Mock enthusiastic about chances for '99 By Shawn A. Akers MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 21, 1999) Getting excited about his NASCAR Winston Cup Series team and its prospects for the upcoming year is nothing new for Butch Mock. But Mock...
Mock enthusiastic about chances for '99 By Shawn A. Akers
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 21, 1999) Getting excited about his NASCAR Winston Cup Series team and its prospects for the upcoming year is nothing new for Butch Mock. But Mock promises that 1999 will be much different than past seasons. And with the changes he's made to his team this year, he's got more than a little room to be optimistic about the No. 75 Remington Arms Ford team. For one thing, he's got veteran Ted Musgrave behind the wheel of his car. Although Musgrave has never won a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race, he's been on the brink of doing so the last few seasons and could very well visit Victory Lane in '99. For another, he's got his team's organizer, Troy Selberg, back at Butch Mock Motorsports. Selberg is the man who helped the team enjoy it's fair share of success when Todd Bodine drove the car in earlier in the decade. Then there's a fresh face, new crew chief Jon Wolfe, whom Mock is very high on. And then the capper -- Mock will be using Robert Yates engines. That alone, he said, will help build the team into a contender to win races. "To say I'm enthused about 1999 would be an understatement," Mock said. "I know I sat up here a couple of years ago and said that, but this is an awesome, awesome program that I feel I've put together this year. I feel extremely fortunate to get the people that I've been able to surround myself with for the 1999 season. "It starts with Ted Musgrave. I feel honored to have him here. I was enthused when I was able to get him here, but now that I've worked with him for a couple of month here at the shop, I can't tell you how awesome he really is." Mock's team has virtually nowhere to go but up. With Rick Mast behind the wheel in '98, the team failed to qualify for three races, including the season-ending NAPA 500 at Atlanta in November and both restrictor-plate races late in the year at Talladega and Daytona. Mast finished a disappointing 33rd in driver points and had only one top-10 finish the entire year -- an eighth-place effort on the road course at Sears Point. Musgrave was released by Jack Roush from the No. 16 PRIMESTAR Ford midway through the year and wound up driving several other cars to finish the season. Like Mock, he's excited about his new situation. "I've got something to prove, for sure," Musgrave said. "But I'm not telling that to everybody, I know it inside. I believe that it's a good situation that I've got here. I've got a good crew chief. He knows what goes on. I've got the equipment. "I think it's just gonna take a little bit of knocking the rough edges off with getting the cars done and getting communication going. We're working with a whole new bunch of guys. We've got a lot of things coming up that we're gonna catch up on and we're gonna be real good. I'm real happy about this deal." Wolfe has spent the last eight years under the tutelage of one of the sport's best crew chiefs, Jimmy Makar, at Joe Gibbs Racing with the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac team. That, in itself, Wolfe said, should make him a good crew chief. "I guess it's kind of a different transition for me because I wasn't a crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing," Wolfe said. "So really the whole thing is kind of a new ballgame for me. Butch, Ted and Troy have really made the transition easy for me. They're helping me make decisions, helping me with the day-to-day things that go on. Yes, it is a big transition and I'm sure I've got more hills to climb." Mock added his own engine shop to his team's facility last year, but engine problems were common for the them in 1998. Mock said that shouldn't be the case this year with his team purchasing its engines from Robert Yates, one of the best engine builders in the business. Reliability is rarely a problem with Yates engines. "Who in a Ford would not want to share Robert Yates engines for the '99 season?" Mock said. "That's bringing a big plus to our this race team. We got a little dose of that down in Daytona (during testing) of what they've really got, and it's awesome. That's all I can say, it's awesome. "I know it was a big consideration when Ted first came to me because I had just put an engine shop in. He said, 'Would you consider running Robert's motors?' I said, 'Heck yeah, if we could ever do that. It would be awesome.' I know it was a consideration with Jon. You've gotta have a good engine program. I view Robert Yates Racing as an engine shop that happens to have a race team, and that there says a lot." Now, Mock, Musgrave and Wolfe just have to put it all together. With Butch Mock Motorsports still being a single-car team in the multi-car dominated world of NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing, that could be a tall order. But then Mock still believes his single-car team can be successful. "I still feel that a single-car team can win races, and Jon (Wolfe) just came out of it," Mock said. "They did it with the 18 car, but I've also seen the other side of the coin. In the perfect world, two-car teams would probably be a better deal, but we've seen two multi-car teams, to some degree, self-destruct. "It's the combination of the driver and the crew chief and the guys they got around him as to why you become successful. To me, I know that Ted and Jon are on the same page, so that's what we're looking for and we think we're in for a pretty good year."
Source: NASCAR Online