Morgan-McClure Motorsports scales back operations


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- After 25 years and three Daytona 500
victories, Morgan-McClure Motorsports appears to be out of the
racing business.

The decision to scale back operations was met with sadness by
Sterling Marlin, who won back-to-back Daytona 500s with the team in
1994 and 1995.

"We were a great race team at one time," he said. "I just
think the technology and them being out of the loop by not being in
Charlotte -- they were in a time warp and it hurt them some."

The Abingdon, Va.-based race team laid off 28 employees last
week and co-owner Larry McClure said without sponsorship, the team
would not be able to compete in its 26th Daytona 500 next month.

"We will continue to search for sponsorship and if something
becomes available, we have the cars ready to go to Daytona,"
McClure said. "I've had a lot of fun racing and it's just hard to
believe it might come to this. We are still the best bargain in
NASCAR if we could just find the right sponsor."

The team ran last season with Ward Burton as the driver and
finished 47th in points -- a far cry from its heyday when Marlin and
Ernie Irvan were running up front and collecting wins.

"We were always in the hunt," said Tony Glover, who spent 13
years with the team and was Marlin's crew chief for his Daytona
wins. "We had a good thing going at that time, and I thought we
were certainly a top-five team year in and year out."

As the sport grew, however, Morgan-McClure struggled to compete
with the multi-car organizations. Marlin moved on to a bigger team,
sponsor Kodak left and it became impossible for the team to keep

"To me, they should have [closed] when Kodak left," Marlin
said. "They were just throwing good money after bad money and if
you don't have the sponsorship dollars to do it right, you are just
wasting your time."