Tony Stewart Surprise Guest at Media Day
Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte surprised everyone in attendance (include owner Joe Gibbs) at the 2011 Media Day stop at Joe Gibbs Racing on Thursday. The event focused on commemorating Joe Gibbs Racing’s 20th Anniversary in NASCAR. At the end of the day, the stage was filled with JGR’s past Champions and current stable of drivers including Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, and Brian Scott. Dale Jarrett was unable to attend, but shared a video message for Joe and the audience.
What proved to be most enjoyable about the event (besides seeing JGR’s foundational members on stage together) were the insightful and sometimes hilarious stories shared between Joe, JD, Tony, and Bobby.
Joe Gibbs shared what was probably the funniest story of the afternoon when he recounted trying to track down Tony Stewart to recruit him as a driver.
“Trying to track Tony down was a nightmare. … I chased him from one side of the world to the other. I finally got together with [Tony’s manager] Harry Ranier, and he told me that he had two other partners and he told me how much cash it was going to take to get Tony out of his deal. So I go to meet Harry again later, and I like Harry a lot, I go to hand Harry the check and he says this to me [with a stern look]: “Are you sure you want to do this?”
The whole crowd broke into laughter at Gibbs’ story and then Tony jumped back in replying, “What a coincidence, I remember having to hand you a check for the same thing and you told me the same thing!”
After the laughter subsided Joe said it was one of the best deals ever made.
The friendly jabs didn’t stop there. Later on, a reporter asked Joe how he managed to take when he learned as a successful football coach and apply it to racing. Joe summed up his answer by saying “I’ve found that if you can be successful in football, you’ll be successful in racing, and visa versa.”
Kyle Busch interrupted for clarification, “So Coach, are you saying Joey Logano would make a good quarterback?”
“Yes, Joey could be a quarterback,” replied Joe.
“I was thinking linebacker,” said Joey.
But it was Denny Hamlin who got the last word. “I was thinking, more like a kicker.”
The memorable event kicked off what is sure to be an equally memorable 2011 NASCAR season.