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Wells shutting down race team after seven years


Auction for cars, parts and motorhome begins Wednesday.

Unable to compete in the current climate that is Nextel Cup racing, Cal Wells III has apparently decided to liquidate his operation. Sentman Auctions of Indiana, which specializes in racing auctions, will be auctioning off the assets of the No. 32 team beginning Wednesday at the shop in Hickory, N.C.

The machine shop equipment is scheduled to placed up for bid on the first day, to be followed by the fabrication shop items on Thursday and then main race shop and office equipment. Also on the block: a 2001 American Eagle motorcoach and fifth-wheel trailer.

“There’s everything here from nuts to bolts to race cars to trailers,” said Charlie Sentman, a former racer who has been auctioning off racing equipment for over 45 years. "There’s a real nice motorhome.

“If you don’t have a complete race team, you can complete it here, I guarantee you.”

The auction flyer lists eight complete cars -- one superspeedway, four intermediate and three short-track versions -- plus a pair of show cars and a pit practice car. In addition, a dozen transmissions will be auctioned off.

“He’s got a tremendous amount of property here for a one-car race team,” Sentman said. “It’s all absolutely in really good shape. It’s been very well taken care of and there’s a lot of it. There’s a lot of shop stuff and lot of parts. Anybody who needs parts, it just goes on and on.”

Sentman said he’s had interest from all over the country in acquiring portions of the PPI operation, which he estimates at somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million in value.

“We’ve already have people here from as far away as California,” Sentman said. "New York, Michigan, Nevada, Colorado. A guy just left here from New Orleans.

“It’s hard to predict in an auction because people set the standard and set the price. This is an absolute sale, so if you’re the last bidder, you have to pay for it and take it home.”

Scott Pruett drove the No. 32 to a 19th-place finish in the 2000 Daytona 500, the debut race for the team. Ricky Craven took over driving duties the following year and posted both of the team’s victories -- at Martinsville in 2001 and a stirring doorhandle-to-doorhandle battle with Kurt Busch at Darlington in 2003.

Craven was replaced by Bobby Hamilton Jr. near the end of the 2005 season, with Kvapil taking over in 2006. The team’s last top 10 came at Infineon, when road-course expert Ron Fellows finished eighth.

Wells, a businessman who formerly owned off-road and Indy-car teams, shuttered his shop following the 2006 season when sponsor Tide decided not to renew its contract with the team. Driver Travis Kvapil returned to the Craftsman Truck Series and many of the crew wound up with Michael Waltrip Racing.

Wells is currently listed as the owner of the No. 00 Toyota, driven by David Reutimann.


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