NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 82: Dave Pericak on a cold call to Roger Penske and keeping secrets

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Keeping Cup teams on the same page while also keeping some secrets between them is a key part of Ford Performance Director Dave Pericak’s job.

And it made for an interesting call to Roger Penske after Ford signed Stewart-Haas Racing to a multiyear deal beginning with the 2017 season.

How would the Team Penske magnate react to having a new team under the Ford umbrella in NASCAR’s premier series? Pericak wasn’t sure.

“I called Roger up and let him know this was happening, and his response was phenomenal,” Pericak said in an appearance on the NASCAR on NBC podcast. “I didn’t know what kind of response I was going to get. He said, ‘Dave, awesome move for Ford. It’s going to raise the chinning bar for all of us. That’s going to make all of us better.”

Because Penske virtually coined the concept of the “unfair advantage” in racing, there were questions about the efficacy of asking the team to work closely with another.

Pericak said Ford Performance acts as the buffer between its teams, ensuring that data and information can be shared without compromising the proprietary intellectual property.

“Penske and Stewart-Haas have done a really good job of integrating and learning each other,” Pericak said. “Each team has trust in Ford Performance, so the things that have to remain within a certain team, they absolutely will. Those things we can common-ize and have discussion on, Ford facilitates that discussion and dialogue. We’re doing that role because we have the trust of all the teams, then the teams can work together because there’s a common ground of trust.

“We’ve been very good that we have to make sure we don’t violate that trust, and the things that can’t transfer over, they just don’t transfer over, and there’s a respect from each team that knows there’s going to be an area where we say, ‘That’s off limits.’ So that respect is there, you’re seeing way more collaboration than ever before and we have plans for additional collaboration to give us a more competitive advantage in the future. It’s every week, every month, that trust is building more and more. The results are showing. It’s all coming together to show this is the right approach.”

Other topics discussed by Pericak on the podcast:

–How driver simulator has played an important role in development;

–Where NASCAR is headed with its manufacturers;

–The importance of avoiding marketing leading competition;

–The security of Ford’s NASCAR program after a CEO change;

–The future of racing as autonomous cars become a reality.

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