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NASCAR BGN: Jeff Purvis: Team Combination Working as Anticipated

22 April 1999

CHARLOTTE, N.C., - So far, so good, figures Johnny Allen, crew chief on the No. 4 Lance Snacks Chevrolet of NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division driver Jeff Purvis.

The head wrench at Diamond Ridge Motorsports said the recent combining of resources of the No. 4 team and the No. 29 team has already begun to have the desired effect for both operations.

The unification of his two Busch Series teams at Diamond Ridge Motorsports is owner Gary Bechtel's plan to get the No. 4 team into winning contention each week on the Busch circuit before the No. 29 Chevrolet of Curtis Markham returns to the race track at South Boston (Va.) Speedway June 12.

"To have a successful two-car deal, you must first have one successful car," Allen said. "So the deal is, all of the guys with the No. 29 car that have come aboard with our team are helping us out tremendously, and we're combining all of our efforts for awhile.

"All our ideas are getting focused into one car. What works is good, and what doesn't gets weeded out, so that's one less road they (No. 29 team) have to cross when they get back up and running. I believe this is definitely going to be a big help for them."

Since the temporary team merger, Allen said he has been working more closely with Jay Guy, crew chief on the No. 29 Chevrolet. Guy has become the car chief on the Lance Snacks Chevrolet in the interim, while Markham is being utilized in an advisory role.

"Jay and I - we think a lot alike," Allen said. "We've just clicked, you might say. We've got a lot of the same ideas, and a lot of the same direction."

"My role at the race track right now is to basically build shocks for Johnny because he doesn't have time to be the crew chief and the shock guy," Guy said. "Curtis throws ideas out, I throw ideas out, and the three of us talk about it. In the end, we come up with the right decision. So far, it's worked pretty well."

Purvis recorded his first top-10 finish of the season recently when he finished sixth in the BellSouth Mobility 320 at Nashville (Tenn.) Speedway. Two weeks ago, Purvis had a competitive run at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway before an accident relegated him to a 42nd place finish. He's currently 15th in the Busch Series point standings.

Purvis and the Lance Snacks team recently tested at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for this Saturday's Touchstone Energy 300. Allen said the team was pleased with the results of the test, and plan to make a strong run toward victory at the 2.66-mile oval.

The car the Lance team is taking to Talladega this weekend is actually the No. 29 team's superspeedway car.

The Touchstone Energy 300 is the second of two restrictor-plate races on the Busch Series schedule. The first came at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February, where Purvis finished 40th after being involved in an accident.

"We crashed at Daytona, but I think we had a great test at Talladega and we're up for it," Allen said. "We feel a lot better about going to the restrictor-plate race this time than we did when we went to Daytona. Gary (Bechtel) mentioned that when we showed up in Daytona, he could see the fatigue in our eyes. We had been working extensively over the winter in preparation for that first restrictor-plate race.

"We're certainly in a lot better shape now. This past weekend we had off, and that helped a lot. I believe this is a turning point for us. We're on the upswing."

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