Decision on McReynolds' future forthcoming by Shawn A. Akers WELCOME, N.C. (Sept. 8, 1998) Larry McReynolds isn't deaf or blind. He's heard the rumors and the innuendo, and he's even read in the newspaper about the speculation surrounding...
Decision on McReynolds' future forthcoming by Shawn A. Akers
WELCOME, N.C. (Sept. 8, 1998) Larry McReynolds isn't deaf or blind. He's heard the rumors and the innuendo, and he's even read in the newspaper about the speculation surrounding his future in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
The crew chief for the No. 31 Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet, with driver Mike Skinner, said Monday night most of it is just hearsay, and that he will make clear his plans for the future following a meeting with his boss, Richard Childress, scheduled for next Tuesday. McReynolds said his plans may include starting up his own NASCAR Winston Cup team in 1999, a deal that is currently in the works and that he hopes will come to fruition.
"I've been in Winston Cup racing for 18 years, 12 years as a crew chief, and for several years, I've had a longing to be a car owner," McReynolds said. "Over the last year or so, I have been talking with some people out of Indianapolis that I used to work for, and during the first part of the summer, ironically when we made the switch (McReynolds went from being the crew chief of the No. 3 Richard Childress-owned team to the No. 31 team), this became more of a reality.
"Major sponsors that have talked to these people have shown a strong interest in Winston Cup racing. If the right people are involved, and I believe they are, it could turn into me owning my own team. If we can put it together, then that would be great. But if not, I'm going to sit down with Richard on Sept. 15, which is the cutoff date that I had set for myself, and discuss with him the plans we'll have for next year. Richard's been great about everything, and we have been up front with each other. I've gotten his full support about the whole thing."
McReynolds said he didn't want to become a team owner in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series "just to get his name on a shirt or on the side of a team hauler." He said he wouldn't enter into ownership in the series lightly or without the support of a strong team that would be an instant contender.
With that in mind, McReynolds said if he and the parties from Indianapolis couldn't hammer out an agreement by next Tuesday, he would make plans for the ownership deal to happen in the year 2000, and would thus sit back down with Childress and discuss his and RCR's plans for the 1999 season.
An article in Sunday's Charlotte Observer had it that McReynolds was the leading candidate to take on the crew chief duties for the new No. 20 Home Depot team, with driver Tony Stewart, at Joe Gibbs Racing. The article said that he had turned the job down, but that he was scheduled to talk to Gibbs again sometime soon to see if he would reconsider.
McReynolds has also been rumored to be headed to Asheville, N.C., to take on the crew chief duties for the new second team -- sponsored by Square D with driver Kenny Wallace -- to be fielded by Andy Petree, beginning next season. He said he has talked to neither team about either of those positions.
"There's no question that my name has been caught in the middle of the rumor mill, and there's a lot of speculation," McReynolds said. "I think people are looking at my situation, with me having been with the 3 team and then making the switch, and they're saying that there's no way he's going to stay on after this year is over.
"I have not talked with anyone from Roush, I have not talked with anyone at Andy Petree's, and I have not talked with anyone from Joe Gibbs' organization. Jimmy Makar (director of racing operations at Joe Gibbs Racing) and I have ridden together in the same car going to Crew Chief Club functions, and never once has he mentioned anything about showing an interest in me for the Tony Stewart deal. I don't know where people get these things from, but they're not true."
Becoming a NASCAR Winston Cup owner in the near future, however, is something that McReynolds said would be a reality.
"I've been in this business for so long and I've learned a lot for so long from a lot of great people like Kenny Bernstein, Robert Yates and Richard Childress," McReynolds said. "I've wanted to do this for a long time, and I finally decided to grab some of the joystick myself, here I can implement the great things I've learned from these people. But as far as putting it all together in a quick fashion, well, if we can't do it right, then I don't want any part of it right now. I'll continue being a crew chief for the next year or so, and then we'll see what happens."
Source: NASCAR Online