Why Joe Gibbs isn’t sweating NASCAR team’s slow start

Joe Gibbs has seen this movie before.

In 1987, when Gibbs was the head coach of the Washington Redskins of the National Football League, his team went 11-4 in the regular season, won the highly competitive NFC East division, the conference championship and then kicked the stuffing out of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII, winning 42-10.

A year later, the ‘Skins went 7-9, finishing third out of four teams in the NFC East.

Gibbs, the owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, said Wednesday that his experiences coaching in the NFL have made it easier to cope with the team’s slow start to the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

After winning 26 races in 2015-16 and the 2015 championship with Kyle Busch, JGR is 0-for-7 so far in 2017.

You’ll have that in big-time racing.

Not that the team isn’t reacting, mind you. Gibbs said the management team at JGR has spent the last three weeks analyzing where the team is off from a performance standpoint.

“There’s probably about five things that we’ve picked out, where we feel like we can make an improvement,” said Gibbs. “We definitely feel like we’re off, and particularly, I feel like we’re off at intermediate tracks.”

Gibbs said it’s not much different than other sports.

“I think what this emphasizes, is how hard our sport is,” said Gibbs. “If you think about us last year, we had really an unbelievable year for us. And yet here we are, sitting here after seven races and everybody’s kind of going, ‘Hey, what’s the deal?’”

And that brings Gibbs back to his days in the NFL.

“It only takes a little bit (to fall behind) in pro sports, because everybody else is so good, and everybody else is very talented and working hard,” said Gibbs. “You’ve seen a couple of (NASCAR) teams make a big jump forward. Right now, we’ve kind of slid back some … I think the hardest thing in pro sports — I’ve always said this — is to stay up there. It’s hard to stay up there.”

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