Today on "The Morning Drive" on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio / channel 128, hosts David Poole and Jack Arute spoke with Ray Evernham, owner of Evernham Motorsports. On a potential NASCAR partnership with George Gillett Jr., owner of the Montreal...
Today on "The Morning Drive" on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio / channel 128, hosts David Poole and Jack Arute spoke with Ray Evernham, owner of Evernham Motorsports.
On a potential NASCAR partnership with George Gillett Jr., owner of the Montreal Canadiens and Liverpool Soccer Club:
Host, David Poole: "What are looking for in a partner?"
Ray Evernham: "I want to win. I want to win championships. That's why I started this. I started it to win. I don't always look at the bottom line and in some ways that gets me in trouble personally. But the fact of the matter is the sport has grown so much that I'm not going to be able to do it on my own. What I wanted was a partner that understood that sometimes you're going to have a bad quarter, sometimes you might not even have a great year, but you're building. You might have to pay a superstar driver extra. You might have to invest a million dollars in a special dyno. You may have to spend a bunch of money on a facility and they're not so much worried about what the stock price is going to be like or the return because they know that them doing well, winning, is going to help their business-to-business and other areas. I was looking for a partner that understood and had other sports franchises so that you could cross over your racing to be it hockey or be it soccer or be it football or baseball.
"I certainly can't say, 'Hey, I'm the genius of this. I watch what Jack Roush does. Jack and I probably haven't been best friends because we compete against one another but I respect really what the guy has built in auto racing in America. If you look at what he's done with drag racing, road racing, stock cars, he's been an amazing businessman. So I watch that and I watch what Rick [Hendrick] does. But Rick's got his own business-to-business opportunities with auto dealerships. Rick doesn't need to make money off his racing. He's going to spend what it takes to win races and win championships and that's what's made him successful.
"I needed a partner that understands business and has those connections but also is extremely competitive. I've been to Montreal to watch a hockey game with George that they lost and George is about as much fun as I am [after a loss]. He's mad. I expected him to be throwing sticks out on the ice like I throw stopwatches some days. And I like that."
On the penalties suffered by his race teams this year at Daytona and the challenges they face moving forward:
Evernham: "It certainly put us in the hole. There's no doubt about that. I think I was clear on how I felt about that. I'm okay with zero tolerance if there's some rules. Tell me what the rules are and I will abide by the zero tolerance but don't have the tolerance some days and not and then, you know, you could be fined $1000, you could be fined $10,000 and be suspended. Let's make things a little bit more clear cut.
"I support the rules and I don't support blatantly breaking the rules but I do say, 'Look, let me know what the rules are.' But it has put us in a hole, no doubt. But it's a long season. I feel my teams are better than they were last year. We just missed it a little bit with our new nose. The cars wanted something a little bit different aerodynamically. You know, I could sit here and say the hard tire did this and the hard tire did that and, you know what, we tested on a different tire, had a balance and the hard tire wanted something different and we weren't ready for it. We should have reacted. The Chevrolets were able to react. Hendrick and those guys were able to react so we should have been able to. So we caught up a bunch of cars for this week and hopefully we'll be better at Atlanta."
On Atlanta Motor Speedway:
Evernham: "What makes Atlanta good is that you can be racing up by the fence or down on the bottom of the racetrack and I think that's why everyone loves to go to Atlanta and I think that's why the fans like it. If you've got a fast car it's a multi-groove racetrack and everybody that races or watches races loves to see a multi-groove racetrack. What's really sweet about Atlanta is you see somebody digging on the bottom on the white line and another guy just rubbing the wall and they're racing side-by-side and when they get to the start/finish line lap after lap after lap you're not sure who is going to lead that lap and that's why it's one of the places I like to go."
Poole: "Is there any one thing in Atlanta that you sort of have to be careful about with you cars, setting them up?
Evernham: "Atlanta's a track that you can be loose in If you've got a car that tends to be loose in it's just miserable. If a guys goes, 'I'm loose in,' I totally ignore everything he says after he says 'I'm loose in' because after he's loose in basically all he's doing is trying to save his life. So you've got to get the car fixed up there.
"You can say the tracks used to be the same in Atlanta, Texas, Charlotte and places like that but these cars are so aerodynamically dependant right now on travel -- and when I say travel I mean how close the air dam is, how far you can get the front of the car down -- to where at certain tracks a quarter inch to three-eighths of an inch or a half inch of travel is a huge, huge difference because the forces are reacting on the cars in a different way at different tracks and tires and everything are much different. Atlanta is one of the fastest tracks that we go to and it sounds kind of crazy but in qualifying trim and things like that on new tires, everybody's got their cars tightened up and their on the throttle going down into the corner, you run almost wide open qualifying for Atlanta. But as you get to race trim and you have to start to come out of that throttle getting into the corner, that'll actually make the car freer. And you want to tell the guy, 'You're going to be okay. Just hold your foot on the gas a little longer and get past it.' And he's like, 'Here's the helmet. Why don't you go try it.'"
"The Morning Drive" airs weekdays (7-11 am ET) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio / Channel 128. The show will re-air tonight at 7pm ET on channel 128.
-credit: sirius radio