Continued from part 1 Q: How long did negotiations go on between and you the Evernham folks? Can you take us through the time line? REED SORENSON: Well, I won't give you a specific time line, but it was fairly fast. This is the first...
Continued from part 1
Q: How long did negotiations go on between and you the Evernham folks? Can you take us through the time line?
REED SORENSON: Well, I won't give you a specific time line, but it was fairly fast. This is the first time that I've kind of been in this type of situation, so it went fairly quick.
I think that they knew what they wanted and I knew what I wanted as far as what we want for the next five years down the road and whatnot. It seems pretty nice how it happened, like I said, both sides wanting the same thing, and I guess we both see that we believe in each other. I think they believe in me as a driver, and that means a lot, and I believe in them as a team. So I think that kind of sped up the process a little bit.
Q: Yesterday you met and told Donnie and the guys what you were doing; have you talked to Chip and Felix and had that same conversation?
REED SORENSON: You know, I actually talked to -- I actually was at a Target event last week and I was with Chip and informed him the week before of kind of what I was going to do. I didn't know specifically yet but I tried to let him know that I wasn't going to come back.
I talked to Felix this past weekend, and Felix isn't around a lot around the racetrack and things like that, and he's a very busy man. A lot of times I try to just talk to Chip about things, but Felix told me I could call him any time, and that was kind of one of those deals where you don't want to break up a friendship, that's for sure. I feel like I can still be friends with both of those guys.
You know, any type of breakup like that is not the easiest thing in the world to do for either side, but I felt like it was fairly well for how that went. I'm not too sure how good those types of things can go, but I think it's okay.
Q: Second part is completely clueless, apologize for that, you had a great opportunity with Ganassi, great success in the Busch Series but not so much in Cup; when do you know it's not going to work, and how do you deal with that; and take us through the dynamics of how that all goes.
REED SORENSON: Starting out when I ran the Busch car the first year, we had a great amount of success. Even moving into the Cup Series, it seems like in 2006, we had some decent runs, and obviously I was a rookie but it seemed like we had some fast cars.
I think from that point on, it's kind of been just a little bit of a slide downhill. It's not lack of effort on anybody's part, whether it be Chip's or the drivers or the crew guys or the crew chiefs. Everybody has been working really hard trying to figure out where we can find some speed.
But it seems like this year, it has been.
Worst year out of the three, so I guess you could say that probably factored in on things like that. But to be able to get the opportunity to work with Gillett Evernham Motorsports is probably another thing that went in there, and I just feel like this is a good place for me to be.
I felt like I've done everything I can with the situation I'm in now. Like I said, it just seems like this last year, it got a little bit worse as far as not being able to find speed at some of these places.
Q: If team chemistry is a real important part of all this, and we're not sure at this point -- or at least we're not sure at this point what the chemistry going to be at Gillett Evernham, is there any concern going ahead for you for that?
REED SORENSON: Not too much. I was actually with some of the crew guys yesterday at the shop and with Donnie and I don't have any issues with that right now where I'm at as far as having good chemistry with my crew chiefs and team members and things like that.
I think everything will be okay. I think it will fall into place really nice, and I think everything is I think pumped up on the Gillett Evernham front and I'm pretty pumped up and excited about where I'm going.
Usually when both parties are excited about what's going on, it usually flows together pretty well. I'm excited to get the chance to do this and going to try to make sure I make best of it.
Q: With all of the money that sponsors bring in and all of the money that teams are charging, is there increased pressure on drivers to win more quickly?
REED SORENSON: I wouldn't say so, because it's a kind of across the board. When you have sponsors, you want to impress them everywhere you can. But obviously the competition level is really tough right now.
You know, I think every team and every driver wants to have the opportunity to win. But at the same time, you kind of have to get consistent first, and you know, make sure you have more opportunities to win. And when you do that, usually you'll be able to win.
Q: Again with the same thing in mind, with more money being charged, do you think drivers are taking more heat these days, even though their cars are not as fast?
REED SORENSON: I would say maybe in some situations, but I feel like race teams and organizations kind of know when they are -- you win and you lose as a team, is kind of the motto that everybody has.
You know, you have to pull together as a race team and a whole organization and try to get better, and that's what you portray to your sponsor. There's a lot of work that goes into these NASCAR teams that people don't realize. This is a huge team sport, and with as many employees as all of these places have, you have to pull together and kind of spread the pressure throughout.
Q: How much of a factor was it for to you make a move on your own term while you had options, because it's no secret that Chip turns over a lot of drivers and a lot has changed a lot in the last several years?
REED SORENSON: What's the exact question there?
Q: He gets rid of drivers and he gets new drivers; how important was it for you to go someplace on your open terms while you had options, and it was your choice and not his maybe down the line when you wouldn't have other options.
REED SORENSON: I wouldn't say that factored too much in my decision. If you look at the history, he has done that in the past where he kind of moves everybody around a little bit.
But, you know, we were negotiating on certain things, and you know, what it comes down to, I didn't really rook at that too much, it was where I wanted to be and this is where I felt like I wanted to be.
Q: What's your sense of job security there? Do you feel like you have to prove yourself every day, or you get to work and get some time?
REED SORENSON: At Ganassi?
REED SORENSON: Do I feel like you have to prove yourself there?
Q: Yeah, is there a constant state of pressure there knowing he turns over a lot of drivers there?
REED SORENSON: I think there is a little bit. But at the same time, obviously we haven't had the greatest success over the past three or four years, and that's kind of, you know, with the two or three Cup seems that we've had.
I think everybody kind of tried to pull together and tried to make sure that nobody was pointing fingers or anything like that, because obviously we've had different drivers in there, and with Juan Pablo coming in there, there's not much questioning on his ability, I don't think, as far as a driver goes.
So having him come in there and kind of set the bar for, we know this guy is a champion and a world-class driver, so I think that kind of helped things on that stand.
Q: I was wondering once you had decided you would start negotiating with other teams, how much interest was there in you, and did you get far along with any teams besides Gillett everyone ham?
REED SORENSON: Obviously I didn't go any further than I wanted to. I felt like this is where I wanted to be, and we worked really hard on trying to make sure I could get here. That's where the main focus was, I'll tell you that. It was a choice and it was a tough decision, but at the same time, I feel really good about it.
Like I said, I think there is a lot of respect both ways, and I think they see potential in me as a driver, and that helps build confidence in me. And I see potential in this race team getting even better than they are right now.
I think that's the kind of respect and confidence that goes both ways.
Q: Do you feel like you've lost any confidence in the last year or so?
REED SORENSON: Well, you know, I think as a race car driver, nobody likes to not have a chance to run up front and get top fives and Top-10s and things like that. So I would say it kind of brings you down over a period of time.
But at the same time, I've only been in the series for three years and I'm still excited about being here and getting a chance to run in the Sprint Cup Series and make a living off of it.
I'm really not too worried about trying to get my confident built back up. I think we can do that fairly quickly, and like I said, I don't think any driver likes to not get a chance to run up front on a regular basis, so it's been tough, or especially this year, this has been the toughest out of the three, for not only myself, but for everybody involved in the situation.
So hopefully we can turn that around fairly quickly.
Q: It seems that patience is one of the most important traits that a young driver like you learns; did you grasp that concept early?
REED SORENSON: Patience is something that I guess sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I've seen a lot of drivers not use a lot of patience and it paid off for them, and I've seen it hurt as well. I would say more times than not, in these races with these cars, you have to be patient.
And these cars are obviously a little bit harder to deal with than the older ones were. I think it even takes more patience even, not necessarily just during the race, but throughout the whole weekend when you're making changes on the car, trying to get it better and things like that.
Q: You're making big decisions early in life -- does that help you when you have to make more big decisions like you just made?
REED SORENSON: I think any decision like this is a tough one to make. Obviously this is the first time that I've had to make a decision like this. It was a tough decision to make, but I feel confident about it and I'm pretty excited about it to say the least. It was a tough decision, but at the same time, I feel really, really good about it, so I'm pretty excited to see what happens.
Q: Looking ahead to the rest of the season, there's still 12 races left to go, what are some of the goals that you have looking forward to get the most out of this current situation?
REED SORENSON: Well, you know, we have some good tracks coming up for us. Richmond coming up for us is somewhere where I think we can run Top-10. We ran Top-10 pretty much the whole time there last time. New Hampshire, we have a really good car there, as well. I think we had about a Top-12 car there last time and a shot at the pole where it rained.
I would foresee some of these good tracks coming up to be able to get a solid run, and you know, maybe get a pole for the Target car and see what we can do with that.
But there is some good tracks coming up here for us, and I would like to try to at least get a couple more Top-10s under.
Belt and maybe even a pole.
Q: In terms of this weekend, California is one of those races that kind of starts in the heat of the sun and ends in the evening. What do you guys do to prepare for that in terms of setup?
REED SORENSON: Well, you know, a lot of things are different with this new car. The old car was a little easier to predict what the track would do at night. A lot of times, especially this year, sometimes the track doesn't always do what we think it will. Sometimes it does the opposite. So I think we might have a late practice session out there, or a later, one, and kind of get a good feel for what the track does once it gets some shade on it.
Obviously get some grip once it gets nighttime out and maybe get a little bit better feel for the track on which way the balance is going to go. Last time we were there, we had an okay car and seems to be the tracks we were struggling, but hopefully got some things for the car this weekend that will make it better and hopefully we can tune that in during practice sessions on Saturday.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for joining us today and congratulations again.