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Michigan Sunday August 17, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, NASCAR, Teams, Trackside.
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Claire B. Lang
Blog – Sunday August 17, 2008
Michigan International Speedway
Shenanigans. Under a full moon here in the Irish Hills after the Nationwide Race on Saturday – A poor decision was made to try to withhold accurate numbers from NASCAR by manipulating the dynamometer testing on the #20 and #18 Joe Gibbs Racing teams  . Who did it, for what reason and how they should be held accountable has been under great discussion since the Sprint Cup garage opened here today. Everyone here has been talking about it and the bottom line is that because of it JGR and Toyota (by asssociation) have egg on their faces and NASCAR is not happy. The investigation is under way – and if what NASCAR thinks was done (using a magnet to hold back the throttle) it is likely severe penalties will be handed down from NASCAR and JGR next week.
The president of Joe Gibbs Racing, J.D. Gibbs addressed media at at 12:30 p.m. EST in the trackside news conference room here at MIS today regarding the issue.  Here’s the transcript:
Opening Statement J.D. Gibbs:
Gibbs: “Guys – On behalf of JGR…. Just a little background. I got a call late last night kind of informing that hey there was an issue after the race doing the dyno they found a piece there – again I’m not going to go into technical (detail) on what it was cause I am not even sure yet on the race car- so there was a piece there that wouldn’t let the pedal  apparently go all the way down in the dyno and show like we had less horsepower than we actually did. So let me just say first and foremost that we -that was a really poor and foolish decision on the part of our key guys there at JGR. I want to apologize to NASCAR to our partners to Toyota guys a couple guys chose to make a decision there that impacts all of us. To me the frustrating part is you know —why? I know they were probably frustrated from the standpoint that – wanting to show that we have less horsepower than ever before and wanting to make it look like we’re handicapped you know even more than we actually were I understand that. But that is not an excuse. I think for us we kind of feel like I know with us with the engine shop that’s kind of badge of honor. You win that engine dyno – good for you. We felt like the past few years and Mark Cromquest and those guys really feel like they want to win that thing. So to me …to come back after you’ve been chopped to come back and then win it again that’s awesome – that’s a great story. So that wasn’t able to be told so now we’re sitting here going over  issues from the guys it sounds like again they made a poor decision on our part so we apologize to our partners and we think going forward hey we’re going to have to address some of those things no matter what NASCAR does we’re going to address those issues in house. Figure out exactly what happened and those responsible and hey there’s  going to be punishment for them – you know that’s just part of life. You can’t do that – you put everyone else at risk. So any questions you guys have along those lines feel free to fire away – knowing that  I don’t have all the details on it – but I have a pretty good idea.”
Q: To follow up on the last part you said – do you have any idea how high it goes and is there any possibility that heads will role and you’ll have to fire people?
Gibbs: “Yea I think for us any violation is a serious one so I think you know  keep in mind it wasn’t  an on track issue. In no way was the caron the track issue. In no way was the car we had on the track we were racing anything other than it should have been .You know – that would have been an extremely big deal. Even that so off the track- going through the dyno again I understand the guys frustration – I think there’s probably a few of the guys on the Nationwide team wanting to make a point and so..we’ll go through it – hey we have had some pretty hard stuff we’ve done in the past before and we’ll continue to do that in the future.”
Q: We’ve been trying to remember – you guys don’t usually get caught for doing things. The last we can remember was when the 20 car was taken back at Texas. So is that particularly distressing because you have such a good reputation within the garage?
Gibbs: “Yea I think for us..look, .if you can’t come in whatever business you are in and do it the right way you know what’s the point? We want to do it – to get the satisfaction do it the right way. If you ask NASCAR we’ve been a great partner throughout the years and I think with them and trying to do things the right way. So yea that was the last thing and I still think that our guys will say that was a mistake on our part and was not intentional. This one here is clearly – if it turns out what it is – that’s an intentional opportunity to lead someone astray so we’re not going to do that.”
Q: This was not in place for the race only during the dyno test?

Gibbs: Yea. And thankfully not in place during the race because what it did it definitely lowers your horsepower so for us it was just after the track thing trying to – and NASAR has been taking that down to the track for quite a few years now so to my understanding – I don’t know what it exactly was-  a piece placed there to kind of show less horsepower than we’d normally have and the intention was to either to say hey you hurt us worse than you thought or whatever I’m not sure. Either way it came out the wrong way.
Q: I believe your teams have 14 wins in the series this year. Do you believe this stains any of those wins?
Gibbs: “Yea I would say if it was an on track thing it would definitely  stain them but being an off track things and trying dinking around with the dyno personally I don’t see how it would affect those wins there but again hey it’s still a serious issue with NASCAR even if it is off the track working the dyno so there was no reason for that.
Q: Have the individuals or individual involved who committed this transgression stepped up and said it was me. Have you identified who it was?
Gibbs: “Yea I have had some conversations with a couple of  our key guys and I got a pretty good idea but not enough now that I want to say here’s exactly what it was …and now enough to say here’s what I’m going to do but I’ve got a pretty good idea of who the guys are on the Nationwide team that are responsible.”
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to Toyota about this to gauge their reaction?
Gibbs: “We have and I met with a couple of those guys there and really I think it’s frustrating to everyone at this point. I think what happened is our guys were doing it based on Joe Gibbs Racing. They want what is best for us. Keep in mind what you do with our motives also reflects poorly on Toyota. It looks like hey now they are involved in something that they don’t want to be involved in. I think for us it was clearly a Joe Gibbs racing – you know our guys did it and It was I’m sure discouraging for them. Again, hey we are in the middle of an owners points chase too you know so I think at the end of the day I keep going back to our guys we want to win the engine dyno thing that’s the frustrating thing. ….To me that’s satisfaction not to go out there playing games.”
-more later-
The anthem is playing now. I need to go to the grid. More of this transcript coming up later when I get back in.

Statement from Joe Gibbs Regarding Alleged Infractions by Joe Gibbs Racing  
The following is a statement from Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing regarding the alleged incident:
“If this alleged incident proves true, it goes against everything we stand for as an organization,” Gibbs said. “We will take full responsibility and accept any penalties NASCAR levies against us.  We will also investigate internally how this incident took place and who was involved and make whatever decisions are necessary to ensure that this kind of situation never happens again. The expectations we set for everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing begins with me, and I personally apologize to NASCAR, our partners and our fans for the negative light this situation has cast upon all of us.”

Enjoy the race.
Claire B
Michigan International Raceway