DAYTONA BEACH, FL -- In an announcement made in Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday morning, Bill Davis Racing and Petty Enterprises joined Ray Evernham's previously-announced NASCAR Winston Cup operation in bringing back...
DAYTONA BEACH, FL -- In an announcement made in Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday morning, Bill Davis Racing and Petty Enterprises joined Ray Evernham's previously-announced NASCAR Winston Cup operation in bringing back the Dodge nameplate to stock car racing's premier division for the 2001 season.
Davis, one of only five NASCAR car owners to register wins in both the Winston Cup and Busch Series Grand National competition, will field two Winston Cup entries for Dodge in 2001 -- the #22 Caterpillar-Polaris Intrepid for Ward Burton and the #93 Amoco-Siemens Intrepid for current Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Dave Blaney.
Burton will start sixth in the Daytona 500 and is one of five drivers eligible to win the Winston No-Bull 5 bonus in the race. Blaney will start 31st -- one of seven rookies in the Daytona 500 field -- after qualifying 10th for NASCAR's most prestigious event. Davis begins his tenth NASCAR season (eight in WC) ranked 14th in cumulative career NASCAR earnings among all car owners.
DAVE BLANEY (driver, #93 Amoco/Siemens team)...."In my wildest dreams, I could have never imagined the opportunities that have come to me in such a short time. Just three years ago, I was preparing to make my first start in a Busch Series car for Bill Davis Racing after 15 years in sprint cars and with the World of Outlaws. In effect, I started a whole new career when Bill Davis and Amoco gave me a chance to move to NASCAR.
"There are so many good drivers out there who just need the right organization, people and equipment to show what they can do. Bill and Gail Davis have given me all three for the last two seasons and now the #93 team will have a chance to bring one of NASCAR's most famous manufacturers back to the sport. It's long overdue.
"Of everyone involved at Bill Davis Racing, I probably had the most questions about the decision to move to Dodge in 2001. This season, we're bringing our entire #93 team to Winston Cup against what may be the best crop of rookies since Earnhardt, Harry Gant and Terry Labonte broke in in 1979. There's a lot at stake for me and for the team in the 2000 season. We have ambitious goals for ourselves. But after listening to what the Dodge offer is going to allow us to do down the road, there was no question that this was the opportunity for Bill Davis and our entire program to move alongside the top race teams in stock car racing.
"Ironically, the World of Outlaws team that I own (for driver Dale Blaney, his younger brother) made the switch for the 2000 season to Mopar engines, which Mark Kinser had in the cars he won the WoO championship in 1999. We made the decision some months ago, long before this developed with BDR. Neverthless, the commitment Dodge has made in that series is as strong as the one it is making in NASCAR. They want to do everything first-class and have winning programs right from the start. That's the kind of situation any driver would be happy to be involved with."
BILL DAVIS (owner, #93 Amoco/Siemens and #22 Caterpillar/Polaris Winston Cup teams; #20 AT&T Busch Series team)....."I have tremendous confidence that the Dodge program in NASCAR is what will elevate Bill Davis Racing to the highest level in the sport. Not only is Dodge's return to Winston Cup a great things for everyone who will be involved from the start but I believe it will also increase the stakes for all the other manufacturers and teams in the sport.
"The people Dodge has brought together are going to be the key to the early success of this effort. Kyle Petty is one of my best friends in the Winston Cup garage and has worked extremely hard on bringing this all together. Ray Evernham is the best choice in the sport to head up a project of this scope and significance. I'm thrilled to be included in this historic effort.
"Each one of the teams brings unique contributions to this Dodge effort. With our group, our engine program is clearly our strength. (BDR Head Engine Builder) Terry Elledge is going to be a very important part of the development. The 2000 season is very important to us. We want Dave Blaney and the #93 Amoco team to get off on the right foot and have a strong first Winston Cup season and we also believe Ward (Burton) and the #22 team can move up (from ninth in 1999) in the Winston Cup standings. But it's a great comfort to know what lies ahead in 2001 with this Dodge program"
GIL MARTIN (Crew Chief, #93 Amoco/Siemens team)....."With our #93 team just starting in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series (after two BGN seasons), we'll spend the 2000 season helping Dave get used to a different kind of race car, one that we all think is more in tune with his style. As Crew Chief of such a young team, I'm especially looking forward to all the technical support that the Dodge people have committed to their program for the 2001 season and beyond.
"It's also exciting to be a part of bringing back to NASCAR a brand that has a great history in stock car racing. When I was growing up, Dodge and Mopar were dominant names in the sport and had a tremendous following. I believe they'll find that fan base again.
"They've designated three good teams to be a part of the Dodge program in 2001 and the support between the six teams might benefit a driver so new to the Winston Cup series like Dave (Blaney) even more than Ward (Burton) or the Petty drivers.
"Dodge and Daimler/Chrysler are doing whatever it takes in every area of motorsports they've gotten involved with -- be it sports car racing, drag racing, sprint cars or this stock car program. They've committed to do all it takes for the programs to win from the start. That's how you want your manufacturer to be if you're responsible for making a car go fast. We'll do all we can to get to the front this season but I can't wait to get started on this new program."
MIKE BROWN (General Manager, Bill Davis Racing)....."We're looking at a real bright future with the Dodge program at Bill Davis Racing. Just look at what the have done with their sports car program (first in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona), their sprint car program (1999 World of Outlaws championship with Mark Kinser) and their truck efforts in the Craftsman Truck Series and here at Daytona (six of the top 12 qualifiers). They've absolutely committed themselves to the best effort possible. They want to win.
"Dodge has put together a strong three-team operation to start the 2001 season. Ray Evernham has a proven track record in all areas of stock car performance. Petty Enterprises is the winningest operation in NASCAR history. And our group at Bill Davis Racing -- with the addition of Dave Blaney and the #93 Amoco/Siemens team -- is poised to have a great 2000 season, our first as a multi-car program. General Motors has been a terrific partner for BDR but the Dodge program has the kind of scope that almost any owner in the sport would have to consider.
"Terry Elledge and our guys in the motor room will be heading up the engine development for the new Dodge program and they couldn't have picked a better person or group. Terry was an integral part of the last important General Motors engine development program and he knows what kind of undertaking that can be. I think the Dodge motor program will be up to speed more quickly because Terry will have been through that kind of thing before and will know where the problems might occur between the start-up and getting the program on the track. It's a tremendous opportunity for all the teams at Bill Davis Racing to compete in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series at the highest levels."