Nearly 48 hours after Justin Haley’s first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory in a rain-shortened Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Spire Motorsports employees are still busy going through the email inbox.
In an exclusive interview with NASCAR.com, Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson shed light on how business has been positively impacted after launching a behind-the-scenes start-up to the limelight of NASCAR’s premier series — explaining how opportunities that were originally declined by companies have been brought back to life.
“That’s encouraging,” Dickerson said. ” … I think that’s really what Sunday did — those guys decided to give us another look and turn those things into meaningful partnerships, not just for us but for the sport.”
RELATED: Haley calls win ‘a blessing’
Through the hype of a surprise triumph, sticking to the game plan is the only plan for the No. 77 team, formed last December after the purchase of defunct Furniture Row Racing’s charter from former team owner Barney Visser.
“I don’t know that anything has changed,” Dickerson said. “I think everyone was expecting us to burn it down and tear it down. … The fact of the matter is, the guys drove home, they came to the office on Monday morning and they reached out to not only to the sales leads for Spire Motorsports, but for the sales lead for our clients. It’s literally business as usual.”
Joe Garone, the president of Spire Motorsports who held the same role previously at Furniture Row Racing, also has played a vital role in keeping the train on the tracks despite the spotlight a win provided.
“We knew what we were fighting this year,” Dickerson said. “We knew we were up against it. We knew we were getting a late start, and Joe is really adamant about making sure to give us a little bit of hope and encouragement. … Joe has been really good about saying, ‘Hey, stick to the plan, stay on the path, this is exactly what we did.’ They were able to do it a little bit under the radar and so were we until about Lap 127 the other night.”
Dickerson credited co-owner T.J. Puchyr for keeping the team grounded while continuing to work through what the future holds for the up-and-coming group.
“We’ve had to stay pretty disciplined here on what we’re trying to accomplish,” Dickerson said. “We will be punching above our weight class here a handful of times, and we’ll announce that a little bit down the road. It’s just what T.J. has been preaching to our group. We have a plan, and we’re going to stick to that plan. It wouldn’t have mattered if we had won the race or finished dead last, we have a plan. I think that plan will come into focus for everybody here soon enough.”
Dickerson noted that even though he knows the 77 team got “super lucky” Sunday, it also didn’t happen by accident.
“It’s a big deal to win a Cup Series race, period,” Dickerson said. “No matter where you do it, no matter how it happened. It’s a thing where if we’re going to take advantage of this moment, we’ll be back and we’ll show the world what we’re trying to do. We just don’t have a fast forward button. Hopefully, we’ll have plenty of these moments. If everyone can just be patient … we’ll show you what we’re trying to do. It was just a little sudden.”
Overall, Dickerson and the team are well aware starting a new organization is extremely difficult and one victory isn’t going to build Rome in a day. Still, they have confidence in the direction NASCAR is taking in years to come — both in the Generation 7 car and the business model.
“It’s a significant undertaking, it’s obviously a big risk,” Dickerson said. “I think that risk is also kind of tempered with, we believe in the sport. We believe in what the France family is doing.”