NASCAR released a statement Thursday afternoon stating that car owners would have to adhere to a cap of no more than four teams. Jack Roush, who currently has all five of his Ford Tauruses in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, spoke about the new rule...
NASCAR released a statement Thursday afternoon stating that car owners would have to adhere to a cap of no more than four teams. Jack Roush, who currently has all five of his Ford Tauruses in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, spoke about the new rule in a group interview session.
JACK ROUSH -- Car Owner, Roush Racing Tauruses
THE DETAILS OF THIS ARE SKETCHY. "There are no details. It has the feel that we're going to make it up as we go."
THEY SAY THIS IS AIMED TO HELP A GUY COMING IN WITH A SINGLE-CAR TEAM, BUT YET HE CAN HAVE FOUR TEAMS. HOW DOES THAT CHANGE GOING FROM FIVE TO FOUR? "I don't think it changes at all. The thing that they did by picking on five rather than four is they singled me out. I'm the only guy with five viable teams and the worst of all scenarios is we put all five of them in the Chase and, of course, that gave the bonus to our sponsors for the exposure that they got from being involved with us rather than somebody else and they want to diminish it to an extent. The WWF has their ways of determining who is going to win and what the ranking is and maybe NASCAR behind the scenes is trying to do the same thing."
SO YOU TAKE THIS PERSONALLY? "I take it personally. I do take it personally."
WHAT DO YOU DO FROM HERE ON OUT? "I get up every day. I put on my pants like I do the day before and I do the best I can, and every day has a surprise -- an opportunity and a challenge."
DO YOU SEE WHERE THEY CHANGED ANYTHING? LIKE YOU SAID AT KANSAS IS IT JUST 'GET SHORTY'? "They tell me it's not personal, but I'm the only guy standing here with five teams that is making them work. They've brought it out just at a time when we were starting our Chase. If they wanted to cause distractions to my teams; if they wanted to create anxiety among my drivers; if they wanted to create a question in my sponsors as to my viability and my commitment and the prospect for Roush Racing going forward, they would do exactly what they've done."
SO ARE THEY GOING DOWN TO THREE EVENTUALLY AND THIS IS JUST A START? "No, they've told me that it's four. But they haven't said that they would never, never, never consider anything less because you could start that slide and then you could say, 'Well, it's got to be one team, one owner.' But I'm not sure in the light of day, I'm not sure with the interstate commerce laws that are on the books steadily and with the right to work laws that are in the various states around, I'm not sure that what they're doing is right. I'm not saying I'm the guy to go take a position and to unearth it right now, but I'm not sure what they're trying to do is legally right or is defenseable in a court of law. But I want to be in this business. I don't want to jeopardize my sponsors and my drivers and our prospects in the near term and too much distraction through an adjudication process would certainly not be in NASCAR's interest and would almost certainly not be in my interest and would very likely not have an outcome that I could be happy with under any certain area. I choose not to fight that right now, at least not when it's at four. You get an animal cornered, he can be a pretty meek animal but he'll fight pretty hard when he's in a corner. I think that through this that they really didn't want to corner us. Even though it was about Roush and it was about Mark Martin and it was about Matt Kenseth and it was about Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle -- that even though it was about all that, they don't want to put us out of business."
DO YOU FEEL THE MEETING THIS MORNING WAS A WASTE OF TIME? "The meeting I had this morning, you didn't ask me about the press release but it was on the matter of the press release. I guess there was only half of you that got the press release."
WAS THE QUOTE IN THERE FROM YOU? "No."
THAT QUOTE DID NOT COME FROM YOU? "No."
WAS IT PARAPHRASED OR DID THEY MAKE IT UP? "Wasn't my quote. There were words in there that I use. I speak the English language and there are words that I've used in this interview that could be taken out of context and applied at sometime in the future to suit somebody's purpose to a mean that would be contrivance and I made no such comment."
GEOFF SMITH -- President, Roush Racing
DID THIS CATCH YOU BY SURPRISE? WHEN WERE YOU NOTIFIED OF THIS DECISION OF HAVING TO EVENTUALLY CUT BACK TO FOUR TEAMS? "There were different levels of surprises throughout the process and the discussions. We had assumed over a period of time that our opinion would be solicited and we would have an opportunity to discuss the intellectual side of what prompted the thinking for a cap, and at what point did a certain number of teams make sense. So the thing that caught us by surprise was the press conference at Kansas City when it seemed like it was a done deal -- that in fact there was going to be a limit that was going to affect us as opposed to a limit that stopped with us. That was the first official alert that we had and then from that point on we began, based on what we heard, to marshal up all of the data over the last 15 years in an attempt to publicly illustrate that the reasons being given to the public as well as us weren't valid. The culmination of that was a recent meeting on Tuesday when we were officially informed that there was a policy. We received a preview of that policy informally within seven days prior to that meeting and were instructed to be prepared to discuss the consequences of going to four and how you would do it and how long it would take and that they were open to that. In the meeting on Tuesday we were told to expect a release on Thursday that announced the policy, and it would also announce that we were going to be grandfathered for some indeterminate period based on rules to be officially determined later. And, the release does capture those concepts, but has left some important detail to be worked out later."
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN THE LONG RUN? "What we're working on now is in one of our prior meetings we pointed out that we are fully under contract with sponsors. We have one team through '08, three teams through '09 and one team through '11, and they acknowledged that there weren't any plans to disrupt that and that they were open to what rules of engagement there might be in that regard. Of course, we believe that the only fair way to be forced to accept this is to have a rule that is identical in philosophy as the rule NASCAR itself put into place when Nextel came in and grandfathered Alltel and grandfathered Cingular, and the corollary to that as it applies to us is that as long as you have a sponsor that's in place and wants to stay, and as long as you have a driver that's in place and wants to stay, those events ought to be allowed to play out -- either or -- ought to be able to play out before we actually have to shrink back. But it's very clear, however, and it's an inevitability that we have to go to four and we are going to have to sustain the loss that we've anticipated. We have some time to try to figure out how to mitigate that, but it's still facing us."