An Interview with Alex Job and Rod Emory ADAM SAAL: Welcome, everyone. Thank for taking a couple minutes out of your busy holiday schedules to join us for what we believe is an exciting announcement for the Rolex Sports Car Series in the ...
An Interview with Alex Job and Rod Emory
ADAM SAAL: Welcome, everyone. Thank for taking a couple minutes out of your busy holiday schedules to join us for what we believe is an exciting announcement for the Rolex Sports Car Series in the Daytona Prototype division coming up next year. We're actually doing this from the infield at Daytona International Speedway where a group of teams are testing, and among them on the track today is the new Porsche Crawford from Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports.
We're very pleased to have with us the President and Owner of Alex Job Racing, Alex Job, as well as the President and Owner of Emory Motorsports, Rod Emory, to make a couple announcements and answer some questions.
We'll get started with Alex first and foremost, who is going to talk about the driver lineup for the new No. 23 Porsche Crawford that will make its debut in the Rolex Sports Car Series at the Rolex 24 At Daytona late next January.
Welcome, Alex. Thanks for coming in from the pits and being here for this announcement today. Tell us who we'll see driving the No. 23 car.
ALEX JOB: Thank you, Adam. I'm very pleased to announce we're going to have three Porsche factory drivers driving for the 24 Hours. It Will be Patrick Long of the United States, Lucas Luhr of Germany who actually lives in Monaco, and Mike Rockenfeller from Germany. All three of them are Porsche factory contract drivers. Both Lucas and Mike Rockenfeller have driven for me in the past. Patrick, we actually competed against this past year in another series. He actually beat us for the championship this year, so I'm really happy to have him aboard. He's the only American on the Porsche factory squad and he's actually here driving today for us, doing a great job.
We're very happy to be here today with our new Porsche-powered Crawford testing. We had a very good test at Homestead a couple weeks ago. Today we've got a head start on the testing here at Daytona for Crawford day. Things are going very well so far.
ADAM SAAL: Patrick is the only driver here testing today; Lucas and Mike will join you later on?
ALEX JOB: Yeah, Patrick is the only one here today. Mike was with us a couple weeks ago in Homestead. Lucas will join us in a couple weeks here in January.
ADAM SAAL: Staying on the competition side, you've taken any doubts out of the driver lineup. You have three proven and established drivers, all factory drivers with Porsche, a lineup as good as any that will be in this race. Knowing you don't really have to worry about the drivers, what is the biggest thing on your mind as you prepare for the Rolex 24 with a brand-new team and brand-new car?
ALEX JOB: Well, the biggest thing has to be this new package. This Porsche-powered Crawford is a new package, the first one. The Crawford is a proven package. The Porsche engine is proven. But the two together in this application haven't been done yet.
As any new car, there are always some new issues. I hate going to the Rolex 24 with a brand-new car. It's kind of hard to go to a 24-hour race with a brand-new package. But we've done this in the past. We've competed here as a team for I believe 12 years. We've done 14 24-hour races. I believe between the three drivers they collectively have I think even more than that collectively as drivers in 24-hour races.
I think we've got a pretty proven package. The team is very knowledgeable with 24-hour races. But, you know, there's a lot of mechanical components to this package. We have to make sure that we have a reliable package.
ADAM SAAL: Again, we mentioned this new effort is a collaboration between Alex Job Racing and Emory Motorsports. With is us Rod Emory, President and Owner of Emory Motorsports. He's going to talk a little about the commercial elements, basically what the package is from the sponsorship side, and where they hope to be.
ROD EMORY: Emory Motorsports is very delighted to be working with Alex Job Racing. This is a relationship we've been working on for quite some time. We have a number of things that we are working on for the future. But right now we want to announce that our primary sponsor for the Rolex 24 At Daytona effort will be Shred-It. Shred-It is the world's leading document destruction company, with franchises that dot the globe, and they're headquartered in Toronto, Canada.
Shred-It, they're no stranger to the Rolex 24 At Daytona, this will be their fourth-consecutive year as a sponsor for this prestigious race. They were a sponsor on the Team Seattle effort for the past three years, which I had an opportunity to be one of the drivers on that effort last year. Shred-It has continued their support in the series as a sponsor on a GT car for a select number of races last year and are very excited to be on this Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports car for the Rolex 24.
We're right now are working diligently to be able to put the rest of our financial package together to be able to run the entire season. But right now our focus is on building a strong effort for Daytona, doing what we need to do to get ourselves to the front.
ADAM SAAL: Rod, you mentioned you drove here before probably several times in various races. Have you hung up your helmet in regards to this effort or will you possibly get in the car after the 24 Hour?
ROD EMORY: You're correct, I've officially hung up my helmet, at least for the time being. My focus is on being able to add value to Alex Job's team, to be able to bring the financial package that is necessary to continue the quest of the championship. That's where Alex and I feel that this relationship is good as we try to work into the future, is we both have a certain area of expertise and desire to achieve. Alex is definitely one of the best on the technical side and on the entire team operation side. My objective is to be able to add value on the marketing and sponsorship side to bring this team forward.
ADAM SAAL: So what's harder, doing the job driving behind the wheel or doing the job marketing outside of the car?
ROD EMORY: Well, you know, like I've said in the past, there's a hundred people that I can name off the top of my head that I can put in the driver's seat that will do a better job than myself. But the truth is that finding sponsorship, securing relationships, putting deals together is a very difficult, time-consuming task. You know, it takes a long time to develop those relationships, to nurture those relationships, and to educate the companies that are coming into the series.
As we bring a new company or an existing company that's been into motorsports, you've got to continue to be innovative and to bring something that's going to add value. Our goal is to build relationships that are going to last into the future so we can have a strong team.
ADAM SAAL: Very good. Alex, I'll ask you a final question before we open it up to our friends in the media. We mentioned to everybody we're doing this from the infield media center at Daytona International Speedway. Talk a bit about what makes you really the hometown team or home region team heading into the Rolex 24.
ALEX JOB: Well, our shop is based just north of Orlando. Our shop is actually just about an hour from the Speedway. Alex Job Racing has been in existence since 1988 and we've always been based out of the Orlando area. Our first race here as a team, when I still drove, was in '89. We raced here every year from '89 to 2000. Unfortunately, since then we've been absent. We did come here in 2003 to run the Brumos Red Bull No. 58 car for them that year. We haven't been here as a team as Alex Job Racing since 2000.
We really missed this place. We won here in '99, we won the GT 3 class in '99. In fact, I think there were five prototypes ahead of us. We were sixth overall and the highest GT car, even including cars in classes above us. We've had really good success here.
I think through the 12 years of racing here, we fielded 20 cars, sometimes as many as three in a year. We've got a lot of experience here. We hope to bring the technical aspect to this relationship. Rod will bring the business side of it, managing the partners and the relationships, and we'll bring the technical side. Since we're so close, we're a home team, hopefully we'll have a home-team favorite status here.
ADAM SAAL: Not far to go for the victory party if we want to do it that way. On behalf of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, we're delighted to have Alex Job Racing with Emory Motorsports back with us this year. It's good to have you back, for sure.
ALEX JOB: Thank you.
ADAM SAAL: If we have any media that have a question.
Q: Alex, with all the wonderful manufacturers that are now in Grand American and the Daytona Prototype division, it had to be really difficult to decide what manufacturer to go with. What separated Crawford with the other ones that are available?
ALEX JOB: So far Porsche power has only been in the Fabcar. This is the first Crawford with Porsche power. There will actually be another car, a Doran I believe with Porsche power for the race, as well. In choosing the combination, I felt that the aero package of the Crawford was very well-suited with the engine package of the Porsche. I've known Max Crawford for a long time. I've looked at his car, how it's constructed, how it's engineered. I just felt it was a really good package to work with the Porsche engine.
ADAM SAAL: Rod, we talked about the Florida tie with Alex Job Racing, how you debuted here in '89. Where is Emory Motorsports based?
ROD EMORY: Emory Motorsports is based in the Pacific Northwest. We're about 35 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon in McMinnville. Being on the other side of the country, we do a lot of traveling over here to be able to interact with the team based in Tavares, Florida. There's a tremendous amount of companies in the Northwest that have interest in motorsports, but at this time we don't have a track that we can facilitate those efforts. Hopefully sometime in the future there will be a track in the Northwest. By that time he will have established a good presence and been able to nurture some relationships that will help as the series continues to grow in that part of the country.
ADAM SAAL: Great market to be in, for sure. Who knows, maybe someday we'll have a track up there. In the meantime, keep coming to Florida in the winter.
ROD EMORY: Thank you.
ADAM SAAL: Alex, we touched on your Rolex 24 experience. What is your most memorable Rolex 24 At Daytona either as a driver or owner?
ALEX JOB: That's a good question. I think probably I would have to say 1976, the first time I drove here as a driver, it was quite an experience, being on the high banks for the first time, competing in the 24 Hours. It was quite an experience and I still remember it.
ADAM SAAL: Rod, same question for you. You obviously had some behind-the-wheel time here.
ROD EMORY: I have. My most memorable time here was probably this past year in June. It wasn't for the Rolex race, but the Brumos Porsche 250. We had a good race. I was driving with a good friend of mine that is an amputee. One thing you'll notice on our Daytona Prototype is we have the Limbs For Life Foundation logo on the roof of our car. To be able to compete in a race with Chris Ridgeway and to be able to raise funds and awareness for the Limbs For Life Foundation has been something that will last a lifetime for me.
ADAM SAAL: Definitely a worthwhile memorable moment here at Daytona International Speedway.
Q: Alex, around the driver lineup. With the drivers announced so far, I don't think you're going to find a sports car race or any type of race with a star-studded field from all forms of racing: NASCAR, IRL. Was the game plan all along to have Porsche factory drivers to field your efforts? How difficult was it to get the Porsche factory drivers involved? Did you consider having other drivers, for instance, from the NASCAR ranks?
ALEX JOB: It wasn't real difficult getting the Porsche drivers because I have a relationship with Porsche, mainly through the other series, but now a little bit in this series as well. I've worked with some of these drivers, two of these drivers, in the past.
What I wanted to do is I wanted to put together a driver lineup of very young, fast, experienced 24-hour talent. I believe I've done that. But I also wanted to have, you know, some variation of nationalities. You know, this is a great international race, but it's also a great American race. It's got a lot of history. I wanted to have an American on the team, as well. Patrick was a great choice.
Yeah, I've certainly considered NASCAR drivers or even top drivers from other fields. But with the Porsche relationships that I have, that was key in choosing the drivers that I did. I wanted young talent. I wanted experience in long-distance racing. Being that we're Porsche powered, I wanted some drivers with Porsche background. It's important that the driver understands the Porsche engine and how he needs to compete with it. Those were all important factors.
Q: Obviously with your Porsche drivers, they're used to a different set of tires, different car setup. Have you heard any feedback yet with the performance of the tires that they'll be using, the Hoosier tires, compared to other tires they've been on in other series?
ALEX JOB: Actually, the feedback has been very good. With the Hoosiers, it's a spec tire. We've only got one compound to work with, so we've all got the same tire. They're used to another series where there's multiple tire companies and there's also some multiple compounds you can use. It takes a little bit of the variables out of the equation. But they've all made a comment that the tire is quite surprising. It's very consistent. It's actually quite better than they thought. It's been very favorable so far.
ADAM SAAL: I think we'll let these gentlemen get back to the pits, see how their cars are doing. Very strong debut test at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier this month. The car seems to be going well here, too. What it comes down to is when we go official at the end of January. Great to have you back. Thanks again for the time today.