GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Taurus "It's been an exciting five years, so far, with Grainger. We came on in the truck series. Jack had hired me in '98 to race the Craftsman Truck Series and we did a lot of good things in the truck series, had a great...
GREG BIFFLE-60-Grainger Taurus
"It's been an exciting five years, so far, with Grainger. We came on in the truck series. Jack had hired me in '98 to race the Craftsman Truck Series and we did a lot of good things in the truck series, had a great time racing there, was able to win a championship. Then moved to the Busch Series, and we had a lot of success last year, it was our first year in the Busch Series. And, hopefully, will be able to close the deal and maybe win a championship this year in the Busch Series. I'm really excited to be able to go to Winston Cup next year, go Winston Cup racing with Grainger. They've done so much for me, as well as Jack. It's just a great opportunity for Randy [Goss, crew chief] and I to move to Winston Cup. I've got a lot of good teammates in Roush that I'm looking forward to working with next year to help guide me along the way like I did Kurt [Busch] a few years ago. You know, look back at Kurt for some advice, and Matt [Kenseth] and Mark [Martin] and Jeff [Burton]. Just really excited to have this opportunity to go Winston Cup racing, and I need to thank Benny Parsons for getting me the original opportunity to get hooked up with Jack and Grainger in the beginning. It's been a great five years and I look forward to several more years to come."
JACK ROUSH, owner, Roush Racing
"I look forward to more than a few more years with Greg. I'll have to check with Geoff [Smith] and find out what's in our contract, but I'll do my very best to make it open-ended. It should not pass unnoticed, I think, the way, not only Greg got involved by being somebody who's in the hinterland, he wasn't in the southeast, he was in the northwest, he tried a couple of times to come back into the southeast, had some trouble with being able to win the races he should've won and to have racing room on the race track from the people who need to be giving him that consideration. He didn't get that couple times he had the opportunities and as a result of that he had to wait until somebody - it might've been Max Jones, it could've been Geoff Smith, it might've been me, it was Benny Parsons, somebody, who I respect immensely, who had seen Greg and was aware of his exploits and the fact he was building chassis' and was running a restaurant to support his racing, and was having tremendous success, great competitor and needed to have a way to get in a good car that was properly funded. And with Grainger we able to work that out five years ago with the truck.
But along with the Greg Biffle story, there's also the Grainger story that should not pass unnoticed. Grainger was a company, like many companies in our economy, that was looking at Winston Cup, its growth, the profile that we've got with our fans and with the folks that are involved on the fringes and cottage industries and things. They looked at that and they found a great parallel between the folks that were involved with, either from a team point of view or a vendor point of view or fan point of view, involved with Winston Cup and the folks that they knew to be candidates for their customers. And on good sound business principles, which Grainger is built on, they came back and said, alright, how much can we get in with to invest enough so that we've got the prospect of getting the exposure, and the result, and have a chance to watch it grow? And, from my point of view, from Jeff's point of view, they did that, and looking at Roush Racing, which has had I think a pretty good reputation of giving sponsors good return on their investment, and on bringing along potential that were not yet established. So we started with the truck program with the understanding, and everybody was told, that, okay, we're going to learn how to market it, we're going to learn how to involve our employees with it - and I'm speaking from Grainger's point of view - and we're going to measure the exposure we get from it and keep track of how much we sell on Monday as a result of what we were able to do on Sunday or Saturday or Friday night or whatever the case might've been. And they got good results from that.
And when it came renewal time, they went on to the renewals and to the increases they had to spend money-wise. And the next window had to be, alright, are we going stay in truck or are we going to go to Busch? And it was clear that Roush Racing wanted to take Greg to Busch, and Grainger decided they were ready to go to the next level investment and step up all their marketing programs and see what was going to happen in Busch. Well, this is our second year in Busch.
We're thrilled with what's happening with it. At the time the determination was made to Busch, a four-year agreement was made with Grainger that gave a two-year option on their part that they could elect, for money they understood, to go on and go to Winston Cup with. Based on what Greg and the team and Randy have been able to do in Busch, and based on what Grainger's been able to do with their marketing programs, and with the way they've been able to measure that, were on track, were able to go on and go to Winston Cup now. That's a textbook, that's an example of the way sponsors need to come in and make good business out of their involvement, and race teams need to grow, and grow in their association with sponsors. Not only am I anxious to look forward to the prospect of being able to be involved with Greg as long as he wants to drive. I very much look forward to the prospect of having Grainger being involved with Greg, not only the next two years of our initial agreement, or of our last agreement, but going down the road as the team continues to develop, as Greg's able to put himself in championship form, which I don't think will take more than a year or two in Winston Cup, and as the team's able to cooperate with Grainger in order to make good business sense as the cost of this racing inevitably rises. Anyway, that's a lot of talking for an announcement that everybody was expecting - we were getting ready to go Winston Cup racing with Greg and with Grainger. But the idea of what's happened with the sponsor and what happened in Greg's career as we've gotten to this point is certainly something that I take great satisfaction on as we move forward."
DOES THIS HAVE ANY EFFECT ON YOUR OTHER CUP TEAMS?
"Greg and Randy have been a real quick study in truck and have been a extraordinarily quick study in Busch. I expect that, not only will they be sponges as they have been and suck every bit of energy out of the existing program as they can, but I expect some youthful leadership to come from both of them right away with some of the forward-thinking ideas. They spend a lot of time outside the box. They seldom get caught there where it's an embarrassment. But they spend a lot of time doing things, not only that are in concert with what's contemporary in terms of knowledge and understanding, but Greg has got his strong background in the northwest and, of course, Randy came from motorcycle racing and from road racing, which was successful for 14 years. They will be like Kurt has been; they will bring fresh ideas to Mark and to Matt and to Jeff Burton."