Jack Roush said today that he took his eye off the ball, allowing another team to spirit away Matt Kenseth.
The Roush Fenway Racing co-owner told
reporters at Kentucky Speedway that he was shocked when Kenseth informed him
recently that he will leave at the end of the 2012 campaign. “I will say I was
surprised when I learned he would not be signing with us," said Roush.
"I won't comment on any of the negotiations, because we have an agreement
not to talk about that."
Roush said he erred by focusing too much on
the nuts-and-bolts aspects of his operation, and not enough on contracts,
sponsorships and business-related affairs.
"If I had been as vigilant and
diligent and interested in that side of the business as I am on finding why a
fuel pump broke, or why a connecting rod bearing failed, or how we could get
the next pound of downforce... if I had been taking care of the business side
of the business as hard as I tried to take care of the technical side I might
have been able to stop it."
Roush, a longtime opponent of Toyota, gave
a hint to Kenseth’s future plans, saying, "From my standpoint, he will be
moving to the dark side."
The veteran team owner said he is confident
that Kenseth’s No. 17 Best Buy Ford team will be able to continue its quest for
the 2012 Sprint Cup Series championship, adding he remains a fan and friend of
his longtime driver.
"I have not lost respect for Matt and
I hope he hasn't for me," he said. "(But) I won't have the same sense
of wishing for his success on the race track next year that I will for the
balance of this year. He will -- from my point of view be moving to the dark
side – (but) we will get through that. Personally, we will be fine.”