Barbour's team making progress By Shawn A. Akers HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 15, 1998) Scott Barbour knows he's got a lot to learn about being a car owner in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, a place where success doesn't come too easy or too soon. So far, however, Barbour likes what he sees from his new SB III Motorsports team, which will run full-time in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series for the first time beginning with the 1999 season. The announcement of the formation of the team, with Ricky Craven as its driver, was made in Atlanta during the final weekend of the season in November. After a trip to Japan, where the team made its debut in a NASCAR exhibition race, Barbour and his crew are feverishly making its preparations for the No. 58 Ford team's American debut in Daytona in February, the season-opening Daytona 500. "I went into this pretty wide-eyed, but I've been diligent and spent a lot of time on it," the rookie owner said. "Everything seems to be going very well right now. As a matter of fact, I'd say extremely well for where we're at with the program, you know, getting going at such a late date. But we seem to be right on target. We're very pleased with how we've built the team. "The first four races of the year are the most important things on our mind right now. With the way the points work and the provisionals and everything, that's the immediate pressing issue for us. We need to make the races and finish well to we can rack up the points." The team is in the process of getting cars built, and Barbour said some will be ready by the time the team heads to Daytona in January, where it will test twice. "Our whole goal was to start new and start with fresh metal," Barbour said. "We've got six cars right now that are in various stages of getting bodies put on them and being painted to get ready for the tests. In addition to Daytona, we're working on some short-track testing before the season kicks off, perhaps at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) and maybe at Lakeland (Fla.). The big push, however, is to be ready for the Super Bowl (the Daytona 500)." SB III Motorsports is buying its engines from Mark Smith at Tri-Star Motorsports. The chassis are being supplied by Laughlin Racing Products. Barbour said the team was disappointed with its 22nd-place finish in Japan, but that "some good things came from the race." It was the first time Craven and Mike Hillman had worked together as a team, and Barbour said he was pleased with the communication process between his driver and crew chief. "Ricky did an awesome job for his first time behind the wheel of a Ford," Barbour said. "We never went backwards. We just kept making the car better and better. The pit stops went fairly well, too. We would have like to have finished better, but a lot of positive things came out of Japan." Barbour has yet to secure major sponsorship for his No. 58 Ford team, but said that he is confident that financial backing will be in place by Daytona. "We have several irons in the fire right now," Barbour said. "We feel we're really close with a couple of them. We're still keeping the full-court press on, and hopefully we'll lock something up pretty soon." If and when a sponsor is signed, it'll be just one more notch in the team's belt to help it overcome the "new kid on the block" label in NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing.
Source: NASCAR Online