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Jim Smith, Jim Mattei partner

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Jim Smith, Jim Mattei partner
May 9, 2000, 11:45 PM

Smith, Mattei form 'Ultra Mattei Motorsports' CONCORD, N.C. (May 8, 2000) NASCAR team owners Jim Smith and Jim Mattei announced on Monday that they have formed a NASCAR Winston Cup Series partnership, which will be known as Ultra Mattei ...

Smith, Mattei form 'Ultra Mattei Motorsports'

CONCORD, N.C. (May 8, 2000) NASCAR team owners Jim Smith and Jim Mattei announced on Monday that they have formed a NASCAR Winston Cup Series partnership, which will be known as Ultra Mattei Motorsports. Smith owns the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship-contending Team ASE Fords driven by Mike Wallace. Mattei has fielded the No. 7 NationsRent Chevrolets for driver Michael Waltrip. Smith announced he had joined with Mattei in a 50-50 partnership for the team.

"I've said all along I'll do whatever it takes to build this team," said Mattei. "Forming a partnership with Jim Smith, with his talents and knowledge, will certainly enhance what we have been trying to do with this race team and with the NationsRent Chevrolet. We're in this to win. This partnership will put us in Victory Circle a lot quicker than me trying to do this alone.

"I was a very successful businessman who went racing. Jim Smith is a very successful racer who became a very successful businessman. I think we can do some great things together."

Smith will become operations manager for Ultra Mattei Motorsports and will handle the day-to-day ownership opportunities, Mattei said in a prepared statement. Mattei will continue his active role with the team, especially on the marketing and sponsorship side.

"I've been a racer my entire life and my goal since I was a young man has been to get into Winston Cup," Smith said. "With the knowledge we have at Ultra Motorsports combined with the knowledge at Mattei Motorsports, I think the combined effort is going to be outstanding.

"Things don't change for the better overnight in racing but we're going to be working hard on a daily basis to get this team where it belongs. We are looking for a winning performance."

Waltrip will continue as driver of the NationsRent Chevrolet, while Bobby Kennedy will maintain his position as crew chief. No significant crew personnel changes are planned as part of the new partnership.

"Jim Mattei has brought a lot to this team," Waltrip said. "He has brought a lot of stability and has really performed above and beyond what anyone could expect out of him with his background.

"He came in and bought a team, he has a great sponsor in NationsRent and the employees know he is going to spend the money it takes to be competitive. Once you get past that, it's harder to grow the team as quickly as he wanted to without having that racing background.

"Now we're combining two people who complement each other so well. Jim Mattei has his sponsor and that relationship. Jim Smith has proven he knows how to build winning teams and championship teams. He will bring that experience to our team and help us improve our cars so we can run better on Sundays. That's what we are all here for."

Wallace has won two races so far this season and leads two-time and defending champion Jack Sprague by 60 points after seven of 24 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races.

"This will help our team grow," Kennedy said. "Having an owner with a racing background will enhance the ownership we had from the business side. You look at the majority of successful teams -- Yateses and Childresses -- and their owners have some sort of really solid racing background.

"The guys on the team are excited about the opportunities. Anytime there is change you are going to have some concern, but we all have the same outlook. We want this team to grow."

Mattei Motorsports was formed when Mattei purchased the team from Geoffrey Bodine in 1997. Bodine had purchased the team from the estate of the late Alan Kulwicki, 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion. Waltrip began driving the No. 7 at the beginning of the 1999 season.

Smith's Ultra Motorsports team has won races in each of the series' six seasons. The team has recorded two wins, five top-5 and seven top-10 finishes in its seven races this season. In the 32 starts since Wallace began driving at the first of last season, Ultra Motorsports has recorded four wins, 17 top-5s and 21 top-10s.

-nascar.com-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Mike Wallace , Jack Sprague , Jim Smith , Alan Kulwicki