But the past week has been difficult since Kyle Busch was “parked” for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series races at Texas Motor Speedway after he intentionally ran Ron Hornaday Jr. head-first into the third turn wall during Friday night’s truck series race. Gibbs talked about the penalty and how he hopes to rebuild Busch’s tarnished reputation. Here are excerpts of that interview:
Q: What was your immediate reaction to Kyle being parked?
A: Sometimes in life you have to deal with some real tough things. This is a tough situation for us. Basically what we’re trying to do is go through it the right way. Everybody here with our race team is trying to meet with everybody that was affected by this. Obviously we got a lot of work to do there, a lot of people to see. But we’re going to be trying to go through this, try and handle everything in the right way.
Q: At what point does Kyle’s continued problems with NASCAR and other drivers fall on your shoulders?
A: It definitely rests with me. I think when you own something, you’re the owner, you’re responsible. So I think that question is kind of easy for me to answer. I take full responsibility for it.
Q: How do you plan to fix this?
A: What we’re going to try to do now, you mentioned other things in the past, tried to handle those things the right way, tried to make the right decisions. Certainly that’s what we’re going to try to do with this.
Q: What was Kyle’s reaction to you? What was the reaction of your sponsors?
A: I think, first of all, I met with Kyle at his motorhome. I think it’s one of those personal conversations you have when a real tough situation like this comes up. I think for all of our other partners involved with this - there’s a number of them - we haven’t even had a chance to get with everybody yet, so we’re still trying to go through that as best we can. We’ll be here the whole weekend trying to meet with everybody, trying to work our way through this, try to handle it the right way.
Q: Will there be any internal penalties at Joe Gibbs Racing?
A: I think right now we’re just trying to handle first things first for us. There’s so many things to consider, so many people to meet with, I think that’s our main concern. I wanted to make sure I came over here and have a chance to meet everybody face to face, kind of tell you where the team was. But I think we’re still early in the process, and we’re trying to work our way through it as best and as fast as we can.
Q: Do you agree with NASCAR’s penalty?
A: I always trust NASCAR. I think they do a great job. They manage this series. It’s grown because of them and the way they handle it. I have great faith in the decisions they make. We’ve been a part of this for a long time. We love it. We love being a part of it. We love this sport. So I think our sport is where it is because of NASCAR and the way they handle things. This one is a tough one for us. But, as I mentioned, sometimes in life you go through tough things and you don’t like it. But we’re certainly going to try to work our way through this one and try to do the right thing and try to handle it the right way.
Q: Do you expect any carryover with Kyle?
A: I don’t think you actually know. At different times I think drivers have problems or confrontations with somebody. I don’t know, that kind of plays out over a period of time. I don’t think I could probably answer that.