Barfield to drive Icehouse Ford By Shawn A. Akers
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 18, 1998) It was a perfect fit. Gloy-Rahal Racing needed a driver, and Ron Barfield was looking for another ride. On Wednesday, Gloy-Rahal Racing announced that Barfield, who finished ninth in the 1998 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings in the No. 35 Charles Hardy-owned Ortho Chevrolet, will be the driver of its No. 55 Icehouse Beer Ford F-150 for the 1999 NCTS season. "This opportunity to drive the Icehouse Beer Ford for Tom Gloy and Bobby Rahal was an easy decision for me," said Barfield, a 27-year-old native of Florence, S.C., who drove Gloy's truck twice during the 1997 season. "With a major sponsor like Icehouse and the experience of past champions like Tom and Bobby, I believe this team has the potential to win in 1999. The team was still learning truck racing in 1998, and now has the knowledge to run in the top-five on a regular basis." Barfield left the Hardy Motorsports team as it is searching for primary sponsorship for next season. Ortho announced that it would not return as the sponsor for the No. 35 Chevrolet in 1999. "Right now, with everything up in the air, we're not really committed to anything," said Wayne Alexander, team manager for Hardy Motorsports. "We're a team that just finished in the top-10 in points, and we're looking for a sponsor. We're not sure what we're going to do as far as running the full schedule or a limited schedule for next year." The 1998 campaign was Barfield's first full season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. A protg,' of Bill Elliott's, he has 40 career starts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Barfield was also the 1994 NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro Series Rookie of the Year and has made several career NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division starts. The Gloy-Rahal racing team finished 16th in its first full campaign in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1998. Tony Roper drove the final 19 races of the season in the No. 55 Icehouse Ford.
Barfield got a strong recommendation from Elliott, who hand-picked Barfield out of the NASCAR Slim Jim All Pro ranks after he finished third in that series' point standings in 1995 with two victories. "Bill had mentioned Ron's name to me in 1997 as a driver to watch out for our truck team," Gloy said. "And Ron did an outstanding job in his only two races for us that year. Now that Ron was available for the 1999 truck series, we felt he was a perfect fit for our growing team." Barfield competed in seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races in 1996 for Elliott and six events in 1997 for Elliott and Gloy-Rahal Racing. In his very first NCTS start, he finished a respectable fourth. "Ron has had an extensive background despite being 27 years old," said Rahal, the three- time CART Series champion who recently retired as a driver. "Like many current driving starts, Ron started racing go-karts and has a tremendous amount of racing experience. We think his experience and his impressive record will help take us to the next level in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Gloy and Rahal said they expect to name a crew chief for their No. 55 Icehouse Beer Ford sometime in the near future.
Source: NASCAR Online