JAY FRYE, GENERAL MANAGER, MB2/MBV MOTORSPORTS: ON SIGNING THE UNITED STATES ARMY AS A PRIMARY SPONSOR AT MB2 MOTORSPORTS FOR NEXT SEASON "We had heavy competition for the Army partnership and we're very proud that the Army chose MB2...
JAY FRYE, GENERAL MANAGER, MB2/MBV MOTORSPORTS:
ON SIGNING THE UNITED STATES ARMY AS A PRIMARY SPONSOR AT MB2 MOTORSPORTS FOR NEXT SEASON "We had heavy competition for the Army partnership and we're very proud that the Army chose MB2 Motorsports. We were also talking to other sponsors, obviously, and they were talking to other teams, but from the first time we met with them we knew that this was the deal we wanted to do. It's very unique. There is a lot of pride in this deal. It's a completely different situation, as compared to a consumer products company. This is something that the whole company can rally around and hopefully we'll have the whole country rooting for us."
WHAT DOES THE ARMY HOPE TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PARTNERSHIP? "The Army is using this as a recruiting tool, which, to me, is an awesome responsibility for us to think that we can, in the end, contribute to the well-being of the country. It's not just about selling product, which is huge in this sport - obviously. This is something bigger. Obviously, there are some situations going on in the world right now and hopefully our program can help recruit some of the best people in the country to help defend the country. When you look at it like that, it is a very unique opportunity and we're very excited about that."
HOW DOES THIS PROGRAM WORK, WITH REGARD TO THE BACKING OF THE TEAM? "We'll be at every race next year with the Army as the primary sponsor for at least 27 races, for sure. They could end up being the primary for 36 races. But, we're looking for three additional partners. Those partners will appear on other areas of the car - for instance, the deck lid - for the entire season. Then, for three races they will be the primary and the Army would switch back to the deck lid. So, we're trying to find a retail-type partner, we're trying to find a military-type partner - someone that does business with the Army - and we're trying to find a consumer brand-type company, so we have a nice mix.
"Obviously, with 1.1 million service men and women, these partners are going to be able to talk to a captive audience, which is very unique. And again, with all that is going on with the country right now, there is going to be a pride-factor involved in being involved in that car, so that is also very unique.
"In having the Army involved with these other partners, we think it is kind of a cutting edge-type deal. I think it is going to be something you're going to see more of in the future as costs escalate in this sport. Hopefully, we've created a model that people will be able to look at down the road."
ON HIRING JERRY NADEAU TO DRIVE THE CAR "Jerry replaced Ernie Irvan for 12 races in '99 when he drove for us and we were very impressed with him at that time. We're still very impressed with him. We think he is a young, hard-charger that has the best of his career in front of him. He obviously fits in very well with our whole program. He filled in earlier this year for Johnny when he was hurt, so he's driven both of our cars at one point or another during his career and he did a very good job both times for us. We're very excited to have him back."
IS THIS THE BEST POSITION THIS TWO-CAR OPERATION HAS BEEN IN UP TO THIS POINT? "Going into next year should be very exciting, in the sense that we'll have one team that is going to be competing every week - a veteran team - which is great, and then the other team will hopefully be young, exciting - any week anything can happen, ups and downs - but, it's going to be fun to watch.
"James [Ince] and Johnny [Benson] have done a great job. They're going to be in their fourth year together and have proven they can win a race. We think they can win races and be a top five points contending team, and when you get to that point, if everything goes right, you can win a championship.
"We think the U.S. Army Pontiac will be a car that, on any given week, could win a race. Jerry is a proven winner and we're excited about that. He may have his ups and down next year, but in any new program you'll have that."