Avondale, Ariz. The No. 90 car was just about bare Saturday after team owner Junie Donlavey had the Hills Bros. Coffee decals removed from the sides of the Ford Taurus at the request of the sponsor.
Although it was previously announced that Hills Bros. would accompany driver Hut Stricklin to the No. 93 car of Bill Davis Racing in 2002, the immediate withdrawal of the sponsor was apparently precipitated by Donlavey replacing the driver with four races remaining.
"Our performance this year has not been as good as we hoped and expected," Donlavey said. "Obviously, it was not as good as our sponsor, Hills Bros. Coffee, wanted since they notified us that they were leaving at the end of the season.
"It is in our team's best interest to make whatever change we could to improve our performance. I decided to replace the driver, Hut Stricklin, with Rick Mast."
Donlavey said the team received a registered letter Saturday informing it that the company "does not agree with my decision and is terminating their contract with us effective immediately. They asked us to remove all identification from the car and we are complying."
Mast qualified 27th for today's Checker Auto Parts 500 and Donlavey already has begun looking for a new sponsor.
"I look forward to my 53rd year as a NASCAR car owner beginning with the Daytona 500 in February."
Looking around: Robert Pressley knows he won't be back in the No. 77 Ford next year.
He will be replaced by Dave Blaney, who currently drives the No. 93 Ford.
"The Truck Series is not out of the question, the Busch Series is not out of the question and the Cup Series is not out of the question," Pressley said when asked what he's got working for next year.
"Whatever series I go to next year, I want to be competitive and I want to win races."
Pressley, who will start his 200th Winston Cup event today, has yet to win a race. His best finish came earlier this season in Joliet, Ill., where he was second.