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NASCAR WCUP: Mattei Continues to Look at Options for 1999

2 September 1998

HARRISBURG, N.C. - As the season enters its final 10 races, Jim Mattei of Mattei Motorsports is continuing to consider what changes need to be made to improve the performance of his race team during the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup season.

Mattei indicated last week that one of the options he is considering is a driver change, if he deems it to be the most effective move. However, he says there are no plans at this point for a driver change during the final stages of the 1998 campaign.

"Geoff Bodine is the driver of the Philips Ford and nothing has changed with regard to that, " said Mattei. "During the past month, we have made great strides as a team, which has allowed us to learn a great deal about our operation. As of now, we have no plans to change any part of that equation during the final 10 races of 1998. I anticipate being able t o announce our plans for next season within the next 30 days."

After purchasing the team in mid-1997, Mattei directed the team to a 22nd place finish in the final Winston Cup point standings - an improvement of nine spots during the final 15 events. Currently, the Philips Racing Team stands 32nd in the standings, which provides Mattei with plenty of motivation to look for improvement.

"We are not looking at this team like some overnight project," said Mattei. "We are operating on a five-year plan, no different than any other venture we have ever taken on. Anything less than a top 15 finish in the points next year would be unacceptable to me. By the year 2000, we could quite possibly have a championship team. In any event, we are in it for the long term."