Shawn A. Akers, NASCAR Online HARRISBURG, N.C. (Jan. 27, 1998) Hendrick Motorsports, which runs Chevrolets for all three of its teams in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and which has won the last three series championships, is in the ...
Shawn A. Akers, NASCAR Online
HARRISBURG, N.C. (Jan. 27, 1998) Hendrick Motorsports, which runs Chevrolets for all three of its teams in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and which has won the last three series championships, is in the process of building a Pontiac Grand Prix for its No. 50 Budweiser team and driver Ricky Craven to test in the near future at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
According to crew chief Tony Furr, pending the results of that test, the team may race the car in the PRIMESTAR 500 at Atlanta on March 8.
In addition, Furr said the team already had a Grand Prix constructed that Hendrick Motorsport's defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, Jack Sprague, would use in the inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Las Vegas 400 on March 1.
Furr said Hendrick Motorsports would take the new Pontiac to the 1.5-mile superspeedway at Atlanta on Feb. 17-18 for Craven to test. Should the results turn out positive, Furr said it's a possibility that Craven could drive the car competitively in the annual spring event there on March 8.
"Those guys (Pontiac) have gotten awful competitive lately," said Furr, in his first season as crew chief for the Budweiser team after a stint in the same position with the No. 98 team owned by Cale Yarborough. "We don't want to leave anything on the table, so that's why we've done this.
"We're just looking into it right now. We're just going to take a look at it and see what happens. We're going to see if we can gain anything by it, and then we'll go over the results after the test."
Pontiacs won two of the last three NASCAR Winston Cup Series races in 1997, both on "intermediate" speedways. Bobby Hamilton took the checkered flag in the STP Pontiac in the ACDelco 400 at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, while Bobby Labonte won the season-ending NAPA 500 in the Interstate Batteries Grand Prix at Atlanta.
Furr said the team started building its new Pontiac Grand Prix just after Christmas.
Furr added that there are no immediate plans at Hendrick to build or race Pontiacs with defending and two-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon, or 1996 and '84 titlist Terry Labonte.
Hendrick Motorsports, which builds its own race cars from the ground up, also builds the engines and the chassis for the MB2 Motorsports No. 36 Skittles Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Ernie Irvan.