Yates, Irwin to split after season CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 11, 1999) Kenny Irwin, right, claimed NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors in 1998. Car owner Robert Yates announced Wednesday that Kenny Irwin, driver of the No. 28 ...
Yates, Irwin to split after season
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 11, 1999) Kenny Irwin, right, claimed NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors in 1998. Car owner Robert Yates announced Wednesday that Kenny Irwin, driver of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford since the start of the 1998 season, will not return to his team next year. "Kenny Irwin and I have mutally agreed that it is in the best interests of both Kenny and the team to not continue our relationship together into the year 2000," Yates said.
"I want to emphasize that this change is being made in the interest of all concerned. As for the remainder of the season, we are committed, as a team, to make the No. 28 car successful.
"Kenny is a talented driver and all of us at Robert Yates Racing wish him the best in his future endeavors."
Irwin replaced Ernie Irvan last season after claiming Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1997. Last season, the Indianapolis native won the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year with a Bud Pole, a top-5 and three top-10s to his credit. He finished the season 28th in the standings.
This year, Irwin has picked up another Bud Pole, one top-5 and two top-10s and is 20th in the points.
Irwin's season started off with a bang, as he posted a career-best third-place effort in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Unfortunately, since then Irwin's best performance was a 10th-place run in the MBNA Platinum 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway.
Irwin's average start this season has been 19th, and his average finish 22nd. He is coming off one of his nine top-15 finishes of the year -- a 13th-place finish Sunday in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Yates said Irwin will finish the season and that no decision has been made regarding his replacement.
"We are exploring our options and will interview drivers before making a decision," Yates said.
Yates also fields the No. 88 Quality Care/Ford Credit Ford of series points leader Dale Jarrett, who won last week's Brickyard 400.
Irwin proved himself as one of the top racers in the open-wheel ranks of the United States Auto Club. In five full seasons with the USAC Skoal National Midget Series, Irwin earned eight wins, 20 second-place, 59 top-5 and 87 top-10 finishes, as well as the 1996 championship.
Irwin also has seven wins in the USAC's Stoops Freightliner Sprint Car Series, and was named its Rookie of the Year in 1993. Irwin followed that by being named the USAC Silver Crown Series Rookie of the Year in 1994, and finished second in points in 1996. He has four career Silver Crown Series victories.
In 1997, his first full season with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Irwin claimed top rookie honors, behind two wins -- at Miami-Homestead Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway and finished 10th in the series standings. In 1996, he sat on the Bud Pole in only his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at Richmond International Raceway.
Source: NASCAR Online