Jerry Nadeau to Drive No. 25 in 2000

Nadeau to drive for Hendrick in 2000 By Dave Rodman HARRISBURG, N.C. (July 15, 1999) Jerry Nadeau will part ways with the 'Wacky Racing' outfit after this year. Jerry Nadeau, the former road racer who many observers consider one of ...

Nadeau to drive for Hendrick in 2000 By Dave Rodman

HARRISBURG, N.C. (July 15, 1999) Jerry Nadeau will part ways with the 'Wacky Racing' outfit after this year. Jerry Nadeau, the former road racer who many observers consider one of the brightest young talents in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, will be named Monday to drive Hendrick Motorsports' No. 25 Chevrolet Monte Carlos for the 2000 season, sources said Thursday. Hendrick officials will also reveal a new multiyear sponsorship program for the operation to match Nadeau's initial contract. The changes are the latest chapter in a 14-year-old program that has been sponsored by Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser brand since 1995. Budweiser announced earlier this season that it would back Dale Earnhardt Jr. full-time in 2000 after a preliminary five-race program this season.

Nadeau replaces Wally Dallenbach, who like Nadeau comes from a road-racing background. Dallenbach took over the No. 25 permanently last August, replacing Ricky Craven.

Nadeau has made 53 starts in three years in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Since the middle of the 1998 season he has driven Cartoon Network Fords for Melling Racing. His best start is second, at Sears Point Raceway in 1998. His best finish was an eighth-place in this year's DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. He is currently 33rd in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings.

One of the first moves of the 1999 "silly season" sparked rumors about the future of Nadeau's soon-to-be former team. However, Melling Racing Enterprises' general manager Mark Melling said Thursday afternoon that, other than ultimately replacing Nadeau, very little would change regarding his team.

"The Melling Racing team is not for sale and is not going to be for sale," Melling said. "We're trudging along quite nicely, thank you. We just wanted to make sure we got the facts in order on that situation."

While Melling was quite definitive on the future of his race team, he admitted the deal for his driver had somewhat caught him by surprise.

"Maybe I've been away from there too much, because I'm coming in a little late on finding out about it, and amazingly I think I know the least about it," Melling said. "As far as the driver situation goes, I don't want to comment on that."

Dallenbach has made 34 starts in the No. 25 Chevrolet over the past two seasons, beginning as a substitute driver for the injured Craven at Michigan in June. He has scored five top-10s this year and is 20th in point standings. He posted a season-best finish of seventh place in last weekend's Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.

While Dallenbach made an outstanding debut with Hendrick in 1998, scoring three top-10 finishes in his first four starts, the last 12 races of that season he had a best finish of 23rd.

Dallenbach has been rumored as a possible driver for the Precision Preparation, Inc., NASCAR Winston Cup Series team that is currently negotiating with sponsor Procter & Gamble for a possible 2000 program.

Amy Riley, public relations director for PPI, said Thursday, "We're not commenting at all on our driver selection process. We're obviously looking for a driver who meets our goals and our partner's goals, and there are a lot of capable drivers out there."

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Jerry Nadeau , Ricky Craven
Teams Hendrick Motorsports