Roush Fenway Racing Becomes Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing
CONCORD, NC - RIS - At a news conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway today, it was announced that Roush Fenway Racing would renamed Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing to reflect Brad Keselowski's ownership. The following is comments from the team and the new owner.
BRAD KESELOWSKI, Driver and Co-Owner, Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing -- “It’s been a work of love from a lot of different people to bring all of this together. Steve brings up the passion and the passion has really peaked out. All of us are super excited about what we have going on here, but with that we want to first acknowledge where we’ve been. The 6 car has been in this sport now for almost 30 years or just past 30 years with Jack Roush and I think you see this car. It plays some homage to the 6 logo. It’s inspired by the original 6, which means a lot to me with Mark Martin and what he’s done to get this company started as a driver, so I want to make sure we acknowledge him today. But that passion that started this team is the DNA that will live on to me forever and that we aim to have, so it’s with that DNA that we’re reinvigorating and trying to find that next step and making the commitment to the future because we believe and I believe in the future of NASCAR, and so there’s a heavy emphasis on where we’re going. I think you’ve seen that with some of our social media. We’ve brought in a ton of talent that we’re really excited about, and a time where there’s some contraction with the new car and so forth we’ve brought in over 20 people. We’re very excited about that with more to come. Matt McCall, our new crew chief is here today. I know there was a lot of people asking about him at the end of the season, so I’m excited to get to tell you that, yes, Matt McCall will be my crew chief next year, but he and a plethora of others have come on board and we’re super excited about it. All these pieces are coming together and we have very high expectations of winning races and competing for championships, so we’re proud to talk to you about all that today. Of course, we’ll go into a breakout session and I’m sure there will be specific questions and I’ll take all of those as they come. I want to say thank you. It’s a huge day for us, a huge day for me and we’re super excited and glad to put this car in front of you before it goes on the racetrack tomorrow. I know there’s gonna be a lot going on for the test, but, of course, if you have anymore questions then as well you can feel free to find us. A huge day for us and I’d like to think a huge day for our sport. We’re so excited to get racing and prove our worth on the racetrack.”
JACK ROUSH, Co-Owner, Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing -- “I want to extend my thanks to the speedway for giving us this venue today to be able to showcase what we’ve got in mind and answer questions. Thanks for organizing this, Steve, and for putting the effort behind it to make the partnership a reality. Brad, there was a lot of work there behind the scenes that I was largely not involved with. Through my forty-some years of racing nationally, I’ve had eight partnerships and the first partnership I had was 10 people that were equal members of a club that drag raced nationally. I came on the national scene with a group that could win races and could compete for championships initially and as I’ve changed from series to series and working my way to NASCAR, I’ve had partnerships that have allowed me to do things ahead of what my personal experience was and this partnership is different in that it’s near the end of my career. I’m still not resisting green bananas, but I’m closer to the end of my time than the beginning as far as my racing career is concerned, and to have Brad and Matt and all the guys that have been part of our organization over the years and all the ones that have joined us now, I’m looking forward to them having the success that I’ve had. I want to continue the dream of being competitive in NASCAR is certainly something I’ll stand on the balls of my feet to help as much as I can as long as I can. I’ve been besieged by questions over the last decade of what my plan was for retirement, and I really couldn’t see how I was gonna be able to back away from it without having the kind of approach that Brad has brought and Steve Newmark has fostered, and that the guys that are part of our organization now all signed up for. I’ll be able to back away some and to not go to all the races and not be the first one on top of the pit box and the last one in my car to go home as I’ve been in the past for most of my time. I enjoy passing the baton to Brad. Steve questioned me if I was really willing to do that and I said, ‘Well, as long as I can keep one hand on it for a while it will work for me.’ We look favorably going forward with what we can do and certainly the enthusiasm that I’ve felt when we were a young race team I feel again and look forward to helping the people that have not won their championships and not won their races and not won Daytona and not won the World 600, I look forward to celebrating those with the rest of the team that has yet to build their legacy as we go forward. Thanks for being here today and stay tuned, there’s still life in the beast.”
QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION
STEVE NEWMARK, President Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing -- WHY GREEN AND BLACK FOR THE COLOR SCHEME? “I think if you look at 2007 when Fenway come on this was the color scheme that was adopted with some reservation, my recollection, from Jack based on bringing green into the mix. I think over the next five years he realized that green maybe wasn’t as unlucky on the track as it might have previously been thought to be. As Brad had mentioned, a lot of what we were looking at is we wanted to signify that it is a new era. It is a new day. We’ve got a lot of energy and changes coming for who we are. At the same time, wanted to pay homage to our past and our history and the green and the black has been something that’s been with us for quite some time. Even changing the font and how the 6 looks falls into that category, so it’s new and different. It hasn’t been changed in 20 years, but even this change harkens back to Mark Martin, so it was really trying to strike that balance of honoring the legacy, but also signifying that it’s kind of a new era for us.”
I SEE A COUPLE SPONSORS ON THE CAR. ANY OTHERS WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT AND ARE ANY SPONSORS COMING WITH BRAD FROM PENSKE? “We decided that this particular press conference would just be about the name change, the number and the logo and that because we want to see you again and like to interact with you as much as possible, we’ll have another date where we talk about our sponsors, which will be a lot of familiar faces that will go with it. I’ll answer the second one for Brad that he’s not bringing any of his sponsors over from Penske. That’s part of the arrangement in this sport and it’s also something particularly when we have Ford teams we’ve got a great relationship with Penske and obviously want to be respectful and honor all agreements that fall in that category.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI, Driver and Co-Owner, Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing -- DID YOU HAVE A SAY IN THE 6 AND HOW IT LOOKS ON THE CAR? “Yes. I think Steve sent me a half-a-dozen or so variations and this 6 stood out right away as being kind of an homage to Mark. It’s got a little bit more angle to it. It’s got a little bit more modern flair. I think the other 6 was completely straight up and down, but this one is italicized and certainly carries that legacy and I think it’s super sharp.”
HAS IT FINALLY HIT YOU THAT THIS IS HAPPENING AND THAT YOU’RE HERE WITH THIS NEW TEAM? “Yeah, piece by piece. I think getting on the racetrack and actually competing will be a whole different experience. There’s the off the track stuff, which is sinking in and we made this announcement that we were gonna work together here and create this partnership, I guess, four or five months ago now and that’s given me a little bit of a runway, so to speak, to work through that. But getting on the racetrack will be a whole other piece, especially whether it’s the Clash or the Daytona 500, standing on the grid before the race. That’s gonna be a whole other level for sure, but my excitement level is very high and the pieces that we’re doing I feel really good about. We’ve got a lot of pieces moving and we’re kind of playing our cards one at a time here intentionally so that we don’t kind of bury all the good things we have happening, but there are a lot of great pieces moving and I have a lot of confidence that although there are some people that question the things we’re gonna be able to do, I have a lot of confidence that we’re gonna do some great things and we’re not gonna skip a beat with respect to performance on the track.”
WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING AN OWNER? “There’s a lot of learnings. There are of course the experiences where you look out and say, ‘Oh, that’s why they do things that way.’ And then there are some things like, ‘Oh, that’s why they did things that way.’ It’s a little bit of that, what do you call it, GIF or whatever. It’s an interesting experience. Actually, my confidence in the sport and where it’s going increased or has been increased in the experience I’ve had so far, so that’s been a real positive for me. In a lot of ways it’s reinvigorating. There were a lot of things happening behind the scenes that I didn’t know about that I think are sources of optimism and really hope for where the sport is going that now I can obviously see.”
WHAT CAN YOU TAKE FROM YOUR TIME OWNING THE TRUCK TEAM TO THIS VENTURE? “I think obviously the Cup level is a whole other level. The Cup level is a lot bigger. The numbers are all bigger. The top line is bigger and so is the bottom line. You bring in more money. You spend a lot more money. You pretty much just add a zero on everything, but I think there are a lot of commonalities. At the end of the day you’re still building a race car. You’re still putting together the best team you can put together. You’re still searching for the right funding to achieve all those things and competing against the best there is out there. The fundamentals are all the same. It just seems like the zeroes, there’s one more on everything.”
DO YOU HAVE THE FLOOR AT THE SHOP PAINTED? “I was just there before I came here and I am very happy. Matt Puccia has been leading that charge, but I think we’re working on a number of initiatives to improve the company. I think Steve went into this as well or better than I can. This is more than just a logo for us, and I understand that from a media perspective and from a fan perspective that might be hard to see, not being in the building, but it’s a commitment to really iterating the company to a whole other level and that is really across all facets of the company, whether it’s how we run on the racetrack, of course, is the ultimate measuring stick, but that’s really the end of the algorithm. If you look at the earlier pieces of the algorithm it’s how we carry ourselves. It’s how we do business. It’s the work spaces we work in. It’s the processes we develop. It’s the talent we hire. It’s how we cultivate and coach that talent. All those pieces come together and they’re really long, complicated pieces in this entire algorithm that equals a win on any given Saturday or Sunday. So, all of those pieces are subject to kind of a fresh look, an iterative process to improve for us to get to where we want to go. Sometimes it seems trivial because when you look at those pieces individually they might not mean much to any one person, but when you look at the collectively they all add up and they’re all important.”
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.