Hardy in limbo after Ortho leaves
DALLAS, Ga. (Dec. 10, 1998) Hardy Motorsports, which scored a ninth-place finish in the 1998 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series final standings with driver Ron Barfield, may not race in 1999 unless it can secure sponsorship. Ortho Lawn and Garden Products, a charter sponsor since the series' inception in 1995, announced Thursday it would not return to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1999 as a team sponsor. Ortho backed Hardy's No. 35 truck in 1997 and 1998. The uncertainty of the sponsorship's future had already led Barfield to accept a ride for 1999 with Gloy-Rahal Racing in the Icehouse Beer Ford. Thursday's announcement now leaves team owner Charles Hardy with a fully intact team that has finished 15th and ninth in truck owner points in its two seasons in the series. "We could go testing tomorrow -- the team is intact and everything is ready to roll," said team manager Wayne Alexander. "But, without sponsorship we won't be racing in 1999." Alexander said a number of the race team members were still employed at Hardy's automobile dealership outside of Atlanta, where the race shop is also located. "This is a quality race team that has scored two top-15 finishes in owner points in a tough series," Alexander said. "We would like to think we could give a company good representation and we are pursuing sponsorship to continue the team." "In 1999, Ortho will focus on exciting new product and advertising opportunities," said McLean Hyde, brand manager for Ortho Insecticides. "We have been delighted to be a part of this great sport and we will definitely be looking at participating again in the future. We certainly wish the best to our partners, Hardy Motorsports, Chevrolet, Novartis and Global Sports Marketing and would like to thank them for all their support in 1998." Barfield scored two top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 27 starts and won $218,820. His best finishes were a fourth at New Hampshire International Speedway and a fifth at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motor Sports Complex.
Source: NASCAR Online