Jasper Motorsports and crew chief Ryan Pemberton to part ways; Blaney and Said to team up at Homestead; Blaney also in #31 Whelen Busch Series entry at Miami.
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (November 12, 2002) -- Jasper Motorsports and Ryan Pemberton, crew chief of the #77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Ford since 1999, have mutually decided to part ways at the conclusion of the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season.
"I want to thank (owners) Doug Bawel, Mark Harrah, Mark Wallace, Robert Pressley, Dave Blaney and all of the team members of Jasper Motorsports for the opportunity and the support they've given me since 1999," said Pemberton, 33. "I'm proud of the progress that the race team has made in the last three years, and I wish continued success to all of the people that have been part of the program."
After serving as one of the youngest crew chiefs in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series for three seasons (1997-99) with the #36 MB2 Pontiac team, Pemberton joined the Mooresville, N.C.-based team prior to the 2000 season.
Under his guidance, the #77 Jasper Ford team advanced during his first two full seasons to 23rd in the standings in 2001, registering six top-ten finishes with driver Robert Pressley including the team's best career finish--a second-place performance at Chicagoland Speedway in July.
In 2002, the Jasper Motorsports team with driver Dave Blaney is currently ranked 19th, is in position to finish in the top-20 in the final owner points standings for the first time in its eight-year history and is ranked second in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in both the laps- and miles-completed categories. This fall, Pemberton became the third-youngest Winston Cup crew chief to surpass $10 million in career earnings for his entries.
"We are proud of what Ryan has brought to our team and thank him," said Doug Bawel, President of Jasper Engines & Transmissions and co-owner of the #77 Jasper Motorsports team.
* DAVE BLANEY and the #77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Ford team enter the Ford 400 at Homestead/Miami Speedway ranked 19th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series owner standings, 19 points behind the #30 Richard Childress Racing Team (Jeff Green) in 18th and 98 points behind the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Team (Bobby Labonte) in 17th; in the WC driver's standings, Blaney trails Sterling Marlin by only 67 points entering Homestead, needing to finish 31st or better to move past the inactive Marlin; with a 205-point lead over the 23rd-place #45 Petty Enterprises team of Kyle Petty prior to the Homstead race, the #77 Jasper team is assured of its best-ever points finish, topping last season's 23rd-place finish with former driver Robert Pressley.
* In the 2001 race at Homestead, BLANEY started 14th (35.351 secs.) and finished sixth behind race-winner Bill Elliott; BLANEY also has WC starts of fourth (34.852 secs.) and 19th (34.872 secs.) in 1999 and 2000, respectively, at HMS, finishing 23rd (1999) and ninth (2000); the #77 Jasper Ford started 33rd (35.626 secs.) in the 2001 race at HMS, finishing 40th, 11 laps down to Elliott.
* After 35 races in the 2002 Winston Cup season, BLANEY RANKS SECOND IN LAPS-COMPLETED (10,286 of 10,428--98.64%), behind Rusty Wallace (99%), another Penske-Jasper Engines entry; BLANEY ALSO RANKS SECOND IN MILES-COMPLETED (13,493.698 of 13,671.308--98.7%), trailing only Jimmie Johnson (98.87%--.by 23.533 miles); Wallace ranks fourth in miles-completed behind Johnson, BLANEY and Mark Martin. * BLANEY's season-best qualifying effort is third (Richmond 2), matching his WC career-best at Atlanta (11/01), and is one of five top-ten starts in 2002; his seventh-place finish last weekend at Phoenix was his fifth top-ten finish of the season and his best finish of 2002; his career-best WC finish is sixth (Texas, Michigan 2, Miami-- 2001).
* For the third time this season, BLANEY will team with BORIS SAID in a two-car Jasper Motorsports effort; SAID, who ran both road-course races (at Sears Point and Watkins Glen) in the #67 Jasper Ford this summer, will be attempting to qualify for his first oval race in a Winston Cup car; he has two starts at HMS in the Craftsman Truck Series in 1997 (starting second, finishing 32nd-engine failure) and 1998 (starting fifth, finishing 24th).
* SAID, the record-setting 2002 Trans-Am Series champion, will be attempting to make his eighth career NASCAR Winston Cup start at Homestead this weekend; in 1998 at Watkins Glen, SAID qualified the #23 Ford (for Jimmy Spencer) fifth and finished 20th in his inaugural WC race; in 1999 at The Glen, SAID qualified the #14 Federated Auto Parts entry on the outside pole beside pole-winner Rusty Wallace, but finished 42nd after dropping out with engine failure on Lap 48; in 2002, SAID started 10th and 29th, and finished 41st and 13th, respectively, in two starts in the #67 Jasper Ford at Sears Point and at Watkins Glen; in 64 starts as a Craftsman Truck Series regular, SAID registered six top-five finishes, including a victory at Heartland Park in Topeka, KN. (8/98) and a second-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway (6/97).
* The 39-year old SAID, Director of Motorsports for No Fear, started his racing career in motorcross in 1975 and was the SCCA Corvette Challenge 1Rookie-of-the-Year in 1988; he progressed through the SCCA and Trans-Am ranks in the 1990's to become one of America's premier road racers; SAID finished first in GT1 and third in GTS in the 1997 Rolex 24-Hour race at Daytona and entered the 2002 seasons as the twice-defending champion of the GT class in the American Le Mans Series with the BMW Motorsports Team; SAID also raced in two 24-hour events at Le Mans, winning the GT2 pole in 1994 and finishing second in 1995.
* SAID joins JEFF FULTZ, the 2002 NASCAR All-Pro Series champion and a full-time #77 Jasper team member, and #77 transporter driver BILL LEWIS, the 2002 WC Series champion, as the third 2002 series champion with connections to the Jasper Motorsports; SAID won the 2002 Trans-Am Series championship in October at Road Atlanta; with his race-win in the season-finale (10/26) at Virginia International Raceway--his eighth in 12 starts and fifth straight--SAID registered the 100th Trans-Am win for Ford and joined Tommy Kendall (11 wins) and the late Mark Donohue (10) as the only Trans-Am drivers to win at least eight races in a single-season in Trans-Am history.
* MARK HARRAH, one of the Jasper Motorsports owners, will serve as crew chief for the #67 Jasper Motorsports Ford for SAID this weekend at Homestead; HARRAH served as crew chief for both of SAID's 2002 starts with Jasper Motorsports and won the ARCA Series race with Fultz at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC in May; HARRAH also served as crew chief for the #77 Jasper team for the final 14 races of the 1999 season for then-driver Robert Pressley, prior to the arrival of Ryan Pemberton for the start of the 2000 Winston Cup season; as the #77 crew chief, HARRAH had a best-start of 12th (Bristol) and a best-finish of 24th (Charlotte).
* BLANEY will also compete in his first NASCAR Busch Series race of the 2002 season at Homestead, driving the #31 Whelen Chevrolet owned by former NASCAR Modified owner Ted Marsh; BLANEY tested last week at HMS with the Marsh Racing team, which has six top-15 finishes (in 17 starts) over the past two seasons of limited Busch Series competition, including a best-finish of fourth at Bristol last August with driver Steve Park.
* In only 60 Busch starts, BLANEY has won six BGN pole positions (all in track-record time) at Charlotte (10/1/98 and 5/25/00), Atlanta (3/13/99), Texas (3/27/99), Colorado Springs (7/23/99) and Michigan (8/19/99) and outside poles at St. Louis (10/17/98) and Charlotte (10/7/99); BLANEY's career average BGN start (57 qualifying sessions) since his rookie season (2/98) is 12.596.
* With Crew Chief Martin at the helm, BLANEY completed the 1999 Busch Series season ranked sixth in the team owner standings with 3,691 points, and BLANEY ranked seventh in the driver's standings with 3,582 points in his second NASCAR season; among his 15 top-15 finishes in 1999 were seconds at Atlanta (March) and Darlington (September); he made five WC starts in 1999, qualifying in the top-ten at Miami (4th) and Atlanta (7th); BLANEY's best BGN finish in 2000 was third (Dover-9/23;Charlotte-10/7).
* BLANEY tied with Jeff Green for the most Busch Series pole positions in 1999 (four); BLANEY's average start (12.21--29 races) ranked fourth behind Earnhardt (9.04--29 races), Green (10.38--29 races) and Matt Kenseth (10.92); BLANEY's improvement (29thto 6th)was the best among all Busch drivers.
* Rusty Wallace leads the three Penske-Jasper Engines entries in the 2002 Winston Cup driver standings, tied (with Jimmie Johnson) for fourth-place (4,453 points--seven top-fives and a 17 top-tens), 238 points behind leader Tony Stewart; Ryan Newman (4,438 points--1 win (NH-2), 14 top-fives, 21 top-tens) ranks seventh, only 23 points behind third-place Kurt Busch; BLANEY and the #77 Jasper team rank 19th in the WC owners points (3,636 points); BLANEY ranked 23rd entering the 36th race of the 2001 season (New Hampshire) in the #93 BDR Dodge.