Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ray Evernham is not ready to quit NASCAR

Ray Evernham said that rumors of his retirement from NASCAR were greatly exaggerated.

After selling part of his business to the Gillett group (GEM) Evernham, Jeff Gordon’s former crew chief who started his own team full-time with Dodge in 2001, admitted that racing is not fun any longer in an interview during the Sprint NASCAR Media Tour in Concord.

“Honestly, no, I wasn’t having fun,” he said, adding “it wasn’t just because of the (team’s poor) performance. There was a lot going on, over the last few years, that took the fun out of it for me because I love racing. Some of the fun had gone away, but, there’s a lot of great people in the sport and I want to spend time with those people and maybe being away from the negative people will help a little bit.”

Remaining in NASCAR’s top series was a battle he explained “it was a constant fight to keep people, to keep sponsors, to keep relationships in a in a highly competitive world not all things don’t always go well.

Being in the constant limelight, constant media where you can not live a normal life; it wears on you,” he said referring to press coverage of his personal life. “The competition on the track is the easy part,” he said with a smile, but weary look in his eyes.

Evernham said that since it took three people to take over his previous job, he was working too hard to accomplish his goals. For now he’ll remain an “owner” but have the freedom to chose what role he’ll continue with at Gillett Evernham Motorsports.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you media people allergic to the words "Erin Crocker"? Must be the way you hesitate to use them, even though she's constantly by his side. Geez.

First of all, Ray sold 80 percent of his business, according to Tom Jensen at speedtv.com. You all want to dance around it, but basically he didn't sell "part" of his business, nor is he the "co-owner". Quit trying to salvage his ego.

Also, he is no longer the CEO. Gillett said today they are going to be scouting for a new CEO. So Ray's "freedom" is going to get even wider.

and re: Personal life, meaning dating his employee?

If he wanted to have a normal life and not be around the "negative people", don't date an employee. Or wait until the employee moves to a new company to start dating her.

Poor Ray. He feels sorry for himself and blames everyone for "intruding" into his personal life, but probably doesn't realize the president/CEO of the American Red Cross recently got FIRED for the same thing -dating an employee. Anywhere but NASCAR, that would have happened to Ray.

I'm glad he and his self-serving media statements are gone out of the spotlight for a while. His drivers deserve to work at a company that runs like a real, professional business.

Anonymous said...

I think you nailed a primary issue. Although, in this case Ray owned his company so dating employees is something he is allowed to do. Nothing NASCAR can or will do about. Now if sponsors want to pull the plug - that is their right. I am sure there have been some interesting conversations between Ray and sponsors.

There were other problems not directly related to Crocker - the whole issue with the engineering staff using wrong modeling data was not due to Ray sleeping at the wheel - it was more like he had his hands on the wrong wheel. I think the enterprise out grew his skill set as a manager.

The combination of poor 2007 performance and the Crocker issue lead Ray to fire sale EMS to Gillete - so he paid a price financially. He still has minority ownership but obviously the plan is not to rely on him nearly as much. And Dodge has reduced their roll significantly as a sponsor with Bud coming on board.

I think Ray was a good choice to start a new team - really he did a good job if you look at other new teams like Red Bull. But the job out grew his abilities to manage, and maybe the changes that have been made will work. Hendrick, Roush and Gibbs are benchmarks everyone is trying to attain - we'll see if any Dodge team can reach that level (I have my doubts).

Jim

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