Stewart-Haas Manufacturer Switch Will Create New Jobs

Courtesy photo/ROush Yates Engines

By Jerry Jordan, Editor

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – One of the biggest stories of the 2016 NASCAR season played out early in the year with the announcement that Stewart-Haas Racing would switch from Chevrolet to Ford in 2017 – a move that caught most everyone off-guard. Now, with the season winding down, the countdown is on for that switch to become a reality and Roush Yates Engines is working behind the scenes to ensure it is up to the task of putting power under the SHR hoods.

“Roush Yates Engines, right now, is in the process of increasing inventory and getting prepared,” said Jeff Clark, Vice President of Sales for Roush Yates Engines. “We don’t build the engines yet because technology is always changing but we are reviewing applications and potential employees – that will be more of a November/December item. And then acquiring the inventory, a lot of the parts in these engines require long lead-times. There are three, four, five or six months of lead time on these items, so we’re trying to get the hard parts together and just prepare as much as possible for when it is go-time.”

Clark’s relationship with Yates dates back to 1991 when he began his career on the #28 Robert Yates Racing machine of Davey Allison. He was a jack man and quickly moved up to engine department. His role at Roush Yates Engines is build relationships with race teams and help find other business opportunities for the organization. He currently has direct dealings with 17 racing organizations across all three of NASCAR’s top touring series.

Clark said he believes one thing that attracted Stewart-Haas to Ford and Roush Yates power is the reliability and the level of detail put into every part and piece. He said that level of attention won’t decrease because of the added work of bringing on the four SHR cars of Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick in 2017.

“It’s a wholesale change for them (Stewart-Haas Racing) a manufacturer change,” Clark said. “You know Doug Yates, our team in the engineering department, our quality assurance department and our process of inspecting parts are top-level, it’s aerospace quality and they are steadily giving us confidence at the track that our parts are good. One of the first years we started those process led to a championship for Dale Jarrett way back in the day. We’ve improved it since then and we feel we can deliver the same type of quality and horsepower for Stewart-Haas next year.”

Clark doesn’t have an exact number of people the organization will need to bring on to fulfill the new workload but he knows they will be choosing from the best-of-the-best in the sport. He said they have received a lot of interest from engine experts looking to fill the void and that have led to numerous applications and resumes. He said management is poring over stats to determine how much the workload will increase to be ready for 2017.

“That is the magic question, right now,” Clark said. “We are going through all of our org-charts, looking at all of the departments and the productivity we currently have and then multiplying it by the addition of the four teams and that is going to give us our number. To give you a firm number right now, we don’t have that. It is more about getting quality people and getting the right person in the right job so we can keep the quality up.”

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