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Wood Brothers JTG
Racing Announce 2006 Plans
Wood Brothers/JTG Racing announced
today that starting in 2006 Ken Schrader will drive the famed No.
21 Ford and that Little Debbie will join the team as a new
sponsor for 18 races. Schrader takes over for Ricky Rudd, who
last week announced that he was pulling back from fulltime
commitments to the series after not missing a race in the last 25
years. Team co-owner Eddie Wood, Schrader, ST Motorsports owner
Tad Geshickter, and McKee Foods (Little Debbie) CEO Jack McKee
participated in a press conference this morning at Homestead-Miami
TAD GESHICKTER owner ST
Motorsports (Wood Brothers/JTG Racing) ON THE MERGER
OF WOOD BROTHERS AND ST MOTORSPORTS (ANNOUNCED IN AUGUST), AND
HOW THE NEW SPONSOR WILL BENEFIT ALL THE SPONSORS AT ALL THE
LEVELS OF THIS ORGANIZATION. Obviously, the merger is
creating great scale within our racing organization, with truck
teams and Busch teams and Cup teams. More than that, we have
great synergy between the sponsors, the grocery sponsors, in all
of those different divisions. The sponsors will be able to share
costs on grocery promotions, retailers will be able to promote
across multiple aisles in their store, and we cant be
remiss in thanking, also, our partners in the Air Force and Ford
Motor Company. Its just a great group of synergistic
sponsors, and were looking forward to helping them drive
their business to a new level. WITH KINGSFORD, YOU HAVE THE
LONGEST-RUNNING SPONSOR IN THE BUSCH SERIES. Its all
about selling cases.
MICHAEL MCSWAIN crew chief, No.
21 Taurus HOW WILL THIS MERGER HELP THE ON-TRACK
PERFORMANCE OF THIS ORGANIZATION? Like everyone else in the
sport, were trying to look toward the future. Weve
got stability in our Cup program right now, and adding more
stability with Kenny. We want to see the youth from the driver
standpoint and from the crew standpoint grow within our own
company, so we dont have to go out and search for guys and
develop tire guys and tire changers. We want to try to build an
organization where we can develop that in-house and give someone
an opportunity to work somewhere their whole career.
KEN SCHRADER 2006 driver, No. 21
Ford Fusion ON JOINING ONE OF THE WINNINGEST TEAMS IN
THE SPORTS HISTORY. Ive always been a huge fan
of the 21 car and the Wood Brothers, and felt like I got to know
them quite a bit when I first started back in 84 and 85
I drove a Ford for the first four years that I raced in
the series, with Elmo Langley and Mr. Donleavy. And, obviously, I
got to know the Woods then because we ran all their old parts, is
what we ran then. Its just a great honor to drive the car.
We talked about doing it three years ago, but I was too old then,
so to get the chance now, Im really thrilled. YOUR
BOYHOOD HERO WAS? David Pearson, for sure. He always was.
He still is. YOU HAD TALKED ABOUT RETIREMENT FROM CUP
RACING AFTER 2006. DOES TODAYS ANNOUNCEMENT CHANGE THAT?
When we announced the Schwans sponsorship, it was
three years, and you just thought that would be it. When we first
talked to Eddie he asked about the possibility of going farther,
but signing a one-year deal, and I said, Well, is it next
year? And he said it was for 06, and I said, Well,
thats the year Im really worried about right now.
KEN SCHRADER, continued So,
well just have to see how it goes right now. My goal is to
get Little Debbie and Motorcraft and Air Force and the car good
enough, running like it already has run, and just keep it up
there, and who knows how long well go? SO THE DOORS
OPEN? Oh, yeah. Im not going to shut doors to races,
thats for sure. THIS ORGANZATION WILL RUN ACROSS THE
THREE MAJOR SERIES, AND YOU WILL BE MENTORING QUITE A NUMBER OF
YOUNG DRIVERS. Jons [Wood] been running the Busch
Series for quite a while now, and hes close to getting
ready to go up. Its fun, thats something weve
always done. Weve done that a lot at Schrader Racing, with
our own cars, putting kids for ARCA races and every now and then
a Truck race, and thats something I enjoy to do. I like to
run against them, and when they get really where its hard
to out-run em, then you know its time to cut em
loose. But, yeah, thats fun and thats a part of the
job Im looking forward to.
JACK McKEE CEO of McKee
Foods PLEASE GIVE US A RUNDOWN ON WHAT BROUGHT
LITTLE DEBBIE TO NASCAR? As most of the people here know,
NASCAR is the best in the world its got the best
drivers, the best teams and the best consumer brands in the world.
The NASCAR fans are great, great fans and we know that NASCAR
fans are Little Debbie fans. THIS IS THE COMPANYS
FIRST VENTURE INTO RACING, BUT NOT YOUR FIRST VENTURE INTO RACING.
Ive always been interested in racing since I was a
child, and my first car was a 1954 Ford. It was a used car and I
drove that Ford to a drag strip in town, and won first place in
my class, so Ive been interested in racing ever since.
ON HIS FIRST NASCAR RACE. My first NASCAR race was Daytona
1963. Tiny Lund won the race in 1963, driving what? A Wood
Brothers car, in a Ford, in 1963. So, Ive always been a fan
of NASCAR since the 60s. The Wood Brothers have such a long
history of winning and such a successful team, you combine that
with a driver like Ken Schrader, we just think its a great
opportunity for McKee and Little Debbie. LITTLE DEBBIE IS
NOT AN ARTISTS CREATINN. THERE IS A REAL LITTLE DEBBIE.
There is a real Little Debbie. Shes my neice and she
serves on our Board of Directors. Back in 1960 my father was
talking to a packing salesman and the packaging salesman
suggested that Dad name his new line of multi-pack snack cakes
Little Debbie, after his granddaughter, Debbie. And Debbie
grandmother had a picture, that picture became the trademark and
the rest is snack-cake history.
EDDIE WOOD co-owner, Wood
Brothers Racing ON THE MERGER AND THE ANNOUNCEMENT.
First of all, I think this is about the coolest thing that
ever happened to us since weve been racing. Weve been
around a long, long time. Every sponsor we have involved with us
is multi-generation and been around at least 50 years. The Little
Debbie people have been around 50 years. Weve been around
55 years, Id say. Ford Motor Company, over 100. And the
United States Air Force, I think they were started in the late
40s, early 50s. So, weve got a lot of tradition
and a lot of history involved within our race team, and weve
joined with Tad and Jodi and form this other company. And just
look forward to making things better for everybody. I see the
Little Debbie people have got a lot of innovative experience
themselves, in that they made the snack cake, the snack box thing.
We knid of get credit for the pit-stop stuff, and Im not
sure that thats duly warranted but we do, Im really
proud of that, but Im just really proud of everything weve
put together. Im proud of Tad. He put went and put all this
deal together. I want to thank Kenny for coming on board with us.
EDDIE WOOD, continued And
I thank Jack for being here. Thank Fatback for staying with us
and making all this stuff work. And Ford Motor Company. Everybody.
I see a thousand people in here I should thank, but I want
everyone to know I thank all of you, and were going to go
KENNY SCHRADER, continued HOW
IMPORTANT WAS IT TO YOU THAT MICHAEL MCSWAIN WAS STAYING WITH
THIS TEAM, ESPECIALLY WITH HOW MUCH HE HAS DONE WITH THIS CAR?
The 21 was like a dream ride from the get-go, though, but
to see how theyve run since Michael came on, and then whats
probably the neatest part, now with the association with Tad and
what theyre plans are. Still, it was a single-car team,
kind of on an island, to some extent, and they realize that, too,
and then they made the steps to grow the whole operation. And I
think that and, obviously, Michael, having the experience there
were the key things.
JACK McKEE, continued WILL
THE SPONSORSHIP BE EXTENDED TO THE BUSCH AND TRUCK LEVELS, TOO?
At this time, we just have a one-year contract and were
looking to sponsor this one car. Not planning anything at this
time to go to the other series.
EDDIE WOOD, continued CAN YOU
OFFER AN UPDATE ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE NEW ORGANIZATION, AND
WHERE DOES JON WOOD FIT INTO THIS? What weve got in
place now is for Kenny to drive the 21 next year. Jon is going to
drive the 47 Clorox car and Stacy Compton is going to drive the
59 Kingsford car, and the two trucks are going to be driven by
Marcos Ambrose and Bobby East. Thats the driver lineup
right now. We plan to run Jon in seven races in a second Cup
team, second team separate from the 21, next year. We wont
run ore than seven so he stays eligible for the rookie things
when he goes fulltime in Cup. But, right now were just
trying to get all that stuff sorted out. This whole deal weve
put together was scattered all over the United States and within
48 hours it come together. And so we just now got it kind of all
in one little pile here and were trying to figure out what
the next step is. Everything so far looks like Jon will probably
go fulltime in Cup in 07.
MICHAEL MCSWAIN, continued HOW
DO THE NEW TESTING RULES AFFECT YOUR ORGANIZATION? At first
I was a little worried about the new testing policy and the
rookie situation. We were in a meeting yesterday with the Truck
series and theyre actually going to add some more practice
for the rookies, so they can get a little more time. Your always
at a disadvantage as a rookie in any of three premier divisions.
Well do our best to get em all the track time we can,
whether its at the particular track or at one of the other
tracks. Along with Kenny, thats a big plus when youre
talking about rookie drivers. TO TAKE IT ONE STEP FURTHER,
YOURE A ONE- OR TWO-CAR CUP TEAM VERSUS A FIVE-CAR
OPERATION THAT ROUSH HAS. HE HAS FIVE CARS TESTING AT THE SAME
TRACKS YOU DO, SO HES GOT FIVE TIMES THE POSSIBLE
INFORMATION. HOW DO YOU COMBAT THAT? The best scenario I
can give and I gave this scenario to someone earlier today: When
you leave here and walk through the garage area, if you look on
one side of me, theres an owner with two Cup cars and one
or two Busch cars. A couple cars down from me, lower in points is
what I mean, is an owner with three teams. On the other
side of me is an owner with three Cup cars, two Busch cars and I
dont know how many trucks. I think as long as you got the
guts to do it and youre willing to work, anything in this
world is possible, especially in this sport.
TAD GESCHICKTER, continued WILL
MARCOS AMBROSE HAVE A SUPERSPEEDWAY LICENSE RIGHT AWAY? Marcos
signed his agreement two days ago. Were starting that
process with NASCAR. We got a chance to test with Marcos at
several different-size tracks this summer, so while it may take
us a while to get him to where he can drive that truck each and
every week in NASCARs eyes, were tremendously
impressed with his abilities to come up to speed, and were
really excited about him and Bobby East.
EDDIE WOOD, continued WHAT
HAS RICKY RUDD MEANT TO THE WOOD BROTHERS? Having Ricky
with us fits in with the long list of drivers weve had over
the years. I really hate to see him retire Im not
even going to use that word, retire. Rickys going to take
some time off, because I dont think youve seen the
last of Ricky Rudd yet. Its sad to know that hes
going to drive probably his last race in our car this weekend. If
you walk by our car, everybody on our team, everybody in the
shop, everybody signed the hood, just to say goodbye, for now.
And you might want to check the decklid out, its pretty
cool, too. Were going to give Ricky the decklid and the
hood after the race, hopefully itll be in one piece. If its
not, well make a duplicate. The back-ups got it on
it, too. Like I said, Im going to miss him, as well as
Fatback and Len and everybody. But I wish him well, but like I
said, I dont think youve seen the last of him yet.