Sabates Not Ready To Retire And Neither Is Bodine

CONCORD, NC -- Felix Sabates says retirement is out of the question, and he’s not going through a mid-life crisis. After experiencing minimal success in motorsports, he’s just changing his focus.

"I’m 57-years-old," Sabates said. "I just bought a big yacht company in New Orleans and I have to pay attention to that. Obviously, I don’t have time for both.

"If Chip can come in here and make it a better raceteam and a competitive raceteam, I want to do that. It’s not for the money. I don’t need the money. I had a buyer who wanted to pay a lot more money, but also wanted 100 percent control over the team and I wasn’t willing to do that."

Sources close to the team say Sabates will remain a partial owner through the 2001 season, so Ganassi will retain owner points for provisionals. The possibility for a complete buy-out exists for 2002, if Ganassi wishes to exercise his option.

Both existing SABCO sponsors have contracts through the 2002 season, as does driver Kenny Irwin. The odd man out would seem to be Sterling Marlin, whose contract runs through this year. Jeremy Mayfield has been mentioned as one possible candidate for the team and Ganassi mentioned last week that he would be interested in talking to veteran driver Ken Schrader.

Rumors of Bodine's Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

A recent article in Winston Cup Scene quoted Joe Bessey as saying that his relationship with driver Geoff Bodine are "strained." After two weeks of absolutely no contact with Bessey, rumors began circulating through the garage on that an argument had ensued between owner and driver and Bodine had quit or at least plans to quit.

Before the Winston Open, Bodine appeared surprised by the news.

"I read the paper and wonder too," Bodine said. "I might get fired afterwards, but I sure didn’t quit. I don’t know what’s going on. I can’t get a hold of (the Bessey’s)-- any of them. I didn’t start these rumors, I just start facts and the fact is that I haven’t seen or heard from them since Richmond.

"There’s no rift with me or myself and the team. We’re really, really happy. We were happy after Richmond. Here in Charlotte everybody is happy."

The Bessey Motorsports team tested a second car (the No. 61) at Daytona last month with Bessey himself behind the wheel. He is expected to attempt to qualify for five races this season beginning with Daytona.

Crew Chief Jim Long says that the new team is in the beginning stages and it is still uncertain as to who will be the full-time driver. Long says for now his crew is content and concentrating on racing.

"I just want to build race cars that go fast," Long said. "I’m not interested in the politics."

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