Moore-Robinson names Knuckles crew chief Dave Rodman
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (July 10, 1998) Team manager Greg Moore Friday announced the latest step in the rejuvenation of Robinson-Moore Motorsports, the hiring of NASCAR Winston Cup veteran Joey Knuckles as crew chief for the No. 15 Rescue Engine Formula Ford Taurus, with which the rebounding operation hopes to run as many as eight races this season with a variety of drivers. Knuckles, who will serve in his current role as a crewman for the No. 38 Akins/Sutton Barbasol Ford through Saturday night's Myrtle Beach 250 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division race at Myrtle Beach Speedway, will lead the team to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a three-day test Monday through Wednesday in preparation for the Aug. 1 Brickyard 400 with driver Tim Steele. Moore said travel schedules have kept the team's representatives from getting together with Steele, who is in Fountain, Colo., this weekend to compete in an ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series event. However, Greg Moore said the team has an agreement in principal for Steele to drive in the test and the Pennsylvania 500 in two weeks at Pocono Raceway. Steele vaulted back into serious consideration for the ride when he accelerated his recovery from a variety of injuries suffered last November in an accident in Moore's Ford in testing for the season-finale NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Steele won the ARCA race in June held in conjunction with the Pocono 500. Robinson-Moore Motorsports hopes Steele will drive in five of the eight scheduled races. Another driver, to be determined, would fill out the remaining three races in order for Steele to keep his rookie status for 1999. Greg Moore said Blaise Alexander was "still involved in the Rescue program in the Busch Series" and that he was still considered a possibility for some of the remaining events. Moore said the team would use Ernie Elliott engines for the races while they brought their in-house engine program up to speed with a "test engine" program. "Initially, Joey's gonna help us re-assemble the crew," Greg Moore said. "The big thing he brings, though, is a lot of knowledge from a lot of other teams. He's been in the Charlotte loop, which is important, but more than that he brings a lot of experience and knows what it takes to get into Victory Lane." Knuckles, 36, has more than 20 years of experience despite his youth. He once boasted "we were the original 'Six Pack'" when he crewed for NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Walter Ballard as a teenager with current series crewman Banjo Grimm, among others. He is the latest piece in the team's youth movement that includes such radical elements as a data acquisition engineer. "Joey is the type of person we needed to pull it all together," Moore said of the man who has participated in more than 60 NASCAR Winston Cup victories in a variety of roles. "We're dead serious about coming back and being competitive. Without bringing in people like Joey, we know that wouldn't be possible, but our goal right now is to become the best single-car team we can." "I'm very happy for this opportunity and I think this is a perfect time to try and get a team ready," Knuckles said. "I've always looked up to Bud Moore for advice all through my life and I can't wait to get started." Among the other steps the team has made is hiring Clemson University graduate Shane Martin, who was one of the original students in Clemson's revolutionary motorsports-based engineering program before working with Ford's NASCAR Winston Cup Series program guru Preston Miller, as data acquisition specialist. Martin and Knuckles had worked together in the past.
The former Bud Moore Engineering team, long a force in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, had not competed in a race since the end of the 1996 season, although it had tried to make several races since then. Sponsorship had been seen as the major problem but Moore said the issue was deeper than that. "The team and Bud Moore had just gotten old," Greg Moore said. "We were looking to get some youth and vigor in here and we were moving in that direction.
"Six months ago we were really moving in the right direction. Tim Steele's accident was a major stumbling block. He's recovered and it's time to proceed on."
Knuckles was named NASCAR Winston Cup "Mechanic of the Year" when he was only 16 years old and has reached Victory Lane 62 times. As a crew chief, Knuckles won four times with Davey Allison when the two were paired in the No. 28 Texaco Havoline Ford of Robert Yates. Knuckles worked for Yates from 1977-97 with the exception of a two-year stint as crew chief for Buddy Baker.
Source: NASCAR Online