Geoff Bodine/Mattei Motorsports Press Conference
17 August 1997
Press Conference Transcript Geoff Bodine and Mattei Motorsports Michigan Speedway August 16, 1997 BROOKLYN, MI - The following provided by Ford Motorsports Public Affairs: GEOFF BODINE (#7 QVC Thunderbird) - "I guess you're all aware of what has been happening the past two years with my team. You know the personal side. We got through that. Now we're going through the financial side and the sponsorship side. I've tried to keep everyone aware of what is going on. You've been quizzing me about the future and I've been telling you things are OK. I've been telling you that I have two partners who have gotten involved with this team and how happy that makes me. These two gentlemen have been involved a little bit in the past in racing and they know a lot of people involve din racing. They had a lot of confidence in me and my ability, that I can still get out there and drive. I showed a little bit of that last week. I held back a little bit. Gordon needed to win on a road course. But no more holding back. I'm really thankful that these gentlemen got involved with this team and myself. I appreciate it deeply. Our future is really bright. We had a great thing in '94 and things started happening and we lost that great team, but we're going to bet it back. It's going to take a little while. I've said all weekend, don't think just because we finished second last week that we've fixed all the problems. We've still got a ways to go." JIM MATTEI (Owner Mattei Motorsports) - "We've been around racing for a long time. One of our partners in a lot of other ventures is Felix Sabates. Felix has been dragging John and I to races for many, many years. We had the unique opportunity to have a small run in NASCAR a few years ago when we sponsored the Danny Sullivan team, but we couldn't quite get on the track. But we kinda got our feet in the water with NASCAR. Bill France and Mike Helton and those folks have been incredibly kind to us through the years. We've been looking at teams. Through the past three years we've probably looked at seven teams before we settled on Geoff. Our association with Geoff is something that we are extraordinarily proud of. Geoff getting back in the car and getting smile on his face and driving that car is the most important thing to us. I think you saw the results of that last week. With John and I, it is a family affair. My sons are involved and John's son. Like everything else in NASCAR, it's a big family, and that's what we bring to the sport. Plus we're able to bring an investment to Geoff that we think will carry him through this year. And we have big things coming next year. That's just the beginning of our new team. We have a great foundation to grow from, and you're going to see nothing but good things from us in the very near future." JOHN PORTER (Owner Mattei Motorsports) - "Felix always said that you could make a lot of money in racing if you started out with a lot more, so we decided we were going to give that a try. I just want to say thank you to QVC and all the help they have been and the support they have given us. This is a special weekend for them with the gold car. I think you guys are going to see that we are committed to make this thing work. We're going to bring in the right people and we're going to do the right things. We are not smart enough to do it ourselves, but we're going to make QVC proud and we're going to make everyone proud. We're in it for the long haul, and we're going to do it right." GEOFF BODINE - "Some other good things are happening this weekend. You can see we are dressed in gold, and we're planning on taking some Michigan gold back to North Carolina. QVC is having its 24-hour gold rush this Sunday. We're going to be here racing, but as soon as I am done racing, I will get on the satellite and turn QVC on and start buying gold. All day they are going to sell god. We went up and saw their vault and they have some gold. Now I know where Mr. T got all his gold. He just went through there and started piling it on. They have everything you can imagine. So the car is gold this weekend. It's really neat that all this came together on the same weekend. And along with that, we have another announcement. We still have Pat Tryson. He's crew chief. He's hung in there. This year has been tough. It's like, 'Pat, get all the stuff ready, but by the way, don't spend any money. We want to win next week, but you don't need any of those parts.' Pat has done a great job this year, and it's his first year in a crew chief position. He has done extraordinarily well. But we've made another little change. We've got another face in our midst, someone I have worked with before back in the Budweiser, Junior Johnson days. Tim (Brewer) has experience, he has credibility in this business, respect, certainly from me. And he has already added a lot to this team in the few days he's been with us. He's going to help Pat and I and Jim and John build this team back to where we all want it. I said, 'What do you want to be called Tim?' He said, 'Just call me Brewer.' TIM BREWER (Team Manager #7 QVC Thunderbird) - "Needless to say, if Geoff and I were better businessmen, these guys probably wouldn't be here. These guys are, hopefully, going to lead Geoff Bodine and Tim Brewer back to where we want to be in racing. It's tough being kicked around for a while. But Geoff and I had a lot of good things going back years ago. These guys are going to help us get back to there. I have to thank these guys and Ford. The new Taurus, I think it is going to be an interesting aspect to work with. There's some good development going on right now. Pat Tryson, I had to drag him out from under the car a little while ago. I went to the truck to find him and couldn't find him. I looked all around, saying, 'Where did he go?' I said, 'Oh, hey come on. We've got a press conference.' He reminds me a lot of myself. It's hard to stand back some time. And it will be a new role for me as far as standing back and saying, 'I can do that. Let me get in there and do that.' These guys are going to be the ones to do it. Geoff and I, our interest in the team is just to lend support and lend a little bit of knowledge and try to make the team better. We're looking for improvement this year. We're looking to win some races, and next year be a top-10 contender. Right now what we are looking for is just a positive aspect. We came out here and qualified 10th, and we thought we were going to be a little bit better. But we are looking for positive approaches and solutions. There are a lot of things to be done. I've seen some of these guys' material, and they are first-class people. They want to make a good impression and I think they are going to be really good for this sport." GEOFF BODINE - "There is even more good news. This week the trucks are in Nashville, and we have two trucks there. Tammy Jo Kirk, we are looking for sponsorship for that truck. Loveable had some problems and they are not on the truck right now. But we've committed to keep running her as long as we can, and hopefully something will happen with a sponsorship to keep her going. We have a lot of confidence in here. She's a great girl and she has a great future in this business. These two gentlemen have family involved in this team, and I do too with my son Barry. They have made a commitment to run Barry for six races this year in a truck, and hopefully we'll get a sponsor for him and run the full schedule next year. He did qualify last night. He's after experience this weekend and he has a great future. These gentlemen have committed to help him, and that's real important to me. It's very important. So a lot of really good things have happened for myself and this team and my family and their families." JIM MATTEI (QVC has been a great partner this year. They have done everything that they told me they would do. They have been an outstanding advocate of our team, as you can see. You hear a lot of things about budgets and things like that, but I think that in our case, we spent a lot of money in areas we didn't need to. And in some areas we needed to spend more. QVC was there with us all the way through. They did a great job and we are in negotiations with them for next year to have QVC back on the car. We are going to complete this season, and hopefully, put them back in the winner's circle where they belong." PRESTON MILLER (NASCAR Winston Cup Series Ford program manager) - "Certainly, we are quite happy that they are going to be in a Ford. I guess there are other choices out there, but I don't look at them very often. It's great to see Geoff smiling again and it's great to be working with Brewer again. He's done some good things for us in the past and they've done some good things for us together, and we believe they still have some future. We're pleased with this association, along with Jim and John, because without people funding and other resources this can't happen, even if you as good a driver as Geoff and as good a crew chief as Tim and Pat Tryson. You just can't do it without money. Geoff tried it for a while, and it didn't work. And management is a big part of how to use the money, and we're impressed with those credentials, too. We're glad they are with us." GEOFF BODINE - "I'm an owner. I own part of the team still. The plan is for me to drive for three more years. It might be four and it might be five, we don't know. Right now it is for three years as the driver, and then we'll see what happens. I trust these gentlemen. They have come in at a not very good time with this team. They are putting a lot of money in it to keep it going this year. Why would anybody do that if they were going to throw it away. I'm part of the team, and I trust what they say. They want me to drive, and I believe 'em. "They are businessmen. Obviously, I'm not a very good one. We didn't do a good job in that area. I didn't do a good job. I probably spent money where I shouldn't have and wasted money and got in a position where the budget wasn't enough for me to keep going. It was a budget that we had set up with QVC. I never said they didn't pay me. I just said that the budget we had with them wasn't enough to operate the way I operated. They lived up to every aspect of their agreement with us. Aside from not being a good businessman, I didn't get associate sponsors to go with what they gave us. That is a lot of the reason why I ended up where I did. "It's a lot easier to concentrate when you are sitting behind the steering wheel of a race car when your mind is free of a lot of burdens and your thoughts are clear. Without a doubt, that was a help last week. I don't think that once I was worried about paying the tire bill during bill during that race, or the engine bill, because I knew I have that support now. It has weighed pretty heavy on my mind all year long. When things started going bad, it got worse and worse and worse. It's like a big snowball going down a hill. It was really hard to concentrate. It's a lot easier right now. "It won't take that long. We are going to get back there quick. It's going to take a lot of work, but I don't think Pat or Tim or myself or anybody on this crew are afraid of work. It's going to be a lot shorter time than people might wish it would be." JIM MATTEI - "A lot of the responsibility of all this falls on our shoulders as businessmen. It's not anybody's fault but our own. Our boss at QVC did everything they said, above and beyond. We just didn't do our job in how we handled it all. It's strictly an issue with our team. Our team is going to be a better team because we are going to spend money in the right place next year. We are focused on where those funds are going to go. You will see a new team next year. "It will take north of $6 million (to run this team). It depends on a lot of things, but we feel we can run a good team off that budget. We've got some rebuilding to do i the engine program and we've got some rebuilding to do with cars. We've been running some car that the life cycle is over on. It's a significant investment for John and I, and a significant investment for everybody here. We are bringing in some new cars next week, even though we are going to change body styles, just to stay competitive. This is all about team with us. We will spend whatever it takes. The way John and I have always ran our companies, and he's got a $10 billion company, we follow budgets and allocate money where it is necessary and we hire the best people "John and I own control of the team. Geoff is a significant owner on the other side. Geoff was the key. We met with Geoff and our families met with Geoff. They came down to the Bahamas and stayed on a boat for a night and we talked, and all of it had to do with chemistry. It's all about family with us. There are other people out there who we met with that there wasn't a chance that I would be involved in the relationship, because there wasn't any relationship to be had. Geoff's a family person and all of us are family people. That's why we are in NASCAR. That's what it's all about. That's what makes us different. That's what makes NASCAR purer than any other sport out there. It's not about all those other things you read about in other sports." JOHN PORTER - "Jim and I are committed to put whatever money we need to put in to make this happen next year. As far as Geoff driving, unless you guys can tell us a better driver out there than Geoff when he is not worrying about other things, there isn't any question that Geoff Bodine is going to be driving this car." TIM BREWER - "When I see that something is not working, I can walk away with it without any kind of remorse or anything. Just like this year, Larry McClure and Sterling Marlin are really good friends, but when something is not working, you can be man enough to stand up and say, 'Hey, this is not doing anybody any good, let's go home and regroup.' This is all about winning. Winning is very addictive. If I can't do that, I would rather be on a boat or play golf, because it's not any fun. You've got to have some winning to go along with it.