By Shawn A. Akers CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 31, 1998) No one ever said that team ownership in the highest levels of NASCAR came without its headaches. Sponsorship is one of the bigger ones, as Bobby Hillin has discovered. ...
By Shawn A. Akers CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 31, 1998) No one ever said that team ownership in the highest levels of NASCAR came without its headaches. Sponsorship is one of the bigger ones, as Bobby Hillin has discovered.
Hillin has run four of the first six races of the 1998 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division schedule with a primary sponsor, Yahoo Sports, a navigational Internet site, on his No. 8 Chevrolet. The original deal, however, was only for five races, and once again Hillin is searching for primary sponsorship.
Hillin said that Yahoo Sports will most likely be on the car for Saturday's Coca-Cola 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, but it is uncertain what will transpire for the rest of the season with that company.
"Yahoo definitely wants to stay on the car for the rest of the season, and we're in the process of trying to work something out so they can," Hillin said. "The Yahoo situation was to be for five races to begin with, through Texas, but we haven't totally worked that out. Right now, though, we are in the process of searching for a primary sponsor for Texas and for the rest of the year."
Hillin has failed to qualify for two of the first six events in 1998.
Hillin said that Hart Housing, which has been an associate sponsor on the No. 8 Chevrolet for the four races it has run, will also be on the car for the Coca-Cola 300. That relationship is also in limbo following the Texas race.
"Right now we're going to Texas and then we'll go to Hickory and then ... we'll go as far as we can go," Hillin said. "We are currently looking for people to come on board with us, and if we can get something together, we should be okay."
The team was dealt a rough hand from the start when crew chief Gene Nead tendered his resignation in mid-January after what Hillin termed as "good test sessions" in preparation for the season-opening NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway in February. Nead left the team to become crew chief for Phil Parsons' No. 10 Dura Lube Chevrolet team.
"We did have some problems, and yeah, we've gotten off to a rough start," Hillin said. "Here we go testing three weeks before Daytona, we test good, and then the crew chief quits for no reason at all. He quit because we didn't have a sponsor, and he went back to Phil (Parsons). At that point, everyone is taken, and I'm trying to put together some leadership for this team and it's not there.
"There was period there where we missed a couple of races and there was a lot of mis- communication, and the team suffered. I chalked that up to partly to Gene leaving me high and dry and partly to starting a new company. Since that time, I think we've run really well, it's just that we've been part of a lot of misfortune."
Following the race at Texas is the Galaxy Foods 300 at Hickory Motor Speedway on April 11. The NASCAR Busch Series then takes a week off before heading to Talladega Superspeedway for the April 25 Touchstone Energy 300.
Source: NASCAR Online