RICHARD CHILDRESS, OWNER OF RCR, met with media following his Caterpillar sponsorship announcement for the No. 31 Impala SS race car driven by Jeff Burton. GIVEN THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF TONY STEWART TODAY AND SOME OF THE HAPPENINGS, HOW IS THE ...
RICHARD CHILDRESS, OWNER OF RCR, met with media following his Caterpillar sponsorship announcement for the No. 31 Impala SS race car driven by Jeff Burton.
GIVEN THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF TONY STEWART TODAY AND SOME OF THE HAPPENINGS, HOW IS THE PROGRESS ON YOUR FOURTH CAR ANNOUNCEMENT? "Yeah, today was a great day for us. You know we broke out our Caterpillar number thirty-one and it's got a really unique paint scheme on it and it's going to be a lot of fun and a great company. I am sure there are a lot of other questions because RCR is going through some changes right now. We announced our fourth car with Cheerios and General Mills and hopefully we'll be able to break out that car in the near future and bring a driver out.
"Some of the drivers that we are talking to are still under contract up through even August, but we are hoping to get something announced by August 15th."
WHAT DO YOU THINK WITH TONY STEWART ANNOUNCING HE IS BECOMING AN OWNER/DRIVER. YOU DID THAT EARLY IN YOUR CAREER AND HOW TOUGH DO YOU THINK THAT IS GOING TO BE ON HIM? "Well you know, for Tony, it's a different time. He's got a lot better financial backing today than we had back in the days that the independents ran. I think the toughest thing is going to be that he's got his dirt car and he's got his Sprint Cars. He has an understanding of owning a team, but to come to this level it takes a huge commitment from and owner's standpoint to put the time in it, and I think he'll do fine. The biggest thing that he's got to do is realize that it's all about people. He's got the sponsorship, he's got the talent, and it's about the people he is going to surround himself with."
ISN'T THIS KIND OF LIKE A THROWBACK TO THE TIME WHEN THE OWNERS IN THIS SPORT WERE FORMER COMPETITORS? GUYS LIKE YOURSELF, ROBERT YATES, MOST OF THE OWNERS WERE GUYS THAT HAD DRIVEN BEFORE? "Yeah, I think you'll see more of the investment people getting in to the sport. I wish Tony well, because he is a good friend. I have talked to Eddie Jarvis a lot about what they are doing. I wish him the best and I told them that I would always be there to answer any questions that he had."
ARE YOU GLAD TO SEE ANOTHER FORMER COMPETITOR GETTING INTO THE SPORT AND NOT ALL THESE GUYS COMING FROM THE OUTSIDE? "Yeah I think it's really good for the sport to have a driver and once he decides to retire and he becomes an owner, I think it will be good."
YOU HAVE PLENTY OF SPONSORS FOR ALL YOUR TEAMS AND THEN WE SEE TEAMS HAVING TO SHUT DOWN THEIR CARS. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE SPORT IS THERE? MAYBE THESE TEAMS NEED TO LOOK AT THEIR OWN FRONT OFFICES? "No the sport is healthy. We go through some trying times just like anybody, but we are in America and we are in a strong country and I believe in America and the strong things that's going to happen in the future and this sport is super-good too."
RICHARD WHERE ARE YOU ON SPONSORSHIP. DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER ANNOUNCEMENT COMING UP? "Yeah, we are going to be announcing and showing the driver in the Cheerios car and that's the only thing that we have going on right now that we can even talk about."
A LOT OF OWNERS JOKE THAT THEY DON'T MAKE ANY MONEY AND IT'S THE DRIVERS THAT MAKE ALL THE MONEY. WHY WOULD A GUY WANT TO LEAVE A FULL TIME DRIVING POSITION TO BECOME A FULL TIME DRIVER AND PART TIME OWNER WHEN YOU GUYS SAY IT'S FINANCIALLY TOUGH? "It's getting tougher and that's not crying the blues. It's the same with all the race teams out there today. All the costs are going up just like its going up for anybody in today's world. But like I said earlier, I think Tony will do real well with his stuff and I am sure he'll have different ideas and everyone has dreams and I am sure this is one of Tony Stewart's dreams and only in America can you make these dreams come possible."
YOU TALKED ABOUT RISING COSTS. AND NOW YOU HAVE ANOTHER TEAM COMING OVER TO CHEVROLET. NOW THAT'S FOUR MAJOR TEAMS. WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES IN GETTING AS MUCH SUPPORT FROM CHEVROLET? AND CERTAINLY THERE ARE SOME CHALLENGES THE AUTO MANUFACTURER'S FACE AND THE CUTBACKS THAT THEY ARE MAKING NOT ONLY IN THE SPORT BUT ELSEWHERE. HOW DO THEY GET THE MONEY NOW FOR FOUR TEAMS WHEN THEY HAVE ONLY HAD THE MONEY FOR THREE MAJOR TEAMS? "Well I think the sport, I think they have been rewarded with a lot results in sales from the sport. I think its kinda like going back into the Great Depression. Companies that backed off of advertising during that time are not the top companies in the world today and companies that went into advertising and went ahead and did their thing in tough times, they are still here today and doing good."
DO YOU EXPECT THE SAME TYPE OF SUPPORT YOU'VE GOTTEN FROM CHEVROLET OR DO YOU EXPECT KIND OF A LEANER, MORE OF A SHARING MODE THAN WHAT THEY HAD IN THE PAST OR ARE THEY GOING TO CHANGE WHAT THEY HAVE DONE WITH YOU GUYS? "Well at GM, that is one of the positives. We work really closely together with Hendrick and DEI and now with Tony I am sure that he is going to be in our key partners and we welcome him. And sure, things are tough in America and in the auto business but I just know that GM will prevail."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT JACK DANIELS AND THEIR FUTURE AND WHAT THEY HAVE MEANT FOR YOU AS A SPONSOR? "Jack Daniels is a great sponsor, and we have them on the car for next year and that is all about I can say about it right now."
WHY DO WE KEEP HEARING ABOUT UPS BEING ADDED TO THAT CAR? "I don't know, I don't write those things."
HOW COME DRIVER SALARIES HAVE GONE UP SO MUCH OVER THE OTHER SALARIES OF EVERYONE ELSE IN THE GARAGE? "That is a good question and I would rather not speak about that. Sometimes its better to not speak on that. The only thing I can say is that there's only so much money to go around, and if you want to be in a competitive car, it takes a lot of money to run a competitive car."
WILL UPS BE INVOLVED WITH RCR NEXT YEAR IN SOME CAPACITY? "Right now I can't comment on anything with UPS because I am not involved right now with all of that."
HOW MUCH DOES TONY'S MOVEMENT CHANGE THE LANDSCAPE OF THE SPORT? "Well I think it can be good actually because I think a lot of people would just watch this, even if they are not a fan to just see what happens to Tony and his company. There will be people pulling for him to fail and there will be a lot of us pulling for him to succeed. I think its going to be good for the sport because everyone is going to be watching the sport and seeing his new venture.
WE ARE HEARING SO MUCH NEGATIVITY COMING OUT OF DEI AND YOU ARE A BUSINESS PARTNER WITH THEM. WHY IS THAT? "I don't know a lot of what is going on internally down there, but our engine program is great and last week showed the success of our engine program and what we have set out to do. It took us a little longer than I wanted, but we built engines that sat on the pole with a restrictor plate, and that's what we hadn't been able to do. But all the RCR and DEI cars were really competitive in the race so I am really happy with the relationship from the engine side of it."
-credit: gm racing