Robert Yates Racing announced earlier this week that crew chief Brad Parrott had been released and Todd Parrott was placed on an indefinite leave of absence. UPS Ford driver Dale Jarrett and Robert Yates Racing's General Manager Doug Yates spoke...
Robert Yates Racing announced earlier this week that crew chief Brad Parrott had been released and Todd Parrott was placed on an indefinite leave of absence. UPS Ford driver Dale Jarrett and Robert Yates Racing's General Manager Doug Yates spoke about the change in the Martinsville Infield Media Center before Friday morning's practice session.
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WAS THERE ANY PRESSURE FROM UPS?
"We've very fortunate to have UPS, a world-class sponsor. They've never once said that you guys need to do a better job for us. I think the pressure comes from within. We know where we need to be with our program and we're not there now."
"There's nothing they've ever asked from us that we don't expect of ourselves. I think we know when we're in trouble and when we're not performing as we should. As Doug said, they've been very gracious and understanding and we've usually kept them up to speed in everything that we're doing and looking at doing and they've been very supportive in all aspects."
WAS THERE A POINT WHEN YOU REALIZED THINGS WEREN'T GOING TO WORK? WAS IT ROCKINGHAM?
"No, it wasn't really there. We went through that and the adjustments that were made at both Daytona and Rockingham during the race to make good things happen. We made good adjustments at Las Vegas to move into the top 10 after not qualifying well. To be quite honest, my serious conversations with Doug and Robert started around the Texas test.
"I just was not pleased with what I saw there. I felt like we had honestly gone and not put forth as good an effort in three days as what you need to, especially when you're back to basically having five tests now. You have to make each one of those count. I had some concerns at that point in time and then just a few things that have happened during some races that kind of threw up some red flags. It was just a combination of things throughout - the last three or four weeks in particular."
FOR SO LONG TODD WAS SUCH A VITAL PART OF THIS TEAM. DOES THIS SPEAK TO THE CHANGES THAT HAVE HAPPENED BETWEEN YOU AND TODD OR TO THE SPORT AS TO WHY THERE IS A DISCONNECT?
"I think the things maybe somewhat that separated Todd and I a little bit were because of the things that separated Todd with the sport. It's not that he didn't work hard. Todd was one that was always not wanting to change a whole lot from the success that we had and, obviously, thing have changed tremendously from that. Again, as we look at things now with our chassis and our bodies, things might not have been what we were totally being told. With him being so totally in charge, I think some of the confidence was lost in the misrepresentation of some things.
"I should probably shut up before I speak too much because I don't want to air things, but as a driver you're out there busting your tail week in and week out. Even in years when you win seven races, that's not enough. Even when you win the championship, that might not be enough - you get that little hint. You hear things but you kind of put that aside. To be quite honest, I've been a little disappointed in some things that I've heard, so that's kind of separated us a little bit more."
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO NOW FROM A STRUCTURE STANDPOINT?
"First of all, I want to make sure we use our people and our resources the way we should. Sometimes you get into a situation where one guy is making every call and that worked well when you only had 20 or 30 people, but now with an organization of 150 people, you need to make sure you're using those 150 people and the resources that you have because that's what we're up against these days. I want to make sure that we don't go too far away from the common sense, but we need to plug in all the engineering resources that we brought to the table and make sure we're using those. And, most importantly, work together as one team with two cars. I think half of that is working well, we just have to get the other half on the same page."
HOW MUCH OF A HANDICAP IS THIS TO HAPPEN AT THIS POINT OF THE SEASON?
"I think, certainly, as far as expectations that now we're looking at week to week at what we can do to improve and what direction we're gonna go. It's not the best thing. I think last year when we had a shakeup at the beginning it took us a while, but we rebounded from that.
"I still feel that we have the people who are very capable of making this a very successful program. I believe in a lot of that because we have a lot of people that believe in Raymond Fox, Shawn Parker. We know we have a terrific engine program. Those two guys really have things going very good over there. Elliott Sadler, I couldn't ask to have a better teammate - someone that shares everything and will do anything to try to help us. So it's those things that keep me optimistic about our chances, that we can still come here this very weekend - there's no reason with the car that we have here that we can't go out here and perform and give ourselves a chance to win.
"I know the things that we're doing to get prepared for California, that even though we may not have a crew chief in place, I think we have the people that are willing to work together to make all of that happen and to give us a very good effort. We're really not stepping back that much and saying that if it doesn't go well we understand why. We're not taking that attitude. We're coming here thinking that just because we have two people that aren't here right now, that what we have done and what Doug has done since he has come in is surround those guys with good people and that we can put others in charge. My expectations are still pretty high. I wouldn't come up here if I didn't think that I had a chance to win."
HOW DO YOU KEEP THIS CREW CHIEF SPOT FROM BEING A BURNOUT TYPE OF POSITION?
"I think the 38 is setting a pretty good example, where one guy is not making all the calls - he's using the people that surround him. I think when the guys get to a position where they burn out they think they have to make all the calls and it's all up to them to make every decision from aero to chassis to what gear you run. We're trying to spread that load out. That's been the intent from day one is to spread that out among our people and use them right. Hopefully, that will eliminate some of that burnout.
"You see good combinations, whether it's this sport or another sport - a head coach and a quarterback. Over time that relationship grows away and that seems like what's happened here between Todd and Dale. We're just looking for somebody to come in and get that chemistry right, but, at the same time, we're not trying to have somebody to run the whole ship. We want to make sure that he knows he has a good supporting cast here."
IS IT A YOUNG MAN'S JOB NOW?
"It seems that way. We want somebody that's hungry and that has something to prove. I think that goes a long way."
DO YOU STILL HAVE FAITH IN THE REST OF THIS TEAM?
"Yeah, I do. I know that over the last five or six months in particular that we've hired some really good people. Doug has really done a fantastic job of giving us what we need and then realizing when changes need to be made. I do have a lot of confidence. It's not like we have things falling off my race car and things like that, so we obviously have that part of it in place. If we get that leadership role defined and, again, that doesn't necessarily have to be one person.
"As Doug was pointing out, I think if you look at a lot of the teams, these guys are delegating a lot of that work out to where they're not making all of those decisions. We have the perfect opportunity for that to happen and we thought that was kind of what we were setting up with our chassis and fab shop over here and our engine shop here and then the main shop over at another place - that everyone could be in charge. But we still have somebody that wanted to control too much of that and now I think we're gonna let each of these respective divisions, if you will, get their job done. So I do have a lot of confidence in everyone that we have.
"I obviously have a lot of confidence that Doug and Robert are gonna do the things that we need to do to make this a winning team again. The biggest thing I see is the confidence that they have in me. That instills a lot of confidence in myself. I see no reason, and I think I've proven, I shouldn't have to sit here and talk that I can still get it done, but I think that I can do that. I'm willing to bust my tail to do whatever it takes to make all of that happen too."