A midsummer sponsorship package...
A midsummer sponsorship package gave Haas-Carter Motorsports hope for next season.
SCR: In that same vein, are team owners like yourself, Richard Childress, and Andy Petree-guys who worked their way up in the sport-a vanishing breed?
Carter: I hope not. I think it's important for the sport to maintain that. There's no loyalty in this industry, in my opinion. But I think the people who run the organization-the France family-still like to see some of their worker bees strive for the top and maintain strong roots for the thing.
SCR: That's good for the health of the sport, isn't it?
Carter: I think it probably is, because there's a relationship and camaraderie there that they've developed over the years. People just coming in fresh from the outside and starting at the top have a different view of things. It's harder to be a part of the family, so to speak. There are some great people coming in. I'm not knocking them, because some have been a strong asset to the sport. Take Joe Gibbs-I mean, this guy has been tremendous for this sport, and you like to see people like that.
SCR: The bottom line is, if you have good character, you're going to be an asset anywhere. Would you agree?
Carter: If you're good people, in my opinion you're welcome here.
SCR: Compare winning the Winston Cup title in 1973 with Benny Parsons to what it means to a team to win it today.
Carter: That's a hard comparison for me. From a personal level, I've got to think that it was probably worth a lot more in 1973 for our group than it would be for a group that wins it today. It's probably harder to win it today than it was then. Sometimes I think you're just lucky; there's a lot of luck in this thing. But luck comes from hard work and being prepared and not making mistakes. I tell you, when the green flag flies to start the Daytona 500 until the checkered flag falls on that last event, that is a strained and stressful situation, every day and every week, and not only at the track. When you go to the shop you have to be preparing for, and your thoughts and focus have to be on, that championship. Everybody in that place has got to have that focus and say, 'Hey, we've got to do this.' Your mindset is 'we've got to have that perfect weekend,' and you have to expect that every week.
SCR: You had your first full season as an owner in 1990. How has the sport changed in those 12 years?
Carter: Well, it takes probably six to seven times as much money as it did. Things have changed. The competition level has driven that up some. Some teams are capable of raising the technology to a CART level or beyond, but not at a Formula 1 level. I think controlling that end of it is something NASCAR has done. I think it's a wise thing, that they've kept their business affordable. Yeah, we can talk about how expensive it is and make it sound like it's not affordable, but it's still affordable compared to other forms of motorsports. They've managed the growth, they've managed the competition, and they've managed the construction and the development and the running of the cars, all to control costs.
SCR: What does it take to run a full season today?
Carter: These things range anywhere from $8 million to $12 million.
SCR: What would you change about the sport if given the power to change something?
Carter: It's easy to sit here and think maybe I would want to change something, but when you get down to it and analyze it thoroughly, I'm not sure that I could recommend changing anything. I would only say that (I would make changes) if it was something personal, and I've always tried not to look at this thing from a personal view. I try to look at it from a business view and how it affects everybody across the board. Yeah, it's easy to be selfish, but I don't think it's wise to be selfish in that regard.