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Busch Team Biography

Jeff and Rick
Jeff Gordon's interest in the Busch series began in 1990 when he got his first start in the Outback Steakhouse Pontiac. He raced full time in the series in 1991 and 1992 before moving up to Winston Cup racing. In 1999, he formed a Busch team with his then-crew chief Ray Evernham. Gordon-Evernham Motorsports began competing during the 1999 season. Gordon raced in six events, winning once at Phoenix. Ricky Hendrick, the son of the owner of Hendrick Motorsports, raced in two other events for the team. Midway through the 1999 season, Evernham departed Gordon's Winston Cup team to form his own team which will begin competing in the 2001 season. However, he called the shots for the Busch team as 1999 drew to a close. After the season, Gordon and Evernham negotiated the dissolvement of the organization due to conflicts of interests with Evernham's new Dodge team.

Gordon's search for a new partner in the operation didn't last too long. His Winston Cup car owner, Rick Hendrick, teamed up with Gordon to buy out Evernham's share of the now-defunct Gordon-Evernham Motorsports operation. The Busch team is housed in Denver, North Carolina.

Gordon will drive in 5 Busch events during the 2000 season (Las Vegas on March 4, Texas on April 1, Charlotte on May 27, August 19 at Michigan, and Homestead on November 11). Ricky Hendrick will drive the Hendrick Motorsports Busch car in 20 races.

Michael Landis returns as team manager. Engines for the team will come from Hendrick Motorsports.

Owners: Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick
Jeff Gordon's first venture into car ownership was in 1999 with his then-crew chief Ray Evernham. As a car owner, Gordon won one race in six starts. After buying out Evernham's share of the team after the 1999 season, Gordon has teamed up with Hendrick on the Busch venture.
Rick Hendrick, the owner of Hendrick Motorsports, fields multiple teams in NASCAR, including the 1995, 1997, and 1998 Winston Cup Championship team driven by Jeff Gordon and the 1996 Champion team driven by Terry Labonte. Currently, he fields the Michael Holigan Homes team with driver Jerry Nadeau, the DuPont Refinishes team with Gordon, and the Kelloggs team with Labonte. In addition, Hendrick Motorsports fields a Craftsman Truck Series team with Jack Sprague. Sprague won the series championship in 1997 and 1999. Finally, the Busch operation is now under the auspices of the organization, though it is not housed at the Harrisburg complex.

Team Manager: Michael Landis
Landis was the first employee of the Gordon-Evernham Motorsports operation. He has worked on the DuPont Winston Cup team for the past seven seasons and is still Gordon's spotter on raceday. During the summer of 1998, Landis began as team manager. He ordered cars and started the shop up and running.

Public Relations: MMI
In racing these days, a savvy public relations firm is vital to a thriving organization. MMI has handled press relations and other functions for Hendrick Motorsports over the years.

Jeff's Busch Series Chronology

Fall 1990- Gordon makes his Busch series debut at Rockingham in the #67 Outback Steakhouse Pontiac.

1991- Gordon runs the full Busch schedule in the #1 Carolina Ford Dealers Ford for Bill Davis Racing. He posts five Top 5 finishes.

1992- Gordon wins three Busch races and captures a series-record 11 pole positions. His victory at Atlanta catches the attention of Winston Cup car owner Rick Hendrick.

Spring 1998- Gordon and Ray Evernham announce their intentions of fielding a Busch team either late in 1998 or for the 1999 season.

Late May 1998- The Business Journal of Charlotte reports that, "Gordon and Evernham will move into race team ownership next year when they field a Pepsi-sponsored Busch series team. The Busch team will race under a newly created company, Gordon-Evernham Motorsports. "

Mid-July 1998- Michael Landis, a longtime member of the 24 team, is named as the team manager. In an interview with NASCAR Online, Landis says that the group has leased a 10,000 square-foot facility near Charlotte Motor Speedway. In order to minimize potential distractions to the DuPont Winston Cup team, little information about the new team will be released until later in the season.

July 27, 1998- JG Inc. releases an official press release regarding Gordon-Evernham Motorsports. The team will run a limited schedule in 1999 with Jeff Gordon driving in a maximum of five Busch Series races. Engines for the team will be provided by Hendrick Motorsports. Ray Evernham will serve as the race day crew chief for the team. Contrary to an earlier report in The Business Journal of Charlotte, the team has not announced sponsorship. Sponsorship and additional driver announcements for Gordon-Evernham Motorsports will be made in the near future.

July 30, 1998- At Indianapolis, Jeff Gordon was asked about a possible driver for the Gordon-Evernham Motorsports Busch team next season. He said that Ricky Hendrick, the son of the founder of Hendrick Motorsports, will be one of the driver options on their Grand National team in 1999. Jeff told USA Today that, "he'll probably have some involvement. He's been doing a lot of Late Model racing... and wants to run a couple of Busch races."

August 27, 1998- Stock Car Racing Magazine site reports the following:
Insiders say Pepsi has done whatever it took to get Jeff Gordon into a Pepsi driversuit, which could be one reason he will drive a limited number of Busch Grand National events in 1999 in the car owned by Gordon and Ray Evernham. Pepsi is widely believed to be the sponsor.

October 2, 1998- Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham called a press conference in Charlotte to unveil the Gordon-Evernham Motorsports car for the 1999 BGN season. Gordon will race in Busch events at Texas, Michigan, Las Vegas, and Charlotte in 1999. Ricky Hendrick will drive in other events. Ricky's 1999 schedule is likely to include BGN events at Richmond International Raceway, South Boston Speedway, and Myrtle Beach Speedway. The #24 Pepsi Chevrolet will have associate sponsorship from Frito-Lay and Hasbro Toys. Patrick Donahue will be the crew chief in Gordon's events and the "Rainbow Warriors" (Mike, Kevin, Barry, Jeff, Chris, Darren, and Mark) will be the pit crew. For Ricky's events, Donahue will remain as crew chief but a new pit crew will be utilized.

March 1999- Gordon-Evernham Motorsports debuts in the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon finishes fourth in the team's first event.

July 1999- DuPont Auotmotive Finishes is announced as the primary sponsor for Ricky Hendrick's GEM events. Hendrick makes his debut at Myrtle Beach, qualifying 5th and finishing a respectable 20th.

September 1999- Evernham leaves Hendrick Motorsports and his position as crew chief for Gordon. Rumors swirl regarding the future of the Busch team.

November 1999- Gordon-Evernham Motorsports wins its first race as Jeff Gordon visits victory lane at Phoenix. Within weeks of the victory, Gordon and Evernham began talks to dissolve the operation.

January 2000- Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon announce they have bought Ray Evernham's share of the Busch team. The new Hendrick Motorsports Busch operation will be housed in the Denver Industrial Park in Denver, North Carolina. Gordon will race in five events in the 2000 season with sponsorship from Pepsi. Ricky Hendrick will attempt 20 Busch races with sponsorship from GMAC Financial Services.

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