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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012 NASCAR Media Week - Quotes # 11 Fed Ex Toyota

DARIAN GRUBB, crew chief, No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing:

 How do you feel starting 2012 with a new team? “It feels really good to be a part of Joe Gibbs Racing. The professionalism that they have is pretty impressive. It’s good to be a part of that. Yeah, we had a lot of turmoil at the end of the year last year — still came out all positive. Won the championship and won five races. Came out of there with my head held high and then went on to my next endeavors. I’m really looking forward to getting a new chapter started at Joe Gibbs Racing.”

Do you look at this as a new challenge? “I definitely do. I feel like I’ve checked a lot of things off the bucket list and now it’s time to go out there and just race for fun and try to win races and win championships. It’s a whole new endeavor and a lot of new people and a lot of new faces to learn and learn how to deal with and how to talk to them. I’m really looking forward to that.”

How different are Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Hass Racing in their operations? “It’s very similar. The work that everybody does in the Cup Series is very even across the field. The competition level is so high. It’s hard for anybody to really be that far behind and these guys are definitely on top of their game when it comes to the technology side of things, the engineering, support they have from Toyota. I’m really looking forward to learning all those different people and the different aspects of the sport and try to make the 11 FedEx team stronger.”

How much confidence do you bring to the team coming off your 2011 championship? “It’s really exciting for me just because coming in talking to the guys in the shop you can tell there’s just the attitude there that they just felt like they were beat down because they had such a bad year in 2011 and now there’s just a breath of fresh air. They know that I was lucky enough to go out there and win that championship. They all want a piece of that. They know how close they were and everybody just realizes now it’s all about just having fun, working in one direction so we’re all going out there trying to win races and put ourselves in the Chase with a chance to go for that championship.”

What have you learned about Denny Hamlin? “He’s (Denny Hamlin) a really good character. He’s a fun guy. He likes to joke with the guys and carry on and that’s a big part of it. We want to have Denny included in the team and make sure he’s one of the guys that’s leading the team. He has to be a leader and make sure all those guys are following him. He’s the guy that everybody shows up to work for every morning and as long as he’s connected to us we’ll be working our hardest for him.”

Is your experience an advantage for you and your new team? “I definitely think so. Working with Chad Knaus (crew chief, No. 48) and the Hendrick Motorsports group was a great learning experience for me. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the greats all the way through even back to my first days in Cup with Dale Inman at Petty Enterprises — just went into the Hall of Fame — so there’s guys like that that I have learned a lot of lessons from. I hope to take all those things and put them to my best use.”

What are your thoughts on moving from Chevrolet to a Toyota team? “It’s definitely different. It’s a different mentality about the way they approach the race cars and the race track, the data and what they do with it. But then again, everything this year is different because of the EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) introduction for NASCAR. There’s a lot of new things. There’s a lot of new technology and we’re all kind of growing with that as well. I haven’t seen anything that’s a weak link. We’re looking forward to going out there and hitting the race track.”

How is the communication among your team and with Toyota? “They work together really well there at Joe Gibbs Racing with the Toyota development program and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) engines and all those things. The communication level probably needs to be picked up a little bit because there was a lot of things new. I think most of that just comes from the fact that fuel injection (EFI) and all those things are being introduced this year and we’ve got a lot of new people, new faces that we’re trying to get introduced and make sure everybody is doing the right thing at the race track, so we’re looking forward to that and getting those relationships built.”

Is it an advantage to have one full-time Toyota team to work with in Michael Waltrip Racing? “I think it’s a little easier because now we have the one team that we can go out there and lean on as far as technology. We know as long as we’re both going in one direction with TRD (Toyota Racing Development) that support is going to follow.”

Offical Press Release - NASCAR Media

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