Roush Fenway Racing played host to the Charlotte Media Tour last Thursday in Concord, NC, and featured an array of speakers, including new Roush Fenway Racing President, Steve Newmark, Edsel B. Ford II, who spoke about the Ford Racing program and introduced the Wood Brothers, Eddie Wood, who unveiled the team's tribute car to David Pearson, and Jack Roush, who talked about the 2011 season.
STEVE NEWMARK, President, Roush Fenway Racing
"I came on board last year. In my prior life, I had the privilege of working with a bunch of teams and drivers and sponsors, so I often got the question, 'What compelled you or motivated you to come to Roush Fenway?' I think you would probably acknowledge the reason for career changes are often complicated and complex, but this one was fairly simple and I was able to kind of distill it down into what I think is a simple statement. I admired and respected and wanted to be a part of the competitive spirit and competitive drive that is the heart and soul of this organization.
"I had the privilege to watch Jack Roush, John Henry, Robbie Reiser and how they operate and everything is focused on winning. That singular focus is really what defines this organization. It's very refreshing to part of an organization where the focus isn't on the dollars and cents. It's not on the profits and losses, but you get measured by the number of championships and the number of wins. Every decision is looked at through the lens of 'how is this gonna make the car go faster?'
"And I think probably the most salient example of that is to look at last season. You're gonna hear a lot from Jack about the statistics and we're all aware of how well we performed at the end of the season and how well our cars ran with three wins in the Chase and half of the top six, plus a fourth car that ran great in the latter part of the season, and I think by most standards and most accounts you would say that's a banner year. You're the only team that had three in the top 10. You should pat yourself on the back. The thing I'm most proud of about this organization is despite that, I think we recognize that took a lot of hard work to get to that point, but there isn't a single person in this organization who is satisfied with that. If you look at the people down in licensing or sales or the fabricators, every person will tell you that that's not what our goal is. Our goal is to win championships, to compete for championships, win races every weekend and have all four of our cars run at the front. I think what you're gonna hear today is there's a lot of excitement about that. If you look at how we finished up, you're gonna hear some talk from the drivers and Jack that we feel like we're uniquely positioned and very well positioned to attain all of those goals."
EDSEL B. FORD II, Member, Board of Directors, Ford Motor Co.
"It's a pleasure to be here today and see so many familiar faces out there. I've been asked to help introduce the Wood Brothers, but before I do that, I want to make a couple brief remarks about our overall NASCAR program.
"I have met with all three of our major teams the last two days, speaking with the crew members, the leadership teams and the drivers. We know, and they know, the past two seasons have not been up to the standards that we at Ford set for ourselves.
"Looking back, we made great progress the last few months of 2010, got the FR9 engine up and running full-time, and won three of the Chase races. But, make no mistake, our goal for this year is not to just win races. The goal, simply, is to win the championship.
"We have the right teams, the right drivers, the right engine and the right car to do it. More importantly, we have the will to win. So do not underestimate our resolve.
"We are also at 599 NASCAR Cup wins, so to go into the Daytona 500, with a chance to reach 600 is pretty special. And this is the 110th anniversary season of my great-grandfather's first and only race, a victory that started the Ford racing program and pre-dates the Ford Motor Company itself.
"We are very proud of that worldwide legacy -- of being the only car manufacturer in the world that can say it has won the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500, the Monaco Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Baja 1,000 and the Bathhurst 1,000 in Australia.
"Our teams and drivers today continue that great legacy, and we are proud to be associated with them and this great sport.
"When we speak of current legacies in Ford Racing, two name always comes up: Jack Roush and the Wood Brother s
"You'll hear from Jack and his drivers shortly, but it's my honor to introduce the Woods - starting their 61st consecutive season in NASCAR, and 61st consecutive season running nothing but Ford Motor Company products.
"Eddie and Len are here to unveil a very special version of the famous No. 21 Ford, this time with many of the original pit crew members of the Woods, and one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history -- NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson.
"The Woods will be - for the 11th year - sponsored by Motorcraft and Quick Lane, and we are pleased to have young Trevor Bayne stepping into the seat filled by so many of NASCAR's greatest drivers.
"With that, let me welcome Eddie Wood."
EDDIE WOOD, Co-Owner - No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion
"Edsel can really speak well, can't he? I've always told him I wish I could give a speech like him, but I can't. I'll just do the best I can here. We're gonna unveil a paint scheme that honors David Pearson the entire season this year. Most of you that are as old as I am will remember it well. We just want to honor David as a friend and a guy that made Wood Brothers Racing."
JACK ROUSH, Co-Owner, Roush Fenway Racing
"I felt like I was gonna celebrate the fact that I'm starting my 45th year with Ford Motor Company as it relates to racing. I was a Ford employee before that, and, of course, I've been upstaged dramatically here by the Wood Brothers in their 61 years, so no matter how old you get, it seems like there's always somebody older that's done more and needs to be respected and looked up to, and I've certainly looked up to the Wood Brothers and David Pearson, and Eddie and Len and Leonard my entire life, so it's a pleasure to share space with them here today.
"Looking at last year, we had our 298 team entries. I wasn't briefed on this, but I'm sure that makes us the biggest racing team in the world in terms of the number of entries we had for races in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and the ARCA Series. We had a couple of other things going on in my family, but I won't bring those up. My daughter and my son were both involved in drag racing and road racing, but they don't count. The 10 victories we had in all the series went to 410 (in RFR history). We had four Sprint Cup victories, 25 top-fives, 56 top-10s, three poles and four victories. Greg got his 52nd victory this year at Kansas and Carl got his 50th victory at the season finale at Homestead. Thank you very much for that guys. That made an otherwise not great year look not so bad.
"We had 100,000 race miles accumulated by Roush Fenway drivers in those three series and that brought out total for 23 years to over 1 million miles. We eclipsed 1 million competitive miles, not including test track miles, but the actual race miles exceeded 1 million in 2010. Matt Kenseth got his 400th Sprint Cup start at Homestead.
"Nationwide, I'll go through that very quickly, we had 28 top- fives, 63 top-10s, three poles and four victories - the same as we had in the Cup Series. We had four teams the entire year and five entrants for six of the races at the end of the year with Trevor Bayne coming on board.
"Carl won his three Nationwide races this year with three different sponsors - Fastenal, Copart and Aflac, which is a sign of the times in terms of the partnerships we need to build to make our programs viable. He also won the inaugural Road America race at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, which is one of the greatest race tracks in the country we haven't been to with our NASCAR cars.
"Ricky Stenhouse won our 12th Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award in the last 13 seasons. He finished 16th in points. Nationwide is probably worth a mention in that we had nine drivers in the Nationwide Series last year. We had three established senior drivers and had six rookies. It has been our intention to use the Nationwide Series to develop crew, drivers, crew chiefs and technicians and all the skills necessary to support the Cup side. We look forward to being involved with Ricky and Trevor in 2011 racing for a championship.
"Carl Edwards, based on the way NASCAR's ruling has come out on declaring which series you want to run for a championship, he won't be racing for a championship in Nationwide, but, hopefully, he can be a factor in an owner's championship, which will occur later in the year as that develops.
"In ARCA we had 18-year-old Chris Buescher, who won two races and had three top-fives and five top-10s in only eight starts. That was an incredible run for him in ARCA with the Roulo Brothers providing the car for him and doing the support for him with our assistance; we hope he can have great success there as well.
"Looking at our Cup lineup of drivers for 2011, Roush Fenway drivers are great role model. They're solid citizens for the young NASCAR fans and they can be counted on to bring excitement to the track every week and help captivate the attention and the loyalty of the NASCAR fans.
"I haven't spoken specifically about it. I know Carl has been off to Vietnam and Greg has been off doing things in the woods and been on vacation somewhat. Matt has been thinking about he and Katie having a baby. In fact, Greg, Carl and Matt - all three families are expecting children. I don't know what they were doing in the late portion of the year, but, anyway, it's gonna come to fruition in 2011 and they're great role models for the family spirit that NASCAR wants to be known for.
"One of the things that I wanted to mention on the environmental sustainability thing, I did a little math. I've got some mathematics in my background. I'd be inclined to ask the question, but it would take too long to get the answers from everybody, but we fly our race teams on two 727's to and from the race tracks and as I was evaluating with Ian the size of my carbon footprint and what I could do to minimize it, I said, 'Maybe these airliners are a problem. They've got three big jet engines on them, but we carry about 110 people per trip on our airliners that are race team members and marketing folks and some like General Sadler, who has joined us here today. He's had his health problems and we're glad to have General Sadler back on track, but we have some guest that ride the airliners, but get 31 passenger miles per gallon of Jet A fuel in our airliners. When I got ready to do the math I said, 'This is gonna be really bad,' but to move a race team member around the country the way we move our folks, we get 31 miles per gallon of Jet A for each passenger, so I'm real proud of that.
"We've got great challenges in the troubled economy that we've got. The economy does show signs of getting better. The lights are back on in Detroit. My engineering business up north has returned to viability, which was a happy result, but our challenges on the Cup side is to be able to bring new partners to the sport and we continue to do our best with Steve Newmark's leadership to find these new sponsors. We've got the best sponsors in the business, I think, with 3M and Aflac and UPS and Crown Royal, and, of course, Ford Motor Company returning with us after all these years.
"I was an employee of Ford before I started racing and became involved with Ford, but Ford has got 45 years of support with us. Edsel and I became acquainted 10 years after I got involved with Ford from a racing point of view. Edsel and I have been friends for 35 years. I know he's left the building now, but I'm very proud of that as well.
"In our conversations with our sponsors, all of our sponsors agree that they continue to see NASCAR as a sport being very important to their marketing efforts and Roush Fenway as an organization being a terrific management investment partner central to their commitment of retaining existing customers and to attract new ones. NASCAR has continued to be high on their priorities in that regard.
"We are fully sponsored for our Sprint Cup cars for 2011. We have some space available, I'll say valuable space available on Carl's Nationwide car. It's about half-sponsored for half the races and we may or may not run a full schedule with Carl, depending on the sponsorship and how his efforts work out toward making his run at a Sprint Cup championship. Ricky and Trevor will be running full Nationwide programs and there is space available on their cars as well.
"Sponsors that have an interest there, if there's anything you can do to help us from a media point of view to generate interest should contact either Steve Newmark or myself.
"Technically, 2010 was a challenge at first getting started. The effort we made over the winter with our computer algorithms to support our simulations did not work out. They didn't correlate with real-time, actual impact of changes to the race track. We figured that out early on. By Bristol we knew we were in trouble. The changes we made over the winter through our third party vendors didn't correlate and that left the crew chiefs for the middle part of the year, relegated the crew chiefs and drivers to make single variable changes to be able to evaluate is it the wedge, is it the camber, is it the nose weight, is it the swaybar front or rear? By mid-year, by Chicago, we had that sorted out. We got back on track. We had gone back and corrected some of the algorithm problems, the coordination of the tire data with the race track ride data, and we had those things sorted out.
"But we still had the problem of establishing correlation to where the guys would trust it. Of course, by Chase time we were back on track, but we had lost some of the development benefit that we had from not having the success we had hoped to have and otherwise could have had at the race tracks. So that left us at the end of the year with the prospect of doing the best we could, which, as has been mentioned, everybody knows we finished fourth, fifth and sixth in the points. We're happy with that result, but that left us not only with momentum, but identifying some things we need to work on.
"Robbie Reiser, Chip Bolin and all the fellas have been working hard all winter. In fact, there's a test going on right now at DisneyWorld in Orlando today with one of our cars to evaluate some brakes and other things, but we've spent the winter working as hard as we can. We think we're in good shape for 2011.
"Just hitting the high points, we've got a new relationship with a software simulator provider for 2011 that we previewed in 2010. That has the prospect of keeping us on track. We're really excited about the renewed affiliation with the Wood Brothers. It's a chance to build cars with them and interact with them on things. They've been the speedway kings forever and we're anxious to glean from them some of the information they've got that is useful to us.
"We've got a new 2011 nose, not only is it new for NASCAR and all of the teams, but we've also got a consideration for the upper part of the nose that we think will help us some. We've built all new cars for all of our Cup programs. Every Cup program is gonna have a new chassis with a new aero look and new suspension or re-thought suspension considerations. The stronger-than-ever commitment from Ford. After 110 years Ford is still hanging in there for technology and vehicle support. We've realigned our engineering staff, separating the simulation engineering from the bread-and- butter mechanical, electrical or aerodynamic system and improve how it works or prove that the validity of the design that you've got.
"We've got that going on in one group and then the simulation going on in another. Of course, Chip Bolin is the new manager for the simulation coordination and Tommy Wheeler has taken the conventional engineering things going forward. I'm real excited about that. We think that's a new look that's gonna help us.
"I want to close by repeating just a couple of things. Our drivers are solid citizens. We couldn't be prouder of our drivers. We couldn't be prouder of our major sponsors. The challenge for all of us, every team owner in the sport and all the drivers, is to help their teams identify new sponsors that can bring new energy in and celebrate NASCAR's bright future so they can benefit from the enthusiasm that goes with NASCAR's brand loyal fans for both the Nationwide, the Truck Series and the Cup Series. I realize we're not involved in truck, but we obviously share the interest and the health of those programs as well.
"I want to express my welcome to Steve Newmark. He's been with us now on an interim period for eight months. We have given him the mantle. He does carry the cloak of president of our company now and we look forward to having many years with him and I think you'll all get to know him and like him as time goes on."
-source: ford racing