Mast, Wilson to lead Yarborough team By Shawn A. Akers CONCORD, N.C. (Dec. 30, 1998) In an attempt to revive its struggling NASCAR Winston Cup Series program, Cale Yarborough Motorsports has secured the services of driver Rick Mast and veteran mechanic Waddell Wilson to help lead the No. 98 Ford team into the 1999 season. Wilson worked with Yarborough on Harry Ranier's NASCAR Winston Cup Series team in the early-to-mid-1980s -- including a pair of Daytona 500 victories in 1983-84. He takes on duties as the team's general manager, effective last Monday.
The No. 98 team lost its primary sponsorship at the end of the 1998 season when Thorn Apple Valley Meats announced it would not be back for another year. At one time, it appeared as if the team would shut its doors, and all but nine employees were laid off. Yarborough, however, said he's gotten some financial help recently from some investors, and that he hopes to announce a sponsorship deal sometime in the near future.
"I wish I knew," Yarborough said, not speculating on when the sponsorship announcement might be made. "We really wanted to keep this thing going, and the investors have made a big difference. Now we've got a good driver, Waddell is with us, so we're going to go full bore into 1999."
Yarborough would not elaborate on who the investors were, where the financial help was coming from, or how much it was. The team finished 39th in owner points in 1998.
Mast, who has been without a ride since parting ways with team owner Butch Mock's No. 75 Remington Arms Ford team at the end of the 1998 campaign, will be the third full-time driver in less than a year to get behind the wheel of the No. 98 Ford. Greg Sacks drove for Yarborough at the beginning of last season and, when he was injured in an accident in the Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in April, Rich Bickle took over and finished out the remainder of the year.
Mast finished 33rd in the standings in 1998, managing only one top-10 (an eighth-place effort at Sears Point). Yarborough, however, said he feels fortunate to have Mast behind the wheel of his car.
"We're certainly glad to have Rick and we were glad he was available," said Yarborough, the former three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion. "Just about everybody else had their deals done, and I was awful happy that he hadn't gotten his done yet. He's got a lot of experience, and I've got a lot of respect for Rick Mast as a driver."
With the Ranier team, Yarborough and Wilson won nine races as driver and crew chief, respectively, between 1983 and '86, in only 60 starts. The Ranier team won four times in 1983 in only 16 starts.
Wilson, who claimed 22 victories as a crew chief between 1979 and 1993, has since worked for several teams. He spent this past season at Mattei Motorsports, but informed team owner Jim Mattei prior to the holidays that he'd be taking the position with Yarborough.
"Waddell and I had a great run together," Yarborough said. "I've been wanting to get together with him for a long time, but the situation never presented itself. It's good to be back with him."
"I had a lot of success in the past thanks to Cale -- that was the great years," Wilson said. "We were really good friends then and we've remained great friends, and it's really good to be back with him.
"We know we've got a long way to go here, and a lot of hard work to do. We know one thing's for sure. The engine shop here is intact, and that's one of our strong points. With Rick Mast driving the car and Fatback (crew chief Michael McSwain) calling the shots, I feel pretty good about that, too. We've got a great group of guys here, and we're going to try to add some more and get this thing up to speed."
Wilson said the team is currently in the process of hiring more help for the upcoming season, including in-shop personnel and road crew members to work with McSwain, who came on board late in the 1998 campaign.
The team plans to be at the second Daytona test for Ford cars on Jan. 12-13 in preparation for the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 14.
"One of our biggest things is that we have to find out what Rick likes," Wilson said. "We have to get familiar with him and his driving style. We've got some good race cars, now we just have to fit them to what Rick wants."
Source: NASCAR Online