Gordons, Evernham to field new race team in 1999 by Shawn A. Akers CONCORD, N.C. (July 20, 1998) Ray Evernham, Jeff Gordon and Gordon's wife, Brooke, have put the wheels in motion to field a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division race...
Gordons, Evernham to field new race team in 1999 by Shawn A. Akers
CONCORD, N.C. (July 20, 1998) Ray Evernham, Jeff Gordon and Gordon's wife, Brooke, have put the wheels in motion to field a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division race team that will compete in as many as 12 events in 1999.
Evernham, the crew chief, and Gordon, the driver for Hendrick Motorsports' No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, along with Gordon's wife Brooke, are the principal owners of the team that will run a limited NASCAR Busch Series schedule next season, with Gordon himself driving in some of those events, according to team manager Michael Landis.
Landis, who is currently the team's only employee and who has been at the job for about a week after being associated with Gordon and Evernham at Hendrick Motorsports, said the team will run "potentially 10 to 12 races" in 1999. If he drives any events for the team, Gordon will return to the NASCAR Busch Series for the first time since 1992, when he finished fourth in the series standings and earned the only three victories of his NASCAR Busch Series career. The No. 24 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet team at Hendrick Motorsports was created for him when he moved up full-time in 1993.
The new team is leasing a 10,000-square-foot facility located in this heavily racing-influenced town just down the road from Charlotte Motor Speedway. A name for the team has not yet been determined.
Landis was associated with Hendrick Motorsports for more than five years, during which time the team won two NASCAR Winston Cup Series championships (1995 and '97). He was a tire carrier and calculated fuel mileage for the No. 24 crew on race days, and was also involved in parts and purchasing for the organization at that time.
"I had worked with Ray before, and he asked me a couple of months ago if I was interested in running the Busch deal," Landis said. "Ray has been good to me over the years, and the team's performance (the 24 team) speaks for itself. I know he's looking out for my best interest. But there hasn't been a whole lot of specifics discussed. Right now, there isn't very much down on paper."
Landis, who also did some spotting for the No. 24 team on race days, said that he has already ordered some race cars, but wasn't at liberty to discuss from where. He said that the shop, on Monday, consisted solely of office equipment, but that he was moving ahead and ordering the necessary equipment.
With names like Gordon and Evernham on the door, sponsorship for the new NASCAR Busch Series team will not be a problem. Landis said the team will announce plans for that later in the year, possibly in October during the week of the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte.
"I don't think they would put out a whole ton of money out of their pocket for this deal if they didn't have anything lined up," Landis said.
As far as personnel, Landis said the team hopes to hire its first employees in approximately a month, which would include "a crew chief and perhaps three or four other full-time employees" at the race shop.
"I don't think Ray wants to disrupt or have any distractions to the 24 team's championship efforts right now," Landis said. "That's why there isn't much to say about this deal right now. We don't want to take anything away from the 24 team and their chances of winning that third championship."
That's why, Landis said, the new NASCAR Busch Series team doesn't plan to do any testing for the remainder of the 1998 season.
Source: NASCAR Online