Larry McReynolds Still Planning Own Team

McReynolds still planning his race team By Dave Rodman WELCOME, N.C. (Feb. 23, 1999) Even as driver Mike Skinner is enjoying his first perch atop the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings -- as is his Lowe's Chevrolet team -- Richard ...

McReynolds still planning his race team By Dave Rodman

WELCOME, N.C. (Feb. 23, 1999) Even as driver Mike Skinner is enjoying his first perch atop the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings -- as is his Lowe's Chevrolet team -- Richard Childress Racing crew chief Larry McReynolds is steaming full-ahead with his plans to own his own racing operation in the year 2000.

He's doing it on his own terms, and that means no end gets shorted to suit the middle man.

"Mike Skinner and this Lowe's Chevrolet team gets my undivided attention," McReynolds said Tuesday morning in a Winston media teleconference. "I'm in it that way at least until the checkered flag flies in Atlanta."

McReynolds' commitment -- make that complete commitment -- to any number of projects, is unquestioned. That is the case with the current scenario.

"I've said right along that I would keep Richard Childress up to speed on what is happening, and I've done that," McReynolds said. "I didn't want them to read about it in the newspaper."

What he's done, while working a typical 70- to 80-hour week on the Lowe's car, is form a company, Motorsports Performance Headquarters, with his partner in the new venture, marketing and public relations professional John Dangler. The pair met when McReynolds worked on Kenny Bernstein's King Racing team -- his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief position -- in 1986.

"We're still in high gear, but John is putting 95 to 99 percent of the effort into making it happen for 2000," McReynolds said. "I'm calling people at night, having dinners with different people and we've signed some little things."

But the pair is still pursuing the big prize: A major sponsor that would make McReynolds' dream come true.

"I've got 19 years of racing experience and I'd like to think I've done something positive with the sport, and that I'd be able to keep an eye on the crew and the mechanical side of things," McReynolds said. "John Dangler has 25 years of marketing experience and he can make sure that the sponsors are getting their bang for the buck."

McReynolds, who has worked for some of the most high-profile teams in NASCAR, including both of Richard Childress Racing's teams, Robert Yates Racing and King Racing, says the pair is trolling hard for a sponsor.

"We have got something like 50 proposals out," he said. "There are 10 we feel really good about and two that we are really close on. We are working real close with NASCAR's New York office on this and confident something will come together."

That confidence raises the specter of a deadline that McReynolds must meet to satisfy the needs of his prospective team and his current boss.

"I don't really have a hard and fast deadline fixed in my mind," McReynolds said, "but if we get the right program signed within the next two to three months this would be my last year with Richard Childress.

"By the end of May we need to have something in place, and I need to start looking long and hard at what I really need to do. We're only going to do this if it's the right program, with the proper financing to do it right -- not for Larry McReynolds, but for the whole program.

"It would be hard to be up and running and ready to go testing and be competitive in January at Daytona (if the deal is not complete by the end of May). We're not doing this just because we want to be team owners -- we want to be competitive right from the start. I've worked for some good people in this sport ... Kenny Bernstein -- who was not the first one I worked for but who was the first to give me an opportunity as a crew chief -- Robert Yates, Richard Childress ...

"They have all taught me a lot about business, life and racing. If I can incorporate all that into owning a race team with John Dangler, that would be a desirable goal to seek."

Above all, McReynolds said he is primarily looking to the future, as much as his present is shining.

"It will tear me up if it comes down to leaving Richard Childress," he said of his relationship with his owner and his race team, "but myself, I have been in this sport for 19 years, and I've worked 80-hour weeks since the beginning. I'm 40 years old -- I have to look at my wife and three children and think about our future.

"I promise you, Larry ain't looking at an easy way out. Instead of 70-hour work weeks, if I get into ownership it might mean 140-hour weeks. But if the right deal presents itself, I've got to close that because it's something we've worked hard on."

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mike Skinner , Kenny Bernstein , Robert Yates , John Dang
Teams Richard Childress Racing