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Nationwide Quotes from Daytona

Kyle Busch: 7th

What happened at the end of the race with Joey Logano?

“It was just unfortunate with Joey (Logano) there.  We had two great race cars all day.  We worked together the whole time.  All we wanted to do was bring it home in one piece and unfortunately we didn’t make it — just circumstances.  I saw the 4 (Tony Stewart) coming up in my mirror really, really quick so I tried to block the middle and come down just a little bit.  Obviously that off-centered me from Joey’s rear bumper and turned him sideways — completely my fault.  Unintentional, but just trying to make it to where the 4 didn’t have room to shoot up through the middle of us there and make us all three-wide all pushing each other.  I hate it for those guys and Joey and everybody on the GameStop team.  Our Z-Line Camry was good and worked well with them all day.  Just unfortunate at the end there.”

Did you have fun drafting with Joey Logano in the race?

“Yeah, we did a great job today.  All day we worked really, really well together.  It was just due to circumstances.  Joey wanted to run the top and try to stay separate from those guys, but I wanted to block the middle so (Tony) Stewart couldn’t come up there.  We just weren’t on the same page at that moment in time and obviously we got a little disengaged there.  Overall though, we worked really well on the radio and things were great.  We did it in practice today on the Cup side.  We’ll see how it plays out tomorrow and should be fine.”

What were you able to learn today for tomorrow’s race?

“That communication over the radio is a big deal I think.  Having guys that you can click over and talk to — that’s going to be really, really key.  That was good and just being able to talk and have that dialogue back and forth on what we could do, what we could strategize on and all that.”

Were you optimistic when you were back with Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the last restart?

“I felt pretty optimistic about it.  I just wanted to block the middle so that would have made the 4 (Tony Stewart) and the 1 (Landon Cassill) pick a lane — who are you going to push?  Are you going to push the outside or are you going to push the inside?  They probably would have pushed the inside being as though they were Chevrolets too.  That was my whole goal was to make it a race between us four and once the 4 kind of showed his nose there in the middle I tried to block it.”

Will there be an added risk now of getting off-center in the closing laps and spinning the car in front of you?

“I thought the 4 (Tony Stewart) was going to come up and push me and just try to get our row past, but then when he tried going through the middle — that’s obviously when I tried to block the middle.  It got Joey (Logano) and I off-center andcost him to wreck.  Luckily it wasn’t a big pile.  I say Joey did a good job over-correcting.  Normally you don’t say that you want to over-correct, but instead of spinning out in front of all of us and collecting all five or whatever there was left behind there — he did a nice job getting it out of the way.”

Do you feel better prepared for tomorrow following this race?

“Nope.  It’s all circumstances.  It just comes down to where you are at the end of the race and try to make the most of it.  Tony Stewart must be the luckiest guy around Daytona every February — besides Sunday.  He uses it all up on Saturday –that’s his deal.  I’m trying to save a little bit of mine for tomorrow.”

Joey Logano: 12th

What happened at the end of the race?

“Kyle (Busch) and I were just pushing each other trying to win the race and I can’t even tell you what happened because it happened so quick.  We were just pushing each other hard and just talking to Kyle.  He was trying to block the center group coming up and I think he just moved a little bit too quick and it just sent me going.  I almost had a save and then it came back and slapped the wall so that was the end of that.”

Did you think you and Kyle (Busch) had a chance to win the race?

“Of course we had something for them.  Kyle (Busch) and I were working with each other and we drove each other up there and we worked good as teammates all day.  It’s not his fault.  It’s just a product of this racing we’ve got.  It sucks because you can’t do nothing about it.  There’s nothing else we can do to make us stop doing it and unfortunately it’s just ridiculously stupid at the end of the day, and we were wrecking each other so that’s the hard part.”

Do you expect the same type of racing in tomorrow’s Daytona 500?

“Oh yeah, the same thing.  The good thing is we did a good job as teammates working with each other and learning how to do this better.  We did a good job with it all day.  Our Toyota’s can’t push as long as the Chevy’s and Ford’s can so we had to switch a whole lot of times compared to everybody else.  I don’t know what to do about a finish like that.  That’s going to be part of our racing here at Daytona and at Talladega.”

Brian Scott: 34th

What happened to take you out of the race?

“I don’t know — we could’ve been the cause of it.  I had the 31 of Justin Allgaier pushing me.  He just had me out of control so I tried to radio my spotter to tell him to back off.  We came out of (turn) 1 and the 60 (Carl Edwards) came down and things started happened.  I know a wreck started, but I kind of got loose and then saved it and had it going straight and was just trying to miss everything and I didn’t see the 12 (Sam Hornish Jr.) coming through the grass back on the race track and ended up centering him.  It’s just really unfortunate.  These guys obviously put a lot of work in over the offseason on our Shore Lodge Toyota and it’s not the way that anybody wants to start off the season.  Right now, we’ll just salvage whatever we can.  These guys are going to get us back out there and we’ll get finished.”

Photos: Nationwide Daytona 300

Check out these photos from the first race of the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. Joey Logano and Kyle Busch dominated to day, but came up short at the end with Joey Logano spinning in turn 1 of the last lap. Brian Scott made his JGR debut, but was involved in an early accident that was not of his own doing.

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Airplane Undergoes Off-Season Inspection

During every NASCAR season, the Joe Gibbs Racing team logs tens of thousands of miles crisscrossing the country from one race to the next.  Our aviation team is made up of pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, and managers who work hard to ensure every mile traveled is completed safely and efficiently. In early January, I made a trip to Joe Gibbs Racing’s hangar to see what our aviation team was up to.

[singlepic id=148 w=320 h=240 float=left]We operate two SAAB 2000 airplanes that are used for transporting our employees who attend the races each week. Typically one plane will leave midway through the week carrying the A-team, which consists of crew chiefs, drivers, mechanics, engineers, and other specialists. Then, on race day (or the night before), a second plane departs North Carolina with pit crews, sponsor reps, administrators, and other miscellaneous guests. Usually the flight crew consists of two pilots and one flight attendant, though a mechanic is typically on board for our longer trips. After a race, the two planes await about 70 people who are anxious to get home after a long weekend at the track.

[singlepic id=147 w=320 h=240 float=left]What about the off-season? Do the planes and flight crews sit dormant, twiddling their thumbs, waiting for Daytona? Not at all!  Our planes undergo an extensive and thorough inspection every few years. After the 2010 NASCAR season, it was time for SAAB Tail Number 517 to go under the microscope for its 8-year look-over.

The 8-year inspection is about an 8-week process that requires an entire team of mechanics. The airplane is stripped from nose to tail. Every nook and cranny is inspected for damage, wear, or corrosion. The propellers are removed and shipped to England where they are scanned with special instruments that detect cracks or other imperfections that might pose a problem in the future. Additionally, all seats and carpets lining the fuselage and cockpit are removed to reveal the mechanisms that operate the flight controls. The flaps on the wings and tail are removed and checked out.

[singlepic id=142 w=320 h=240 float=right]The checklist for this inspection is thousands of items long. A large board next to the airplane holds all of the schematics needed to inspect each item of the plane – somewhat like a checklist. Replacing parts on an airplane is not as simple as replacing parts on your street car. Careful documentation is kept on every piece of the aircraft. Furthermore, you can’t make a trip down to your local Advanced Airplane Parts store for an off-brand part. Almost all parts are certified for use in airplanes and typically cost much more than you would expect.

The pilots are also busy training during the off-season. They spend dozens of hours in Florida at a special flight simulation center inside a life-size replica of the SAAB cockpit.  There they are put to the test and dropped into a variety of situations where they have to think fast and make the right decisions. Water landing? Practiced. Engine gives out completely? They know what to do. Aborted take-off? They’ve tried it. The bottom line is, these pilots don’t want to be caught off guard when it comes to making the right choices to save lives.

[singlepic id=122 w=320 h=240 float=right]In this economy, saving money in new ways is the name of the game. Completing this extensive inspection in-house saves Joe Gibbs Racing several thousands of dollars that can go back into making our racecars even faster on the track. Even more important than saving money, however, is the increased safety these inspections provide to our passengers and pilots.

As I toured the hangar and saw the crew working on the disassembled SAAB, I realized just how dedicated to perfection our flight department is. Every person that touches our planes takes pride in seeing them fly and return to and from the races safely and efficiently. Our flight department is certified IS-BAO which means it meets a code of best practices designed to help flight departments worldwide achieve high levels of safety and professionalism. This difficult-to-achieve certification is a testament to the hard work and attention to detail of our flight team.[singlepic id=149 w=320 h=240 float=left]A few weeks after my first visit, I was invited to come back to the hangar to observe the test flight of 517. The 8-year inspection had been completed the day before and the pilots and crew were eager to take her out for a spin. As I watched the plane take off for the first time since the inspection, one of the flight crew members standing next to me said, “It sure is good to see her fly again, huh?”

Two weeks later I boarded the same plane for Daytona with 40 other team members, comfortable and confident in the pilots and crew, and the plane they take such good care of.

A tip of the hat to those who spent so much time on this particular inspection: Steve C, Tim P, Ken H, Shawn H, Bob M, Riley S, Greg P, Kenny T, Jim T, Tim D, Rick O, Mike P, & Charles M.

Photo Gallery

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About the Author: Boris

Boris is the man behind Joe Gibbs Racing’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. Think of him as the fan’s personal connection to all things JGR. His all access pass to the track and shop mean you get unprecedented insight into the NASCAR team and drivers you love!

Boris is at the track every weekend, providing you with photos and updates from the garage. Also catch Boris on JGR: The Show and read his blog posts on JoeGibbsRacing.com. Ask Boris a question through Twitter, Facebook, or the website. That’s why he’s here!

How Many Lug Nuts Per Year?

Between live race pit stops and practice, how many lug nuts do you think our organization goes through in a year? Remember, that includes Sprint Cup and Nationwide races.

The answer? In 2010 we went through just over 90,000 lug nuts. We use new ones for every stop, including practice stops. That’s a lot of lug nuts.