LOS ANGELES (Jan. 5, 2000) Jeff Purvis placed sixth in the Busch standings.
Jeff Purvis came to the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division proud of his dirty reputation. He is, after all, one of the most successful dirt-track drivers ever on American soil with 350 career short-track victories.
He didn't capture any victories in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1999, but he did till the soil for a sixth-place finish in the final point standings, planting the seeds for an even stronger run at the championship in 2000. Sixth is Purvis' best series finish, one that brought the driver of the Lance Snacks Chevrolet from Joe Gibbs Racing a healthy amount of change.
Purvis parlayed his success on the short tracks to a part-time ride in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1990. He won twice in 1996, his first full season on the circuit. He hasn't won since, but only ran the full series for the last two years and he has shown flashes of being a championship contender over the years.
One of only eight drivers in the series in 1999 to make every one of the 32 races on the schedule, Purvis put together arguably his best season to date by finishing sixth in the points. And he did it without the benefit of a victory.
Purvis got off to a rough start in 1999. He started 40th and finished 41st in the season-opening NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway. He would finish 40th or worse three more times on the season, but he would also go on to post four top-5 finishes, 12 top-10s and 19 top-15s.
Purvis would get his revenge on the superspeedways by earning his best finish of the season, third, in the Touchstone Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway, the season's ninth race. He would match that finish two races later in the New Hampshire 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway.
It was just the beginning of the strongest stretch of the season for Purvis. In a 20-race span in the middle of the year, Purvis racked up all 12 of his top-10 finishes. He then went on to finish the season the way he started it -- with six straight finishes outside of the top-10.
If Purvis can stretch the consistency he found midway through last season a little farther, he will probably find himself much farther up in the points. Then the dirt on Purvis will be that he's a pretty tough driver on asphalt, too.