BOBBY GINN, PRINCIPAL OWNER OF MB2 MOTORSPORTS, MET WITH MEDIA: ON THE JAYSKI RUMOR ABOUT MOVING TO FORD: "No, I don't think so. I have this theory that if you haven't heard a good rumor by noon, just start one. And around here, it's pretty easy...
BOBBY GINN, PRINCIPAL OWNER OF MB2 MOTORSPORTS, MET WITH MEDIA:
ON THE JAYSKI RUMOR ABOUT MOVING TO FORD: "No, I don't think so. I have this theory that if you haven't heard a good rumor by noon, just start one. And around here, it's pretty easy to do something. Somebody says something and somebody gets it started and it's pretty easy to spread. But we're a Chevrolet team."
ON MARK MARTIN MOVING TO MB2 MOTORSPORTS IN '07: "It happened very quickly. We were very fortunate. We had the ability to be flexible with Mark. Our circumstances are quite different than what Jack's (Roush) were. So it worked out well. We were able to give Mark what he wanted in a limited schedule and we get a seasoned veteran and somebody who can help us not only on the track, but at the shop to turn our program around.
FROM THE FIRST TIME YOU TALKED TO MARK MARTIN, HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO SHAKE HANDS ON THE DEAL? "Well, Jay (Frye) did most of the work. He's running the team. I'm just kind of here helping. But it took about 10 days. That's about as fast as it could be done."
YOUR TEAM HASN'T DONE THAT WELL THIS YEAR, OR LAST YEAR; SO IS MARK MARTIN GOING TO CHANGE THINGS? WHAT DYNAMIC DOES THAT BRING TO THE EQUATION? "We started out this year, Jay and I, when I finally made the investment in it and we began in the shop with the blocking and tackling. We knew we weren't going to go out and throw the long ball and go win races the next day. It takes time. So I made a long-term commitment to the plan. We started in the shop. We got some new equipment. We bought a seven-post shaker. We're putting that in now. We bought some computer equipment. Staffing was huge for us, so we started with that. We're going to start an extensive testing program in the off-season. We've got two great drivers in Joe (Nemechek) and Sterling (Marlin) and they can still win a lot of races. We've just got to put the right equipment underneath him. That's team building. To have someone like Mark Martin come in is huge. He's demanding in a good way. He's got a vast knowledge not only of racing, but also the shop and what it takes and he's helped Jack (Roush) for 19 years to put his organization together and we're going to be the recipient, hopefully of those 19 years of experience."
AS A MID-LEVEL TEAM, YOU SUDDENLY LAND A DRIVER THAT GIVES YOU CREDIBILITY THAT MAYBE HASN'T BEEN THERE. ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE A RUN AT THIS QUICKLY? "Well, I'm definitely coming in to make a run at it. I want to be successful in anything I do. I'm not coming in to make issues or anything. I have a competitive nature. People around me will tell you that I work extremely hard. My job is my hobby and this is part of my job now and I'm going to approach it the same way. There were a lot of teams for sale out there and we looked at a lot of opportunities. I'm a buyer of - or a buy into if - of people. What I kept seeing when I kept going back to the MB2 team I never heard one person say anything but the highest regards about Jay (Frye). You can't say any more than that. You want to have the best equipment and the best engines and all that, but at the end of the day you want to have good chemistry and good people. And it had to fit into my organization, which is very important. So now, we're hitting stride. We are going to look for the best. We've got this announcement and we've got more (announcements) coming. We've hired Regan (Smith) and he's going to mentor with Mark (Martin). We're going to have more of those announcements in the next few weeks and months."
ON BEING IN THE BUSINESS OF NASCAR "I've been a NASCAR fan all my life. And I wish my sons had spent as much time studying in college as they did in NASCAR (laughs). But we're a huge NASCAR family. That doesn't make you a NASCAR team owner that's going to be good, but it fits into the fact that my business is my hobby. This is something I also enjoy. I'm serious about it. NASCAR fits into what we do. We'll bring a new phase of not only sponsors, but also fans that currently maybe aren't exposed to it, to our business; and our business will profit from it because it's something else for people to do and do it with us. We have very loyal customers. NASCAR fits right into that program."
MARK MARTIN DOESN'T WANT TO JUST DRIVE AROUND. WHAT ASSURANCES WERE YOU ABLE TO OFFER HIM THAT THIS TEAM IS GOING TO BE COMPETITIVE? 'We're making all the right steps. Mark did not make this decision lightly. He's got a tremendous relationship with Jack Roush. He didn't sleep for 10 days. I think the reason it got done as fast as it did was the personal anguish he was going through making a decision without his friend. Having said that, he made sure that we were committed to giving him the ride that he was going to be able to go out there and win races with; and he thinks he can be a contributing factor to how the overall teams works. And he's exactly right. We didn't sit down and write a contract with financial guarantees of how we were going to perform, but if you don't start with a certain level of trust, you're never going to get there. You can't write a contract that says I'm going to build you the best race car and you're going to get the best technology. You've got to have people that you believe in and I think Mark believes in Jay and the team."
PEOPLE IDENTIFY JOE NEMECHEK WITH THE U.S. ARMY, SO WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE HIM? "We made a decision earlier to move Joe out of the No. 01 next year. That decision did not come as a result of Mark Martin coming in. We are going to a three-car team next year and a four-car team in '08. That's our goal. That's what we're heading for. To do that, I need to get points on the new cars and get them up and going and so we're using this as a way to build owner points and we've got a new number now for the new car and we'll announce the fourth car in the next year or so. Our veteran drivers are going get us there and the young guns that are coming in are going to be our future."
NEXT YEAR IT LOOKS LIKE THERE WILL BE 52 OR 53 FULL-TIME TEAMS. DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS GOING TO A THIRD TEAM WITHOUT OWNER POINTS AND BEING ABLE TO MAKE THE SHOW EVERY WEEK? "That's why I'm so interested in keeping these veteran drives. 'Up Front Joe' didn't get that name by accident. Sterling Marlin is a great qualifier. Even in a year that we've struggled, he has qualified well at many of the races. Mark is going to start the season off next year driving the first five races. And that's because we want owner points."
WITH MARK MARTIN COMING ON BOARD, ARE YOU SPENDING A LOT MORE THAN YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE IN THE FIRST MONTHS? "No, I think we're pretty much were we expected to be."
CAN YOU GIVE US AN IDEA OF HOW MUCH? HAS IT BEEN MILLIONS? "Oh yes, it's been millions. They may franchise one day, but even if they don't and if they hold it to the four car restrictions, to make the teams really competitive where you've got limited amount of track time to test. Four teams get more time. Everybody knows the program. The same thing is true for sponsorships. It's a very expensive proposition. It costs money to go fast. Technology is going to take you to the future. Where we used to have the big muscle cars and engines, today it's technology."
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO DECIDE YOU WANTED TO GET INVOLVED IN NASCAR? "It probably took a couple of years - probably three years. When I made the decision, it was done in 30 days or less than that. And then it took me longer to get the team under control and get the right systems in the right places. That's a work in progress. But the deal was done probably in about 30 days once we made the decision to do it."
HOW MUCH IS A SEVEN-POST SHAKER COST TODAY? "Oh, a couple of million dollars - and then you have to support it. That's not the tough part. The tough part is having good computer systems to get it done. And then you've got to build a building to put it in."
WHAT'S THE LIKELIHOOD THAT WE'LL SEE MARK MARTIN IN A TRUCK NEXT YEAR? "He hasn't decided exactly what he's going to do next year. I know he's going to drive, but what he's going to drive or how he's going to do it, we don't know yet."
DO YOU HAVE A SPONSOR FOR YOUR THIRD CAR OR IS THAT GOING TO BE YOUR COMPANY? "If we don't have a full sponsors, it'll be the company."
HOW MANY MORE PEOPLE DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE TO RUN A THREE-CAR OPERATION? "Basically you have to add one-half of what you've got right now."
HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU HAVE RIGHT NOW? "We have about 140 full time employees in the shop right now and that's with some overlap with my company too."
HAVE YOU DECIDED ON A TEAM NAME YET? "It's going to be Ginn Racing next year. When we did it, NASCAR asked us not to change the name in mid-season, and that was fine. We're going to market it under the brand we market our real estate and hospitality operations under."
WAS MARK MARTIN'S SON MENTIONED IN ANY OF THE NEGOTIATIONS? "We're not blind. We know how important that is to Mark. He's son is a good racer and he's coming along. Jay is really the one. He has the relationship with Mark. I was just the support for Jay."
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE OTHER THAN SIGNING THE CHECKS? "I'm hands-on in my business. I'm always hands-on to some degree. I'm not going to try to build race cars. Where we really are supportive is on the sponsor side. We're working with sponsors who are not currently in NASCAR and some that are. We have a relatively big organization doing marketing and customer relations and hospitality and things like that. So we know how to treat sponsors. That's going to relieve Jay of having to do that and give him more time to actually work in research & developing and testing and all those things. It's hard to do if you're a one-man shop. This will open up a lot of people in North Carolina to do things that we can do with people we already have in the company."
ON LOOKING FOR SPONSORS "Sponsors are what drive this sport. Our fans are obviously who we're doing it for. What really puts money out there for the teams and not just for NASCAR is the sponsorship. Sponsors change yearly and conditions change. I think we can help sponsors a lot that we're a marketing company and we understand what it takes to make brand really do something for you and how to use it. But it's no different than real estate or the hospitality business."
WHAT'S THE STATUS OF THE NO. 14 NEXT YEAR? "I think Waste Management is back. And we've got a couple of others that are close."
WHEN YOU TALKED TO RICK HENDRICK AND TOLD HIM YOU NEED ANOTHER ENGINE PROGRAM FOR MARK MARTIN, DID HIS JAW DROP? "No, we have a great relationship with Rick. They're engine program is as good as there is out there. And we've got to get the car up to the standard of the engines. But what we do for him is to allow him to obviously do more research development. He's just gotten approval for the new engine. We like that relationship. I don't think he's going to try to expand it much beyond what we have right now. But I think he likes the relationship like it is. This isn't something that he hasn't heard from us before."
IS THERE ANY TRUTH TO THE REPORT THAT YOU GUYS ARE LOOKING AT, OR HAVE ALREADY SIGNED A DEAL TO GO TO FORD NEXT YEAR AND THAT MARK MARTIN IS BUYING INTO PART OF THIS TEAM? "No."
IS MARK MARTIN GOING TO HAVE ANY OWNERSHIP IN THE COMPANY? "No. Mark wants to drive race cars. You go talk to him and he'll tell you. He doesn't want to worry about sponsors or endorsements or merchandise. He wants to drive race cars and help us build a race car team. That was the way we were able to accommodate him. He's going to be a very important part of it - along with Sterling and Joe. We've got veteran drivers that have won a lot of races and have been around the track for a long time. We're going to use those guys to help us build the organization."
SO HOW ARE YOU GOING TO BUILD IT IF THOSE VETERANS ARE GONE IN A COUPLE OF YEARS? "We're putting them with the young guns. We're going to make some more announcements in the next few weeks. Our future is that combination - to take Martin, Sterling, and Joe and put them with the young drivers and recruit and see where the next Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon are."
WHAT'S YOUR GAME PLAN FOR WINNING? "We have to get the organization clicking. When the organization clicks, winning will come. When we've got the best parts department and the best computer and engineering department and good drivers in place and you've got all of that clicking, then victories will be there."
-credit: gm racing