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Roush: No team orders were given at Talladega

October 25, 2011, , NASCAR.com

Team owner Jack Roush wants to set the record straight and make things clear. He didn't issue his team -- or any other operation using Ford equipment -- any orders about with whom they could or could not draft at Talladega on Sunday.

"There were no team orders, from myself or anyone at Roush Fenway, given to any of our drivers as to whom they could or could not choose to run with or assist, nor did I give similar directions or suggestion to any of the other Ford drivers," Roush said in a statement released by Roush Fenway Racing on Tuesday.

"There were no team orders, from myself or anyone at Roush Fenway, given to any of our drivers as to whom they could or could not choose to run with or assist, nor did I give similar directions or suggestion to any of the other Ford drivers."

--JACK ROUSH

There were reports all weekend about possible team orders involving Ford drivers -- specifically those from Roush Fenway -- and whether they should draft with Chase drivers from competing manufacturers. Roush effectively said those reports were erroneous.

"At Roush Fenway Racing, we expect our individual drivers to make decisions that put themselves in the best position to win each and every race," Roush said. "That is a philosophy that we have lived by for over two decades, and one that we will continue to abide by going forward.

"Of course, as in any team, we would prefer for our drivers to work together when possible. However, to be clear, we did not micromanage or dictate to any of our drivers, nor any other Ford drivers, how to race with other drivers at Talladega last Sunday. There are unique codes that all drivers establish and have to live by on the track. How they manage their code is up to our drivers as individuals."

After his post-race comments on Twitter hinted strongly that he had been told by someone not to draft with Jeff Gordon during the race's final caution, Trevor Bayne used an appearance on Sirius XM Radio's "The Morning Drive" show to explain more clearly what happened.

"We said if a Ford needs us, we're going to help them," Bayne said. "That's just common sense that any team would do. It's not somebody saying, 'Hey don't work with anybody else.' It's not a team saying go make arrangements and then leave somebody. It wasn't premeditated.

"It wasn't like Jack Roush came on the radio and said, 'Hey, go tell Jeff you'll work with him and then leave him.' It was none of that. It was just the fact that with two laps to go with there was a Ford on our bumper and he didn't have a drafting partner. At that point, it's a tough decision because I've given Ford my word all week long and then you've got Jeff Gordon in front of you, who you want to work with and who you just talked to about working with and then everything changes in a matter of a lap."

Roush said he's spoken with Bayne in an effort to clarify matters.

"He was put in a situation requiring a split-second decision on the track and in his response to questions justifying his actions afterwards, where it was almost certain that not everyone was going to be satisfied," Roush said. "Trevor is extremely talented, but it is still very early in his career. Over time he will grow to understand that in such a high-paced, competitive and hostile environment it is unlikely that all of his decisions will make everyone happy.

"I'm confident in his decision making, his ability and actions on the track, and I'm excited as we continue to move forward with his development."

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