NASCAR »

Daytona 500 press conference: Jack Roush.


After registering the first win of his senior NASCAR career at Daytona last July, Roush Racing's Greg Biffle claimed his first series pole in qualifying for the 2004 season-opening Daytona 500, recording a best lap of 188.387mph.


Q:
Jack, what can you say about today?

Jack Roush:
Greg has brought Roush Racing the Truck championship and the Busch championship, which were the first two championships that we've had - and, of course, winning the Firecracker race last July was the first time we had won here in a stock car. Ford gave us all the technical support we could have asked for this winter. NASCAR gave us a new set of templates for a new Taurus body. We've got a new cylinder head, which we don't have in our car yet and that's going to give us some relief on our engine. With the momentum we had coming off of Matt Kenseth's win with DeWalt last year, I'm really excited about the year going forward. I hadn't expected to be under the limelight here with Greg at this juncture, a week before the race. The idea of having the pole, I'd never given it a consideration.

Q:
Do you think the other makes will complain and, if so, what would be your response?

JR:
I expect that the other manufacturers will make their best appeal - as Ford would. This new Taurus that we've got now is the first relief we've had in templates that has let us improve ourselves since '97. In the meantime, there has been a couple of Chevrolets and a new Pontiac - and the Dodge has been revised twice. Every year, the Ford - since '97 until this year - got a new set of templates which made it go slower. This is the first time we've had any relief and I think it's time.

Last year, people looked at Matt's championship and said we kind of tapered off to it, but when we started the year last year we had everything that we had the prospect of being able to do performance-wise. The Chevrolets and Dodges got better throughout the year, so we've got some relief for our engine, which we haven't had since '92 and we got some relief for our body, which we hadn't since '97.

There will be some complaints, but the Ford teams are good race teams and they're well driven with good drivers and good crew chiefs and we should be better. Last year, I think the Fords only had two poles for the entire year and maybe only one... The Roush bunch didn't have a single pole, so that was an indication that things weren't balanced evenly. I think we'll do better with that, but I do expect some criticism.

Q:
Do you reckon you can win here this year?

JR:
I've been coming to Daytona since 1984 with sportscars and then, of course, I started with my Winston Cup cars in 1988. I've already won seven or eight times at Daytona in various IMSA and SCCA classes before I came with the stock cars. I had never come to Daytona before 1988, when I didn't take a chequered flag and I generally had a pole, but I've been snakebit. Until Greg won the Firecracker last year, I had been snakebit with the stock cars. It seemed easy with the sports cars and it seemed an unachievable goal with the stock cars. We have got a chance to be a factor in the 500 as never before this year and I'm really excited about it.

Q:
Can you talk about the change in engine power from last year to this?

JR:
Robert [Yates] and I put our engine programmes together on 27 November and, shortly after that, we sent an engine from Michigan down to North Carolina. When they ran the first engine, they found that the engine we ran at Talladega was two horsepower less than the engine they ran at Talladega. They were surprised to find they were so close. We put a number of their parts on the outside of the engine - and I'm not gonna say which ones - but some parts that bolt to the engine and are accessories to the engine, and it made a four-horsepower better package than they had seen - and a six-horsepower package better than I had seen.

From that point until now, the winter has been an Easter egg hunt. We've been taking things apart and seeing how they work and just putting the best of both together. There have been a lot of things that I hadn't thought about that I saw that they had done very well and, to their surprise, a number of things they saw that the Roush guys had done better than they had thought. That has manifested itself in a bigger gain in our engines than I have had from one year to the next, and I think than they've had, so we're way ahead of where we were last year.

Q:
Can you relate how it used to be between you and Robert?

JR:
I certainly had respect for him and I hope he had respect for me but, from the beginning of the racing season, which would be Daytona, until the end - which used to be Atlanta - we wouldn't talk to one another. We wouldn't acknowledge one another. We wouldn't have eye contact. We wouldn't shake hands. By all means, we wouldn't wish one another good luck. We were struggling and competing for the same bit of support that Ford would give somebody. We wanted to have as much of it as we could and we competed on the race tracks, because we had very similar hardware. It was kind of a sibling rivalry thing that Ford saw was a problem.

If they invested money on a development programme with Robert, they wouldn't share it with me and, if they invested with me, I insisted they wouldn't give it to Robert. With looking at what Dodge is doing, and looking at the way the Chevrolet programmes work, and what the other manufacturers coming in are gonna do by reputation and the plans they've made, it was clear the way Robert and I had been conducting our affairs was not gonna work.

Ford said 'why don't you guys co-operate', and I offered to share an engine. Then he [Yates] tapped me on the shoulder at Atlanta and said 'hey, I know you're getting ready to build a shop in North Carolina. Why don't you buy half of mine and you won't have to build a new shop'. So we're 50-50 partners to the dirt right now and we're committed to go down the road. Our race teams are gonna run closer together than the could have otherwise. What I see is a modern day reincarnation of the Holman-Moody kind of concept around Ford.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jack Roush keeps check on his drivers during qualifying for the Daytona 500. Mark Martin posted the best time by the Roush Racing stable with a 14th placed effort [Photo: autostock].
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford tangle during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles` Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on April 12, 2014 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton ready for racing at Daytona International Speedway on 14 January 2014. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton in action at Daytona International Speedway on 14 January 2014. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
The #11 FedEx Freight Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick in the Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. (Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images)
Daytona 500 Honorary Starter, actor Gary Sinise, waves the green flag to start the Daytona 500 as Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 DOW Chevrolet, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, sits facing backwards in his pit box after an incident on pit road during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Air Titan track driers run during a rain delay in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Three-wide racing with Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota; Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet; and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota; leading the pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Michael Annett, driver of the #7 Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers Chevrolet, spins into Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Kahne was issued a penalty for too fast on pit row. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, races to the chequered flag to win the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane with the the Harley J. Earl trophy after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, February 23, 2014, winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left), driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with Hendrick Racing teammate Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS, Sunday, February 23, 2014, after winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is Earnhardt Jr.`s second Daytona 500 victory. (Photo Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (center), driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by Hendrick Racing teammate Jimmie Johnson (left) and team owner Rick Hendrick Sunday, February 23, 2014, after winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is Earnhardt Jr.`s second Daytona 500 victory. (Photo Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.