LaJoie, Dallenbach to keep Craven's seat warm By Bill Frederickson FONTANA, Calif. (May 2, 1998) While Ricky Craven continued to recuperate from injuries suffered last year at Texas, his seat in the No. 50 Budweiser Chevrolet has become a hot...
LaJoie, Dallenbach to keep Craven's seat warm By Bill Frederickson
FONTANA, Calif. (May 2, 1998) While Ricky Craven continued to recuperate from injuries suffered last year at Texas, his seat in the No. 50 Budweiser Chevrolet has become a hot topic in the garage area. Randy LaJoie, the two-time NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division champion, has taken over driving duties in recent weeks and posted some strong results.
"It's just a great opportunity for me to work with Budweiser and Hendrick Motorsports," LaJoie said.
"But, I'm just filling in for Ricky. And he's getting better."
LaJoie is still scheduled to run with the 'Bud Brigade' in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as stops at Dover Downs International Speedway and Richmond International Raceway. But LaJoie's hunt for a third straight NASCAR Busch Series crown will prohibit him from running every event until Craven's return. That's where Wally Dallenbach enters the picture.
Dallenbach was recently released from his duties behind the wheel of Team SABCO's First Union Chevrolet. And as a free agent, Dallenbach has had no problems finding work.
This week, the Basalt, Colo., native will drive the No. 35 Tabasco Pontiac, in place of the injured Todd Bodine. And later this week, he will test Richard Childress' No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet at Sears Point Raceway.
Then, he has a pair of test dates with Hendrick Motorsports on his schedule. He will test the No. 50 Chevrolet at Michigan Speedway and Richmond.
Dallenbach will also pilot the car in The Winston Open at Charlotte. Whether or not he will assume the driving duties after that event has not been decided..
"There's nothing confirmed, and nothing I can really talk about, but we have talked about it," Dallenbach said. "It could be a five-race deal with them, or maybe for the rest of the year. We'll just have to wait and see. It all really depends on how Ricky is doing."
And Ricky certainly seems to be racing along the road to recovery.
Craven, who is suffering from post concussion syndrome, visited the California Speedway on Friday with wife K.K. It marked Craven's first visit to a racetrack since the race at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 29.
Using a single crutch, due to recent surgery on his right anterior cruciate ligament, Craven talked about his much-anticipated return to racing.
"I feel great," said Craven, who was in town for an appearance with Budweiser representatives at a local amusement park. "I think my recuperation is well ahead of schedule. But, I won't come back until I'm 100 percent healed."
Craven, who also attended Friday's special "NASCAR Night in Hollywood" gala, said he is slated to return to action on July 2, in a practice for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Until then, his seat will most certainly be kept warm.
(NASCAR Online's Dave Rodman contributed to this report)
Source: NASCAR Online