HIGH POINT, N.C.– Beginning with this weekend’s race at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C., Philippe Lopez has joined the ...
HIGH POINT, N.C.– Beginning with this weekend’s race at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C., Philippe Lopez has joined the #93 Amoco/Siemens Dodge team as Crew Chief for driver Dave Blaney. Lopez, 38, comes to the Bill Davis Racing Team after serving in the same capacity for several NASCAR Winston Cup Series standouts, including three-time Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip, Steve Park and Ward Burton, Blaney’s current teammate at BDR.
A native of Verdun, France, Lopez most recently served as Race Director for Junie Donleavy Racing, where he joined forces with driver Hut Stricklin. Lopez and Stricklin will again join forces in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season as Crew Chief and driver of the Hill Brothers Coffee Dodge at BDR. Stricklin will also join Burton and Blaney in a third BDR Dodge Intrepid for the Winston Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in two weeks.
In addition to Lopez, Jimmy Penland will take over as Car Chief for the #93 Dodge, replacing Car Chief Tom Hubert who assumed the job on an interim basis in mid-summer. Penland moves to the #93 team from a similar role with Crew Chief Tommy Baldwin, Jr. with the #22 Caterpillar Dodge team at BDR. Doug Randolph, Crew Chief for the #93 team since July, 2000, has left BDR for another position in the sport.
"We’re excited about Philippe becoming a part of the Bill Davis Racing organization as Crew Chief for the #93 team and the opportunity for him to get a start on next season in these last four races of the 2001 schedule is a big bonus for us," said General Manager Mike Brown. "It gives him a chance to get to know our operation and get a head-start on how he’ll need to plan his off-season to be ready for the new driver and new sponsor at the start of 2002.
"Neither Bill Davis nor myself expect anything but the same sort of high level of effort on-track from Dave and the #93 team as they close out this season and I don’t think the change with Philippe will affect that in any way. He’ll get a chance to work with the existing crew as well as to interact for these last four races with Tommy (Baldwin) and the #22 team, something that is so important these days with any multi-car team."
Lopez joins the #93 Amoco/Siemens team on a weekend when they return to a track (NCS) where Blaney performed well during in the spring, qualifying 16th and finishing ninth. Blaney currently ranks 24th in the Winston Cup points standings (2857), three points behind Steve Park and 79 points behind Terry Labonte in 22nd. The team will also feature its green-and-yellow BP car design at Rockingham for the fourth and final time during the 2001 season.