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NASCAR-BGN: Barbasol Racing Team Executes Changes With Eye Toward 1999

8 November 1998

HAMPTON, Ga. -- The Barbasol Racing Team, operated by Akins/Sutton Motorsports, made several personnel moves today that will affect both of its 1999 NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division teams.

Dean Johnson has been hired as the crew chief of the No. 38 Barbasol Ford for the 1999 season. Glenn Allen Jr. will drive the Barbasol Ford in 1999. Johnson has worked with driver Mike Dillon since 1993 and began the 1998 season as crew chief for Dillon's Detroit Gasket Chevrolet team. Johnson became the crew chief of the Clearwater Forest Chevrolet, driven by Mark Krogh, in October.

"I have learned throughout my NASCAR stint that in order to run a successful team you have to treat your people well and make each team member feel useful and confident in their jobs," Johnson said. "After talking to owners Bob Sutton and Brad Akins and spending some time with a few of the crew guys at Akins/Sutton, that team has successfully accomplished a positive atmosphere.

"I can not walk into any team and be expected to carry the weight and make things happen on my own. My next step will be into a team-oriented, motivated environment. In addition, I get to work with Glenn Allen Jr. His team always seemed to be close to the No. 72 team when I worked for Parker Racing. We spent a lot of time discussing chassis set up. We always seemed to be on the same wavelength; we never had a tough time communicating.

"My goal for the No. 38 car is a definite top-10 finish. The top 10 in points is realistic but I think the top five will be possible."

Allen added: "I feel like Dean brings a lot of experience and skill from not only the Busch Series but Winston Cup as well. Our outlook I believe is to win a race and finish in the top 10. I feel this team will be better than your average new race team because we have a lot of capable, accomplished individuals who are going to make up one heck of a team. We will be teammates with a team that has already proven it's a top-five team."

Wes Ward will replace Eddie Pardue as crew chief of the Barbasol Ford for the final two races of this season. Akins/Sutton Motorsports, based in Mooresville, N.C., hired Ward in June as the first crew member of its second team, which will race a full schedule beginning in 1999. In 1999, Ward will accompany Barbasol Ford driver Elton Sawyer to the new team.

Bobby Bakeef, currently a general mechanic for the Barbasol Racing Team, has been promoted to car chief and will be Johnson's right-hand man.

"My job responsibilities will not change drastically," Bakeef said. "I am excited about working with Glenn and Dean. I already sense the chemistry. I have been with Akins/Sutton long enough to know this team will have everything it needs to be a contender week in and week out."