MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 25, 2000) -- Barry Dodson is the only crew chief in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series to also have an ownership stake in his team. The crew chief/owner combination at Eel River Racing was an important piece of the puzzle...
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 25, 2000) -- Barry Dodson is the only crew chief in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series to also have an ownership stake in his team. The crew chief/owner combination at Eel River Racing was an important piece of the puzzle that lured him back to Winston Cup Series racing after a four-year stint in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. According to Dodson and the team's primary interest owner, businessman Jack Birmingham, that structure is also an integral part of the team's strategy to success.
"I knew that I wanted to go back to Winston Cup racing when the time was right and the situation was right, "said Dodson, who led Rusty Wallace to his 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship. "Eel River Racing seemed to be the situation I was looking for."
Dodson knew that he wanted to own a race team, but recognized that the key to success was finding the perfect balance between business and racing. The business side of the equation was Jack Birmingham, who he partnered with in the summer of 1999 to form Eel River Racing.
"The luxury of this situation is that it is pretty much like having my own race team with the support of Jack and the expertise of the people he has lined up on the business side of the organization," he continued. "That was one of the deciding factors - to be able to go out and hand-pick my people, make decisions on what we would do with the engines and cars and car brands, but leave the business-side of the operation to people who were experts in that field. I think we have a great balance."
Of the team members that Dodson has hand-picked, future driver Kenny Wallace will have the most impact on the Eel River Racing team. Birmingham and Dodson recently announced the signing of the NASCAR veteran to a three year contract, adding an element of experience previously missing at the first-year organization. Eel River Racing will continue to field Pontiacs with powerplants provided by T&L Engine Development.
"The situation with Barry is what we see as the path to success both on the race track and off," explained Birmingham. "As far as I'm concerned, NASCAR is a business that happens to be racing. It helps companies drive their business. But the key to that is associating with a team that understands both the racing side and the business side. The structure of Eel River Racing is such that I oversee what I know and Barry oversees what he knows. We're both very competitive people in our own respective fields - that's what makes us a great team."
"Our ultimate goal is being the best at every level - superior service to our sponsors off-track and competitive on-track," continued Birmingham. "We're in a sponsorship hunt for 2001 and beyond, and I believe that our equal emphasis on racing and business make us the most attractive team to a potential sponsor. We understand what companies are looking for and how to achieve it."
Eel River Racing currently fields the No. 27 Pontiac with rookie driver Mike Bliss. The team is headquartered in Mooresville, N.C., located just 30 miles north of Charlotte. The race team's operations and administration will relocate in December to a state-of-the-art 78,000 square foot facility in Mooresville.