Newburgh’s Ricky Craven, who finished a career-best 15th in the Winston Cup series points standings this season, will have a new crew chief and race engineer for his Tide No. 32 Pontiac next season.
Replacing Mike Beam and Roy McCauley will be Scott Miller and Kent Day, respectively, according to PPI-Motorsports Team owner Cal Wells III.
“I’m very excited about it,” said Wells. “Scott had been the crew chief for the No. 96 [McDonald’s] team for a little while. He had previously worked for the Dale Earnhardt [No. 3 Goodwrench] team. He worked under Larry McReynolds. And he was a fantastic racer. He’s a great guy.”
In a press release, Wells said, “I have known Scott for a number of years and truly believe that he will help us advance to the next level in Winston Cup. With our switch to Pontiac [from Ford] for 2003, we control our own destiny since we will build our own chassis, hang our own bodies, and build our own engines. As a team, we have progressed to the top 15 in just three years of racing and our goal is to be top 10 in 2003. With Ricky, Scott, and the rest of the dedicated folks at PPI, we are sure we can accomplish this goal.”
In the same press release, Craven said, “I am really looking forward to working with Scott again. When I first came to PPI in 2001, Scott was an engineer here and he was a big contributor to the team’s success that year. To have Scott back as the crew chief is something that is exciting for me. I think we will be a great team together.”
Day has worked with Wells for three years after working for the Bill Elliott race team.
“He’s a very, very smart guy. He has a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Clemson,” said Wells.
Beam had expressed a desire to spend more time with his family and less time on the road, so Wells began grooming McCauley to replace him by having McCauley act as crew chief for the last four races of the season. McCauley has left the team and Beam accepted a lucrative offer from Richard Childress Racing to be the crew chief for Jeff Green.
Santerre joins Bessey, Aubuchon
Cherryfield’s Andy Santerre, the 2002 Busch North points champion, will team up with Scarborough’s Joe Bessey and a new primary sponsor, Aubuchon Hardware, to try to defend his title next season.
Santerre will drive for the Joe Bessey Motorsports team, switching from his No. 44 LesCare Kitchens Chevy Monte Carlo to the No. 6 Aubuchon Hardware Monte Carlo.
Bessey, a former driver and Busch Grand National and Winston Cup team owner, has a shop in North Carolina that Santerre used last season to work on his race cars.
“In essence, the structure I raced in 2002 is not going to change much, just for the better,” said Santerre in a press release. “Joe is going to own the equipment, but I am still going to run the shop just as if I was operating my own team. I will continue to work in the shop full-time, make management decisions and prepare the race cars, but we will hire a full-time transport driver and fabricator so I won’t have to work in the shop alone or drive the race car back and forth to New England every weekend.”
He also said he will have one of the best sponsors in the Busch North series with Aubuchon.
Bessey, who shut down his Winston Cup and BGN teams in 2001, said he is looking forward to getting back into NASCAR.
“My heart has always been in racing, but I am a Mainer and I love living in Maine. Logistics is the biggest reason I am not still involved with either a Winston Cup or Busch Series team. I have just not been able to break my roots with Maine; I call it home and don’t want to leave it,” said Bessey in the same release.
“I know it is a competitive advantage having the shop located in North Carolina and that is one of the reasons this situation works well with Andy,” said Bessey, noting that Andy and wife Sue have a home in North Carolina.
Santerre will have a teammate as Eliot’s Carey Heath, the only woman regular in the Busch North series, has driven for Aubuchon for the past two seasons.
“I am really looking forward to this season. I feel I have the best deal in the Busch North Series, bar none,” said Santerre.