Roush Wood Bros. Swap Crew Chiefs

PHOENIX, Az. - Roush Racing and Wood Brothers Racing announced today that they will switch crew chiefs on the No. 6 and No. 21 racing teams. Effective Monday morning (Nov. 3) Ben Leslie will become the crew chief of the No. 21 Motorcraft Racing Team with driver Ricky Rudd, while Pat Tryson will take over the crew chief duties for the No. 6 Viagra (sildenafil citrate) Racing Team with driver Mark Martin.

JACK ROUSH - Owner Roush Racing
"We've taken a look at the No. 21 car and we've talked with Eddie (Wood) and Len (Wood) about the different opportunities that exist. They are working on a move to Charlotte that will put them a lot closer to our operation, so beginning with that move, we are going to look to revitalize the No. 21 car by putting Ben with the Wood Brothers and Ricky Rudd. This step, given that Ben has been integral to our program, will facilitate a situation that will allow the No. 21 program to get closer to our operations in Concord (NC).

"By that same token, Mark has thought for a while that he would like to work with Pat Tryson. Pat has worked for us before as a crew chief, and we are anxious to have him come back into our operation. Hopefully this will enable the No. 6 take advantage of Pat's own experience and perspective with these Fords, which coupled with Mark's input can get us a better result in 2004. We are looking to improve the chemistry by making a crew chief/driver combination change in the same manner as we did with Ben and Jimmy Fennig with Mark and Kurt (Busch) before the 2002 season. We've made similar changes with chemistry in the past and it has been very effective in those situations, so we are going to go with it again. In the end it's two great drivers with two great teams."

EDDIE WOOD - Owner Wood Brothers Racing
"It's all under the same family roof here; it's all under the Roush umbrella. Nobody has been left out in this decision; it's just a straight-up swap. We think that this switch will make both teams stronger.

"For the next couple of weeks it will be like one race team with two drivers. Everybody is going to be working together. Pat will use whatever he needs and Ben will be able to take whatever information that he needs from both groups. Hopefully that will carry over into next year. That's kind of what the thinking really is."

MARK MARTIN, Driver Roush Racing No. 6 Ford Taurus
"We are just mixing up the program a little bit. We are trying to get the No. 21 car to run a little better, while at the same time improving the performance of the No. 6 car. We've already been working together throughout the season so the relationship is there now and I'm excited about working with Pat. Pat's been a part of our program and he's familiar with Roush Racing and all of our processes. We think that he will be able to come in and help provide a fresh look, and bring some new and different ideas to the table. We are just going to mix things up and have a different look."

RICKY RUDD, Driver Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford Taurus
"I'm excited. Ben Leslie is a very talented crew chief. He finished second in the points last year with Mark. If anything, the reason for doing it (the switch) now is to take advantage of the remaining two races and give us more insight, so when the winter comes along we can evaluate if I need to have cars built more like I've had built or do they need to be built more like Mark's cars. I think it will give us a whole lot better direction starting next year by knowing how his cars drive now. I had a chance to drive one of Mark's cars at a test in Kentucky this year, and it's different than what we've been working on this year. So the reason for doing this now is to just to get a head start on next year. I think it's the right time to do this.

"The weakness within our camp is that we really haven't had the engineering support that it takes to succeed within this business. This will make a tighter alliance with the Roush camp and with that comes more engineering support."

BEN LESLIE, Crew Chief No. 6 Ford Taurus
"I'm excited about the opportunity to go over to the Wood Brothers and No. 21 team and work with a driver like Ricky Rudd. Ricky's truly one of the all-time legends in NASCAR and I consider myself very fortunate to get the opportunity to work with him. I have nothing but the greatest respect for Mark and I've enjoyed working with him for the past two years. Hopefully this move will help provide both of these teams with the type of spark that can help rejuvenate our efforts."

PAT TRYSON, Crew Chief No. 21 Ford Taurus
"Things haven't been as good with the No. 21 team as they need to be this year and we haven't run as good as we needed to run. This will get them in tighter with engineering and everything at Roush Racing. And with me working there, I hope that will work out for them because I want to see them be successful as well as see myself successful.

"There are pluses and minuses to everything. I've got a lot of good friends over here that I enjoy working with, and Eddie and Len have been good to me. There will be a lot of pressure at Roush; the No. 6 car is the Roush Racing flagship, and it is not expected to be in the back. It's no different there than anywhere else, though, and I'm real excited about working with Mark and the 6 team. Sometimes change is good for everybody just for the sake of change. This will mix it up and change the combination of people, and I think it will be good for everybody."

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