Ex-Busch Series campaigner Joe Bessey will join the likes of Bill Elliott and Brett Bodine as Winston Cup owner/drivers this Sunday at Loudon when he begins a nine race stint behind the wheel of the #60 Power Team Chevrolet after firing regular driver Geoffrey Bodine on Monday.

The decision to release Bodine came after the Winston Cup veteran finished a disappointing 41st last Saturday at Richmond. The result was the latest in a long line of early exits for Bodine who missed the first ten races of the year recovering injuries suffered in a horrific Craftsman Truck Series crash at Daytona.

Lucky to still be alive after the monumental shunt, in which his vehicle literally disintegrated as it tore through the safety barrier at the Florida circuit, many people felt that the 51 year old driver had come back too soon and despite qualifying fourth on his return at Richmond in May he had to call on brother Todd for assistance in the race.

Since his return, Geoffrey, as he now prefers to be known, has yet to post a top ten finish and has failed to qualify on four occasions. He was scheduled to finish the season with Bessey but was known to be looking for another drive in 2001.

The driver, currently sitting 44th in the Winston Cup points standings, was understandably shocked to be told of his release and was desperately trying to put a late deal together to race this weekend at Loudon.

Bessey is one of the last true privateer owners left in the Winston Cup and his teams fortunes have waned in recent years, however he could find himself driving to secure the outfit's future as Power Team are unlikely to continue beyond the current season.

As for Bodine's future, it is unlikely that he will find a ride this year unless someone gets injured and as he approaches the twilight of his career, many team owners are looking for younger talent that they can build around. However the tough mental attitude that the eldest of the three racing Bodine brothers showed in recovering from his accident have proved that there are not many drivers currently in the Winston Cup that can boast as much courage and determination when in the face of adversity. In other words, he should not be counted out yet.