Andy Houston, PPI Motorsports Charlotte preview

HICKORY, N.C. (Oct. 2, 2000) - In preparation for his 2001 rookie season, Andy Houston will drive the No. 96 Ronald McDonald Ford Taurus for PPI Motorsports in four of the six remaining NASCAR Winston Cup races, beginning with this weekend's (Oct.

HICKORY, N.C. (Oct. 2, 2000) - In preparation for his 2001 rookie season, Andy Houston will drive the No. 96 Ronald McDonald Ford Taurus for PPI Motorsports in four of the six remaining NASCAR Winston Cup races, beginning with this weekend's (Oct. 8) UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte.

Houston, who was named driver (Aug. 29) of the McDonald's NASCAR Winston Cup entry to be fielded by PPI Motorsports in 2001, will also compete at the Winston Cup races in Rockingham, N.C. (Oct. 22), Phoenix (Nov. 5) and Homestead, Fla. (Nov. 12).

"I'm looking forward to Charlotte and competing in another Winston Cup race," said Houston, who is currently in his third full season competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. "Though it's going to be a big weekend and I feel confident, we're going to keep things in perspective. Our objective is to qualify, finish the race and gain as much experience as we possibly can to get ready for the 2001 season."

Houston, 29, of Hickory, N.C., made an impressive Winston Cup debut at the Aug. 20th race at Michigan Speedway. He started 35th and patiently picked his way through the field and ran as high as sixth. While running 12th with 44 laps remaining in the 200-lap, 400-mile race, he was forced to retire with an expired engine.

"From a development and team-building perspective, running four more Winston Cup races with Andy before next season is incredibly valuable," said Cal Wells III, owner of PPI Motorsports. "It will provide Andy with more experience to draw on during winter testing, and it also allows time for the team to jell without the same kind of pressure full-time competition brings. We're very fortunate to be in a position to learn and apply the knowledge in a productive, constructive way as we build toward this program's official debut in Daytona next February."

Houston tested the PPI Motorsports Winston Cup car at Lowe's Motor Speedway and at Phoenix International Raceway. The team has scheduled upcoming test sessions at Rockingham, Homestead, Watkins Glen, N.Y., Darlington, S.C. and Talladega, Ala.

Joe Garone, general manager of PPI Motorsports and Pat Smith, crew chief, will oversee team operations for Houston's four Winston Cup races.

Houston, who drives the No. 60 CAT Rental Chevrolet for Addington Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, is fourth in the point standings with two wins, 11 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. His two victories were at Homestead and Portland, Ore.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Andy Houston