This is ugly !!!
BANG Racing loses Toyota support? UPDATE 5 Skinner out? to Bill Davis? Crew too: hearing that Toyota has pulled their supprt of BANG Racing after the race at Bristol, supposedly BANG is talking to Chevy and Dodge about taking over support.(8-27-2004)
UPDATE - Yep: Toyota officials confirmed Monday they have withdrawn factory support from Bang Racing, which fields the Toyota Tundras of drivers Mike Skinner and Travis Kvapil in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. "We have exercised our right to terminate our 'Support Agreement' with Bang Racing and notified Bang after the Bristol race," said Toyota spokeswoman Diana DeJoseph. "We do not discuss the details of any of our team contracts or on-going discussions. Bang Racing's contract is no exception." This season Bang was one of four factory supported teams -- Innovative Motorsports, Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Bill Davis Racing are the others -- that began Toyota's first season in the Truck series. Bang also has Toyota's only series win this season, when Kvapil won the July race at Michigan in the No. 24 Tundra. Kvapil is currently fifth in points, and teammate Mike Skinner is 10th in the No. 42 Tundra. A Bang Racing spokesperson said the team was working on a press release Monday afternoon, but did say the team planned to compete at the series' next race Sept. 9 at Richmond, Va. Bang Racing was founded by owner Alex Meshkin in 2003 and competing in its first Truck series season. Meshkin, an Internet entrepreneur and marketing businessman, teamed with long-time NASCAR crew chief and Fox Sports analyst Larry McReynolds to form the two-truck organization. McReynolds, however, left the organization in July.(ThatsRacin.com)
AND Bang Racing officials are considering litigation to resolve its dispute with Toyota, the team said Monday afternoon after the manufacturer terminated its support agreement. Diana DeJoseph, Toyota's senior motorsports public relations administrator, confirmed Monday that the manufacturer as ended its contract with Bang Racing and its two drivers, Travis Kvapil and Mike Skinner. "What we can say at this point is that we have exercised our right to terminate our support agreement with Bang Racing," DeJoseph said. "We notified Bang after the Bristol race." But Bang Racing, through a statement, disputed Toyota's position. "According to Bang Racing's sponsorship and support agreement with Toyota, Bang was and continues to be entitled to receive full factory support for our two Tundra teams," said the statement, attributed only to the team. "Bang is currently in discussions with litigation counsel regarding the legal ramifications of TRD/Toyota's position." Jennifer Jaudon, media relations manager for Bang Racing, said the team plans to race in the Kroger 200 at Richmond on Sept. 9. "We'll work through it," Jaudon said. "Our plans are still to be at Richmond. Alex is moving forward with everything." Jaudon, like DeJoseph, wouldn't comment on why Toyota took this action. And while the team plans to be in Richmond, it is unclear whether Kvapil and Skinner will be driving Toyotas. Asked if Bang Racing can continue to use Toyota products, DeJoseph said, "Well, no, we terminated our support agreement. Getting into the details of that isn't something we can do." Bang's statement, however, indicates that the team wants to continue using Toyotas. Whether Bang can could be up to the judicial system.(NASCAR.com)(8-30-2004)
UPDATE 2: An Internet report cited Toyota officials as saying that the manufacturer's support agreement was contingent on participation by former NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds, now a broadcaster for Fox. McReynolds left Bang Racing in July and said Tuesday that he was legally precluded from discussing the situation regarding Toyota. But McReynolds did say that philosophical differences with Meshkin, 23, led to his departure. "I'll just say that the business practice of Alex Meshkin wasn't right. I just couldn't and wouldn't fight it anymore," McReynolds said. "I worked 25 years to gain respect in this business. I wasn't about to let this kid throw that out the window in one year's time. There's been 50 owners who have come through this sport and haven't made it. Alex Meshkin is No. 51. I feel very bad (for Kvapil) because I'm the one who sat with him for 4 hours last year and convinced him to drive for Bang Racing."(Wisconsin State Journal - NOTE, looks like they removed the link from the site from some reason, no luck using their search feature)(9-2-2004)
UPDATE 3 - even more: The future of Bang Racing, which fields Toyota Tundras for drivers Mike Skinner and Travis Kvapil, remains clouded heading toward the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' next event, Sept. 9 at Richmond, Va. Earlier this week, Toyota officials announced they were ending their factory support of the Bang operation, effective immediately. Bang responded with threatened litigation, claiming its support agreement remained intact through the end of the 2004 season.
On Thursday, Angie Skinner, Mike Skinner's wife, responded to a reporter's question as to whether Skinner would run in the Richmond race by saying: "We don't know if we're going to Richmond. Alex (Meshkin, team owner) won't return our phone calls." Notified of Skinner's response, Bang Racing spokeswoman Jennifer Jaudon sent the following statement via email: "Bang Racing and Toyota are currently in private negotiations. No comment can be made to anyone until next week when details are finalized between those two entities. Both drivers will be at Richmond racing Toyota Tundras."(ThatsRacin.com), hearing BANG, if they show at RIR will run one truck, the #24 and Travis Kvapil.
UPDATE 4: hearing that #42 driver, Mike Skinner is no longer with Bang Racing effective immediately and will no longer drive for Bang Racing. Bill Davis Racing together with Toyota will field an entry for Skinner for the remaining nine Truck Series races. BANG RACING will finish the year with the #24 Tundra and Travis Kvapil. Supposedly Toyota and BANG will go their seperate ways after the 2004 season(9-3-2004)
UPDATE 5: also hearing the entire crew from Skinner's #42 team will go along with Bill Davis to Bill Davis Racing.(9-5-2004)
BANG Racing's Owner Speaks: Claire B. Lang XM Satellite NASCAR Radio reached Alex Meshkin owner of Bang Racing....some clips from the telephone on-air conversation on XM:
Meshkin told CBL: " Well, you know, a lot's happened since the Bristol race. A lot of rumors came out through the press, a statement was made by Toyota. You know, we've been in a lot of discussions, and, we're finalizing something where we're going to be racing in Richmond, and we will be racing Toyotas."
Claire: Alex, I know there are certain rumors, for example... like not paying bills, that bills had not been paid. What are you doing currently, are you in negotiations with Toyota? What are you doing about the matter, what can you talk about?
Alex: Well first to address the whole bills statement, no I haven't disappeared, I'm sitting in the race shop right now, as I tend to do just about every day that I'm not traveling, and you know, we're a start up team. Time to time, you might get a little further behind than you'd like, but all within, you know, corporate standards, I would say we pay our bills, quicker than I'd say I've ever paid bills in a business. It just, this industry, looks at things a lot differently than corporate America does.
Claire:.... Will we definitely see more of Alex in this sport?
Alex: We'll be racing in Richmond, I can tell you we will be racing in 2005, we will be in the Busch Series.
Claire: In the Busch Series?
Alex: Yes. [pause] Not to say we won't be in the Craftsman Truck Series, but we will definitely be in the Busch Series.
Claire: Are you still talking to Toyota? - Legal action, is there something legal going on?
Alex: Um, you know, I think we, we've gotten beyond the legal side, and we were in more, business discussions, and had some more productive talks this week, you know, we will be announced something officially next week. As I said, we will be racing in Richmond.
Claire: And you the driver..... Travis Kvapil, or can you say it at this point?
Alex: Well you know, we're going to look to make more of an official announcement this week, but everyone knows Travis, you know, he's going to be a Nextel Cup driver sooner than later, he's got a lot of talent, and the next stepping stone, one of the places he can go is the Busch Series. We wanna be able to be there as his team. He's an amazing talent.
Claire: Do you have a sponsor for that?
Alex: Yes, some of our sponsors are moving up with us, and we're bringing a couple new companies in too.
Claire: Is this frustrating for you to go through all of this, to have people talking here while you're there?
Alex: Of course it's frustrating, you know, we've put a lot of effort this year into fielding two very competitive trucks. We thought we'd have a shot at the championship with both trucks. You know, we're sitting fifth with Travis, and he's definitely within striking distance. And you know to have this kind of controversy in your first year is always a struggle. But we're a close organization, we have a lot of great people here that stood behind the company, and we're going to move forward, and we're going to be stronger than ever. We're generating a lot of interest, a lot of new sponsors with our approach to marketing, and we've done a good job for our existing sponsors. You know, we have a very happy group including Line-X, the primary sponsor of Travis's truck, they've stuck behind us and will continue to do so.
Alex: Well you know, we're really looking forward to the last part of this year. You know, to have Travis in the 24 truck, and having the team, that we think is the best out there, to be to go to Richmond, and we hope we'll have a shot at winning the race. We know we're going to be highly competitive we hope for the rest of the year. And hopefully we can bring Travis a championship and he can be 2003 and 2004 Craftsman Truck Series Champion.
Claire: Can you do that without manufacturer support?
Alex: [pause] I think it would be difficult if he didn't have manufacturers support. But as I said we'll be making a joint press announcement with Toyota next week. And I think we'll be running for the championship.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144)(9-5-2004)