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Press Release from Ford Motorsports FORD MOTORSPORTS NOTES AND QUOTES Tuesdays, Marsh 5, 1996 ATLANTA ADVANCE -- Jeff Burton/Roush Weekly Fax Release Of all surprises in the early NASCAR Winston Cup season, none surpasses the performance...

Press Release from Ford Motorsports

FORD MOTORSPORTS NOTES AND QUOTES Tuesdays, Marsh 5, 1996

ATLANTA ADVANCE -- Jeff Burton/Roush

Weekly Fax Release

Of all surprises in the early NASCAR Winston Cup season, none surpasses the performance of Jeff Burton and the brand new Roush Racing Exide Batteries Ford team. The new third team, is operating out of Mooresville NC., instead of Roush Racing's Liberty, NC., stable for Mark Martin and Ted Musgrave, already achieved two top- five finishes in three races in 1996. Burton presently stands second in Winston Cup points, just 86 points behind leader Dale Jarrett. At Richmond, the 1994 Rookie of the Year contended for his first Winston Cup victory before finishing fourth.

JEFF BURTON -99- Exide Batteries Thunderbird -- "This might sound a bit pretentious, but I really expected to run this well. Not that the Daytona 500 wasn't a shot in the arm, but I think we have enough people and enough talent and enough of the good stuff to run well. I was surprised a little bit With the top-five at Daytona, but not a lot. I was more surprised that we finished 15th instead of fifth at Hocking ham. I know how that sounds, hut I think we're good enough to run up front. I hope we're better two years ago than we are right now. I think we'll run up front a whole lot in two years, but I think we ought to be able to run in the top-10, top-12 on a weekly basis.

"We've never really sat down and talked about goals but we all have the same ones. We want to sit on a pole along the line, we'd love to win a race, and we'd love more than anything to finish in the top-10 in points. I think a realistic goal is a top-15 in points and I think that will keep our attitudes straight and keep me out of trouble. If you're going to finish top-15 in points, you have to keep fenders on race oars aria valves where they're supposed to be. Everything's got to be pretty good to finish in the top-15. Ear a first-year team, I think that's a pretty good goal."

DO YOU FEEL A PART OF THE "OTHER" ROUSH TEAMS? "Very much. It's neat, because there's a willingness to work together. We could be 800 miles from each other and be OK. With those guys, they've helped us an awful lot and we've helped them. too. Mark and Ted have been absolutely great to work with. And I really and truly feel that we're going to get better working with each other, but no more time than we've worked together, it's been great."

YOU'VE RELOCATED TO CHARLOTTE? "Yes. My house in Virginia is for sale. I live 20 minutes from the shop. I'm there almost every day.

"I think we've done an awfully good job of putting a group of people together. Buddy Parrott and Jack Roush did a great job, Buddy of selecting them and Jack of interviewing them, and then Buddy telling them what to do when they came to work. They all work together well, and that's the key.

"Attention here is paid to everything aria if anything needs to be discussed, it gets discussed. No one's afraid to mention any concerns. No matter what the issue is, pleasant or unpleasant, it gets addressed. Not only does it get addressed, something gets done. A lot of people talk about problems but don't ever fix them. Jack's not going to let that happen. Working together at the beginning and making those mistakes as little as possible has been the key to our early success.****

BUDDY PARROTT -99- Crew Chief for Jeff Burton -- "All I've done --not just me, but the whole team -- is hold our breath because of the number of cars that we have. We elected to build all new race cars. Jack and I talked about going down and buying the 13 race cars from Kenny Bernstein, but they weren't the 13 race cars we felt like we wanted to race. We derided to build all new cars, and we knew it was going to be a tougher nut to crack. We had one Daytona car, one Rockingham car, and one Richmond car. When we go to Darlington, we'll have one extra car. So far, we've brought out a new car for every race track. We've been taking the cars up to Hickory, NC., and shaking them down. I think we'll do that with all our cars, because we've been real fortunate after we've done that to bring good cars to all three race tracks with no problems.

"I've got a 28-year-old driver that you neither have to hold down nor prod at all. It's there, and that's what I like about him. But I told him my hair is turning more and more gray, I worry about what we do if we crash in the last practice, or what we do if we have to bring one off the truck? But we haven't had to do that.

"Ronnie Hopkins has done a great job getting the chassis to us so we can get our cars built. But when I was wondering if I was going to make it, because there was so much pressure of not having extra cars, Jack Roush was my biggest supporter. He said, 'It'll be OK. ' I said 'But Jack, I've only one one car going to Daytona.' He said, 'I know. We'll work around it if we have to.' Jack's been unbelievable. I'm just so glad I've been able to work with him in my career, and I hope this is the last place I go."

JACK ROUSH -99- Car Owner for Burton *- ""I've been involved in Winston Cup for eight years, involved in racing for 30, and that represents about 25 percent of what I've done. When I've spent this amount of time in another series, what I've done to make the next step was go of r and do things differently. You kind of get locked into a situation where over a period of time you say, 'I'm going to learn,' and then you learn things, then you become limited because you won't so other things outside the realm of what you learned. What we did here was say we weren't going to build the same cars, that we were going to manage ourselves differently, that we'd go down and participate in the mainstream of stock car racing in the Charlotte area and see if we could gave and take with the best of them instead of staying back to ourselves in Liberty and saying we think we could do better if we maintained a more private development program. We may find that we've limited ourselves with our isolation in Liberty, or we may find, as I suspect we will, that there are some pluses that can't be equalled in the Charlotte area. If we've got the kind of umbilical cord that I mean to have between the Liberty and Charlotte activities, then we'll make both programs stronger than they could otherwise be.

"I'm delighted with the Charlotte program so far. I'd been told that Jeff was a car person, that he was mechanically inclined and liked to get involved, and he's proven his commitment with his move from Virginia, where he'd lived all his life, to be nearer the shop every day and have the exchange with the guys. We certainly haven't embarrassed ourselves, and we've run well enough to be in the top-10 all three races.

"I consider that there are probably four elements to a race program, One is a good driver. Two is a good car, and I put the acre package and chassis together there. Third is a good engine. And fourth is chemistry.

"There is no reason to expect that this team would now have chemistry that would be close to being what the other top teams would have. Jeff's a great driver, a great young driver. We have competitive mainstream, not radical, cars. It's surprising to me that with all those things new that the chemistry is not in the way of this thing realizing its potential.

"If you finish 15th or better in every race and don't fall out of the races, you'll be in the top-10 in points for sure, and if you run up front some, you could be in the top-five. So, my goal for the team is to be in the top-10 in points, and if we're not just lucky with what we've seen in the first three races, we should definitely be in the area of a top-five team in points.

****

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Dale Jarrett , Ted Musgrave , Jack Roush , Mark Martin