Jack Roush has a plan – or at least an idea – how he will follow NASCAR’s edict and eventually pare his Nextel Cup team from five cars to four.
NASCAR chairman Brian France has decreed that four cars will be the hard cap in the top stock car series, although Roush’s team was grandfathered in, thanks to current contracts with sponsors and drivers running through at least 2009.
Roush understands that the time will come when he has to get down to the cap, but he is a proponent of driver development and doesn’t like to turn away potential sponsors. So the longtime team owner plans to get around the cap.
“We’re looking at a number of different options,” Roush said. “We’re looking at the prospect of an investor group that might be willing to come in and start another four-team program.
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“I think we could help somebody come in, and the fifth team that will become available for me in 2010 will be a seed corn.”
Roush, whose “Gong Show” tryout competitions have produced such drivers as Kurt Busch, who went on to win the 2004 Cup championship, says he remains determined to develop new talent.
But, Roush noted, he is going to have to have help.
“It shouldn’t go without notice that we are unabated in our effort to find and identify new drivers and to build our crews and teams with outsiders to the extent that we can and advance them through the programs as they get experience,” Roush said.
“We’re on a track to be able to help somebody come in and provide the technology and the manpower to get them started.”
Roush, who took on John Henry earlier this year as a partner in what is now Roush Fenway Racing, doesn’t expect it to happen right away.
“I don’t see it as early as next year,” he said. “It might be the case that the investor group might decide to come in and start with a program that wasn’t one of my existing five and could build it’s way into the second and third team to take one of my five when I divest myself of it.
“But, the idea of me going down to four teams without some external force in 2008 is certainly not on my mind.”
Whatever happens, Roush is determined to make it work.
“I’ve been in the racing business since 1965; I’ve been traveling since 1970,” he explained. “I was racing over 22 years before I started stock-car racing (and) I don’t intend to fail.”