HICKORY, N.C. (June 1, 2000) - PPI Motorsports (PPIM) announced today that its Winston Cup driver, Scott Pruett, will assume driving duties for Busch driver Anthony Lazzaro in future Busch series races that coincide with Winston Cup events this ...
HICKORY, N.C. (June 1, 2000) - PPI Motorsports (PPIM) announced today that its Winston Cup driver, Scott Pruett, will assume driving duties for Busch driver Anthony Lazzaro in future Busch series races that coincide with Winston Cup events this season. Pruett, who continues to drive the No. 32 Tide Ford in all NASCAR Winston Cup Series races, will drive the No. 97 McDonald's Ford beginning at this weekend's (June 3) NASCAR Busch Series race in Dover, Del.
Lazzaro, who remains under contract with PPI Motorsports, will drive the No. 97 McDonald's Ford at the Milwaukee Busch event on July 2. Additional race dates for Lazzaro are still being considered.
The decision to run Pruett in future Busch events was reached after an in-depth evaluation of the McDonald's Busch program's current configuration and its potential to step up to Winston Cup competition next season.
"This was a very, very difficult decision for us," said PPIM owner Cal Wells III. "We have no doubt of Anthony's talent and potential in NASCAR. Unfortunately, we underestimated the amount of time we'd need to prepare him for Winston Cup next year, which is ultimately our goal with the McDonald's program. Consequently, we are evaluating other drivers to field the McDonald's Ford in Winston Cup competition beginning next season. At the same time, we are working diligently toward finding other driving opportunities for Anthony."
Pruett, who started 19th and finished 15th in the No. 97 McDonald's Ford at Daytona earlier this year, will run only the Busch events that coincide with Winston Cup dates for the remainder of the season. Pruett drove the McDonald's Ford at Daytona as a one-race substitute for Lazzaro, who had not completed enough pre-season rookie seat time to be eligible for a NASCAR-approved season-opening berth at the superspeedway.
"The decision to put Scott in the Busch car was based on two major factors," Wells explained. "First, by nature of the great relationship formed between McDonald's and Tide through our joint NASCAR efforts, we're fortunate to be able to share talent and resources across the board that will ultimately make both programs stronger. Second, it will provide incredibly valuable track time for Scott at venues where he's also gaining new Winston Cup experience."
"I'm committed to doing everything I can to gain as much NASCAR experience as possible," said Pruett, who will begin practice with the McDonald's Drive Thru Crew this Friday for the NASCAR Busch Series MBNA Platinum 200 at Dover Downs International Speedway. "Running the Busch car at Daytona was certainly beneficial for me, and this is a chance to speed up the learning process - for both myself and the team as a whole - at several more tracks this year."