Xpress Motorsports Ready for 2005 Challenges With New Owner

MOORESVILLE, NC -- Xpress Motorsports, two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) championship team, has undergone a facelift for the 2005 season. Longtime team manager Dave Fuge has taken over the ownership reins of Xpress Motorsports/IWX Racing effective December 1, 2004 when Steve Coulter made the decision to retire from his motorsports involvement.

Coulter, founder and owner of IWX Motor Freight, started Xpress Motorsports in 1996 to compete full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. In the spring of 1997, NASCAR veteran Fuge joined the organization as Team Manager/Crew Chief and quickly brought the team to the next level.

"It has been a pleasure to work for Steve (Coulter) the past eight years," said Fuge. "We have had great success with this team winning two Truck Series championships and securing a full sponsorship from Chevrolet. From virtually the beginning of our association, Steve said that if I helped him build this team he would give me the opportunity to buy it when he retired.

"In the late fall, he called to say he was thinking about selling. We began to discuss it more earnestly as the season wound down and after Homestead we put the deal on paper."

Under the Coulter/Fuge reign, Xpress Motorsports captured the 2002 NCTS championship with driver Mike Bliss. When Bliss had the opportunity to move on to the NASCAR Busch series, youngster Travis Kvapil was tapped for the 2003 season and the team again captured the series title.

When the 2004 season opened, the team was one of four factory sponsored Chevrolet Silverado teams and carried the colors of Chevy Trucks. The IWX Racing/Xpress Motorsports team secured Jack Sprague, the only three-time NCTS champion, for the driving duties. The team finished seventh in the 2004 Series standings, won one race and captured six poles. The team is looking forward to improving on that in 2005.

With Sprague and Chevy Trucks in place for 2005, Fuge is ready for the challenges of team ownership.

"Having our driver and sponsor secure for 2005 makes the transition from manager to owner a little easier," stated Fuge. "Although in many ways my position within the team isn't changing, I always had Steve to bounce things off of when there were tough decisions to be made. Now I stand alone there so having two of the major pieces of the puzzle in place is a relief.

"2004 was a building year for us, we had new truck designs to adapt to, a new driver, new sponsor and a much more competitive series. Now we are ready to get back on track for another run for a championship."

Fuge knows the potential of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and doesn't rule out the possibility of the team growing to a two-truck operation.

"We are seriously looking at the possibility of adding another truck to the stable," Fuge concluded. "If we can manage to get it done in time for Daytona, that would be a great deal for us. Two trucks racing on the track means twice the information to work with.JWe will make an announcement if we are successful in getting a program put together."

The NCTS season kicks off at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, February 18, 2005.