The old band is back together, says Billy Ballew of a return to racing.
The long-time NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series team owner, who hasn’t fielded a team since 2012, announced on Tuesday’s SiriusXM Speedway with Dave Moody on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he will be joining forces with James Finch and Richie Wauters to field a truck for Erik Jones in the upcoming Kyle Busch bounty.
ICYMI: @BBM1551 joined #SXMSpeedway and told @DGodfatherMoody that he and James Finch are funding a @NASCAR_Trucks ride for @Erik_Jones to go after the bounty @KevinHarvick and @marcuslemonis put on @KyleBusch at @HomesteadMiami. pic.twitter.com/m1q5ovsyKZ
— SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) March 3, 2020
“Well I’m not really sure what I’ve gotten myself into, but hopefully it works out,” Ballew said on the radio show. “Me and my buddy James Finch at Phoenix Construction and Phoenix Racing, we had been trying to help Richie Wauters, who was my crew chief for years here and try to put something together.
“So, concocted this idea like Friday night or Saturday and we got to discussing it and Richie has great equipment here, but hasn’t had a funded driver or anything to be able to with it in the past.
“We decided we would come to a joint effort and come to get us a driver who might be able to go and race and have a little bit of fun. Fortunately enough, after some of the stuff things that we have done with Erik Jones in the past — winning a snowball derby — I picked the phone up and I called him.”
The Ballew/Finch/Wauters entry will run with Jones behind the wheel at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and Ballew — who now says they are looking at potentially running more races in 2020 — says that Marcus Lemonis is to thank for his return as the Kyle Busch bounty challenge paved the way.
Wauters’ team, which will serve as a base for the entry, has not recorded a start in the Truck Series since 2017. The Wauters-owned team has three top-five finishes and seven top-10s in 45 starts.
Jones has recorded seven-career wins in the NASCAR Truck Series, and he took home the 2015 Series championship. Jones has gone on to win nine NASCAR Xfinity Series races and two NASCAR Cup Series races since his Truck Series days.
The Kyle Busch Bounty began when Kevin Harvick announced that he would give $50,000 to any full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver who could beat Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Truck Series over Busch’s next four starts.
After Harvick chipped in his $50,000, Gander RV & Outdoors’ Marcus Lemonis offered up another $50,000 to make the total prize $100,000.
Since then, a slew of Cup Series drivers have announced their intentions of lining up to take Harvick and Lemonis’ cash including: Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Brennan Poole and even Clint Bowyer has been working on an entry with Barstool Sports as a potential sponsor.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.