CHUCK ETCHELLS TO DRIVE LIMITED SCHEDULE FOR SICKLES MOTORSPORTS IN 1999 Caledonia, New York, January 19, 1999 -- Chuck Etchells' absence from the Funny Car circuit will prove to be shorter than anticipated, as team owner Jim Sickles today ...
CHUCK ETCHELLS TO DRIVE LIMITED SCHEDULE FOR SICKLES MOTORSPORTS IN 1999
Caledonia, New York, January 19, 1999 -- Chuck Etchells' absence from the Funny Car circuit will prove to be shorter than anticipated, as team owner Jim Sickles today announced that the Putnam, Connecticut driver would pilot the Sickles Corp. Motorsports entry on a limited basis during the 1999 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season. Veteran crew chief Tom Anderson will again be calling the shots on the Sickles Camaro, which will be sponsored by Herbal Weight Loss, a wholesale/retail company with corporate offices in Bloomingdale, Illinois which supplies a complete line of all-natural dietary supplements worldwide.
"We are excited by the prospect of having someone of the caliber of Chuck Etchells in our Herbal Weight Loss Camaro," stated Sickles. "We are still working out the particulars of what races we'll participate in and securing additional sponsorship, but we are really looking forward to getting on the track. We have our entire crew coming back, and I know they're going to do their best to give Chuck a ride commensurate with his ability at every event. Having him on board should really help advance our program both on and off the track."
This will be the Sickles team's second year in the Nitro Funny Car ranks, following a similar stint in the Federal Mogul Funny Car division, where they included runner-up finishes at NHRA U.S. Nationals and IHRA World Nationals among their successes. The current schedule calls for the Etchells/Anderson/Sickles combination to debut in late April at the Pennzoil Nationals in Richmond, Virginia (where Etchells is the two-time defending champion), although there have been discussions concerning the Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida in March.
This announcement comes less than a month after Etchells made the difficult decision to step out of his Kendall/Superwinch Camaro in favor of Whit Bazemore, feeling that the additional funding Bazemore would generate would best benefit his team and sponsors in the pursuit of the Winston Championship. Etchells trademark for the last decade has been his consistency, as he is one of only two drivers to post seven consecutive Top Five finishes in the Winston points standings, along with thirteen national event victories, including last year's season-ending Winston Finals in Pomona. He sees the Sickles Corp. Motorsports arrangement as a winning situation for all concerned.
"As everyone knows, my desire to drive is as strong as ever, so naturally, I welcomed this opportunity to stay active," said Etchells. "I've known Tom Anderson for many years, and I'm confident he'll put a strong horse under me every time out. Even though we'll be running a limited schedule, we're looking to make our mark in Funny Car. Best of all, I believe that both the Sickles and Etchells teams will benefit from this. Since the Sickles Corp. Motorsports Camaro Z28 will carry some of my sponsors' logos, it will provide additional exposure for them. In addition, I will do my best to help out Jim Sickles, his Herbal Weight Loss team and their sponsors in whatever way I can, and the additional data we generate should prove invaluable to both organizations. Besides, if I'm able to take out a top contender, it will further establish this team while aiding my own team's chances for the championship. I can't wait to get started!"