Brad Keselowski blames Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports for a “nasty little habit’’ that is keeping Ford teams from sharing as much information as possible, according to the Detroit Free Pass. Car owner Rick Hendrick said Friday that Keselowski needs to get his facts straight.
“There are little things you can do,” Keselowski told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday about Ford teams sharing information. “What keeps it from going too far is the fact that Hendrick and Gibbs have this nasty little habit of going to other teams and outbidding other people and taking those employees and stealing our information.
“When that happens, that puts walls up between the camps because you are giving up more than one piece of information — you are giving up two companies’ information and trying to protect yourself against that. It forces you to put up walls.
“It doesn’t necessarily lend itself to working together. But still, we are going to put in a valiant effort where we can and where it makes sense to put Ford in a position to have the best results possible.’’
Hendrick countered Keselowski's comments with a statement Friday.
"Roger Penske and I are great friends and have raced together for years,'' Hendrick said. "We’ve always competed with the utmost respect, and I have immense admiration for his organization. You won’t find anyone at Hendrick Motorsports who feels differently.
“The comments Brad reportedly made were misinformed. The truth is that we hired one tire changer, who was a backup for Penske and whose contract was up. We also brought over one mechanic from their Nationwide program and, when the Penske engine shop was closing, added a few of those people. What Brad left out was that his organization also hired one of our tire changers.
“All of this was aboveboard and is part of doing business in a competitive environment. I take no issue with any of it, and I expect Roger would say the same.
"Brad misrepresents the facts and spends a lot of time making insinuations and accusations about other teams when he should be focused on his own program and competing at a high level. I hope he figures that out and begins representing himself and the sport with more class.”
Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle admitted Friday at Michigan International Speedway that losing key people to other teams “does get aggravating when everything you’ve worked hard for and have developed goes away.’’
Keselowski cited two cases of where he said Hendrick and Gibbs swayed Ford team employees with big offers.
“Gibbs stole the Roush aero director and took all the information,” Keselowski said. “And Hendricks took three employees from our Chase-winning team last year.”
Biffle said that Roush’s aero director went to Gibbs more than a year ago.
Biffle also knows it’s difficult to keep secrets long in the Cup garage.
“It’s so hard because these guys are neighbors or these guys are buddies,’’ Biffle said. “They’re fishing together and, unfortunately, information gets slipped between teams a lot of times. We know that is part of this sport.
“We’re pitted next to each other in the garage. It seems like everybody has spy photographers that are around taking pictures of everything. It’s hard to stay in front of the competition quite honestly. We were the ones that pioneered the skewed axle housing and we had that for a total of about five weeks in our arsenal before we were competing against it. That’s not enough time to perfect something and gain an advantage from it. It’s hard to come up with creative things in this sport that fit the rules today. That was one thing that we came up with that we lost very quickly and that is a problem.”
“It is terrible,” said Keselowski. “There’s a reason those two teams are higher up on the boards than us — they have more money and sponsors to do so; it’s almost like Major League Baseball in that sense,’’ Keselowski told the Detroit Free Press. “The Yankees and Red Sox are always going to outbid the Oakland Athletics. That’s just part of the deal. So, you find yourself trying to play money ball to beat them.”
via Motor Racing Network