CarQuest Auto Parts 250 Friday Notebook By Shawn A. Akers
MADISON, Ill. (Oct. 16, 1998) Some notes and quotes Friday surrounding Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division CarQuest Auto Parts 250 at Gateway International Raceway:
Andy Michner's injuries, suffered in a crash a couple of weeks ago while testing for BACE Motorsports at Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, prevented him from making his NASCAR Busch Series debut this weekend in the CarQuest Auto Parts 250. Now, it's quite possible that Michner might also miss the season-finale Jiffy Lube Miami 300 on Nov. 15 as well. The young driver, who was recently signed for a full-time ride next year with BACE in the No. 26 Bayer/Alka-Seltzer Chevrolet, is still recovering, and slowly, from two broken bones in his right leg and a severe cut on his right foot suffered during the accident while testing at Homestead, which could keep him out of action until next season.
Paula Pickette, a spokesperson for BACE Motorsports, said Michner's condition is guarded, but that his prospects of running at Homestead are not good at this point.
Speaking of BACE Motorsports, Pickette said BACE and owner Bill Baumgarnder still intend to run three teams next season, despite the loss of two of its drivers, Randy LaJoie and Tim Fedewa, who recently announced that they would not return to the team in 1999. Both drivers and sponsorship for other the two teams are currently in limbo, but Pickette said Baumgardner has been negotiating with some companies, including FINA, who has sponsored the No. 74 Chevrolet driven by LaJoie for the past three seasons. Pickette said Baumgardner came out of a recent meeting with FINA "very optimistic."
Michner and the No. 26 Bayer/Alka-Seltzer team are the only sure commodities at this point for BACE Motorsports for the 1999 campaign.
Fedewa will have a new associate sponsor on his No. 33 Kleenex Chevrolet for Saturday's CarQuest Auto Parts 250. Voss Printing will be on board the BACE Motorsports vehicle for a one-race deal.
The Voss Printing logo will appear on the lower rear quarter panels of the Fedewa-piloted Chevrolet.
The No. 57 Progressive Motorsports Chevrolet team, with driver Jason Keller, has a new crew chief in Harold Holly, former crew chief for Chad Little in the NASCAR Busch Series and recently the crew chief of the No. 6 Power Team Chevrolet, with driver Joe Bessey.
Holly replaces Jamie Jones, who resigned his position with Progressive Motorsports recently to take the same position with the No. 89 Fiberall/Allerest Chevrolet team, with driver Ashton Lewis.
"We felt like we had to make some changes considering the way we've run recently," said Keller, who has fallen to 15th in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings in recent weeks. "We think it's going to be a good combination with us and Harold. Hopefully we'll be able to make some noise the last four races of the season."
Thursday's 1 1/2-hour practice session saw Eric Jones, attempting to make his NASCAR Busch Series debut this weekend in the No. 70 Adrian Carriers Chevrolet, hit the wall hard going into turns 3 and 4. The team was forced to go to a backup for practice and qualifying on Friday.
Jones is substituting for Dale Fischlein in the No. 70 Chevrolet this weekend at Gateway.
Although he currently lives in Charlotte, N.C., Perry Tripp isn't unfamiliar with the St. Louis area and its race tracks. Tripp, who attempted to qualify the No. 7 Vermont American Chevrolet for Saturday's CarQuest Auto Parts 250, was a regular on St. Louis area tracks while running modifieds, sprints, midgets and then stock cars with the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series before heading south. Tripp's last NASCAR Busch Series event was in June when he qualified the No. 7 Ed Whitaker-owned Chevrolet at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, Colo. He finished 39th in the LYCOS.com 250 there, and brought back that same car in an attempt to qualify for Saturday's race.
Source: NASCAR Online