Andy Petree, owner of Andy Petree Racing (APR), held a press conference to announce that his team will remain a major factor in NASCAR Winston Cup competition and that negotiations to partner with the NFL Dallas Cowboys will not be completed....
Andy Petree, owner of Andy Petree Racing (APR), held a press conference to announce that his team will remain a major factor in NASCAR Winston Cup competition and that negotiations to partner with the NFL Dallas Cowboys will not be completed. Along with this decision, Petree confirmed that he would continue his long-established relationship with GM.
In response, Doug Duchardt, GM Racing's Oval Track Group Manager made the following comments: "We are very pleased that Andy Petree Racing (APR) is going to remain with Chevrolet. We understood the circumstances surrounding his situation and knew he had to explore various options in order to maintain the stability of his company. Andy has always kept us informed and we've been in communication throughout this entire process. Andy Petree Racing has been with Chevrolet since 1996, and we're looking forward to continuing that relationship."
The following are highlights of Q&A's with the media:
OPENING REMARKS BY ANDY PETREE:
"Everybody wants to know what's going on with me and my race team and the Cowboys. We've been working on this thing for a long time and we just came to a point that it didn't work out. We're not going to do that next year. I just wanted to let everybody know it. Everybody's been asking.
"We did work on this thing a long time. I don't really know exactly why we're not doing it, but it's just not going forward. We're looking forward to getting some good results this season with the Schneider Electric Chevrolet (Bobby Hamilton, driver). We've struggled a little bit. We had a decent finish last week at Bristol and we're looking to build on that and finish this season out strong and hopefully win a race or two.
"We're trying to build ourselves for next year and get our sponsorship deals lined up. We've got Schneider Electric, which has supported us quite a bit over the years and has been a great supporter of ours. We're trying to extend that with them, but we need some more help. We needed to get the word out that we're not doing this Cowboys thing so that it doesn't lock us out of some opportunities that are out there right now. We need to try to take advantage of that and try to build our program for next year. I felt it was important to get the word out that we're not going to be associated with the Cowboys next year so that we can be in position for some of these opportunities."
DID NEGOTIATIONS BREAK DOWN?
"Negotiations really didn't break down. We worked hard on it and went back and forth for quite a few months. We did agree on everything, I'll say that. We got all of our agreements done. I agreed to everything and thought they did too. I signed the agreements and I guess they decided they didn't want to do it for 2003. So my decision is that I've got to let everybody know that. I've got to get it out there that we're not doing it. That's where it stands.
"We worked on a lot of different components of our agreement and we did agree, in principal, to every single bit of it. It just, for some reason, didn't go any farther. I've got a deadline and I've just got to know something. I've got to know whether we're doing it or not. It (the decision) was basically (made) last weekend, but I extended it to this weekend just to give it another week just in case some things changed. But they didn't."
IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THESE NEGOTIATIONS WILL CONTINUE FOR AFTER 2003?
"It's not something we're thinking about right now. I'm thinking about 2003 and carrying on with Andy Petree Racing and trying to build on what we started and established. We won races last year with both our race teams. This year, we've not had the success that we're looking for with the Schneider Electric car, but we still have some races to go. We plan on finishing strong. Bobby (Hamilton) is doing a great job in the car and I know he's looking for other things too. We're all motivated and I feel good about our chances of being able to win a race before the year is out."
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE DRIVER SITUATION
"We're looking for a driver and a sponsors for 2003. Bobby (Hamilton) has done a great job for us and we've had a great relationship with him. Whatever he does, I wish him the very best. I wouldn't rule it out that he wouldn't drive for me if we got something. Right now, I don't know where he's at with his deals. I don't know about the driver situation right now."
IS SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC GOING TO BE BACK IN '03, AND IF SO, WILL THAT BE ENOUGH MONEY OR WILL YOU SEEK ADDITIONAL SPONSORS?
"I really don't know how to phrase that. We've got a great relationship with them and we're working on trying to extend that relationship. I don't know exactly what capacity that'll be. It is getting more and more expensive to be competitive in this sport. It takes a lot of money and it might be a little more than say Schneider Electric and Square D can put into an effort like this. So, we're probably looking for some partners to come in here and help with that and to share with that. That could be a possibility."
WILL YOU HAVE TWO TEAMS OR ONE TEAM IN '03?
"We'd like to have two teams. Our whole deal is structured around two teams. Our goal is to get it back to two teams. This year, we had to scale it back to one. You've got to start at one. Let's start there and build it from there."
AT THIS POINT, WOULD YOU CONSIDER DOING SOMETHING WITH PONTIAC?
"The General Motors people and Chevrolet people in particular, have been very good to me. If they came to me and asked me if I would consider doing a Pontiac thing, I'd probably consider that. They've been great partners. But Chevrolet has been very good to me and I've got a long history with Chevrolet."
IF YOU HAD PARTNERED WITH THE DALLAS COWBOYS, WOULD YOU HAVE SWITCHED TO FORD?
"I never talked to Ford. The Cowboys have a relationship with Ford Motor Company and I was kind of aware of that. But I guess if it did come down that we did a deal with the Cowboys, there probably would have been a possibility of that. But, like I said, I didn't have any discussions with them. Especially from an APR standpoint, we've had a long relationship with Chevrolet."
HAS THIS WHOLE PROCESS BEEN FRUSTRATING?
"Yes, it's been very frustrating not knowing exactly the direction you're going to be working in. That's why I've had to focus on one direction instead of looking in two different directions. Now is the time to do this deal or not do it, and that's where we're at."
DID YOU MISS OUT ON SOME OPPORTUNITIES DURING THIS NEGOTIATING PERIOD?
"Yes, I think so. I think that we did miss out on some opportunities and some things that have come along and that's why I felt the sense of urgency to get this (news) out now."
DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH FUNDING FOR NEXT YEAR?
"I wouldn't say that. That's why we're making this announcement today - to get out there and find the kind of funding we need to be competitive next year."
DO YOU THINK RICKY RUDD'S SIGNING WITH THE WOOD BROTHERS WAS A FACTOR IN THE COWBOYS BAKING AWAY FROM THIS DEAL?
"That's not a question for me. I don't know. It wasn't a factor in my decisions. I'd agreed to everything. So, I really don't know the answer to that."
HOW MUCH HAS THIS PUT YOU ON THE EDGE?
"We knew quite early last year that we were looking for sponsorship for this year. So this is a struggle from week to week trying to keep things going in the right direction, but definitely year to year in trying to keep it going. The economy has definitely been a factor in that. We've had some great relationships with sponsors over the years and Schneider Electric has been one of the very best we've had. We hope to extend that with them and bring on some more partners. I think we've got a lot to offer. I think we're a good value for any sponsor. We've been able to win races and not spend a tremendous amount of money. But it does get more expensive every year. We're trying to keep our race team and our company moving in the right direction."
WOULD YOU CONSIDER RUNNING A PART-TIME SCHEDULE?
"I haven't even thought in that direction. We're trying to keep things going at least as good as we are right now and try to build on that. I wouldn't think we're looking at that."
WILL MIKE WALLACE FACTOR INTO YOUR DRIVER DECISIONS FOR NEXT YEAR?
"We haven't made any decisions on drivers. Sponsors have a lot to do with that and Mike has done us a great job even though we haven't run but a couple of races with him. We've had terrible luck. We had a problem at the Daytona 500 with the car and it wasn't any fault of his. He's done us a great job and I think he's a very capable driver, yes."
WHAT KIND OF A NEGOTIATOR IS JERRY JONES?
"I did have an opportunity to spend some time with Jerry one-on-one, and with Jerry Jr. and with all of the Jones family. I really liked all of them. I really didn't have a problem with them. We had a problem getting our deal done, but I didn't have any problem with Jerry and I actually kind of liked him. He's a very dynamic person and I like people like that. It was fun spending time with him."