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DEC 11, 2015 | Mooresville, NC

Richard Petty Motorsports Announce Brian Scott as New Driver of the No. 9 Sprint Cup Fusion


(Ford Performance Correspondent)

Richard Petty Motorsports announced today that Brian Scott will drive the No. 9 Ford Fusion during the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.  Scott, along with Richard Petty and Sammy Johns, Vice President of Competition and Operations, participated in a press conference at the team’s headquarters in Mooresville, NC.

BRIAN SCOTT, Driver – No. 9 Ford Fusion
 – CAN YOU TALK ABOUT JOINING RPM?  “I started dreaming about being a Sprint Cup driver a long time ago and I’ve always wondered what that would look like and what the future held, and never did I ever think that I’d get to drive for an iconic organization like Petty.  I actually have gotten to drive for two iconic organizations and that’s surpassed any dreams that I was able to set as a kid.  I’m so excited to be here and to be a part of the growth and continue to develop on the race track and everything like that.  To have equity in this deal and to really be pushing hard and working in a smaller organization to really achieve big things.  Since I found out that this deal was coming about, and I’ve been able to spend the last couple of days in the shop with the guys, I’m pumped.  I’m excited.  I really like the group of people that they’ve assembled here and I know that we’re capable of great things and I’m looking forward to putting in the work and to proving that on the race track.”

WHAT DOES THE SPONSORSHIP SITUATION LOOK LIKE FOR NEXT YEAR?  “All of this stuff has been developing really fast.  The sponsorship pieces are all still getting put in place and I hope that we can be announcing that in the upcoming weeks.”

WHAT ARE THE PLUSSES YOU SEE IN RPM GROWING?  “I think Ford has proven what they’re capable of doing in the Sprint Cup Series and them upping with Richard Petty Motorsports just shows the amount of faith that they have in this organization – to be a top tier team competing, leading laps, winning races, competing for championships, and I’m thrilled.  I’m thrilled to be a part of an organization that has this manufacturer support and I’m really excited to become part of the Ford family and to work on this relationship and be part of their performance and their legacy on the race track.”

DO YOU THINK YOUR LIMITED RUNS IN SPRINT CUP HAS GIVEN YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT TO EXPECT?  “I certainly think so.  I really liked last year being able to compete in races that were in the Chase.  Before that, I had done some and the level is really elevated and I always wondered, ‘OK competing at the Sprint Cup level and then competing at the Sprint Cup level when the Chase starts, is there a difference and can you compete at that level?’  And I think I showed at Texas and Kansas, running in the top 15 and racing into the top 10 a good portion of the race in those Chase races really affirmed me in my ability and I think it opened the doors.  I think it ultimately led to having talks with Richard Petty Motorsports and being able to put this deal together.”

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED IN YOUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR THAT WILL HELP YOU FINISH RACES?  “I’m continuing to learn.  It’s no secret that that level of competition at the Sprint Cup Series is extreme.  These are 43 of the best drivers in the world and I’ve had some experience and I’ve been able to run up front and race in the top 10, but I still have a long way to go and there is still a lot to learn.  That’s what this year is gonna be about for me is a learning opportunity and trying to get better and better each and every weekend where we can run in the top 15 and run in the top 10 to finishing in the top 15 and to finishing in the top 10, and establish consistency and really work on improving the team week in and week out.”

HOW LATE AND HOW FAST DID THIS ALL COME TOGETHER?  “I won’t lie.  I went into the off-season really having no clue what the future held and giving some serious thought or trying to think about there’s a real possibility that something might not come together and I might not be doing anything next year.  Honestly, this whole deal came together on Monday of this week.  It literally just all materialized.  Everything lined up right and we had a really good meeting and everybody got pumped up and I think that we saw the potential in that room on Monday that led us to pull the trigger and come out the gates and hit the ground running.”

SO WAS RETURNING TO CHILDRESS NOT AN OPTION?  “It was difficult to put the pieces together up there that we needed.  Like I said, I really enjoyed my time at Richard Childress Racing.  They’ve got amazing employees and I love the relationships and stuff that I built up there.  Of course, that was something that we really wanted to pursue.  We wanted to look to continue that relationship, but we just seemed to hit some roadblocks and some struggles that we really couldn’t overcome to put the right deal together or the deal that we wanted to have for 2016 and beyond with them.”

WAS RACING FULL-TIME IN SPRINT CUP A NECESSITY FOR WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO?  “Yeah, and I think that was ultimately the deciding factor and what made this opportunity with Richard Petty Motorsports just really exciting for everybody.  It seemed like the other opportunities were really kind of partial and piecing together races here and there.  I felt like for my development personally as a driver I wanted to be in something full-time.  I wanted to be competing for a championship and gathering points and being in a race car and being in a Sprint Cup car week in and week out, and I’m so fortunate to have this opportunity and to have it come together with great partners like Twisted Tea and all the people that are coming aboard on this program.  I’m really looking forward to it and there’s no doubt in my mind that this is the best opportunity for me going forward.”

YOU’RE GOING RIGHT TO WORK TESTING ON MONDAY AT HOMESTEAD.  WHAT IS YOUR FEELING ON THE LOW DOWNFORCE PACKAGE?  “That’s correct.  I got to drive the 2015 package and I got to drive the 2015 high downforce package.  I didn’t get to drive the low downforce package, but I’m excited about it.  It seems to me that some of the tracks that I excel at are the tracks where you have a lot of tire falloff and you have to manage your car and there’s a difference between being good in the short run and being good in the long run, and I think that the low downforce package is going to play into that.  I think you’re gonna find more and more race tracks are gonna become more management and taking care of your equipment, and having to deal with the trade-off of short-run speed and long-run speed.  And how lucky am I?  A week after this whole deal comes together I get to go to Homestead and I get to drive a Richard Petty Motorsports car.  I get to start working with the team and seeing what type of feel that these cars have and comparing it to my past experiences.”

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO LEARN FROM A TEAM PERSPECTIVE NEXT WEEK?  “I’m looking forward to driving a Ford.  I think it’s no secret that they produce a lot of horsepower and I’m getting excited to feel what that’s all about, and then to just feel what these cars handle like.  It’s a different aero package.  It’s a different car with different front and rear downforce, and it’s a different team and different teams have different setups and different things that they work on.  They have different feels in their race car and I’m excited to feel what these cars drive like and start working with this team at the feel that I like and trying to start hitting the race track and being in something and driving something in the off-season is gonna be really great.”

RICHARD SAID LAST MONTH THEY NEEDED A DRIVER AND SPONSORSHIP.  DID THAT HELP YOUR CAUSE?  “We’re very fortunate that we’ve garnered some really good relationships with companies that have been with us in the past, and having the ability to go and talk to them and saying, ‘Hey look, this is a possible opportunity and it would be really exciting to have you involved.’  And to start working with, like I said, people that we’ve had good relationships with and we’re still trying to piece it all together, but we’re really encouraged about what 2016 holds and even the future.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT NOW IF YOU WANT TO RACE IN SPRINT CUP.  DO YOU HAVE TO COME WITH SOME SPONSORSHIP?  “It’s really unfortunate, but it is becoming more and more important.  Sponsors are everything in our sport and you’ve got to have good relationships and you’ve got to be able to keep those good relationships.  Things come full circle a lot in this sport and this business.  It’s unfortunate.  I feel like our sport would be much stronger if some of the sponsors that were in it didn’t get burned and get pushed out and get a bad taste in their mouth from racing.  Ever since I came into this sport I’ve always worked at having really good relationships with sponsors even when we’ve parted ways, and I think it’s really paid dividends in putting deals together and stuff like that even currently right now in my career.”

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO HAVE FANS WHO TALK ABOUT DRIVERS LIKE YOURSELF THAT HAVE TIES TO SPONSORS AND THOSE SPONSORS MOVE WITH THEM FROM RIDE TO RIDE?  IS THAT HARD TO HEAR OR DO YOU BRUSH IT OFF AS PART OF THE BUSINESS?  “Everybody that’s raced in NASCAR and made it to the Sprint Cup Series has had help from someone along the way.  I’m very fortunate that I’ve had help from my family.  Drivers get help from different resources and it doesn’t upset me.  People are entitled to their opinion, but I also feel like I’m here for a reason.  I’m here to compete and I feel like I’ve had success and I’ve proven myself and I’m looking forward to driving these cars and to proving that to them.”

IS THAT THE BEST WAY TO ANSWER THEM IS WITH RESULTS?  “In my mind it is.  You can’t let those people bother you.  For every 10 fans you have, you’re bound to have a couple that might not like you or want their driver to have the opportunities and stuff like that, but it’s the way the world works and, to me, I’m looking forward to going out on the race track and silencing the critics with performance.”

WHAT’S THE GOAL FOR NEXT YEAR?  “I feel like this team, Richard Petty Motorsports, is capable of making the Chase and they’re capable of making of it with two cars.  They’re capable of winning races.  Aric showed that last year (2014) and this team continues to improve their performance.  This whole deal came about on Monday, so we’re still having conversations about what our expectations are and where we should start off and what are our goals throughout the year.  What are the boxes that we’re going to check off as the year goes on.  I think it’s something that is important for us to set benchmarks and evaluate throughout the season how we’re reaching those and how we’re maybe even exceeding those or what we need to do to help that, but we’re still developing what our plan and expectations are.”

YOU DIDN’T WIN AN XFINITY RACE, BUT DO YOU FEEL YOU’RE READY TO WIN IN CUP?  “I think it may be a little bit of an unfair comparison to say if you don’t have results in XFINITY you’re not gonna get results in Cup.  There are a lot of drivers and the cars are different enough that they can suit different driving styles.  I felt for a long time that I like having horsepower and I like having to manage throttle and to manage a race and a longer race.  I really felt like it would play into my hands to be in the Sprint Cup Series.  With a partial team and not competing every weekend and what we were able to do in the Sprint Cup Series affirmed a lot of those thoughts for me, being able to run up front and run in the top 10, qualify well, make it through rounds of qualifying with very limited experience and with guys that weren’t at the race trace week in and week out competing in the Sprint Cup Series.  I think that’s a challenge and I was proud at how we met those and I’m excited about what being more full-time and with a group of guys that we can build together and learn each other and be at the race track week in and week out, what we’re gonna be able to produce.”

YOU AND ARIC HAVE HAD SOME DIFFERENCES IN THE PAST.  IS THAT ANCIENT HISTORY OR A CONCERN?  “It’s no secret that Aric and I have had run-ins in the past in the XFINITY Series, but it really is ancient history.  I feel like we put a lot of that behind us a while back.  I can actually remember a defining conversation that we had.  We work out at the same place with different trainers in the same buildings.  We saw each other a lot when we had our differences.  It was a week before the July Daytona race last year that we kind of pulled each other aside in the corner of the workout room and we just kind of hashed it out.  We said, ‘How are we gonna deal with this and what are we gonna do going forward?’  And the next week he went on to win Daytona, so I felt like that really affirmed that we were being mature, and I firmly believe in karma and good things happen.  I think a lot of Aric Almirola and his ability in a race car and what he’s done for the 43 and what he’s done for Richard Petty Motorsports in building this team and improving performance year in and year out, and I look forward to working with him.  We’ve already had conversations.  We’re excited to be teammates.  We’re excited to work together and learn from each other.  Sometimes you have the biggest issues with the people that you’re most similar to, and I think Aric and I are gonna have a lot more similarities that maybe we’ve seen in the past.”

SAMMY JOHNS, Vice President of Competition and Operations – DO YOU THINK YOU GUYS ARE PUTTING TOGETHER YOUR PLAN FOR INDIVIDUALIZING WHAT YOU WANT RPM TO BE?  “That’s always been our goal.  It’s going to take a lot of years to grow this company from an engineering standpoint to where we can stand alone.  From the manufacturing side of these cars, definitely.  We can continue to move along to where we can manufacture these cars and all that, but I still think we’ve got several years left with a big team like Roush Fenway Racing and it’s been a great relationship.  Robbie Reiser and I continue to talk about how strong that side of things are and that we can continue to piece that together, and I think with us pulling the manufacturing piece away to where we’re doing more on our own it’s beneficial for them as well because when you’re doing that many cars it’s really hard to turn that ship quick if you’re not happy with your performance.  That’s been the benefit, I feel like, we found from hanging our own bodies this year is we can go to the race track and not be happy, but come home and we can change and go to the next race right away.  We didn’t have to wait for the big ship to move, but it’s gonna take a long time to build the engineering resources like we need, but Ford Performance has been very dedicated to us and helping us continue to grow that, but, right now, I still see us having to have an alliance for several years.”

WAS IT DIFFICULT WITH THE UNCERTAINTY OF THIS SITUATION?  “Having uncertainty is always difficult.  It’s more difficult on our employees in the back wondering what’s going on and not being able to stand in front of them week in and week out and tell them what’s going on.  That’s the difficult part.  You get them starting to worry.  You look around and we’ve got really great people here at Richard Petty Motorsports and I didn’t want to lose any of them.  So that was probably the stressful part of it, but it’s all coming together now.  They’re all super-excited about Brian coming on board and all the things that are gonna come with that.”

AND HE’S TESTING RIGHT AWAY AT HOMESTEAD.  “I’m gonna put him to work right away.  With the testing policy that NASCAR has put in place, which I’m fully supportive of, there’s not any other testing that we’re gonna get to do before we go to the Daytona 500.  So a chance to get Brian in the race car before that is excellent, so when we were able to get this done and get it done before the Homestead tire test, Brian was automatically the first choice to go do that, so we could get some time in the race car with him and start to get a feel for what he’s looking for in a race car.  That’s gonna be invaluable because we will not see a race track before Atlanta – a downforce track – a test won’t be available to us.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU’VE HANDLED THE TRANSITION TO THE LOW DOWNFORCE PACKAGE?  “I felt like it was beneficial for us.  We were able to get the feel Aric was looking for in the car with that package a little bit easier than we were with the 2015 package, so we were very supportive of going to this low downforce package because Aric really liked it.  I think Brian, with his background, he’s really gonna like it.  Any and all of the drivers are gonna like this package.  They have to drive the cars and they’re gonna play a part in it now, so I feel like it’s gonna be good for us.”

WHAT’S THE STATUS OF THE 43 ON THE XFINITY SIDE?  “We’re still working on our XFINITY program.  We don’t have anything to announce today on that, but we do have some things in the works that we’re working on.”

RICHARD PETTY, Owner, Richard Petty Motorsports – WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN IN BRIAN TO HIRE HIM?  “We were real comfortable with the situation of him being able to already be in a bunch of the Cup races.  We noticed that he does pretty good in the equipment that he’s got, so the big deal is putting him in a team where all he drives is just Cup stuff.  He doesn’t jump back and forth, even though he might run a few of the races, it won’t be the deal.  He’ll be able to run for the championship and rookie of the year.  Before he’s been a few races here, a few races there, so he’s just been bounced from place to place, so now he’s got a home and I think that will settle him down a whole lot.”

ONE OF HIS STRENGTHS HAS BEEN RESTRICTOR PLATE RACES.  DO YOU EXPECT BOTH OF YOUR CARS TO BE RIGHT IN IT AT DAYTONA?  “When you run those plate races you don’t know.  The big deal with him starting out, and what I want him to do, is learn how to finish the race.  If it’s a 500-mile race or a 250-mile race, learn how to finish like how you start off at – pace yourself of do whatever it takes so you’ve got something at the end.  Those are some things I think we’ll have to have some conversations about.”