SELMA, CA (April 28) -- Dave Helm has hired Paul McMahan to replace Jeff Shepard in the ...
SELMA, CA (April 28) -- Dave Helm has hired Paul McMahan to replace Jeff Shepard in the #11H Vivarin Maxim with the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series, the team announced Monday.
"We let Jeff go after the (Spring Classic) race at Knoxville (Raceway) Saturday," Helm said. "Jeff's a good, hard driver, but the chemistry just wasn't right and he couldn't get along with the crew. We've had good results, but there's more to it than just driving. You have sponsors and fans to consider. Everybody has to get along together. If that's not there, there's always lots of friction. I just think this will work out better for all of us. Jeff won't have any problems finding a ride; he's a good driver."
"Paul is going to start racing with us this weekend (in the Omaha Dodge Dealers Great Plains Shootout at Nebraska Raceway Park). We talked to him earlier this year. Paul's been a super good driver and we're glad to have him drive our car."
Shepard ranks seventh in the point standings with seven top-10 finishes, including three in the top five, in 15 events. The 2001 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year won the third "A" Feature of his O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series career at Pike County Speedway March 21st.
"I'm very excited about coming back to the Outlaws," McMahan said. "I didn't know there were any problems there until I got a phone call last week. I had to jump on the opportunity. It was a done-deal Saturday morning.
"We had been going really good with the Miller team. I was enjoying racing with them. I wasn't looking for another ride. I was very content racing with them, but when the opportunity came along to driver for Dave and (crew chief) Sonny (Kratzer), I had to jump on it. There aren't many opportunities to run with the Outlaws, so I decided the best thing for me and my family and my career would be to go back out with the Outlaws. I'm looking forward to racing with them."
McMahan has finished in the top 10 in all three O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series events he entered this season, including fourth-place runs in the United States Air Force Showdown at Texas Motor Speedway and at The Talladega Short Track. He ranks 29th in the point standings and set fast time at The Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
McMahan ranked 11th in the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series point standings in 2001. He recorded his first "A" Feature victory at Sedalia's State Fair Speedway on March 23rd that year. McMahan, the runner-up in the 1997 Rookie of the Year race to Donny Schatz, finished second -- just ahead of Shepard -- in the inaugural World of Outlaws Gumout Series points race in 2000.
Shepard has been on and off the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series tour since 1994.
"I am a race car driver and every time I hit the track I want to win," Shepard said. "No matter what the event, I want to be up front but it appears as though the team were content to make up the numbers and just be a part of the mid-field action.
"The car was just starting to get on the pace this year and with a recent restructure in the team results were flowing in, but now they have decided to reverse that restructure. I know what it takes to win, and last week I showed that the car can be as fast as any car in the series when I had to charge through the field at Powercom Park."
Shepard passed three cars to finish sixth at The Raceway at Powercom Park.
"Last weekend at Knoxville, I drove the tires off the car," Shepard said. "With the engine going on to seven cylinders in only the second lap, I drove around the problem to move through the pack and record another top-10 finish after starting 17th.
"At the start of the year, I was hired as the driver of the car, but to have a successful team it requires the entire team to work to a common goal -- victory. It is tough to achieve this goal if this is not the goal of every person in the team."
Stevie Smith and the Vivarin team finished ninth in the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series point standings in 2002.