HIGH POINT, N.C. (Dec. 6, 2005) – Following up on last week’s news regarding its recent changes to the No. 22 CAT Racing team, Bill Davis Racing released more details Tuesday about its 2006 plans for the No. 55 car, confirming Derrick Finley will serve as crew chief for Michael Waltrip and the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS crew.
Along with Finley, the majority of the crew members who worked on the No. 22 car this 2005 season will move to the No. 55 team.
“Derrick has done a good job with the No. 22 car this year. Putting him and his experienced group of guys with Michael is going to make the entire transition back into a two-car team easier for all of us,” said Bill Davis, team owner and president of Bill Davis Racing. “Derrick is a very intelligent individual and a hard worker. I am confident he, Michael and the rest of the guys have what it takes to get the No. 55 NAPA car up front.”
Earlier this year, BDR entered into a partnership with Waltrip and NAPA AUTO PARTS to field a second team in 2006. Davis announced last Thursday Dave Blaney had returned to his racing organization to drive the No. 22 Caterpillar car in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, with Kevin Hamlin joining him as crew chief. Next season will be the first time since 2003 that Davis has fielded two full-time NASCAR Nextel Cup teams.
“I’m really looking forward to having two teams. Having Blaney and Hamlin’s input is going to be valuable. I’ve known Hamlin for a long time. We’ll work well together,” Finley said. “It’s a big help to be able to take most of my guys with me. We’ll have our core group together with a new driver, which should help speed everything up as far as comfort level for all of us.”
An Albuquerque, N.M., native, Finley graduated from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1996. He was hired right out of college by the legendary racer Dale Earnhardt to become the first engineer employed at Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (DEI).
Finley came on board at BDR in 2003 to serve as team engineer, and then assumed crew chief duties for the No. 22 in late 2004.
“Obviously, it’s real exciting to get to work with Michael. I worked with his brother [Darrell Waltrip] at DEI and had some great success in a short amount of time with him. We expect to have the same success with Michael.”
From Contact: Angie Copen // Bill Davis Racing