I think back to last year at the end of the year, Kyle probably had some of the most bitter disappointments, I think, that's happened to us in 22 years. We missed the Chase. We had Watkins Glen and won, go to the last lap and get in somebody else's oil. We had some issues mechanically during the year that cost us.
I think last year at the end of the year, Kyle really handled all of those things about as good as you could handle them. I think it showed real maturity, and I think that kind of set the course for this year, really. Dave and him went through some real tough things, and they have -- I think they have some of the most frank conversations, and they'll both get fired up and get after each other. But I think that's all part of sports.
When I think about it, it's like in football, the coach and the quarterback. You can have some sparks, but it's neat to see the way they've handled all of that this year to get off to the kind of start the way we have right now. I just told Kyle, whatever you're doing, keep doing it (laughing). We don't want to change anything right now.
I do want to say a big thanks to M&M'S. They're a big part of this program. Because this sport is unlike any other. You can't race without great sponsors. M&M'S is a great sponsor for us. They teamed up with Norm, and everybody likes Norm, so that's awesome. The other people that we've got on the car, Monster is on there, so that's great. We've got great partners. That's neat for us for Joe Gibbs Racing to have those kind of partners.
Dave and Kyle, and also for Coach, given what happened last year, and he touched on some of that, how important -- there is a long way to go in the regular season. But if you guys continue at this pace to get solidly entrenched in there, are you guys going to be more dangerous potentially in the Chase than you ever have been because of that pressure of trying to make it happen at Richmond just won't be there? How important is that for you to sort of keep this going until you stretch out a little bit from everybody else?
Yeah, well, if it was for getting two wins last year, we would have made the Chase. That's what our year is all about. You have to be able to execute through the first 26 and get yourself a playoff spot and be able to go battle with the rest of the guys to be able to win a championship.
Right now, obviously, winning two races so far this year, you'd say that's a lock. But anything can happen. We've still got some work to do to get better at some of the tracks that we did struggle at last year, and we know that.
One is coming up next week, so that's going to be a battle for us just making sure we've got a good handling car and one that I can drive and push hard and make speed of because that asphalt is pretty new there.
But with last year's frustrations and everything and coming down to that race in Richmond, we didn't execute that as we needed to. But we learned from that one. We put that in the memory bank and we talked about it a lot. Through the last ten weeks I felt like we did a lot of things right, and there were probably a couple things we could have done even better yet.
We learned from those things and Dave and I talked a lot through those weeks and through the off-season. So what do we need to do to better execute the end of these races to put ourselves in a position to win and close them out like tonight and California, you know, being able to do that.