Jack Roush, car owner of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, discussed the re-signing of driver Carl Edwards this afternoon at Richmond International Raceway. JACK ROUSH, Car Owner -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion WHAT WAS...
Jack Roush, car owner of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, discussed the re-signing of driver Carl Edwards this afternoon at Richmond International Raceway.
JACK ROUSH, Car Owner -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU HEARD CARL HAD RE-SIGNED WITH YOU? "We've certainly been challenged there by another team and Carl heard that challenge and considered very carefully what was there for him from a performance point of view and what the economic impact was of the offer we could make, as well as the competitive offers, and that put us in a competition there that I'm happy came out favorably, but I was not thrilled to find out we were in that competition."
WHO WERE YOU IN COMPETITION WITH? "I'm not sure. I think I know, but he told me he initially was going to talk to two other teams before he made a deal with us, and I'm not sure if he talked to both of the other teams or if he talked to more than two teams. I know there was a specific economic competitive offer that we had to consider and he had to consider our offer as he looked at the value of the contract to him and, at the same time, considered I'm sure what his prospects were of winning, which are very important to him, with our team and our technology and the association with Ford and all the other things that weigh heavily on the performance capability of the car."
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF GREG BIFFLE'S DEAL? "Right now I'm not presuming that the deal with Greg is done because I haven't been told that it is, but if he has the greatest interest of being here because of what we've got to work with, then I'll make the same effort for him that I did with Carl to round up the absolute best offer we can make based on the sponsor interest and Ford's interest and what we can do with other income coming into the team."
IS IT A THREE-YEAR DEAL WITH CARL? "To the best of my knowledge. What we had hoped for was more than that, but what my understanding was the last time I knew what was on the table was that it was a three-year deal."
IS GREG'S A THREE-YEAR PROPOSAL? "I don't know for sure. Greg has expressed to me some interest in a longer term and I know that initially he and Geoff Smith and the folks in the marketing activity that make the deals that they were looking at a three-year term, but Greg had indicated to me that he was amenable to a longer term and whether it's still a three-year term that's on the table or whether it's a five-year term, I'm not sure. To the best of my knowledge, there hasn't been a lot of interaction between Greg's lawyer, his people who are helping him, and my guys in the last month. As far as I know, we sent them a proposal back and I don't know that we've heard from them, although we may have last week."
DID TONY'S ANNOUNCEMENT AT TALLADEGA LAST WEEK CREATE ANY ANXIETY ON YOUR PART ABOUT HAVING TO RE-SIGN YOUR GUYS? "It didn't have any effect on me or what we can do. We're going to do everything that we can for our drivers and everything that we can negotiate with our sponsors to make the best deal that we can. The thing that we had with Mark for so many years as NASCAR was growing and the team was establishing itself, we typically had a five-year or a four-year deal with Mark and we would tear it up in two or three -- tear it up short of the term -- and I think the only time that Mark had a contract that ran out was the last one. For all the middle years -- the 20 years of being together -- if he had a four-year deal, we re-wrote it every two or three years and I was happy with that and would be happier with that than running these programs out to the end of their term and then having the anxiety that goes with figuring out what's going to happen next."
CARL AND GREG BOTH SAID TODAY THAT ROBBIE REISER IS A REAL DRAW IN HIS NEW ROLE. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT? "Robbie Reiser is one of a number of people that are doing a nice job. Certainly I don't attribute more confidence in Robbie than I do Chris Andrews or any number of other people that have got responsibility. Robbie is not specifically in charge of the competition. He's the general manager, which means he has more to do with personnel issues than he does the responsibility for where the speed is in the cars. He doesn't have that title and he doesn't carry that mantel, but he is the general manager and he's most responsible for putting together the pit crews and seeing to it that from a manufacturing point of view that we're efficiently operating through the shop, but I wouldn't characterize him as being the guy that's responsible for how well we're running. That is not his charge."
THEY SEEM TO HAVE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN ROBBIE. "I'm glad they're glad about that."
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE NEGOTIATIONS WITH GREG? "It started early and then it stopped. And then it started again and stopped again. Right now, to the best of my knowledge, I don't know what's happened in the last week -- I know Greg has made comments indicating that he has every expectation of staying and certainly that's where my heart is, but I'm not aware that there's been tangible progress toward getting the contracts agreed upon in the last month. There may be, but I'm not aware of it."
GREG INDICATED 3M WOULD BE A PART OF THAT TEAM. DO YOU HAVE SPONSORSHIP SET FOR GREG AND CARL? "The sponsorship is past the term and each sponsor has got his own period of commitment, but we've got sponsors, I'm going to say, lined up for both of those cars at varying levels of interest. I know that the 16 car, I think, does not have a sponsor with enough commitment or allocation to run the whole program for the whole year, so we're putting together a number of different things, and I guess the same thing is true of the 99. I don't think that we've got one sponsor that is going to make the commitment for the entire year. Aflac and Office Depot and maybe one or two others are buying for parts of the year and parts of the schedule. So it's really changed the dimension, where you'd sit down and talk to one sponsor about one driver for a specific period of time. For the most part, it's more than two-dimensional that way. There's a great interest in being involved with both of those programs without the necessity or the preference of the sponsors involved to have the entire car for the entire year."
WHAT DOES MATT NEED TO DO TO GET BACK IN CHASE CONTENTION? "We need to stop breaking parts. We need to stop having wrecks. We need to recapture the magic. When you looked at the championship in 2003, we won only one race that year and won it late in the year, but we had all of those top fives. One of the other years, maybe it was 2004, we were a hundreds of points behind where we are today to make the chase for 10 cars and then put together a string of top fives without anything going wrong as far as crashes and breaking parts. This business ebbs and flows. It goes up and down and we just need to have a little luck on our side. I know that Robbie says he's going to jump in and try to help Chip Bolin with some of his advice given the advice that the guys that are on the team, for the most part, are hand picked -- almost members of Robbie's family in terms of how close they all were, and Chip was certainly part of that, but with another set of eyes and hands, I think Robbie is gonna step in and be at Chip's side until we feel like we're back on a roll again and everything is working as well as it might."
WILL HE BE ON THE BOX AND IN RADIO CONTACT WITH MATT? "My guess is he'll be on the box and be giving advice to Chip. I haven't heard, but I would be very surprised if they've made the decision amongst the three of them that Robbie would be on the radio. I don't think that will happen. In fact, if I heard that was going to happen, I would probably try and talk them out of it because it is Chip's deal."
CAN YOU CLARIFY THE DAVID RAGAN AND JAMIE MCMURRAY CONTRACT SITUATIONS? "I don't know. As I stand here, I'm not sure."
-credit: ford racing