Sorenson - NASCAR teleconference, part 1

NASCAR Teleconference Transcript August 26, 2008 An Interview With: REED SORENSON THE MODERATOR: Now everybody on the line, we are going to be joined briefly by Reed Sorenson who is going to talk today about an announcement made earlier this...

NASCAR Teleconference Transcript August 26, 2008

An Interview With:
REED SORENSON

THE MODERATOR: Now everybody on the line, we are going to be joined briefly by Reed Sorenson who is going to talk today about an announcement made earlier this morning; the fact that he's going to join Gillett Evernham Motorsports starting with the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

Reed, thanks for joining us. You must be really excited. Tell us what you're feeling today in light of this exciting announcement for you.

REED SORENSON: Yeah, thanks for having me on. Just really excited about joining Evernham Motorsports here, and obviously that's something that I feel pretty strongly about, and I'm very excited about. It it's a big day for me, and just can't wait to see what the future holds for us and looking forward to being able to start off the '09 season and get going from there.

Q: Everybody was saying a few weeks ago how you were renegotiating with Ganassi Racing; what happened there?

REED SORENSON: Nothing really. That was a true statement. There was negotiations going on, and just obviously made a move that I felt like would be better for myself and the future, and hopefully this will be a good move. I think the team fits me well here, and I just see where this would be a good move for me on down the road and short term, as well.

Q: Losing you to Evernham and losing a major sponsor, how would you classify the state of that organization right now?

REED SORENSON: Well, I could tell you this: There's a lot of hard work going on over there, and that's still continuing going on this weekend at California.

As far as Target goes and my sponsor, they have been nothing but great, and I don't see where there's any problems as far as that goes.

And as far as how hard everybody is working, there's no lack of that, either, as far as testing, and everybody in the shop is still working really hard. It's just obviously a competitive sport, and it's not easy to be up front and winning.

So you know, it's not a lack of effort. I don't see where there's any problems right now as far as everything they have going on for rest of this year and next year.

Q: What do you think of Felix's comment last year where he said: "Reed is as good as he's going to get?"

REED SORENSON: I hope not. I plan on winning some races and going for championships here sooner than later.

So I respect Felix a lot. He's been a great guy to me. Him and Chip have both been two great mentors for me and I enjoyed working for him and working with him, and I definitely don't plan on not winning races.

So I plan on winning races and I plan on being competitive and being able to get a shot at running in the Top-12 and things like that. Hopefully I can prove that in the future.

Q: My question concerns the economy and the strains that everybody has been going through; how has that affected what you're doing, your team, and what-have-you, and did that have anything to do with your move?

REED SORENSON: Not really. You know, I looked at it more as a racer and more of a competitive thing. I just felt like it was the right thing for me to do to come over here and I'm really excited about being a part of this team. I looked at it more as a competitive change, and I feel like this team is definitely heading in the right direction.

And if you just look from last year to this year, they have definitely taken a step forward as far as how competitive they are. Just look forward to being a part of that, and that's pretty much what made up my mind.

Q: Have you noticed not just your team, but other teams, have you noticed teams pulling back, maybe not doing some of the things that they have done in the past because of the money crunch?

REED SORENSON: Obviously I don't know a lot about what other teams are doing. Just being a part of the team that I'm on, it just seems like that obviously they had to shut down the 40 car, but I don't see where they have held back on anything competitive-wise they need to do on the Target car or on Juan Pablo's car. It seems like they made some changes they needed to make, and after that it seems like everything seems to be okay.

Q: In the announcement today there, was not a whole lot of detail other than that you've signed. Can you fill in some details such as what the car number might be, whether you expect to be driving for a three-car or four-car team Gillett Evernham team, and how this might affect Patrick Carpentier's status, as well.

REED SORENSON: Well, I can tell you right now, I know they are looking for sponsorship for him right now, and that's really all I can say about that.

You know, as far as the rest of the stuff there, I think that's just kind of something that we'll have to wait and see over the next few months to get a definite answer on all that stuff, and that's just because there's some stuff going on and a lot of hard work and trying to get everything placed in the right way.

You know, we made that announcement today and that's what we do know for sure is that I'll be here driving next year, and the rest of it should fall into place fairly soon and be able to let everybody know.

Q: Did you have to think long and hard about making that kind of decision when everything was not in place maybe where you would like to be?

REED SORENSON: Not really. Just dealing with this team and this type of organization, everything should be just fine and I'm not too worried about it. I'm really more excited than worried about that kind of stuff, because I think that's all going to take care of itself, and just excited to be part of this team, man.

Just everything here seems to be upbeat about everything and excited to work with Kasey and Elliot, and I'm excited to the new challenges I'm going to have and I'm looking forward to running good.

Q: What has been the reaction from the Ganassi side of things, and do you expect to finish out the season in the 41 car?

REED SORENSON: Not too much reaction. We obviously made the announcement this morning, but there was a lot of speculation over the past weekend that kind of got out there and everybody was talking about it and things like that.

This is a sport where change is something that happens. You see it more often now than in the past. I think everybody understands. I was at the shop yesterday with some of the guys, some of the crew guys and with my crew chief and things like that, and you know, it's one of those things where I think people understand why I have to make a change sometimes, whether it be for a personal deal or just competition-wise or whatever it might be.

And you know, I think everybody respects that, and it goes both ways. As far as the plans right now, you know, I plan on finishing out the year in the Target car and he'll see what happens.

Q: Is there any chance that the Target sponsorship could follow you to Gillett Evernham?

REED SORENSON: No. I haven't, you know -- there's been no discussions of that whatsoever. They have been a great sponsor for me and it's been more than a pleasure to work for a company where such great, great things come from them. It's great to be a part of history with them and it was great for me as a driver and not to say that I wouldn't want to work with a company like that in the future, but there has been no discussions of anything like that.

Q: Looked like you're probably going to end up next year in a car that is either the fourth or No. 10 that is not in the top 35 in owner's points, which means that you won't have that automatic qualifying spot and will have to race your way into the Daytona 500. Did that possibility factor into your decision, and what do you think about having to do that?

REED SORENSON: Well, obviously that's something that I don't think any team wants to be a part of is that chance that something could go wrong. And it seems like a lot of times this year, even California this year, weather has a decision on who went home and who didn't. That's one of the things you definitely can't control.

That's part of it. Even with Childress, he's starting his four-team, as well, but when you do things like that, you have to go through that process. It's obviously not a fun process to go through, that's for sure, having that extra pressure on you, but at the same time, long-term wise, I feel like this is where I want to be and long-term wise, be where we can be up front and get in the top whatever we can in points and not have to worry about that in the future.

Q: Is there any word on who your sponsor will be, or will there be an announcement coming pretty quick?

REED SORENSON: I think they are working on that right now.

Obviously if we could have had all that done by now, we would probably have tried to get all of that handled and announced and everything, but I think they are working pretty hard on that and we'll know sooner or later, but I know they are working pretty hard on it.

Q: Were you involved with any sponsors in the transaction? Did sponsorship weigh into it, or is it strictly going over for the salary? Are you strictly going over for the financial transaction?

REED SORENSON: I'm going over here because just like I said awhile back there, I'm going over here to try to make myself a better race car driver. That's the main point of going over here, and that's the bottom line.

I wanted to be more competitive and I wanted to have some more opportunities to win races and things like that. That's the reason for coming over here, and I want to be a part of it and Gillett and Evernham Motorsports and everything that they are about and represent.

Q: Guess I didn't phrase that right. What I wanted to know was whether sponsorship was part of the negotiation for you to go over there.

REED SORENSON: No. Most everything I was negotiating about was just trying to be somewhere where I think I can make a home and be at for long-term and be a part of being competitive.

Q: Can you talk to me about what Gillett Evernham Motorsports can offer you that maybe you were lacking or wanting at Ganassi?

REED SORENSON: Well, I think that's kind of what the future holds. I mean, you know, it seems like they are definitely on an uphill climb towards the top.

Like I said, between last year and this year, they have definitely made progress. Just talking with Elliot and Kasey there, they seem really happy with everything that's going on over here. The whole organization seems like it's structured really well.

You know, it's a team that I think will be here for a long time and seems to be heading in the right direction to win races.

Q: From the Ganassi standpoint, this would appear to be possibly a good situation for Dario Franchitti. Obviously they have to find another driver now for the 41. Do you have any idea what they plan to do there, and would you like to see this work out for Dario to get a ride again after what happened to him earlier this season?

REED SORENSON: Yeah, Dario is a good friend of mine. He kind of got cut short there on his Cup opportunities there, but that was obviously from -- you know, we didn't have a sponsor for that car, so they went on as long as they could without -- obviously they had to put it to an end.

So as a friend standpoint, yeah, I think it would be pretty cool for him to get another chance. Obviously coming into this series, and as competitive as it is, it's not easy to step in these cars and go out and be able to be really competitive.

So, you know, he's definitely shown improvement since he's started, and I have no idea what the plans are as far as the future goes for that car, but I would say he's definitely a candidate.

Continued in part 2

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Patrick Carpentier , Dario Franchitti , Reed Sorenson
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing