BNS: Penfold Motorsports Off-season update 2003-01-23

Penfold Motorsports, which has fielded NASCAR Busch North Series cars on a full-time basis for driver Bill Penfold for seven years, is rebuilding for the coming season while looking at a change in strategy. Following a standout season for Penfold,...

Penfold Motorsports, which has fielded NASCAR Busch North Series cars on a full-time basis for driver Bill Penfold for seven years, is rebuilding for the coming season while looking at a change in strategy. Following a standout season for Penfold, who recorded two top-five and six top-ten finishes, a lack of sponsorship might force the team to give up chasing the championship in 2003, while branching out to other series.

On the Busch North front, the team has cars for sale, while a new car has entered the stable. A Pontiac, acquired from Dale Shaw Race Cars, joins the fleet of Chevrolets. Power for the new car is already installed, as a new engine from Carl Wegner arrived at the shop on January 14th. But while the car has been assembled, there's still the matter of financial backing needed to get it on the track. Penfold Motorsports is negotiating with Mandeville Chevrolet, which sponsored the team for two races last year, as well as other companies about coming on board.

"We're trying to get Mandeville signed to do a five race deal on the Busch tour," Bill Penfold said. "I want to run the Busch North schedule full-time, but I just can't afford to do it anymore. There's too much travel involved, and for the time I have to take out of work, and for all my crew guys, I have to get some sponsorship just to reimburse those guys. There's forty hours of travel within just two of the races alone, and the guys are taking a lot of time off of work and away from their families. You can't do that. We need some sponsorship, that's what it's all about. If we got a little bit of help, we could run the whole tour, but without it, it's not looking good for us right now."

Penfold expects to run his Pro Stock car a lot more in 2003, joining the Pro All Stars Series both at its weekly home, Wiscasset Speedway, as well as on its touring series. The star on the PASS schedule is the "Big Dawg Challenge", a 400-lap race at Wiscasset that will pay as much as $100,000 to its winner.

"We'll be racing Friday nights at Wiscasset with my Pro Stock, and we've already signed up to do the Big Dawg 400 down there," he said. "It's in my backyard. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to be able to race the Busch North car at Lime Rock and get home in time to qualify for the Big Dawg race. I love Wiscasset, I've raced there all my life and my dad did too. It's like being at home.

"When I heard about the Big Dawg Challenge, I was the first one to sign up for it," Penfold continued. "I love long races, and I love Wiscasset. There's certain ways you have to drive that track and there's certain drivers who know how to race that track. It's a great place, and show me a short track race that has a purse like that anywhere. I want to be the first one to grab that money."

So while Penfold Motorsports may be cutting back on Busch North racing, it certainly isn't cutting down on racing altogether. With the Pro Stock, Penfold will be racing every week. With the upgrades to the Busch North program, he expects to be more competitive in the races he does run.

"We still have cars and equipment for sale, but we are also upgrading the cars for the coming season," he said. "Although we are not planning to run all the races this coming season, we intend to be fast."

-pm-

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