Ward joins Akins/Sutton Motorsports WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 26, 1998) Wes Ward, former director of racing operations for Diamond Ridge Motorsports, has joined Akins/Sutton Motorsports, Akins/Sutton co-owner Bob Sutton Jr. announced...
Ward joins Akins/Sutton Motorsports
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 26, 1998) Wes Ward, former director of racing operations for Diamond Ridge Motorsports, has joined Akins/Sutton Motorsports, Akins/Sutton co-owner Bob Sutton Jr. announced Thursday.
Akins/Sutton, which owns and prepares the No. 38 Barbasol Ford driven by veteran Elton Sawyer, is planning to field a second NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division team in 1999. Ward is the first person hired for that team, Sutton said.
"We're glad and honored to have Wes aboard," Sutton said. "He's the first person we've hired for our new team, and he's going to help us out for now on the Barbasol Ford. Eddie Pardue is doing a great job as crew chief, and the addition of Wes will make us that much better."
"I'm not here to take Eddie's place," Ward said. "I'm here to spark new ideas, pick up the pace in the shop and help get the cars on the trucks. This team has been on the verge of victory, and I think you'll see us celebrating in Victory Lane soon. I hope I can complement the Barbasol team's hard work."
Sawyer and the Barbasol Ford crew have collected five top-10 finishes in 1998, including a fourth-place finish in the Lycos.com 250 at Pikes Peak. Sawyer is ninth in drivers points. Ward joined Diamond Ridge Motorsports in September 1996 as crew chief for driver Jeff Green during the 1997 season. On March 16, 1997, Ward led Green to his first NASCAR Busch Series win in the inaugural event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Green had one victory, six top-five finishes, seven top-10 finishes, two poles and one outside pole in the 14 races the two ran together.
In July 1997, Ward was appointed director of racing operations. He oversaw both the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series operations for Diamond Ridge and served as crew chief for Green and the No. 29 NASCAR Winston Cup Series program. After retiring from driving Late Model stock cars in 1988, Ward built Late Model cars for local competitors in his hometown of Hickory, N.C. Within two years, Ward was on driver Tommy Houston's NASCAR Busch Series crew and visited Victory Lane for the first time in 1990. Ward remained with Dhart Racing until 1992.
Ward's next stop in 1992 was DAJ Racing, where he worked under the tutelage of veteran crew chief John Erwin. Ward finally realized his dream of becoming a NASCAR crew chief when he was promoted to the position for Dale Jarrett's NASCAR Busch Series car.
Jarrett ran a limited schedule in 1996, and Ward made the calls for DAJ Racing at nine events. During the season, the Jarrett/Ward combination collected four top-fives, including two runner-up finishes.
Source: NASCAR Online