Hillman signs on with Donlavey By Shawn A. Akers RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 14, 1998) Junie Donlavey, owner of the No. 90 Heilig-Meyers Ford driven by Dick Trickle in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, said Monday that he has hired veteran Mike ...
Hillman signs on with Donlavey By Shawn A. Akers
RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 14, 1998) Junie Donlavey, owner of the No. 90 Heilig-Meyers Ford driven by Dick Trickle in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, said Monday that he has hired veteran Mike Hillman to be the crew chief for his one-car operation based here, effective Monday morning. Hillman, the former crew chief for several NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams and drivers, most recently Cale Yarborough Motorsports earlier this season, replaces Tommy Baldwin Jr. as the crew chief of the No. 90 Ford Taurus. Baldwin recently left the team after expressing to Donlavey his desire to be closer to the perceived center of the stock car racing community, in North Carolina, as opposed to Virginia. MRN Radio's "NASCAR Today" radio show Monday afternoon reported that Baldwin had gone to work at Bill Davis Racing's NASCAR Winston Cup Series operation, replacing former crew chief Chris Hussey, who according to the show had been released by Davis. "We hated to lose Tommy, but his heart was in Charlotte and the Charlotte area, so we couldn't hold him back," Donlavey said of Baldwin, who has been a full-time crew chief for less than two seasons and who had 19 races under his belt with Trickle and Donlavey Racing prior to this season. "We certainly wish him the best, but we've got to get on with our operations now." That included the hiring of Hillman who, off and on, has been a crew chief in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series since 1993. In 1994, Hillman and Trickle worked together for 25 races on a NASCAR Winston Cup Series team owned by Dean Myers. During that stretch, the two combined for one top-10 finish. "One of the things I really like about Mike is that he and Trickle had already worked together before, so they know each other and they sort of understand each other," Donlavey said. "He's (Hillman) been around for quite a while, and we felt comfortable about hiring him as opposed to someone else.." Hillman was the crew chief for Tommy Ellis when Ellis won a championship in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division in 1988. Earlier this season, Heilig-Meyers announced that it would not return as the primary sponsor of Donlavey's Fords for next season. Donlavey said the team is currently in negotiations with another major sponsor for 1999, and that he hopes to make that announcement some time within the next two to three weeks. "We hated to see Heilig-Meyers go away because they were so good to us, but we don't want to take a defeatist attitude about it," Donlavey said. "We're working on a couple of really good ones (potential sponsors) right now. We feel pretty good about landing something here real soon. " Trickle is currently 26th in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings following a disappointing 42nd-place finish in last Saturday night's Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 at the team's "home track," Richmond International Raceway. Hillman's first race as the team's "official" crew chief will be this Sunday's MBNA Gold 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway.
Source: NASCAR Online