Entering its first season with two full-time chartered rides, Rick Ware Racing (RWR) was expected to have its struggles competing on a weekly basis. However, despite some early struggles, the team believes they are just about 949 steps away from contending regularly.
“We knew this wasn’t going to be easy when we expanded”, team spokesman Artie Kline said in an exclusive interview. “But all the top teams in Nascar started out small, just like us. And we’ve mapped out a step-by-step plan on how to make it to the top—or at least compete for top-20s on a regular basis.
“Team management figures that we’ve already knocked off about fifty steps from our plan, so that leaves us with 949 goals to hit on our way to respectability.”
The team has competed regularly in recent years, though almost exclusively as a backmarker with little evidence of competing even for finishing on the lead lap. But that hasn’t gotten the team down.
“Look, everybody here at RWR, from the team owner right down to the janitor/shocks specialist/assistant marketing director, we all know that this isn’t a quick fix”, Kline explained. “We’re all in this for the long haul—if that takes five years or fifty, although I guess if it takes fifty there might be some turnover.”
Kline offered an exclusive look at portions of the plan to success, one that echoed Ray Evernham’s famous “Checklist” for Jeff Gordon and the Rainbow Warriors race team.
“We were definitely inspired by Ray’s motivational techniques”, Kline admitted. “Ray had ‘From nobody to upstart, from upstart to contender’, and so forth. Well, we might still be on the ‘From nobody to Daytona crash instigator’, but we’re getting there.”
The list includes such immediate and familiar steps as “Find steady sponsorship” and “Develop the pit crew”, but also included some goals specific to a team at the back of the pack.
“Well, we still have to settle on a full-time manufacturer”, Kline said while scanning the list on his office computer. “There’s also the matter of making sure all our sponsors actually pay us, and trying to make sure our car chiefs don’t get ejected from the track—although I guess that’s on a LOT of teams’ lists lately.”