Xpress Team Expresses Optimism Sponsor Sought for Future Growth MOORESVILLE, N.C. (June 22, 1999) - Tony Roper and the Xpress Motorsports team have achieved their goals for the first half of the 1999 NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National...
Xpress Team Expresses Optimism Sponsor Sought for Future Growth
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (June 22, 1999) - Tony Roper and the Xpress Motorsports team have achieved their goals for the first half of the 1999 NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division campaign. "When we first decided to enter the NASCAR Busch Series, our primary concern was qualifying for races," said Dave Fuge, team manager and crew chief for the No. 61 IWX Motor Freight Pontiac. "Tony is a great qualifier. We could not learn anything and improve if we did not make races."
Qualifying has indeed been a strong suit for the Xpress Motorsports team. Roper has qualified in the top-25 in ten of the eleven races he's entered this season. With an average of 55 entries per event, qualifying for each NASCAR Busch Series race is an outstanding accomplishment in itself. Competition is tough from both strong NASCAR Busch Series teams and NASCAR Winston Cup Series invaders.
With those qualifying goals being realize the team has ambitious plans for the balance of 1999 and beyond.
"We are really working hard at the track trying to figure out our race setups," said Roper, the 34-year-old Fair Grove, Mo. native. "I think Dave and I have learned a lot about each other. We both have learned how these NASCAR Busch Series cars work.
"We need better luck when we hit a great combination and that hasn't been the case yet," he continued. "I think we were awful good at Loudon and we were really strong at Nazareth. Unfortunately, we had engine problems early in both of those races and weren't able to show what we had. We are very happy with our eighth-place finish (career high) at South Boston.
"The fact that we're getting the car better dialed in for the races has us very optimistic," he continued. "We've got a great race team here and I think in the second-half of this season we'll start to show that."
Fuge, a veteran crew chief echoes that enthusiasm.
"We've finished in the top-20 in every race that we've gotten through cleanly," said Fuge. "We've had the two engine failures and we've been in four wrecks that Tony had nothing to do with. But, that is something we've got to learn to do better.
"We need to keep qualifying towards the front and be able to stay there," he said. "As far as wrecks go, you can improve your luck at missing them simply by staying at the front.
"I think with what we've learned about these cars and the talent that Tony has, we can get so we're running closer to the front," said the former Winston Cup team owner.
"We currently can run in the top-20 every week," said Fuge. "We are working very hard to be a team that can be in the top-15, then work to the top-10 throughout the rest of this year."
With the progress shown thus far, Fuge sees a very promising future for the team.
"We are looking for a sponsor to help us get to the next level," said Fuge. "Steve Coulter, owner IWX Motor Freight and Xpress Motorsports, is a great sponsor and owner of this team. He has given us everything we need to succeed. We believe we are now at a level where we can offer a great marketing program to a sponsor.
"We now feel we are worthy and able to develop a relationship with a sponsor," he continued. "IWX will certainly remain part of our future, and because of them, we now feel we have a tremendous program."
This weekend's Lysol 200 at Watkins Glen International is the 17th race of 32 events on the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division tour this season. NASCAR and Anheuser-Busch have greatly enhanced the Busch Series, Grand National Division in 1999. The program includes a new series logo, a complete marketing platform including Busch Series advertising and an increase in the point fund from $650,000 in 1998 to $1.5 million in 1999.
IWX Motor Freight will sponsor the team throughout the 1999 season. IWX Motor Freight is a Springfield, Mo. based trucking firm with a fleet of over 400 trucks. IWX serves 48 states and annually the trucks will log over 100 million miles. The company also has terminals in Columbus, Ind. and Kingman, Ariz.