Labonte left the team at the end of the season, joining Joe Gibbs Racing. Not long after Labonte's departure, MBNA signed a three-year deal with BDR for the No. 22 Winston Cup entry. Davis recruited several talented drivers, including Busch series star Randy Lajoie, but a lack of chemistry left Davis to find yet another driver.
With ten races remaining in the '95 season, Davis secured Virginia native Ward Burton to drive the MBNA-sponsored No. 22 car, and seven races later Burton gave Bill and Gail their first Winston Cup victory in the AC Delco 400 at North Carolina Motor Speedway.
Davis had built a team with tremendous potential over the years, but something was missing. A talented, young, first-time crew chief named Tom Baldwin joined BDR with seven races remaining in the '98 season. Once on board, Baldwin led Ward Burton and the No. 22 team to their best finish in the Winston Cup series point standings-16th.
Building on the improved finishes and consistency, Ward visited victory lane in 2000 with a dominating victory in the Mall.com 400 at Darlington Raceway, giving Caterpillar their first Winston Cup victory since joining the team in 1999.
The team's domination continued at Darlington Raceway, handing Dodge its second "new age" win in the '01 Mountain Dew Southern 500.
Leading into the '02 Winston Cup season, many questions faced the BDR team-off-season rule changes, such as NASCAR's "one-engine" rule, loomed over their heads.
We all know the hard work put in during a race weekend, but what did it take back at the shop to get the BDR/Caterpillar-sponsored team into victory lane in the series' biggest race?
Let's peek inside the shop doors.
On The InsideWhen you first turn the corner onto Old Thomasville Road in southwestern High Point, North Carolina, it seems like any other light industrial area you might find anywhere in the U.S.
But as soon as you pull into the parking lot and walk inside, you're greeted by the winning trophy from the '02 Daytona 500 and know you're somewhere special.
Welcome inside BDR: Be careful not to step on Short Track, Bill and Gail's elderly dog-that's if he's not asleep on the pillow next to Gail's desk or "on guard" while his "mother" works out in the gym.
In today's seemingly impersonal racing world, this organization is just the opposite-a highly trained group of warm, down-to-earth people working their hearts out in the sport they love. Don't get me wrong-they're paid and paid well for all their hard work, but most enthusiasts would do the same job for nothing.
You can experience much of this insider's tour yourself by just stopping by the shop. Unlike most professional race teams, the BDR shops are open to the general public.
"We've never lost sight of what built this sport-the fans," says Davis. "Without them and their support, we wouldn't have these great jobs we love. Without the fans all this wouldn't exist.
"Our shop has always been open to the fans. We could have anywhere from a few each day to a couple of hundred if it's near one of the Charlotte races. For the most part they're quiet and leave the guys to do their work. We try and give them a once in a lifetime experience."
When you walk through the glass doors that lead into the assembly room, on the left you'll see the red/gold No. 23 Hills Brothers Coffee Intrepid R/Ts being prepared for veteran Winston Cup driver Hut Stricklin. To your right are Ward Burton's familiar yellow/black No. 22 Caterpillar-sponsored Dodge Intrepids.
The assembly room is where the race engines are installed, the cars receive their initial suspension setups, and rear gears and final quality checks are made before loading the cars onto their haulers for the next race.