one for the little guy
September 2, 2006
to discuss this article
Clay Andrews was virtually an unknown in the sport of
NASCAR when the season started in February. He was businessman who raced
locally in the Winston West Series in California who had dreams of
owning his own team and he made that come true at the end of the 2005
Busch Series Season and decided to run a part time schedule for the 2006
season with an up-and-coming driver named David Gilliland, who shared
the same passion for winning that he did. On June 17th at the Meijer 300
in Kentucky Speedway Gilliland and Clay Andrews Racing did something
that has never been done in NASCAR before, to have a part time team win
a Busch Series event.
The win catapulted a virtual unknown in Gilliland to being the hottest
commodity in the garage, and within days after the race, there was talk
of his future in the Nextel Cup Series. A proud Andrews did not have
much time to relish in the spotlight, as by the end of July his up-and-coming driver was gobbled up by Robert Yates Racing with a one race
Busch Series deal that subsequently thrust the 30 year old Gilliland
to a dream job with RYR in the #38 M&M’s Ford for the remainder of the
Nextel Cup Season.
With Gilliland moving on this left Andrews and a team with so much
potential and momentum, spinning their wheels without a driver and was
forced to close up their shop. But Andrews was not going to go down
without a fight. He continued to work on his engine program and started
to prepare for the future.
He just did not realize that the future would happen so soon.
What Andrews realized through this experience was that there is hope for
the smaller and less influential teams, but to do that he would have to
get them together, on the same page, sharing the same information in
order to accomplish the same goal. This inspired Andrews to put
together the Clay Andrews Racing Alliance Partners. The creation of the
Alliance is to provide a means for single car teams in NASCAR to share
information including tire data, aero, engine performance and other
items to inspire the lower budgeted teams to have the ability to compete
with the multi car teams in NASCAR.
“Losing David (Gilliland) made me bitter at first but it made me realize
that maybe I did accomplish what I set out to achieve,” an emotional
Andrews said at the press conference. “It is for this reason that I have
started this alliance. To give the smaller teams a chance to compete at
the level of the larger teams and tapping into raw undiscovered talent
and giving them a chance to make it in this business.”
“June 17th (Meijer 300 at Kentucky victory) was magical. The opportunity
to share information with other teams like ourselves will give more non
high-profile teams a chance towards that same magic that we
Also in attendance for this announcement was Richard J. Rubenstein, Vice
President of Operations for Key Motorsports, owners of the #40 Key
Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
“In talking with Clay today and knowing who some of the other players will
be, it makes a lot of sense, and Key Motorsports is behind this full
throttle,” Rubenstein said.
At least four teams will actively support the Alliance at this time with
more expected to join as word spreads. Key Motorsports is the first
Craftsman Truck Series team in the stable and has already purchased two
of Andrews’ Hype Manufacturing motors for competition this year.
Andrews’ engine manufacturing arm from the Busch Series team remains in
business in Murphy, NC and will produce the horsepower for all of the
teams in the Alliance.
First order of business for the new alliance is to announce a driver for
the #84 Hype Motorsports Chevrolet. Their intentions are to run the
November Busch Series race in Phoenix but Andrews is optimistic but
energetic about the future.
“If we are not ready to run in November we won’t run, but we will see
you in Daytona in February”, Andrews said. When they do start and when
people join the alliance, it will be engines from Clay Andrews that they
will be running.
No matter when they start though, if Andrews gets the support he feels
that he is going to get, the alliance will be a force to be reckoned
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