Atlanta: Roush - Friday Ford one-on-one

JACK ROUSH ONE-ON-ONE SESSION WHAT SHOULD THE PENALTY HAVE BEEN? "I guess it should be consistent with what they do in the past, and maybe that's what they've done. The thing that has not been part of the process has been the definition or the...


WHAT SHOULD THE PENALTY HAVE BEEN? "I guess it should be consistent with what they do in the past, and maybe that's what they've done. The thing that has not been part of the process has been the definition or the determination, the rate of culpability. I can prove that I was not culpable here and nobody on the team was culpable, and I think that should make a difference. It would make a difference anyplace else in the world. There would be a difference between first-degree murder and manslaughter based on culpability. NASCAR doesn't provide for that difference. I would like the review board to have participation of other team owners in the review of appeals, as opposed to having it be track operators and NASCAR officials by themselves."

BUT THOSE GUYS ARE JUMPING ON YOU NOW? "Well, they would have to understand that what went around, comes around. If you don't do an even-handed, fair and reasonable thing now, you can't expect that in the future, so we would have an opportunity to help build their court into something that would be fair and reasonable."

HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT ONE BOLT DIDN'T HOLD THAT DOWN? "I tried to explain it in there. Here is the part. It's got the entire front of the surface secured and it's got one fastener on the back side. What you would like to do is not waste fasteners and have the car be as light as it can. There wasn't a conscious decision made by the engineering manager for that, but one of the engineers whose job it was to get weight out of the car, made the decision that that was a sufficient fastener. If it had been adequately retained, either by safety wire or with an interference nut plate, which the original ones did, we wouldn't have this issue in front of us. But the nut plate that was welded in rather than riveted in, that didn't have the interference capability and the lack of a lock tight, and lack of a lock washer and a lack of a safety wire resulted in the harmonics that go through the car loosening the fastener."

ARE YOU LOOKING AT GOING TO FOUR BOLTS TO HOLD IT DOWN? "No. I'm going to put safety wire in it. The design is OK. The fastener did not break or did not fail. I don't find the fastener at fault, other than the fact it was not adequately secured."

YOUR OTHER CARS ARE LIKE THIS? "They're all like this."

I GET THE SENSE YOU'RE WILLING TO CONCEDE THERE WAS A PROBLEM BUT YOU WOULD APPEAL JUST BECAUSE OF ACCUSATIONS LIKE LEE WHITE MADE THAT YOU AT LEAST WOULD LIKE THE COMMISSION TO SAY, 'OK, IT MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN DELIBERATE, BUT IT WAS STILL AN ISSUE.' "I think it's fair to say the only reason I would appeal, barring an insistence on the sponsor that says you've got to go fight this thing because our honor is involved, if our sponsor took that position, we would do it based on principal, but lacking that, I think our expectation and the reason we would make an appeal from the team's point of view would be if we thought we had a reasonable basis of getting Bob Osborne's six-week suspension, if we had the prospect of getting that reduced, that would be the rationale I would see behind it."

HOW SIGNIFICANT IS LOSING THE 10 POINTS FOR THE WIN IF YOU MAKE THE CHASE? "It's real significant. The thing was off. If there is data that says that it is an advantage, I think that it's not different than the spring that broke or one of these other things have happened. Of course, when Jeff Gordon had his car settle for an inch-and-a-half because the jack screw dropped out at Daytona the year before last, it was no harm, no foul. So I don't expect that kind of treatment. I wouldn't expect that there would be relief on the 10 points or the 100 points, but my expectation based on history would be that we would be able to see Bob's six-week suspension reduced."

TO CLARIFY, ARE YOU SAYING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE A DEFINITION ON PENALITIES THAT COME DOWN FROM NASCAR? "I didn't say that. You've paraphrased and gone to the next step, but, yeah. If NASCAR will make a determination of culpability to let that determine the weight of the penalty, I think it would be a reasonable thing -- the same as it is for the things that happen in the courts in broader society."

LET'S TAKE COMPLICITY OR INTENT OUT OF THIS. IF THE THING WAS OPENED AND THERE WAS AIR FLOWING THROUGH THERE THE PENALTY SHOULD BE IN EFFECT. "What happens if you were driving your car down the race track and you lose your rear bumper? I'll guarantee you that it has more downforce in the back and it has less drag. So that's one of the things that happens where there is not culpability, it's an action that wasn't perpetrated by the team, it's something that happened as the result of an incident on the race track. I don't see that as being different than a tire vibrating and loosening a fastener. When Bobby Allison lost his bumper on his Buick back in 1988 or 1986, that was OK. Everybody laughed about the bumper falling off and winning the race. There have been other cases in short track races where we've had cars that are dramatically changed in configuration. You put a dent in the hood from running up underneath the bumper of another car. The car makes more front downforce. It's not in the same configuration that NASCAR approved. It won't go through the templates. If something happened on the race track that didn't reflect culpability, wasn't an action perpetrated by the team that gained them an advantage."

SO DO YOU THINK WHAT'S HAPPENED HERE IS FAIR? "I think it's fair, if it's consistent. As far as I know, it needs to be predictable and it needs to be consistent in Jack's mind of fairness. If they've done that 100 points thing for things like this in the past, and they do it to me, that's OK."

WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT LEE WHITE AND HIS COMMENTS? "Lee White sent a message to me, an apology that I received third-hand that said he wasn't accusing me of cheating -- that he didn't mean for it to come out that way and he was sorry. I haven't accepted that because I haven't heard it from him directly."

DO YOU FEEL THERE WAS A COMPETITIVE REASON WHY THAT CAME OUT FROM TOYOTA? "I think Toyota and Lee White are besieged by the fact that they've wasted a bunch of money for two years, that they haven't gotten the results that they represented to their management that they were gonna get on the race track. They haven't gotten the results that their fans expected. Travis Kvapil, in his Ford Fusion and his second race of the 2008 season, with a start-up team, beat all the Toyotas single-handed."

IS IT LEGAL TO TEST WITH YOUR OIL LID OFF AND WHY DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE? "Yeah, why would you go test something. I guess Lee said that he had tested in Germany. I don't think that's happened since Daytona. It might have, but my guess is that sometime last year they tested with that cover off realizing it was illegal to find out what the effect was. Now why would they do that? I wonder how many times they tested the rocket fuel for Michael Waltrip's car before they decided to take that chance at Daytona. By the way, it wasn't the only one that had that stuff in it. There was other cars that they found deposits of the same residue in other intake manifolds."

WHAT MAKES? "Toyotas."

ONE THING LEE SAID THAT WASN'T IN THE STORY IS THAT IF THE OIL TANK COVER WAS OFF AND THERE WAS AN ACCIDENT LIKE JEFF GORDON'S LAST WEEK, THAT IT COULD BE CATASTROPHIC. WOULD YOU AGREE WITH THAT? "Some risk. If you have a wreck, if you rupture the oil tank, it's hard to imagine that by the time you rupture the oil tank you would not have already ruptured the enclosure, regardless of whether there was a cover on it. In other words, the oil tank sits in the middle of the enclosure. If you have a wreck, the only way that there's gonna be risk to the driver is if you rupture the tank. I don't see how you'd rupture the tank without also rupturing the enclosure, so I think it's a stretch."

WHEN THE HENDRICK AND CHILDRESS CREW CHIEFS HAVE BEEN CAUGHT VIOLATING THE RULES -- "When they took their cars to Sears Point, they were culpable. They took car of tomorrow cars that didn't fit the templates. The constructors knew it. The crew chiefs almost certainly knew it, and when they presented it to NASCAR it was wrong and it was built wrong. That was not the case here."

BUT THOSE GUYS TOOK THEIR LUMPS AND MOVED ON. YOU'RE INSISTENT ON FIGHTING THIS? "I'm not insistent about fighting this. The only thing that I'm fighting is the accusation that I knowingly cheated. That's what came out in USA Today today from the way that was positioned through Lee White's interview. I didn't knowingly cheat."

CREW CHIEFS ALWAYS SAY THEY ARE PAID TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE? "Did I say that? Did Bob Osborne say that? The same as if you were in World War I. The third man on the cigarette lighter in the foxhole was gonna get a sniper's round. The next guy to run an oil reservoir cover off is gonna get a huge penalty from NASCAR, based on what they did at Daytona. I won't be standing on that spot if I've got any choice."

PICTURES OF THE WINDOW ARE BEING CIRCULATED. "That's an aviation kind of a fastener and it's designed to cam over and plug that hole, and it very well may be the case that the vibration being set up in that part of the car is moving that cam back. It's amazing to me, I've got a new airplane I'm flying this year, it's a Hawker Beech Fair Premier, and it's got four of those fasteners on the right side panel in the back and it's got four on the left side. I've got 16 of those same fasteners on my airplane and if that airplane loses one of those fasteners and loses the door, you're probably not talking to Jack, you're talking to somebody else. So it's not my intention to have that fastener fail. If it has failed or has loosened up for a reason that we don't understand, I'm gonna explore it. You can't safety wire it because it's a driver's way to get out. You wind up pulling the inside of the thing and the fastener opens. If he can't exit the left window opening, he goes through the right side. So it has to be some kind of a cam-over fastener, but NASCAR has the car. You guys go look at the fasteners. If you want to do some investigation, go look at the fasteners and see if there is any handwork done, any culpability to the team to try to change that fastener so it would loosen up. I'm sure you won't find it. I'm sure whatever happened was the result of something harmonic and unknown and unexpected."

WHAT DID LEE WHITE DO FOR YOU? "Lee White came in 1986 or '87. He probably came in the winter of '86 and worked for me for a number of years until 1988 in road racing. When I started road racing, Lee White was my manager. When I started NASCAR racing, Lee White was my manager. I turned my back on Lee White, who was my manager for my road racing. We won all the Daytona 24-Hour races we'd gone to. We'd won something like 50 or 52 percent of the races we entered with Lee being at the helm most of the time. I turned my back on him and I said, 'I'm gonna go south. I'm gonna embrace NASCAR. I'm gonna embrace the culture. I'm gonna embrace the people. I'm gonna pick managers. I'm gonna pick mechanics. I'm gonna pick supervisors out of the work force down there, rather than take you with me."

I KNOW HIS TIME WITH YOU WAS A BIG SELLING POINT TO TOYOTA EXECUTIVES. "Absolutely. We won with him being there with me, we won 50 percent of the races we entered. He left in '88 and we raced until '96 (in sports cars) and guess how many races we won between '88 and '96? Fifty percent of them with Max Jones at the helm. Tommy Kendall drove for a number of years. Dorsey Schroeder drove. Scott Pruett drove and won championships. Wally Dallenbach drove before Lee White."

IS LOSING THE 10 POINTS FOR THE CHASE AN APPROPRIATE PENALTY? "If the championship is determined by less than 10 points, NASCAR, through their punitive means, they have determined the outcome of the championship, if it's determined by less than 10 points and that's a fact."

-credit: gord racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Wally Dallenbach , Jeff Gordon , Michael Waltrip , Scott Pruett , Dorsey Schroeder , Bobby Allison , Max Jones , Travis Kvapil , Tommy Kendall