'BACE is back,' owner proclaims By Marty Smith
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Jan. 10, 2000) BACE Motorsports owner Bill Baumgardner on Monday announced the hiring of Alan Russell and Billy Nacewicz as the crew chiefs his Nos. 33 and 74 Chevrolets, respectively, in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division next season.
Neither individual is a stranger to BACE Motorsports. Russell was a crewmember for the No. 74 team for four seasons, three of which resulted in NASCAR Busch Series championships. Johnny Benson won the title in 1995, and Randy LaJoie notched back-to-back championships in '96 and '97. In 1999, Russell ventured to Progressive Motorsports to serve as shop foreman, but returned to BACE in December to fulfill a dream.
"I am extremely excited about this opportunity to work with BACE Motorsports again," said Russell, who will lead 1999 NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year Tony Raines, who moves from the No. 74 car to the Bayer-sponsored No. 33 in NASCAR 2000. "The crew chief position is one I have worked toward all these years. We have put together a good team and I look for good things to come in 2000."
Baumgardner agrees, and anticipates that Russell, a former driver himself, is the man to take Raines to the top of the NASCAR Busch Series ranks.
"Alan Russell is one of the most talented people we have ever had at BACE Motorsports," Baumgardner said. "He is highly developed in his understanding of the dynamics of a racecar from a mechanical point, has personal track experience as a competitive driver in both Busch and ARCA and has demonstrated his ability as a leader of his fellow crewmen in his years at BACE.
"While he brings these time-tested attributes to his new position, he remains a willing advocate of new ideas and techniques. Alan's name is synonymous with winning and he appears in most of the many Victory Lane photos in our shop to prove it."
Much like Russell, Nacewicz' resume' speaks for itself. During an unmatched decade of dominance with late open-wheel driver Richie Evans, Nacewicz compiled an astounding 400-plus victories and eight-straight National Modified Championships. In 1995, Nacewicz brought his expertise to the NASCAR SuperTruck Series, guiding driver Scott Laggassee to a ninth-place finish.
In 1996, he joined BACE Motorsports, and has been there ever since.
"Billy Nacewicz is a cornerstone of the success enjoyed by BACE Motorsports in years past," Baumgardner said. "Billy has always been a racer's racer but also possesses an uncanny aptitude for managing and motivating people, including me, while maintaining an uninterrupted focus on the overall business objectives of modern racing.
"Billy, as crew chief, will have both the freedom and the opportunity to bring together all of his experience and people skills to develop his BACE team into a championship effort. Our trust in Billy has been earned repeatedly and is well placed."
By placing two seasoned veterans in the lead roles of his teams, Baumgardner is confident of a return to past glory.
"BACE is back," he said.