NASCAR Media Conference
June 8, 2010
DENISE MALOOF: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to this week's NASCAR Cam video teleconference ahead of this weekend's event at Michigan International Speedway. Our guest today is Jack Roush, owner of Roush-Fenway Racing. Welcome, Jack.
JACK ROUSH: Hello, Denise. I'm glad to be here.
DENISE MALOOF: We're glad to have you. Jack is tied with the legendary Wood Brothers for the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner wins at Michigan. That's 11 to date, and as a Michigan native and resident, that's an especially important accomplishment for him.
Heading to Michigan, Jack had three of his four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams in the top 12 of the standings. Matt Kenseth is fourth, Carl Edwards is ninth and Greg Biffle is tenth. Also important this weekend, the new Ford engine, the FR9, which is manufactured by Roush-Yates Engines, will be used in nine cars, all four Roush-Fenway vehicles, all four Richard Petty Motorsport cars, and the #21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford driven by Bill Elliott. I'm sure a victory this weekend would be extra special.
JACK ROUSH: Well, all of our wins at MIS have been special. It's in front of a home crowd, it's in front of my Roush industries affiliates, associates. It's in front of Ford Motor Company and Chrysler and General Motors. Detroit is still the Motor City in spite of rumors otherwise, but it's good to race in front of the home crowd where all of our friends and the people that we'd like to have support are there paying attention.
DENISE MALOOF: As we do with most of these teleconferences we're going to open up with a fan question from our NASCAR Twitter account. John from New Jersey wants to know where you get your hats; he especially likes them.
JACK ROUSH: Well, my hats came from a Canadian source. I started buying the hats, exactly the same hat, about 1994 and had multiple road race cars at the time and multiple NASCAR cars at the time, and I had so many sponsors -- I was like the old woman that lived in a shoe; I had so many sponsors I didn't know which hat to wear. So I decided I'd get a straw hat and whatever I wore would be personal, and so I've worn a straw hat ever since.
When I left Pocono last weekend, I made the decision to leave my hat on the truck, on the transporter because I hadn't anticipated this. I didn't realize I had this obligation and that it would be filmed. Otherwise I would have had a hat here, but I'm in North Carolina without my traditional hat.
Q. I guess sort of for you and the other four guys going home to make a stand in a tough season, to try to put this in kind of a multifaceted question, what are your observations -- being winless in all three series, what are your observations about what has happened to Ford's competitiveness, why it happened, what you have to do to catch up, and whether catching up is in sight?
JACK ROUSH: Well, first of all, we're only competing in two series, so I won't take a rap for not winning in all three series because we haven't competed in the Truck Series this year. As far as the Nationwide and the Cup side, we were very competitive last weekend at Nashville with our Nationwide car, and we were missing something in the suspension of the car all year, and we found -- actually found last week that there had been an unintended change made in some of the front suspension components. And we rectified that, went to Nashville, had six drivers in our cars.
The problem that had been there primarily, the wooden turn in the metal and loose off problem went away for all six drivers that drove the four cars throughout the weekend, and I'm sure we're on our way to reestablishing ourselves in that series.
I think that stay tuned, there's good news, very good to come, and that with Carl Edwards finishing second and Paul Menard finishing third, and neither one of them had a chance to sim on their cars before the race because they elected not to make the trip down on Friday for practice, so the cars were practiced by -- the cars were first driven by both Paul and Carl for qualifying on Saturday afternoon, and they were off just a little bit.
So I think the difference for Brad Keselowski, he had made the trip and had wisely practiced. I think we missed a little something, left a little something on the table there. But the interest was in putting the focus on the Sprint Cup effort and to make sure that the drivers were rested, and that was a decision and the reason they made the decision not to go.
If you look at my Sprint Cup programs, and those of Richard Petty Motorsports and Wood Brothers, all three, you say what is wrong with the Fords; the teams aren't getting it done. Ford support has been as good as it's ever been, monetary support has been equal to prior years, the technical support has improved, and a greater commitment was made over the winter to support the teams than has been made in the past.
We started off 2010 with certainly hopeful results at Daytona, not as good as last year when we ran, but good results at Daytona, Fontana and Las Vegas. We were certainly very encouraged by that. NASCAR has got a new testing policy this year at the racetracks that is not different than the year previous, but it put a great premium on the software that's used to do the predictive things, the simulation things, and the data of programs to resolute [sic] the data and to make conclusions around the data, the data analysis part.
We've got third-party vendors, not Ford and not Roush-Fenway, that were engaged in our data analysis and in our simulations, and quite frankly we haven't got the results this year that we had expected. Certainly the results aren't as good from the simulation data, that analysis point of view, as we had in 2008, and given the fact that we don't have testing that has been a handicap.
We're looking at additional third-party vendors. We're taking more things inside and taking them on ourselves as Roush-Fenway, and the Petty organization is looking to Roush-Fenway and doing some things on their own. They've added staff. So we're trying to fill that void that we had not expected.
If you say, okay, but whatever meets the road is what happens on race day, on the race weekend, we have this year arrived at the racetrack, unloaded with simulated strategies for setups that have not been as good as our competitors', and that's what brought us to the point of looking at what we were getting and looked for the correlations and found that we didn't have the correlations that we'd expected on many of the simulations.
So we're starting off with not as good a setup in the car based on simulations as we've had in the past and as we've expected. We're working to fill that void. I hope that we'll break through at MIS and be able to win again and rack up Ford's 12th win there for this first Michigan race because hopefully we could win twice there. We've done that in the past sometimes.
Really excited to go to MIS. I fly one of my World War II airplanes over it at least twice a month, and I've watched the reconstruction of the area for the hospitality, for the hospitality area on the inside of the track, and that's certainly come along, and it's going to be great to go out there and see what it looks like on the ground.
Q. So you don't think power has been an issue, the FR9 engine? Has that been more of a struggle than you and Ford anticipated?
JACK ROUSH: No, the FR9 engine has been wonderful. We haven't broken an FR9 engine part. We've had marginally better performance out of the engine, than the 452 spec engine that preceded it, and it's all encouraging. We hadn't had a new engine for several decades, and Ford took the time to make sure they had it right. Doug Yates and the guys up at the engine shop took the time to make sure they had their part of it right. We had to qualify many new vendors for castings and various internal components. We had to qualify the vendors, had to go through the prototype parts, work our way into the production series of parts which are now done.
We had four cars with the engines at Pocono; we performed well. We had all four cars at Talladega with the engines; they performed well. And the Wood Brothers have run the engine I think every time that they've raced this year, which has been a limited schedule. The engine is without a flaw; it makes marginally more power; it has a very efficient cooling system, has a very efficient combustion process; it will get marginally better fuel economy, is more tolerant of trash on the grill and is stable in its valve train.
There is certainly nothing about the FR9 engine that has slowed us down this year in terms of ability to win a race or to be competitive. We've had maybe not our share but close to our share of Top 10 finishes, and we've got three cars in the Chase out of my four. So it has not been a bad year. We haven't won yet; that's the thing that we lack is actually winning that first race.
I think that as we continue to make our simulations better, as we continue to take more responsibility for the data analysis that goes with that internally, I think that we will gradually see the state at which the cars are able to race be drastically improved and we will have less stressful racing weekends as the year unfolds.
Q. Felix Sabates will be at Michigan this weekend. He had some unsavory things to say about Detroit and the MIS races. But getting to the point, do you think MIS does deserve the two races a year, and your opinion on the Motor City.
JACK ROUSH: Well, Detroit is on the rebound. Ford certainly has turned the corner and didn't have to go into bankruptcy and has been able to stand on their own two feet and negotiate without a government hammer with the UAW for the labor costs and things. Ford has done just a great job. General Motors has got sales that are on the improvement, and Chrysler is doing remarkably well in the marketplace.
So I think that all three of the Detroit -- typically Detroit-based car companies are doing as well as they might given the circumstance. The production lines are building more cars and trucks than a year ago, and there is more employment, and even though it isn't on the rapid rate of increased employment that we'd like to see, it certainly is -- things are stabilized.
And past the automotive side of it, Detroit has got a lot of new technologies they're expanding. Roush Industries in particular has got the life sciences area. We make some tools for the pharmaceutical industry, and all over town there's robotics, there's high-tech thing that are outside of what you'd normally consider the trades of the automobile industry that are employing people, and their growth for Detroit's and for that matter broader Michigan's future. So I'm real excited about all that.
As far as Felix Sabates and the comments he made six months or a year ago, whatever it was, he made the derogatory comments about Detroit and about the MIS racetrack, I'd hope that he was a little too much in the spirits that day and that he said things he regretted. He hasn't indicated to me he regretted saying those things, but I think certainly under any circumstance they're ill-advised. I don't know what prompted him or caused him to make those statements, but I doubt that Felix feels as he indicated about MIS or Detroit or Michigan, either one.
MIS I think has been one of the best racetracks, certainly in the north central part of the United States here, and I think it deserves two races. Don't have a bigger problem selling tickets than we do anyplace else in our troubled economy, and it's certainly a place I enjoy racing because it's where I call home.
Q. You're in the stretch of the schedule with a couple Nationwide races that need a little travel for your double-duty purposes. I know you've had some success doing that, but I don't know if you've ever had to give up a whole day at a Cup track like you will next weekend. Can you describe the logistics of Sonoma and Elkhart Lake and what you give up with Carl at each because of the travel and the schedules?
JACK ROUSH: Well, first of all, I won't give up a whole day at the Cup track, at Sonoma, where the schedule is Sonoma to Elkhart Lake this year. Carl will make that. I understand that Paul Menard's father's Citation X is going to be used, which is the fastest means of public civilian transportation as possible. They're going to make that trip together. I'll hunker down in Sears Point and help the guys there as much as I can.
Weekends like we had last weekend where you can -- where the drivers can physically participate in a major part of both programs, if I am close enough and if my Premier -- Hawker Beechcraft Premier is fast enough, I'm anxious to be in both places as I can where I did on Saturday night.
I was ready to go to Nashville; I was ready to go on Friday if I could have talked the drivers into it, but they thought they needed to stay in Pocono and prepare themselves for the Cup race on Friday and not lose two nights of sleep -- a full night's sleep before they'd have the Sprint Cup race on Sunday at Pocono.
So they made a good decision. We would have made the trip if it suited their purpose, and the result was certainly a good one.
Q. What do you give up at each racetrack? I mean, you're going to give up Saturday at Sonoma and Friday at Elkhart Lake. What do you give up by Carl not being there?
JACK ROUSH: Well, Carl will do what he can. He'll miss not only the practice on Saturday but some of it. My recollection is, and I haven't looked at the two schedules, I didn't look at it a couple weeks ago and I've forgotten exactly what I saw, but my recollection is he'll give up happy hour but he'll get the morning practice at Sonoma. And if they arrive with a car that is set up ideally and we have -- the road racing is different than the normal mile and a half and the short tracks that we've got on the schedule; you can practice at VIR in Virginia and you can practice at Road Atlanta near Atlanta in Georgia.
We've been to both places with our cars in preparation for going to Sears Point, and I think that we'll be in better shape than we would be at a normal mile and a half track given the fact that nobody else has had a chance to practice at Sears Point and everybody is taking relatively new cars that they've tested other places other than Sears Point.
So I don't think -- the result may be that the amount of qualifying practice that's done on Friday will probably will less for Carl than his focus on the setup. He may wind up not making qualifying attempts on Saturday and that may impact his qualifying time a little bit, but certainly I think that will not have a serious handicap we'll have to overcome. I'm real excited about our road race cars. I think our Ford Fusions are going to be very competitive. They tested well at Road Atlanta for recent tests, and I can't wait to get to Sears Point, and I think Carl will make a good effort to win the race in spite of his double duty.
Q. Could you speak to the Nationwide program -- there's been a lot of ups and downs, driver changes, crew chief changes that are ongoing right through this week. Could you review each team briefly, where they are and short-term where they're going to be, please?
JACK ROUSH: Well, we've got two things going on, maybe three things going on in the Nationwide program. First of all we've got Carl running for a championship, and he's had a consistent criticism of the car throughout the year. The cars don't turn well enough in the middle, and they're too loose off. The cars didn't have -- all four cars did not have that problem to the degree that they'd had it at Nashville, and we changed something in the car that we think will fix that.
So we think that Carl is going to be able to get back on track. He's racing for a championship, and Drew Blickensderfer is his crew chief that's very solid. Very happy with where that is going forward.
Paul Menard is racing in the Nationwide Series as a full-time guy for the benefit of his Cup program. He felt and his father felt as we sat and talked about the program that he would -- the experience he would get, the opportunity he would have, particularly on times when the Nationwide and the Cup race is on the same weekend on the same racetrack, on those locations it gives you more time on the tire to get experience with that, more time and practice for the lap and for the line. So his effort has -- it would be nice for him to win a championship. He's run all the races, but his effort is primarily to build the experience that's going to make him capitalize on his opportunities in the Sprint Cup program.
Colin Braun and Ricky Stenhouse are both guys, both youngsters in their young 20s that don't have a lot of experience that have got great potential, and we're really excited about their future. You never know with a young person what they're going to need to experience before they've got the maturity to be able to go on and do what they might. Colin and Ricky have both had more wrecks this year and more problems this year that were self-induced that were associated with their lack of experience. So we've had them in the cars, out of the cars, we've tried different crew chiefs as we've tried to figure out what we could do to accelerate the maturing process, and I think that we're on track with both.
It was unfortunate that Ricky spun out qualifying at Nashville and wasn't able to capitalize on the speed that he demonstrated in his car and race setup. He was probably better than he's been all year, as all four cars were I think better as a group than they've been all year, and it was a shame that he missed that and didn't qualify based on the fact he was outside the top three in points.
But the reason he was there was because he'd had so many wrecks. We've had a lot of skull sessions, we've had a lot of rapping our knuckles on the tabletops, we've had a lot of things to do to try to encourage the guys to mature at the absolute fastest race so we can finish the races, so we can let the crews have a chance to work on the cars, have the crew chiefs develop strategies that are not based on trying to finish the race but be able to compete effectively with the cars.
We're going to see a totally different result in the second half of the year for both those guys than we've seen in the first year, I guarantee you. Stay tuned, it's going to get better.
Q. You mentioned earlier about the new engine and the fact that it's been so long since there has been one. Talk about the roll-out of that this year. Would it have been possible to have more cars run the engine earlier in the year? Was that a question of inventory, or did you guys just want to test a few early? Talk about that process.
JACK ROUSH: Well, you know, as we've developed the engine, and I'm saying we, I played a relatively small part of in that, it was primarily Doug Yates and Dave Simon and the support group back in Dearborn. Dave Simon, the Ford engineer, is on-site here at the engine shop, but he's got a support group back in Michigan that helps purchase parts and helps to design parts and some of the research side of it, as well.
So anyway, they did a nice job defining the engine. The last test that NASCAR did of where the engines were in relation to one another was last fall, and they took -- that isn't true. It was this spring. They took engines after Atlanta and they tested them in the research center in Concord here, and they found that the Ford engine was as good as, if not the best engine that had been considered of all the engines that were being competed in the Sprint Cup Series.
So the engine did a nice job. Certainly it was durable. It was an opportunity to get better fuel economy and an opportunity to get better performance in the cooling area that the old engine didn't have in terms of its components, but it did an okay job.
As we went for the new engine of being, okay, here's the design, it meets NASCAR's parameters, it includes a science that we can bring to bear, finite data analysis and CFD for water flow and for airflow. A lot of the engineering tools that were used for the engine didn't exist when the engine was developed 25, 30 years ago.
Anyway, we worked on it. Here's the package, it's a nice package, it's what we want to have going forward for Ford. It's got all the parameters that NASCAR wants, and all these things need to be the same among all the manufacturers' engines, did the prototype parts, had some problems with the prototype parts with porosity and castings and with shifting some of the cores and some other things, and addressed those in the production tools, which are different than the tools you'd make a few parts out of to prove feasibility. And then of course you've got a different set of problems, a different set of porosity problems, a different set of wall thickness and consistency problems that occurs with the second set of tools. You've got to work your way through that, modify those tools, and then you've got to go back so that you've got enough miles on them to say that we're sure we didn't miss it, there's not a stress riser here that we lost track of, there's not a fastener that's undersized, there's not a gasket that will give us a problem.
So that's a reason they rolled it out slow as far as volunteering to say, hey, we're running a limited program, we'd like to have the new engine first, we think it should and could be better. Let us prove feasibility on it and go from there.
Once we started to get positive results from there, which came from the information coming from the Wood Brothers' use of the engine, then we started to speed up the production for the various components so that we could have substantial and significant quantities of things to be able to make a roll-out of the thing for all the teams.
And after MIS to the best of my knowledge the only time that we plan to run the 452 engine, which is the prior engine, is at Sears Point, possibly Watkins Glen, and I'm not for sure about Watkins Glen, but for sure the Sears Point will have the old engine. From that point on we think we've got sufficient quantities. Certainly we have the success and all the testing to indicate that that is the engine for us to run the balance of the year and under any scenario -- I cannot imagine a scenario when it comes time, Chase time, where we've got three, four, five, six Fords that we can have in the Chase that we'll have certainly ample quantities of engines. We've got great confidence with the new FR9 to go compete for a championship.
Q. I've got a couple here for you. You said that you'd flown over Michigan Speedway. Are you still actively involved in flying right now?
JACK ROUSH: You know, I had a wreck in my airplane, an airplane accident in 2002, on my 60th birthday, and people asked me how I recovered from that. Well, I've recovered fully. They ask me, do you fly, and I say, well I don't fly any more but I don't fly any less, either.
It's the only time I have a chance to get in an airplane and go experience the miracle of flight. I do that. But I flew -- last Thursday I flew over MIS in my 1943 P51B model, and at about 5:00 o'clock not everybody was gone but I could see that the seats were pretty much completed and the final preparations were being made in the racetrack for the upcoming MIS race.
But I fly over the racetrack. It's part of my normal tour of looking the countryside over and checking on some of my friends, some of the grass strips around. I do that once a week in the summertime and twice a week if I'm lucky and try to do it a couple times a month in the wintertime.
Q. Is that sort of like your playing golf or going bowling or whatever, is that your relaxation time?
JACK ROUSH: Well, I've got a detached rotator cuff in my right shoulder and they pretty much don't want to do surgery on me again. I've had it fixed once before, so that pretty much took care of my bowling. I don't know if I could swing a golf club with good effect, but since I haven't done that, in my advanced age I'm pretty sure I'd be worse at that than the other things I've tried to do in my life from a sports point of view.
I've done a lot of fishing. My father was a fisherman. We've done a lot of fishing.
My avocation, my recreation, is aviation. My company has a repair station for the Rolls Royce built, Rolls Royce designed, Packard built P-51 Merlin engine of the '40s, so an FAA-approved repair station for that. I work closely with the other enthusiasts. There's about 150 of the airplanes that fly in air shows and things, and I work supporting that group, and I enjoy being a pilot and a test pilot.
A lot of the times -- I flew over Lake Norman last evening here out of Concord, and it was a test flight for my P-51. It was off to an air show with somebody else flying it in Reading, Pennsylvania. On the weekend there was a reported radio problem and I had to go check all my radios out and make sure I didn't have any avionics issue that needed to be addressed so gave me my excuse to got flying at sunset over Lake Norman. It was wonderful.
Q. Turning the corner really fast here, when you guys get to Daytona for the Coke Zero 400, it's going to be the last race on the old racing surface. Do you have a sentimental bone in your body about stuff like this because you've won a lot of races at Daytona on that pavement?
JACK ROUSH: Well, we haven't won as many as we'd like to. In NASCAR I've won only three times down there, once at the 500 and two at the Coke 400-mile in July. But I did win 14 times in road race cars. So I've enjoyed the racetrack, both the road racetrack as well as the high banks.
The thing that I get from my drivers, which I've never driven a car at Daytona at speed, but the thing I get from the drivers is they like the racetrack when it doesn't have a lot of grip. They like it when you go down in the corner and you have to fight traction on the car and tire adhesion and it does some slipping and sliding because it gives them a chance to better themselves in relation to everybody else.
If the racetrack has got a lot of grip, if a tire has got a lot of grip, then you can be off on your setup, you can be braver than Dick Tracy, and there's not as much that separates you from the entire field.
I think that most people don't look forward to the new surface. They would rather have an old surface to race on. But it's certainly no fun to have the surface deteriorate as it did in February when we had to stop the race and patch part of it and had maybe the result of some of the cars even impacted by having a problem either running through the bumps with their suspension or having the asphalt come up and actually do damage to the car from an aerodynamics point of view.
On the one hand you'd like to have the racetrack not be a problem and the surface to be smooth, and that's great. On the other hand, you'd like for it to have enough challenge to it from a slipping and sliding point of view that the drivers could display their wares and their skill and their strategies of their crew chiefs to their advantage and separate themselves from everybody else in the field or most of the cars in the field.
The next race we have, if the racetrack doesn't come apart again, will be one of the best races in recent memory that we'll have at Daytona because it will be hot and the tires will slip based on the time of the year.
And as we go to a new surface, it'll be smoother. There will be great apprehension on Goodyear's part on what the track is going to require for tires and what will it put up with, and it'll be a concern that the drivers have that the cars even when they miss a setup a little bit will still be able to be right there with them on their corner and be hard to pass.
Q. Would you like to have a piece of the old surface?
JACK ROUSH: That would be interesting, yeah, a piece of the old surface would be good. If somebody would cube it up and put it in a piece of plastic for me, I'd find a place for it on my wall of treasures. That would be interesting. I don't know that I would enjoy it or it would have as much interest as a brick out of the original Indy 500 track, which I didn't get that. But yeah, a piece of asphalt off the Daytona Speedway would be good.
Q. And then the other question is when you guys get back here in February, it's basically a new track.
JACK ROUSH: Yeah, it's going to be a new track. I don't know what Goodyear has planned for tires. I'd be surprised if they don't bring a harder tire that's got a different construction. My guess is -- I feel rather certain that we'll have an opportunity to test at Daytona, and it may be before or after they've made the tire choice. It may be in advance of even knowing what tire it's going to be.
But there's certainly question marks that you normally don't have, at least in a year like this when there has been very little change in the car for the last several years.
But I guess come to think of it, we're going to have our first run at the car with the spoiler at Daytona, so that's also going to make that a little different. I think most people like the spoiler over the wing for some of the characteristics of the car as well as the fact that the car looks more conventional, more traditional.
Q. You know, I've been sort of impressed with Carl Edwards because I know how aggressive and competitive he is, and yet he seems on behalf of the whole team not to have gone crazy over this whole thing of performance, and I think for a driver, especially a young guy, that's really hard. I wonder if that's a seed that you sowed in him or if you've noticed that, but through the not winning and whatnot he seems to be the one kind of holding everyone from getting too frustrated.
JACK ROUSH: I think everybody has pretty much done a good job not getting frustrated. Carl has obviously matured in the last four or five years that he's been with our program, four years I guess it's been. He's gone from being brash and if not ruthless, certainly overenthusiastic in some of his actions on the track, and he's matured into being a card-carrying senior guy now.
Anybody that stays in this business very long understands that you can't be in the top all the time. What you do is you have a problem. If you anticipate a problem, you fix it before it becomes serious. If you don't anticipate it when it comes up, you fix it. And you have to have confidence in the people that you're with and with the organizations that support you that you're doing the right thing, and I think he does that. Matt has certainly been a good soldier, Greg Biffle has done a nice job. David Ragan has done a nice job, and Carl all have done a nice job. But they look forward to winning races and look forward to maintaining their position or getting in the Chase as the case might be.
Q. When you struggle there is that fine line between making changes that are needed and while you're looking for the answers being patient, and that is such a hard thing to try to figure out. When do you change? When do you leave it alone and search for the answers? How do you figure that out?
JACK ROUSH: Well, let me tell you what my schedule was in happier times and easier times. I would spend one day in North Carolina doing administrative things that I had to do and two days in Michigan, either bouncing grandbabies or getting my battery charged and getting ready to go to the next race.
My schedule now is a solid two days in North Carolina. This week I'll be three days in North Carolina just as I'm looking the guys in the eyes and said, okay, are we missing something here, has anybody seen something that they think is different or revolutionary. We've reviewed spy pictures off satellites from Pocono of other cars at various places on the racetrack. We saw some things. Those things will be reflected in our cars at Michigan.
But the thing that we need, the thing that the guys are being patient for is for us to get our simulations organized to the point that we can arrive at the racetrack with a setup in the car that is going to be close, and the extent to which our setups have not been close as we arrived based on the lack of testing and the uncompetitiveness of our simulations has resulted in the frustration that everybody has had. But we think we see light at the end of the tunnel.
One of the other things I had discussions with NASCAR about last weekend was the idea of letting some of the testing come back. Right now if you don't have a simulation that's as good as the next man's simulation, it doesn't matter how good your driver is or how able your crew chief is or how good your engine is; you just can't get around the racetrack. And until you sort out what you need at that racetrack, you're playing from a position of disadvantage.
I encouraged NASCAR. They're certainly listening. I think that we'd have less reliance on our simulations and on the technicians that are behind the scenes if we were able to go to some of the racetracks and be able to test on the tire at the track in close proximity to the race, that this sensitivity to and this importance of all the simulations will be diminished.
Q. And finally, how much testing would you want to see? I mean, what do you propose?
JACK ROUSH: I would propose something between eight and time times per team. If a team had between eight and ten vouchers, that would give you a chance to test at all the racetracks, at all the different kinds of tracks, the short tracks, the intermediates, the restrictor tracks, and the road race tracks, that would give you a chance to test at all those with every driver and every car enough so that every crew chief would have for himself his idea of what he needed and not just have to rely on the simulations that the engineers would propose.
Q. From a distance it certainly seems like there's been a lot of incidents on the track and certainly a lot of drivers confronting each other in the garage after races. The question I wanted to ask you if there is more edgy racing this season, if it's a more edgy season, or if this is just par for the NASCAR course during a season?
JACK ROUSH: Well, what NASCAR wants to do and what the fans want to see is the absolute most contentious circumstance between people that have got passion and ability and motivation to be able to get the prize, to be able to either make the Chase, to be able to win a championship, to be able to win a race, to get a pole, to be able to do all those things. And when people care enough and they're involved enough and it's contentious enough, there's hurt feelings and there's aggression displayed.
One of the things that happens is that when somebody puts a foot wrong, there's always consequences, or many times there's consequences beyond that person's expectation and beyond their imagination. And as a for instance, had A.J. Allmendinger realized by blocking Kasey Kahne at Pocono he was going to cause Kasey to wreck and then wreck half the field behind him, he certainly would not have done that. But because he cared so much, because he wanted to have that eighth place or ninth place finish versus finishing 10th or 11th, he went down and blocked and something bad happened.
Happily they didn't wind up in a hairball and Foster Gillette did not wind up in the NASCAR trailer, but there were other instances where people did get frustrated.
But it makes it interesting. It's real, it's not staged. This is not World Wrestling Association. It's real, and when people care as much as they care and try as hard as they try, emotions spill over, and I think it makes interesting entertainment as well as it's real competition.
Q. So that have-at-it philosophy is a good thing for NASCAR?
JACK ROUSH: When NASCAR looked at what they needed to do to stimulate more interest in the fans, to sell more tickets, to have better TV viewership, they thought they should let the drivers take the gloves off, not that they should roll around on the ground but they should be more free to express themselves, they should be more willing or more able to make a decision on the racetrack that might result in something that's questionable than if they made a questionable move, put a wheel on and caused somebody else to have to wreck and have to sit a race out, as one scenario; then you lose your sponsor and you lose your ride and you lose your interest in doing that at that level.
So they wanted to take the commercial aspect out of it. They wanted to take the oversight aspect off of it and say as true sportsmen what would you guys do to be able to win, and we're going to let you have an opportunity to do that based on not telling you you can or can't do these things in advance.
Certainly NASCAR racing and the competition that goes with it has got to be good, wholesome family entertainment. We're not going to make a brawl out of it. But to have people express their emotions and show their frustration is not something that I think is a bad thing. I think it's okay.
Q. About David Ragan and his team, your other three guys are in the top 10. David finished 13th two years ago, almost made the Chase. Do you see him making progress or are things kind of stalled?
JACK ROUSH: Well, David certainly showed great opportunity, great ability early on. I actually after the race at Pocono on Sunday, David flew with me in the copilot seat beside me as we traversed the thunderstorms coming back into the Charlotte area on Sunday night. So I had a couple of hours with David in the car and in the airplane to really talk about what his frustrations were and what his hopes were for the year.
David is extraordinarily skilled. He's patient, he's mature beyond his years, and he deserves better, and we will achieve better success for him than he's had.
He has not yet been able to pass Carl or Greg or Matt, but he's still junior in experience, and when you have a problem with our cars or we've got a problem with something in our program, as we do with our simulations right now, David is more susceptible to that than the others. But as we get ourselves straightened out, as we get that aspect of our program stronger, I am very hopeful that David can compete for a spot in the Chase as he did two years ago and win a race this year.
DENISE MALOOF: Jack, thanks so much for your time today. We appreciate it, and good luck this weekend.
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