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NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 15, 2014
KERRY THARP:¬† Good afternoon.¬† This is day 3 of the 2014 Ford championship weekend here as we wrap up what has been another exciting and successful NASCAR racing season.¬† You know, we couldn't do it without the support, the professionalism, and the collaboration between three outstanding partners.¬† We thought that we would let you men and women hear from them today.
We're blessed in NASCAR to have three outstanding manufacturers in our sport, and for the first time ever, Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota are in legitimate contention for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship heading into the season finale here tomorrow at Homestead‑Miami Speedway.¬† Congratulations to all three, and we wish all three of you the very, very best of luck.
These three manufacturers are not only competitors, they are world‑class marketers with a 360‑degree activation, 365 days a year, and they do an excellent job.¬† They're also excellent partners with NASCAR, and the historic collaboration that we saw with NASCAR in developing and launching the Gen‑6 car in the Sprint Cup Series helped enhance manufacturer identity and fan affinity.
Today we are honored to be joined by representatives from our three manufacturers.¬† Jamie Allison is Director of Ford Racing.¬† Welcome, Jamie.
Jim Campbell is U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports.¬† Welcome, Jim.
And David Wilson is President and General Manager of Toyota Racing Development USA.¬† Welcome, David.
We appreciate your participation today and congratulations on what has already been an outstanding season.¬† Jamie, I'm going to start with you first.¬† This is branded as Ford Championship Weekend here at Homestead‑Miami Speedway.¬† Just how significant is that, and how cool would it be to have your Ford driver Joey Logano win the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship?
JAMIE ALLISON:¬† Thank you, Kerry.¬† Before I start, I'd like to acknowledge a member of the Ford family, the godfather of Ford Racing, Mr.Edsel Ford, who is sitting over there.¬† Mr.Ford, thank you for being here.
Indeed, here we are at Ford Championship Weekend, and that would be an exclamation point to have us celebrate a Ford champion.¬† But the road to Ford Championship Weekend is well‑traveled and hard‑earned between all the competitors.¬† Us at Ford Motor Company, we are capping off a phenomenal season with 14 wins, the most since 2005, accomplished by involvement of all of our teams, and here we at the capper with the most exciting form of Chase to be potentially celebrated here at Ford Championship Weekend.¬† Indeed it would be an exclamation point.
KERRY THARP:¬† Jim, now that the Chevrolet SS has been on the track for two seasons, maybe you can talk about how perhaps it has bolstered brand identity and fan affinity, and how has your new race car validated the very reasons why you race?
JIM CAMPBELL:¬† Well, it's been great to have the Chevrolet SS on the track here for the last couple years.¬† The whole development of the Gen‑6 was done with NASCAR and the three OEMs here plus Dodge at the time.¬† It was a collaborative effort, but I think the result was pretty fantastic in terms of improving relevance from what we race on the track to the connection to the showroom, and for us, Chevrolet SS, V‑8, fuel injected, rear‑wheel drive in the showroom floor as it is on the track.
So we like that genuine connection from track to the showroom, and we see it in the numbers.¬† The research numbers show that fans are relating to the car and making it more relevant to what they see on the track to what they see in the showroom and on the street.¬† We love that, and really that's one of the reasons why we race is to make that connection of relevance.
The other thing is we want to help our teams and drivers, give them the best opportunity to win races and championships, and it's been a great for that for Chevrolet with 18 poles and 19 wins and a couple guys here in the final race.¬† It's been a great year so far.
KERRY THARP:¬† And David, congratulations, by the way, on last night's sweep of all the championships in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.¬† Job well done.
DAVID WILSON:¬† Thank you, Kerry.
KERRY THARP:¬† The Toyota teams have really elevated their performance during the Chase.¬† How important is that, and why do you think they have been so successful during these past nine races?
DAVID WILSON:¬† Well, Kerry, I wish I could say that this was our plan all along, but that would be a lie.¬† Coming off of our record best 14‑win Sprint Cup season in 2013, we've fallen short of our expectations leading up to the Chase.¬† We've been just a little bit behind, but enough so that it's kept us out of victory lane as much as we became accustomed to.¬† But the good news is that TRD along with our teams kept working, and we never quit, and when we got to Chicago, we put it into a new gear.
Our engines are much better, our cars are much better.¬† We're excited for the opportunity tomorrow, and I think we've demonstrated that through the Chase, five starting positions of P1 through the 10 races.¬† Pretty good indicator that our performance has improved.
KERRY THARP:¬† Let's take questions now for Jamie, Jim or David.
Q.¬† How important and how much of a boost would it give you for your driver to win the championship tomorrow?
JAMIE ALLISON:¬† Like I say, it would be an exclamation point, but let me give you some metrics with what's going on this year with the success we've had on the track.¬† First of all, social media is increasingly the metrics by which everybody measures engagement.¬† We started the year with 800,000 fans, followers on Facebook.¬† We have 2.6 million followers on Facebook.¬† We do a lot of activations on the track.¬† We generate a lot of leads for our dealers.¬† We have generated 570,000 leads yet this year, up 60 percent from a year ago.¬† We track sales, match to leads generated from on‑track activation, and our sales are up 90 percent versus a year ago.¬† These are gigantic swings in engagement, gigantic swings in fan affinity, and it translates all the way down from awareness down to conservation to shopping to intention to buy.¬† So success on the track translates into indeed fan consideration and purchase intention.
At the end of the day, we are here because our fans, our fans of Ford, and what we race on the track increasing with relevance to what's being shown in the showroom as well as what's in people's driveway, there's that direct correlation.
Whoever said win on Sunday, sell on Monday, it's absolutely true because we're seeing it in the evidence of the data that we have.
JIM CAMPBELL:¬† Yep.¬† For Chevrolet that's one of our goals every year is to help our teams win a driver's championship and collectively giving our teams the best opportunity to win enough races for us to win the manufacturer's championship.¬† We have two opportunities out of the four tomorrow, and if you look over the past number of years, about eight of the last nine driver's champions have been Chevrolet drivers.¬† We do see a lift in opinion, and when you get a lift of opinion on a brand, great things happen.¬† Customers put you on their shopping list more quickly.¬† It's a fact.¬† So that's big.
And then on top of that, we start six drivers in the race tomorrow, which we're optimistic we'll do, with the green flag Chevrolet will wrap up its 38th manufacturer's championship.¬† So the combination is powerful, and customers put you on their shopping list more quickly.
The other thing we do all season long, whether it's in midways or it's online in the social space, we're interfacing with our fans and prospective fans, our customers, prospective customers, and when we get a lead, we work that lead hard, all the way to a point where we sell a car, truck or part, and that's what our focus is at the lower end of the funnel, purchase funnel, if you will.
DAVID WILSON:¬† Well, for Toyota, it would simply be historic and unprecedented.¬† We're still the new guys, so to speak, in the series.¬† This is our‑‑ celebrating our 10th anniversary in NASCAR in their national series.¬† We've won championships, multiple championships in the Camping World Truck Series, in the Nationwide Series.¬† Cup, the Sprint Cup Series, is‑‑ that box hasn't been checked yet, so for Toyota it would be huge.¬† It would be significant, I think, for the sport.¬† It would be huge for TRD.
Certainly Toyota, our engagement model is a little bit different than my colleagues', and I have 250 people that work their butts off, and they have for years and years, so it would be very emotional.
Q.¬† Jim, you sort of talked a bit about this a moment ago.¬† A finish of 38th or better, basically start the race and Chevrolet has won another manufacturer's championship.¬† I think that's now 12 in a row.¬† Just how big a deal is that among the three of you guys to have that kind of bragging right?
JIM CAMPBELL:¬† Well, at the beginning of the year, as we set our objectives, that's one of the first objectives we put down along with supporting our teams to win a driver's championship.¬† The combination for us really caps off what we would say would be a successful season.¬† One without the other is good, but both of them together is really the goal, every single year, every single series.
In Nationwide, Chase Elliott last race obviously clinched the championship.¬† If we start 15 Camaros today, we'll clinch the Nationwide manufacturer's championship.¬† So that would be an exciting thing to get both of those.¬† But Cup, there's work to be done.¬† But again, the combination together elevates the brand, and that's what you want to do.¬† You want to improve the brand opinion.¬† You think about the brands that you love.¬† When you have a high opinion, what do you do?¬† You keep them on your shopping list, and when you're in the market for that product or service, you put them on the shopping list and you shop them.¬† That's important for us.
And also we just love racing.¬† We love racing.¬† It's part of our history and heritage for Chevrolet.¬† It goes back to our co‑founder Louis Chevrolet.¬† The guy was a racer, he was a car guy, he used the racetrack as his proving ground.¬† Here we are over 100 years later, and the focus is still the same.¬† Focus on winning and then learning on the track.
Q.¬† Your companies did an incredible job of agreeing on many issues with your cars when the Gen‑6 came out.¬† There's going to be some small modifications.¬† Is there anything on your Christmas list for next year's car?
DAVID WILSON:¬† Well, I'll start that.¬† Certainly we're excited about next year because we just unveiled our 2015 Sprint Cup Camry, which, of course, mirrors the car that we unveiled at the New York Auto Show this past spring.¬† As Jim referenced earlier, this is part of the‑‑ this new collaboration and agreement that we have between ourselves and NASCAR.¬† This is about relevancy, and when we undertook that project to bring the Gen‑6 to the racetrack, we all knew that we were going to continue to evolve our production cars and that with that comes the responsibility to evolve our race cars to go along with it.¬† So we pulled the wraps off that car in Charlotte.¬† We've had it out to the racetrack a couple of times, and we'll be pacing the Daytona 500 next year with the 2015 Camry, and hopefully we'll have a Camry right behind it on the front row.
JAMIE ALLISON:¬† When we think of relevance at Ford, we think of three levels of relevance.¬† Obviously product relevance, which is brand identity and check with the Gen‑6; the cars that you see on the road are more consistent with the brand queue that the cars you see on the track.
Next is technology relevance.¬† Obviously there is increasingly a higher level of technology found in road cars than there is now in race cars in general, and obviously the progression of fuel injection is one step.¬† There's always additional consideration for added technology in this sport to bring more technology relevance that allows the company to support racing.¬† I mean, we've got to think back a little bit on this.¬† We are a car company and this is car racing, and the perfect intersection of those two, and when the engineers inside of a large company like Ford Motor Company can come and support all the development that's taking place with our race teams, and when there is the technology gap, that puts a gap in the ability to support, and that's why bridging the gap on technology relevance is important.
The last part is fan relevance.¬† The Chase format, the energy that you hear about the Chase, NASCAR now increasingly more so has more fan relevance, you see.¬† It's a sellout crowd here, it was a sellout crowd at Phoenix.¬† There is just an energy around the sport, and when an energy exists in the sport, it lifts all boats, obviously, with the manufacturers are on the beneficiary end of it.¬† But more importantly, as a car manufacturer, as more people get excited about watching car racing, it lifts the consideration of our product.
JIM CAMPBELL:¬† I would echo what the guys said.¬† When we went through the recession in '08, '09, we had a chance to sit down with NASCAR and just almost do a bit of a reset, and we laid out the three things we were looking for.¬† We wanted to run on a biofuel mix, we wanted relevant technologies, we wanted the car we raced on the track to be relevant to what we sold in the showroom.¬† '11, '12, '13 was the sequence when they delivered:¬† Biofuels in '11, fuel injection in '12, and then the Gen‑6, in our case, Chevrolet SS in '13.
That quest goes on.¬† We continue to be talking with NASCAR, all three of us, and the NASCAR team about relevance and what else can we do and what's next.
On the fan relevance piece, NASCAR provides incredible skill and reach on a marketing basis compared to other platforms, whether they're racing or otherwise, other sports platforms, so we love NASCAR for that, and also because our car is the stick and ball of the sport.¬† In other words, if you're in football and you're a sponsor or baseball, you're a sponsor.¬† When you're racing, we're the stick and ball of the sport, and we love that.
Q.¬† Each of you gentlemen have someone in the championship obviously tomorrow.¬† I don't know that it's possible, but with that being the case, have you been able to provide any additional either technological or engineering focus for those specific teams, or is it just‑‑ are you just proceeding as you would any other week?
JAMIE ALLISON:¬† Obviously every week, every day, every hour, there is constant stream and interface between our technical development team and our race teams, and it runs the gamut of testing, development, and increasingly more analytics.¬† There are tendencies in the sport during the race that can be gleaned from mining data that could give a crew chief an opportunity to make a decision based on data rather than just simply on gut feel.¬† The feel of analytics is wide open.¬† So really when you're coming down to the final race from a hardware wise, it's largely in the hands of the teams.¬† But in terms of enabling decision making on in‑race situation, that's one scenario.
Also our recent addition of our technical center being based literally across the street from our teams and across the street from NASCAR, with all the tools that exist there at the full disposal of our teams, our teams have made full use of it.¬† We're looking forward to a race at a place that we're all very familiar with and with the familiarity of the Ford oval around the track.¬† I think you can't discount that in my view, that sense of a bit of a home field advantage as we look at it.¬† When I walk into Ford Championship Weekend, I feel that I'm at home.¬† So I'm sure the Ford team feels that in a sense.
Hopefully it plays out, but at the end of the day, they have to go out and race and make the best thing that they can do.
JIM CAMPBELL:¬† For us, we use a key partners approach, and we work on common issues together, and then we let the teams focus on their points of difference.¬† 18 poles, 19 wins, on the cusp of a 38th manufacturer's championship.¬† We're not going to change in the last minute here.¬† Stick to the fundamentals in terms of providing the right parts, the right engineering people and the right engineering tools and then follow through.
DAVID WILSON:¬† Yeah, it's business as usual for Toyota.¬† We're absolutely delighted that Denny has a shot again.¬† When we came here the last time, close to this position, I would say it's 2010, Denny came here with a 15‑point lead, and I think we collectively overthought the gravity of it and played from a defensive position.
I think what everyone has seen this year is a different feel.¬† Denny is loose.¬† It's business as usual.¬† The performance that we've collectively brought to the table is what has gotten Denny to this position, and we're just going to execute as a team and see what that brings tomorrow afternoon.
Q.¬† Jamie, related to fan relevance from a different perspective, what have Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose meant to Ford's worldwide marketing efforts, and how difficult is it to lose those two popular faces in NASCAR?
JAMIE ALLISON:¬† You know, at Ford, we're a family company, and it pervades and permeates everything we do.¬† Our drivers are more than drivers, they're literally part of the Ford family, and so whenever you have a member of the family pursuing other opportunities, it leaves a void personally with the team members as well as professionally in terms of fan outreach.¬† Obviously with Marcos, he's stepping out of one Ford into another Ford, another part of the world.¬† He's kind of returning home.¬† And we wish him all the best, and we're very close with Roger on their fielding of the Falcon down in Australia.
Carl Edwards is someone that we hold in the highest regard.¬† He's the winningest Ford driver.¬† He has been a part of many of our outreach to our fans.¬† Nothing will ever take that away.
Obviously we all have to make our own decisions, and we've got to look ahead, and we wish Carl all the best, but in the meantime, we have a new set of friends and we have a new set of teams and drivers for which we're going to continue to reach out to our fans.¬† At the end of the day, our fans love to win, and when we win with our drivers, that works its way through the entire marketing funnel, all the way from consideration at the shop to intention.
This is sports, and in sports you have to win.¬† You can't activate a losing program.¬† So winning is paramount, and it starts object the track, and it concludes itself with on‑track activation, fan outreach in social media, and just literally just being in touch with our fans.
Q.¬† Jim, kind of an offbeat question, but I've got to ask you, what was your reaction to "technology and stuff," and was there any sort of consideration to maybe trying to market that for the motorsports side?
JIM CAMPBELL:¬† You know what, that was a moment in time where you leverage social media to kind of turn the conversation.¬† It turned it in a matter of four or five hours, and it's something that we leveraged for about a week, and we're done now.¬† So we're going to move on.
Q.¬† David, can you talk about how the test went at Auto Club with your Toyota teams, and if you guys were happy with the 2015 Camry?
DAVID WILSON:¬† Yeah.¬† It was a good test.¬† Certainly it's just one datapoint.¬† There were only four cars on the racetrack.¬† I think we're all anxiously anticipating how the new car with the different downforce and certainly a little bit less under the hood is going to react.¬† I think we need a few more cars out on the racetrack to really figure that out, so we're going to‑‑ we've got another test coming up after the banquet week, and then we'll put the cars on the racetrack in Daytona next year.
Q.¬† For all three of you, when NASCAR announced the new format, did you expect the intensity that happened throughout the season, and did you expect that all three manufacturers would be among the final contenders?
JIM CAMPBELL:¬† Well, when they announced the change, basically it's something I think that was on their mind for a while.¬† It was really to put the focus on winning versus points racing.¬† They accomplished it.¬† The whole focus and conversation turned to winning, and that was your ticket to the Chase for the Championship.¬† So it was very exciting.
And then to have the grid was equally exciting with obviously eliminating four drivers in the first three rounds.¬† It was very exciting, and I think people are still learning how it works, but I think they're learning very quickly, and the excitement and enthusiasm has been high.¬† When you do that, you keep the conversation about racing front and center versus other topics that are out there.¬† We like it.
When we got into the Chase, we had half the field in the first round, half in the second, three of eight in the third, and now half in this fourth round.¬† My preference would be four for four, but it didn't happen.
DAVID WILSON:¬† Come on now, Jim.¬† (Laughter.)
I don't know that we expected quite the level of intensity.¬† That's what really has struck me is how important every single race in the Chase has become.¬† It does have this real stick‑and‑ball playoff feel to it.¬† You have your Game 5s every couple, three races, and we're on national news seemingly more often.¬† So the gravity of this has just been fantastic.
You know, to your point about all three of us being up here, at the front end of the Chase, I remember giving an interview in Chicago, and I was laughing because everyone was, of course, laying out their card for the final four, and there weren't too many Toyotas in that, in many people's.¬† I'd venture to say in the group here in the media center, how many of you really had a Toyota in your final four, besides Mark and Lisa?
JAMIE ALLISON:¬† I didn't.
JIM CAMPBELL:¬† Nor did I.
DAVID WILSON:¬† But the beauty of it is not only are at least one of each of us here represented in the final four, but you have four different teams, and you have four different engine builders.¬† I think it's fantastic.
JAMIE ALLISON:¬† So NASCAR nailed it.¬† NASCAR got it right.¬† I mean, we see the proof in the pudding.¬† But really if you analyze what has taken place, why do we see all this energy, I come back to this is sport.¬† What happens in sport? ¬†You have to win.¬† Winning is paramount.¬† And we saw the emphasis on winning drive drivers, drive teams, drive manufacturers, drive everything to basically win.¬† We saw that take place.
I think the pursuit of winning is what brings out the greatest emotions in all of us who are competitors.¬† Our drivers are competitors and the crews around them are competitors.¬† It really kind of in my perspective literally brought it back to its ultimate roots, which is this is a car race, and someone has to win, and he or she with the best opportunity to go win must go for it and win.
I think that's at the end of the day why we feel that the national media and all the energy that we see around us is because it's now pure and raw, it is about winning.
In terms of having all three manufacturers in the final spot to win, it is kind of seminal to have it end that way.¬† At the end of the day, one will prevail, as NASCAR's tagline says.¬† Jim, we'll have a little bit of fun.¬† I think it's our turn.
DAVID WILSON:¬† Hang on, hang on.
JIM CAMPBELL:¬† Just add one thing.¬† Obviously a lot of discussion around TV ratings.¬† Some are up, some are down, some are flat.¬† The other thing that's happening below the sight line, and many of you in this room get this because you're active in it, is all the social media discussion, especially at those transfer races, at the end of the three races in the grid.¬† The social media discussion goes on and on, morning, noon, night, before the race, during, after.¬† It's been fantastic, and that's opportunity for us as manufacturers to continue to interact with our customers and fans and prospective customers and prospective fans.
Q.¬† I hear all three of you talk about the importance of winning to your brand and how big it is.¬† Do you think to be one of the final four contestants, you should have to win a race?
JIM CAMPBELL:¬† Yeah, what I would say to that, listen, winning and consistency are both important, and that's what you have here.¬† You have guys that have won races, and that's how they got here.¬† You have other guys like Ryan Newman that got here on consistent performance.¬† We're involved in five major manufacturing series.¬† Consistency gets rewarded.¬† In this case the way it's set up, you can advance by winning, you can advance by being highly consistent.¬† I'm supportive of a champion that can come at it either way, winning or high consistency.¬† Who knows, we'll see what happens on Sunday.
DAVID WILSON:¬† Yeah, the rules are the same for all the competitors, and every one of those drivers that will compete for this championship tomorrow earned their spot and the right to compete for that championship.
JAMIE ALLISON:¬† I have to agree.¬† You play with the rules, and the rule‑‑ every format ever conceived by NASCAR inevitably rewards consistency, so I think kudos to all the teams who will play by the rules and achieve the rules outcome.¬† Whether it's through consistency or whether it's through winning, as the rules are created.¬† If new rules come around that removes one of those considerations, then we can have that conversation.¬† In the meantime, the rules stay today and it rewards consistency, and hats off to the team who took advantage of it.
Q.¬† Just wanted to ask a quick question about what this all boils down to really is just the raw emotion of competition and how it kind of rises, especially gets ratcheted up in something like this, but seeing you all interact with each other is interesting because it's juxtaposed with the interaction that your drivers had on Wednesday.¬† Do you look at that and try and gauge how the race might come out for them or for you and for your teams, because I know that you've invested so much in terms of resources and technology, but at the end of it, it's going to be the human element that will have to determine the outcome.¬† You try and gauge the emotion of your driver when you see Kevin Harvick kind of needling Joey Logano.¬† What do you derive from that?
JIM CAMPBELL:¬† I would just say that it's three things:¬† One, it's the human element of the driver.¬† It's the human element of the teamwork, and it's the technology, the reliability, the performance, the durability of the machine.¬† It's both of those.¬† So for us, we're as focused on the driver, the team and the car and the engine.¬† They all have to come together at the right moment to win a championship.¬† So that's what we're focused on with the two guys that are in the Chase here, in the championship run from Chevy.
DAVID WILSON:¬† There used to be this cartoon back in the '60s.¬† It was a wolf‑‑ Warner Brothers, I think, a wolf and a sheepdog, and they would start their day every day and say hello, and then they'd punch the clock, and then they'd go and try and tear each other's throat out.¬† Over the past few seasons, the three of us have gotten to know each other, and we have a very respectful, courteous relationship.¬† I enjoy competing against these two guys up here.¬† But when the flag drops on Sunday, you know, that's our‑‑ we're punching our clock, and it's time to go to work.
But the neat thing, truly, as evidenced by the Gen‑6 car, as evidenced by the rules that are coming out next year, is we are‑‑ while we're competitors on the racetrack, we're competitors in the showroom, basically we're here for the same reasons, and we share those values, and we're able to work together along with NASCAR to help continue to make this sport better.¬† That's something to be proud of.
JAMIE ALLISON:¬† Completely agree.¬† I'll just echo some of those themes.¬† I mean, we as manufacturers are in it for identical reasons.¬† We're bonded by a common cause, to leverage and participate in a sport.¬† We are car companies.¬† This is car racing.¬† This is a platform for us to showcase our products and to tell the world about our products and our brands.
So that's our common bond.¬† You talk about athletes and their emotions, athletes are there to compete and win, and obviously really kudos to NASCAR because this is a place where you can indeed compete at the highest level, and yet allows for the raw emotion to come out.¬† It's personalities, but people want to follow.
The scale of NASCAR and the reach of NASCAR and the participation of NASCAR to us delivers on our objectives, and it's all because of this confluence of all these factors.¬† The fact that the drivers can compete, yet their personalities can come through, and the fact that the manufacturers can collaborate, but yet at the end we want to compete and make sure that our brands succeed.
KERRY THARP:¬† You each have an opportunity to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship tomorrow, as each of you have at least one driver competing for the crown.¬† If you would just take a few seconds, and David, I'll start with you, what makes Denny Hamlin a special driver, and why do you think he can be in victory lane tomorrow or win the championship?
DAVID WILSON:¬† Well, Denny is a special driver.¬† Denny thinks a lot, and he's been here before, and I think that really helps him.¬† We've been, as a manufacturer, been the bridesmaid three out of the past four years, and Denny has had a second‑place finish, Clint Bowyer has had a second‑place finish, then of course last year Matt Kenseth.¬† But Denny is comfortable.¬† He's confident, quietly confident I would say.
The fact that he has won here twice in the past five years, that he's the reigning Homestead champion I think gives him just what he needs to do the job Sunday.
KERRY THARP:¬† Jim, you have two drivers in, obviously, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman.¬† Maybe just talk briefly about those two and why you think they're special and how they got here.
JIM CAMPBELL:¬† Well, Ryan Newman just keeps coming.¬† He keeps getting stronger race after race, and that team has just gotten in a great rhythm and stronger every single race.¬† So I think that they have momentum because of that.¬† Now, they haven't won a race yet, but they are charging.
I think with Kevin Harvick, he's focused, he's mentally tough, and he's a leader from the cockpit of the car.¬† And when I think about the last time Stewart‑Haas won the championship with Tony in '11, Tony had a lot of those same attributes:¬† Focused, mentally tough, and he led from the cockpit.¬† And so we'll see where these two guys net out.¬† The competition is tough.¬† Anything can happen, and we expect there's going to be some curveballs and surprises in how the teams react.¬† Same focus, calm, and the guys leading from the cockpit with the team is going to have the best chance to win.
KERRY THARP:¬† Jamie, how about Joey Logano?¬† What makes him special?
JAMIE ALLISON:¬† When you start the conversation about Joey Logano, this is a sport of teams.¬† You've got to put that in context.¬† It's Joey, it's Todd, it's Penske, it's Ford.¬† When you put that ensemble together, this season has been an absolute standout season.¬† With five wins for Joey, six wins for Brad, 11 wins with Team Penske, starting on the front row as many times as they've done all season long, and now with Joey here at the final race, laser focused.¬† Joey Logano when he came into the sport was billed as a phenom, and indeed he is a phenom.¬† He's got the talent, and with the team around him, I think he's very poised to succeed.¬† He is driven, and the goal is in sight, and we expect he will succeed.
KERRY THARP:¬† Gentlemen, I can't thank you enough.¬† Jamie, Jim and David, for a great season already and all the support and just being great partners to NASCAR.¬† Thank you for being here today, and good luck the rest of this weekend.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports