Andy Houston named McDonald's 2001 Winston Cup driver

HICKORY, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2000) - Andy Houston has been named driver of the McDonald's NASCAR Winston Cup entry to be fielded by PPI Motorsports, beginning in the 2001 season. Today's announcement was made by Cal Wells III, PPI Motorsports owner...

HICKORY, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2000) - Andy Houston has been named driver of the McDonald's NASCAR Winston Cup entry to be fielded by PPI Motorsports, beginning in the 2001 season. Today's announcement was made by Cal Wells III, PPI Motorsports owner and next season's McDonald's Winston Cup team owner.

Houston, 29, is currently in his third full season competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. He drives the No. 60 CAT Rental Stores Chevrolet for Addington Racing and is third in the point standings with two wins, ten top-five and 15 top-ten finishes. His career totals to date in the truck series include 68 starts, three wins, 24 top-fives and 43 top-tens.

"I couldn't be happier to be entering the NASCAR Winston Cup Series next year with McDonald's and PPI Motorsports," said Houston, son of legendary Busch Grand National driver, Tommy Houston. "This is a huge opportunity for me and my family, and I'm looking forward to working as hard as I can to make it the best of my career. This has been a goal of mine since I can remember."

Houston, of Hickory, N.C., made an impressive debut in the Winston Cup Series earlier this month - Aug. 20 in the 400-mile race at Michigan Speedway. After starting 35th, he patiently picked his way through the field, and ran as high as sixth. While running 12th with 44 laps remaining, Houston was forced to retire from the race with an expired engine.

"Everyone's known about Andy's abilities for some time now, but we were especially impressed with his performance in our second Winston Cup car at Michigan," said Wells. "A lot can be said for experience, especially with us being a new team, but I don't think anyone can say enough about performance. Andy's a fresh talent with a very bright Winston Cup future ahead of him, and we're thrilled he's beginning it with PPI Motorsports in our McDonald's Ford."

Georgina Roy, McDonald's motorsports manager said of Houston, "We are excited with the selection of Andy. He's not only a young talent with a tremendous future, but also a spirited and friendly individual. We look forward to having him represent the McDonald's Racing Team."

In order to get a jump-start on the 2001 season, PPI Motorsports is considering to enter Houston in four additional Winston Cup races this season - Charlotte (Oct. 8), Rockingham, N.C. (Oct. 22), Phoenix (Nov. 5) and Homestead, Fla. (Nov. 12). Houston will drive the No. 96 Ford Taurus, the same number and car manufacturer he will compete in next year with the McDonald's/PPI Motorsports team.

"I had a great experience working with the PPI Motorsports team at Michigan," said Houston. "I am excited about running more Cup races this season, because it will give me the chance to really get to know the team and begin preparing for next year." Houston, who drove in four Craftsman Truck Series races in 1997, joined the series on a full-time basis the following year. He won his first race at New Hampshire International Speedway in 1998. His two victories this season were at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Portland (Ore.) International Raceway.

Prior to joining the Craftsman Truck Series, Houston competed in the Goody's Dash Series, a NASCAR touring series for compact sedans, and was named that division's most popular driver in 1996. Houston drove in the NASCAR Winston Racing Series late model stock division from 1990-1995 and also in 1997. He was the Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway late model stock champion in 1994.

Houston, his wife, Lorie and three-year old son, Collin, reside in Hickory.

Andy Houston Fact Sheet

Birthdate: Nov. 7, 1970
Hometown: Hickory, N.C.
Residence: Hickory, N.C.
Family: Wife Lorie, son Collin (8/22/97)

2000
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Currently ranks third in series point standings... has earned two wins (Homestead and Portland), ten top-five and 15 top-ten finishes in 20 starts to date this season.

1999
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Earned second career Craftsman Truck Series pole at Fontana, Calif....posted five top fives and nine top tens ... finished eighth in points.

1998
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, rookie season. Earned first win at New Hampshire International Speedway and first pole at Fontana...claimed a total of six top fives and eight top tens... finished 12th in series points.

1997
NASCAR Craftsman Truck series debut. Made four starts in the series... best finish of 11th was at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Prior to joining the Craftsman Truck Series, Houston competed in the Goody's Dash Series, a NASCAR touring series for compact sedans, and was named that division's most popular driver in 1996. Houston drove in the NASCAR Winston Racing Series late model stock division from 1990-1995 and also in 1997. He was the Hickory Motor Speedway late model stock champion in 1994.

Family Racing History
Andy's father, Tommy Houston, is a legend in Busch Grand National racing. He raced in the Busch series from 1982 to 1996 and holds the Busch record for most career starts at 417. He also has the Busch series record for most consecutive starts (360), making him one of the most constant and consistent drivers in the formative years of the modern-day NASCAR Busch Series.

Tommy finished among the top five six times and the top 10 ten times in thirteen years of full-time Busch competition, with a best points placement of second in 1989. His 24 wins place him third on the all-time race wins list (with all 24 earned on short tracks), and 18 career pole positions have placed him fifth on the all-time list for pole winners.

It was under Tommy's tutelage that Andy learned the ropes of racing, first working on his father's racing efforts and then moving on to a career behind the wheel. Throughout his career, Andy has carried a highly respected family legacy into all his racing efforts.

Andy remains close to his father and his brothers -- Scott, a race engineer at PPI Motorsports and Marty, who also drives in the Craftsman Truck Series.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Andy Houston