Roush, Jarrett, Ragan - Indianapolis Friday Media Visit

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Jack Roush, car owner of four Ford Fusions at Roush Fenway Racing, is still looking for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ford Racing took the opportunity to ask Roush two questions about the speedway and what winning here would mean to him.

JACK ROUSH, Car Owner, Roush Fenway Racing:

WHAT DOES INDY MEAN TO YOU? “In southern Ohio where I was raised it was a farming community and there was no race tracks, even dirt tracks around that people consistently went to for entertainment. On Memorial Day you had your radio on for coverage of the Indianapolis 500 and, of course, that was the only race I was exposed to until I was probably 15 or 16 years old. There started to be a little bit of radio coverage that we’d get in the north of the NASCAR races, but as a youngster the only big-time race that I ever thought about was the Indianapolis 500, which, of course, as an engine builder I built a couple of engines that won at Indy over the years, but I’ve never been a team owner and never really been at the race track when my engines were raced and we won. There’s a certain reverence that I’ve got for the track and for the fan base around the track based on the fact that it was something that I didn’t actually aspire to, it was something that I respected as a youngster just because it was an indication that people were out there doing something in racing that I actually thought was beyond my reach.”

Jack Roush
Jack Roush

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

WHAT WOULD WINNING THE RACE THIS WEEKEND MEAN TO YOU? “Until they added Kentucky I had won at every race track, except for the race in Indianapolis, so now I’ve got two where I’ve not been successful. Indy has eluded us, but there have been a number of occasions where our cars were good enough to have won and either because of a fuel mileage situation or the way it worked out by taking tires or not taking tires it didn’t work out. The decision you sometimes make late in the race will decide what the race has been in terms of where the strength was, and we had the speed to win on a number of occasions but just didn’t have things work out for us at the end so that we could close the deal.”

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion:

“Having Sprint start the Summer Showdown this weekend is something I’m sure everybody is gonna be thinking about. I won the Daytona race and the first thing I thought about or one of the first things was, ‘Does this race qualify for that yet?’ And it hadn’t yet been announced, but that’s something I guarantee these next two or three guys that can win these races are gonna be thinking about. It gives us a little extra motivation to get the job done, but it’s great to be here at Indy. We’re coming off some good runs and having a special paint scheme is cool anytime. As drivers, we enjoy running a special paint scheme and something that’s different, but having one honoring Ned Jarrett’s Hall of Fame induction is pretty special, not only being a friend of Ned’s, but for what he’s done for the sport and what the NASCAR Hall of Fame means to us is pretty cool. We’re proud to have the colors on this weekend and thanks to UPS and Ford and the NASCAR Hall for putting it all together. I couldn’t be more happy to be here and get on the race track.”

NED JARRETT, 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee:

“Certainly this is a huge honor and I can’t think of anyone else that I would rather have carry the colors of my 1965 Ford. David grew up in a Christian home the way we did with a great family and good background with his father and grandfather having been racers, so I can’t think of anyone that I’d rather have carry the colors and to honor me this weekend, and it is a very huge honor, something I do not take lightly.”

DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – WHAT MAKES THIS PLACE SPECIAL? “I think just running at Indy is an honor. Growing up as a racing fan, you always saw the open-wheel cars run up here and you never really thought much about, ‘Yeah, maybe we’ll get a chance to run up there one day.’ I know Ned probably never thought that, but to be here in a stock car is pretty cool. It’s a unique race track. There’s only one of a kind around, so we always enjoy coming up here in the middle part of the season. We can bring our latest and greatest designed race car and engine and I look forward to seeing how it performs.”

ARE YOU USED TO THE HEAT AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON? “Yeah, it is what it is. We know it’s gonna be hot. It’s the summer months. I grew up in south Georgia. At least we don’t have any gnats or mosquitoes or bugs to worry about here like we would back home. It is what it is. It’s the same for everybody and I look forward to these hot races. I feel like I can manage the heat better than some of the other guys, so I look forward to it.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON NATIONWIDE NOT RUNNING AT RACEWAY PARK ANYMORE? “I’ve run the truck over there and the Nationwide Series. If I was driving Nationwide I would be real disappointed and being a fan of the series I’m disappointed. It’ll be cool for the Nationwide Series to be at Indy, but they can’t forget their roots of where the racing is at. In my opinion, the Nationwide race is gonna be pretty boring here. The Nationwide race at ORP is one of the best on the circuit, in my opinion. I was there last night. I bought a grandstand ticket and watched the ARCA and USAC races, so that race track is great and I’m really sad to see it. It’ll be a little different not seeing them run over there next year.”

NED JARRETT CONTINUED – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BEING THE GRAND MARSHAL? “Certainly if I was ever to be a Grand Marshal at an event this would be the one that I would have dreamed of being the Grand Marshal. It’s very special, especially since David will be carrying the colors that I used in 1965. I have something extra to be here and look forward to during the race on Sunday, so it’s a huge, huge honor for me.”

DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT BEING CLOSE TO THE CHASE? “That’s exactly what we are is close. There are seven more races and probably 10 guys that are close. I think any one in that top 20 and obviously Keselowski and Regan Smith right outside the top 20, they’re close too. So, yeah, there’s no time to feel secure with our points position. We’re sitting 13th in points, but I feel like we need to be in the top 13 or 14 to make it on one win, but we’ve got seven races to go. There’s no reason we can’t get to the top 10 or top 8 or top 7 in points. It’s right in front of us if we continue to run well, but we can also drop out of the top 20 if we lose our focus and we have some bad luck, so we’re ready for the challenge and I think our teams are ready to make a run for the Chase.”

DO YOU THINK ANOTHER WIN IS MANDATORY FOR YOU TO MAKE IT? “It’s gonna be very close. I think Tony, Montoya, Biffle – some of the guys right around us are gonna get a win – so it’s gonna be a dogfight for points. I think you can make it in with one win, but you’ve got to be 11th or 12th in points. Another win is what we go for every weekend. We’ll try to win this race. We’re gonna try to win next week’s, so we’ll just keep racing like that. That’s what has gotten us here today, so we’re not gonna change the way we race any.”

HOW MUCH DOES HAVING A RACE WIN LEGITIMIZE HOW YOU FEEL OR HOW OTHERS FEEL ABOUT YOU? “That’s what we come here to do is win races. You can sit on poles and lead laps and get top fives and top 10s and that’s good, but it’s not like winning. That’s what everything is measured off of, but after you win one, now you just think about winning a second one and then a third one. It’s definitely a start. I feel like we’ve given away some wins in the past, so it was good to get that one. Hopefully, that will help us realize when we are in a position to win a race to not let it slip away from us. It feels good to have that win, but we don’t really feel any better about ourselves. We just feel like we need to go win again.”

DID YOU TALK TO MARK MARTIN AT ALL ABOUT WINNING? “It was cool for all the 6 fans, a lot of fans who have been Mark Martin fans over the years and Ford fans. We really didn’t talk much about it. ‘Hey, good job. Congrats,’ and that’s really about it. Mark is right there in that position that if he wins a race he’s there in points that he could get in the Chase, so, as a competitor, he probably didn’t want to see it. But I’ve got a lot of respect for Mark and what he’s done for Roush Fenway and certainly my career and a great guy. I really look up to him, so it’s something that we’re both racing hard for that spot. He probably liked it, but on the surface he wanted to win too.”

CAN YOU SUMMARIZE THE SEASON WITH ALL THESE DIFFERENT WINNERS? “I think that just shows the competition of our sport today. There are so many teams that have alliances with big teams, guys that run ECR engines, Roush Yates engines, there’s a lot of common components and parts, where years ago it was like every team had their own car and had their own engine, so there was a big disparity in competition, but now there are 20 guys that could win on Sunday and none of us would be surprised. Any given weekend there are 20-25 guys that can win and that would be normal, so that just shows that our sport is healthy. There’s a lot of competition and it’s good to see everyone be real competitive on any given week.”

CAN YOU RELATE TO THESE CREW CHIEF CHANGES GOING ON RIGHT NOW? YOU DEALT WITH IT LAST YEAR. “Yeah, I can relate to it. Last year we were to a point where we knew we weren’t gonna win the championship, we knew that our season was winding down, so we were working on 2011. We made the crew chief change, which was tough because I like Donnie Wingo a lot. I got along with him great, but it was just kind of stale on the 6 car. Sometimes a little chemistry is all it takes to turn things around and, obviously, our race cars are a lot better this year than they were a year ago. Sometimes even a successful crew chief you see someone like a Jeff Gordon go from Ray Evernham, and everybody thought that the 24 team might shut down, and then Robbie Loomis came in and they won a few more championships and races, so I guess it’s all about finding the right connection, not only between the driver and crew chief, but the team engineer, the pit crew, the management staff. I think they’re wise by making that change now and setting the tone and figuring out what they need to do.”

WHAT’S THE TOUGHEST PART ABOUT THAT TRANSITION PERIOD? “Yeah, it’s a new guy coming in and saying, ‘Hey, this is the way I want you to talk on the radio. This is the way that I communicate with your spotter. This is the way we’re gonna dissect the race weekend on Monday. Here’s what time I want you go to be here.’ So, yeah, it’s just a little different feel, but, like I said, everyone is a little bit different and it’s a good feeling when you get that common ground and agree a lot with what the crew chief has to say.”

By: ford racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags brickyard 400, ford, indianapolis, jarrett, nascar, nscs, ragan, roush, sprint cup