Andy Petree Racing

NASCAR former team
Company_Name = Jackson Bros. Motorsports/Leo Jackson Motorsports/Andy Petree Racing


Owner(s) Name = Richard Jackson(1985-1989)
Leo Jackson(1985-1996)
Andy Petree(1996-2004)
Racing Series = Winston Cup, Busch Series, Craftsman Truck Series
Championships = 0
Wins = 12
Car Number(s) = 33, 55, 66
Notable Driver(s) = Harry Gant
Benny Parsons
Ken Schrader
Greg Biffle
Christian Fittipaldi
Bobby Hamilton
Notable Sponsor(s) = Skoal, Oakwood Homes, Copenhagen, Square D
Manufacturer = Oldsmobile, Chevrolet
Shop Location = North Carolina
Year Opened = 1985
Year Closed = 2004

Andy Petree Racing is a former NASCAR team. Its ownership changed hands several times over the years, with three different owners from its beginning to its close in 2004. The team was based out of North Carolina and was always a steady competitor for the win despite never winning a championship.

Beginnings

The team was formed in 1985 by two brothers, Leo and Richard Jackson. The team debuted at that year's Daytona 500 fielding two cars (the #55 sponsored by Copenhagen, and the #66 sponsored by Skoal Bandit) driven by another pair of brothers, Benny and Phil Parsons, respectively. Benny finished 31st and Phil finished 29th, both suffering engine failure. Phil ran fourteen races with the team that year and posted three top-tens while splitting time with another ride, and Benny ran fourteen races as well and had six top-ten finishes running a limited schedule. The two returned for 1986, when BP had four top tens and won the team's first pole position. Phil ran a limited schedule himself and had five top-tens. After Benny left at the end of the year, it left a door open for Phil to take a full-time ride. In his first year with the #55, Parsons finished a then career-high 4th at Martinsville and finished 14th in points. The #66 ran only one race that year, with IndyCar driver Tom Sneva running at Daytona before dropping out with engine failure. In 1988, Parsons improved to a 9th place finish in points, with the highlight of his year coming with his victory at the Winston 500 despite running out of fuel earlier in the race. In 1989 the team returned to a two car operation, signing Harry Gant and the Skoal Bandit sponsorship from Hal Needham's Mach 1 Racing. Gant would also take the #33 to his new team while Mach 1 ran the #66 in 1990. Gant won early in the season at Darlington Speedway and finished seventh in points, while Parsons, despite additional sponsorship from Crown Petroleum, only had three top-tens and dropped to 21st in points. At the end of the year, Parsons left for Morgan-McClure Motorsports.

"Skoal Baby..."

In 1990, Richard Jackson splintered from the team to form his own operation, taking the equipment for the #55 with him. The newly re-named "Leo Jackson Motorsports" still held onto the #33 and Gant who won at Pocono Raceway but finished 17th in points that year. Phil Parsons also returned to the team briefly following his release from Morgan-McClure, pulling substitute duty for Gant at Bristol Motor Speedway. 1991 was much better for Gant, as he finished 3rd in points and won four consecutive races late in the season, which began a "Life Begins at 50" campaign because Gant was the oldest winner in the history of the sport. He followed that up with his final two career wins in 1992 and a fourth-place finish in points. In 1993 & 1994, he didn't win but had a pole each year as well as an eleventh-place finish in points in 1993. During his retirement year in 1994, LJM began grooming his replacement, and Robert Pressley, ran three races for the team in the #54 sponsored by Manheim Auctions. His best finish was 31st. He moved to the #33 full-time in 1995, where he posted a tenth-place at Bristol, and finished runner-up to Ricky Craven for Rookie of the Year. 1996 was a struggle for Pressley and the team, when Pressley was running decently before having to miss the first race at Dover Downs(he was replaced by Greg Sacks). Around this time, Jackson was contemplating retirement and began looking to sell the team. His buyer was his crew chief at the time, Andy Petree. After one race as an owner, he released Pressley and had Todd Bodine finish out the year for him.

From Leo Jackson Racing to Andy Petree Racing

For 1997, Petree selected four-time winner Ken Schrader to be his driver. Schrader was solid all season long, as he won the pole at both Loudon races and finished tenth in the points. 1998 saw about the same result, with eight finishes of ninth or better, and two more pole positions. APR also expanded to a multi-car operation briefly, fielding the #55 Oakwood Homes Chevy driven by Hut Stricklin at the Pepsi 400. The team became a multi-car full time in 1999, with Kenny Wallace signing to drive the #55 car with sponsorship from Square D. The year was up and down for Wallace, as he posted a career-best second-place finish at Loudon, but could only muster a 22nd-place points finish. Meanwhile at the #33 camp, NASCAR's community was shocked when long-time sponsor Skoal announced it would no longer continue its association with the #33. After the team signed Oakwood Homes to be a full-time sponsor on the car, Schrader announced he would leave to pursue other opportunities. After a long search, APR decided to hire Joe Nemechek to pilot the car. While he didn't visit victory lane at all in 2000, he did have three top-fives and the first top-25 points finish of his career. After nailing just one top-ten that year, Wallace announced he would leave for Eel River Racing. Wallace finised second at the Winston 500 at Talldega,pushing Dale Earnhardt to the win. It was Earnhardt's last victory before his death the following February at the Daytona 500. It wasn't long before Bobby Hamilton was named to handle the driving chores. When the 2000 season came to a close, APR fielded an unprecedented third team, the #35 for Geoffrey Bodine at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 2001 was a banner year for APR, as Hamilton won at Talladega Superspeedway it was the same car that Kenny Wallace finished second with the previous fall. and finished eighteenth in points, while Nemechek had ups and downs, breaking a shoulder at Dover and being replaced by Scott Pruett, Wally Dallenbach, Jr. and Hamilton's son. When he returned from his injuries, Nemechek was able to rebound with a victory North Carolina Speedway and had a respectable 28th place finish in points. Unfortunately, Oakwood Homes had financial trouble and backed out as sponsor, and Nemechek teamed up with Travis Carter Motorsports in 2002.

Closing up shop

Oakwood Homes' financial troubles left the #33 without a sponsor for 2002. Mike and Kenny Wallace ran limited schedules in the car, but no full-time sponsor could be located. In addition to all the turmoil, several attempts to get Jerry Jones to buy into the team failed. Things went from bad to worse in the #55, where Hamilton, who was struggling intensely, suffered a broken shoulder in a crash. Ron Hornaday and Greg Biffle were able to fill in, but despite a tenth-place finish in the season finale, Hamilton was not happy, and he departed to the Craftsman Truck Series, taking the Square D sponsorship with him. Christian Fittipaldi signed to drive the #33 at the Daytona 500, and he finished 35th. The team made only one other race that year, with Paul Menard at Watkins Glen International Raceway, where he finished 29th. In 2004, Menard and Petree ran in the Busch Series in the hopes of attracting major sponsorship for the team's planned return to the Cup series, but Menard signed a contract with Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and took the sponsorship from his father's company with him. This was the final blow to APR, and despite running a couple of truck series races, Petree auctioned off all of his equipment, with most of it going to the Kevin Harvick Incorporated racing stable.

External links

* [http://www.racing-reference.info Racing Reference]
* [http://www.jayski.com/teams/33apr.htm Jayski's Team 33 News Page]
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20040212180902/jayski.thatsracin.com/teams/55.htm Jayski's Team 55 News Page]


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