Tubby Smith, Jamie Mosley, NEMCO Media Teleconference
NASCAR DRIVER JAMIE MOSLEY, UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY BASKETBALL COACH TUBBY SMITH AND NEMCO MOTORSPORTS, OWNED BY JOE NEMECHEK, ANNOUNCED A NEW NASCAR BUSCH SERIES TEAM BEING PUT TOGETHER FOR THE 2005 SEASON. SMITH, MOSLEY AND NEMCO BUSINESS MANAGER PETER ROE HELD A MEDIA TELECONFERENCE TUESDAY AFTERNOON TO DISCUSS THE NEW TEAM.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOLLOW.
Q: JAMIE, WILL YOU START US OFF BY EXPLAINING A LITTLE ABOUT THE STRUCTURE OF THE TEAM.
JAMIE MOSLEY: Basically, what we've done is tried to, as in any successful business or venture, we've tried to put the best people around myself and into this group that we possibly could. We felt like, as far as performance and the racing portion of the relationship, after talks with several teams that the best fit for our situation was NEMCO Motorsports. Joe Nemechek and the terrific organization that those guys have built there;, being past champions in the Busch Series and certainly after coming off a win only two weeks ago says a lot for their program. Coach Smith and his wife Donna are just terrific people. They've got some things they've started doing with the Tubby Smith Foundation, supporting different charities and such that are some wonderful programs they have that are ongoing, and they are looking to continue to build those programs. We felt like that as a group, myself as a driver, Coach Smith, and Joe Nemechek, that we created an alliance that would not only help each of us further our own personal goals, but collectively make a strong and successful package as a race team.
Q: COACH, WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BECOME INVOLVED WITH NASCAR?
COACH TUBBY SMITH: That's a good question. I saw the opportunity... first, meeting someone like Jamie Mosley, who's a Kentuckian, I think many people have spoken highly of him, his potential… anyway, we had a chance to meet earlier, a few years ago through Kentucky Motorsports when they first came on the scene. Through our relationship with Jeff Shepherd and others who know Jamie personally, we thought it was a good opportunity for us to expand our opportunities to generate revenue for our foundation. It's a win/win situation for us. Obviously we feel like Joe Nemechek and NEMCO Motorsports is a very outstanding, a championship group. I had a chance to watch the race in Kansas a couple weeks ago, so it's pretty impressive to see him get a win like that. I know Jamie's excited about the opportunity and that's what it's all about: the relationships and the people that you can surround yourself with. I think we have an excellent team and they're all about getting the most out of themselves and the best performance possible.
Q: COULD YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE TUBBY SMITH FOUNDATION?
COACH SMITH: Well, I'm standing beside the Director of the Tubby Smith Foundation and sometimes it's hard for me to talk about it because I know how other people work for this organization. I kind of lend my name to it and we do a lot of things, my wife, Donna is very involved and there are so many people on our staff that do an excellent job as well. But, it's the people that contribute. We have our golf tournament or our auctions and every time the Kentuckians and Kentucky Wildcat fans always step up and contribute mightily. It's something that we do a lot with charitable organizations around the state. All the money stays here in the Kentucky area. The money goes to needy kids, underprivileged kids, disadvantaged kids. We also have the "Tubby Clubhouses" which just opened last year and we're trying to get as many middle schoolers involved and teach them how to use computers and technology. We've teamed up with a number of people and joining up with Jamie and NASCAR is another entity that we can expose young people to as well.
Q: COACH, HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN MOTORSPORTS?
COACH SMITH: Obviously, being in coaching, it's a pretty hectic job that I have here at Kentucky, but I've had the opportunity over the past few years to take groups to the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, but my love for racing goes back to my Budge Creek days back in Southern Maryland, watching a lot of the dragsters, Big Don Gullet, people like that. Growing up on a farm, you know, you could kind of race around the neighborhood, the fields and such. That's pretty much my exposure to it. I've been to the Brickyard, and being a coach, I've had the opportunity to go to races. But, I'm usually too busy performing my duties as head basketball coach at Kentucky to go to a lot of events.
Q: HOW INVOLVED WITH THE TEAM ARE YOU GOING TO BE?
COACH SMITH: Not that much. I'm going to be involved a lot. You know sponsorship is a big key to the success of any organization. So, I'm going to be involved in that capacity. Because, anything we can help Jamie generated revenue-wise a portion of it will go to the Tubby Smith Foundation, and I love that Jamie is willing to do that. There are a lot of reputable organizations that are excited about sponsoring Jamie and being a part of NEMCO Motorsports… it just seems like a good fit.
Q: HAVE YOU EVER DRIVEN A RACE CAR?
COACH SMITH: Not really… no. I've sat in the back of a pace car and I about fell out the back, that's about my extent of it. Again, I grew up in a family where we would tear cars apart and rebuild them. My dad he would always buy used cars. He was a Chevrolet man. He would just take out the parts whether it was a school bus or a truck or a station wagon, he taught me how to take an engine apart and do a lot of different things just by growing up in a rural part of Southern Maryland.
Q: NASCAR IS OBVIOUSLY TRYING TO EXPAND ITS DIVERSITY. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WHEN JOINING THIS VENTURE?
COACH SMITH: Yes. I think that was a part of it. I had a chance to meet with Magic Johnson a couple years ago and we talked about that very thing. Now he's a spokesman for the NASCAR Diversity Program. So, it's a good opportunity for me to shed some light. I've had some opportunities to meet some former black racers who raced back when there was little chance of them getting to NASCAR's top circuit. I've met some of those people and I've been moved by those experiences and look forward to this opportunity.
Q: JAMIE, DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY RACES YOU ARE GOING TO RUN NEXT YEAR, AND WHERE ARE YOU AT SPONSORSHIP-WISE?
MOSLEY: We've had ongoing talks probably throughout the past four to five months with several different sponsors that we are still in negotiations with. Right now, at this point, it's difficult for me to give you a specific number of races that we're planning for 2005. Probably our target is about 20 races in the first year. Certainly that's contingent upon what the desires of our sponsors are. It could be smaller schedule than that or it could be a full season. But, our target, at this point, is a minimum of 20 races in 2005.
Q: COACH, CAN YOU DEFINE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TEAM?
COACH SMITH: We talked about that a little bit earlier, about joining the team and helping to raise revenue and sponsorship. It's kind of like Kentucky Basketball; you want to be at the front of the line. From what I understand, that's the big key to getting on the circuit and putting the best team together and that's getting the backing and the sponsorship you need. That's going to be my capacity. No, I'm not going to be an owner. Maybe down the road. You can talk to Jamie about that. This is just a test. We've talked about further on down the road, but I feel very good about this opportunity. It's helping the Tubby Smith Foundation as well. It's a win/win situation for us.
Q: WHAT CONVINCED YOU TO MAKE THE DECISION TO GET INVOLVED IN THIS ENDEAVOR?
COACH SMITH: Well, after I started investigating what NASCAR is about and the direction it's going and some of the people that are involved with NASCAR. Jerry Carroll, who's an owner, I've talked with. I've talked with Darryl Waltrip, a native Kentuckian, and just picking their brains. You really find out that there are a lot of great folks in NASCAR just like there are in college basketball. There are a lot of great owners, drivers, sponsors, and people throughout in NASCAR. We wanted to be associated with an organization that's about doing things the right way and competing.
Q: IF THIS WORKS OUT DO YOU FORESEE OTHER COLLEGE COACHES GETTING INVOLVED IN NASCAR?
COACH SMITH: I don't know. There already some involved in other areas you know, like horse racing. I could foresee that. Coaches tend to venture into a lot of different things. Certainly, my number job is coaching and it's something I love doing and I plan on doing it for a long time. But, I see a guy like Joe Gibbs doing both. I actually had a chance to meet Walter Payton before he passed on… what a great man. He came to Kentucky and was involved with a group called S & S Tire and we did a presentation together, and at that time he was involved with motorsports. A few years ago, I met a guy by the name of Joey Ray who was one of the first African American drivers, so meeting the people I have surrounding this sport has really inspired me to get involved.
Q: JAMIE, IS THERE A WAY TO TELL IF HAVING COACH SMITH'S NAME AND STATURE HAS BROUGHT ALONG ANY OPPORTUNITIES THAT OTHERWISE MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN THERE?
MOSLEY: Absolutely. That's for certain. It certainly makes a huge difference. The competitive nature of this sport and the business of it today, has really become such among teams and entities that are vying for the sponsorship dollars that are out there. You really have to find something as a driver, as a race team to set yourself apart from all the other teams out there. Added benefit to a sponsor or value to a sponsor. That's something that Coach Smith along with his wife Donna brings to the relationship and that's great. The terrific thing about it is, that in the process of all of us joining together for a common cause is that we help a lot of other people in the process to with the coach's Tubby Smith Foundation and the different people whose lives we are trying to touch and reach in those capacities. With Coach Smith and Donna's involvement from a humanitarian standpoint we're helping a lot of people in the process and that's something that can be attractive to a large portion of corporate America.
Q: IF A SPONSOR COMES TO YOUR TEAM AND WANTS TO GET INVOLVED WITH KENTUCKY BASKETBALL IS THAT AN OPTION OR HAS THAT BEEN WORKED OUT?
MOSLEY: We haven't packaged anything together really because of nothing more than legalities. We would certainly be more than glad to introduce those companies that were interested in a relationship like that to the proper people, agencies, whatever, that are in charge of selling those properties or opportunities. We don't have a right as a race team to do that, but we certainly would be glad to assist anyone with the interest of such a partnership.
Q: PETER ROE, BUSINESS MANAGER OF NEMCO MOTORSPORTS. PETER COULD YOU DISCUSS NEMCO'S ROLE IN THIS DEAL?
PETER ROE: Sure. First off let me apologize for Joe Nemechek not being here. They are testing in Atlanta and rain has made their test session go not as planned. Jamie came to us a few months ago and laid out some of the things he'd been working on. I'm real impressed by his talent not only as a driver, but in his ability to see this from a business perspective and what needs to be done in order to build a successful team. I went through quite a few discussions with him, then we brought Tubby in as well, and we had a nice conversation with Coach the other and felt that both of our priorities were first about winning and putting a quality product together, and also about doing whatever we could to help in the community. We felt like it was a good fit from that standpoint. At NEMCO, we've had a very successful history of fielding cars for younger drivers and drivers just getting their start in the Busch Series, and that's something that goes back to when Joe first got started, he was helped by a number of folks who were veterans in the sport and he's always felt an obligation to give that back whenever he could. I think Jamie and this program; it's a big step for us in carrying that tradition.
Q: CAN YOU DISCUSS THE OBSTACLES OF STARTING A NEW TEAM IN A COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT LIKE THE NASCAR BUSCH SERIES?
ROE: I think in our instance the obstacle is obviously sponsorship which we seem to have well in hand. Then from an equipment standpoint, I think we've demonstrated that we're very capable of fielding a competitive car for anyone who steps into our equipment. Probably the biggest obstacle will be working with Jamie and Joe is excellent as being a mentor. We'll test extensively with Jamie as a part of this program and just getting him up to speed and getting him in good equipment and being in something that is capable of running up front. Having him adjust to the wealth of resources we have here a NEMCO shouldn't be a problem.
Q: COACH, HOW DO YOU LOOK AT NASCAR AS A SPORT?
COACH SMITH: Having been in the "arena" and competing as a coach for the last 30 years in high school and college, it's pretty much the same. People want to test themselves and measure themselves against the best. When I look at Jamie, I like his values; they run parallel with mine and our organization. I see the opportunities and I see the parallels in racing much like I do in basketball. You have to recruit outstanding athletes, you've got have the right team, the right staff; you have to have quality assistant coaches. I'm surrounded by outstanding coaches and outstanding players and I have excellent support within this University. I see that in NASCAR as well. You have to gradually grow, just like a team; you build a team that competes for a SEC Championship that competes for a National Championship. You just don't start out in full gear, you have to start somewhere and this is a beginning. It's not all about winning. It's about going out there, competing and doing your best. That's why I'm involved with it.
Q: HOW OFTEN DO YOU SEE YOURSELF CALLING ON MONDAY'S TO GIVE YOUR COACHING EXPERTISE TO THE RACE TEAM?
COACH SMITH: A lot! (laughing) I can see me doing that a lot, because it happens to me all the time. No, that wouldn't happen. It's like I said, it's about doing their best and competing and I know that's what we're doing. That's why were trying to put the best team together, so we can give it our best shot.
Q: ARE WE GOING TO SEE A MENTION OF YOU OR KENTUCKY ON THE RACECAR?
COACH SMITH: I doubt it. Those are things we really haven't discussed. This project is still in its early stages. You heard them talk about getting Jamie in the car a beginning to test, that's where we are right now. Maybe, that's something we'll discuss later on.
MOSLEY: We do have some creative ideas that we are working on. Not so much center around coaches or individuals but more around what we are trying to do with the Tubby Smith Foundation. Certainly when we come back to the Kentucky Speedway next year, we have some goals and things we would like to accomplish that involve the foundation, and also the University of Kentucky Basketball Museum. We certainly are going to lend as much exposure to the organization that we're supporting as we possibly can. From a merchandising standpoint and an exposure standpoint for the foundation you very well could see something of that nature during the 2005 season… especially at Kentucky Speedway.
Q: JAMIE, AFTER WORKING TO PUT DEALS TOGETHER DO FINALLY FELL AS IF YOU'VE HIT THE "MOTHER LOAD"?
MOSLEY: Well… I should be able to get better seats at the home games this year anyway. (laughter) Really, that's the wrong terminology for it. I feel certainly I have assembled the best group of people to support me that I've ever been involved with. NEMCO Motorsports has such a legacy in the Busch Series, having been a past champion. Joe certainly put an exclamation point on what we've believed for a long time with a terrific win in the 87 car at Kansas. I feel so confident in this group we have together; from a personality standpoint it's a very big honor for me to have the opportunity to have a relationship, a friendship with two people who I consider role models in Joe and Coach Smith and his wife Donna. When you surround yourself with good people it only increases you odds for success. Yes, I do feel like we have, not only the best organization that I've ever been involved with, but I think we have the best organization in the Busch Series. From every aspect of the business, I really think we've covered all of our bases and have a terrific opportunity here.
Q: KNOWING COACH SMITH, I'M SURE HE'S SMILING AFTER HEARING JAMIE TALK LIKE THAT.
COACH SMITH: Yes. Well again, we always talk about it's not cars or the buildings but the relationships with the people that you build, and that's what this is now. This is another chance to increase exposure, because we're trying to do a lot of things in this community. We're not just focused on this community but the whole state of Kentucky. Jamie, being a native Kentuckian, we're all in this thing together, and we're going to do whatever we have to in order to make it succeed.
Q: COACH, DO YOU SEE YOURSELF HELPING IN NASCAR'S DRIVE FOR DIVERSITY, OR AT LEAST IN CREATING AWARENESS OF NASCAR FOR MINORITIES?
COACH SMITH: Well… yes. I think so. Whatever we can do. Obviously, I keep bringing up basketball, because college basketball is a big part of my life and will always be a big part of my life. But, I also know that there are so many opportunities for people of color and not just African-Americans to be involved with NASCAR in some capacity. So, I'm sure the Urban Racing League out of Pennsylvania is trying to enhance that exposure. I can see me helping out in many ways.
Q: WHEN STERLING MARLIN RACES IN TENNESSEE HE OFTEN USES A UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE PAINT SCHEME, WILL WE SEE A KENTUCKY PAINT SCHEME?
COACH SMITH: Hey, I just want us to be there competing and I know we will be.
Q: PETER, WILL THIS AFFECT THE HENDRICK DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM OR DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH STUFF TO WHERE IF THEY COME TO YOU, YOU CAN PROVIDE EQUIPMENT FOR THEM AS WELL?
ROE: Good question. We actually have enough stuff to cover everyone here. We're actually prepared to run two full time teams. But, our goal with Jamie is to build him into a full-time Busch Series driver that ends up winning the championship. As such, we'll start building core group around him and a separate team, whether that's the 88, or what ever number, the idea is to build his team around him to take him to a full season championship deal. He will have his own separate team. They'll work hand-in-hand with Joe's team, Gary Putnam, our crew chief here and the rest of the guys on the 87 will obviously be open book as far as sharing notes. The intent is to develop Jamie into a full season deal by himself to content for a Busch Series Championship in the next two to three years.