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Ep. 116 | Jack Irving & Tyler Gibbs (Toyota Racing)


Hey everyone welcome to the racing. Writers podcast led to have you. Listening today is going to be a good one. You've probably heard of the Toyota racing driver. Development Program most likely connected to names like Christopher Bell. Eric Jones even Daniel Suarez Noah Gregson how about Christian acas Harrison Burton Christian being driver and the Gander. Rv outdoors truck series Harrison Burton. Now being a winner the expanding series. But how much do you really know about the program? It's easy to think well. Toyota just writes a check and tells which teamed for which driver in their car. It's a little more detailed than that. And Jack Irving and Tyler Gibbs Nice enough to give me an hour of their time to break it all down explain how the program works break them misconception of how and why the program started and even offer their opinion on why manufacturers should be involved in finding driver talent of the three manufacturers currently. Nascar Toyota is at the top of the board when it comes to having a deep driver pipeline and they know they won't be able to keep all the drivers they find but at least they have plans in place in a way to discover talent and help. Those drivers grow for when seats are ready to be filled in recent years. We've seen Ford step up and try and do something similar tastes. Briscoe is definitely there shining star right now but I think Ford would probably love to have more resources with teams and sponsors to be able to have more drivers. The same probably could be said for Chevrolet Chair motorsports in GM s have a program to help young drivers on and off the track but Chevrolet hasn't been very forward with their idea of a driver development program so again Toyota has definitely set the bar. And we're going to learn all about the way in which they've done it great stuff today from Jack in Tyler. Let's get to it here. They are on the racing writers. Podcasts lead started off by doing this. I because I don't want to mess up anybody's titles so Jack I've met you before. We've chatted before briefly but Jack let me start with you. Just tell everybody who you are and just what your title is and then Tyler you can do the same place. I name is Jack Irving. I am senior manager of commercial at tiered untitled Gibson. I'm a general manager. The reason I wanted to chat with both of you today is to dig in more to the program the driver development program. I know it's been talked about a few times. It's been out there but it's grown into such a unique thing. That folks are really starting to pay attention to so Jack. I remember when you and I talked a couple of years ago Bristol. I had made the joke that you're kind of like the wizard of Oz where I feel like you could walk around a Nascar Racetrack and folks don't really know who you are and what you do. Is it still kind of the same today? Even though Nahla folks are starting to pay more attention to this driver development program wizard of I am going to listen to that and the car tyler and thank you for that For the most part. I think it's still the same. I think you know the the teams that we deal with day to day Obviously I'm I'm close to you in the driver's close to so they definitely know me but for sure an average person I think in the garage with that is for sure Kelly you went to a grassroots. Hugh went to grassroots race. I mean he is the ball. Everybody knows you Jack Is. Was it a vase at Belle of the ball? Holy-moly YOU'RE GONNA end up feeding Jack's Ego here. Apparently what's going on antastic is going to be tyler. Let me throw this to you and when I throw these questions out of you feel free to answer them from your own perspective but tyler let me throw this to you. I think there's a little bit of a misconception. When it comes to this driver development program of kind of why it started and how it started and I know the name Kyle Larson will come up and some people say oh well. They made the mistake and they let Kyle Larson go. But from what I understand Kyle Larson is kind of what led to the start of the program but just explain why. It wasn't necessarily that he left. Which is what was kind of the reason for really digging into and creating the Toyota driver development program just change the story a little bit. Kyle definitely was the first one. I don't think that we made a conscious effort to change or to perceive until Christopher came along. So Kyle was in our Midget with teeth motor. Sports was winning a lot of races clearly. Incredibly talented with somebody that we were really interested in trying to help move along philosophically at the time our position and I think you've probably heard Davis before. Toyota's position was We don't get involved with drivers the teams responsibility. So Kyle came along and we were kind of living that way but we had an opportunity to take him around to introduce them to some of our truck teams. At the time I remember Doing it in Chicago at remember. How many years ago? It was but again through and and kind of introduced him and as is the case. The teams didn't have much sponsorship that they could put behind him and so we ended up losing 'em and we then got to watch kind of his talent progressive. He moved up to the truck series of few truck races and then sixty with chip and so when Christopher came along and was somebody who from our perspective was extremely talented again. It kind of said. Hey We can't let this happen again and so- Christopher was at an earlier stage and there was certainly a lot more patients and there were some things that just kind of fell into our laps in terms of opportunities that could give Christopher because of things that you couldn't otherwise have predictable going to happen and so that kind of began to build the road and again to his credit. Christopher took a bet on us He had offers from other teams and manufacturers to race program that they would try and put together. We couldn't match those programs but committed that as we had done up to that point you to offer what we knew we could do work to do better than that Took us at our word and Took a gamble on us. And we were able to then provide him substantially more than we had thought we were going to be able to again. Based on circumstances that had nothing to do Christopher and he used the opportunity from that point then it becomes a whole lot easier just to continue to put those things together. And so it's GonNa be Jackson really really good job of working with our partners and the number of partners that our trade partners jbl. I'm safe light autographs. Exxon Mobil Mobil One and a number of others That we've been able to to put together who support our program and work with us and we're able to capitalize on that and so that kind of built the fundamental basis of the program and then we've been able to expand so one thing I would add that to his Toyota's as a group had been helping drivers in and we would be detect Clark of that as well so if it was Bob Wallace or if it was Jones or or in some way or form to financially help drivers to make sure they're in our trucks or cars that that was something that was done in the past. I think what Christopher brought that was a little bit different was kind of he needed help on every front so there was a little bit of. There wasn't a whole lot of support that was their minus team support and our impact inability to to kind of him. Guide him kind of help. The program evolve in the respect that there was so much that was easy. There were lots various. We could jump into which was a little bit different than maybe. Eric's or even Bubbas at the time in our ability to to participate at that point. I think we just started golfing exactly so it just the amount of support that they brought in the help that they have is just all different in the program just needed to evolve in the respective how we ran it the way we viewed it. It just kind of started slowly becoming less of A. It's just a we helped you at a team. More of a little bit more involved. What are you doing every day? And where you racing? And how much racing to race with all of those started to become much more important to talk to a number of a number of up one teens driver academies and and until we were able to kind of understand how we were doing it. Excuse me a little bit differently than others. Were doing it as well as to pick up something we thought. Oh that's something. We could apply probably a little differently because of the nature of our racing. But we did a lot of research and we've really dug in and try to learn Best Practices in and we think we have some of our own thing that we've parts from other people as well and in dense practices from not just racing. I think that was part of it as we. We did the tour kind of understood that they did. We've also talked to professional teams. We restrict professional teams all different types of teams soccer teams. If it's if it's baseball teams like we've been involved in at the NC Double A. Arena. We've spent a. Lotta time with groups. Maher just to try to understand the way everyone else. If it's the way they deal with families and parents to deal with the kids if it's way to deal with contracts there's just there's so many pieces to that are bigger than necessarily just the racing part of it. There's just a lot more to the lifestyle part of it. That is important to the program as well so even before the program started. That's interesting you pointed out you guys. Were doing homework in a sense to kind of know how you wanted to launch it and the way in which you at. I wanted to go about it. That's interesting I didn't realize you had kind of looked around at what other people were. Martin doing that was kind of a big piece of of the whole thing is having the the ability to start from a clean white board. I mean there was no set way we had to run it and I think the way that David Tyler. Both were were interested in it was to do it the way we do things which is sometimes a little bit different in for our involvement to be much more personal than than others. Maybe involvement isn't even in other sports. So we we needed to kind of dig into understand what everybody else does too to try to take the best practices from what we felt other people and then what would what would line up to racing gagging jacket a good job. He he really had the vision for how we could grow the program in terms of taking in all the data and taking it all the different concepts from different places and and where we might go and and how he would leverage our relationships in terms of Toyota has relationships with lots of different organizations. And and do some things like that that that we could really capitalize on so I think from there. He really did a good job of applying the Toyota again philosophy. We're we're a relationship company. It's not about this is what we're GONNA do more about visible we're going to do together so the kids aren't in the program by themselves. Your date they know me they know Jack very well. They know transmitting. Oh lots of the other people who are involved in the program and so it is a relational thing when these young drivers go to homestead for the truck race at the end of the season or wherever it happens to be our senior. Most management know who they are. They recognize them. They've seen them. They've talked with them in the past and so again. It's just part of the two way of doing that. It's a respect for people building relationships for a while early on when the program started it was something that was almost not talked about right like it was something that was. Kinda kept behind closed doors. You guys really didn't promoted much. I know the drivers weren't really talking about it. Why was there that effort at first to kind of keep it quiet before it became a public thing that suddenly now everybody knows about Me Tyler? Meticulous to Kelly. It was great when it was private. No one talked about and then Lisa killed it. Made US talk about it and then we had this. Tell everyone that it was. It was so nice. Never the no one knew who we were at all. It was great known talked about and then we had to do videos and to see my head on screen. It was embarrassing. Nobody I think for us. You know a lot of what we do in racing in general is to try to understand things into to explore things until we actually are ready to launch them with Dr Development piece with definitely behind the scenes as much as it is it is it could be. I think you know with our teams. Were were pretty private with our teams in how we deal with some of the behind the scenes part so which is kind of a natural peace and honestly I think there was still a certain amount of of we were figuring it out. You don't even if we had drivers that were in it that we were engaged with. We're still working through how we do things and what we do in how we use. The drivers drivers are what's expected the drivers so I think there was a certain amount of that we were navigating on top of just learning. And then it's like everything else. I mean if you can put a program together soon or together properly and then hopefully it gives you an advantage. I mean what it comes down wind. You're ahead of the curve from everybody else on how you do things and you're hoping everybody else is playing catch up at that. Point Tyler. Now that the program is out. There were a couple years into where everybody knows about the program. Everybody has seen many of the drivers who have come through it. Whether it's Eric Daniel Christopher being a shining star so now that you know again. Toyota racing has kind of led the way when it comes to this driver development aspect. How often do you guys now get phone calls from drivers or families of trying to sell themselves into the program? I don't get very many call. Jack on the other hand gets hundreds of calls. Which is good jacket programming? Responsibility taking the wings should get the call the yet they come all the time as you can imagine if you have the opportunity to be in the program then that's something that you would you would want kids to be in. I I guess Some some have chosen not to again. That's that's fine. You can't have all the kids but Y'All Jackpot about the phone calls so we definitely get a fair amount of calls. We have a website that we direct parents to kids to sign up That they can do a lot of the forms and kind of help us get to know them a little bit. We do a lot of behind the scenes stuff so usually we know who the WHO the top. I don't know twenty five or thirty drivers by top. Fifty drivers are racing in grassroots racing. That we track and then there's always the fringe kids who were coming up with. Some of them are coming so young. I mean we're one of the calls that will get now. Fourteen fifteen thirteen fourteen. Fifteen year olds for the most part. So you're kind of hearing about local cart races and you know the big ones that people go to and some of the the kind of mill bridge type stuff where someone will go to the big event there and and if they win we'll hear all about that and a lot of it is is even when we get people reaching out. There's just a lot of vetting to ask to happen for us to understand the driver. The parents everybody involved before we will engage anyway. So you know I think. Sometimes we'll be someone will call you. They'll tell you how great their kid is and then ultimately you're you're just supposed to pick up that minute because they just called you and told yet and hers is a fair amount of work behind the scenes that has to go on for us to understand there's certain personalities were looking for their certain things. We're trying find a driver that we that we think are valuable in in trying to mesh those into what we currently have as well as just where they fit on our board down the road of where they will be in the twin system down five years seven years ten years from now So there's a fair amount of that that goes into it but but the the basic calls we definitely receive the quite quite a few of them a week. See You mentioned the formula. I wanted to jump into you. Kinda how this program works in the process. I'm sure there's data involved in whiteboards and you know it's kind of like down to a science now. What exactly makes this program work in a way when you guys are scouting drivers? There's almost like a checklist or profile. You mentioned even getting to know their backgrounds and their family. Just break it down more and again. Both of you can tackle this if you want. Just how the program works and what exactly you guys are looking for in a driver when you first begin that scouting process so I think the biggest part of the program for us is our teams. The teams are such vital keys. And it's why we linked to the teams that we do There was a lot of time and effort put into dealing with the teams and communicating with the teams. And they've been part of the program and one form or another where if it's helped building it or if it's iterating on it with us in giving him series that things we should be focusing on more but the teams are are a massive part of it. Their involvement and influence on the on the driver's is huge standing with spotters of the amount of time and effort. That goes into all of that is such a big deal. Del Mobile Kids. So I think you know we have a great Great set of teams at all levels that have allowed us to be successful. So that's the biggest part and then you get into kind of the human aspect of the drivers in there are lots of people who say they want to be race car drivers and there's not a lot of people who can do it and mentally. It's even harder so one of the things is just you know. What are they doing everyday to agree? Race car drivers in many of them can't answer it because many of them are doing anything so you need to instill a process and there needs to be a focus on you know. There's a lot of downtime miseries car driver in you know there's just some chime you're GONNA get the car. Being in a car is expensive and and you need to have a pretty fair amount of focus off the track. And that's something that you learn about somebody you know there's tests you give 'em and there's there's personality assessments and there's background stuff that we do with with People in their lives as well as their families to try to understand what they've done in the past. There's the garages small. I mean racing is is a pretty tight community and so for the most part cross manufacturer we all talk to each other. You can call another manufacturer. Call another team for the most part. I think everybody respects themselves in each other enough to to give some data about about everyone. So there's a fair amount of work that goes and fat and then there's just a pure analytics part of it. Where if they have raised in if it's been published we have it and we do a fair amount of analysis on that and if it's if it's asking people if it's defensive defensibility if it's you know how quick was her car off the track. Quick heard later in the riled runs what they are an old tires new tires. I mean. There's there's all kinds of stuff you can break down and racing from From an analytics point and everybody will have their view on what's important we have our view of what's important that kind of helps us at least drill down on certain drivers that we're gonNA work with and then honestly family is a big piece. Family is the biggest driver when it comes to drivers as a whole. It's it's it's you know they can make or break A young driver and so a family that's involved is important. Supportive is important and but then there's also the the stability peace and how supportive are they? Will they let the driver fail it? Will they learn molded back off? And there's all kinds of things that comes in with the family and I think the more we've we've been part of it the more it's been important for us to understand the family dynamic in we've been lucky to have some really good families and and and you know for the most part if if we had struggles or we thought struggles. We never participated. So that's been a big help to all of us as the you know being that we are where we are in the program we don't. We can be picky. We don't need every single kate to come in come Toyota. We are pretty picky on who we have In personality and attitude and the way they work and we have a performance in North Carolina. Where all of them workout. So if you make it to the big show and you're running and trucks you're running an Arca. You're running in one of those series. That are a national to retirees. You've come to that and work out with one of our trainers on the involved in the program in an immersive way In your attitude and focus is is seen every single day reports on it and and if you're not a hundred percent focus the program and so that's something that I think you know having ultimate support from all of the people around you and having good people around you and making sure surrounding yourself with the proper people friends included is important to be successful in the sport I would add jackknifed had conversations literally I can remember several in the back of our coach. Where mom and dad are sitting there. Jack and I are there in the driver's there we've looked at the MOM and Dad Against Look. You are at least fifty percent of the reason that your child may not make it when we don't. I mean at that when we don't even know them very well. This isn't a and we tell them that. Look this is not a statement about you as individuals. It's the level of importance that we place on letting the kids learn. We're not in a hurry. The parents typically are in a hurry. Sometimes that means the kids are in a hurry. You need to win where you are to move up. There isn't a timeframe If you if you look at at the ages of people success they're not all the same and again we're probably not gonNA take You know a thirty something and put them in a truck truck race and call them a development driver because there's probably some challenges to get them to where we need to be in an amount of time that gives them enough time to be successful but at the same time we're not looking for every kid to be in a truck when you're sixteen years old but again a lot of times. The parents are it's difficult for the parents understand. Hey you need to come and support your child not the race car driver that you want them to your child and and again those transfer get it or fantastic when they sit in the stands and they root for Johnny and they root for Susie and their kid is number you know whatever it is twelve and they love that and that's all they're doing there when they get back. Did you have a good time? Did you work hard? What did you learn? It's not why did you take turn one this way on fourteen and and so it's important the role that the parents play in supporting their kids and helping kids to go into human beings jacket? I talked really early in the program. We're going to lose either to the competition or just to almost all of the kids. The number of kids who are going to start our program and go all the way through of Become Cup. Champions is is just a such a small number that our goal is to make these kids better human beings they have a much better feel for helping and You know physical training. We have a better idea how to eat right. Have a better idea of how to talk to adults or people who are a lot older than them in field that they may not have a great deal of Experience and they they. They have confidence in themselves. They know how to do things that we give them life skills that they can take on. That's a positive representation of Toyota in the long term. And we can't have these parents taking all dot away and hurting kids aren't that that's their intent. But you know there's there's a lot of little league parents and so the other thing I would I would say is there's a perception maybe we'll talk about this later but there's the perception that if you're in the program just toy to write the check and that that is not at all the case. I'm not saying that our partners don't help us in this endeavor certainly do but there are different aspects of of the players that come in the drivers that come in and so I think again. I just want to make sure that we don't end up sending a message that says in the program. I mean this is great. You train like you. Just you gotta do work hard and you're all set. You GotTa Win Races. You got to have a good attitude. You've got to work hard. You've got to be a good teammate. You gotta excuse. There's there's a lot of things that we expect over time. And some of those things are are very practical on track and some of those things practical off track on some of those things are potentially financials well one other thing too. That tailored mentioned is about the parents are about whoever the support structure is the day to day support structure in racing. We just don't race very often right. There's just very few people that you know minisster raisers. There's very few people who are doing something you know. More than twenty five times at the most about what grassroots racers raced in. If you're lucky you get to thirty or thirty five and that's with a ridiculous amount of money support behind you so you have to be extremely good about dealing with the pressure in the failures that come with it very few people when in win consistently there aren't many tunnel bushes. I mean it's just. It's very rare when you're racing against TIME ADJUST SKI. You're BUBBA Pollard. At a late moderates. You're probably not just going to go out and beat him all the time. These are the best at what they do and continuously everywhere. You go up wrong. You're you're racing. Gets the best fetter. There and learning that in kind of dealing with the pressure is Morton. And that's what's so hard about people at home where people in your your personal life. That aren't one hundred percent supportive in so if it's family if it's parents if it's winds and girlfriends I mean it's just the amount of pressure to deal with what you went through from the the ups and downs of racing in the matter failures. We haven't racing or the perceived failures you having racing is. It's just it's completely exacerbated by people that aren't one hundred percent understanding of where you're going through what you're going through what you're dealing with and then letting you kind of go through the pain of that to learn on your own to some point when you're seventeen eighteen nineteen and has apparent of that each of boy that that age you. WanNa take all the pain away you WANNA help whatever. Which can all of this comes from? The most part of the parents were whoever is trying to help them but at some point them going through the skin knee and dealing with what happened and understanding what they do next and getting better is such an important piece and we have that every other sport for the most part you go to football in your you go to the football practice in your there for how we could deal with all of it. You deal with coach. You're the only one talking to coach in racing. That's a little bit different because the parents are very involved. And there's a lot of downtime so there's a lot of involvement in how you took when intern one and what happened with the exit. Turn to when you raise that one kid. Why did you let it? But you know there's just so much that goes into that and it happens at other stick and ball sports too but in ours it seems to be a little bit more prevalent In kind of the research. So it's important to just kind of find people were gonNA let their kid of all and go through the downs of all of it to to learn about it to get better because of it tyler you hit on their Abou- what it means when a driver is in the program and I did want to ask about that so just to follow up on that. It's not just you know. Hey we're clearing the path where writing checks. What more can you say about? What does it mean when a driver when Toyota is behind a driver? And what that entails. What what all goes into your support of that driver. The drivers under the drivers in the program probably can define that better than than we can't in the sense that they have all of the tools that they need to be successful or sport like any other professional sport is about ultimately performance and so we our patient. We have a set of realistic expectations. On those are spelled out kind of the kids actually define their goals for the year and Jack entrenched through those with them. And and tweak those until that's probably you're probably aiming to low you're probably too high or hey let's hope you hit the target. That's a hiring but our goal is basically to provide the kids with everything they need to be successful at the level. They're at the understand that a rookie in trucks is probably not going to run for championship that first year. Maybe they will depend on a whole bunch of other factors but we have some realistic goals for them. Along the way on what? That plan looks like console as we work with the drivers. They have As they begin to move up the ladder they have a pretty clear idea of what we see for the future man. What the possibilities are kind of on a year-by-year basis going forward. We give them a pretty good view of what that could look like. And so I think from that point where we're trying to say we're going to give you the best teams to work with so we can take a bunch of the variables out when you're an acute coons midget the chances on over the course of a season two keeps cars aren't the best prepared aren't the most reliable aren't the best setup he's just there maybe a race here or race there when that happened but by and large we can take out the whole while. I was leading in the car broke. Well I was leading them. This happened well that I should have done this and should we can take out a lot of those variables. Not all its racing. There's lots of unknowns. Same thing with entering the same thing with KVM NHRA and the rest of all these guys. They helped take out these variables or at least limit them and we give them the best chance to be successful. We're going to measure you against your teammates. We're going to measure you against relative performance in the field and we can kind of you know we can. Kind of evaluate your. You'll get a very very fair idea of where you stand and where you to improve and so our hope is is that there should be very few reasons why you weren't successful. That are outside of your control by the time we get to certain stages in program. Let's turn the tables here for a minute. The two of you imagine are on the road a lot together. There's gotta be some stories. There's gotta be tales of the two of you. Go down the road. There's got to be a lot of races covered when you're gonNA grassroots in your scouting these drivers who wants to Throw some dirt on their out there on the other. Go Tyler. Go ahead and Pop Jackson the EGO. The balloon right here. Here's your chance We have We have a tradition. We have a few tradition and in one of our traditions. Is that year that Rico. One the Chili Bowl which was now what six years ago when his first full on our way from our hotel again and we're creature habits have seen the same motel. We passed by this particular Mexican food restaurant and so we eat there every night of that. Stay I remember what it was three or four nights in a row and we won the Chili Bowl. So we have not eaten dinner at a different place in Tulsa since then in the last six years. We've been a speedy Gonzales. A NUMBER OF TIMES. I'll we take off our lives. But but that's a good one of our traditions. Lisa you saying Jeff participated in that but there are only for one night. They don't bear the weight of the whole performance. Like Jack and I do so we take a bullet for the team and we go to the Kelly we we go to speed so often that family haroon speed. He's looks at us the second or third day where they're in says. Why are you guys here? They're not that good. Yeah it's IT'S INSANE. It's insane and then then we go after the Chili Bowl. You know each night. We go to a quick trip on the way back to the hotel. What whatever it is midnight or something until we get in there and washing tweezers deal things from the war. We Bake brewers. We did big one group there once again. This is the quick break you. There's nothing should cost more than two or three dollars to write him and one of our our friends who we don't invite back anymore got like seventeen dollars six pack of beer like you can't just by. Of course he had to buy some. You know pipe or something out of a quick trip at midnight so we have our traditions for tradition. Lots of Mexican food all over the country. Yeah we're kind of Mexican food groups so we show up anywhere and you're unlucky enough to be with us you more than likely. No you're going to a on the wall Mexican place in the middle of Iowa. 'cause WE'LL find some random place to go to It it. It's what makes us really. It's our commitment to the kids. Were trying to help them get better by making extravagant find these. He's out of the ordinary places to eat at. I have only John Thicken pictures and some of them because they look so dangerous going in usually go through the good ones. Yes he takes the picture. Incentives way this is the last place we've been seen a lot of legal it. Yeah I've always said the schedule looking Mexican places. The better Adam incredible do know that an Indiana four is you know a California one and a half so we do. Take that into account when we're when we're looking at the YELP review but sometimes all you got a foreign that's what you gotta go with many tortilla chips go like that's for sure like we can put down baskets upon basket tortilla chips hard. Nutritionist is not a fan of this part of it. Though eyler follows the nutritionist guidelines. More than I obviously. But but she's she's definitely not a vegetable. I got you can't vegetable ADRI agree with vegetables. Corn I'll be like I would. I need to switch jobs and come work for you guys. I would fit in perfectly if this is what the job entails which is just finding Mexican places. Take Part of it. We did to where we tried. All the show that was that was a different one where we went. Through the forty-one flavors that was shake shack with lookout Catholic account trade every labor. We had to rate a winter reading reserved table. When she was pretty good we started we. We would talk about where we wanted to go to eat. What kind of food do you want? And it was always centered background Mexican. Don't even ask anymore. It's just getting the car and Jack finds the local place. That's really go. The other thing Kelly that he hasn't talked about his my amazing ability to always find these wonderful places in the direction. Like give during the drive letter. That are impeccable. Their impeccable directions. I have an amazing gift of direction that he just doesn't get any credit for at all. Let's just say that we get good three sixty views. All right Lots of lots of eighties. We've we've made turns point two places at its. It gives you a map google map. Y'All not mine. I'm just reading what they're given to me. That's all it's not me? I'll let you decide whether Google maps gets it right or wrong versus Jack. Up Evidence in the phone call to suggest that you probably know the answer to that. The other thing I did want to say is I wanted to congratulate you on Getting Jack. Up for an eight thirty hell of Jack doesn't typically noted. There's a appears twice on the clock on a normal day. That's that's unusual unless we're coming home from the racetrack and drug and not a good so that we can get home before noon. Yeah eight o'clock once in the evening. This is this is this is this is terrible. I can't even. I feel like I've been attacked issue. Like there's there's some call her. Wow I thought there were certain safer areas. You don't go. I guess we went there on this Thing for the entry sheet that General Manager. I think that's absolutely absolutely. We joke jackets in the Crock of eleven. We earliest who take lunch in between. Gosh I'm hoping is that all. We have been known to arrive at the sittings car for the the reception. Has Brian Coffey? Because he's on these phone calls with current and all the rest at all hours of the day way too much honesty on this call in all seriousness will. Let's let's get back to the program here in all seriousness know. How often are you guys going to races? Do you have any idea? What number of races? You guys are hitting in a year. Tyler. This is where we're venturing out a revenge Greg. We'RE REVENGE. This is this. Is Your your call your winning on this interview right here this is. This is all stuff I've given you. Crap fully utilized and year. Right now you can even the score here then. Three races I was at seventy racist so instead is three races truck. Xfinity and Y- Chili Bowl is depending on how nights there three or four week is five or six cm just depends on that so counting each kind of given race. There was a national anthem song. Kind of thing. So why was it seventy three? How many were you check your? Yeah I mean right around that number I am not as impeccable with my tracking event is tyler is because I'm normal so I knew that we go and I need to focus on the bigger picture. I don't get it. Do all the details of how much I travel. And how many files? If I sat the certainty I have to focus on the bigger Toyota. To your you picture. Tyler gets luxury of focusing on the little thing like how many miles valley. But this is this is because he doesn't know how to use excel but really honestly they just couldn't you the visionary because you can't use excel he just can't have the numbers just sell them. Begin Answer Guy. He picks her. None of us have big that Jones had spreadsheets in excel models in one of the things. I think with what we do that that I think is important is that we have to be out event. Just the amount of involvement understanding what happens in Pars took drivers. There is something about being there too in communicating with with the crew chiefs with the spotters. Whoever key managers there's just a lot you'd get from being around at events and and you learn a lot about about kind of the situation so the other thing too is. I think for teams. It's allowed a deeper relationship antitrust. That probably wasn't there eight years ago nine years ago just because they didn't know exactly what we're doing why and now you know. Obviously I think they were in it with them. Were were were serious about what we're doing this. This isn't we're looking for the next cup champions. I mean when it's all said and done looking win championships and races in every single series brand and we're looking to find the best possible rates driver. We can find to hopefully win a cup championship ten years now and so. I think it's important for us to show that kind of dedication just like our teams. Do I mean a lot of these guys are on the road were? I'm on the road. Two hundred days a year tires on the road a little bit over two hundred easier and if it's for doing raises if it's for sponsorship events if it's for Toyota events I mean those are things that we do consistently to to try to keep everybody connected to to to be good at what we do for a living. Jack talked about earlier but again. The relationship with our teams just can't be underscored Our relationship with our teams is critical. Success of our program. They help us identify talent. They help us nurture talent. They help us grow and Chur Talent. They give us candid feedback. you know. Jackie's David that he gets to see the best of drivers. They are their best self when they're with Jack because he's clearly the one who's running the program so they're going to be at their very best going to the track helps us see what is their very best look like when they're in a stressful maybe unsuccessful situation which is good. Because you WANNA know how good can they be under duress but at the same time when we're not there a lot of things that that they help the kids sort out? They they teach the kids. How professional racing works isn't how professional car drivers that are successful? React to things like this and so them knowing us a shilling up to midget week right one of the best weeks. All Year is individually. Just because you just get to be there and hang out with the kids for five or six days in the middle of Rural Indiana at all these different tracks but it's about spending time with our teams. It's about getting to know those guys better Living their life for walking that reveal mile in their mocks. It's a great part of the job is the relationship those people they know the world anyway. Did you just walk a mile or Mangasson is all that I knew I could feel I'm going? Yeah I I knew even only Malino. I'm trying I'm trying to think the listening base of this entire podcast about young people should easily cowboys and Indians cowboys Indians. Generational walk him like Jeez Oh this is the very chambers and the what happens in the car. I think you say. Play no-one no-one say especially the two of us in a car ride There is nothing sacred car door closed. I can only imagine free zone. We got it approved through it is an HR freedom. Yeah it sounds like it has to be for four. I was just GonNa say Jack has been fired from an HR perspective jackets and fired me than ten yards leading parks. Keep track you know only made it six miles per. He got fired. I think the shortest distance was about ten yards for Jack. Close the door start car. Pull Out Bang. You would have been terminated. You know. It's I'm usually the most free speaker of the two of US ninety nine percent of the time so that usually comes out in the car. So yes you mentioned talent. I wanted to talk about Christian for a second because I'm working on something for the Charlotte Motor speedway program story so I wanted to use him as an example. So when you go out and your driver's stands outlets US Christian here W-. How exactly did he land in the program? How did he get on your guys? Radar was it that he was doing well and does well. That makes him perfect for the driver Development Program Christian. I had watched Christian race. A bunch in some late models before he started venturing as when he was quite young in Nashville He probably third race or so and then I'd watch them in late model stuff and I definitely liked him. His attitude was different. He's a little bit quirky He's he's got a certain quietness to him. A little bit different than some others and so for any so young. I mean he was just really young as fourteen. Fifteen and So watch the men and then he just Kinda kept developing. He won the Snowball Derby Derby one and just kind of from that point on. We kept getting more and more involved. In my opinion he kept earning it so you know he had some tough years not tough years but there was definitely your to where it was a struggle the trainees and their equipment. They had not transition some of their equipment. So they've done all that work he'd stuck with him in it he paid. You Know He. He got paid for it. Basically his ability to to work with that team his ability to to run wallner equipment. And Billy's kind of focus on making the team as good as they possibly could be all paid off for Christian and do what he did last year. His year last year was pretty amazing to go from doing quite well and then having his issue where he couldn't raise Salem Because of a medical and intimacy race and then to kind of finish the way he finished to win the championship is just. It's it's what we saw. He has a amazing work ethic extremely focused and run the simulator as much as you give them the time to run the simulator. He's he's one hundred percent into his craft and and same thing with working out at the gym. If it's fitness is 'cause attrition. I mean he takes everything extremely seriously so that was something that he had at seventeen eighteen joke with his dad. George that I saw that side of the George maybe didn't see that but from involvement in our program you know a lot of the kids who started and we built a performance center. We were running out of a a warehouse. Small warehouse that was like a roll up. Door warehouse type thing sort unit and you know it was Harrison. It was todd it was Christian. It was Christopher Dirk kids would come by and workout added Christian was was one hundred percent into it you know and it's not like with like a lot of drivers they they. They weren't necessarily fitness. Is You know they raise cars? And they may of jocks. Amir wrote a bike but they worked in full program so we had hired somebody from University of Florida asserted Florida State on Betson. Twa Division One trainer and certified to do this kind of work. We'd worked with a couple of different people to find her and so she takes it seriously and put together Reprogram Perkins and so he was one of the ones who probably with with todd and Harrison. Were kind of the first kids that were on it which obviously fell two and his focus and ability to to put it all together his mindset. Especially you know the Arctic car dealing with Rudy now and trucks it. Just it's you have to have a certain strength to you to to go through kind of what he went through Until for big fan of Christians expect a lot. We get back to reschedule. Yeah it's been fun to watch Christian devout. Yeah we've just seen him mature over the last several years and he knows the role that he plays program having been quote unquote one of the old guys. Now and Gas Crazy if you leave kizer. It's that's a funny part midst coming from from the start of this not that long ago and then to to looking at somebody like Christian. Who's you know basically nineteen and you know he's he's been in the program for four years. I mean it. It's it's crazy to think that he's been in the program for four years and he feels like he's been there forever like he's one of the old timers and the same thing with bell or this Eric but it just. It's pretty amazing how these guys quickly go from being the new guys. We're learning it to them. Being guys were reminding. The young guys can of how they're supposed to act and what they're supposed to do and what they should expect I'm just that kind of maturity comes with Christian. I've had a lot of conversations from last year to this year even in kind of how intense it gets. You know you you go from winning a Lotta Arca races to then come to the truck race truck series and you're gonna deal with Johnny Sauter and in Moffitt and and and and that craft and all these guys were were amazing what they do every single day and it just changes changes your your your your actions and how you should be with the team and how you tr- take ownership of everything and it just. It's a different. It's a completely different level so it just takes a lot of transition. You laugh about these kids in one. What is the youngest driver? You've had in the program. We've seen eric develop ensue. Adult now and Christopher has come a long way and Christians on his way now. But what's the youngest driver that you guys have had in the program? We started at eleven so we had an eleven year old the program and so for the most part. That's too young. I was on a weird kicked of just trying to find the youngest kids to try to stay focused on the youngest kids. And that doesn't necessarily work. You can go to. Young is just so much happen. I think for the most part now. We're we're pretty focused on fourteen fifteen to kind of know what's out there who's up there that age because in two years so much happens. They're just. They're focused their involvement in the sports. What's going on Peripherally that can affect them so thirteen fourteen fifteen is is probably you know. Thirteenth Pretty Young Fourteen. You start getting a little bit more focused fifteen. They really typically are starting to choose racing as kind of this is what we're going to do and the amount of effort has to go into it to do it at fifteen sixteen is pretty severe. The amount of Travel that's going in there but I'm not I'm not sold on. You need to be young I I. I don't think and I mean you know young is still young but I mean I think eighteen nineteen. There's a lot of maturity that happens that he's making twenty that I think if you're racing dirt track your recently models. You really don't need to be in some of these bigger series and calorie eighteen. Nineteen a lot of people do it younger. And it's and we're part of that so I understand that but the maturity level that it takes to do it and to go race against Matt craft and I don't necessarily know how easy that is to do what eighteen. It's extremely difficult to do eighteen. It can be done. There are people who've done it but I don't know if it's fair so I I do think that the ages you know is changing kind of and what my focus is as a whole. We're still going to pay attention to thirteen fourteen fifteen. It's important to see what their development is. But I'm not one hundred percent sold that you need to be seventeen in you know trying to compete for wins in our guy. I think it's it's you know. Everybody has their own past. But you know for the most part there is something to be said for being twenty one. Twenty two twenty three In kind of having some life behind you that has helped you make some decisions before you get to trucker extended erasing that. I think can help Thurston. We started with Harrison fourteen and again like with Christian. It's been good to see him mature you know he's he's we've watched him grow up and continue to develop and he's done a really a really nice job gives a jacket and he is still on the young side but he's doing a nice job of a running series so funny Harrison Story. So I'm at you smart. I believe and he didn't he was thirteen. I remember rain but it didn't. I knew he was. I knew Harrisonburg. I knew he was you know. Just you know who he is but at new SMYRNA. I didn't realize the kid who finished heard was was was harrison burden I knew was a burden. It didn't it didn't register the burden family. It wasn't some of so we get out of the car and I know joke I mean. He barely was big enough to stand and look in the window. I mean it was it was crazy I mean and I remember I walk overdose just graduate and I am obviously and so I just take good rakes all thirty finish and I remember not really thinking of who that was and then I saw Jeff Burton the next day at the track and it hit me that that was his son and I felt like such schmuck at that moment. I can't eat little he way. Yeah we out the window. It was like what the where's the other half crazy. So good news. Great Weekend Schwartz was. I'll wind down here with two final questions. Tyler WanNa start this one with you going back. We talked about earlier a little bit. You had mentioned. This program has changed throughout the years. It has evolved as you kind of have fine tuned on the way in which you guys wanted to do it. What would you say has been the biggest thing the biggest evolution of the biggest change that this program has gone through over the years? I think from a physical perspective. I think the biggest change was the performance center having a physical place where that becomes a bit of the center of the wheel for these kids physically is important It requires discipline to show up and to go through your training and to do all. Those kinds of things it's facilitated Some social interaction between these kids who very very frequently are home schooled don't have a traditional socialization of other kids in their class or whatever because they're off racing do not not playing soccer applying these other things and so it's been that facility talk has really just kinda fostered a an environment where the kids can come and work hard. They can come and hang out. They can come in build relationships with others who have similar existences to them the coach who kind of oversees all that again builds those relationships. I feel like that's been the single biggest thing. It has highlighted for us that we have done a good job of kind of getting to where we are. But Jack and I both have a tremendous amount of A thought as to where we want to take this. We're we're by no means at the end of our journey and refining. We are doing sign of finding but there are still a lot of elements that we feel like. We can develop sufficiently from where we are right. Now Jackie throw this last question to you you can start off which is again a really kind of the start of our conversation we were talking about. How David Wilson once said I think he brought up a couple years ago. That manufacturers don't have any business developing drivers well. We've seen how well Toyota has done in that regard and now all of a sudden you know Ford has jumped on the program a couple of years ago and I think Chevy kind of has one So in that regard. Why do you think in? Your opinion manufacturers should be involved in developing drivers and having a ladder to where you will have talent. Come through this is for all of us. I mean this is marketing piece to promote our cars and and the ability of work. I be successful. Insert create a high end product. And I think these drivers are our ambassadors their spokespeople and winning such a premium for raising. I mean it's it's we're not here to to compete. We're here to win races consistently if it was about just kinda showing up racing it would be a completely different situation. But it's about winning and I think from a Toyota perspective. That's an important so for us to to be able to coordinate with our teams. You know the the teens are focused on winning and their their series that you know in a lot of times that there's a disciplined than it takes to to go on the Development Pass. Their kids don't necessarily stay. They're not there for long periods of time of this isn't this isn't frank kemble winning fifteen championships type thing this is. This is a A. You know you'll have a crush neck is for a couple of years and he'll move onto somewhere also the teams need to be all in on all of it And I think you know if if the the the manufacturers involved there's a certain amount of stability and structure that can be placed there from a bigger picture view of. Who's coming in what the future looks like in each person's involvement in that so I think from from an awareness perspective. It's extremely important because you take a little bit of of the guesswork out of it if you're involved in the analytics of it if you're at fault and kind of the industry as a whole so you know what's happening day to day. You're not swayed by outside outside opinion or outside thoughts or outside influence. And you're just doing what's best for your manufacturer and that's extremely important In in finding the best drivers I think that's what we've been lucky to do. We've been able to focus only on the driver's we there's very little that comes into it other than through the best drivers are to be part of the program. You need to be a very very good driver. And so there's a purity about it. That is real. The other thing too is what tyler hit on a little bit earlier? We're going to lose drivers and we understand that. And as we I understand that and it's important for us to help the sport become better and stronger and we do that by staying involved and by participating in the day to day pieces of it participating in the driver development part of the participating team to part of it and so I think having a little bit of a longer term view helps with that In why it's important for all the always to be a part of it. I think it helps works become stronger. It helps drivers have more opportunity and ultimately will get the best drivers in the best cars along. Awesome Tyler Jack. I appreciate the time and I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have. Thank you for the laughs at a lot of fun. Thank you awesome. Awesome conversation my appreciation to both Jack and Tyler for taking the time for being so open and having some fun along the way and once again the Lisa you heard referred to is Lisa Hughes Kennedy. Who is a part of the Toyota team? She's been wonderful in helping. Set up quite a few podcast interviews. The really isn't a whole lot left for me to say after that. Any questions or interest in how the T. R. D. Driver Development Program works should be well summed up a few years ago when I met Jack Irving for the first time. Which is what I brought up at the top of the show about him being the wizard of Oz because he can walk around the racetrack and really nobody knows who he is or how important he is unless you know who Jack Is. It's the casual fan casual people. The sport have no idea and it was around this time that they were getting ready to do a combine to actually scout some additional talent and that combine. I believe was geared gesture toward female drivers. So it was another way for them to be able to see drivers behind the wheel and put them through the paces. Find out what they're made of. I hope you enjoyed it. Hope you'll learn something. Leave a rating and review. If you haven't done so or if you want to do so again I'll take them all as we roll along here trying to make this thing bigger and better as we go. Spread the word to your family and friends remember. You can find me on facebook. Look for my public page. You can also follow me on twitter. Tell me what you think. My handle is at Kelly crandall. And by now I hope you have racer dot Com bookmarked on your computer. For All of the latest NASCAR news and even news from F one INDYCAR IMSA so much more we have you covered and now more than ever when everybody is hungry for content there are certainly plenty to see and read over at Racer Dot Com with that. A narrower episode is done. We've got many more to come next week like I've already told you it's going. To be veteran Michael McDowell here on the racing writers pockets.

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