Joe Gaerte Steps Down as Holbrook's Driver

Gaerte Steps Down as Holbrook's Driver By Richard Day ROCHESTER, IN (June 14) - After 10-plus years with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series, Joe Gaerte has decided he would rather prepare sprint...

Gaerte Steps Down as Holbrook's Driver By Richard Day ROCHESTER, IN (June 14) - After 10-plus years with the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series, Joe Gaerte has decided he would rather prepare sprint cars than race them. Gaerte, the series' Rookie of the Year in 1989, drove Junior Holbrook's #8H Energy Release Eagle through the first 29 events this season. He ranked 13th in the point standings, with four top-10 finishes and one in the top five. He says he will remain with Holbrook's team, building engines and working on cars in the shop. "I've just reached a point where I think I need to do some other things," Gaerte said Monday. "We're not going good, so I think it's time to make a change. I think Junior has everything he needs (to have a competitive team), but I might be holding him back. I've been thinking about this for six months. It's not something that happened over night." Holbrook, whose car Gaerte drove into 13th place in the point standings last season, said Joe came to him and said he wanted to be relieved of his driving duties. "I don't think his heart is in it (driving) any more," Holbrook said. "I didn't put him out of the car. It was his decision. He wants to be a mechanic and take care of the cars. Earl (Gaerte, Joe's father) still wants to supply engines for our car, too. Everything on the car will stay the same. We're just going to have a new driver. "We're going to try a couple of young guys in the car. We're going to have them run the cars six or eight races and see how they do before we make a decision for next year. We're going to put my 360 driver in it first. His name is Phil Gressman." Gaerte said he's not hanging up his helmet yet, but would rather center his attention around building engines. "I want to work in the motor shop and race around home here," Joe said. "I'm going to race some, but not nearly as much as before. I have some fabricating I've been doing for some of the teams, and I need to be here to work on the motors. We need to overcome some of the motor problems we've been having. We're still going to race out of our (Gaerte Engines) shop, but I'm sure he'll move everything back to Columbus after the season ends." Holbrook said he is glad Gaerte decided to stay with his team. "One reason Joe and I got together was because our personalities clicked," Holbrook said. "It's a good match. We work well together." Gaerte won eight "A" Features in his Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series career, including the 1991 Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway. While driving for Tom Wimmer, Gaerte finished among the top five in the point standings his first three years with the series. He finished in the top 10 seven times in 10 years. Gaerte won successive All-Stars Circuit of Champions titles in 1987 and 1988. WoO

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Series World of Outlaws