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NASCAR BGN: Sawyer Reclaims Fourth in Points

11 November 1998

HAMPTON, Ga. - Elton Sawyer, driver of the Barbasol Ford Taurus and a 15-year veteran of the Busch Series, was headed toward a top-10 finish in Saturday's Stihl 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway when a bump Buckshot Jones, sent Sawyer spinning. The seasoned Sawyer kept the Barbasol Ford from hitting the wall and rebounded with only a flat tire. Sawyer finished 13th, the last car on the lead lap.

"We struggled with a loose car all weekend," Sawyer said. "The Barbasol crew made several modifications to the car on race day. These changes were much better then the way we had the car set up during happy hour. We entered the race with the mindset of racing for the championship. It was important that we finished the race. Once Lajoie and Sadler were out of the race there was no need for us to make any risky moves that might cause us to lose points."

Saturday's finish catapulted the Barbasol team two spots into the fourth position in the Busch Series point standings. The hotly contested battle for the fourth position could still change hands with the conclusion of the 1998 season in Homestead, Fla. Randy Lajoie, out early Saturday with engine trouble, fell back to sixth and trails Sawyer by 43 points. Elliott Sadler, also out early in the Stihl 300, is a mere 38 points behind the Barbasol Ford in fifth place. Though the fourth position has been swapped a few times by those three drivers, Phil Parsons, Tim Fedewa and Jones are within reach as well.

While two poles (1995 and 1991) and one win in Myrtle Beach (1994) continue to highlight Elton Sawyer's career in the Busch Series, fourth place in the points race would be a career-best for Sawyer and for Akins/Sutton Motorsports. Sawyer, Parsons and Hermie Sadler are the only drivers in the top 10 without a win this season.

"We want that fourth-place position," Sawyer said, "and so do five other strong teams. We are going to Homestead to secure that desired spot, but we intend to seize it with a win. I thought for sure we would have at least one win, if not several in 1998. The season is not over. Don't count the Barbasol team out."

The final race in Homestead will be the last time Sawyer will wear the red, white and blue Barbasol colors. Sawyer will announce his 1999 plans Sunday prior to the start of the Jiffy Lube 300. Glenn Allen will take over the Barbasol Ford for the 1999 season.