Morgan McClure Motorsports has been saved from possible extinction after coming to a deal with Lucas Oil, who will sponsor the famous #4 Chevrolet for the entire 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup campaign.

After floundering around without a full-time sponsor for the majority of 2004, team owner Larry McClure had conceded that he might have been forced to close the doors of the triple Daytona 500 winning outfit had a new sponsor not been found.

But now, the team's 23rd season on NASCAR's premier circuit is assured thanks to the deal with Lucas Oil products, who sponsored the #4 team in a selection of 2004 races after dipping it's toe in the water early last year with the #98 Mach 1 Motorsports team.

"As a sponsor of the Morgan McClure race car for a limited number of races in 2004, we were very pleased with the relationship and calibre of the entire Morgan McClure team," said Forrest Lucas, president and CEO of Lucas Oil. "We are increasing our level of commitment in 2005 to round out our entire motor sports program and look forward to increasing success with the team to fully leverage our sales initiatives".

Morgan-McClure Motorsports was formed in 1983, when Larry McClure, Ed McClure, Jerry McClure, Teddy McClure and Tim Morgan bought a car from G.C. Spencer. Larry McClure and Tim Morgan had been long-time business partners, operating a successful automobile dealership, which they continue today.

One of the team's first drivers was a then 24-year-old Mark Martin.

The team first broke in to the win column in 1990 with driver Ernie Irvan, marking the beginning of an eight-year run during which the team won 14 races, including eight Superspeedway wins, between 1990-'98. Among those wins were three at the Daytona 500, with Irvan in 1991 and consecutive titles in '94 and '95 by Sterling Marlin.

The '95 season by Marlin also gave the organisation its best finish in the championship when he finished third.

Since 1983, 21 different drivers have piloted the team's #4 cars while veteran Mike Wallace, who finished 2004 with the team, seems likely to take the drive, at least for the Daytona 500.

Although the team is out of the top 35 in Owners Standings heading into the new season, and thereby not guaranteed a place in the starting line-up for the first four races of the season, there is at last a new glimmer of hope for one of NASCAR's fallen giants.