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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.




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Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning during the NASCAR XFinity Series 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway on May 17, 2015 in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford Mustang Ford, takes the chequered flag in the NASCAR XFinity Series 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway on May 17, 2015 in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Roush Performance Products Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR XFinity Series 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway on May 16, 2015 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Photo by Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via 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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