BUSCH: Team Amick Reduces Schedule

Team Amick reduces 1998 schedule By Shawn A. Akers CONCORD, N.C. (May 4, 1998) In order to get its NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division program moving forward, Team Amick Motorsports is taking a step back. The...

Team Amick reduces 1998 schedule By Shawn A. Akers CONCORD, N.C. (May 4, 1998)

In order to get its NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division program moving forward, Team Amick Motorsports is taking a step back.

The team, with driver Lyndon Amick, had originally planned to run a full schedule in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1998. Some early-season misfortune and circumstances, however, have caused team owner Bill Amick and new crew chief Buddy Barnes to re-evaluate their situation, and a decision was made to cut back on the number of races the team will participate in for the remainder of the season.

"Right now, what we're trying to do is get everything regrouped," said Barnes, who came on board as the team's crew chief in March after the sudden departure of Gary DeHart in February. "A lot of things haven't happened the way this team has wanted it to this year. It's not about seat time, it's about quality seat time. And I really don't think that the team came into the season as prepared as it needed to be.

"We've taken about a month to get regrouped. We've brought in a couple of new guys to enhance the program, and we've moved some guys around. With Mr. Amick's blessing, we've put together a package for the rest of the year that the sponsor is in agreement with, and that I think will be very beneficial to the team not only for the rest of the season but in preparation for 1999. Our goal now is to get this program as prepared as it can be to be extremely competitive next year."

Team Amick has participated in only four of the nine NASCAR Busch Series races this season. Amick is currently 41st in the series point standings.

After Amick crashed the team's only short track car in practice at Bristol in late March, the team decided it would not participate in races at either Texas or Hickory. Amick was second-fastest in the final practice session at Bristol behind Jeff Burton before the accident.

Team Amick did go to Talladega for the Touchstone Energy 300, where Amick was running as high as the top 20 before engine failure relegated him to a 33rd-place effort in his No. 35 SCANA/South Carolina/Myrtle Beach Pontiac.

"I was very encouraged by what we saw at Talladega," said Barnes, a long-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran. "We had a really good car and Lyndon was doing fairly well in the race, and then we had some engine trouble that knocked us out. Lyndon steered clear of most of the wrecks, and I thought he was driving a pretty good race. That makes me very optimistic."

Team Amick won't participate in upcoming events at Loudon, N.H. (May 9) and Nazareth, Pa. (May 17), but will be ready for the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23.

After that, the Hardee's 250 at Richmond on June 5 is a definite, as is the July 11 Myrtle Beach 250 at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway. Barnes said the team plans to run approximately 15 more events the remainder of the season.

"We're pointing to races like Charlotte and Richmond, but especially the one at Myrtle Beach," Barnes said. "We want to make a good showing there for our sponsors, and we're getting a very good car prepared for that because that's their Daytona 500. We've put a lot of emphasis on a brand new short track car, and it should be done by the end of this week."

Barnes has been a steady influence on the team since joining the organization prior to the race at Nashville in mid-March. Bill Amick has listened intently to Barnes' suggestions about the team's direction, and the decision to take a step back was a mutual one.

"This is a good group of guys they've got here, but they didn't have a leader," Barnes said. "I'm just trying to give them some direction and get some organization here. It's hard to say if I weren't here if they would have done this re-evaluation or not. I think they were looking at backing off. I had a long conversation with Mr. Amick, and it just didn't make sense to do any damage to Lyndon's career by running a full schedule for the rest of the year.

"The thing is, you've got to be prepared when you leave the shop to go to the race track. If you're not prepared when you leave the shop, you're not going to overcome it at the race track. We're trying to build this team to where it needs to be, and we believe this is the right thing to do for everyone involved. Our goal is to run the full schedule next year, and the year after that, if the right pieces are in place, we hope to make a run for the Busch Series championship."

Source: NASCAR Online

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Drivers Lyndon Amick