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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)
Brian France, NASCAR President (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
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Brian France, CEO and chairman of NASCAR, speaks with the media during the NASCAR series partnership announcement at NASCAR Hall of Fame on September 3, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NASCAR and Xfinity announced a deal that will span ten years. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win with a burnout Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase.  (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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The Richard Childress Racing #3 Chevrolet Nationwide Series car driven by Ty Dillon. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ty Dillon with his team owner and grandfaster Richard Childress at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 7 2014. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 30, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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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?

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.



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