Johns named crew chief for Schrader, Petree

EAST FLAT ROCK, N.C. (Dec. 14, 1998) Sam Johns, who most recently worked as the crew chief for American Equipment Racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, has been hired by Andy Petree to serve as crew chief for his Andy Petree Racing No. 33 Skoal Bandit Chevrolet team with driver Ken Schrader. Petree himself had formerly served as crew chief for Schrader, but with the addition of a second team to the APR stable, the No. 55 Square D Chevrolet driven by Kenny Wallace, Petree felt it was time to relinquish some of his responsibilities. "It was time for me to find someone who could give Kenny and the Skoal Bandit Racing team the time and attention needed to be a success," Petree said. "Since we added another full-time team, my business responsibilities have increased that meant that my responsibilities as a crew chief had been sacrificed to take care of the business end. I felt the team needed a qualified person that could make the minute-to-minute decisions that crew chiefs are forced to make on a daily basis and Sam Johns was the obvious choice. "Terry Satchell (engineer for the No. 33 Skoal Bandit Chevy) and myself had worked with Sammy through a consulting agreement we had with Buz McCall and American Equipment Racing. Our confidence in Sammy was reinforced the 1998 season while working with him at the race track on weekends. I feel that being with our team and working closely with a talent like Ken Schrader will be a great opportunity for Sammy. And from what I know of his abilities, I believe he'll make our team even stronger. It's a win-win deal." Johns will have some big shoes to fill, but he is looking forward to the challenge. "I am truly looking forward to the chance to work with Kenny, Andy and Terry, who are all veterans of the sport," Johns said. "Andy is one of the most successful crew chiefs in the sport and I am very excited to he able to learn from him. There is no other way to learn how to be a great crew chief except experience. I think I have the opportunity to gain valuable experience working with the entire Andy Petree organization. "I have always set high goals for myself and we are doing the same for the Skoal Bandit Racing team in 1999. Our goals for next year are to win races and to finish the season in the top-five in points. Our ultimate goal is to win the championship, but we also have to be realistic. We want to be able to build our racing program and improve each year. "Sammy is going to fit right in with the Andy Petree Racing organization," Satchell said. "With the experience and support of Andy and myself, I think Sammy will have the opportunity to grow and gain experience as a crew chief. I had the opportunity to work with Sammy while he was at American Equipment Racing and I felt that he was logical, methodical and experienced in the racing industry. "Since Andy and I will be sharing our focus between the two NASCAR Winston Cup teams, Sammy will take full charge of the Skoal Bandit Racing team." Schrader said he favored the latest hire. "Andy has a full plate with running a business that employs almost 90 people, so it was time to get somebody who could look over every nut and bolt on the No. 33," Schrader said. "I came over to Andy Petree Racing for the opportunity to work with Andy and I am still going to be able to do that. Sammy is going to be a great addition to the team, but Andy is going to help him every step of the way. "To have someone like Sammy overseeing every detail while at the track and at the shop should help the performance of the No. 33 a ton." Schrader challenged for his second straight top-10 finish in the NASCAR Winston Cup points in 1998, but fell short and ended up 12th in his second year with Petree.

Source: NASCAR Online