News & Media

Six Pack of Pop: Roush opines on state of sponsorship at RFR

May 15, 2012, Joe Menzer,

The performance of all three RFR cars, specifically Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth have had a positive impact on 2013. (Autostock)

Jack Roush, co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing, answers this week's six questions.

1. After agreeing to a multi-year marketing partnership with Fifth Third Bank on the No. 17 Ford driven by Matt Kenseth, what do you think that says about the current state of sponsorship in NASCAR?

Roush: Well, I think it's improving. NASCAR is still recognized to be the best buy in media, as many people look at market share and how to increase their brand awareness.

"Matt Kenseth is the cornerstone of Roush Fenway. He'll be part of it as long as I am -- and as long as he wants to be. He's certainly got a place here as long as I'm able to remain the head of it."


Related: Kenseth to keep number and gain new sponsor

2. How has it changed in recent years?

Roush: Every time NASCAR comes out with a new rule, it costs more to run the cars. We've needed to find a way to create alliances and partnerships between sponsors to support the cars. In the field, there are very few sponsors willing to take on the entire 36-race schedule.

3. Are you hopeful that in a situation like Fifth Third Bank, where they currently are signed on to be primary sponsor for just four faces, they'll eventually agree to sponsor more than that per season?

Roush: That's our hope. We're hoping that they'll look at their return on their investment -- and we're anxious to work with them within the parameters of that to maximize that return. If the return on that investment is what we think is likely, I think that will be a compelling reason for them to want to run more than four races in the next couple of years.

4. How much does it help to have drivers such as Greg Biffle and Kenseth at the top of the Sprint Cup point standings right now?

Roush: It has impacted it. John Henry [of Fenway Group and co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing] and my own organization have made the commitments to invest as necessary to stay the course here until we get those sponsorships that are required to make our business operations attractive from a return point of view. As I've said, 2012 will be an OK year for us from a business standpoint -- but we're already looking ahead to a better 2013. We're just a little later than some industries in getting through this downturn in the economy. But I do believe we've hit the bottom and are on our way back up.

5. Do you need to sell more sponsorship on Kenseth's No. 17 car for next year?

Roush: We're just fine for Kenseth for next year. The program doesn't have as much sponsorship sold as it needs to sell. But there was never a question about whether or not we had the wherewithal and commitment to stay with Matt Kenseth [even without full sponsorship on the car].

Matt Kenseth is the cornerstone of Roush Fenway. He'll be part of it as long as I am -- and as long as he wants to be. He's certainly got a place here as long as I'm able to remain the head of it.

6. How much more work is this mix-and-match sponsorship you've got to piece together for your cars?

Roush: It's not an extra load for the engine shop or the body shop or the race teams going up and down the road. There is more decaling work that needs to be done; there are more press announcements that need to be made; there is more media awareness that needs to be made to send our message out and gain sponsors' interest. But it's primarily a task for the front office to be able to keep all of that in line. ... The job of our race teams' remains the same: go fast and try to get to Victory Lane.