Foyt Ultra Release Crew Chiefs

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - When the NASCAR Winston Cup Series returns to action Friday with qualifying for the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway, two drivers – Ron Hornaday and Mike Wallace – will be working with different crew chiefs than they started the 2001 season with.

Philippe Lopez, the crew chief with Hornaday in A.J. Foyt’s No. 14 Pontiac, left the struggling team that stands 32nd in the Winston Cup standings. This weekend at Martinsville, Hornaday will be working with interim assistant crew chief Fred Graves.

At Ultra Motorsports, team owner Jim Smith made an early shuffle in the roster of his No. 7 Fords driven by Mike Wallace, releasing veteran Tim Brewer for new crew chief Jim Long.

The No. 7 has struggled through the first seven races, with only one top-10 finish and 37th in points, prompting Smith to call on Long, who many fans probably remember best from his stint as Ricky Rudd’s crew chief.

“We needed to make a change with our Winston Cup program at Ultra Motorsports, and we needed it to be an immediate change,” Smith said. “It was a mutual decision between Tim and myself. This team was not running anywhere near its potential.

“As a team, we set some weekly and monthly goals at the beginning of the season, however we have not been attaining our objectives. This decision was a very difficult one for me to make.”

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