RYR announces organization changes for upcoming NASCAR season
Mike Ford, Barry Swift return; Eddie D'Hondt is General Manager
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (November 19, 2003) --- Robert Yates Racing announced today several changes to key personnel positions for the No. 88 UPS and No. 38 M&Ms® Racing Teams. Eddie D'Hondt was hired in late October to assume the role of General Manager for the organization, while Mike Ford and Barry Swift return to RYR where the pair was part of the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship team. Effective immediately, Ford will assume crew chief duties for driver Dale Jarrett and the No. 88 UPS Team while Swift will oversee all work performed while serving as the shop foreman for both teams.
"This is just the beginning of the changes we will be making over the course of the next month," said owner Robert Yates. "We obviously slipped in 2003 from where everyone expects us to perform and that is everyone from our sponsors, to the media and most importantly ourselves. We know that championship caliber teams require the talent of experienced people and securing the right people is the first step in getting ourselves back to the level that everyone expects us to perform.
"Mike Ford and Barry Swift were with us when we won the championship in 1999, and really have proven their talent and capabilities while they have been away. It means a lot to have them back. For us, the 2004 season starts today with the addition of Mike and Barry moving forward. This is going to be an aggressive multi-step process which Eddie and our staff are in the midst of formulating and this is just the first step."
Ford and Swift worked at Robert Yates Racing through the 1999 season, winning the NASCAR Winston Cup championship before leaving to join Evernham Motorsports. In four seasons as crew chief for the No. 9 team and driver Bill Elliott, Ford led the team to four wins with the most prestigious being the 2002 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and most recently the Pop Secret 400 at North Carolina Speedway.
"It feels like being home," Ford said of his return to RYR. "The organization has obviously grown since I left, but there are a lot of familiar faces around. I always enjoyed working with Dale, and I know coming into this the talent he has as a race car driver. I feel like I can contribute to getting this team turned around from the recent performance. I know it is going to be a lot of work, but knowing the kind of driver Dale is and the support Robert (Yates) puts into this organization, I know we can have better results."