No time off for Eel Racing

MOORESVILLE, N.C., (Nov. 1, 2000) - Last weekend's break from the NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule came just in time to rejuvenate the Eel River Racing team for the most demanding stretch of the year -- the "off season." "Without a doubt...

MOORESVILLE, N.C., (Nov. 1, 2000) - Last weekend's break from the NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule came just in time to rejuvenate the Eel River Racing team for the most demanding stretch of the year -- the "off season."

"Without a doubt the off season is the hardest working time of the year," said crew chief/co-owner Barry Dodson. "We'll have an especially busy winter here at Eel River Racing -- Kenny Wallace is coming on board, we're moving into a new shop in December and we're in the hunt for a new primary sponsor. We really have a lot to look forward to, which makes the long hours much more bearable."

Eel River Racing has already begun its preparations for the 2001 season. One new car is almost complete and at least four additional Pontiacs will be built before the team heads to Daytona International Speedway in February.

"I guess the most important thing at this stage is determining how to paint the cars," joked Dodson. "I think a lot of people assume that with Kenny coming over we must have a sponsor, but that we just haven't announced the agreement. That's not the case -- we are aggressively searching for sponsorship for 2001. That's our main priority right now."

The Winston Cup Series schedule expands to 36 races and two non-points events in 2001. Last weekend's break will likely be the most time off team members will receive before the 2001 season begins.

Does the 2001 schedule mean that off-weekends are a thing of the past? "I certainly hope not, but it's starting to look that way," Dodson commented. "That's why it's a must that we continue to take care of the road crews. This year we started giving the road crew Mondays off after a race weekend. We got that implemented this year so that we could get the rest of the program in sync to cover for the road guys when next year's schedule begins.

"I'm very proud of what we've accomplished with this team. We had to replenish our entire stock of cars this year, we traded one rookie driver for another, and here we are earning some very respectable finishes late in the year. We're in a much better position heading into 2001 than we were a year ago. Like I said, we have a lot to look forward to."

Eel River Racing currently fields the No. 27 Pontiac for rookie driver Mike Bliss. The team is headquartered in Mooresville, N.C., located just 30 miles north of Charlotte. The race team's operations and administration will relocate in December to a state-of-the-art 78,000 square foot facility in Mooresville.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kenny Wallace