Conover, NC (June 21, 2000) - Jarrett / Favre Motorsports announced today that crew chief Wes Ward has resigned his position at the helm of the Rayovac Maximum Racing team. Ward's shop chief, Ricky Bowman, will take up the interim role for ...
Conover, NC (June 21, 2000) - Jarrett / Favre Motorsports announced today that crew chief Wes Ward has resigned his position at the helm of the Rayovac Maximum Racing team. Ward's shop chief, Ricky Bowman, will take up the interim role for driver Jason Jarrett, who is running his first full season of Busch Series competition. Bowman was the crew chief during a pair of partial Busch seasons for Dale Jarrett in 1997 and '98, the latter of which included 10 Busch starts for the younger Jarrett.
After a making the first-round cut and posting a 17th-place run in Daytona to start the season, Jarrett has struggled to qualify consistently during the first half of the 2000 season. When the third-generation driver missed the field in Myrtle Beach, Ward determined that a change needed to be made in the best interest of the team.
"Jason can be successful as a driver," Ward explained. "He just needs seat time. Hopefully, they'll be able to put someone in place that can communicate with him more effectively and give him what he needs to run the way he's capable," he said.
According to Jarrett, changes are inevitable when a team struggles as the #11 has to date. "When you're running poorly, the first two fingers that get pointed are at the driver and the crew chief," Jarrett said. "To his credit, Wes decided that before it was the driver looking at the crew chief and vice-versa, he would resign so that we could evaluate some alternatives.
"I don't look at this as the fix that is going to turn this team around overnight, and maybe we'll even take a step back in the short term," Jarrett offered. "Hopefully, we'll be able to turn this change into a positive opportunity, because we've not been as competitive as we anticipated and it's been frustrating."
"It's not easy working for a family-owned business," Jarrett continued. "I've known Wes for a long time, and we've both been able to separate the personal relationship from the professional one at the race track. I haven't lost a friend here."
Although anxious to find a replacement, team owner Ned Jarrett does not expect the decision to be made quickly. "It's not a situation where you want to hire the first person you speak with," Jarrett said. "We need a crew chief that is going to fit well into the scheme of this team and be able to communicate with a young driver and develop the rapport that's so important to success in this very competitive series."
Jarrett will test his road course skills this weekend on the 2.45-mile circuit at Watkins Glen. The 24-year old driver qualified 20th and finished 24th in his first Busch Series visit there in 1998. Ward, 37, is considering his options and intends to do some consulting over the next few weeks while he determines a team that provides the best fit for his future.