Team Yellow names Miller crew chief By Shawn A. Akers NASCAR Online MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 11, 1998) C.R. Miller, formerly the crew chief at Ridling Motorsports, has rejoined team co-owners David Ridling and Duane Deese as the crew chief for the No. 19 Yellow Freight Chevrolet to be driven by Mike Skinner in the 1999 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division season.
Miller, who most recently turned wrenches for former motorcycle world champion Kevin Schwantz's Lone Star Motorsports, worked with Ridling and Deese for a couple of seasons in the NASCAR Busch Series until Ridling and his wife sold their interest in the team to Schwantz in March 1998.
Deese said Miller became available when Schwantz's Lone Star Motorsports operation shut down earlier this month.
"David Ridling gave me my first opportunity as a crew chief with Ridling Motorsports in 1995," Miller said. "It didn't take us long to hit on the right combination and we found Victory Lane in short order. I don't expect things to be any different here. David and Duane have put together a great sponsorship program with Yellow and to top it all off I have got Mike Skinner to drive. I am very excited about that."
Miller won the 1996 NASCAR Busch Series season finale at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex with Lepage in Ridling's HYPE Chevrolet.
"It is a great relief for me to have C.R. back in my shop," Ridling said. "A solid, knowledgeable, working crew chief is the cornerstone for any successful race team and we know that C.R. can get the job done. He has proven to everyone in the past that he is capable and extremely knowledgeable with these cars. Here he will have the support, personnel and equipment to get the job done."
Jay Smith, the former crew chief of Ernie Irvan and Mark Simo's No. 44 Federated Auto Parts Ford team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, had been chosen as the crew chief for the No. 19 team, but recently informed both Deese and Ridling that he had accepted the crew chief's position with the No. 34 Goulds Pumps Chevrolet team for Cicci-Welliver Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series.
The No. 19 Yellow Freight team is scheduled to run 20 races in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1999. Skinner, the driver of the No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, will drive 12 of those events next season.
The team is still looking for a driver for the other eight races, but said they're seriously considering Skinner's son, Jamie, to fill the seat, as well as three-time Hav-A-Tampa dirt track series champion Scott Bloomquist.
"I am looking forward to working with some of the young talent out there in our other eight races," Miller said. "These are not throwaway races by any stretch of the imagination. Mike will provide us with a solid baseline with which to test these guys on so it won't be like they are going in to these events cold. They will have an excellent opportunity to make a strong showing."
"We have all the personnel in place here from top to bottom, all except the person who will drive the other few races for us next year," Deese said. "Jamie (Skinner) is going to run a full Late Model schedule next year, and he may run a couple of truck races as well, so we may put him in the seat a couple of times.
"Scott is a great driver, too, who some people say is the best they've ever seen. He's got a winning percentage of 54 percent in the Hav-A-Tampa series, and he makes a pretty good living at it, so that's why he's never really tried NASCAR at all. He's a grassroots legend, and the first Late Model Stock Car race he was ever in he led 200 laps and won the race. So, we're looking pretty hard at him."
Deese said the team is in the process of building cars for next season at the team's facility in Mooresville, N.C., and hopes to have five cars built before its first race, at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham on Feb. 20.
Deese said the team has scheduled test sessions at Rockingham in early January, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the middle of the month and hopes to schedule another test at Atlanta Motor Speedway later in January.
Skinner is recovering from knee surgery, and Deese said Skinner hopes to recover in time for the test at Rockingham, although he also said he would probably miss the NASCAR Winston Cup Series test session on Jan. 6-8 at Daytona International Speedway.
Source: NASCAR Online