On Friday in Kansas, Jimmie Johnson was made available to the media. Johnson talked about his season and the relationship with Stewart-Haas Racing with their move to Ford next year.
When asked about loosing the information from Stewart-Haas, Johnson stated, “You know that environment is tricky. Just to be selfishly speaking on Hendrick Motorsports the Stewart-Haas relationship we didn’t get their data. We didn’t share their data, they had ours. So, it was a fantastic situation for them. They had our best stuff and then they have a huge engineering staff and they can take Hendrick’s best equipment and refine it and make it better.”
“There were some things going on that were helpful and data was moving around a little bit, but they really had all the rights to our stuff; we didn’t have the rights to theirs. It’s tricky. If Mr. Hendrick can raise the money to not have that relationship, I think for us, selfishly it is better not to. We would always like to have some people running our engines and trying to do durability stuff on new motors that are coming out,” Johnson continued, “I would imagine having a couple of cars out there we will always have that, but a team at that high of caliber again, I believe we would look really hard before we made that decision again.”
However, Johnson’s comments were not up to the standards of Doug Duchardt, General Manager for Hendrick Motorsports. Duchardt made his way to the media center to clarify Johnson’s earlier comments.
“That is simply that the relationship from a data standpoint was a two-way relationship. The received our information, we received their information. That is the way it had worked from the time I have been at Hendrick Motorsports. That is basically it. We received information from Stewart-Haas when we worked with them. Obviously, when they made their announcement to Ford that changed things. But the bottom line is that as partners we exchanged data between each other,” stated Duchardt.
That relationship was before the announcement of Stewart-Haas earlier this year.
“I have told Jimmie what I was going to come and explain here, but yeah for sure this year they haven’t gotten our and we haven’t gotten theirs. That got shut off I think before Daytona actually. That has been straightforward between Stewart-Haas and us and Zippy (Greg Zipadelli) and I worked through that. That was, from my standpoint, very straightforward.”
Throughout this year, Hendrick Motorsports has built parts for Stewart-Haas to their specifications.
When asked about confidential information, Duchardt stated, “From a technical relationship standpoint the information got cut off, but we build their engines, we build their chassis’ to their specifications. They get certain chassis components from us that we have supplied over the years rear-end housing, lower control arms, truck arms things like that. They continue to receive those to their specifications from our shop.”