Finally! I thought it would never happen!! All day yesterday the media was expecting Joe Gibbs to make an announcement regarding the No. 18 race team…..but it never came.
This morning, 9:30 am MTS, (11:30 AM Est) Joe Gibbs, along with Kyle Busch (with Kyle wearing a plain shirt with no logos for his meeting with the press this morning) and a Mars Representative, took to the podium at the PIR Media Center.
Here’s what was said:
Joe Gibbs started by reiterating that M&Ms WILL be back in full force for 2012, and they have everything worked out, ”We’re all set.”
Interstate Batteries, in the meantime, stepped up to the plate and stated in an earlier tweet “We also honor Mars’ request to take a couple weeks off. As a 20-year sponsor of JGR, we thought it best to help the team during this time.”
This will be a rough time for JGR, financial wise.
Said Gibbs,”Kyle’s penalties are gonna be substantial….”will be other financial penalties and stuff that we’re working through, but the biggest thing for everybody on the 18 car is we went from seventh in the points to 11th. That’s a huge deal.”
Kyle Busch said it’s a situation he could never dream something like this would happen. .. said his actions were disrespectful.
Joe Gibbs: “I wanna support Kyle and I feel like this can have a positive impact on him as a person. I’m committed to him as a person. I like him.”
“This has been quite a trying week. I’m apologetic to everyone who has been through this situation. No one to blame buy myself,” stated Busch. ”We want to learn from this. Certainly, there’s some remorse from my side. There is an opportunity for me to become a better person from this. I’m sure I’ve lost respect to team, sponsors and peers.” Busch says he’s remorseful & publicly apologizes to M&Ms. Busch also stated “I want to be at Joe Gibbs Racing, I want to be in NASCAR and I want to be driving the M&Ms Toyota.”
Gibbs then followed with, “Over the last year, I really think he has made great strides but a shame he took a step back here…”
As the press conference continued, Gibbs was asked if M&M’s will receive a refund, whether or not Busch will or will not get paid and/or fined & what Interstate Batteries is paying.
Gibbs was not willing to discuss internal financial situation with team and sponsors.
Busch says “I have more behavioral issues than driving issues,” and JGR was showing anything non-committal towards anger management.
Busch said he’s talked with Ron Hornaday and the conversation ended well. “I’m still invited to the house … so that’s good.” In the meantime, as we all know that Busch is quite a fan of Twitter, he has not checked his Twitter account for comments at all. “The great thing about Twitter, is you can also turn it off.”
So what about the Nationwide Series? Gibbs says he is taking responsibility for Denny Hamlin driving the Z-Line Design NNS car next week. Gibbs said the WHOLE team played a role in discussions with sponsor Z-Line about having Kyle out of Nationwide car at Homestead to focus on Cup.
A message to the fans:
“I do appreciate any of the fan support that has been out there…I do appreciate my fan base…” Busch said. He mentioned he was worried about losing his ride, but never was told by Gibbs that he might lose his ride.
Busch said, “It was a big deal to sit there and watch the race Sunday and see the No. 18 car and I was not in it.” You’ve got to be smarter. I certainly was not smarter with my actions last Friday night (at Texas). I get that.”
“This week, I definitely got burned by my own fire,” said Busch.
Something to watch for:
According to Kevin Harvick, in trying to make things right, Kyle busch has offered Ron Hornaday the No. 18 truck ride (full-time) in 2012.
And this story keeps on going!! Stay tuned!
SOURCE: JGR PRess Conference, Twitter