You get lauded for all your success in various forms of motorsports, but one thing that seems to have come out with this incident, particularly from Gene last week, is talking about how engaged you were here at Stewart-Haas Racing, and even you today talking about I was the one who said are we really sure we should do this next year, and Gene said last week, I want to spend this money, Tony can be the good businessman. Do you think that your contribution here as a business owner, as an owner, has been kind of overshadowed a little bit the last several years outside of just being a successful driver, how much you're engaged and what goes on here on kind of a day-to-day basis, considering how you entered it as being offered a half ownership?
I don't think so. I mean, I've got a great group of people here, and I've got Brett Frood, I've got Eddie Jarvis, I've got Mike Barone under Mike Arning. We've got a great group that run this business together. I don't run this business; there's a group that runs this business. That group has been intact for five years. The part that scared me when Gene and I spoke about all this is that for a split second I was actually the adult in the conversation, and that probably scared me more than anything through the process was that I actually was the one that used common sense and was like, wait, let's take a step back and think about this, and normally I'm the guy that's throwing the dart on the board and saying if it hits, yes, I'm full throttle and I'm out the door.
But I think that's part of what - I think that's something that gained my respect with Gene a little bit was that he's wanting to spend a lot of money right now to do this project, and it would be very easy for me to say heck yes, give me the blank checks and let me go run with it. But for five years we've ran this like a business, and that's what he hired me for. He hired me to go out and win races but at the same time try to help this business along.
I don't have a business degree, but I've got a guy that works for me that has one hell of a business degree, and if you just pay attention a little bit, you can learn a lot, and whether it's the business guy or whether it's guys that just have common sense that we have here, you can learn a lot in a short amount of time, and you don't have to have a degree to make good educated decisions.
But through all this, it's not me making a decision, it's a whole group that makes the decision, and that makes this whole process a lot easier because I guess it's, like Gene mentioned last week, a very good checks-and-balance system of sometimes there's something that I think is a great idea, and somebody else may also think it's a great idea, but two other people may say, yeah, it seems like it's a good idea but these are the negatives to it. We've got a really good group that can look at whatever the topic is from a lot of different angles and really make an educated decision about it, and I think that's what makes us a really good company. It's not one or two people making the decisions; it's a group of people that sit down and try to find every positive to it and every negative to it before we pull the pin and make a decision one way or the other.
Now that you're sprung from the house, are you going to resume more outside activities, and now that you're going to Richmond, are you going to be in a wheelchair at Richmond? How will you get around the racetrack? And are you in a walking boot?
I think it's a walking boot. I just got crutches Wednesday at the last appointment that I had with the doctor. If Eddie Jarvis had to push me around the racetrack this weekend in a wheelchair, we would have to stop every 100 feet for a smoke break, and I don't feel like I'm going to get around like I would like to in that scenario. If I tried to go on crutches, I would have to stop every 10 feet and I would have to have a smoke break, and I don't smoke, so I do have an alternate mode of transportation. There has been a little bit of thought put into this. I'll surprise you with it on Friday, but when you see it you'll realize that I've had a lot of spare time on my hands.
Did you engineer something?
I don't engineer anything. I'm just the guy that comes up with the really stupid ideas. Believe it or not, I learned how to use the internet and how to shop on the internet, which has made me very, very dangerous to the accounting department. I should be done with my Christmas shopping in about a week. Gene has got the blank checks. Unfortunately my account doesn't tie into all of his accounts, unless he decides to adopt me any time in the next couple weeks, which I'm more than happy to do that. I think my parents would in this case perfectly understand, probably at this point in my life might be all right with it.
Your most recent victory is the Rascal 500 right here, right?
Yeah, I'm actually proud to announce that I have returned to racing, 21 days after my life-threatening and potentially career-ending injury. We had a scooter race upstairs with Greg Park, who is one of our head financial guys, who uses a scooter to get around, as well, and we had the Rascal 500 upstairs around the engineering department and the marketing department upstairs where I was victorious, and there is some video - not video, but we do have some photos of the victory lane celebration. I'm proud to announce that after 21 days I'm back in the winner's circle and not forgot how to win races. It may take a little longer for the second one, but the first one was successful.
Actually Kurt was the one that supplied me with the scooter, and he spent - he went way above and beyond. It took him an hour and a half to build it Monday morning, and it took him about 15 minutes to show Eddie how to disassemble it and put it in the car and put it back together, which Eddie doesn't really understand how to do that. Luckily we have about 200 people that are smart that know how to put mechanical things together, so that's what I ride around at the shop in. Until I get stronger and can use the crutches more efficiently, it's a fairly large building, and I can get around in a scooter a lot easier.