Schwantz trying to maintain NASCAR presence By Shawn A. Akers
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 11, 1998) Former motorcycle 500cc Grand Prix world champion Kevin Schwantz hasn't been soured by a difficult debut experience in NASCAR racing, despite the fact that he's had to all but shut down his NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division team, Lone Star Motorsports. The Texas native labels himself a survivor, and that's exactly what he intends to do when it comes to his stock car racing career. After Schwantz made what he termed "a small investment" into Ridling Motorsports as part owner of the team in 1997, primary owner David Ridling dropped out of the sport early in 1998 when financial problems beset the team. That handed sole ownership of the No. 88 Chevrolet team over to Schwantz, who made the best of a trying situation with sponsorship and made a total of 11 NASCAR Busch Series starts this season. His financial situation never got any better over the course of the season, and recently, he was forced to lay off all of his race team employees save for one receptionist at the shop. While barely keeping his head above water these days, Schwantz said he hasn't given up hope of making it in the NASCAR Busch Series just yet. "Basically right now I'm just trying to cut cost and find some money, because the team payroll was way too much without sponsorship," said Schwantz, who had two top-20 finishes this season as a Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate in the NASCAR Busch Series, including an eighth-place run in the season-opening NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway in February. "We don't really have anything promising at this point, and we hope to do a little bit of racing next year in the Busch Series. "I've really enjoyed the Busch Series, and I don't regret making the move here because I've met a lot of people. It's just that I felt like last year we kinda got caught behind the eight ball. We made the most of it, but racing every third or fourth weekend makes it too hard on the team and the driver, and everybody involved. We didn't run as well as we'd have liked, either. "It was just an unfortunate situation with my old partner (Ridling). Owning the whole thing was never my intention when I got into this thing, but that's just the way it turned out." Ridling has since gotten back into the sport, and is the co-owner of the No. 19 Yellow Freight Chevrolet that Mike Skinner will drive in a limited schedule in the NASCAR Busch Series next season. Schwantz said he hopes to continue to race himself next season, but lack of sponsorship might impede that effort. One option that Schwantz has considered is putting another driver in his car, a driver who could possibly bring some sponsorship money with him to the team. Schwantz said he foresees some possible sponsorship deals in the future, but they most likely won't happen quick enough to help him for the 1999 campaign. "We've got a fair bit of stuff in this team, with cars and equipment, and we've got some stuff here of some value," he said. "We just need to find a way to make some money. I'm going to hang out and survive, though. I'm not going anywhere right now. I'm going to hang out and see what happens, and something may pan out, maybe further down the line."
Source: NASCAR Online