Diamond Ridge ends NASCAR Winston Cup Series program By Shawn A. Akers CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 28, 1998) Diamond Ridge Motorsports owner Gary H. Bechtel announced Tuesday that his No. 29 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, which ...
Diamond Ridge ends NASCAR Winston Cup Series program By Shawn A. Akers CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 28, 1998)
Diamond Ridge Motorsports owner Gary H. Bechtel announced Tuesday that his No. 29 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, which fielded cars for Jeff Green, will cease its operations, effective immediately.
The team, which has run full NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedules since 1994, failed to make four of the seven races in which it attempted to qualify this season, including last weekend's DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The No. 29 Diamond Ridge Chevrolet had run without a sponsor all year.
"Yeah, not having the sponsor did put a burden on us, but it was really a situation where our 29 Winston Cup team just wasn't clicking at all," Bechtel said. "We've been pretty much disheartened since Talladega.
"We felt like we stepped back and did some reorganization, and we had hoped that would help us get going in the right direction. But not making the show at Talladega just proved to us that we just couldn't get things right with the team, and that's why we made the decision to shut down. Talladega was just kinda the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak."
After Green and the team failed to qualify for last month's Food City 500 at Bristol, Bechtel decided to suspend operations for two races, missing events at Texas and Martinsville in order to do some restructuring and hopefully turn the program around.
Things never clicked at Talladega, and the team was forced to go home again without making the show.
The No. 29 Chevrolet team, which has had seven drivers behind the wheel since 1994, never finished higher than fourth in a race during that time. Green accomplished that feat in the season finale at Atlanta last year.
"I reflect on Atlanta, and after what we and Jeff did there last year, we had some really high expectations going into this season," Bechtel said. "We were really encouraged by that and thought we were on the right track, but it just didn't pan out that way.
"More than anything, we feel sorry for Jeff because we feel like we left him down by not providing him better equipment. Jeff is a great driver, and we're just sorry that we couldn't make the situation a better one for him."
Bechtel said Green is now free to pursue other driving opportunities, and that he hopes his friend can land with a team that will help him get to Victory Lane.
Diamond Ridge will continue to field cars for its two NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division teams with drivers Elliott Sadler and Hermie Sadler. Bechtel said the three teams will be consolidated down to two.
The driver of the No. 66 Phillips 66 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series, Elliott Sadler is currently fourth in the series point standings with a victory in 1998 and three top-five finishes. Hermie Sadler, the driver of the No. 29 DeWalt Tools Chevrolet, is sixth in the NASCAR Busch Series point race.
Diamond Ridge Motorsports will also continue to prepare NASCAR Winston Cup cars for Elliott Sadler, with his first effort being the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway next month. Bechtel said the team is getting close to signing a sponsor and hopes to have the deal done by then.
"On one side, we're very sad for Jeff, but on the other, we're very excited for Elliott," Bechtel said. "Jeff was very instrumental early on in Elliott's Busch career in getting him to where he is today. The two had a very good chemistry. We think Elliott's got a very bright future ahead, and we're looking forward to seeing what he can do in the Cup car."
Source: NASCAR Online