“I told you anytime somebody good comes along if you’re doing the right thing for your team, drivers and sponsors you want to take a look at him. It didn’t take me long to take a look at Steve.”
ON HMIEL’S DAY TO DAY DUTIES
“Manager of competition. I think it fits in great [with what Tony Glover does]. There are plenty of duties there. Glover is my weekend guy and a great team manager.
“In a sense you need more upper managers. Somebody has to make sure the cars are getting set up right, getting to the race track and going around in circles. It is still about racing but it does help to have strength in upper management.”
HOW DOES STEVE PUT YOU CLOSER TO THE GOAL OF A NASCAR CHAMPIONSHIP?
“When you plug a guy in like that I would hope I am moving closer to that goal as opposed to moving away from it. Any time you can add somebody good to your team that puts you closer to that goal.
“I thought we had some momentum going there earlier in the year. We kinda peaked and we have plateaued. We have to make the next step. We’re still getting beat by teams I don’t think we should be getting beat by.”
WHAT DID YOU SEE AT GANASSI RACING?
“First thing is I saw an owner at the race track. I saw an owner at the race track that wanted to boost his group a little bit. Things went along pretty quickly. There is a lot of comfort in not having too many bosses and there is a lot of comfort in having a boss that is standing right there watching what is going on. I’m sure there will be times that I’ll be uncomfortable with that. He knows what he is doing. He is on site. He has very successful teams in other forms of motorsports. He has some really good senior people in Indianapolis and Concord that we can draw from. He has made a commitment to go racing and he hasn’t wavered from it. He has brought in some interesting drivers. They are going to pay off. He is the guy that is in the shop carrying the flag for the company every day. That is a comfort to me and everyone that works there. We all just need to work together toward the common goal. It is about talking to each other not talking about each other.”
THAT LEADS US TO BELIEVE THAT YOU THOUGHT THAT WAS LACKING AT DEI?
“I wouldn’t shine a spotlight on DEI. I’m not sure that a lot of these owners are at the race track or are at the shop everyday. I was just talking about the culture of our sport. It has changed a little bit. It has become extremely corporate. There are different layers of ownership. There are all kinds of mergers going on all the time. It gets confusing as to who is really in charge. [Chip’s] name is on the building. He is there, you can talk to him. He is also a real open guy. You can talk to him and hash out some things. It is nice to know that his main goal is to have a faster race car and win races and win Championships.”
“I’m not saying the sport is changing for the worse. I’m just saying the culture is a little bit different, with mergers and foreign drivers and young people and old people. I think I’m very privileged to be a part of that and do be employed by somebody who looks at that as something that we need to be working on going forward to make sure our team is strong in the future. I think that’s a good opportunity.”
ON INITIAL CHALLENGES
“We just have to work as a cohesive unit. Because the teams are so large communication is incredible. Some people think communication is incredible. Some people think communication is complaining when actually communication is having a reasonable conversation, using all the engineering staff. There are so many ideas and so few things that really solve problems. Going forward we need to be a force. Everybody looks at Rick Hendrick and sees what he does. But we also understand that there were times that he had a terrible time. He brought in the right people and got it going in the right direction and he was able to maintain it. It is something that [all the owners] fight everyday. We have to take the group of guys that we have and improve on them.”