NASCAR

Starr move borne out of need for consistency

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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

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We're really excited to bring veteran David Starr to Red Horse Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series. Unfortunately, the way sponsors and sponsorships go, it's been kind of tough to get a few things lined up with our young driver Brandon Whitt, who did an outstanding job. Moving the team forward, we had to get some more consistency and with Starr, we feel like we'll be able to accomplish that goal. His record of top-10 finishes in every other race — or nearly 50 percent of the time (59 top 10s in 140 starts) — is something we're really excited about and something I believe in. Ted Musgrave has shown that you can win championships with consistency, and we feel like Starr has enough experience in the truck series to give our organization and Toyota a great opportunity to win a championship. That's what we're looking to do. As Toyota moves forward, we want to move forward and think about the bright future that the manufacturer will bring to our sport. I'm just really excited to have a young man that's very personable and, at the same time, has experience to get the job done.

Speed Mail Jeff
We told Brandon that if we could secure sponsorship for a second team, he would be an obvious choice. We've got requests from several other drivers that we're entertaining. We know that we need a young driver, and obviously, Brandon fills that bill. At the same time, it is a business, and we have to try to make the right business decisions not only for the ownership group, but we've also got to be conscious of the fact that crew members and team members are helping us keep the team running. We need to provide jobs for them in the future. All of these things come into play as we move forward with Red Horse Racing and its future plans. It's a tough business, and the Craftsman Truck Series is even tougher because companies view sponsorships by viewership in the series. They don't think that it has the value that it should have. Unfortunately, I disagree. When a driver like Mark Martin champs at the bit to race in the series, it proves that the series is very competitive. Top Cup-level drivers like Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart have raced in this great series, and sometimes it's hard to get a sponsor to understand and realize the true value of a sponsorship and what it brings to racing as a whole. As owners trying to keep the sport healthy and moving in the right direction, one of the day-in, day-out challenges is getting more fans to watch it.


FOX race analyst Jeff Hammond led Darrell Waltrip to two of DW's three Winston Cup championships as his crew chief. They also teamed to win the 1989 Daytona 500.

For autographed copies of Jeff Hammond's new book "Real Men Work in the Pits" plus magnets, hats and more, check out www.dwstore.com.

For photos and appearances, visit Jeff's web site www.jeffhammond.com.

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