BUSCH: Gateway Diamond Ridge Motorsports Preview

Graybar, Bussmann and Panduit Head to Gateway with Diamond Ridge Motorsports MADISON, Ill., (June 15, 1999) - For the third consecutive year, Graybar and Bussmann are sponsoring an entry for the July 31 NASCAR Busch Series, Grand ...

Graybar, Bussmann and Panduit Head to Gateway with Diamond Ridge Motorsports

MADISON, Ill., (June 15, 1999) - For the third consecutive year, Graybar and Bussmann are sponsoring an entry for the July 31 NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division event at Gateway International Raceway. Joining the two St. Louis companies in this year's sponsorship endeavor is the Panduit Corporation from Tinley Park, Ill. The three companies have teamed together with Diamond Ridge Motorsports and driver Curtis Markham for the inaugural night-time running of the CarQuest 250. "We're excited about lining up with Diamond Ridge Motorsports and Curtis Markham - a driver we think is a sleeping gem," Graybar Vice President Chuck Udell said. "We did well with Scott Hansen last year, and Dale Shaw finished third for us in 1997. With this being a one-race deal, it's nice being able to bring someone with a solid racing background into the limelight." Markham has made 75 Busch Series starts and amassed 17 top-10 finishes in his ongoing Busch Series career. The Fredericksburg, Va., native is currently driving Bechtel's No. 29 Chevrolet on a limited basis this season. Whenever Markham isn't driving, he's serving as car chief for teammate Jeff Purvis on the No. 4 Lance Snacks Chevrolet. "We're really looking forward to getting the Diamond Ridge No. 29 team back on the race track," Markham said. "We've built a new car specifically for Gateway. We expect the time and effort we've put into this car to really payoff." Markham is no stranger to Gateway. Substituting for NASCAR Winston Cup Series and part-time Busch Series driver Dick Trickle, Markham ran as high as third in last year's event before being taken out in an accident not of his making. "I can't wait to go back there," Markham said. "I've definitely got some unfinished business." Also no stranger to Gateway are Graybar and Bussmann. In the inaugural race at the 1.25-mile oval in 1997, Shaw drove his Graybar/Bussmann Chevrolet to a stellar third-place finish. In last year's event, Hansen made his Busch Series debut in the No. 12 Graybar/Bussmann Chevy, driving to a respectable 16th place finish after starting 42nd. "We've joined Bussmann to do this program for the last couple of years, and we're excited to continue our relationship," Udell said. "This year, we're introducing a new company to NASCAR in Panduit, a manufacturer of electrical and data wiring components. They're joining us as an additional sponsor, and I'm sure it'll be just as exciting for them." The sponsorship provided by Graybar, Bussmann and Panduit has enabled Diamond Ridge Motorsports owner Gary Bechtel to put Markham in a competitive ride for the CarQuest 250. Always supportive of his drivers, Bechtel expects Markham to join Purvis at the front of the field. "I'm very encouraged by Curtis Markham in everything he does," Bechtel said. "Curtis is a racer, and he keeps himself active by working in the shop full-time. He's been a big asset to the Lance team. But behind the wheel is where Curtis belongs. "I think we're in pretty good shape," Bechtel continued. "Curtis has always been a good qualifier, and he's a good racer too. We don't have any provisionals, so we're focused on qualifying at the front of the pack. We really don't have any excuses not to." Serving as Markham's crew chief will be Mike Byrd. The 46-year-old Clarksville, Tenn., native came to Diamond Ridge Motorsports from the Jasper Motorsports Winston Cup team, where he oversaw the building of the team's race cars for the past two years. Byrd said it will be crucial for the team to prove themselves from the word "go" at Gateway. "We need to be fast right off the truck," said Byrd. "Getting in a good qualifying effort is key. Once we do that, we can concentrate on the race. "You can't foresee the future, but to finish in the top-10 would be a big accomplishment for this team. It would be a total plus for the whole effort, giving everyone involved a tremendous boost."

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dick Trickle , Scott Hansen