Dura Lube to back Finley in NASCAR Busch Series CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 15, 1999) A fledgling association that produced eight top-five finishes in just 15 starts in the ARCA Bondo Mar/Hyde Series is set to take flight in the 1999 NASCAR Busch ...
Dura Lube to back Finley in NASCAR Busch Series
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 15, 1999) A fledgling association that produced eight top-five finishes in just 15 starts in the ARCA Bondo Mar/Hyde Series is set to take flight in the 1999 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division. Team owner Ed Rensi announced Thursday Michigan native Jeff Finley will pilot his No. 52 Dura Lube Chevrolet Monte Carlos for the full 32-race schedule.
Team Rensi Motorsports, owned by the recently retired president and CEO of McDonald's USA, has also hired veteran crew chief David Ifft to turn the wrenches for the first-year team. The crew will debut at Daytona International Speedway Sunday in a NASCAR Busch Series test session and then again next month in the Feb. 13 NAPA Auto Parts 300 season opener.
Ifft spent last year at the helm of a variety of programs, starting the season with Gary Laton in the NASCAR Busch Series before accepting year-end interim roles with Kenny Wallace's FILMAR Racing NASCAR Winston Cup Series entry and Rensi's ARCA contingent.
Finley and Rensi joined forces five races into the 1998 ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series season, posting a second-place finish at Memphis Motorsports Park in their maiden run. Although injuries forced Finley to sit out two of the final three races of the season, he still finished sixth in the point championship, logging his eighth top-five in the season finale in Atlanta.
Rensi finished fifth in series' owner points, and was named ARCA Sportsman of the Year by his racing peers. Ironically, Finley garnered the Sportsman award in 1997.
The team unveiled its new scheme at the NASCAR Busch Series Preview in Hickory, N.C. Dura Lube sponsored Phil Parsons' NASCAR Busch Series team in 1998 when Parsons scored a top-five run in the points. The company has also become active in race sponsorships.
Finley will be a candidate for Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the 1999 NASCAR Busch Series.
"Jeff has great qualities," Rensi said. "He spent years driving short tracks and Saturday night bull rings. He has the courage of a young man and the experience and intellect of a mature driver. What he doesn't know, he learns fast."
The rookie driver is just as complimentary of his boss.
"Ed Rensi brings so much stability, self-confidence and leadership to this team," Finley said. "Yet it's his hometown kindness, family values and work ethic that really bring us together as a unit. To have his presence behind you creates a winning situation that's not a matter of `if,' but `when.' When we go to the track, his demeanor shows in our performance."
Speaking from the team headquarters in Lake Wylie, S.C., Ifft echoed Finley's enthusiasm regarding the foundation Rensi has built in his first NASCAR Busch Series effort.
"Ed Rensi is noted as one of the finer car owners and better people in racing, and I'm excited to be involved with him," he said. "I wanted to have four cars done by the New Year and we have five new Monte Carlos built as we get ready for the first testing session next week in Daytona."
Ifft is no stranger to rookie drivers, having worked with Wallace and Glenn Allen during their initial tours, and he likes Finley's chances.
"I've always helped a lot of young guys get started and I enjoy that," he said. "There's going to be a learning curve for sure, but it shouldn't be too steep. Jeff has a good feel for the car, he knows what he wants and can communicate that to me. He has excellent technical knowledge, but most important, he's got the heart and the desire to make it happen."
Finley is thrilled to have Ifft at the helm.
"It's probably the best scenario that could occur for me," he said. "David is a great leader with so much experience and knowledge, and he's done a great job of getting me settled down on the track. He's been around a long time, and has been successful with some excellent drivers. I'm excited and look for good things to happen."
Source: NASCAR Online