Changes Abound at Duraflame RWI Racing --Rusty Wallace and Jamie McMurray to Split Primary Driving Duties-- MOORESVILLE, NC (July 21, 2004)--Effective immediately, Rusty Wallace and Jamie McMurray will assume primary driving duties ...
Changes Abound at Duraflame RWI Racing
--Rusty Wallace and Jamie McMurray to Split Primary Driving Duties--
MOORESVILLE, NC (July 21, 2004)--Effective immediately, Rusty Wallace and Jamie McMurray will assume primary driving duties for Duraflame RWI Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series. Wallace, a former NASCAR Premier Series Champion and McMurray, a former NASCAR Premier Series Rookie of the Year, will replace 27-year old rookie driver, Billy Parker, at the helm of the #66 Dodge for the remainder of the team's 2004 NASCAR Busch Series schedule. McMurray will be tapped for the team's next start at New Hampshire International Raceway.
Said team owner and now driver, Wallace, "This was a really tough decision to make. The team's performance just isn't where we think it should be, so we have to start taking a look at what's going on. In order to do that, we had to get more of a veteran in the car so that we can evaluate our equipment. Jamie McMurray has a great track record in the Busch Series and I think that his input is going to really help this team. He's an incredibly talented and aggressive driver. Obviously, I've been doing this for a long time as well, so hopefully between the both of us, we'll be able to give the guys some good feedback."
Billy Parker will remain a vital part of Duraflame RWI Racing, performing testing and development duties for the team.
"Billy Parker is a great person and a great friend of my family. I still believe in him and his ability to drive a race car. He's one of the most naturally talented people I've met in terms of handling fans, sponsors and media. Unfortunately, the team's communication and performance just wasn't there, so a change had to be made. With a rookie team, rookie crew chief and rookie driver, there just ended up being too many unknowns. Billy is still going to be a key player on this team. Everyone here at RWI Racing loves him and wants him to succeed. We just have to take things one step at a time. Maybe they'll be an opportunity for him to run some more races for us in the future if the situation works out right," Wallace noted.
McMurray, the 2003 NASCAR Premier Series Rookie of the Year, has one Premier Series victory to his credit: the 2002 UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In addition, Jamie has taken the checkered flag in five NASCAR Busch Series events. His most recent Busch Series win came in the 2004 Goody's Headache Powder 200, the final Busch Series event at North Carolina Speedway.
Said McMurray, "Rusty's really put together an incredible operation. His facilities and race cars are absolutely first class for the Busch Series. Once we get going, I really feel as if this is a team that's capable of winning a lot of races. All of the equipment is in place. I'm very grateful to Rusty for this opportunity and look forward to putting on a good show for our fans and sponsors."
Wallace's 2004 Busch Series starts will mark his first starts in the series since Milwaukee in 1993. The 1989 Premier Series Champion and 55-time race winner has eight top-five and fourteen top-ten finishes in 33 career Busch Series starts. His 2004 Busch Series stint will mark his reunification with the legendary number 66, the number he drove to the majority of his over 200 short track victories.
Primary sponsor, Duraflame, is both grateful to Billy Parker and optimistic towards the new opportunities presented by the change.
"Duraflame respects Billy Parker a great deal," stated Chris Caron, Duraflame's Vice President of Marketing. "We are proud of the way he's handled himself this year despite the challenges he and the team have faced. Billy has done an excellent job of representing our company and we're happy that he is committed to staying with the RWI Racing organization. We are very excited to have Rusty Wallace and Jamie McMurray commit to driving the 66 car for the remainder of the season. They have incredible track records and we are confident that their talent and experience will improve the competitive performance of the team."
McMurray will participate in the New Hampshire, Bristol, California, Kansas, Richmond, Atlanta and Miami NASCAR Busch Series races on behalf of Duraflame RWI Racing and will drive in the Phoenix and Michigan Busch Series races for Discount Tire pursuant to a prior commitment with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. In accommodation of this commitment, Wallace, eighth on NASCAR's all-time wins list, will take command of the Duraflame Dodge for the Phoenix and Michigan rounds of the series.