Hillin released by Jasper Motorsports
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) _ Bobby Hillin’s poor performance in the first 10 races of the Winston Cup season has cost him his job as the driver for Jasper Motorsports.
``I’m not happy running at the back of the pack and neither is Bobby,″ team owner Doug Bawel said Saturday. ``It was time to make a change, turn things around and start looking ahead to next year and the future of our team.″
Hillin has no finishes better than 20th this season and is 41st in the season driver standings. He has failed to qualify for three of the 10 races so far this year, including Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
``We’ve been struggling all season,″ Bawel said. ``We need to step up our operation. We just haven’t found the right combination to make that happen.″
Hillin, who joined the team 10 races into the 1996 schedule as a replacement for Davy Jones, wound up 37th in last year’s points.
Bawel said Hillin has agreed to continue to drive the team’s Ford Thunderbirds ``until a suitable replacement can be found.″
DOPING THE COMPETITION: Gary DeHart, Terry Labonte’s crew chief, has a theory about the 600 winner, and it has nothing to do with engine power, downforce or the speed of pit crews.
``I think the race favors the Chevrolets,″ DeHart said, ``just because we’re smarter.″
NO HOMECOMING: Jeff Gordon, who was raised in Pittsboro, Ind., says he has no aspirations to race in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. John Andretti pulled off the double-double in 1994 and Robby Gordon will attempt it Sunday.
``If the opportunity had come up at one time, I would have loved to race at Indy,″ Gordon said. ``But to me, the opportunity is in Winston Cup, and I want to win the 600. That’s what’s important to me.
``I don’t feel you can competitively go race at Indianapolis and come here and competitively race in the 600. I hope Robby does it. Maybe that will change my thinking and I will go do it one day. But for now, I don’t plan on doing that.″
GREEN’S ADDITION: Winston Cup rookie David Green was back at the speedway Saturday after helping his wife, Diane, give birth Friday to the couple’s first child.
Kaylie Rae Green made her debut at 6:30 p.m. at the Women’s Hospital of Greensboro, weighing 6 pounds, 12 ounces.
Kaylie’s father, the 1994 Busch Grand National champion, is 42nd in points in his first year on stock car racing’s top series.
MR. VERSATILITY: Dale Jarrett has four top-five finishes in the last six Coca-Cola 600s. If that’s not impressive enough, consider that those four have come with three different teams.
Jarrett was fifth while driving a Wood Brothers Ford Thunderbird in 1991. While driving Chevrolet Monte Carlos for Joe Gibbs, Jarrett was third in 1993 and fourth in 1994. Jarrett won last year’s 600 in a Robert Yates-owned Ford.