Monday, July 28, 2008

With friends like these.....

With friends like these, who need enemies?

Jack Roush and Jamie McMurray

Jack apparently can't count to 5, as he has claimed to only have 4 teams that are important to him.

Roush discussed the value of drivers in the garage and listed four of his drivers -- Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and David Ragan -- when talking about working to keep competitors from being taken by other teams. Asked later if he'd intentionally left McMurray off the list, Roush admitted that the driver has not performed up to the standard of the others.
Fortunately, Jack's other drivers came to his defense.
"Jack's like that -- I'm surprised he remembered four of us," Biffle said. "He introduces us at the Christmas party and forgets Matt [laughing]. I think it's just Jack -- I don't think there was an intention of singling out anybody.
Nicely said by Biffle, but I don't think Jamie feels very comfortable right now!

Rusty Wallace, Ryan Newman and Roger Penske

Rusty Wallace, for some reason, felt that it was important to go out on a limb, and throw Ryan Newman under the proverbial bus. Yes, Rusty and Ryan were never friends while team mates at Penske Racing. Yes, Ryan is leaving Penske. One has to wonder how much talking was actually done between Rusty and Roger. And if Roger did 'fire' Ryan, why does Rusty feel a need to divulge the conversation? Roger went to work quickly to attack the statements with the alacrity of a HazMat Cleanup Crew.
"(Newman) made a decision, we made it together that he'd move on," Penske said. "There was no issue between the two of us. There's some reports that there was and that's not the case."
Ryan however, had the best responses, as widely reported.
"Was he conscious when he said it?" Newman asked. "It doesn't matter to me. I know Rusty and his personalities - plural - and everybody is different."

As I think about this, the motivation for Rusty's commentary may well be hidden within this situation. Stremme going to work for Roger may have ramifications all the way down the line to Rusty's Busch team. One wonders if Rusty was hoping that his son Steven could step into the 12 after Ryan leaves.

The potential damage to both Roger and Ryan's credibility might be the biggest issue here. Sadly, by attacking Ryan, Rusty may well have put a wedge in his friendship with Roger Penske. And he may have harmed Ryan's chances for a new ride, and indeed even Roger's ability to get a new driver!

Elliott Sadler, Doug Yates and Jack Roush.

And this is by far the most bizarre of all the 'what in the heck did he just say?' scenarios involving Elliott Sadler. And this time, his accent has nothing to do with it!
Elliott Sadler said Yates Racing does more with less than any team in Sprint Cup. But Sadler also believes the two Yates Fords don't receive the support they deserve in the partnership with Roush Fenway Racing. "When I was there, they never helped us," said Sadler, who drove for the Yates organization from 2003 until the middle of the 2006 season. "And [RFR] still doesn't help them. I really feel for those guys [at Yates Racing]. "I hate to see what they're going through. I would love to see them get with a manufacturer and team that actually supports them." ... Roush and Yates began building engines together while Sadler was there, but the two teams formed a more direct partnership at the end of last season when Yates Racing was in danger of going out of business. ... RFR president Geoff Smith and the RFR marketing team have been actively involved in helping co-owner Doug Yates find sponsorship for the No. 28 and No. 38 Fords. ... Sadler believes his old teammates at Yates still need more help, but he also is impressed with what the organization has accomplished this season. ..."I think it's phenomenal what they've done this year," Sadler said. "For Travis to come in and do what he's done on his first year with that team has been really impressive. I know how hard all those guys work there and I want to see them do well."
Why in the world would Elliott decide that now is the time for him to comment? He makes a point to claim that Jack is not supporting the Yates team, and indeed insists that Jack essentially 'takes' and never gives back. Long time fans of Sadler claim he bears a grudge with Roush that starts back to the days of driving for the Wood Brothers. One likely explanation is that he is using the media as a forum to slam Jack, after Jack's comments about Jamie McMurray (see above) who also happens to be close friends with Salder, and indeed are next-door neighbors. One other possible explanation is that Sadler is setting the stage for GEM to acquire Yates, but frankly, I don't see Robby Gordon getting great benefits from the affiliation with GEM. And the commentary about Travis Kvapil, with no mention of David Gilliland by Sadler, leaves no doubts as to how Sadler feels about his replacement. Of course, anyone listening to Sadler's scanner would have already realized that there is animosity towards the driver of the 38 car..

At any rate, the timing of Sadler's commentary could prove to be damaging to the efforts of his 'friends' at Yates Racing. If there is any doubt cast on the relationship of Yates and Roush, it could well shred any potential relationship with interested sponsors. Thanks, Elliott, for all of your help!

Again, having friends like the above suggest that it may better to consort with your enemies. But then again, it might be getting difficult to make that distinction in the NASCAR garage.

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