Jack Birmingham Buys Bahari' Racing

BIRMINGHAM PURCHASES BAHARI' RACING MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 28, 1999) -- Bahari' Racing owner Chuck Rider announced today that he has sold the team to Eel River Racing, LLC, a newly formed team owned by Boston businessman Jack ...

BIRMINGHAM PURCHASES BAHARI' RACING

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 28, 1999) -- Bahari' Racing owner Chuck Rider announced today that he has sold the team to Eel River Racing, LLC, a newly formed team owned by Boston businessman Jack Birmingham.

Birmingham said 1990 Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope will remain as the driver of the team for the remainder of the season, but the team and Cope are free to contract with others for the 2000 season. Jimmy Dean, Bryan Foods, State Fair Brand Corn Dogs and Rudy's Farm will continue to serve as rotating sponsors on the No. 30 Pontiac Grand Prixs.

Rider has agreed to be an officer of the newly formed team, which will be known as Bahari'-Eel River Racing.

"I've been looking to retain a business interest in the sport for some time now," Birmingham said. "This seemed like it would be a challenge, but a lot of fun, too. I think purchasing Bahari' Racing gives us an opportunity to turn the fortunes of the team around and eventually go on to be a winning Winston Cup team. Our immediate goal is to consistently make races so Jimmy Dean, Bryan, State Fair and Rudy's Farm can see a solid return on their investment."

Birmingham, 57, is a native of Boston, and has homes in Osterville, Mass., and Vero Beach, Fla. Eel River flows through Osterville where Birmingham resides during the summer months. Birmingham and his wife Karen have been married since 1965. The couple has three children.

Birmingham served with the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps before graduating from the Boston College law school in 1970. Upon graduation, he joined the prestigious Boston law firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn & Glovsky. He became a partner of the firm in 1976. He purchased Robert Williams, Inc., a plastic film distributor, in 1983. Birmingham acquired Steinway Musical Properties, a holding company for Steinway and Sons pianos, in 1985. He sold the business in 1995.

Rider formed Bahari' Racing in 1987. His teams have earned 16 top-five and 69 top-10 finishes over that span, accumulating more than $7.5 million in earnings.

"I guess the biggest thing for me is that it's a day of mixed emotions," Rider said. "I'm very happy that I was able to go forward with representing the Sara Lee Meat Group with the help of Jack Birmingham and his new group. The experience I've had with our group of employees and especially the NASCAR people has been outstanding over the years. I hope to maintain a relationship with those people for many years in the future."

Cope is a two-time winner on the Winston Cup circuit. He captured his first career pole when he won the top starting spot in Rider's Pontiac for last October's UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"Derrike Cope is going to continue as our driver this year," Birmingham said.

"We greatly respect his diving ability. He has proven he can win and we know he's a good driver. We're sticking with him this year and we're putting everything we have behind him."

Cope said his goal is to have a competitive rebirth during the remainder of the season.

"You have to kind of look at it as a fresh start," Cope said. "Obviously, there is going to be an influx of change in various departments. I'm going to wait and see who comes and what changes are made. I'm going to go into it with a positive attitude and look to change things around the remaining portion of the year. It's exciting."

Bob Tomlinson, who served as Cale Yarborough Motorsports' team manger when Cope was the driver from 1993-94, will serve in the same capacity at Bahari-Eel River Racing. Devin Birmingham, a marketing expert employed at Kellogg Co., will be part of the management team.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Derrike Cope , Robert Williams , Cale Yarborough
Teams Williams