Yesterday members of HAAS CARTER Motorsports met with the media to announce a six-race sponsorship program with DiscoverÂ® Card. The partnership begins immediately with this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup event at Dover Downs International Speedway.
Yesterday members of HAAS CARTER Motorsports met with the media to announce a six-race sponsorship program with Discover® Card. The partnership begins immediately with this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup event at Dover Downs International Speedway. Co-owners Carl Haas and Travis Carter along with driver Todd Bodine talked to the press after the announcement. Here is what they had to say.
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Todd Bodine (driver of the No. 26 Discover® Card Taurus) Statements to the media: "I am excited about this opportunity to be back with Travis and HAAS CARTER Motorsports. I have a lot of reasons to be excited because Travis has taken what I think to be the best of both teams and turned them into one. Along with that comes a great crew chief in Donnie Wingo and Derrick Finley, engineer. Last week we went to Dover and did really well so I am really excited."
"In the past, I have had the privilege of introducing new companies to the sport and it is my privilege to once again welcome a great sponsor like Discover® Card to the team. I hope to show them a good time and show them what this sport can do to promote their business. They have a lot of great programs being implemented that I think NASCAR fans will really be excited about those opportunities."
"I am hoping we can turn this six-race program into something more."
How with this program affect your Busch team? There appears to be some conflicts in the schedule. "Yes, there are actually two conflicts. Pocono/Nashville and Michigan/Kentucky are conflicting. However, the only part that conflict is qualifying. Travis has been kind enough to hire my oldest brother, Geoffrey to qualifying the car at those two races. This whole organization has been good to me especially when our race program ran into sponsor problems. Carl and Travis knew I needed a job and they understood I needed to drive. HAAS CARTER Motorsports enabled me to go and drive for Herzog Motorsports. They even gave Herzog the advantage so-to-speak even if HAAS CARTER started back up. Herzog has me during the conflicting portions of the schedule. I appreciate that Discover® Card understands this and has allowed me to still be a part of this No. 26 team. Regardless, our situation is handled and big brother is going to step up and qualify the car for me. I am excited to get Geoffrey back in a car too. He's eager to get started since he has won at Pocono and Michigan."
How does it feel to be back at HAAS CARTER and Winston Cup racing? "It feels great. This whole situation has really been hard on both Travis and Carl. Every week they were in limbo, not knowing if they were going to race or not. This opportunity gives them more time, and a possibility of growing this program with Discover® Card. I am just glad to come back. Travis Carter is one of the best car owners in the sport and Carl is a great guy and car owner as well. The two of them gives us everything we need to be competitive. We had a good team with the No. 66, but like Travis has said, he has taken the best of both teams and put them into one. Donnie Wingo is a proven crew chief. We have a great engineer in Derrick Finley and a good team and over-the-wall crew as well. We've got everything going for us right now. I really believe that we are going to pick up right where we need to be. We went and tested at Dover last week and ran really well. I think we are going to come out of the box really strong."
Travis Carter (co-owner of the No. 26 Discover® Card Taurus) Statements to the media: "As you can imagine, we are very excited to have Discover® Card on board with us. Many of you have followed our story at the start of the season regarding the circumstances surrounding this race organization. This is a tremendous opportunity for us. We are really looking forward to the future and are very happy to have Todd back with us."
"Right now I think we have our best group of people together. They are collaboration from both the No. 26 and No. 66 teams. I think it is going to give us an edge since we will not have a learning curve between the driver and team. The relationship has already been established. We are happy with our testing effort last week in Dover and it's great to be back in the competitive racing mode. We are now moving forward, enthusiastically. We anticipate coming out of the box in Dover, strong and having good results for the Discover® Card organization."
Talk about the last five races with Frank Kimmel. How has that helped your program? "Those five races have been a great support for us. We never missed a race thanks to his team's support. I think it gave Frank an idea of what NASCAR Winston Cup racing is all about and it may just open up a door for him to get another shot as well."
Could he open up the door for the No. 66 to get back on track? "You never know. We've got the equipment certainly for a two-car organization because that is what we have built for us. If something develops down the road in the future then we will certainly entertain that or any idea."
Are you relieved to have a six-race deal knocked out? "Yes, a relief to be quite honest. There has been so much pressure and stress especially when you have been working so hard. It's great to see someone like Discover® Card step up and help a great organization like us. Plus, it is a great opportunity for Discover® Card. Obviously, it is our desire to turn this into a long-term relationship. However, we understand that we have to start somewhere . you have to crawl before you walk. I appreciate their decision to have a six-race test program. I believe it is the perfect situation for them."
What are your long-term goals? If you get the No. 26 running full time, will you attempt to get the No. 66 back on the track? "Yes. We are geared up to run a two-car operation. I think it's important to have a two-car team and I think there are advantages to that. Last year we had good cars, and a lot of good people in place. We want to be in the position to offer that again. We want to bring ourselves back to that level and to be honest, we want to go beyond that level."
Are you comfortable with Todd's Busch car situation? "It is what it is. We had the same contract with Joe as well. Given the circumstances we told both our drivers it was important for them to have jobs. If they went and found another driving opportunity then we would release them. That was fair at the time. Now, we will certainly work with Todd and the Herzog organization. We will do everything we can to make them compatible, and do nothing to compromise either program. I am optimistic that it will work that way. As far as the qualifying situation in Pocono and Michigan, I think those two race tracks are the most forgiving when having to start in the back. That certainly appears to be working in our favor right now."
Carl Haas (co-owner of the No. 26 Discover® Card Taurus) Statement to the media: "As you know our season started with a major set-back and I hope it is all behind us. More importantly, I am excited to welcome Discover® Card to our NASCAR program and I am looking forward to the future by building a relationship with Discover® Card. HAAS CARTER Motorsports is anxious to get back to work. I am very happy to have Todd Bodine back on board with us. I hold him in very high regard."