|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
August 2, 1999
|Contact: Noel Lawler Motorsports|
Manchester Village, VT -- Noel Lawler and Charlie Bradley, natives of Ireland living in the U.S., maintained their lead in the U.S. Michelin/SCCA ProRally Championship with a third place overall finish at the Maine Forest Rally in their Hyundai Tiburon.
The event was won by 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist, with co-driver Lance Smith, in the late Carl Merrill's Ford Escort Cosworth. Reigning Canadian champions Frank and Dan Sprongl took second overall in their Audi Dealer/Team Castrol Audi Quattro S2.
Dust was a serious limiting factor in the rally. According to Lawler, the visibility was so bad that they had to come to a stop many times. They lost 40 seconds on one stage alone to the Sprongls who were ahead of them on the road.
Their Tiburon was also overheating during the second half of the rally. On Stage 10 they took a right-hander, the back end came around and Lawler swung the car the opposite direction to avoid a bridge in their path. The car stalled and took a while to fire up due to the overheating problem, causing them to lose a full minute in time. The problem was eventually diagnosed as a faulty fan switch relay.
The team delivered the strong finish for their newest sponsor -- Snap-on Tools Company which sponsors an elite group of events and drivers in just about every form of racing. The company is the endorsement sponsor of Richard Childress Racing and drivers Dale Earnhardt and Jay Sauter. It is an associate sponsor of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., drivers Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Steve Park, Bill Elliott Racing, NHRA stars such as Angelle Seeling/Star Racing, Whit Bazemore/Chuck Etchells Racing, Richie Stevens and Steve Johnson, and the Team ASE/Ultra Motorsports NASCAR Race Truck.
Snap-on Tools is also the title sponsor of the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) Snap-on Drag Racing Series; major sponsor of Doug Herbert's Snap-on Tools Top Fuel Dragster; official tool supplier to the Miss Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane; and major associate sponsor/official tool of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Snap-on is a product supplier to most CART teams, and is the Official Tool of the Championship Association of Mechanics (CAM), representing nearly 800 mechanics in CART, Indy Lights, the IRL and Formula Atlantic.
They join five other major corporate sponsors for Noel Lawler Motorsports for the 1999 Pro Rally season, including Cargotec, a heavy equipment manufacturer; Pirelli Tire North America; Hyundai Motor America; Hansen's Beverage, makers of Energy Drink; and Hella International.
Last season the team finished second overall in the U.S. championship, helping to secure the Manufacturer's Cup for Hyundai in an Elantra. They also competed in Ireland and Jamaica. The pair, who have competed together over the past nine years in the U.S. and internationally, recently earned their FIA seeding. Lawler is a native of County Mayo, Ireland now residing in Manchester, VT and Bradley is a native of County Donegal, Ireland now residing in Ardmore, PA.