Ward Burton out at Haas-Carter

Ward Burton has been released from primary driving duties in the No. 0 Haas- Carter Chevrolet. Mike Bliss will inherit the seat starting this weekend at Darlington Raceway, and complete the season for Haas-Carter. "We've made a lot of changes...

Ward Burton has been released from primary driving duties in the No. 0 Haas- Carter Chevrolet. Mike Bliss will inherit the seat starting this weekend at Darlington Raceway, and complete the season for Haas-Carter.

"We've made a lot of changes at Haas CNC Racing this season and our performance still isn't where we think it should be," Haas CNC general manager Joe Custer said. "We feel like we are capable of a lot more and putting Mike in the car will give us an opportunity to assess another aspect of the team.

"We appreciate everything Ward has done for us during the past year and wish him the best. He has tremendous talent and heart and was an excellent spokesperson for Haas CNC Racing and for NetZero.

"We saw this change as a necessity to further our race team, look toward the future and bring it to the level at which we think we should be."

The veteran driver has had inconsistent results this year. In 34 events, he has earned eight finishes of 34th or worse and only three top ten results.

Burton was to run the Truck, Busch and Cup events this weekend. Instead, Jason Leffler will fill the Truck seat, and Justin Labonte will step into the Busch ride.

Burton started his career in NASCAR in 1990 running 23 Busch races and finishing second to Joe Nemechek in rookie of the year honors. He moved up to the Cup series in 1994.

He has five career victories including a win at the Daytona 500 in 2002. At the time of his release Burton was 29th in series rankings.

Mike Bliss was released from his job at Joe Gibbs Racing last month for the 2005 season and told he was free to pursue other options. The 2002 Craftsman Series Truck Champion has made 33 career series starts and enjoys two top ten finishes.

"This is a great opportunity for me," Bliss said. "I'm looking forward to finishing out the year in the NetZero Chevrolet and then we'll see what happens after that.

"I know this was a hard change to make and I appreciate the team's confidence in my abilities to help with its program. Hopefully I can come in and help the team build for the future."

Burton could not be reached for comment.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Jason Leffler , Joe Nemechek , Justin Labonte , Mike Bliss
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing