CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 30, 1998) Driver Jeff Green and the No. 29 Diamond Ridge Motorsports NASCAR Winston Cup Series team have withdrawn from this weekend's Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and will temporarily suspend competition...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 30, 1998)
Driver Jeff Green and the No. 29 Diamond Ridge Motorsports NASCAR Winston Cup Series team have withdrawn from this weekend's Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and will temporarily suspend competition with that operation.
"We have not demonstrated strong performance this year," said Gary H. Bechtel, owner of Diamond Ridge Motorsports. "We need to find and resolve the problems that are affecting our on-track performance. We decided to stay home for a while in an effort to re-group and improve upon our situation.
"We will return to NASCAR Winston Cup competition as soon as we can uphold and demonstrate the quality of this organization. Jeff may substitute drive for some other teams in the meantime."
Green was on stand-by for driver Derrike Cope at last Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway after the No. 29 team failed to qualify for the third time in six NASCAR Winston Cup Series races this season.
"We did not make this decision based on our sponsorship situation," Bechtel said of the No. 29 car, which has competed without a sponsor for the six weekends. "I told the guys on the team that we would continue racing as long as we were growing in a positive direction. I don't feel our performance this year has exemplified that commitment."
A spokesperson for driver Elliott Sadler, who drives Bechtel's No. 66 Phillips 66 Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division, said the decision to shelve the No. 29 NASCAR Winston Cup Series car would have no bearing on Sadler's plans to run up to five NASCAR Winston Cup Series races later this season in a No. 92 Diamond Ridge Chevrolet.
"Right now the team has not signed anyone, but Phillips 66 has an option to be on that car as well and the team is in negotiations with other sponsors," said Penny Copen of Events & Outings, which represents Phillips 66 on the NASCAR Busch Series. "Butch Hylton, the crew chief for Elliott's NASCAR Winston Cup program, has been moving ahead hiring his crew for that operation, which will debut at Charlotte in May."
Sadler announced his intent to compete in additional NASCAR Winston Cup races at Indianapolis, Darlington, Charlotte (in the fall), and Atlanta later this season.
"It has been a very frustrating year," Green said. "I am not sure what the problem is, but we need to get it fixed. This team has a lot of potential, we just need to re-group so we can come back strong."
Green started driving for Diamond Ridge Motorsports full-time on the NASCAR Busch Series circuit in 1997 with Wes Ward as crew chief. The combination was dynamic, with the team winning the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and starting on the front row three times -- including a Bud Pole at Texas Motor Speedway.
At mid-season, Green was promoted to drive the No. 29 Diamond Ridge Motorsports NASCAR Winston Cup Chevrolet and Ward accompanied him as crew chief. They immediately experienced success on the competitive circuit with a seventh-place finish at California Speedway and a fourth-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The 1998 season marks the fifth full year on NASCAR's premier circuit for Diamond Ridge Motorsports. The team has three NASCAR Winston Cup Series starts this season, having made races in Rockingham, Las Vegas and Darlington. The NASCAR Winston Cup Series team remains available to sponsorship opportunities.
Diamond Ridge Motorsports also fields two entries on the NASCAR Busch Series circuit. In addition to Elliott Sadler, brother Hermie Sadler pilots the No. 29 DeWalt Tools Chevrolet.
Source: NASCAR Online