Report from Motorsport News International
Thanks to NASCAR Online
Moise finds ride, sponsor for '98 By Shawn A. Akers NASCAR Online
CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 3, 1997)
Being a spectator hasn't agreed with Patty Moise. The itch to go racing again has been a strong one this year, but because of past experiences, she wasn't going to rush into anything with just any old team. Enter Michael Waltrip and Rhodes Furniture. Moise, who has run only one NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division race this season, has signed a two-year deal with Rhodes and Michael Waltrip Inc. to drive a second car for Waltrip's team for the entire 30-race schedule, beginning in 1998, it was announced Friday. Moise, who ran her own team for a couple of seasons, lost her sponsor following the 1996 campaign, and due to financial reasons, has been sidelined this season. She started one race at Dover in May, but lasted only five laps when she was involved in a crash. She also tried to make the field at Watkins Glen, but failed to qualify. "Race car drivers make terrible spectators, and I'll tell you, I was right there amongst them making a terrible spectator," Moise said. "The driver wife duty fills my plate well, and I guess it helped in some ways to watch and you do learn a certain amount, but there's nothing like actually driving." Rhodes, an Atlanta-based home furnishings retailer, will be joined in the sponsorship by six of America's premier home furnishing manufacturers who are supporting the effort with associate sponsorships. They include: Simmons, maker of Beautyrest and other bedding products; Kroehler Company, manufacturers of upholstered furniture; Berkline, suppliers of motion furniture; La-Z-Boy, provider of home, office and institutional furniture; Kincaid Furniture, the world's largest manufacturer of solid wood furniture; and Sealy, makers of bedding and upholstered furniture. "In comparison with the other sponsorships in the Busch Series, Rhodes is right there at the top," Moise said. "I don't think there's any that have committed dollar-wise and support-wise any more than they are doing with this team. You can't do it without that kind of financial effort, as everybody well knows, so I'm grateful for their support for the next two years.'' Moise says she's concerned about not having raced this year, but will lean on Waltrip and his expertise to help get her pointed in the right direction next season. Waltrip will run a limited 17-race schedule in his No. 21 Band-Aid Ford. "That's one of the places that's really going to help to have Michael there racing and practicing and testing as well," said Moise, whose husband, Elton Sawyer, is currently in the top-10 in the NASCAR Busch Series point race. "It's not only me being a little rusty, but we're interjecting the new body as well, which causes me a little bit of concern, but it's supposed to be good. I've got a lot of confidence in the team and in the new Taurus. "As far as the team goes, obviously Michael has got a lot of experience,'' Moise said. "He's a knowledgeable racer, and that's going to do nothing but help me. And the fact that he's going to be running in 17 of the races I'll be running in will only be an advantage to me, especially since we'll be going to some of the newer tracks that I didn't get a chance to run on this year. I haven't raced at Texas or Vegas or California. Michael will have been to those tracks but the time we go. Hopefully that will help my learning curve at those places." Ronnie Silver, crew chief for Moise's previous team, will head up the crew for the No. 14 Rhodes Ford next season. "I feel like we can give Patty the best effort she's ever had," Waltrip said. "She hit it right on the head. I've been to the race tracks, I know what it takes to be competitive. We started our team last year and we've been very successful and very competitive on the track. We feel like our best is yet to come. We're excited because we know that Patty has a lot of talent and given the right situation, like this, she can be successful." Both cars, Waltrip's and Moise's, will have Roush Racing engines in them.