Winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship this year is a top priority for Dave Pericak, the boss of Ford Performance, the automaker's racing arm.
As part of Pericak's quest, he spent a lot of time analyzing the problems Roush Fenway Racing had last year, when the team went winless for the first time since 1996 and failed to place a driver in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Roush Fenway has been an elite team, but has fallen on hard times the past couple of seasons. Pericak is confident this year will be better.
"A lot of people say, 'How do you fix something like that?'" Pericak said Wednesday afternoon at Ford's stop on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. "It starts with, you have to go back and figure out if they've still got the fire in the belly? And at the end of the day, we do, and so does (team founder and co-owner Jack) Roush.
"You look at a team like Roush -- Jack's a legend in the sport," Pericak said. "It wasn't a matter of, did we have a championship team and did they know what they're doing. The answer is yes. You have to really figure out what is the root of the problem. Because you can throw a lot of technology, you can throw a lot of changes at things. You can basically put Band-Aids on things. But if you never get to the root of the problem, then you're never going to truly fix it."
Pericak wouldn't disclose what the root of Roush's woes are, but he sees a big step forward in 2016. "I believe we have figured that out," he said. "We have everyone's commitment. We spent a lot of time working on that. We've been rebuilding throughout last season, and we're ready this season to emerge with a new race team, and I'm excited about where Roush Fenway's going to be."
Roush, too, sees a big 2016 ahead.
"I have never felt more excitement as I walk through the shop and monitor the meetings," Roush said. "And I have never felt more enthusiasm to get speed in the cars off the truck to race for wins at the individual events and compete for championships and build the careers of everybody involved."