The Adrenalist wanted to learn more about Junior Motorsports’ business operations both during the season, and in the off-season. As a result, we had an opportunity to ask JRM’s Director of R&D Tony Eury Jr, to respond to our questions.
How many folks work at JRM; in how many departments?
“We have 118 employees here at Junior Motorsports, broken down into about six or seven departments. We have a licensing department to handle all of Junior’s consumer stuff, we have retail, the shop, and pit crew, then we have sub-departments that are broken down from there.”
How do you manage and coordinate the overall business, since you have to deal with both ‘road’ and ‘shop” teams?
“Basically you have to have great people around you to get the whole deal done, because you can’t do the job by yourself. Of course, you have to have a person who makes the final decisions about what we’re trying to do, but we have some great people like Gordon Gibbs who does great work for us, along with people on the sponsor side, and also in the fab shop. We let those guys run their departments, after I tell them what the plan attack of is going to be, then I let them execute the plan from there.”
“We usually have a meeting once a week, just to sit around the table and see how the weekend went, and how we can make our company better for our employees, along with everyone else involved in our business.”
So, you essentially operate ‘hands off’ once you establish a particular set of goals, but what happens if one of your department heads need additional guidance?
“Basically folks come to me or Kelly. Kelley’s really easy to work with, we kind of let her be the main one in charge overall, while I handle the shop side. She handles all of the daily sponsor and administrative decisions for the company. Then, if there’s some real serious problem we sit down and get into what needs to be done, then we make a decision together.”
During the season what is the weekly shop routine?
“Well, believe it or not, once we have all the cars prepped and we’re set up to go racing, we kind of operate in a maintenance mode, and just focus on competing week in and week out.”
What happens at the end of the year. Do you work less hard in the off-season?
“That’s a good question, and a lot of people don’t under how it all comes together. But the truth is that we actually work a lot harder in the off-season. For example, we have an allotment of ten cars per team, and at the end of the year, we tear all of them down and go through all of them, while trying making our cars lighter and better overall.”
“Then, if NASCAR comes out with a rule change, we need to adapt to those changes while the cars are broken down, and we basically only have two months to do all that. If it takes six days to hang a body on a chassis, you can do the math; and the fact is that there’s really not enough time to do everything we need to get done. On top of that, you have special projects like the Daytona car; we already tested our Speedway cars at Yuma for three days, and we’ve got two other cars to test, so we run pretty much around the clock.”
“Then, I have to manage my road people, because they haven’t had any time off all year. So, now I have to figure out all of the schedules, because that process takes about eighteen people away from my total of thirty people. I have to make sure that everyone has some time off and they get a chance to see their families and and the like is a really hard thing to do.”
JR Motorsports leading driver Aric Almirola finished fourth in the 2011 Nationwide Championship, while producing 1 pole, 7 top-5s and 18 top-10s, at an average finishing position of 7th overall based on 34 events. Teammate Danica Patrick finished her partial 2011 Nationwide season in twenty-sixth place in the Championship, while producing 1 top-5 and 3 top-10s, at an average finishing position of 3rd overall, based on 12 events.