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PPI Motorsports was a race team which competed in CART, NASCAR and various off-road racing circuits. The team had one of the few remaining single car operations in NASCAR.

PPI Motorsports
PPIMotorsports.jpg
Owner(s)Cal Wells
BaseCharlotte, North Carolina
SeriesWinston Cup Series, Nextel Cup Series
Race driversRicky Craven, Travis Kvapil, Andy Houston, Bobby Hamilton Jr., Scott Pruett, Ron Fellows
SponsorsTide, McDonald's
ManufacturerFord, Pontiac, Chevrolet
Opened1979
Closed2006
Career
Drivers' Championships0
Race victories2

Contents

Early yearsEdit

PPI stood for Precision Preparation, Inc., a company founded by team owner Cal Wells in 1979. The company provided parts for off-road racing teams. Over time, PPI eventually began its own off-road team, with help with Toyota Motorsports. PPI fielded off-road trucks for Mickey Thompson's SCORE series and then later fielded trucks which competed in outdoor events such as the Baja 1000. Notable drivers for PPI include Ivan "Ironman" Stewart and a young Robby Gordon (who also drove in CART for the team in 1998).

CART yearsEdit

 
The car from PPI's winning CART effort

PPI's relationship with Toyota expanded into the open-wheel ranks in 1995, when Wells formed a CART team with good friend Frank Arciero. Their initial driver was Hiro Matsushita. Known as Arciero-Wells, the CART team lasted for 5 years but only a managed a best finish of 4th in 1999 with rookie Cristiano da Matta. In 1996, they began the CART season with Jeff Krosnoff driving, but he died in a tragic accident during the Toronto street race. All PPI cars subsequently carried a decal commemorating Krosnoff's memory.

After Arciero left in 2000, the team was rebranded as PPI Motorsports, and da Matta gave the team its first (and only) career victory in CART. During this time, the team also ran a program in the Toyota Atlantic series, and had success in 2000 with rookie of the year Dan Wheldon. Following the 2000 season, however, PPI shut down its open-wheel and off-road programs, ended its relationship with Toyota, and shifted its focus exclusively on NASCAR.

PPI also competed in Toyota Atlantic from 1998-2000, winning races with Anthony Lazzaro, Andrew Bordin, and Dan Wheldon. Lazzaro won the championship for the team in 1999.

NASCAR yearsEdit

 
The No. 32 Tide-sponsored car in 2005

PPI started its first Cup team during the 2000 season with open-wheel and Trans Am standout Scott Pruett behind the wheel of the No. 32 Tide-sponsored Ford. The team was hardly a success in its first year, finishing in 37th place and failing to qualify for a number of races. Pruett was released at the end of the season and returned to Trans-Am.

With the team focusing exclusively on NASCAR in 2001, PPI fielded a two-car Winston Cup effort, with Ricky Craven taking over in the "Tide ride" and former Craftsman Truck Series star Andy Houston taking over in a second car — the No. 96 McDonald's-sponsored Ford. Houston's team was shut down before the season ended due to a lack of good results and the loss of its sponsor. Craven, however, had a number of strong races, which he capped giving the team its first career victory at Martinsville in October. He finished 21st in the points championship that year.

Craven ran strong in 2002 and, although he failed to win a race for the team, he managed to improve his point championship standing and finishing 15th overall. This was the team's last season in a Ford, as they switched to Pontiac the next season.

Craven started 2003 the same way, with a strong Top 5 at Rockingham and a famous victory at Darlington, in which he beat Kurt Busch to the finish by just 0.002 seconds, which still stands today as the smallest margin of victory in NASCAR Cup Series history. It also turned out to be Pontiac's last win in Winston Cup. However, a series of DNF's dropped Craven to 27th in the final standings.

PPI was to field two teams in 2004, one for Craven in the 32 and the 96 was to revive with Johnny Benson but sponsorship never showed up and, the 96 team once again folded after only a couple tests. PPI showed clear signs of struggling in 2004 as Craven was unable to give the team a single Top 10 finish through the first 24 races. Wells and Craven parted ways due to lack of results and Busch Series driver Bobby Hamilton, Jr. took Craven's place. Hamilton, Jr. drove the car for the entire 2005 season. However, he failed to score a Top 10 during the year, and eventually finished 36th. Wells did have some success after replacing Hamilton with road course ringer Ron Fellows at Infineon, with Fellows giving the team an eighth-place finish. Hamilton was replaced by Travis Kvapil, who drove the car for the 2006 season, only to have five DNQ's. Ron Fellows drove the 2 road course races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. After originally finishing 10th at the Glen, Fellows was penalised for skipping a portion of the track and dropped to 32nd.

At the end of 2006, Wells announced he would field Toyota's in the 2007 season if he were to find a sponsor, but was unable to find one as Tide had already announced that it was leaving the sport and that much of the team had already either been laid off or have been hired by Michael Waltrip Racing. This led to closure of their shop and forming a partnership with MWR's No. 00 Toyota Camry. PPI Motorsports has been liquidated to various buyers.

Driver historyEdit

CARTEdit

NASCAREdit

(key)

Year Chassis Engine Drivers No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Pts Pos Pos
Arciero Racing
1982 PHX ATL MIL CLE MCH MIL POC RIV ROA MCH PHX
Eagle 81 Chevy V8   Pete Halsmer (R) 66 24 19 24 43 2
1983 ATL INDY MIL CLE MCH ROA POC RIV MDO MCH CPL LAG PHX
Penske PC-10/82 Cosworth DFX   Pete Halsmer 66 4 DNQ 9 2 33 14 14 27 24 14 5 20 7 11th 48
  Johnny Parsons, Jr. 22 50th 0
1984 LBH PHX INDY MIL POR MEA CLE MCH ROA POC MDO SAN MCH PHX LAG CPL
Penske PC-10/82 Cosworth DFX   Pete Halsmer 11 8 14 DNQ DNQ 9 29th 9
March 84C 22 26 14 18 13 24 18 18 26
1985 LBH INDY MIL POR MEA CLE MCH ROA POC MDO SAN MCH LAG PHX MIA
Lola T900 Cosworth DFX   Bill Whittington 12 16 DNS 26 16 24 DNQ 21st 15
March 85C 14 24 5 17 8
Lola T900   Randy Lanier 17 41st 0
57 24 DNQ 22 22 20 14 20 13 15
1986 PHX LBH INDY MIL POR MEA CLE TOR MCH POC MDO SAN MCH ROA LAG PHX MIA
March 86C Cosworth DFX   Randy Lanier 12 11 13 10 20 9 6 9 21 19 20th 21
  Jeff MacPherson 22 15 13 DNQ 37th 0
  Steve Chassey 17 44th 0
  Eddie Cheever 27 49th 0
1987 LBH PHX INDY MIL POR MEA CLE TOR MCH POC ROA MDO NAZ LAG MIA
March 87C Cosworth DFX   Fabrizio Barbazza (R) 12 17 12 3 14 4 16 24 11 6 14 8 24 13 12th 42
  Ludwig Heimrath 23 DNQ 34th 5
1988 PHX LBH INDY MIL POR CLE TOR MEA MCH POC MDO ROA NAZ LAG MIA
March 88C Cosworth DFX   John Jones (R) 12 20 12 DNQ 14 8 7 7 7 8 8 7 13 11 11 16 11th 44
  Johnny Parsons, Jr. DNQ NC
March 87C   Steve Bren 43 17 40th 0
1989 PHX LBH INDY MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR MCH POC MDO ROA NAZ LAG
Penske PC-17/88 Cosworth DFX   Didier Theys 12 20 23 20 17 21st 9
  Fabrizio Barbazza 20 21 26 24 8 20 12 21 24th 6
  Rich Vogler 28 25th 5
1990 PHX LBH INDY MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR MCH DEN VAN MDO ROA NAZ LAG
Penske PC-17/88 Buick 3300 V6 tc   Randy Lewis 12 21 22 14 14 12 16 21 22 17 12 16 17 28 21 20 28th 2
Cosworth DFX 22
Buick 3300 V6 tc   Rich Vogler DNQ NC
8 DNQ
Cosworth DFX   Steve Bren 24 25 42nd 0
Buick 3300 V6 tc   Buddy Lazier (R) 26 30th 1
1991 SFR LBH PHX INDY MIL DET POR CLE MEA TOR MCH DEN VAN MDO ROA NAZ LAG
Penske PC-17/88 Buick 3300 V6 tc   Mark Dismore (R) 12 20 21 15 DNQ 38th 0
  Jeff Wood 24 20 31st 0
  Pancho Carter 14 26th 3
Lola T89/00 21
  John Jones 21 19 10 8 11 15 21 21 13 21 18th 10
1992 SFR PHX LBH INDY DET POR MIL NHA TOR MCH CLE ROA VAN MDO NAZ LAG
Lola T90/00 Buick 3300 V6 tc   Fabrizio Barbazza 30 12 20 21 DNQ 35th 1
  Johnny Parsons, Jr. DNQ NC
Lola T91/00   Jeff Wood 34 DNQ 34th 1
30 13 19 19 15 13 12
  Jacques Villeneuve, Sr. 22 22 52nd 0
  John Jones 12 23 22 36th 1
  Tero Palmroth 28 58th 0
1993 SFR PHX LBH INDY MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH NHA ROA VAN MDO NAZ LAG
Penske 21/92 Chevrolet 265B   Mark Smith (R) 25 18 9 10 DNQ 27 29 15 23 24 22 19 12 17 22nd 8
1994 SFR PHX LBH INDY MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO NHA VAN ROA NAZ LAG
Lola T94/00 Ford XB V8t   Marco Greco 25 DNQ 16 23 27 20 24 20 26 15 11 DNQ 16 16 21 17 24 29th 2
Arciero-Wells Racing
1995 MIA SFR PHX LBH NAZ INDY MIL DET POR ROA TOR CLE MCH MDO NHA VAN LAG
Reynard 94i Ford XB   Hiro Matsushita 25 26 11 22 19 DNS 10 19 14 17 13 19 13 20 15 22 17 22 28th 5
1996 MIA RIO SFR LBH NAZ 500 MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO ROA VAN LAG
Reynard 96i Toyota   Jeff Krosnoff (R) 25 22 26 18 26 18 18 18 15 17 16 161 35th 0
  Max Papis 24 9 22 27th 4
1997 MIA SFR LBH NAZ RIO GAT MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO ROA VAN LAG FON
Reynard 97i Toyota   Hiro Matsushita 24 21 25 20 25 23 15 17 19 15 20 22 9 19 24 14 28 23 27th 4
  Max Papis 25 19 14 25 22 13 26 19 11 28 27 15 8 14 15 20 14 12 24th 8
1998 MIA MOT LBH NAZ RIO GAT MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH MDO ROA VAN LAG HOU SFR FON
Reynard 98i Toyota   Hiro Matsushita 24 23 16 19 15 30th 0
  Robby Gordon 7 13 20 14 23 23 13 27 11 12 23 13 13 16 9 23rd 13
  Max Papis 25 26 13 24 14 28 22 16 18 11 12 8 19 14 11 9 12 5 17 16 21st 25
1999 MIA MOT LBH NAZ RIO GAT MIL POR CLE ROA TOR MCH DET MDO CHI VAN LAG HOU SRF FON
Reynard 99i Toyota   Scott Pruett 24 22 21 15 10 24 14 17 24 17 25 7 14 8 17 20 13 7 10 9 22 19th 28
  Cristiano da Matta (R) 25 14 25 20 4 21 17 11 11 20 21 24 17 19 9 14 5 22 11 13 23 18th 32
PPI/Wells Racing
2000 MIA LBH RIO MOT NAZ MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH CHI MDO ROA VAN LAG GAT HOU SRF FON
Reynard 2Ki Toyota RVA   Oriol Servià (R) 96 19 6 25 24 9 19 3 8 23 11 8 15 10 10 11 17 5 9 92 20 15th 60
  Cristiano da Matta 97 12 25 4 4 13 14 23 5 3 4* 17 1 17 13 7 15 4 14 4 25 10th 112
Arciero-Blair Racing
2000 MIA LBH RIO MOT NAZ MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH CHI MDO ROA VAN LAG GAT HOU SRF FON
Reynard 2Ki Mercedes-Benz IC108E V8t   Luiz Garcia, Jr. 25 17 12 12 23 15 21 22 14 20 12 11 17 25 24 15 20 25 22 12 DNS 27th 6
2001 MTY LBH TEX NAZ MOT MIL DET POR CLE TOR MCH CHI MDO ROA VAN LAU ROC HOU LAG SRF FON
Lola B2K/00 Phoenix   Max Wilson 25 28 21 C3 17 25th 12
Ford XF V8t 23 23 4 19 25 15 25 25 18 21 16 24
  Alex Barron 13 9 29th 4
  1. ^ Jeff Krosnoff died in an accident at the Molson Indy Toronto.
  2. ^ Oriol Servià was penalized 4 points for rough driving in Surfers Paradise.
  3. ^ The Firestone Firehawk 600 was canceled after qualifying due to excessive g-forces on the drivers.

IndyCar winEdit

# Season Date Sanction Track / Race No. Winning Driver Chassis Engine Tire Grid Laps Led
1 2000 July 30 CART Chicago Motor Speedway (O) 97   Cristiano da Matta Reynard 2Ki Toyota RVA Firestone 5 51

Complete NASCAR ResultsEdit

#32 CarEdit

#96 CarEdit

External linksEdit