Andy Petree Racing
|Owner(s)||Richard Jackson (1985-1989)
Leo Jackson (1985-1996)
Andy Petree (1996-2004)
|Series||Winston Cup, Busch Series, Craftsman Truck Series|
|Car numbers||33, 55, 66|
|Race drivers||Harry Gant
|Sponsors||Skoal, Oakwood Homes, Copenhagen, Square D|
Andy Petree Racing is a former NASCAR team. Its ownership changed hands several times over the years, with three different owners from its beginning to its close in 2004. The team was based out of North Carolina and was always a steady competitor for the win despite never winning a championship.
The team was formed in 1985 by two brothers, Leo and Richard Jackson. At the Daytona 500 that year, the team entered the #55 and #66 cars, sponsored by U.S. Smokeless Tobacco through its Copenhagen and Skoal brands and driven by another pair of brothers, Benny Parsons and his brother Phil. Benny finished 31st and Phil finished 29th, both suffering engine failure. Phil ran fourteen races with the team that year and posted three top-tens while splitting time with another ride, and Benny ran fourteen races as well and had six top-ten finishes running a limited schedule. The two returned for 1986, when BP had four top tens and won the team's first pole position. Phil ran a limited schedule himself and had five top-tens. After Benny left at the end of the year, his brother moved from the #66 to the #55. In his first year with the #55, Phil Parsons finished a then career-high 4th at Martinsville and finished 14th in points. The #66 ran only one race that year, with IndyCar driver Tom Sneva running at Daytona before dropping out with engine failure. In 1988, Parsons improved to a 9th place finish in points, with the highlight of his year coming with his victory at the Winston 500 despite running out of fuel earlier in the race. In 1989 the team returned to a two-car operation, signing Harry Gant away from Mach 1 Racing with the Skoal sponsorship coming with him. The Jacksons also traded numbers with Mach 1 owner Hal Needham and ran the #33 alongside the #55. Gant won early in the season at Darlington Speedway and finished seventh in points, while Parsons, despite additional sponsorship from Crown Petroleum, only had three top-tens and dropped to 21st in points. At the end of the year, Parsons left for Morgan-McClure Motorsports.
In 1990, Richard Jackson splintered from the team to form his own operation, taking the equipment for the #55 with him. The newly renamed Leo Jackson Motorsports still held onto the #33 and Gant who won at Pocono Raceway but finished 17th in points that year. Phil Parsons also returned to the team briefly following his release from Morgan-McClure, pulling substitute duty for Gant at Bristol Motor Speedway. 1991 was much better for Gant, as he finished 3rd in points and won four consecutive races late in the season, which began a "Life Begins at 51" campaign because Gant was the oldest winner in the history of the sport. He followed that up with his final two career wins in 1992 and a fourth-place finish in points. In 1993 & 1994, he didn't win but had a pole each year as well as an eleventh-place finish in points in 1993. During his retirement year in 1994, LJM began grooming his replacement, and Robert Pressley, ran three races for the team in the #54 sponsored by Manheim Auctions. His best finish was 31st. He moved to the #33 full-time in 1995, where he posted a tenth-place at Bristol, and finished runner-up to Ricky Craven for Rookie of the Year. 1996 was a struggle for Pressley and the team, when Pressley was running decently before having to miss the first race at Dover Downs(he was replaced by Greg Sacks). Around this time, Jackson was contemplating retirement and began looking to sell the team. His buyer was his crew chief at the time, Andy Petree. After one race as an owner, he released Pressley and had Todd Bodine finish out the year for him.
For 1997, Petree selected four-time winner Ken Schrader to be his driver. Schrader was solid all season long, as he won the pole at both Loudon races and finished tenth in the points. 1998 saw about the same result, with eight finishes of ninth or better, and two more pole positions. APR also expanded to a multi-car operation briefly, fielding the #55 Oakwood Homes Chevy driven by Hut Stricklin at the Pepsi 400. The team became a multi-car full-time in 1999, with Kenny Wallace signing to drive the #55 car with sponsorship from Square D. The year was up and down for Wallace, as he posted a career-best second-place finish at Loudon, but could only muster a 22nd-place points finish. Meanwhile at the #33 camp, NASCAR's community was shocked when long-time sponsor Skoal announced it would no longer continue its association with the #33. After the team signed Oakwood Homes to be a full-time sponsor on the car, Schrader announced he would leave to pursue other opportunities. After a long search, APR decided to hire Joe Nemechek to pilot the car. While he didn't visit victory lane at all in 2000, he did have three top-fives and the first top-25 points finish of his career. After nailing just one top-ten that year, Wallace announced he would leave for Eel River Racing. Wallace finished second at the Winston 500 at Talldega, pushing Dale Earnhardt to the win. It was Earnhardt's last victory before his death the following February at the Daytona 500. It wasn't long before Bobby Hamilton was named to handle the driving chores. When the 2000 season came to a close, APR fielded an unprecedented third team, the #35 for Geoffrey Bodine at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 2001 was a banner year for APR, as Hamilton won at Talladega Superspeedway in the same car that Kenny Wallace finished second with the previous fall, and finished eighteenth in points, while Nemechek had ups and downs, breaking a shoulder at Dover and being replaced by Scott Pruett, Wally Dallenbach, Jr. and Hamilton's son. When he returned from his injuries, Nemechek was able to rebound with a victory at Rockingham Speedway and had a respectable 28th place finish in points. Unfortunately, Oakwood Homes had financial trouble and backed out as sponsor, and Nemechek left to join Haas-Carter Motorsports as a replacement for Jimmy Spencer in the #26 Kmart Ford (a ride that Nemechek, again, would lose due to Kmart filing for bankruptcy in 2002 and pulling their sponsorship from NASCAR).
Oakwood Homes' financial troubles left the #33 without a sponsor for 2002. Mike and Kenny Wallace ran limited schedules in the car, with Mike racing the #33 in The Winston, but no full-time sponsor could be located. In addition to all the turmoil, several attempts to get Jerry Jones to buy into the team failed. Things went from bad to worse in the #55, where Hamilton, who was struggling intensely, suffered a broken shoulder in a crash. Ron Hornaday and Greg Biffle were able to fill in, but despite a tenth-place finish in the season finale, Hamilton was not happy, and he departed to the Craftsman Truck Series to race for his own team taking the Square D sponsorship with him. Christian Fittipaldi signed to drive the #33 at the Daytona 500, and he finished 35th. The team made only one other race that year, with Paul Menard at Watkins Glen International Raceway, where he finished 29th. In 2004, Menard and Petree ran in the Busch Series in the hopes of attracting major sponsorship for the team's planned return to the Cup series, but Menard signed a contract with Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and took the sponsorship from his father's company with him. Despite running a couple of truck series races, Petree auctioned off all of his equipment, with most of it including the number, going to the Kevin Harvick Incorporated racing stable which races it as the 33 in the Busch Series.
- Harry Gant (1981–1994)
- Stan Barrett (1981)
- Benny Parsons (1982–1986)
- Phil Parsons (1983–1989; one race replacement in 1990 for Gant who attended his father's funeral)
- Morgan Shepherd (1988; replacement for the injured Gant, 1997)
- Rick Mast (1989, 1991–1996)
- Terry Labonte (1990)
- Irv Hoerr (1990, 1992; road races only)
- Robert Pressley (1994–1996)
- Greg Sacks (1996; Dover in June only)
- Jerry Nadeau (1997)
- Lance Hooper (1997)
- Robert Pressley (1996 Charlotte 500 only; replaced after Petree's first race as owner)
- Todd Bodine (1996)
- Ken Schrader (1997–1999)
- Hut Stricklin (1998 Pepsi 400 only)
- Kenny Wallace (1999–2000; one race in 2002)
- Joe Nemechek (2000–2001)
- Geoff Bodine (2000 NAPA 500 only)
- Bobby Hamilton (2001–2002)
- Bobby Hamilton, Jr. (2001; replacement for the injured Joe Nemechek)
- Wally Dallenbach, Jr. (2001 Pocono 500 only)
- Scott Pruett (2001 Dodge SaveMart 350 only)
- Mike Wallace (2002)
- Greg Biffle (2002; replacement for the injured Hamilton)
- Ron Hornaday, Jr. (2002 EA Sports 500 only)
- Christian Fittipaldi (2003 Daytona 500 only)
- Paul Menard (2003 Sirius at The Glen only)