Monday, May 23

Ford Performance NASCAR: Daytona 500 Media Day (Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe, Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski)

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford MustangHOW MUCH IMPORTANCE DOES YOUR TEAM PUT ON QUALIFYING TONIGHT?  “You have to put some importance in single-car speed.  Everybody works really hard building the cars at the shop to put all of the speed into the car before it leaves the shop, so it’s really hard.  Once you get here, you just really work on driveability.  There’s not a whole lot you can do for speed, at least that I know of.  The crew chief probably has a different opinion, but usually what you show up with is what you have, so at this point you get an idea of where you stack up and it’s really hard to tell in practice just where you stack up because you don’t know how much of a help guys are getting from a draft from the cars in front of them or not, and nobody has gone through tech like you do before you go to qualify.  We’ll have to wait and see tonight.”

 

CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Mahindra Tractors Ford MustangHOW MUCH IMPORTANCE DOES YOUR TEAM PUT ON QUALIFYING TONIGHT?  “I think more than anything it’s just the pride we have at the shop.  They work all off-season trying to get ready and you don’t know where you stack up until you go to qualify because of all those variables in practice.  I think you put a little bit of stock in it, but at the end of the day you’re racing the pack, you’re not racing by yourself, but the faster your car can be by yourself, typically the better it’s gonna be in the pack.  I don’t think there’s a ton, especially on these cars, that you can do to find speed.  What you’ve got is kind of what you’ve got.  I know for us, we haven’t put a ton into qualifying just because you have the Duels to kind of dictate where you’re gonna start anyway.”

 

HOW MUCH WILL QUALIFYING TELL US ABOUT THE NEXT GEN CAR?  “I don’t know if I’m the guy to answer it, but I think that it’s gonna be hard to tell.  There’s gonna be some teams, I think, and manufacturers that will probably be a little bit better by themselves than others.  I don’t know how much you can really read into qualifying.  I think the same top teams are still gonna be fast.  I think there’s still gonna be that gap throughout the field, but that difference in first to 40th with this Next Gen car will probably be a little bit smaller than it was with the old car.  Outside of that, I don’t think you’re gonna see a ton of differences.”

 

ARIC ALMIROLA CONTINUED – ARE YOU OPEN TO RUNNING THE 500 AGAIN IN THE FUTURE?  “Potentially.  I’d have to talk to my wife and kids about it and see if I could get a hall pass to do it.  I don’t know.  You never know what the future holds.  I came down here before thinking that it could be my last in year’s past, like when you don’t have a contract going past that year.  You never really know when it is gonna be your last Daytona 500.  I got my eyes open to that.  When I wrecked at Kansas and broke my back I wasn’t sure if that was gonna be the end of my career there as well. Every time I come down here it’s special and you never know when it’s gonna be your last Daytona 500.  For me, growing up just a couple hours down the road this is home for me.  I always get goosebumps when I drive through that tunnel and it’s the start of the season and a land of opportunity when you show up down here for the first race of the year.  Everybody comes down here with a lot of positive vibes and thinking that they’ve got an opportunity to be the Daytona 500 champion.”

 

CHASE BRISCOE CONTINUED – WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS YEAR?  “I feel like last year the first half of the season we were just learning each other as a team and I felt by the end of last year we were consistently a 10th-15th place team and were able to contend for wins occasionally, but not as often as we would obviously like.  I think this year, in L.A. I felt like we were one of the top three cars and had a mechanical failure, but I think as a goal we want to make the playoffs and we want to do it by winning a race and not on points.  And if we win one race why can’t we win more than one?  So there’s no number.  We would love to just win one, but I think to be more consistently in the top 10 and more consistently battling for wins, instead of the three or four times we did last year.”

 

ARIC ALMIROLA CONTINUED – DO YOU HAVE A BUNCH OF FAMILY COMING TO THIS RACE?  “I do have a lot of people coming.  We have a lot of family and a lot of friends coming, just to take it in.  It’s the Daytona 500.  I know the next race in August is the last race of the year in Daytona, but this is the only Daytona 500 of the year and so we have a lot of family and a lot of friends coming over.  I’m sure it’ll be hectic.  My wife, Janice, is managing all that so I don’t really have to worry about it, but we’ve got everybody asking for passes and a parking pass and everything else, so she’s managing all of that.  I’m looking forward to it.  I’m excited.  It’s gonna be fun.  That’s one of the things, flying down here yesterday morning and then driving through the tunnel I really reminded myself to just slow down.  Our lives as race car drivers and just in the industry, you get on an airplane, you fly, you hurry up and get to the next place, you hurry up and do the next meeting, you hurry up and do the next practice, the next meet-and-greet.  Whatever it is, you’re always in a hurry.  My life is lived on a minute-by-minute schedule.  I could show you my itinerary for the Daytona 500 Speedweek this week and literally, my schedule is broken down into a minute-by-minute schedule, so I just reminded myself driving through the tunnel yesterday morning like, ‘Slow down.  Take it all in.  Embrace it.’  What we get to do is incredible.  I get to drive a race car for a living and I’m tremendously blessed to do that.  It’s one thing to say it, but it’s another thing to kind of slow down and kind of embrace it and live it, and that’s kind of my goal for this week and going into this year.”

 

HAS THE BEEN ANY THOUGHT THIS WEEK ABOUT WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN IN 2018?  “Yeah, but only because yesterday between practices they were showing it on TV and the TV was on in our hauler, so it reminded me.  I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it, honestly.  Would I love to be a Daytona 500 champion?  Absolutely, and I would love to get it done this year.  That would be fantastic, and if I never get it done that’s OK.  I want to.  I’m a competitor and I have a huge desire to win at any racetrack that we go to, but especially here.  Winning in 2014 here I remember standing in victory lane, it was raining, and I remember looking up into the grandstands, and I know the grandstands have changed since then, but I remember being a boy and I remember sitting up there with my grandfather and my dad and my mom and my aunts and uncles.  I remember watching races here, watching the Daytona 500, watching the Firecracker 400, sitting in those grandstands.  I remember being in victory lane for the Duels last year.  We won the Duels and, again, standing in victory lane and looking up there and just kind of in disbelief, like ‘I can’t believe it.’  I’ve won an Xfinity race here.  I’ve not won a Daytona 500 here.  I know where victory lane is.  I’m very familiar with it, but I’ve not won a Daytona 500 and it would be very special, but at the end of the day trophies collect dust and I don’t put all my stock and all my weight in being a Daytona 500 champion.”

 

CHASE BRISCOE CONTINUED – WHERE DO YOU NEED TO GET BETTER?  “I think looking back to last year in the Cup Series I learned really quickly that you can do everything right and still struggled to run 15th, so just trying to eliminate mistakes.  I think I had more pit road penalties than anybody last year and just doing all the little things right.  Maximizing green flag pit stops, getting on and off pit road, obviously on pit road doing all those things right.  There’s just a lot of things that in Cup race if you’re gonna win these things, you’ve got to do everything perfect and I didn’t do a lot of those things last year.  I felt like I made a lot of mistakes.  In the lower series you can get away with those things and still win races.  In the Cup Series, I don’t think you can do that.  There are very few guys that can make mistakes and get big penalties and come back from it, so I think just doing that is kind of the biggest thing I feel I could do better, and then from a successful season this year if we can just make the playoffs I think that’s a big goal that we have.  If we can be one of those top 16 teams and we went into the playoffs, I feel like that’s a big accomplishment, so that’s our goal.  Like I said earlier, I’d love to get there by winning a race and not by points, so if we could do that, I would consider it a successful season.”

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GET THE ROOKIES THIS YEAR?  “I think, for me, first off just enjoy it.  You dream your whole career trying to get to the Cup Series and you get here and, like Aric was saying, and it gets to where you’re just in a rush.  It’s minute by minute by minute and you don’t really savor the moment of being in the Cup Series and what a privilege it is.  There are only 40 people that can say they’re a Cup Series driver, so, for me, I think I didn’t do the greatest job of that last year at times.  You get so caught up in results and all these things and the pressure that comes with it, so just saying you’re a Cup Series driver.  This is what you’ve dreamed of your whole life and really just appreciating that moment, so I think that’s the biggest thing for me to tell those guys is to just slow down at times.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the lifestyle and caught up in the results and all these things and then outside of that it’s just you’re gonna get race really hard and just standing your ground to a certain extent.  Racing for 20th in the Cup Series I think is the hardest racing you’ll ever do in your career and it’s so easy to let those guys push you around at times and I think you’ve got to eventually stand up for yourself to a certain extent and that goes a long way and guys start racing you differently after that.  So that would be the biggest thing for me is first off just slow down and really appreciate the moment and second you’ve got to earn your respect, but at the same time you can’t just give, give, give all the time.”

 

ARIC ALMIROLA CONTINUED – “To expand on that something I think of differently and looking back to when I first got started in the Cup Series I wish somebody would have told me to be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked before.  That’s one of the things I think about.  When you make it to the Cup Series that’s not the end goal.  You’ve made it, but you’re not done.  The work ethic and the level of expectations and stress and everything just continues to ratchet up as you progress from series to series.  When you make it to the highest level and you make it to the Cup Series, the expectations of you and of yourself need to be the highest they’ve ever been, and you’ve got to be prepared to work, whether that’s through making sure that you’re doing all the things you need to do from studying to being ready to go in the race car, being fit, making sure you pay attention to your hydration so you’re not cramping up inside the race car and all those things.  I didn’t do the best of job at that as I entered into the Cup Series.  I worked really hard at that through the process, but the work ethic and the guys even on the team and the crew chief and the engineers and everybody that supports you is so high that you need to have that expectation of yourself as well.”

 

CHASE BRISCOE CONTINUED – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR TRIP TO GET HERE?  “What a couple days it’s been.  Last Monday, I bought a fifth wheel.  I drove it down myself on Sunday and I was going down 95 and the leaf springs fell out of it.  It was sideways going down the road.  Luckily, it didn’t flip over, so I sat on the side of the road for I think 10-11 hours.  It’s still sitting there.  They haven’t found anybody to come fix it or tow it, so it could have been really bad.  It moved the axle back about 10-15 degrees and it was sideways going down the road.  Luckily, it happened literally an eight-of-a-mile before an exit ramp and I was able to get off, but I had both dogs, had the baby, had the wife with me and it was eventful.  We left Charlotte at 8 a.m. and we got to Daytona at 1 a.m.  Still no fifth wheel, but it was quite the day, for sure.”

 

ARIC ALMIROLA CONTINUED – WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET COMING INTO THE 500 THIS YEAR?  “That’s a deep question, to be honest.  The car and the racing is still yet to be proven out.  There’s still a lot of unknowns with the new car and how it’s gonna race and how it’s gonna be, and then to cap all that off like how aggressive are you gonna be and can you be throughout the week?  There’s a limited supply of cars and parts and pieces and all those things, so that changes the dynamic for sure.  It’s not like when we used to come down here and by the time we got ready to leave for Daytona we had eight race cars pretty much ready to go – two to three per car number for Daytona specifically and then your west coast cars were all but wrapped up and finished and ready to go before we left for Daytona.  That’s not the case, so that changes things.  I think we’ll still see the same dramatic Daytona 500 that we always see when it comes down to crunch time and the pay window opens because everybody wants to be the Daytona 500 champion and everybody wants to win the biggest race of the year and so as competitors and as race car drivers we’re going to shoot for every gap and put ourselves in whatever position we need to to try and win the race.”

 

CHASE BRISCOE CONTINUED – WHAT WAS IT LIKE FILMING YOUR MAHINDRA COMMERCIAL WITH TONY AND WAS THAT YOUR FIRST ONE?  “Yeah, that was the first big one, for sure.  It was cool.  For me, everybody that knows me knows that I was a diehard Tony Stewart fan growing up, so to drive for him and now do commercials with him is cool.  It’s a surreal moment every time.  Any time I can be around Tony it’s crazy to think 15-20 years ago I was wearing that Home Depot uniform with helmet acting like I was him playing my video game, and now I’m doing all these things with him, so it was cool.  It’s crazy how much goes into a 30-second commercial.  I learned that really quickly.  I think we did two full 9-10 hour days to do two 30-second commercials, so it was a lot, but it’s super cool to do and super cool to see and the fans love it so far, so it’s been a really neat thing to be a part of.”

 

HAS TONY GIVEN YOU ANY ADVICE ON HOW TO NAVIGATE THAT SIDE OF THE JOB?  “Truthfully, no.  I don’t know if you want to take his advice either way, but no, not really.  Tony wasn’t even there the first one we did.  They kind of had him do it at a separate time, so I was only around Tony a couple hours the one day.  It was neat though to do and Mahindra, I think has proved pretty quickly how serious they are about the NASCAR thing.  To be investing in the race team, my dirt racing and now also doing commercials all over the place it’s pretty special to be a part of it and be a part of that team.  It’s been cool and it’s only gonna keep getting bigger and better, so it’s something to be really excited about, for sure.”



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BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 6 Kohler Generators Ford Mustang -- YOU HAVE WON SIX TIMES AT TALLADEGA BUT YOU HAVEN’T CROSSED THE LINE HERE FIRST IN THE 500. IS THAT COINCIDENTAL OR ARE THE TWO TRACKS SO DIFFERENT THAT THEY DON'T RELATE IN THAT WAY? “I don't know. I have probably won some race sat Talladega I didn’t deserve to win and probably lost some here I deserved to win. I imagine it evens itself out somehow, it just hasn’t evened itself out in the way I would like it to here. I feel like we were really close last year and trying to make the pass for the lead on the last lap and the last corner. It doesn't get much closer than that. If I can just keep the thing with four wheels on the ground pointed the right way for a whole race I think I can have a pretty good shot at it. Then again there is a stat floating around that 75-80% of the field wrecks out of this thing. There is something about the Daytona 500 where we seem to get a lot of wrecks here late. I have a hard time missing all those. The key to me though is when you do somehow become one of the 10-20% that doesn't wreck out that you capitalize on it and win those races. I think we are prepared for that and we have got good cars and had a great day yesterday on the track and I feel comfortable that we will be in the running. I am excited about it, not just for me but for both cars. We will have to see how the weekend plays out. If we can avoid those crashes we will be there and have a shot at it for sure.”

 

THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS THE SPORT HAS SEEN SIGNIFICANT CHANGES. A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY THAT HAS CREATED A LOT OF MOMENTUM. AS A TEAM OWNER, THOSE CHANGES HAVE COME AS EXPENSES TO TEAMS. AS THEY HAVE TAKEN PLACE, WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE MOVING FORWARD? CAN BIG MOVES STILL BE SUSTAINED OR DO THINGS HAVE TO BE THROTTLED BACK TO HELP TEAMS AFTER WHAT THEY HAVE DONE THE LAST COUPLE YEARS? “I think the moves on the schedule have been a huge success. You could maybe argue long overdue. I am really happy to see the changes we have made and eagerly anticipating changes we will make to the schedule for years to come. I think it drives an energy into our sport that is critical for our sustainability and success. If that comes with expense to the team along the way - and I think I can say this as a team owner now - we need to just suck it up and make it work. When you look at those costs, they aren’t nothing without a doubt, but they are nowhere close to even more than 1 or 2 percent of our budget. I try not to sweat it. NASCAR has done a great job I think of some givebacks along the way and they fought really hard on the schedule stuff with everybody to get it to where it is more tolerable. I think on its face it is hard to explain the real ROI but we had gotten to a point where just being in the garage areas was a miserable experience for a lot of people. By getting it down to two-day shows for a lot of these things we are able to make it more manageable for our people nad a big giveback to cut some costs and really improve the culture of the garage area and stop burning out people so fast. I think there have been some givebacks along the way to offset some of the challenges in the schedule. There are a lot of people that are probably frustrated over racing on Easter in the garage area but that is one of the biggest TV weekends for sports so it made sense to me from that perspective. I think we have a lot of good things going on, more good than bad than I have seen in my time at the Cup level which is 12 or 13 years now. There is a lot of reason for excitement and I think we are on an upward trend and a big part of that starts with schedule variability that we really hadn’t had five or six years ago. It isn’t the only thing we have to be excited about but it is certainly one of the high tides for sure.”

 

CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang -- YOUR THOUGHTS ON ATLANTA MAYBE TURNING INTO A SPEEDWAY RACE? “I got to run the test down there. Obviously, it was just three of us and new asphalt is always hard to get a good read but leaving there I did not feel like you are going to have a Daytona or Talladega race. Handling was very much a factor. Yes, the throttle time was wide open but there were still some pretty big moments with very few cars. The racing surface is very narrow with the added banking. I don't think you are going to end up with the product we have here. I don't know what it will look like. It will be some form of a hybrid. You get more cars out there and the track rubbers up and the grip goes up then maybe it will trend more towards a Daytona-style race but I left there thinking that it is not Daytona. It is not Talladega. There is going to be a lot that we are going to be focusing on to try to have some downforce in the cars and have drivability to move around. It is not going to be to see how fast you can go single-car. You are going to be trying to get handling into the race car.”

 

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED -- “I think for a long time SMI wanted a plate track and so they made one. It will be interesting to see how it plays out because the other plate tracks are 2.5 miles where Atlanta is 1.5 miles. That mile shorter distance naturally makes the turns much tighter than they would be at a track like this and the straightaways shorter as well to make moves. It will definitely look different than Daytona and Talladega. I can’t say I know exactly how since I haven’t turned a lap around the track. I know it looks different between testing and racing. A lot of question marks for sure.”

 

AS A NEW OWNER, HOW MUCH DO YOU LOOK AT EMERGING DEMOGRAPHICS, YOUNGER DEMOGRAPHICS AND HOW THINGS LOOK AND WHO THEY SPEAK TO? “The sport is changing and we are trying to find new fans and try to grow with the world around us. I am probably not the fashion expert in the room by any means but there are all kinds of new opportunities for us as a sport to grow into new technologies and things that resonate with a younger fan base. It always comes at the risk of alienating an older fan base and it seems like we are always kind of dancing around that, and I understand that. I think it is important to have our eyes wide open, whether it is fashion trends or NFT’s or whatever it is next - crypto currency is the hot button now. You watch the Super Bowl and you would think the world is electric cars and crypto coins. I don't know if that is what most of the real world sees but it is probably more what the next generation is going to see and we have to be prepared for that and I think that is driving a lot of our future looking for the sport.”

 

10 YEARS AGO WAS YOUR FAMOUS TWEET ON THE BACKSTRETCH HERE. LOOKING BACK ON THAT, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT DID FOR THE SPORT AND FOR YOU PERSONALLY? “It was an interesting time. I can tell you that a lot of people still to this day think there was a strategy behind that and I can assure you that I had no plans for a car to run into a jet dryer. That might be a shock to some but it was an interesting night for sure. A night I will never forget. It was a great year for me, going on to win the championship. I think it was a good moment for our sport. I hesitate to take too much credit for it because I think the sport would have gotten there. Maybe not then but sooner rather than later. It kind of helped set the stage for a rebrand of the sport and new marketing campaigns and really gave those a lot of energy to lift off. I am really hesitant to take too much credit for it because I think it was going to happen anyway whether it was me or somebody else. It was nice to be a part of it and one day I will try to explain it to my kids and they will think I am crazy. It was a good beginning for our sport in the digital media age.”

 

WOULD YOU BE OKAY WITH SEEING THE CLASH FORMAT COME TO A POINTS RACE OF SOME KIND? “Yeah, I think it was an interesting event. I thought the LA Coliseum and The Clash was a huge success for our sport. I think sometimes we have this habit of taking something that works and then just copy and pasting it until it doesn't work anymore so I am super hesitant - one, I would convey that I thought the event was a huge success but I would hesitate to say we should do this 10 times a year for rive straight years because I think that kind of burns off. I think there are great opportunities for our sport to learn from it and apply it forward. I don't know how you could say it was anything less than a success. All the fears we had went great. The track didn’t tear up and the cars didn’t fall apart mostly and the fans showed up. All the things that I think we were nervous about ended up going great. So clearly there is more we can do there. I think just as a whole, I have kind of seen this with events of similar nature in the NASCAR season, whether it is the Roval or dirt races where the first year is really strong and then years two and three kind of trail off and it gets overplayed real fast. I think we just have to be careful against doing that and allowing that to happen. I am conscientious about the rhetoric around it that we acknowledge the success but not oversaturate as well.”

 

QUESTION INAUDIBLE: “Yeah, I have given him some hard times about it. But he is having fun with it and doing his own thing. He has a gift for talking so you hate to see that not get used. Sometimes I think he should be in here but all of those spotters love that stuff. It is great that the fans like it too. It is a new way for them to engage. I can’t keep up with all the podcasts. I get a podcast request every day. God bless people that can listen to them and do these all day. I don't know how you all do it but I am glad that the fans enjoy it and there is an authentic voice to it”

 

“He and I had a good banter back and forth on Denny Hamlin. That was probably the biggest. He said, ‘Well, I don't know if Denny Hamlin has a Hall of Fame carer,’ and I was like, ‘C’mon man, you win the Daytona 500 twice you are going to the Hall of Fame.’ He and I bantered on that one a little bit. He and I like to get underneath each other a little bit and I think that is healthy.”

 

CHRIS BUESCHER CONTINUED -- IS BRAD YOUR TEAMMATE OR THE OWNER AND DO YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE MOVING HIM TO WIN THE 500? “Ha. I think this question is coming more than not. Yeah, it is both. We are teammates and we were out there working together a lot yesterday trying to learn what we can with these new cars and it is helpful too because we can trust each other. I am sympathetic to his position as an owner in the current environment of shortages and the supply chain. I understand it. It kind of brings you back to racing growing up when you knew you had to race that car the next week and you better take care of it while still racing hard. I understand there is a thin line. Going out there to work together to also find out how we can best situation ourselves to try to win races. At the end of the day, for the 500, or for any race I think I have told him that I will take a shot but I am not going to wreck my teammate and I am definitely not going to wreck my boss. I think you have to race hard, right? You want to be running 1-2 and have the opportunity to put the cars 1-2 across the line. Obviously, you want to be selfish and be number one but if you can have them both there and have a shot at it, that is what we are really trying to get to here and be in that final 20% that survives it and then you are in a good spot. There is a balance but honestly, you just don't want to wreck anybody. You want to have a good clean race to win it and get all the way to that checkered flag. “I haven’t had a whole lot of luck coming down the last lap of these speedway races”

 

BRAD KESELOWSKI CONTINUED -- “There are not a whole lot of people that can say they don't wreck a lot at Daytona, other than Denny (Hamlin).”

 

THE INVENTORY SITUATION FOR THIS WEEK. HOW GOOD OR BAD IS IT? “It can always be better but we are here and we have great cars to race with and we are a little bit living one week at a time, no doubt about it. I don't think we can let that be an excuse for us to not go out and get the job done.”

 

HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT FOR SOMEONE WHO IS A MANUFACTURER TO NOT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE PARTS?  YOU ARE SITTING THERE WITH THE CAPABILITY TO BUILD THESE PARTS AND CAN’T. HOW FRUSTRATING IS THAT FROM YOUR STANDPOINT? “The team guys are living that a lot more than I am. The guys that are on the floor are more frustrated because when a part comes in, it is now that they are working through the weekend because everything is coming just in time and we can’t lose that time. For me, it isn’t terribly frustrating, but I have a lot of empathy for the guys on all the teams when a part comes in on Friday and now they have to work through the weekend because we have to get this done now. It has really affected their lives the most and been a big challenge for our shop teams. That said, we have almost 200 people, just shy of that, and we try to use that manpower wisely to work around it but there is a lot of sacrifices they are making that aren’t sustainable. I suspect that we will get out of this by mid to late summer and get to a new normalcy and that will work its way out.”

 

IN YOUR NEW ROLE AS AN OWNER/DRIVER, HOW HAS YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THESE STRATEGIES AND THOUGHT PROCESS OF HOW THESE NASCAR DRIVERS ARE MARKETED ON A NATIONAL LEVEL CHANGED? WHAT DO YOU THINK IS WORKING RIGHT NOW AND WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO IMPROVE UPON? “Well, I have made it a point to intentionally not sit in a lot of meetings of that nature because I have my hands  -- well I am probably more elbows deep on the competition side in turning this company around to where it can compete and win races. There is only so much I can do. When it comes to the more business nature aspects, Steve Newmark and the team are more into that world than I am. That said, there are incredible opportunities out there that are just coming at us from all directions and I think we would be foolish no to embrace them. We have a leadership team that I think is really engaged in doing just that at NASCAR. I think Steve Phelps is pushing really hard in that direction. It is going to happen. I think NASCAR does a better job than they have maybe in the last decade of integrating themselves into mainstream culture and the next big things as they come rather than kind of playing from behind we are playing from in front. I think there is good energy there and good energy in our sport. I feel good about my investment and time in being an owner because I think the sport is really on the cusp of a big upswing.”

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