By Dave Rodman
CONCORD, N.C. (Dec. 6, 1999)
"We have had two of these not go through, so we don't want to say anything until the deal is completed on Friday," said Marlene Emery, general manager of Cale Yarborough Motorsports. "We see no reason that this won't happen, though."
Misuraca, 31, who says his business interests include "advertising and marketing" and who says he has been a successful motorcycle motocross and supercross team owner, has already spent time at the team's shop and has done newspaper and television interviews indicating his intentions.
A receptionist at the shop on Monday answered the phone "Misuraca-Yarborough Motorsports." Yarborough was unavailable Monday for comment.
In 1999, three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Yarborough's team has suffered like a badly abused ping-pong ball. Prior to the season, Yarborough supposedly sold a majority interest in his team to South Carolina businessman Wayne Burdette. About a third of the way through the season that deal foundered and Yarborough re-assumed full ownership of the team.
Later in the year he conducted other negotiations to sell the team that included the formation of a second team. These, too, did not come to fruition.
Misuraca is the latest candidate to assume majority ownership in the team that has been in existence for 13 years, including the final two seasons of Yarborough's own driving career. That tenure has been marked by 16 drivers including Yarborough, as the owner doggedly sought an elusive chemistry.
Misuraca said the very makeup of the team was what attracted him to the opportunity to become involved in NASCAR 2000. Yarborough's No. 98 Fords, which began the season without a primary sponsor, were running at the finish of every event in 1999, driven by veteran Rick Mast.
"Making it through the season without a DNF -- there's been only one other person do that and it was Cale Yarborough in 1977," Misuraca said last week during a visit to the facility. "With what these guys had to work with in order to do it and still all hang together says a lot for them."
Assuming he takes control of the team, Misuraca will have to come in with both guns blazing, so to speak. Locking in a contract with Mast and securing a relationship with Universal Studios, which signed to sponsor the team a third of the way through the 1999 season, are top priorities.
"All Rick wants is something that's gonna be secure," Misuraca said. "This year he's had two other team owners who were here and then they were gone. I'm 31 with a lot of motivation and a lot of heart -- I'll put it together so Rick's got a happy home."
Misuraca is also extremely optimistic, if his goals for the 2000 season are taken at face value. But that is a big plus in NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing.
"Our first goal that I've set for the year 2000 is I want this car on the pole at Daytona -- we'll see if we can," Misuraca said. "If we can break top-15 this year (in the point standings) I'm happy.
"We'll go on to 2001, 2002 then, (but) I've got a good group of guys here. This team has the capabilities to be a champion."
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