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Evernham: Owners keeping NASCAR together

Former Evernham Motorsports boss Ray Evernham reflects on the current state of NASCAR
The sound of hammer against nail fills the hallways at the new Mooresville office of Ray Evernham Enterprises.

The man in the corner office has been a championship-winning crew chief for Jeff Gordon, a team owner and now an analyst on ESPN as well as owner of a grassroots racetrack.

When IMG's George Pyne has a concept for a new racing series in India, he calls Evernham. When NHRA driver/owner Doug Herbert wants advice, he calls Evernham. Ingersoll Rand, Wix, Valvoline, 3M, Best Buy, Siemens and Rustoleum still have personal-services agreements with Evernham. Few have seen motorsports from as many angles, which is why he remains one of its most respected figures.

Recently, from his new corner office, Evernham shared his thoughts on ownership, the future of NASCAR and his next move with Michael Smith of SportsBusiness Journal

Q:
After building Evernham Motorsports from scratch and selling it to George Gillett, just about everything has changed, from the name to the manufacturer. How do you feel about that?

Ray Evernham:
That's a difficult thing. You hate to see that happen. Quite honestly, I have to be careful of what I say because I'm in some legal issues with them right now. But seeing a lot of people lose their jobs from something you built, the name changes, and how it has become a completely different operation, there's some sadness there.

But I knew when I signed those papers to give up majority interest, it was George Gillett's decision to take that company in the direction he saw fit.

I believe that the team was going in the right direction, and I felt like I couldn't take it any further. It's survival. The timing was right to take on a partner, but it didn't work out for George or myself. Right now, we're negotiating a separation so that George can go in his direction and I can go in mine. (Evernham is negotiating his way out of a minority interest in the team).

Q:
Is it harder or easier to be a team owner now than eight to ten years ago?

Ray Evernham:
Economically, it's harder on everybody, no matter if you're Rick Hendrick or Tommy Baldwin. Even Rick has had to squeeze his people and watch his headcount and watch his spending.

Q:
Will we see more team consolidation in the future?

Ray Evernham:
The business model of multiple teams works if you have sponsorship. The problem is that you've got these teams trying to run multiple cars and they've only got one car sponsored. The other cars just drain the one that has sponsorship.




Related Pictures

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immie Johnson (No. 48), Jeff Gordon (No. 24), Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42) and Mark Martin (No. 5) lead the field late in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Johnson went on to win the race, his second victory in the Chase, and replace Martin as the Chase leader. (Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS, with team owner and grandfather Richard Childress after capturing the pole position Friday, March 18, 2016 for a front row start in Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Dillon will be joined on the front row with Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS who qualified second. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 11, 2016 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Hendrick Motorsports driver Johnson experienced an issue during qualifying.  He will go to a back-up car. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins.  (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with his wife, Chandra and daughters Genevieve and Lydia Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, crosses the finish line for the victory Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
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Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS drives to victory Thursday, February 18, 2016 winning the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Can-Am Duel races at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. This is Earnhardt Jr.`s second consecutive Duel victory. He will start on the inside of Row 2 for Sunday`s Daytona 500 race. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, rookie driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS captures the pole Sunday, February 14, 2016 during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Elliott, who takes over the #24 car from retired driver Jeff Gordon, is the youngest driver ever to win the pole. He will lead the pack at the start of the February 21 race. (Photo by HHP/ Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
(L-R) Team owner Rick Hendrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, and crew chief Greg Ives celebrate in victory lane after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones celebrates with a burnout after winning the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Ross Kenseth in action during the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones celebrates in victory lane after winning the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joe Gibbs Racing`s Erik Jones celebrates in victory lane after winning the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday June 21 2015. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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Denver Mut

January 08, 2010 10:30 PM

Ray Evernham is without doubt one of the most clever people to be a crew chief in NASCAR. His success on and off the track is a credit to his character and his craft. For me, a mechanic and crew chief in road racing, Ray Evernham has always been a "hero" of mine. I am proud of the success that my drivers have acheived but if I had the opportunity to work for Ray, I would pack my tool box and move in a minute. Best of luck and fortune in the future to you. Cheers.

Brett - Unregistered

January 11, 2010 8:50 PM

NASCAR just needs to take a step back and remember what it was all about. "Stock car racing." There is nothing "stock" about the cars run now. Maybe if the cars had true factory based engines, or factory based body shapes, a more "run what you brung attitiude" rather than the "formual" series it has become with NASCAR providing the wings, the shocks, the tires,etc. it just might be less expensive. Who would really car if the cars only went 150 MPH rather than 190 if the racing was competitive and more teams were competing?



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