Roush Fenway Raceway Media Tour interview

Roush Fenway Racing Media Tour Transcript The final Ford stop on the Charlotte Motor Speedway media tour was with Roush Fenway Racing in which owner Jack Roush and his driver lineup talked about what happened in 2009 and how they ...

Roush Fenway Racing Media Tour Transcript

The final Ford stop on the Charlotte Motor Speedway media tour was with Roush Fenway Racing in which owner Jack Roush and his driver lineup talked about what happened in 2009 and how they expect improvement this season.

Below is a transcript of their formal remarks.

***

JAMIE ALLISON, Director, Ford North America Motorsports

"Jack is a Ford man. Jack started working at Ford in 1964. Jack raced Fords and Jack now runs one of our most successful NASCAR teams, so our support and our commitment to returning us to the winning ways starts right here with this team.

"One of the few milestones we want to accomplish this year is Jack has 399 wins combined in NASCAR and sports car racing. If you talk to Jack, he's got a lot more when you add in drag racing and nothing would be more fitting for us to notch number 400 very soon in NASCAR. The other milestone is Ford is five wins away from 600 wins in Cup. That's quite a milestone and, obviously, when that happens it will be powered by a Roush-Yates engine, so Jack's presence and the Roush presence will be in every Ford that runs.

"Inevitably, in the last couple of weeks since I've taken on the job, the question comes up about last year. I met with Jack and we had a great conversation, and I can tell you, the hallmark of greatness isn't what happens when you're riding high, the hallmark of greatness is what do you do when the chips are down?

"We at Ford have a tradition of winning. Jack himself has a tradition of winning. And all of our drivers come from winning backgrounds, so we have a winning spirit. This is a new year. We saw improved success at the tail end of last year with the Roush Fenway cars. The addition of RPM brings a great dimension to that formula, as does the Wood Brothers and Front Row Motorsports.

"A year ago, we had seven cars in the Daytona 500 and this year we're gonna have 12 outstanding Ford Fusions that are all capable of winning.

"It's the start of a new season and if you're not optimistic at the start, I don't know when you would be. I can tell you that our eye is on the grand prize -- try to notch another title for the Ford banner.

"I would like to leave you with a quote from our godfather, Mr. Edsel Ford II, who is the spirit of Ford Racing and is very close to all of us and all of our drivers. He said this a couple of years ago and it's this -- do not underestimate our resolve to win. Ford is about winning. We have momentum at our back. We have great teams and great leadership and great talent, and I'm so proud to be here to support all the great effort for 2010."

***

JACK ROUSH, Owner, Roush Fenway Racing

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT STEPS YOU'VE TAKEN TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE IN 2010? "I will get around to answering that question, but I'm not going to start there (laughter). This competitive business we've got cycles. NASCAR spends every effort to make it uncertain who is going to win a race or for that matter who is going to win the championship, in spite of the fact Jimmie Johnson has prevailed the last four years.

"You look at 2002, we were second and third in the championship. In 2003 and 2004 we won the championship. In 2005, the first year for the chase to the cup, we put all five of our teams in. I don't think there would have been a decline or a decrease on the number of teams that we could have if we hadn't put all five in in 2005. Two thousand six was a year we weren't productive. There wasn't anything memorable that happened. We won races, but it certainly wasn't a banner year. Two thousand seven and eight, we had second and third in the championship. Greg Biffle was seventh in 2009, which is a down year. But at the same time we won the Daytona 500 and we won the second race of the year with Matt, and we won with Jamie McMurray at Talladega later in the year. We continue to cycle through things going up and down.

"As I look at 2009, and the things we tried to do as we started 2009, we made one crew chief change on our five teams. That was the only personnel change we had. If Carl had not run into Greg at Talladega, Carl would have won the championship. If I wouldn't have had two ignition systems that failed in 2008, Carl would have still won. He only had one mulligan that year, so 2008 was a fantastic year and we were off to a great start in 2009.

"Two thousand nine, with an increase in the engineering support we got from Ford, with the increases that came from all of our sponsors -- all of our cars were totally sponsored -- we had plenty of resources. The thing that winds up making the difference between winners and losers in a given year -- as seen by me -- is what you do with your time, wrecks and broken parts notwithstanding.

"We spent our time, a disproportionate amount of it as I look back at it, trying to find that next breakthrough -- that next steered rear-axle that we introduced in 2008, which was part of the reason that we were so dominant on mile-and-a-half tracks. The coil-bound front spring, which we introduced in 2002 or 2003 -- when the people with Greg Biffle found that for us. So we spent a disproportionate amount of time trying to find the thing that NASCAR had missed, the thing that other teams were overlooking, for that next breakthrough and, guess what? It didn't come. We didn't find it.

"In the meantime, with the same group of people that could use the money and use the time doing anything that we decided was worthwhile, did not spend as much time getting the cars as light as they need to be, didn't spend as much time sanding on the move to a rear swaybar, didn't spend as much time on a number of the nuances and a number of the small things that were really less interesting to me and the management group than finding that next breakthrough. So we got best-balled on the tweaks and the sanding.

"This year, looking at 2010, Ford Motor Company has made another increment of commitment. They've committed more people technically to help us and they've given us more people to help and more assignment of technical resources to do what we need to do. We've added six engineers. I bet nobody could guess how many engineers we have, but I'm going to break the ice on that. We've got 36 engineers covering our four teams that work on things that are either in the contemporary knowledge pool or on things that are new and revolutionary. So we've increased the number of engineers from 30 to 36 and, guess what? We're gonna be able to maintain the same kind of effort to find that next breakthrough at the same time we've got the resources committed to be able to sand on every part of the car and do what we need to do.

"I couldn't be more excited about 2010. I've learned from 2009 when I thought it was a slam dunk to come back and dominate the mile-and-a-half tracks and to be in contention for the championship again and we just missed it, but it wasn't a bad year for us. It was a year that didn't meet our expectations, but we won races and we were competitive. We won two of the restricted races -- the fall Talladega race and the Daytona 500 -- and anybody that's watched me for 22 years knows that I can hardly hit my rear end with either hand at a restricted race. My mind just hasn't taken me there, and we haven't demonstrated from a management point of view the ability to really make strides there. Todd Parrott, Robbie Reiser and the Ford people carried me on their back as they took us to a situation where we could really be, if not dominant, certainly more competitive than we've ever been on the restricted race tracks -- notwithstanding the fact that Carl went into the fence at Talladega in the first. So there were three races that we had a very good chance to win.

"Two thousand nine is something we've learned from. Certainly we won races and were competitive at many places we went. We broke some engine parts we didn't expect to break. Greg Biffle ran out of gas at Michigan, where he ran Jimmie Johnson out of gas and Mark Martin ran both of them out of gas. We had several missed opportunities. We will win more races given the same amount of opportunities next year that we won last year, but, in the meantime, we're gonna try to get ourselves ready and think that we're gonna be ready to go take a bunch of them hands-down."

***

DAVID RAGAN -- No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR 2010? "It's pretty simple, we've got to win races in 2010. Last year, it was good to finally get a couple of wins on the Nationwide schedule, but we're dedicated to our UPS team this year. I feel like we've got a lot of momentum behind our way with Donnie Wingo and bringing a lot of his guys over from the 26 car last year. Our over-the-wall team is basically new to the 6 team, so there was a lot of change over the off-season, which I see a lot of it as good. I'm encouraged by the things Jack just mentioned with our race cars. We feel like we've got a pretty good grasp on things for Daytona. I think the real test will be when we unload at California, but, plain and simple, we've got to win races next year. We've got to be competitive from the short tracks to the mile-and-a-half tracks to the speedway tracks, so I'm pretty excited about going to Daytona here in a few weeks. Donnie Wingo has been great to work with. I think we've got some great race cars in our stable. Our seven guys that go over the wall have been practicing great the last few weeks, so we're certainly excited to get the season kicked off and underway. We're ready to go."

***

MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion

WHAT HAS YOUR TEAM DONE TO TRY AND GET BACK THE PERFORMANCE YOU HAD AT THE START OF LAST SEASON? "This year, I'm looking forward to the season. For me, last year was our first year with Drew -- it was his first year doing the Cup deal and us working together, really, except on the Nationwide side a little bit. So I feel like there is maybe a little bit of stability there and some things we've learned through the year. I think he knows a lot more of what I like and don't like -- probably more what I don't like -- and I've probably learned a lot of things about him as well. I feel good. We kept most of our unit together. We think we've maybe upgraded a little bit and moved some things around. I'm excited about Jimmy Fennig being in R&D. I think that will be a big help to our entire organization. I got to work with Jimmy some and he works harder than, I think, anybody I know, so I know he's gonna work really hard at getting that R&D thing up and running that should help all of our teams as well. I think we've got a lot of exciting things going. I think we've made a lot of upgrades on our cars from last year, but the bottom line is we've got to do it on the race track. We've got to have better results than we had last year. We've got to get back into championship form, so that's my goal -- to get our team back in form to contend for a championship."

***

CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS IN 2010? "Our goals are simple, I want to win both championships. Sitting here listening to Geoff speak gets me ready to go. I believe in what he said. Hearing Jack say we've got these engineers coming and we're putting all this effort into these things that we need to work on, and that gets me excited. I've spent the last two days talking with Aflac and Kellogg's and Copart and Fastenal-- all the new folks that are gonna be a part of our team. I'm very excited. I just want to go out and have the year that I know we can have, the year I thought we were gonna have last year. When Matt won the 500 and then at California, probably all of us up here thought, 'Man, this is it. This is gonna be a lot of fun,' but throughout the year we did struggle and we worked hard. I know personally I learned a lot about myself and about the team and what we need and we've been able to work on that stuff, so I'm just excited to get the year going."

***

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. -- No. 6 Citifinancial Ford Fusion/Mustang

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO GET READY FOR YOUR ROOKIE SEASON IN NATIONWIDE? "That started last year running the partial schedule, talking and listening to Greg and Matt when they were in the Citifinancial car last year. That really helped me learn a lot in practice to get the cars where they need to be to be fast throughout the whole race and not just for a lap. And in talking to Carl and David they gave me good feedback when I asked them. Off the track this winter, working out with our trainer, Les, at the shop. He's really killing me and I'm a little sore today, but I've been working really hard in the weight room. We've got a whole new team this year. The only thing that's the same from last year is the great sponsor in Citifinancial. I've got a new crew chief in Ben Leslie and I think we're gonna click pretty good. We've had a few tests. The guys are really eager to get on the track and the pit stop guys are working really hard. We've got a lot to prove. We're gonna shoot for the rookie of the year, run consistently and focus on top 10s. I think if we focus on top 10s and top fives, anything can happen when you're running in the top five, so that's our plan and that's what I've been doing off the track."

***

COLIN BRAUN -- No. 16 Con-way Freight Ford Fusion/Mustang

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE WITH THE MOVE TO NATIONWIDE? "I think one of the biggest challenges is probably Carl sitting right there. He'll be tough to beat for sure, but, for me, I'm just excited to go and race this season, it's gonna be a lot of fun. I'm excited that Con-way Freight is moving up from the truck series to stay with me and sponsor me. I'm thankful Jack gave me and Ricky the opportunity to come and race over here in the Nationwide deal and it's gonna be a lot of fun. Learning from Carl, and all the great Cup drivers that we have, I guess the thing I'm looking forward to the most is being able to race with Carl week in and week out, and being able to go over to him and ask him questions specifically about what this race track drives like or what my car needs to drive like. He helped me out with the trucks last year, but certainly it's a little different than racing the Nationwide car, so I'm really excited about that. I think I can learn a lot. I've got a great crew chief with Eddie Pardue behind me, with a lot of experience. I've got some really good people around me, so I'm excited about it."

-source: ford racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Greg Biffle , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Jack Roush , Mark Martin
Teams Front Row Motorsports , Roush Fenway Racing