Note: Jackie Joyner-Kersee and husband Bob Kersee announced today they have teamed with Kurt Roehrig to form a NASCAR team hopeful of competing in either the Winston Cup or Busch Series in 2000. They plan to run a Pontiac Grand Prix. A...
Note: Jackie Joyner-Kersee and husband Bob Kersee announced today they have teamed with Kurt Roehrig to form a NASCAR team hopeful of competing in either the Winston Cup or Busch Series in 2000. They plan to run a Pontiac Grand Prix. A driver and sponsor will be announced at a later date.
JACKIE-JOYNER KERSEE: "I really feel this is a great venture. For myself, I look forward to cultivating relationships with the sponsors and doing whatever I can to make us that winning team. I do feel we have a winning combination, but there's a lot of work out there that is still left for us to do. I'll be looking to the challenges and doing whatever I can to continue our 'winning tradition.' "Bob doesn't drag me into anything (laughing). I do feel from the beginning that Bobby was trying to tell me a lot about NASCAR. He has the knowledge and has done the research. From years ago, Bob went to NASCAR and he kept telling me I should come to some of the races. I've attended six races. From the very beginning, I was reluctant, but once I got to the different events and saw the excitement of the fans, I caught on. I had a hard time imagining what was so great about 'zoom, zoom, zoom.' Once I was there, I could see how you get into, 'zoom, zoom, zoom.' You start cheering and picking out your favorites and looking at it from a psychological standpoint and wondering where the minds of the drivers are. The question that would come to my mine was there condition. Then I looked at the insides of a car. Then I saw the pit crews and how the people worked together to try and make sure their driver and car is in excellent condition so they could be successful. From the beginning, I was reluctant, but from that first one and I've attended six now, that number will increase significantly. You'll see me at a lot more races, but not with him dragging me (laughing). "I'm prepared (for how tough it will be). I'm very, very optimistic and I try to think very positive and I also believe, even in my own career, that I can keep things in prospective. Overnight I did not become an Olympic gold medalist. It took time and it took patience. I think in this process I have to understand why we are doing this and not get caught up in 'I'm Jackie Joyner-Kersee and we're not up front.' Hopefully, it won't stay that way for a very long time. We're in this for the long haul. We're going to be very patient. We'll grow together and win and lose alike.
BOB KERSEE: "We'll be racing Pontiacs in the Busch or Winston Cup Series next year. Jackie and myself along with Kurt will be co-owners of the racing team. Jackie is an expert of marketing from her track and field days. It's exciting for me because I'm a lover of NASCAR. My wife is finally teamed up with me and allowed me to become a part of this NASCAR family. Actually, I'm a pretty lucky man because she allowed me to run around with fast women in track and field and now she's going to allow me to run around with fast cars in NASCAR. You can't beat that. It's always been my dream to be a part of NASCAR. My birthday is Feb. 17, so obviously the beginning of NASCAR season was exciting for me when I was a little kid. Around 10, I really took an interest in stock car racing. I've followed it throughout my lifetime and over the last five or six years I've been able to follow NASCAR racing very closely. I'm looking forward to working with Kurt. After seeing Joe Gibbs get involved in NASCAR, obviously that gave me a connection with coaching. That's what I'd like to do. This is a serious venture. I plan on taking it very, very seriously as an owner. I plan on using all my skills in the past 20 years of coaching Olympic champions with Kurt to learn the ins and outs of what goes on in NASCAR, along with my wife. We'll work hard to obtain the sponsorship needed to build a winning team. I'm going to be a little cocky here. I plan on winning. Along with Kurt, we plan on building a team that's strong enough to get in the top-10 and race up front. I like winning. What we want to build is a good program. "When I started out in track an field, I started out as the youngest coach in track and field. In '84, they laughed at me when I said I was going to win some gold medals and I did. That was because I got some of the best runners and some of the best equipment, some of the best programs. I did my research and I plan on doing the same thing here in NASCAR. I'm going to do everything I can to learn the details about winning. We need the right sponsorship. We're starting off right with Pontiac. I've got a good mentor in Joe Gibbs and he's getting Pontiacs up front. I watched him recruit Tony Stewart this year and that's football coaching. He stayed on top of getting Tony and that's what it takes to win. I understand winning and I want to bring my winning attitude to the sport that I love."
KURT ROEHRIG: "NASCAR racing in modern era is extremely competitive. It's a very dynamic sport and for a team to be successful you have to have all the right elements coming together. As an owner the last five years in the truck series and limited runs in Winston Cup, I've learned I don't have all the ingredients myself. I'm very technical. I actually act as crew chief and engineer of what we run presently. That's not enough anymore. You need to have a marketing side. You need to have a people side. You need to have a recruiting side. NASCAR contacted me last November and told me the Kersees might be contacting me. NASCAR put them in touch with me. I'm really appreciative of Dennis Huth for doing that. It comes at a perfect time for me. We want to grow our team and move out of the truck series and we want to move into Winston Cup. We needed the additional marketing elements and we needed the additional psychological preparation that you need to make a proper team work that are coaching background things. This is the greatest thing in the world. We get Bob who is a coach. We've got Jackie on the marketing side. I'm probably the only owner out here that can honestly say my co-owner can out-run your co-owner. "Right now we're shooting and targeting a Winston Cup program in 2000. We're not ruling out either participation in the Busch Series or truck series. That may be in addition to a Winston Cup effort or that may be solo. It will depend on how our sponsorship search goes. Right now, we're competing in three races this year. We competed at Las Vegas and Sears Point last weekend. We'll be competing at the second MIS (Michigan) race. Bradford-White water heaters is the sponsor. Our present driver for those races is Tom Hubert. Tom is certainly is consideration for a driver spot next year. He's an exciting young rookie and qualified fourth at Las Vegas, which kind of knocked everybody's socks off a little bit because everybody considers him as a road course expert. No one has been ruled out in this point in time. Obviously we're getting into the meat of 'Silly Season' and there will be a lot of things transpiring and many drivers will be moving around. We'll keep our options open. As a new team, you have to do that. That gives you the best opportunity to get an experienced driver."