Jasper Motorsports

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Owner(s) D. K. Ulrich, Doug Bawel, Mark Wallace, Mark Harrah, Bobby Hillin, Jr.
Base Statesville, North Carolina
Series Winston Cup
Notable car numbers
  1. 2, #6, #41, #55, #67, #77
Notable drivers Tim Richmond, Ernie Irvan, Dave Blaney, Robert Pressley
Notable sponsors Kodak, Jasper Engines & Transmissions, US Air
Manufacturer Ford Thunderbird, Ford Taurus, Dodge Intrepid, Chevrolet
Opened 1971
Closed 2006
Career
Drivers' Championships 0
Race victories 0

Jasper Motorsports is a former NASCAR Winston Cup team. It was owned by a variety of owners including D.K. Ulrich and Doug Bawel.

1970s-1980s[edit]

The car started in 1971 at what turned out to be the only Winston Cup race at Smoky Mountain Raceway as the #41 Ford owned and driven by Ulrich, who finished 29th out of 30 cars for heating problems on the 4th lap. Ulrich ran full-time for a couple of years, but normally he stepped aside and let other drivers race for him. During his tenure as an owner, he employed many younger drivers. Sterling Marlin, Tim Richmond, Morgan Shepherd, and Mark Martin all went on to successful careers after piloting Ulrich's car.

In 1987, Ulrich noticed a young short track driver from California named Ernie Irvan, who qualified 20th in a Dale Earnhardt-sponsored car for a race that Ulrich didn't make. Ulrich put the aggressive young Irvan in his car for three races that year, with Irvan's partner Marc Reno as crew chief. When Ulrich was able to get Kroger as a full-time sponsor for the team, he fielded the car full-time in 1988 with Irvan competing for NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year in the #2 Chevrolet/Pontiac, finishing 59 points behind Ken Bouchard for Rookie of the Year. In 1989, Irvan posted 4-top ten finishes and ending the season 22nd in points, three better than the previous year. Unfortunately, Kroger decided not to renew its contract, and Irvan had no choice but to leave the team. Ulrich was able to get several different sponsorships together for 1990, and the team ran most of the races.

1990s[edit]

The car returned full-time for 1991 as the #55 Pontiac sponsored by Jasper Engines, based in Jasper, Indiana. The team's original plan was a Winston Cup rookie campaign for popular USAC veteran and Indianapolis 500 starter Rich Vogler, but he perished while leading a USAC event at the Winchester Speedway in Indiana in July 1990. Their next choice was Wisconsin's Ted Musgrave, who narrowly missed Rookie of the Year honors to Bobby Hamilton. During the 1992 and 1993 NASCAR seasons, Ulrich formed a partnership with Ray DeWitt to form RaDiUs Motorsports which continued with Musgrave behind the wheel. During the 1992 season, the team ran various makes from General Motors before switching to Ford halfway through the year. In 1994 Musgrave left for Roush Racing and Ulrich and DeWitt ended their partnership. DeWitt formed a new team with the RaDiUS name and #55 while Ulrich retained the Jasper sponsorship on the newly renumbered #77, with Doug Bawel, an executive from Jasper Engines & Transmissions, became a business partner with Ulrich, the team being renaamed Jasper Motorsports with veteran journeyman Greg Sacks handling the driving chores as well as a major co-sponsorship from USAir.[1] Jasper Engines & Transmisions co-sponsored the team for the 1995 season, with the car originally piloted by rookie Davy Jones and later Bobby Hillin Jr.. After the season, Bawel bought the entire team from Ulrich and started a partnership with Jasper salesmen Mark Wallace and Mark Harrah. Hillin continued to drive the car for 1996, and the first part of 1997, before being replaced by Robert Pressley and Morgan Shepherd.

Pressley was hired the car for 1998, during which he had a then-career-best finish of 3rd at Texas. 1999 was a tumultulous year for the team, struggling with qualifying and finishing 39th in points. For the 2000 season, Ryan Pemberton came aboard as crew chief and made a huge difference as Pressley finished 25th in points the next two years, finishing 2nd at the 2001 Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

2000s[edit]

Pressley and Jasper parted ways after the season, and former sprint car champion Dave Blaney was tabbed to replace him. But Blaney, while competitive in some races struggled with consistency and was gone at the end of 2003.

Boris Said drove a #67 car on road courses and as a teammate to Dave Blaney in 2002, finishing a best of 8th at Watkins Glen. The car is featured in the widely popular video game NASCAR Racing 2003 Season.

At the end of the year, Wallace sold his share of the team, and Roger Penske, who was already providing engines and support to the Jasper team, took his place. The team got a new sponsor in Kodak, as well as a new driver in rookie Brendan Gaughan and a new manufacturer in Dodge. Despite grabbing 4 top-10 finishes, Gaughan was replaced to the shock of fans by another rookie, Travis Kvapil. In his first year in the Cup circuit, he finished 32nd in points with two top-10 finishes. When the season came to a close, it was announced the #77 car would not run the 2006 season.

Not long after the announcement, the team sold its owner's points to Bill Davis, who fielded car #55 for Michael Waltrip for the 2006 season. After 2006, Waltrip bought the 55 team and Michael Waltrip Racing became a full-time Nextel Cup team.

Driver History[edit]

Notable drivers (Winston Cup Champions, Rookies of the Year, and Cup race winners) are highlighted in bold.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Williams, Charlean (November 15, 1993). "A Bad Weekend For The Bodines". Orlando Sentinel. p. B8. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 

External links[edit]