Jack Roush, car owner of Roush Fenway Racing, is in the midst of recognizing “25 Years of Winning” in NASCAR. He spoke with Ford Racing this morning about his role in the Chase and how he is balancing the championship race with preparing for 2013.
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AS THIS CHASE PROGRESSES OVER THE NEXT NINE RACES TO TRY AND HELP GREG AND MATT? “There are two things I’ll do. One is to perform the normal role that I have of being a consensus-builder. If I’ve done my job, we’ve got great people at every critical place in either the preparation and mechanical part, our strategic part, and our engineering and planning part. So what I try to do is hold court amongst the guys that know they’ve earned their place in this business and break ties. The other thing that goes with the nine races that are in front of us is my patience. I will show less patience than I’ve shown for the preceding 27, and whether that winds up being wise or not is to be determined, but I’ve got more experience at my job than anybody else. I’ve been at this almost longer than anybody else has. Jimmy Fennig has been in stock car racing a few years longer than I have, but he hasn’t been in Sprint Cup longer than I have, so I respect him for his tenure and his perspective, but most everybody else is junior enough that if there’s something that I’m sure is wrong I should not be patient with right now. I’m trying to pay attention so I can sort out the things that could be a predictable problem.”
IT’S ONLY BEEN ONE RACE IN THE CHASE AND LAST WEEK WAS A DISAPPOINTING ONE FOR GREG AND MATT. HOW DO YOU TRY TO KEEP THINGS TOGETHER FOR THOSE GUYS? “It’s gonna be unlikely that anybody in the Chase will not have a bad race. Unfortunately, we got ours in early. It wasn’t a horrible race. It wasn’t a race as bad as the 11. It wasn’t a race as bad as the 24, who had great expectations, but it certainly wasn’t on the average of what’s going to be required to win a championship. We’ve taken it apart and dissected it and looked at it very carefully and we think we understand our misdeeds, and we’re committed to regain the posture and competitiveness we’ve had on mile-and-a-half race tracks going forward and there are several of them that are important to us and supposed to be good to us.”
WHILE YOU’RE LOOKING AT THE CHASE, YOU ALSO HAVE TO LOOK AHEAD TO 2013 WITH CARL AND RICKY. HOW ARE YOU BALANCING THAT ASPECT OF YOUR PROGRAM? “Looking at Ricky first, we’re anxious to get as much momentum for him going forward as we can. Certainly, there’s a great expectation among all the sponsors that we had lined up for the 17 car have made their commitment to Ricky behind Matt’s anticipated departure and that was a question mark early on. In truth of fact, the sponsors heard our appeal and have signed up for more races with Ricky than they had with Matt. We’ve got about 70 percent of our races sold, but that’s more races than we had with Matt. I think we were closer to 50 percent for him as we anticipated him being with us in 2013, so that’s good. But to maintain that momentum and to look for the opportunity to fill in the rest of Ricky’s schedule, we shouldn’t have any missteps in the remaining seven races in the Nationwide championship. As far as Carl is concerned, the status of Bob Osborne for 2013 is unknown at this point. He really was taken out of that position due to his health problems and we’ve given him an opportunity to focus on his own well-being. Whether he winds up being available to us or not, and whether he winds up being the best anticipated match for Carl in 2013 is something we’ve got to weigh over the winter. Chad Norris has certainly done a nice job stepping into that role and if we’re able to build and improve on their chemistry, which is not found at fault at this point, but certainly something that had to be established and was not a given, depending on how that works out he’ll be the likely crew chief to build and rally the team around next year or somebody else will be identified for that purpose.”
BUT BOB ISN’T RULED OUT AS BEING A CREW CHIEF WITH EITHER CARL OR ONE OF THE OTHER GUYS? “Bob is not ruled out of doing anything that Bob is able to do and wants to do. He’s a card-carrying member of my executive decision-making group within the team, and I told him the other day when I was questioning him about his health and the prognosis he was getting from his medical advisors that the most beautiful part of Bob Osborne was his brain and as long as that wasn’t impaired or impacted or distracted he hadn’t lost his value to the company and to me.”
WHAT ARE RICKY’S CUP PLANS FOR THE REST OF THIS SEASON? “Right now, we’re organized for three races with him at Dover, Charlotte and Homestead. But if we decide his prospects for winning the Nationwide championship are improved by running more Sprint Cup races, we’ll do that and if we decide there’s a sponsor that expresses interest and wants to take a look at him, or to be on board for an additional venue, we’ll do that as well.”