home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 1, 2017

Steve Newmark

Brian Pattie

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Tommy Wheeler

Daytona Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We will now begin our post‑race winners' interviews for the 59th annual Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca‑Cola. Our race winning team tonight led by driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No.17 Fifth Third Bank Ford for Roush Fenway Racing. We also have crew chief Brian Pattie; we have Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark; and operations director, Tommy Wheeler. Ricky, let's start with you. You're getting pretty good at this superspeedway racing thing here. Please walk us through how special this second win of the season is for you.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: Well, I feel like for me, we've had good finishes at speedways. I feel like we lucked into a few of them, but now that we're paying a lot of attention to every single part of our company, making sure that the speedway cars are good, the short tracks, the mile‑and‑a‑halfs, we're really focused in on every aspect of the sport and trying to make sure that we're not leaving any stone unturned. So we're working hard, and this race, the way we drove up the bottom, that wasn't‑‑ I didn't feel like it was anything to do with me, that was just a fast race car.
We've got a really, really good average finish with Fifth Third on the car. I keep telling Greg Carmichael and Tom Heiks and Lee Fite and the guys at Fifth Third that we could have them on the car every race, or at least half.
THE MODERATOR: Brian, this is your first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at your home track and also your first win here since working with Front Row Joe back in 2002. How special of a night is this for you?
BRIAN PATTIE: Oh, it's cool. I had the wife and a couple kids here for the weekend, so it's been fun, and a couple friends from Tampa come over. So it's been a cool experience.
THE MODERATOR: Steve, the 137th win for Jack Roush now in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. This organization has turned the corner it seems like here in 2017 and really has been the dominant car here in Superspeedway racing. Please walk us through how that success has come about.
STEVE NEWMARK: Yeah, we believe we're on the right track, and you always want more, but we're pretty excited about the direction we're headed, and that's a testament to Jack Roush and what he's set up. I know some of you are surprised Jack is not up here right now. Jack is on vacation taking his granddaughter out to see Mount Rushmore, and it's something we've encouraged him to do because what Jack has done over the last year is really empowered a group of individuals to try to run the company on a day‑to‑day basis. Now, his fingerprints are all over everything because he's got a lot of disciples in this company, and even the guy running the superspeedway program, Jimmy Fennig, has been with him for a long time.
But he really on the competition side has empowered Tommy Wheeler and Kevin Kidd to provide the direction for this company, and that has really, I think, changed a lot of the way that we've operated and has helped us to get to where we are. But I know this is probably Jack's proudest moment because this was a race that he wasn't at, and we were still able implement everything that he's taught us and go out there and get him in Victory Lane.
THE MODERATOR: Tommy, it's no surprise that Ford again is in Victory Lane. This is the eighth win of the season for Ford, which matches the 216 win total. We're in July; what has led to that success this year?
TOMMY WHEELER: Obviously Ford has piled a pile of resources toward teams in their camp. Dave Pericak, Pat DiMarco, Mark Rushbrook, the whole gang, and really we're just starting to see‑‑ I have to say reaping the benefits of all that investment and the time and effort that everybody is putting towards it.

Q. Ricky, you were the only guy who qualified in the top 10 that actually finished in the top 10; did you feel like you were the car to beat there at the end even though you weren't leading going into the overtime?
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: Well, all race I felt like I was really having to lift a lot to keep from running over the cars in front of us. Even when I was leading those few times, I could run not full throttle and be able to keep them at a certain distance. So I felt really strong about our car.
I think I felt the best when we started to drive up through the field on the bottom. That was probably a key turning point for what I felt like I could do with our car, and we drove it to the lead, and that was kind of the turning point.
But I definitely would have rather been on defense those last couple restarts. I was glad that we got into third before that last caution because for whatever reason, my car wanted to be on the bottom. At Daytona, Talladega, I've always felt like my car wants to be on the top side of the racetrack, and it just seemed I could do better work there, but last couple speedway races I've been able to get the job done on the bottom with the car that they've prepared for us.
Kind of like we gave up the lead to the 13. David just didn't get down quick enough. It looks‑‑ kind of looks are deceiving when you're looking in your mirror you can really see the cars on the outside really good and it's tough to see the cars on the inside. We just got a run at the right time and he moved up at the perfect time for us to get to the inside and keep the lead from there.
I was pretty surprised with our damage that we were able to stay out front that last lap and a half the way we did.

Q. Ricky, two restrictor plate victories this season; the car, the driver, a little bit of both? Can you take us through the success you've had?
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: It's a lot. It's luck. It's hard work and determination by all the guys on our team. It's really prepared race cars. Looking over everything, making sure we're not missing anything. You know, it's easy to overheat these cars here. It's easy to miss something. You're running so hard each and every lap, and all that's got to play out together. You know, you've got to be lucky. You've got to miss the wrecks. We missed a lot of wrecks tonight. Got to have a good spotter. Mike Herman Jr. did an amazing job again on this speedway racing. I feel like he's helped me get some good finishes here, even though we may have not had the best car. I felt like he's‑‑ now that we're getting our cars better on these speedways that we're able to do more, be a little bit more aggressive, and if we fall back, we can work our way to the front with the cars that we have.
STEVE NEWMARK: I'll add on to that because although he tried to deflect, let's be clear, Ricky is a hell of a plate racer, and he's showing that. You saw what he did today. He was at the front. They had a pit strategy pretty where he went pretty much to the back and was able to work his way back up each time strategically, maneuvering through there, so he just did an amazing job, and Brian Pattie and the crew, and particularly Brian's calls out there were fantastic. I probably can't give him credit for orchestrating that Kyle Larson would fly over him on that caution, but that worked out pretty well.

Q. With Ford sweeping the restrictor plate races so far this season, what does that say about the Ford restrictor plate program and Roush Yates engines?
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: I think it's really strong. I think obviously qualifying showed that our Ford Performance cars are really strong, and I think I kind of echo what Brad said maybe on the broadcast before the race is the high RPM tracks we feel really, really good at. I feel like that's why we run the top of the racetracks, a lot of the racetracks we go to, and the engine package, the bodies, everything is just working really well for the speedways.
And then we work well together. We all practice together, and it was nice to be able to use your Ford teammates throughout the race to keep us up front, and even‑‑ all the Fords, David Ragan's car was fast there. He's a good speedway racer. So we feel like we've still got work to do on other racetracks, but it's nice to capitalize on‑‑ when you have the opportunity to, and that's what it's all about. The fastest cars don't always win at speedways, but it's nice that we've been able to capitalize on that for Ford, for Roush Yates, and particularly for Roush Fenway.

Q. Ricky, you're going along minding your own business, the 42 is upside down, do you sink down in your seat? Do you duck? What do you think in the driver's seat when he was flying over you?
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: Well, I was hoping he wasn't going to get in the fence was the first thing I thought about, and then the second thing was, hey, I think we just made it through without too much damage, and then you've got to stay focused and get back in the game and make sure that you have a plan for‑‑ the caution is out, are we going to pit, are we not going to pit, I'm relaying as much information as I can to Brian and the guys to let them know that we don't have any smoke but I see the hood is messed up, and just kind of going through the scenario of our next game plan.
I'm glad that everybody was all right. You never want to be a part of a wreck, especially one when cars get upside down. But it's part of speedway racing. You try to close the door on people and try to get a shove down the straightaways. Sometimes you just are a little too late.
Yeah, it was close. I think we got some rubber on the front bumper from his tires spinning. Everything just worked out just right for us right there.

Q. Ricky, everyone is talking about what a good plate racer you are. Can you win anywhere else besides plate tracks?
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: Yeah, I think so. I feel like our next accomplishments that we can do on the racetrack are probably short track wins. We've got really good track records so far this year, and that's where we're probably looking at to get another win besides on a speedway.
We're still working on our mile‑and‑a‑half program. We don't feel like we're capable of winning on a mile‑and‑a‑half program. We feel like we can run top 10 and get top‑10 finishes, but we're not ready to go out and win those races yet.
But that's something that we're working towards, trying to get a plan together for the playoffs so that we can go out and compete at those. But I feel really good about the short tracks.

Q. As you were getting ready to win, Rick Allen I believe said on the broadcast, he reminded everyone of your time in the XFINITY Series and he says, Jack had to sit him for wrecking too many cars and then when Bowyer was in here he used the word chaotic when describing how you were when you first got in the series. How does it feel to have come this far and have two wins?
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: Chaotic coming from Clint? That's interesting. I think us dirt guys, we drive the car really hard. Like Brian says, he doesn't have to worry about my commitment on driving into the corner. If he can make it go around it, it's going to be really fast.
I think a lot of the times as a race car driver you try to take the car and put it on your back. It's tough to do in the Cup Series. Everything has got to align right, and I think when I came into the Cup Series, I almost thought we were going to win our first race at Kansas that year and get our first win out of the way, and then really kind of struggled after that. I feel like just trying too hard and making mistakes and us not necessarily having the cars where we want them and just‑‑ everybody was just trying to do more than we were capable of for a long time. Now I think we've been in this rebuilding process for a long time. I think Kyle Petty asked me about, it just seems like you just turned it around really fast, but man, we've been working on this for a long time. We've been moving people around since the end of 2014, 2015, and I think we're getting people in the right places. I still feel like there's room to grow, but I feel really confident about the people that we have in the right places now, and like I said, we've still got a lot of work to do.

Q. Tommy, you talked to us on our pre‑race show. You obviously knew what you were talking about. You said that you're paying more attention to detail, you're doing things differently this year. You've got your mojo back. Now, not only did you win the race with Ricky, but you also had Trevor running right up in the lead before his misfortune, so you guys were very strong. Tell us a little bit about exactly what you're doing differently this year and why Roush Fenway is to be contended with once again.
TOMMY WHEELER: Well, obviously Jack, and as Ricky was kind of alluding to, Jack saw the path that we were going down as flawed and not successful anymore, right, and said, hey, we're going to make a little course correction and we're going to make sure that we empower the smart kids, the guys in the shop that have the loudest voice and the smartest minds and we're going to get those guys with their stick on the ice, and we're going to do things a little different. And me being kind of no different to that, that Jack has obviously been immensely important to me in my career and everything we've been able to do, but I'm a different guy than Jack. Nobody can fill those shoes that Jack has, and I'm an energy guy, and so that's the direction I've really tried to go with the shop, and everything we're trying to do is bring the energy to the guys on the floor to get everyone believing that we can do it again, and they're proving me right.

Q. Other than the energy guy and other than personnel moves and all, what have y'all done physically to get better? You've got new equipment? Have you got new computers? Do you have simulation? What have you done physically to get better other than personnel and those kind of things?
STEVE NEWMARK: I wish I could give you that one thing that said, hey, this was the magic bullet that did it. If you had that one thing, it makes for a better story, a better headline, but it really has been an accumulation of all the little things, so it doesn't sound sexy, it's probably a little boring how we did it, but we just had to systematically step back and say, we are going to make sure we have the right people here, people who are dedicated and focused on bringing Roush Fenway back to where we believe it should be and really who kind of buy into the philosophy that Jack has embedded in the organization. And so we've also leaned a lot on Ford and Roush Yates. I mean, Dave Pericak, Raj Nair, Mark Rushbrook, we continue to ask them for more and more resources every day, more wind tunnel time, more help, and so ‑‑ we've used the simulator over at the Ford R&D Center, so all that really has played a part. So there isn't one thing that we can say this is what did it.
And I'll say the other thing is we talked to our drivers about taking a bigger leadership role, and I think you really see that that's what Ricky has done. He's taken this company on his back, and he leads by example, and he's in the shop all the time, and the guys watch not only how he drives on the track where he's relentless and never quits, but he has the same attitude in the shop and he's trying to understand and trying to learn and get better, and so when you have that, you have a lot of people following by example.
TOMMY WHEELER: I think Ricky also summed it up earlier when he was talking about that we made a commitment that there were no unimportant parts in the entire organization, not just on the race car. So we've doubled and tripled our efforts in every area, and we're going to continue to do so.

Q. Ricky, you said during your TV interview that this win validates what you did in Talladega. Just curious how much that's been on your mind, wanting to go out and win again because you wanted to validate Talladega?
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: Yeah, it's nice to do that in a short amount of time. You know, not waiting another year and getting it in the same year is really important for us. I think it's something that after you win the first one, it was awesome for a week, but then somebody else wins the next week, so it makes you want to continue to win and get back up here in the media center, get back in Victory Lane, and get everybody talking about your team. That's what it's all about, and all the guys work really hard, and they deserve to celebrate.

Q. And for either Steve or Tommy, you mentioned encouraging Jack to go off and do some stuff away from the track. Has he been a willing participant in doing that, or how much have you had to kind of shove him out the door?
STEVE NEWMARK: Well, we're definitely not shoving him out the door. Jack does what he wants to do. But I would say‑‑ he loves racing. That's his passion. And it's funny when people talk about what do you want to do when you retire, he has no desire to retire because this is what he wants to do, where most‑‑ a lot of people would say I want to get out of this desk job so I can go do this. He's doing what his passion and lifelong dream is.
We have encouraged him to continue to try to do stuff with his grandkids, so I'd say begrudgingly, but I think we've been successful maybe two or three times in the last few years. He went to Disney World. He missed media day one time and has missed a couple races, but we're going to try to tell him that, look, this is a good sign, that we're now one for one this year with him on vacation.
TOMMY WHEELER: I think he enjoys the new role as kind of more of the grandfather, old sage, you know what I mean? The guy that has that infinite number of years of wisdom when you start to get off the path and veer, as we all do sometimes, he can kind of nudge us back over here towards where we need to be, and he's a pretty powerful guy in that regard.
STEVE NEWMARK: But let's be clear. His taking a vacation every once in a while, he's still working harder than almost anybody I know. He's still at every race. He's still at the shop Monday and Tuesday, he's at our 6:30 meetings. He's involved in every part of it. And the other individual I think we alluded to, which is kind of Tommy's cohort, kind of the two‑headed monster on the competition side is Kevin Kidd. Kevin has done a fantastic job leading with Tommy. So we're real pleased with where we are on that front.

Q. Ricky, it seems like it was almost as hard to finish tonight as it was to win with all the wrecks and so forth. What was going on? Were drivers not paying attention or it seemed like a really unusual number of wrecks.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: I think it's just trying hard knowing that everybody has got a good shot at winning here, and you want to gain as many stage points as you can and try to win a stage. There's all kinds of cars I feel like that can compete, and if you're at the right place at the right time, you can capitalize on that. So I think everybody was just trying to get out front and lead the race because you could control the race. That's why I was pretty aggressive trying to get by the 21 when I had a good run. I thought he was out there by himself, got a good run off of Turn 4, and I was like, man, I've got to take it. When he moved down in front of me I tried to slow down a little bit and it slowed us both down and they split us, and I was just trying to get out front so that I could control the race, driving my mirror instead of looking out the windshield. I felt like you could get boxed in pretty tight, and I think a lot of people were getting frustrated. You would be in the top lane and it would kind of‑‑ it would just get a run down the front straightaway and then you'd lose it all, then you'd get another run and you'd lose it all, and we all just rode side by side for a long time, depending on ‑‑ you needed certain cars leading the lanes. I felt early in the race the top lane was going to go, but there was I felt like one certain car that was holding it up, and I was like, man, if we could just shake him, then we could get going. So you got that, that really I think frustrated a lot of people.
STEVE NEWMARK: I do want to express our appreciation to everyone in this room and the Daytona staff. I know you guys have had an unbelievably long day with two races and what went on last night, and I appreciate your patience and sticking with us. Thank you, guys, for everything we do for our sport.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297