Hedrick finds way to combat multi-car dominance By Shawn A. Akers STATESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 24, 1999) More and more, single-car teams are finding it increasingly difficult to survive in the multi-car world of NASCAR. If you're not among the ...
Hedrick finds way to combat multi-car dominance By Shawn A. Akers
STATESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 24, 1999) More and more, single-car teams are finding it increasingly difficult to survive in the multi-car world of NASCAR.
If you're not among the Hendricks, Roushes, Childresses or Yateses of the racing world, success on the track has become a precious commodity. Winning races, well, it's just not something that happens every weekend for a single-car team.
That's not something you have to tell Larry Hedrick. The owner of the No. 41 Kodiak Chevrolet, with driver David Green, watches his team struggle constantly on the race track just to stay competitive with the bigger teams with more resources.
And while he has yet to be able to add a second NASCAR Winston Cup Series team to his organization, Hedrick has found a way to combat the deficit between Hedrick Motorsports and the more prestigious multi-car programs. The addition of a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division team, Hedrick said, has closed that gap somewhat, and has given Hedrick more incentive to look into a second NASCAR Winston Cup Series team.
The NASCAR Busch Series team, formed over the winter, is the product of a partnership with team owner James Finch. The team, sponsored by AFG Industries, is run out of Finch's shop in Lynn Haven, Fla., with equipment rented from Finch. The No. 41 Chevrolet is driven by Green.
"We're taking this foray into the Busch Series this year, albeit just to companion races (with the NASCAR Winston Cup Series), and we're able to use it as a start to a multi-car team," Hedrick said. "Only we're using one driver, and we're sharing technology back and forth.
"Our intention is for the Busch team to provide information to help the Winston Cup effort, and it's already paid off. We're on a one-race streak. The shock technology, in particular, is where that helps. We think the addition of the Busch team is going to be a tremendous boost for our Winston Cup effort this year."
The "one-race streak" Hedrick referred to was a solid top-20 finish for Green in the Dura-Lube/Big Kmart 400 at North Carolina Speedway this past weekend. The team failed to make the field for the season-opening Daytona 500 after Green was involved in an accident in his Gatorade 125-Mile Qualifying Race.
The No. 41 AFG Industries Chevrolet failed to make the field for last Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series ALLTEL 200, due in part to a rainout of Bud Pole Qualifying on Friday. But Hedrick said the information the team was able to obtain during Friday morning's practice was invaluable to his NASCAR Winston Cup Series team's effort throughout the weekend.
Keeping good team personnel, Hedrick said, is the biggest challenge for a single-car operation. Ricky Rudd, owner of one of only two single-car operations to win a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race in 1998 (Morgan-McClure Motorsports, with driver Bobby Hamilton, was the other), has expressed his concerns in that area in recent years as well.
"Where we're having problems with a small-team operation is competing with the talent pool in terms of being able to come up with a number of dollars required to hire someone and to get them to stay with you," Hedrick said. "And I maintain that the length of time that the key players in the organization are together are pretty commensurate to the success that you enjoy.
"Personnel is where we're really coming up short -- shock people and things like that. You can get a crackerjack person to assist you with two teams in a multi-car setting, therefore spreading the salary over two operations. It's more cost effective than one person in a one-team operation. It's as simple as that."
One advantage that Hedrick Motorsports enjoys over several single-car teams is having a solid sponsor behind it. Kodiak, one of the longest-running sponsorships on the circuit, has been with Hedrick Motorsports since 1995, and has stayed with the team through thick and thin during that time, including several driver changes.
Other teams, such as the No. 98 Ford of Cale Yarborough Motorsports, the No. 91 Chevrolet team of LJ Racing, the No. 90 Ford team of Donlavey Racing and the No. 81 Ford team of Pinnacle Motorsports, are among the outfits that have struggled to stay afloat without primary sponsorship. Yarborough's team was able to land a primary sponsor for Daytona, and the No. 81 team was at Daytona, but failed to make the season-opener.
"Every week you see there are fewer than a full field of cars that have their cars completely covered up with decals," Hedrick said. "Kodiak's longevity is a tribute to its recognition of the value of this sport. They are very loyal, and we're proud that they've seen fit to stay with us. We've been with them for five years now, and that's a comforting thought.
"We haven't won any races yet, and winning races would really make the sponsor happy, but they recognize probably better than any other sponsor out there the competitiveness of the sport and their expectations are realistic. They recognize longevity is a big factor.
"We're pleased about Kodiak's moxie in racing, and they don't question why -- why you didn't win this week again. We're certainly thinking that we're providing each other with what the other requires and desires. That's why we're proud to have Kodiak on our race car."
Source: NASCAR Online