Thoughts on Joe Gibbs Racing suspending No. 78 team pit crew members

It seems like “Only in NASCAR!” moments happen every week lately, doesn’t it? And yet another one occurred Thursday when Joe Gibbs Racing suspended two members of Martin Truex Jr.’s pit crew for three races.

Yes, that’s right: JGR issued suspensions to a pair of crewman who pit the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 car — essentially JGR’s top competitor this season.

How is that possible? Well, FRR doesn’t have its own pit crew. As part of its alliance deal with JGR (which supplies FRR with cars), the No. 78 uses a JGR pit crew each week.

So when two of the pit crew members nearly got in a fight with Kyle Busch crew chief Adam Stevens after the Brickyard 400, that was a BIG-TIME no-no.

I mean, think about it: Two employees of a company were screaming in the face of someone who was basically their superior. That would get you fired from a LOT of jobs, to be honest.

But although the suspensions were justified, the optics on this are terrible. Stevens didn’t start the confrontation — one of the crew members taunted the crew chief by clapping as he walked by — Stevens probably should have gotten some kind of public reprimand if the crew guys were going to end up losing three weeks of salary.

Otherwise, the general fan is understandably going to have a “If you can’t beat ’em, suspend ’em” reaction to what happened — no matter how much JGR and FRR try to explain that you can’t get in an altercation with a high-level person from the company that signs your checks.

62 Replies to “Thoughts on Joe Gibbs Racing suspending No. 78 team pit crew members”

  1. I think if he was going to suspend 78 crew members he should have suspended the 18 crew involved too

    1. There was no 18 crew involved. These people have no clue what there looking at or talking about. They will say whatever they can to make Kyle look stupid weather it is true or not. We might as well let CNN report on our sport.

      1. So, Stevens isn’t a part of the 18 team? And wasn’t in 78’s pit box? You are the one looking stupid!

      2. You are ignorant, Adam stevens the crew chief for the 18 rracted to a clap. As a managment level personnel he showed very poor judgement by responding with vulgar language towards the 78 crew member. The fact that JGR allowed Adam Stevens to get away with his actions shows poorly on the JGR upper management, they should have also suspended both the 18 crew members for engaging in the discourse. Otherwise JGR says its ok for your superiors to act inappropriate to their subordinates, and that is wrong on so many levels!


  2. I think Adam being a Crew Chief should have “walked away” as we say in our office. Leadership has responsibility to “not engage”. By reacting he has some level of responsibility and accountability here too.

    1. I think Adam did a great job walking away. Didn’t scream and cuss in the guys face.

      1. In the video Adams says “I want to kick your F**king Ass”
        From a management point of view, not a great walk away IMO

  3. Still leaves a bad taste… hammer the 78 crew and nothing for Stevens who’s position in the organization should dictate a more intelligent reaction. Although it did confirm that I made a wise choice having my own one man business ????????????????????????

  4. So, one guy clapping in his pit box or as you said “taunting” gives Stevens the green light to enter the other teams pit box? Also, the give and take between the 18 & 78 stopped as soon as the 78 had the lead on the restart that started this whole mess. Continue doing what you’ve been doing all year Martin, Cole & Furniture Row Racing. Kick jgr butt making the equipement you get from them better & FASTER. #TeamFRR

  5. JGR Racing’s front office has another painful week. A few weeks back they mishandled the Matt Kenseth contract ‘announcement’ just as badly as this week’s suspension-gate fiasco. Seems the front office needs a time out or better yet an overhaul.

  6. Prayer Joe don’t have to be too happy seeing FRR beats JGR every week.
    This affaire seems to be just starting,

  7. I’d imagine a lot has gone on behind closed doors, no one is painted in glory, but someone has to be the fallguy otherwise itll be a free for all the next time it happens. the crew guys have to know there are repurcussions, although 3 races seem harsh for 1 guy clapping and the other trying to diffuse the situation in a roundabout way

  8. No, Stevens didn’t start it, but he CONTINUED it. This whole situation could have been avoided if he had just continued walking. He should have known better.

    The fact that he didn’t even get a public reprimand feels like “sour grapes” to me (on JGR’s part). At least give the guy a slap on the wrist if you’re going to suspend the other guys.

  9. To me it doesn’t matter who started it or who ended it. The bottom line is three individuals were involved in the altercation and all three individuals could’ve handled it differently. There was an instigator, an escalator and a finisher. One person walks away Scott free. two other people are held to a standard that apparently doesn’t apply to everybody. JGR is tired of getting their ass handed to them by their own equipment. These are the fractures to make alliances difficult. Look no further to SHR and HMS!

  10. The employees got into a confrontation with a senior manager, after taunting him. Sr. manager should have taken names, and walked away. This is an internal issue with a company that is reputed as having very skilled and controlled crews.

    Emotions got the best of all involved, and lower level employees farmed out to another team, not even on the main 4 in-house teams, just flushed their future with JGR down the drain.

  11. Jeff, you nailed it. First, Stevens was provoked, however he should not have allowed himself to be provoked. They are both in error; Acting emotionally.

    Second, the crew chief is not an equal to crew members. It is the case of a manager and a couple of employees, even if the manager is from a different department he is going to be treated differently. Should Stevens have been punished? Definitely, and he might have been behind closed doors. But to say a manager should be punished in the same way as workers is not realistic. He is too valuable, the company has invested too much in him, and for him to have lasted this long in the company means he is entitled to some deference.

  12. You would think Adam Stevens would have had to have had a word with his boss about this. Too bad that wasn’t mentioned. It would give transparency to this and would have diffused public opinion against JGR. But then again- it isn’t any of our business either.

    What is more interesting and pertinent is how the two replacements will affect the pit stops this weekend for Martin Truex Jr. I think any possible miscues on pit road will be more interesting and mean more to us as fans than anything that happened to Adam Stevens as a result of this past weekend’s altercation.

  13. So you work on a “Team” 78 every week in a high pressure, emotional environment and they expect you to not stick up for that “team” because your paycheck comes from “your team”????
    Stevens should have noted the name of the person and kept walking and there should have been a private meeting this week with a slap on the wrist for BOTH parties involved!
    To me NASCAR needs to step in, they have a policy of 4 “teams” per owner, its ok to get car and share info but, when you have situation like this, I think it cross’s a line of the 4 “team” rule.

    1. ???????? Anonymous!!

      Darn it Jeff Gluck, give us a “THUMBS UP” option so I don’t have to keep posting a comment just to give a ????????

  14. There is no good way to spin this. I understand that his is a business decision, but it will never be viewed that way by NASCAR fans. The top running team (#78) gets shaken-down by another Team — Looks bad anyway you look at that.

  15. Looks like NASCAR just had its four-team rule violated. If you have a four-team limit, then how can you suspend a crew member from team number five? Furniture Row didn’t suspend those guys. JGR did. Attn: Stewart Haus. Feel free to add as many cars as you want, since NASCAR rules don’t apply to Gibbs any more.

    1. Nascar has gone from 43 cars at all events in 2016 to not being able to get 40 cars in 2017. At this rate all the smaller team charters will be bought up by the money teams. 8 Teams with 4 cars. By 2020 I feel that 36 cars will be the norm except for the premier events.

  16. I would only say this – if these guys truly needed to be disciplined they should have been docked pay, not suspended. Then THEY would be punished, not the 78 team. No matter the quality of the replacements they simply will not have meshed with the rest of the over the wall guys.

    JGR needs to bring in an outside PR consultant for a critical but objective look at their messaging. Their optics the last few weeks are not consistent with the quality of their organization, and they seem intent on shooting their feet off on toe at a time.

    1. I used to think that connecting Joe Gibbs and cheating wouldn’t occur but for the obvious advantage to the 18 team I just saw it happen. When a competitor is “severely” punished and no one from the 18 is then JGR is rotten as ____. Way to go Joe!

  17. Jeff -,How does Furniture Row allow this to happen? They are most impacted by this decision. How will this impact the relationship with JGR as I can’t believe they agree with this decision.?

    The #18 Crew Chief who made the decision that drove the contact did not act properly and was in the #78 pit box. Even if responding to a #78 employee he crossed the line and as others said this seems completely unfair and one sided and I’d be embarrassed to be with JGR taking this action. It was the #18 who made the initial decision to race and Truex made a mistake.,

  18. Over reaction to a minor exchange or retribution for excelling for the wrong team? JGR can justify their actions however they want, it won’t change appearances.

  19. This is wrong on so many levels of completion that Joe Gibbs should be ASHAMED of have his name associated with JGR. The reeks of unfair competition in order to give any advantage to the fair hair angel child, Kyle. It seems him and his team can’t win fairly that they have to resort to sabotage his competitor. What about Kyle’s crew chief interjecting himself and adding fuel to the fire? Where’s his suspension or would that disadvantage Kyle?

  20. Okay this is what I saw. An 18 and 78 crew member were having a heated exchange THEN a different 78 crew member applauded either/or as they both walked away. Mr. Crew Chief “mistakenly” took it as being directed at him and already being pissed off because their butts are being whipped with their “own” equipment, storms over there a blows a gasket.

    Seriously, looked at the guy’s face who is applauding, he was shocked when Adam came over there and got into his face. At that point what would you do. I also just read an article on Autoweek and Matt Weaver doesn’t think things were handle right or fair either.

    1. You have it all right except the #78 crew guy that was sarcastically clapping shouted “Tell Kyle ‘nice going'” or something similar as Stevens was walking by. THIS is what provoked him.

      The #78 crew guy should not have provoked him, and he should not have allowed himself to be provoked. Both acting emotionally.

      1. I just dont think it was right that all involved were not held accountable. Why just MTJ team?? The 18 made a choice to enter that box knowing what would happen if he did and probably knowing he would get away with it and they wouldnt. Sounds like a strategic move to me.

        1. As I said elsewhere, you don’t punish a manager the same way you punish a worker. The manager is too valuable to the company and his tenure has earned some deference that a worker has not yet earned. The manager needs to be punished, but probably behind closed doors.

  21. It’s just not right!!! If your going to punish one… Punish the other!!

    1. Stevens might have been punished, we don’t know. You don’t punish a manager the same way you punish a worker. He is too valuable, the company has invested too much in him, and his longer term with the company earns him some deference.

  22. Everyone is basing their opinions on a video clip that doesn’t begin at the start of the event/situation and doesn’t allow for any back story. The one video clip no one is talking about is Joe Gibbs face at the instant 78 hits the 18 car putting them both into the wall. If you know anything about Gibbs and his football coaching style and belief system…you will understand that this is just the beginning. At seasons end the other shoe will drop. If I were Furniture Row…I’d be recruiting crew for the 2018 season.

  23. I’ve had an issue all season with NASCAR allowing JGR to furnish crew to the Furniture Row team. I also know that it is TRD behind this whole program since essentially they had 1 competitive 4 car team prior to FRR.

  24. I think some people are forgetting that Adam Stevens was the one to escalate the situation when he thought the words “beat your ass”, like he’s winning a fight against any of those guys, were the correct words to tell a team member in his team’s territory.

    To me this really brings in to question the integrity of loaned out team members. What if this were the playoffs? If another team has this level of control over your over the wall guys, that can make or break a race. Not mention #78 is one of the fastest cars every week and #18 is still with out a win. Does it not feel at least somewhat like games are being played here?

    1. They are not “loaned out” team members. They are JGR employees under contract to work for FRR as part of their technical alliance. JGR pays the crew, FRR pays JGR. Anytime FRR doesn’t want them, they don’t have to have them.

  25. This is the same team that did nothing when their driver physically attacked Joey Logano (and failed miserably). I’m a Skins fan and was a big Coach Gibbs fan, but after all of his excusing Kyle’s poor behavior and then pulling this garbage, he’s lost me.

  26. The crew member Adam Stevens calls “tough guy” IS a tough guy. He’s a Marine.

  27. Looks like another attempt of trying to find a way for Kyle to win a race ( @ FRR’s expense) ….Hmmmm…Did Adam go over to “instigate” a problem ??Was it a set up ?? Frr team get in there & show them what you’ve got….( sour grapes JGR racing because that small team & Cole are so good ??? ) More NASCAR created drama (TMZ style)….GOOOOO #78…

  28. Hey Jeff can you do some digging and find out what in the world JGR is getting out of this alliance? They were fast before the FRR deal. Seems like they are supplying this team with fast cars and a fast pit crew and they are beating all JGR teams now. JGR is funding its own downfall. Seems pretty dumb really.

  29. No worries here. MTJ will prevail and show them no matter what they throw at him he is unstopppable. I am in management and if i ever put my finger in someones chest during a discussion i have no doubt i would be suspended at the least and more than likely terminated. You have a responsibility as a manager to do the right thing and that was definatelt not it. SMH

  30. No worries here. MTJ will prevail and show them no matter what they throw at him he is unstopppable. I am in management and if i ever put my finger in someones chest during a discussion i have no doubt i would be suspended at the least and more than likely terminated. You have a responsibility as a manager to do the right thing and that was definitely not it. SMH

  31. Jeff, I agree 100% with you. We as the fan didn’t see the whole altercation. We see what the media wants us to see. Though Adam Stevens is their “superior” he should have just walked away. This whole incident reeks of the divide between JGR and FRR. They don’t like that Martin is kicking their butts with their equipment. Even though Denny has won, the rest of the organization isn’t.

    Essentially JGR has 5 teams, thumbing their noses to the rest of the teams that are following the rules of only 4 teams. This has really opened a hole bag of worms for all the other teams.

    This and many other things (not punishing Kyle, the overtime line, the end of the Brickyard etc) that NASCAR has done, will/has run off new and old fans. I know I have one in my household. My husband is not a NASCAR fan much anymore. I’m very sad about that..

  32. Punishment yes, Stevens should have something done for his language also. But what gets me is the timing, Thursday , leaving 2 days for the replacements to practice with the other crew members. Yes, JGR is replacing with quality people. But looks like trying to slow FRR down and give JGR a better chance to beat them. Will this work or backfire?

    1. Appearances can be deceiving. Some here want to accuse Joe Gibbs of cheating. Others think he never would because of his Christian principles. Pick your side. But only assume at risk of your own peril.

  33. He was clapping at the hauler driver , the crew chief inserted himself I to the affair .

    1. Half the story. He then shouted a sarcastic attack on Kyle Busch, and this is what Adam Stevens heard.

  34. Truex will have terrible cars over the next month. Just like who was it edwards that did the bump and pass to a fellow gibbs driver. Edwards had junk cars for weeks.
    I could care less about the crew thing, what bothers me is, i thought martin new how to drive. He has had the best car all year, and he now gets the second best car so he overdrives it and wrecks?????????????????????????. Whats gonna happen when he doesnt have the absolute best car anymore, will he last in nascar??????????

  35. I am not saying what the FAR crew guys did was okay, HOWEVER, I AM SAYING, A higher up should have maintained his cool and not let TAUNTING draw him into showing what a little PRICK he really is. He should have kept walking and handled it internally, not in view of the camera’s. All he proved, he is as big a cry baby as his driver #18chinlesslooser and all COACH HIGH AND MIGHTY proved is if you can’t beat them, CHEAT THEM!!! Good to know though, COACH GIBBS doesn’t CARE WHAT FANS THINK!!!!

  36. Adam Stephens, “upper management” Allowed TAUNTING to cause HIMSELF a MELTDOWN for ALL TO SEE???? Oh yeah, clearly he also To Valuable to be Punished!???? He is a LITTLE PRICK same as his driver and Coach Gibbs, Mr. MORAL HIGH GROUND, just lost his grip. Reeks of Sour Grapes, FRR & MTJ Kicking JGR’s ASS so Gibbs steps in and levels the playing field! Bad Juju Coach, KARMA will come!

  37. So Adam Stevens in a leadership role at JGR getting in the face of another employee and finger thumpimg him in the chest ,over a none vulgar stupid comment. If I did that to one my employees, I’d be fired..

  38. Adam was out of line to confront another team in there space. Any pit crew is running on 110% adrinalin. If Kyle Bush had walked into the pit the same would have happened.

  39. If any Manager I know told a Employee that he was going to Kick His Ass as Stevens told the 78 Crewman, The Manager would be Fired for Verbally Threatening to Assault a Employee, Stevens should be held to higher Standard which IMO means he should have been Penalized the Most, Meaning Terminated!

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