Richard Childress press conference regarding NASCAR penalties Bristol Motor Speedway First let me start off by making a statement. I made a statement about what happened to us on our appeal and the penalty system. I'll answer some questions...
Richard Childress press conference regarding NASCAR penalties Bristol Motor Speedway
First let me start off by making a statement. I made a statement about what happened to us on our appeal and the penalty system. I'll answer some questions about it. I'm not here to beat NASCAR up-we've got a great organization, I just disagree. And if we can't disagree on some things.that's one thing that I've been able to do over my several years in NASCAR, that when we do disagree, we can talk about it. So, I'm just giving you my opinion. I'm giving you my opinion on what I see out there and what I think. And it's only one person's opinion, it doesn't mean it's right or it's wrong. And I'd just like to state that for the record. Everything I say doesn't have to be right, I'm just stating my opinion on it.
CAN YOU ADDRESS HENDRICK/ROUSH DOMINANCE RIGHT NOW? HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?
Yeah, thank you for getting me off the hot seat there a minute. I think that those guys did their homework. They've got a multicar team. When you've got resources like they've got.and we've got great resources. They've got five teams and even more. They can pull from more engineering, more aero numbers and together they've got a good program. They don't need to be beat up for being that good. It's up to us to go out there now and get it good enough. It's like I said earlier, I hired Nick Owen. Now we have a solid aero program. We put new engineers in our engine program to try to catch them. They have got a little jump on us but I can see us closing that gap. I think that's what it's going to take. It's like when Dale and I were so dominant for years and when Jeff Gordon had his great years and stuff. That's kind of the cycle we're in, all the way back to the Petty days. Right now it's Roush and Hendrick, but we're going to be back there racing hard.
IS YOUR SITUATION BEING DEALT WITH SOMEWHAT MORE HARD? DOES THIS MOTIVATE YOU PERSONALLY IN A WAY LIKE THE DAYS WHEN YOU CALLED YOUR TEAM THE OAKLAND RAIDERS OF STOCK CAR RACING?
Well, like I said earlier, I'm frustrated with the situation. I'm going to be there with the guys on the #29 on Sunday. I'm going to be right there on the pit box. I haven't been on that box since 2001. But I'm going to be there. I'm doing it more to show my organization how much I care about it. How I want to get this thing back on the right road and I called Kevin and talked to him after our appeal and I told him what I wanted to do and wanted to get right there on that pit box and light some fire. Not that it's not there, and I have great, capable people in the pits, but with my presence I want them to know how sincere I am to get this team back in the winner's circle.
WHEN YOU SIT THERE ON THE PIT BOX WILL YOU CREW CHIEF THE RACE OR AS AN OWNER? ARE YOU DOING THAT TO SHOW YOUR DISPLEASURE WITH NASCAR OR STRICTLY TO SUPPORT THE TEAM?
Well, you've got a lot there in one question. Probably all of it. The biggest thing is.I called Jeff Burton and Dave Blaney and said look, I want you guys to know I'm not letting you guys down. I want to sit there and show the whole organization that I'm supporting. I'm not supporting what Todd Berrier did-it was wrong. I was displeased with some of the outcomes over the past few weeks.
DO YOU FEEL THE INTENT PART OF IT IS NOT IN THE RULE BOOK AND YOU SHOULD NOT BE JUDGED ON THAT?
I think the only place you should put intent is that if you "intent" on getting caught. I don't know if that's good English or not.It's like this, you're right, you're wrong. You're legal, you're illegal. It's red and green and when they came up with that, you're illegal or legal. I'm not going to talk about what happened with those guys. There's a right or a wrong and what's the old saying? You're pregnant or you're not.
IN LAS VEGAS THE FIRST AND SECOND PLACE CARS WERE ILLEGAL AFTER THE RACE. SHOULD THEY HAVE BEEN KICKED OUT?
I'm really not going to go into any car. I'd really just like to make a statement. Again, this is my opinion. When NASCAR put the new points system in, I totally disagree from taking away points from the driver in any situation unless the driver has something to do with it. If he gets out and jumps on the hood of somebody's car, he should lose points. But, I think they should penalizie the owners more, whoever is accountable for that car and 99% of the time, the driver never has a clue what happens. With the new points system, it's based on the driver getting in the top 10. Penalize us owners, have them take the money away from us and take it away from the crews. But don't penalize the drivers who don't have anything to do with it. I think it's time for NASCAR to revisit the penalty system based on our new points system.
I WAS TALKING WITH MIKE HELTON IN ATLANTA BEFORE THE RACE. HE SAID THAT IF SOMEBODY TRIES TO MESS WITH THE RULES, THEY MIGHT JUST TAKE AWAY VICTORY. DO YOU AGREE?
Again, I think it has to be addressed. I think NASCAR to needs to at least make that statement. We all understand it. I think that you may see a victory taken away from somebody after he made that statement in Atlanta.
SUSPENSIONS AND FINES ARE ONE THING. BUT HOW FAIR IS IT TO PENALIZE POINTS FOR AN INFRACTION IN QUALIFYING WHERE DRIVERS CAN'T GET ANY POINTS FROM QUALIFYING ANYWAY?
And that's where I disagree with their penalty system where they have that in there that they can do that. What happened to us was wrong. Todd Berrier was wrong. We deserved to go to the rear of the field. We got penalized for starting 42nd. Then we got a fine-I was expecting a fine. We deserved a fine for what we did. We deserved a suspension. That's the reason I kept him out a week before we even went to Atlanta. Before we came up here before our appeal. But to take four weeks from us in qualifying, that's where I disagree. What it is: I'm not going to appeal it to the commissioner, I've been in too many appeals. I can say I'm batting 100 in that: we've never won one.
BEFORE THE BUSCH SERIES CREW CHIEF AND THEN THESE TWO HENDRICK CREW CHIEFS WINNING THEIR APPEAL, NOW WE'VE HAD THREE. DO YOU THINK IT DEPENDS ON THE COMMITTEE YOU GO BEFORE?
I'm really not sure. They have different people in different committees and I've been in front of a lot of them. I'll tell you we've never won one of them. The only reason I appealed this and I wasn't even going to was some of the prior circumstance that happened and us getting four weeks for qualifying. I just disagreed for that and I wanted to make a statement that I disagree with taking away drivers' points. Because again, the drivers don't know anything about it. Kevin Harvick had no clue. I'm sure Jimmie Johnson and Busch had no clue that something was wrong. They were drivers.
WOULD YOU BE AS UPSET IF YOUR PENALTY STAYED THE SAME BUT THE OTHER SUSPENSIONS WERE KEPT IN PLACE, AS THEY WERE NOT?
I don't want to talk about those two deals there. All I ask is, let's show it equally across the board. If there is going to rules, they have to be stated and that's all I'm saying. You're right or your wrong, and we were wrong.
DO YOU THINK THE WAY TODD HANDLED THE SITUATION PLAYED A PART IN THE PENALTY THAT WAS GIVEN
Yes, I do. But how many people in this room has ever said something-and I'm more guilty as anybody in this room. Right after a heated conversation or something happens to you, someone hands you the mic and that's your job to get the story and all of a sudden you say something and later you say, Man, I wish I would have that back. How many in this room, not only in racing but in life you make a comment and you wish you would have said that. Even people in the NASCAR trailer and other people have made comments they wish they wouldn't have made before.
HOW IS TODD BERRIER HANDLING THIS?
Not very good because he knows the penalty affects. When the crew chief is penalized, it affects you so deep. He can sit in the grandstands and do whatever he likes. It's not like touching the cars. He can watch it on TV and tell you everything he wants to, but it's not like touching the cars and it goes a lot deeper than just penalizing the crew chief for that week or four weeks and he feels bad about it.
WHEN YOU GET TWO LEVEL HEADED GUYS LIKE BLANEY AND BURTON AND ONE SORT OF VOLATILE PERSON LEFT, DOES THAT MEAN PEACE AND QUIET FOR YOU OR DO YOU MISS THAT?
I have enough excitement in my life. But, you know, I like a fired-up guy. If you were to listen to Dave Blaney, I think it was at California, he's pretty fired up. Jeff Burton can get fired up. They are just a lot more reserved in the public eye. But these guys can get fired up, they just have the knowledge and the maturity where they know how to do things and keep themselves out of trouble. To have Kevin there, too-he's great to work with and we're fired up about his chances in the Chase.
WHAT EXACTLY WILL YOUR ROLE BE IN THE PIT BOX?
Well, I won't be calling all the shots. I'll be working with Scott. Scott Miller is our interim crew chief. Chris is our engineer. They will be on the box. I'll be there to support them and I'm sure I'll be talking to Kevin on the radio, so that will be my role.
HOW DO YOU FEEL RETURNING TO THE PIT BOX?
It's going to be different because I haven't sat on a pit box.I talk to the crew chiefs but I sit there and watch the race. And that's the reason I called Jeff Burton and Dave Blaney that night to get their opinion because normally I'm up there where I can see and talk to either driver and watch what's going on. So, I'm going to be right there next to Scott and maybe Kevin can hear me scream a time or two.
IF YOU WIN THE RACE HERE, AND WHEN YOU GO THROUGH THE SCALES AND YOUR CAR IS TOO LOW AND THEY TAKE THE WIN AWAY FROM YOU, HOW WILL YOU TAKE THAT?
I can't even tell you.I wouldn't be happy, I'll put it that. Well, they told us down there that they would (take the win away), so I'd be a little upset like any owner should be.
IF THEY DO TAKE AWAY RACES, YOU'VE GOT SPONSORS LIKE JACK DANIELS AND ALL. ARE THEY IN FOR OPENING UP A CAN OF WORMS WITH THE SPONSOR ATTACHMENTS TO THIS?
For the first time that I can remember back when, the top people at GM Goodwrench called me and said, why four weeks? What happened? So, we had to explain how it will affect you in the Chase. And it could be just like Jamie McMurray last year. I don't think it was fair in their situation to lose 25 points. They got to come up with a way to penalize the owners, take my car-do something. But you need to leave the drivers' points alone. That's a stick they can hold over your head but it's not a fair stick because it affects too many people when the drivers' points are taken away when they don't have anything to do with a situation?
WHEN YOU SAID YOU HADN'T BEEN ON THE PIT BOX SINCE 2001, DO YOU MEAN DAYTONA 2001?
I finished that year up, most of it.
WHEN YOU WERE SAYING IT WASN'T FAIR TO TAKE AWAY POINTS FROM A DRIVER, THEY'D PROBABLY TAKE ALL THE POINTS AWAY
They'd have to. You'd probably end up with 42nd or 43rd position. Again, that's a good one and I haven't even been there but that's a good question. I can't see how they take wins where we've never done it in the past unless you've got a big engine. The thing that scares me as an owner-more than points or anything-is the twelve week suspension. That will get your attention and that's fuel, tires and big engines, stuff like that. That gets your attention. My guys know not to go in those directions.