of the Year is Landon Cassill. He drives for J. R. Motorsports. Congratulations to you, Landon; congratulations to you, Dale, Jr.
I'm going to ask Landon right now your thoughts about winning the Rookie of the Year award.
LANDON CASSILL: I'm just really proud of everybody, my whole team, for working so hard for me this year. I ran a limited schedule, and I had some really good races, and at times it didn't look so good, and at times it looked great.
You know, it was a real compliment to me, and it was flattering when we went to Phoenix, and all my guys knew it was my last race, and their focus was getting me the finish I needed. You know, I can't thank them enough for that, for being that focused on winning Rookie of the Year.
My guys, National Guard, supported me all year, Dale, Jr. who owns my car and the team, and it's an honor, and I hope I'm a good rookie.
THE MODERATOR: Dale, your thoughts about Landon winning this award?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Well, I was proud of Landon. He did a good job for the most part of the year. He got the finishes he needed to win. He had some pretty good competition, I think Brian, and he got some really good finishes at parts of the year and showed a lot of good showed he's got a lot of talent.
THE MODERATOR: Kyle, you had an outstanding season in the NASCAR Nationwide series, I believe a record tying ten victories, second place finish here today. You've got to feel good about how you performed in the series this year and today's race. Your thoughts?
KYLE BUSCH: It was a good day, I guess, today. But we started behind a little bit this weekend. We unloaded and we weren't great, so we came a long way and we built a lot of crutch into that car to make it go fast. Unfortunately there in the last run it was too loose to start and then all of a sudden it just flipped a switch and started getting tight.
After the race there was damage on the front end, so I don't know if there was a culprit or not. Never really had that all day, just unfortunate there that we couldn't keep up with the 60.
But a solid effort by the team, once again. You know, if somebody goes for the championship in the 18 or the 20 next year, can certainly be a force to be reckoned with.
Q. Kyle, can you talk about the 20 team winning the owners' championship? Do you feel like you were a significant part of that?
KYLE BUSCH: I wasn't a significant part of it. I only won one race in the thing. But, you know, they had a great car all year long, as well. You know, for it to come down to the final race like that, it was pretty cool to see, and for Joey to run the amount of races that he ran in the car and to win the races that he won, I believe, at Kentucky, he did his part of the deal.
You know, everybody that was in that car, myself, Joey, Denny and Tony all won, and we're all a part of that deal. But the big pat on the back and the big support needs to go back to the guys at the shop, Dave Rogers and Jason Ratcliff who weren't here the rest of the year and for the rest of the guys that stepped up for the rest of the year to make that thing go fast and stay up front.
Q. Landon, how stressful was it to know that your championship, your rookie title, hinged on a race that you weren't in? And, also, the hopes that this catapults you into something better next year?
LANDON CASSILL: That's funny because I was spotting for David Green tonight, and one eye on David and one eye on Brian all night. But I was just kind of watching with one eye closed, just kind of cringing the whole time, especially when Brian was in the Top 10. He had a good race car early on.
You know, we really could have easily started and parked a car and gotten the rookie points, but we knew what races we had to run, and we did what we had to do. I'm glad that it turned out the way it did. I had fun up on the spotter's stand tonight anyways.
Next year you know, the economy is tough right now and everybody is struggling. It's just tough right now. You know, I think you probably even see the championship team struggling. We've seen that in the past.
Rookie of the Year is a very prestigious award. You know, I've said before that it's something that Raybestos has been involved with for many number of years and something that as a child growing up Raybestos Rookie of the Year was a phrase that I had known since I was a little kid. So to be able to have a title like that is awesome, and hopefully it does catapult into a ride or something.
Q. For Dale, I guess it's kind of the same questions, what does this do for Landon for next year with you?
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Well, we just hope somebody is going to call us here in the next several months so we can put something together for next year and get the 5 car back to a full time program. We've been searching around for several different deals, and we actually had a program for 18 races, but it ended up conflicting with something else way, way down the line, so it wasn't even anything to do with me or my team.
But it's tough. You find something, you think you've got it saved and you think you're going to have a sponsorship, and it don't work out. It's real tough.
Q. Kyle, you led a lot of the race there through the middle portion, and then Carl was able to get by you. Did your car change or the track change? What happened?
KYLE BUSCH: I alluded to it a little bit earlier. I think that the culprit was a piece of damage on the front end. There was a hole in the bottom grille screen, so I'm not sure if that was exactly it or not, what that does in the tunnel as far as front down force goes. But I just got so tight all of a sudden. The guys said they didn't see that hole there on the final pit stop coming down Pit Road or anything, so we don't know when it happened. I guess I run over something and got a hole there, which just got me extremely tight, and I couldn't even get the front end of the car to stick to keep up with the 60. It was just not meant to be tonight. I'm blaming it on the hole.
Q. This is for Kyle and also for Dale. Last night the Truck championship was decided by seven points. It's determined in a format that includes every race of the season. Tonight the Nationwide championship was determined by 21 points with every race of the season counting. You know, tomorrow is going to be the end of the Chase and a guy is probably going to win it in a runaway. What are your thoughts on maybe going back to a regular points system?
KYLE BUSCH: To me, I don't know. I mean, you've got the guys running NASCAR who run NASCAR for a reason. So we don't know a whole lot. Looks like there's more exciting championship format the other way around if you look back at the way Jimmie has come back in the past ten races or whatever, and he still has the lead in the old system, too. But it's a little bit closer. At least three guys, I think, would have a shot for it here in the final race.
But it is what it is, and, you know, I guess it was broken beforehand and now they thought they fixed it and now it's broke again. I don't know what to do to it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Yeah, I can't really add anything to that. You know, you can't keep tweaking on it and keep messing with it. I mean, it is what it is. The old system would have worked this year, next year it might not have. Maybe if we were in the old system, everything would have been different. But we might have a runaway steal. Kyle was pretty far ahead. Chase makes you race a little differently and things happen, and whatever. I don't know if you can just it wouldn't matter. I mean, it is what it is.
Q. For Landon, you and Brian are close friends, and I guess what's the card game going to be like next Monday?
LANDON CASSILL: He'll probably beat me, and I don't know, it'll be good. We've been friends the whole time, all through this, and I don't see why that would change. I mean, we're good buddies and good competitors, as well. I hope it doesn't change. But he'll probably beat me at cards; they usually do.
Q. Kyle, despite all your success this season with the Car of Tomorrow, is there anything you would do to change it to get a better feel for the car? I mean, can you just kind of give an overview of what it's been like to drive that model this year?
KYLE BUSCH: Man, that was the wrong question to ask me (laughter). I'm going to keep my mouth shut. It's very, very frustrating to drive that thing every day or every week. You know, it is what it is, and there's a lot of things that they could do to help us out to help it drive better. They just never listen, don't want to listen. They're going to leave it the way it is, no model change, pretty much because they don't want to the economy is bad and all that stuff, whatever. They're not going to change. There's a new nose for the Ford F 150 and they're not changing that. All the trucks are staying the same and all the Nationwide series is staying the same, everything because of the economy. The Cup cars might as well stay the same and we'll have the same shows next year that we had this year probably.
An Interview With:
THE MODERATOR: We're joined now by our third place finisher in the tonight's Ford 300 and that's Brad Keselowski. He drives the No. 88 Navy Chevrolet for J.R. Motorsports. You had a successful season in this series and closed it out with a good finish here tonight. Your thoughts?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, a lot of thoughts. It's been awesome, it's been a special year, it really has. It's been everything I could have asked for and more. So it was cool to get two wins. I had a lot of fun, got a great group of guys and building momentum and going to try and make a run for the championship and celebrate like Clint it right now for next year.
But it's been a very special season, kind of a bittersweet day for me to see it end. Last race for the Navy.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: This was the last race for the Navy, so I'm going to miss that and all that comes with it. That was pretty much our day, and it's been a great year.
Q. Brad, you were in championship contention a few races ago but fell out. What did you learn from the last part of the year to maybe help out with a championship run next year?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Ooh, a lot of things. With the way the points system is, it takes a whole year, and I think if you ask Carl right now, he'll tell you the same thing.
There are multiple things, you know, California was really mean to us, really mean to us. We lost 220, 230 points at California alone. Both Californias and both Richmonds kind of stunk. You just can't have bad finishes. I felt like if you look at our stats this year, you know, and our performance, we've been just as competitive, if not more than Clint has, but Clint has just done such a great job of executing at the end of the day, and so has his team, not having any failures and all that.
Quite honestly, my team did a great job, too, and just caught some bad breaks. That's racing. You know, you have to do more than do everything right, you have to have a little bit of luck. But there's probably room to improve all the way around, room for me to improve, room for the team to improve and room for the luck to improve, and we're just the tiniest bit off on each bit. I'm just a tiny bit off, the team is just a tiny bit off, the luck is just a tiny bit off, and if we can put all that together next year, we can go win it.
Q. What personally are you going to do to get ready for next year? What are some of the things that you want to see either about yourself or the team in order to be in a position to challenge, say, Carl or Clint if he runs again next year?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: That's a great question. I'm going to run the Nationwide series full time next year and probably do some kind of limited part time schedule next year on the Cup side, very small amount of races to be determined. I think just work hard on the preparation.
Running double duty has helped my performance drastically on the Nationwide side, and even though the cars are different, it's huge, it really is. It's huge to be able to run that other car. It gets you thinking, it gets you physically prepared, mentally prepared. So there's definitely an advantage to that, and I'm probably going to try to exploit that as much as I can.
To be able to run with Carl next year, I think he'll probably be the guy to beat if he wasn't this year. To run with him, we're going to have to go out there and win races. I think Carl won six races on the Nationwide series and we won two, and I would expect Carl to win about the same next year.
So we have to win a few more races and got to execute, and there was probably three or four races where we had an opportunity to win and just missed that last little bit.
So next year we just need to execute that, and I myself will review those instances and try not to let those happen again, and that'll probably be the bulk of how I try to prepare to do that. It just comes down to the small things at the end of the day, you know, the last pit stop or all those small intangible things that a lot of people don't see that just keep you from that separates a seventh place day from a winning day.