Businessman Rick Rathbun, 45, has announced his intention to sponsor the Kerry Earnhardt/Ed Whitaker Racing tandem under his own Team Marines Racing banner in the August 27th running of the Food City 250 BGN event at Bristol.
Rathbun, a former Marine, is President of DEC Technologies, Inc., an aerospace industry parts and components manufacturer based in Piney Flats, TN just a few miles southwest of the Bristol track.
Veteran car owner Whitaker, whose race shop is located in nearby Bristol, Virginia and who calls Bristol Motor Speedway his "home track", is taking it upon himself to breathe new life into Kerry Earnhardt's career that came to an abrupt halt after just four races this year, with the #40 Channellock Chevy. Such Busch Series greats as Harry Gant, Sam Ard, Morgan Shepherd and the late Butch Lindley have driven for Whitaker over the years with Gant the most successful of the lot with 21 victories, 51 top five and 71 top ten performances in just 124 starts from 1988 through 1994.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who qualified on the front row for the fall Busch Series race at Bristol in 1997 in an Ed Whitaker machine.
The team will test at Bristol next Monday, and Whitaker is planning to enter Kerry, and do additional testing, in as many as six more races this season. A full Busch Series program is being planned for 2000 and 2001 with a possible move into the Winston Cup Series after that - all with Kerry Earnhardt behind the wheel.
Whitaker has tapped veteran crew chief Bruce Saunders as the signal caller for the Earnhardt/Team Marines project. Saunders was also the crew chief during most of Gant's successes with Whitaker Racing.
The race car, to be painted predominantly black with vibrant red flames and yellow trim, is one of several designed by renown motorsports artist and car designer Sam Bass, and his Sam Bass Illustration and Design Company.
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo will carry number 76, emblematic of the year (1776) when the United States Marine Corps was born.
Earnhardt, and the Team Marines Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo, will be on display to the general public for the very first time at the Annual Food City Fan on August 26th(Team Marines Racing PR)(8-10-1999)
Also Read Kerry Earnhardt gets another chance
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