EXCLUSIVE: Schnabel, Team Powell Part Company

| April 14, 2002
Following a difficult outing at the AMA/Progressive Insurance Claremore Mile in Oklahoma, this weekend, AMA Grand National Expert J.R. Schnabel and Team Powell have decided to go their separate ways. The decision of both parties to discontinue their association was made official today.

“It just wasn’t working out,” Schnabel said from his home in Wisconsin. “We just weren’t quite clicking like maybe we could have anymore. It’s really nobody’s fault at all, and we’re all just going to try something else.”

The split means that the 22-year-old Schnabel, who won the Houston Half Mile and finished 10th in the 2001 AMA/Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championships standings, will now continue to campaign the 2002 series aboard his own Harley-Davidson XR750. Schnabel said that he is also looking at options in other racing series as well.

“I’m going to ride as many AMA races as I can on my own Harley, and I plan to run Formula USA events,” Schnabel said. “Obviously, it is very expensive to do that, and I may have to only run a limited schedule. I have some great sponsors, but I don’t have the type of funding to do the whole thing right now. I don’t want to sound like I’m begging for a ride, because I’m not. If you look at the bright side, this could free me up to pursue some other types of racing that I have been wanting to pursue.”

Schnabel said that he will be at the next round of the AMA series in Columbus, Ohio. “And Springfield TT for sure,” Schnabel added, “but I don’t know about the mile.”

Schnabel did want to stress that the decision of both parties to end their association was reached on nothing but friendly terms. There are no hard feelings.

“I was real nervous when I contacted Bill, but he was totally understanding about the situation,” Schnabel said. “I don’t really think that either of us knew that things would go down like this at this time, but we are all definitely still friends, and I can’t say thank you enough to Bill and Carolyn Powell for all that they have done for my career. We had a good season last year – our best ever. It was a step forward. Now, I just think that we both need to regroup a little, and see what we can do from here.”

Team owner Bill Powell, said he and wife Carolyn have thoroughly enjoyed their four-year association with Schnabel.

“We wish J.R. all the best in his future endeavors,” Bill Powell said. “He could be a credit to anyone’s team. As for our team, we’re not sure what our plans are at this point, but we still love the sport very much. We’re going to work on our bikes, and we’re probably going to run a limited schedule, but we are in no hurry. Something else will come along.”

By Scott Rousseau