CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 1, 1998) Gary H. Bechtel, owner of Diamond Ridge Motorsports, has announced that NASCAR veteran Jimmy Johnson has joined the organization as a consultant in the capacity of acting general manager. Diamond...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 1, 1998)
Gary H. Bechtel, owner of Diamond Ridge Motorsports, has announced that NASCAR veteran Jimmy Johnson has joined the organization as a consultant in the capacity of acting general manager.
Diamond Ridge announced earlier this week that it had suspended competing with its No. 29 NASCAR Winston Cup Series team with driver Jeff Green due to unsatisfactory performance. The team stated it would pull out of two events in order to reorganize its NASCAR Winston Cup Series program.
Part of the reorganization will include Johnson taking over as general manager for all four divisions of Diamond Ridge Motorsports until his relocation to Florida in June. Johnson formerly held a similar position at Hendrick Motorsports until they parted company earlier this spring.
"Diamond Ridge Motorsports has grown into a substantial-sized racing operation," Bechtel said. "Since we currently field four race teams, we felt it necessary to step back and observe our current management situation to see if any changes could be made to increase our performance. The addition of Jimmy Johnson will be vital to our organization."
Diamond Ridge Motorsports had been running the full NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule with Green in the unsponsored No. 29 Chevrolet, and two full NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division schedules, with Elliott Sadler in the No. 66 Phillips 66 Chevrolet and brother Hermie Sadler in the No. 29 DeWalt Tools Chevrolet.
It will also run a limited, five-race NASCAR Winston Cup Series program with Elliott Sadler, who won the most recent NASCAR Busch Series event -- his fourth victory in two years -- at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Johnson will be responsible for managing all of the racing operations for the four teams.
Johnson was born on July 23, 1946 in Whiteville, N.C. He now lives in Mooresville, N.C., with his wife, Priscilla, and their three children: Jamie, Ryan and Dustin. Prior to joining Diamond Ridge, Johnson served as general manager for Hendrick Motorsports.
Under his guidance, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams at Hendrick Motorsports won 57 events, more than $35 million and garnered 146 front-row starting positions, including 59 Bud Pole Awards.
With the current reorganization at Diamond Ridge, Wes Ward will serve solely as crew chief on the No. 29 NASCAR Winston Cup Series program. Ward and Green have worked well together and have enjoyed success in the NASCAR Busch Series as well as success during the 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. Last season they picked up a NASCAR Busch Series win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and two NASCAR Winston Cup Series top-10 finishes (a seventh at California Speedway and a fourth at Atlanta Motor Speedway).
"By allowing Wes to focus all his energies toward the No. 29 Winston Cup program, I believe we will see Diamond Ridge Motorsports moving towards the front of the pack," Bechtel said. "Wes and Jeff have enjoyed a lot of success their two years together. I believe they are more focused than ever on performance and that is exciting for our program."
The 1998 season marks the fifth full year on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series for Bechtel and his Diamond Ridge outfit. The team is without sponsorship and is open to any opportunities that may be available. Source: NASCAR Online