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SBIII dismisses Craven, taps Allen
By NASCAR Online Staff

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 10, 1999)
  Loy Allen had five front-row starts in 19 races in his rookie season of 1994.
Ricky Craven has been dismissed from his duties as driver of the No. 58 Turbine Solutions Ford and will be replaced by Loy Allen, SBIII Motorsports owner Scott Barbour announced Thursday.

Craven, who had fallen to 41st in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings, finished in the top-20 just once in 13 races this season with the new team. Although Hollywood Video sponsored the operation on a race-to-race basis for several weeks, Barbour has been unable to secure a full-time primary sponsor. As a result, the team's Tauruses have worn his company's colors in their other starts.

"It was just time for a change," SBIII public relations director Mike Jocoy said. "You know how important chemistry is in this sport, and the management just felt it was time to change that. We wish Ricky Craven the absolute best and hope to race against him down the road."

Allen, 33, was a highly celebrated dirt track Late Model driver in North Carolina early in his career, notching some 50 wins. In his first run on an asphalt track longer than a half-mile, he won the pole for the ARCA 200 at Daytona International Speedway in 1993. In 1994 he shocked the racing world by becoming the first NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year candidate to win the Bud Pole for the Daytona 500.

Allen went on to add Bud Poles at Michigan Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway that same year. Following a neck injury at North Carolina Speedway in 1996, he has struggled to maintain his driving career. SBIII has hopes that a resurgence is in the offing.

"We're a young team that needed a young guy who was aggressive enough to make it go," Jocoy said. "Win, lose or draw, we're sticking with the kid. We're really excited. The team has a totally new outlook now. We're in a good position with great equipment and great guys, and Loy was a good fit."

Allen hasn't competed in a NASCAR Winston Cup Series event since 1997. He drove a limited number of events in the No. 78 Mark III Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division that year and has continued to make spot appearances for Mark III team owner Dan Browder.

Neither Craven nor Allen was available for comment Thursday.


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