BACE signs Jason Jarrett for 1999 By Dave Rodman HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 14, 1998) Citing the opportunity to sign a contract with one of NASCAR racing's up-and-coming talents, BACE Motorsports' owner Bill Baumgardner Saturday announced Jason ...
BACE signs Jason Jarrett for 1999 By Dave Rodman
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 14, 1998) Citing the opportunity to sign a contract with one of NASCAR racing's up-and-coming talents, BACE Motorsports' owner Bill Baumgardner Saturday announced Jason Jarrett would drive the No. 33 Bayer/Alka-Seltzer Chevrolet in 1999 for the three-time defending NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division championship team.
Jarrett, the 23-year-old son of NASCAR Winston Cup standout and two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Jarrett, has driven two partial seasons on NASCAR's second-level touring series. He replaces USAC open-wheel standout Andy Michner, who previously was announced as the car's driver but who suffered injuries on Oct. 7 in an accident in testing at Homestead.
Baumgardner had initially intended to run Michner at least in the season finale, but he said Jarrett's signing was not a replacement.
"Andy broke his leg in two places and had a gash in his leg and he'll be in a hard cast until January 1," Baumgardner said. "Honestly, he's going to need some confidence rebuilding as well as physical rebuilding, but at the right time, when he's ready, there'll be a BACE Motorsports car for him to drive.
"Basically, we've 'red-shirted' his contract, and the opportunity to sign a coming young driver like Jason we didn't want to pass up."
Baumgardner said he still planned to have a three-car operation in 1999, even though sponsors Kleenex and FINA are leaving, along with current drivers Tim Fedewa and Randy LaJoie.
"We have ordered seven new race cars and a new Featherlite trailer," Baumgardner said of his 1999 intentions. "We intend to be the strongest Busch Grand National team in history when we pull into Daytona in February."
Baumgardner said the No. 26 Staff America Chevrolet that was qualified 19th for the Jiffy Lube Miami 300 by 1995 NASCAR Busch Series champion Johnny Benson was brought to Homestead in "R&D mode" and was the "third team" car that Jarrett would spend a lot of time in in the future. Veteran crew chief Gary Cogswell is leading that team and will run Jarrett's effort.
Jason Jarrett made his NASCAR Busch Series debut at his hometown Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina. He finished 21st. Since that time he has run 14 NBS races with a best finish of 16th at Hickory this season.
"Sure, next year will be a real learning experience for me, but I've already run some of the tougher tracks we go to, like Darlington and Charlotte," Jarrett said. "I feel like learning to draft at places like Daytona and Talladega will be a big step because I didn't run all of the race at Talladega this year."
Jarrett said his team, to be led by the veteran Cogswell, would be the ace in the hole for the former kart and NASCAR Winston Racing Series competitor.
"They have certainly showed they know how to win championships and win races," Jarrett said. "I'm pretty excited about running a full schedule with a team as good as BACE next season."
"We believe this opportunity to run a full schedule with a proven championship team will enable Jason to gain the experience to become a leading Busch Series driver," Baumgardner said, adding that he was going about his expansion plans "the right way," and had several variables in the works.
Baumgardner closed by saying he wanted to take some pictures of Homestead's unofficial "boneyard" at the far end of the garage area that at various times held wrecked cars driven by Jeff Burton, Joe Nemechek, Buckshot Jones and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"He (Michner) wrecked a car here - so what?" Baumgardner said. "Some good drivers have crashed here, like Joe Nemechek, who never tears anything up. He's just got to realize it's one of those things that happens."
The team also announced that VisionAire Corporation would be an associate sponsor of the team.
Source: NASCAR Online