Sunday, January 31, 2010

J.D McDuffie

Now-days when you think of “Independent driver” you think of Robby Gordon, or Michael Waltrip, but those drivers don’t even compare to somebody such as J.D McDuffie who went his whole career in his own car; J.D didn’t have a good career in a high-dollar team and then leave to go on to make his own team just for the fun of it. J.D was a true owner-driver and paved a way for the ones that are racing now.

John Delphus McDuffie was born on December 5th of 1938 in Sanford, N.C.

At the young age of only ten years old J.D went to see his first ever race. It was practically the opposite of one that would go on today; it was in Winston-Salem N.C at what is now the Bowman Gray Stadium. McDuffie went with his Uncle Reuben and his brother Glenn. They saw the legends of Curtis Turner, Glenn Wood, and Billy Myers fly around the track. Sadly J.D had to leave early due to sickness but that ignited his spark for racing.

J.D won all over the Carolina’s before going on to win the 1962 championship at a small dirt track near Rockingham, N.C.

McDuffie made his NASCAR Winston (Sprint) Cup debut in 1963 at the Rambi Speedway near Myrtle Beach S.C driving Curtis Turner’s old 1961 Ford, he started 14th and finished 12th out of 18 drivers with Ned Jarrett winning that race; he raced 11 more races that year.

Even though J.D was a master of dirt tracks his racing skill never really clicked with asphalt. His best finish in his NASCAR career was a third place at the Albany-Sarasota Speedway in upstate New York in 1971.

In 1978 J.D won the pole for the Delaware 500 at the then Dover Downs International Speedway which then let him be in the inaugural Busch Clash at Daytona the next February. That was one of his many tiny successes’s that went on throughout his career.

The 1988 Daytona 500 qualifying race was a major down-point of J.D’s career. That morning someone had stolen his fireproof racing gloves, but of course with J.D being the man he was he raced anyway. Mid-way through the 125-mile race his car made contact with another and he flew into the wall, that impact ruptured the oil cooler. That ignited an eruption of flames out of his car which melted his steering wheel. Thankfully McDuffie was able to get out of the car, but with second and third degree burns especially to his hands. Someone somewhere will never forget that day even as it fades through everyone else’s minds.

The day before the Winston (Sprint) Cup race, J.D won a celebrity race in Owego, New York at the Shangri-La Speedway which is located near Watkins Glen. Going off of the momentum of his win J.D went into the 1991 Bud at the Glen at Watkins Glen International Raceway ready to go in his #70 L.C. Whitford Company Pontiac. Early in the race McDuffie slammed into the turn 5 wall due to a broken ball joint making the right front tire fly off and making J.D lose control; unable to slow the car at all, and with an absence of a gravel trap, McDuffie skid across the grass and slammed with tremendous velocity into the tire barrier outside the high speed right-hander. The force of the impact flipped the car and kept it airborne as Jimmy Means crashed underneath him. Means was able to slow his car substantially before crashing and avoid injury, but the sheer violence of J.D.'s impact with the tires is what rolled the car in the air. J.D died instantly due to brain injuries; due to that wreck along with a couple other ones, there was a bus stop chicane installed in what is now turn 9.

The L.C. Whitford Company of Wellsville, N.Y., sponsored J.D.’s ride for the Watkins Glen race. It was the company’s first and only venture into Winston (Sprint) Cup racing, a one-time deal made at the request of a Whitford employee who had previously worked on McDuffie’s pit crew. Company president Brad Whitford never had the chance to meet McDuffie and wasn’t even at the race. But, in a chilling quirk of fate, he turned on the television just in time to see a replay that he said, “Made me sick to my stomach.”

McDuffie's widow, Ima Jean, unsuccessfully sued Watkins Glen for $4.25 million, claiming the barrier McDuffie hit was unsafe. The judge in the case ruled that McDuffie was familiar enough with the track to be aware of the dangers and that mechanical failure caused the accident. She is still very hurt and unhappy.
Nobody drove the #70 car at Watkins Glen in the NASCAR’s top Series again until August of 2007 when Johnny Sauter drove in his Haas Automation Chevy in the Centurion Boats at the Glen.

J.D had many friends in NASCAR such as Benny Parsons, and Dale Earnhardt. There were also many people that respected McDuffie throughout the garage for his determination to do well in NASCAR with his own team. J.D was really the icon for owner-driver racing which has all but left the sport today. Many fans would reach out and help McDuffie any time he was in need. He wouldn’t even have to ask they would have a hat passed around just he could get a new motor to make the race.

J.D. McDuffie is still the record holder for most starts in NASCAR's top touring series without recording a win. His 653 starts rank him 17th in all-time starts. After his death Racing Champions made die cast cars of McDuffie’s #70 as a tribute to his life; they can still be found in novelty stores today.

One thing most people loved about J.D is how he fielded his own cars most of his career. Most of the time you could catch J.D out smoking a cigar in the pits before the race in the infield while working on his car, and then jump into his car wearing an open-face helmet with that old cigar still in his mouth.

Out of 27 years of racing he only raced 7 full seasons. He has 653 starts under his belt, with 12 top fives, 106 top tens, 1 pole, and $1,419,715 in total winnings. He also raced 11 races in the Busch (Nationwide) Series with one top ten in the record books.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Kyle Petty

Kyle Eugene Petty was born on June 2, 1960 in Randleman, North Carolina. He is the grandson of legendary racer Lee Petty, son of four-time championship racer Richard Petty, and the father of the late Adam Petty.

Petty began racing at a young age and made his major-league stock car debut at the age of 18 in 1978.

His first major win was at the 1979 Daytona ARCA 200 in a Dodge Magnum, which at the time he was the youngest driver to win a major-league stock car race. Kyle made a few attempts to qualify for Winston (Sprint) Cup races but failed until later in the season when he made his debut at Talladega, driving the #42 STP Dodge Magnum for his legendary family's team; he finished ninth. He ran a total of five races that year.

In 1980, he made a total of fifteen starts in the #42 STP Petty Enterprises Dodge with six top-tens.

He began the 1981 season driving his father's #43 in one race, before running a full schedule in his regular #42, finishing in the top-ten ten times and finishing twelfth in points.

He began the 1982 season with two top-ten finishes, but later began splitting time between his #42 and the #1 UNO/STP car owned by Hoss Ellington.

In 1983, he picked up funding from 7-Eleven and switched his number to #7 accordingly with Hoss Ellington as his car owner. He had only two top-ten finishes but improved to thirteenth in the standings. He also appeared in the 1983 Burt Reynolds movie Stroker Ace along with fellow driver Tim Richmond that same year.

In 1984 he had six top-tens the following year, but fell three spots in points from the following year to 16th.

Petty took his number and sponsorship to Wood Brothers Racing in 1985, where he had a then career-high seven top-fives and his first top-ten points finish.

In 1986 Kyle won his very first career NASCAR race at Richmond International Raceway and finished tenth in the final standings. That win at Richmond made him the first third-generation driver to win a NASCAR sanctioned race, with his grandfather Lee winning 55 races in his career, and his father Richard winning a record 200.

In 1987, he switched to the #21 and received new sponsorship from CITGO in his Wood Brothers car, as well as picking up his second career win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

In 1988, he fell to thirteenth in points, causing him to be released from his Wood Brothers contract.

After going to SABCO racing’s #42, Peak Antifreeze became the team's full-time sponsor in 1990. He won the spring race at North Carolina (Rockingham) Speedway and finished 11h in points.

Mello Yello replaced Peak as the sponsor of the #42 in 1991; mid-season Petty was running eleventh in the points when he suffered a broken leg in a crash at Talladega, causing him to miss the next eleven races. His abbreviated schedule combined with only one top-ten in the second half of the season caused him to finish the season 30th in points.

In 1992 Kyle moved to SABCO racing; he won 2 races and finished a career-best fifth in the points.

In 1993 he finished 5th yet again in the points, while winning again at Pocono Raceway in his SABCO racing car.

He dropped ten spots in points in 1994 finishing a still respectable 15th after he failed to finish higher than fourth in any race; Petty lost the Mello Yello sponsorship at the end of the season.

Coors Light became his new sponsor for his #42 car beginning in 1995; he won his 6th race at Dover that year. He fell further down to 30th in points after only finishing in the top-ten five times and failing to qualify for the fall race at Bristol Motor Speedway. He also created his annual charity motorcycle ride across the country called the “Kyle Petty Charity Ride across America” which has rose over $14 million dollars to date.

He improved to a 27th place points finish in 1996 despite missing two races due to injury and failing to qualify for the season-ending race at Atlanta.

For the 1997 season, Petty formed his own team, PE2 Motorsports, and fielded the #44 Hot Wheels Pontiac Grand Prix for himself. He had two top-five finishes and finished 15th in points, which was the highest points finish of all the new teams to run during the 1997 season. Kyle made his only ever start in the Craftsman (Camping World) truck series in 1997 driving the #42 Hot Wheels Chevrolet to a 11th place finish at California Speedway.

He only had two top-tens in 1998, and fell back to 30th in points, causing him to return to Petty Enterprises and run his team from their shop; he became Petty Enterprises' new CEO due to that business being owned by his father and founded by his grandfather Lee.

Kyle began the 1999 season with two early DNQ (Did not qualify) s; despite finishing in the top ten 9 times he finished 26th in the points.

Kyle’s year didn’t start off very good in 2000 with his grandfather Lee dying; that was only the beginning. Just 5 weeks later on May 12th, Kyle’s son Adam was practicing for a Busch (Nationwide) Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway when he slammed into the wall and died on the way to the hospital. Kyle skipped the next two races and returned to drive the #44 for the rest of the summer, before moving to the Busch (Nationwide) Series full-time to finish out the season in Adam's #45 Sprint Chevrolet. He had four top-tens in the #45 over a span of fourteen races, and attempted two Cup races. In October Kyle partnered with Paul Newman and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp to build the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, North Carolina, as a memorial to Adam, who always dreamed of helping children with needs.

In 2001, Petty brought the #45 to Cup full-time and switched to Dodge. He failed to qualify for twelve races that season and failed to finish higher than sixteenth, causing him to finish 43rd in points.

He qualified for every race in 2002 and had one top-ten which came at Talladega, raising him to 22nd in the points.

At the start of the 2003 season Kyle had a new sponsor from Brawny and Georgia Pacific due to Sprint leaving at the end of the previous season. He missed three races in 2003 and fell back to 37th in the standings.

He moved up four spots in the points in 2004 to 33rd and had a best finish of 12th for the year. This year the Victory Junction Gang Camp opened and is currently an official charity of NASCAR.

In 2005, he competed in every race for the first time in three years with two top-tens; he finished 27th in the points standings.

Georgia pacific left the #45 car at the end of 2005 which left Kyle to get new sponsorship from Wells Fargo, Schwan’s, and Marathon Oil. He had two top tens with his new sponsors and finished 32nd in points.

In 2007 he went to the Coca-Cola 600 in his Coke Zero #45 Dodge Charger starting 36th; that didn’t stop him, he went on to finish 3rd with a fuel gamble; that was the first time he had a top five since 1997. Later on in the season he took 5 races off to work as a color commentator for TNT's Nextel (Sprint) Cup coverage, replacing the late Benny Parsons.

Early in the 2008 season, Petty Enterprises was purchased by Boston Ventures, causing Petty to step aside as the team's CEO. When the #45 car fell out of the top-35 in owner's points, he took a large portion of the season off, including races that did not conflict with his broadcasting duties. After fourteen races, his best finish was a 24th at Richmond. He finished 39th in his final 2008 start in the fall race at Phoenix International Raceway after getting swept up into a multi-car crash. Kyle and his wife Pattie announced there would be a new Victory Junction Gang camp in the Kansas City area due to the overwhelming results of the one in Level Cross.

Petty didn’t race during the 2009 season; Kyle was supposed to race in the Grand-am series but later pulled out. He is un-officially retired from NASCAR which means the legacy of the Petty’s are over for now.

Every time Petty is on television he wears a black hat with a #45 crossed out on it; when asked what that was for he said it was in memorial of his late son Adam. His T.V jobs include being on Trackside and NASCAR Smarts; he also hosts the weekly talk show “Fast Talk” on the Performance Racing Network (PRN). He is an inductee in both the Philanthropy Hall of Fame and the Humanitarian Hall of Fame.

When he is not working he is at home with his wife Pattie and his two children Austin and Montgomery Lee.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Martin Truex Jr.

Martin Lee Truex, Jr. was born on June 29th of 1980 in Mayetta, Stafford Township, New Jersey. His father, Martin Sr., was a former race winner in the NASCAR Busch Grand National Division North (Camping World East) Series.

Martin began racing in the NASCAR Busch North (Camping World East) Series in 2000; from 2000 to 2004 with a family owned #56 SeaWatch Chevy Truex won 5 races, and 13 poles.

Truex made his first NASCAR Busch (Nationwide) Series start in 2001 at the Dover International Speedway in his father's #56 XST Paintable Silicon Chevy. He started 19th but finished 38th after an early wreck.

In 2002, Truex drove one Busch (Nationwide) race for Phoenix Racing at New Hampshire International Speedway, starting thirteenth and finishing twenty-ninth. He ran three races the rest of that season for his father, with a best finish of 17th at Dover.

In 2003, he began the season with his father's team, before he was hired by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to drive his #81 Chance 2 Motorsports Chevy. He made his debut with Chance 2 at Richmond International Raceway, where he qualified sixth and led eleven laps before transmission failure forced him to a 31st place finish. He split time between Chance 2 and his father's team for the 10 races he ran that season, except at Dover, where he drove for Stanton Barrett.

Truex raced his first full season in NASCAR’s second-tier series for Chance 2 in 2004. He earned his very first victory at the Bristol Motor Speedway, and he would later add 3 more victories over the next 7 races. This would include a victory at Talladega Superspeedway which broke Dale Jr’s streak of winning restrictor plate races in the Busch (Nationwide) Series, and a victory at the final NASCAR event held at Nazareth Speedway. At the end of the season one race until the last Truex was already clinched for the championship. Total that year he raced 34 times and won 6 races with 26 top 10’s. Martin became only the second driver to Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win a championship in there rookie year. Truex made his NASCAR Winston (Sprint) Cup debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway In Dale Earnhardt Inc’s #1; he started 33rd and finished 37th.

Truex stayed in the Busch (Nationwide) Series to defend his championship in 2005, winning the title for the second season in a row over challenger Clint Bowyer. He won the first NASCAR Busch (Nationwide) Series point’s race held outside the United States, in Mexico, as well as defending his wins at Talladega and Dover. He took his first win at Daytona International Speedway on July 1, 2005. Truex Jr also finished second in the IROC standings.

In 2006, Truex moved to the #1 Bass Pro Shops, DEI Chevrolet full-time in the NEXTEL (Sprint) Cup Series. He had two top-five finishes and finished nineteenth in points as a rookie. He finished 3rd in the rookie of the year battle to two-time winner Denny Hamlin and second placer Clint Bowyer.

Truex got his first win of 2007 at the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Open, securing a spot in the 2007 Nextel All-Star Challenge, where he finished 10th. A few weeks later, he won the Autism Speaks 400 scoring his first NEXTEL (Sprint) Cup Series win with an interval of seven seconds between himself and pole sitter Ryan Newman; he led over half of the race with 219 of 400 laps. Truex make it to the chase and finished 11th in the points with one win and 14 top tens.

In 2008 Martin was thought of as the head driver due to Dale Jr moving to Hendrick Motorsports. With that responsibility he went winless in 2008, but had eleven top-tens and finished 15th in points.

At the beginning of the 2009 season, his team, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. merged with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and was renamed Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Truex began the year by positively by winning the pole for the Daytona 500. 2009 would be his final season with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.

At the conclusion of the 2009 season, Truex left Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and will drive the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing, receiving owner points from the #55 car formerly driven by the semi-retired Waltrip.,_Jr.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kevin Lepage

Kevin Lepage was born on June 26th of 1962 in Shelburne, Vermont.

Between 1982 and 1986, Lepage raced on the short tracks of the Northeast, primarily Catamount Speedway in Vermont and Thunder Road in Barre, Vermont.

Lepage made his Busch (Nationwide) Series debut in 1986 at Oxford Plains Speedway, starting 41st and finishing 15th in the #09 Buick.

In 1987, Lepage formed his own race team and competed on the American-Canadian Tour (A.C.T.) through the 1993 season with mediocre success.

He became a Busch (Nationwide) Series regular in 1994, in his self-owned #71 Vermont Teddy Bear Company car. He had a best finish of 9th at New Hampshire International Speedway, and he finished the year off 24th in points.

The 1995 season resulted in five top 10's and finishing 18th in points. At the end of the season, he lost his sponsorship from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.

He ran 1996 unsponsored with his own team until April when he then joined David Ridling and his #88 Ridling Motorsports team with sponsorship from Ridling's own Farmer's Choice Fertilizer. He won his first career race at the season finale Jiffy Lube Miami 300 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. He finished eighth in points with 1 win, 3 Top 5's and 10 Top 10's.

He ran most of the 1997 season driving for Ridling before leaving due to the team losing his sponsor. Lepage would finish out the year running for Phoenix Motorsports and ST Motorsports. He finished 12th in points, posting 3 Top 5's and 6 Top 10's. Lepage had his Winston (Sprint) Cup debut by qualifying for the Fall Charlotte race in the #91 LJ Racing car in an impressive 12th; he also ran two more races that year.

Lepage made the move to the Winston (Sprint) Cup Series full-time in 1998, driving for LJ Racing. Despite the team's lack of sponsorship, Lepage posted two fourteenth-place finishes, catching the eye of the multi-million dollar team owner Jack Roush. Lepage announced his decision to depart LJ Racing in late June 1998 and sat out 6 races to work out the details of the new contract with Roush. He would drive the #16 Primestar Ford Taurus in place of Ted Musgrave, who was released after Lepage's hiring. He earned a pair of top-10 finishes in 13 races for Roush, his best finish being a sixth place at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Despite missing several races, he nearly won the Rookie of the Year battle. Lepage also drove in the Busch (Nationwide) series for Doug Taylors’ #40 team with sponsorship from Channellock. Lepage finished 14th in points despite only starting 24 races out of 31 in the Busch (Nationwide) Series. Lepage won his second career Busch (Nationwide) race at the August Food City 250 at Bristol and won his first career pole at the June MBNA Platinum 200 at Dover. He finished the year with 1 win, 6 Top 5’s, and 10 Top 10's.

Lepage returned in 1999 with sponsorship from Primestar. In April his sponsorship from Primestar was replaced with TV Guide. He had two top-tens and won the pole at the season-ending NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, earning him a 25th-place point’s finish. Lepage also ran in the Busch (Nationwide) Series driving the #99 J&J Racing/Brewco Motorsports car with sponsorship from Red Man. He finished 35th in points with 14 starts, 2 Top 5's and 6 Top 10's.

He began 2000 unsponsored, before picking up backing from He failed to qualify twice and finished 28th in points 5 with 1 Top and 3 top 10's. At the end of the year, Familyclick ended its backing and Roush closed the #16 team. That season Lepage restarted his #71 Busch (Nationwide) team as Matrix Motorsports with sponsorship from Red Man, Southern Pride Chewing Tobacco, and State Fair Corn Dogs. He finished 42nd in points with 10 starts, 1 Top 5 and 2 Top 10's.

In 2001, Lepage returned to the Busch (Nationwide) Series with his own team running full-time. Kevin’s #71 Matrix Motorsports State Fair Corn Dogs Ford raced 15 races that year with one top five, four top tens, and a pole. He also returned to the Cup series, running the #4 Kodak Chevrolet for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, replacing Robby Gordon after five races. Late in the season, he switched to the #7 Ultra Motorsports Ford, posting a tenth-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway.

Early in 2002, Lepage's team was shut down due to a lack of sponsorship, even though he had an 8th at Daytona and a 4th at Las Vegas. He joined Brewco Motorsports, driving their #37 Timber Wolf Chevy. In 24 starts that year, he had six top-tens and two poles, finishing 25th in points. He also ran three Cup races, two in the #38 Quest Motor Racing Ford, and another for BAM Racing at Talladega in a car sponsored by country music star Billy Ray Cyrus.

In 2003, Lepage ran his own team at the Cup level for one race, finishing 32nd at the Coca-Cola 600. He ran two races that year for CLR Racing, where he had a fourth place start at Michigan International Raceway, before returning to Morgan-McClure to finish the year, his best finish a fourteenth at Atlanta.

He teamed with Morgan-McClure again in 2004, but after only six races, Lepage departed due to a lack of sponsorship. He then signed with Competitive Edge Motorsports, posting a best finish of 41st twice, before leaving the team. He ended the season with R&J Racing, where he had a best finish of 27th at Phoenix International Raceway. He also ran eleven races in the Busch (Nationwide) Series for MacDonald Motorsports, where he had two top-fifteen finishes.

In 2005, Lepage returned to R&J, and started the season off with a third-place finish in the Gatorade Duels and a ninth-place finish at the Daytona 500. Unfortunately, the closest Lepage came to another top 10 was a 12th place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the May Coca-Cola 600, and was released from the ride after the Brickyard 400. He signed with Peak Fitness Racing for the portion of the year, and had a sixth-place qualifying effort at Kansas. He finished the season 39th in points. He also ran six races with MacDonald in the Busch (Nationwide) Series as well, posting a ninth-place finish at Lowe's. That year, Lepage made his debut in the Craftsman (Camping World) Truck Series for Green Light Racing at Dover finishing 19th.

Lepage returned to Peak for 2006, but due to a lack of sponsorship money, the team was sold to Front Row Motorsports in April. Lepage ran a couple of races for FRM before leaving for BAM Racing. He ran 12 races for BAM with a best finish of 21st at Bristol Motor Speedway before leaving them. Lepage then rejoined Front Row Motorsports making two of the final eight races. He ended up 40th in points even with missing 14 races. In the Busch (Nationwide) Series he had a best finish of 19th in the seven races he ran. Lepage ran two races for Green Light Racing in the Craftsman (Camping World) Truck Series with a best finish of 21st at Michigan. At the end of the year, Lepage sold the remnants of Matrix Motorsports to start a lawn care business called Matrix Lawn and Landscaping.

In 2007, Lepage started his NEXTEL (Sprint) Cup year driving the #34 Front Row Motorsports car in the races where the team could afford to run two cars. Starting in late April, Front Row would mainly run the #37 car with Lepage making most of the attempts. In 27 attempts, Lepage was only able to make two races; Darlington and New Hampshire. He also drove a part-time schedule for a few teams in the Busch (Nationwide) Series. Lepage also had two starts for Team Racing in the Craftsman (Camping World) Truck Series with a best finish of 35th at Texas.

Lepage returned to driving full time in the Nationwide Series in 2008, driving for Specialty Racing. Lepage was released by Specialty after the July Daytona race and was replaced by Brandon Whitt. Later in the season, he was hired to drive the #73 for Derrike Cope, and finished the season 28th in driver's points, despite missing 8 races. Lepage’s only race in the Truck Series was at the final race of the year at Homestead-Miami speedway for Green Light Racing in which he finished 35th.

He began the 2009 season without a fulltime ride, but after running Derrike Cope's #73 at Bristol, Lepage joined Jimmy Means' team at Texas in April until leaving after the June race at New Hampshire. He then joined Derrike Cope's team for the rest of the season primarily driving the #78, but also occasionally driving the #73. Lepage also ran one race for Green Light Racing at Dover in the Camping World Truck Series finishing 33rd.

One of Lepage’s many fun facts is that he is the only NASCAR driver from Vermont to
qualify for the Daytona 500.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ned Jarrett

Ned Jarrett was born on October 12th of 1932 in Newton, North Carolina as one of 4 children. He is the father of NASCAR Winston (Sprint) Cup champion Dale Jarrett.

Jarrett was best known for his calm demeanor, and he became known as the "Gentleman Ned Jarrett". Yet he was the exact opposite when he got behind the wheel of a car.

Jarrett was introduced to cars early in his as his father let him drive the family car to church on Sunday mornings when he was nine years old. Ned started working for his father in his sawmill by the time he was 17, but racing was what he really wanted to do with his life.

Ned drove in his first race in 1952 at the historic Hickory Motor Speedway; that was also HMS first race. He drove a Sportsman Ford that he co-owned with his brother-in-law, and finished tenth. This did not go over well with his father. His father told him he could work on cars but not drive them. Once, his brother-in-law was under the weather for a race and asked Ned to fill in for him. Ned used his brother-in-law's name and came in second in that race. That worked out so smoothly that Ned drove in a few more races under an assumed name, but was finally caught by his father after winning a race. His father told him if he was going to drive to at least use his own name.

Jarrett raced in his first NASCAR Grand National race at the 1953 Southern 500 at Darlington Speedway. He was out after 10 laps after the engine leaked oil.

In 1955 Ned won the track championship at the track his son would make his first start at; Hickory Motor Speedway.

Jarrett came in second in the Sportsman (Nationwide) series points in 1956, and in 1957 and 1958 he won the championship.

In 1959, he was hoping to move up to the Grand National (Sprint Cup) series. He purchased a Junior Johnson Ford for $2,000. He didn't have enough money to buy the car so he waited for the banks to close on Friday and wrote the check. He entered two races that weekend, one at Rambi Speedway at Myrtle Beach and one at Charlotte NC. The one at Myrtle Beach he won and went to Charlotte the next day. The race at Charlotte Ned had to give up his car on the first caution due to his hands being cut up from the previous race, to Joe Weatherly. After Junior Johnson’s engine dropped he took over and won the race. The prize money still went to Ned but he paid Junior and had enough to cover his check on Monday.

In 1960, Jarrett won five races but lost the championship to Rex White. In the early ‘60’s Ned started broadcasting on a regular show on a Newton, NC station, WNNC; WNNC is also the same place Dr. Jerry Punch started his broadcasting career.

Ned beat Rex this year to win the Grand National (Sprint Cup) championship in 1961. He finished in the top five 22 times and finished in the top ten in 34 races; he won one race in his Bee Gee Holloway owned Chevrolet. That year he sold the first African-American NASCAR driver Wendell Scott his old 1961 Chevrolet Bel Air coupe which led Wendell to his first win.

In 1962 Ford introduced the new “Fastback” which Ned, to make the field for the Daytona 500, had to air-chisel the body of an old “fastback” dirt car with his crew chief. Next, they air-chiseled the new body from a '63 Fastback and fitted it onto the old body and chassis. This hybrid body went on to become the car Ned drove into the "Fastback Ford" sweep (top five positions) at Daytona that year. The Fastback bodies had arrived from Ford in wooden crates.

In 1964, Jarrett joined a team owned by Bondy Long and with the support of Ford; he won 15 times but lost the championship to 7-time champion Richard Petty. Jarrett picked up his first of only two superspeedway wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

In 1965, Jarrett became a super star when he won 13 races and another Grand National (Sprint Cup) championship. He placed among the top five in 42 of the 54 races that he ran.

In 1965 NASCAR saw there wildest race at the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Rookie driver Buren Skeen died after two cars ran into the side of his car in the early laps. Sam McQuagg was leading the race; when Cale Yarborough tried to muscle past McQuagg for the lead Yarborough flew over the guardrail, rolled around six times, and ended up at the end of the parking lot by a light post. Yarborough waved to the crowd as he walked back to the pits. With 44 laps left, Fred Lorenzen and Darel Dieringer were fighting for the lead far ahead of Jarrett. Lorenzen's motor expired, and even before he could get into the pits Dieringer's motor started smoking too. Dieringer continued at a slower pace to finish third. The race was won by Ned Jarrett by 14 laps, which is the largest margin of victory according to miles in NASCAR history to date.

In 1966, Jarrett was in the run for another championship when Ford announced that they were withdrawing from NASCAR. Jarrett decided that it was time to retire at the young age of 34 since he was sponsor less while at the top of his game.

In 1978, Jarrett became a radio broadcaster on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) Radio.

One of Ned’s broadcasting career highlights was at the 1984 Daytona 500 which was Richard Petty’s 200th win; Ned interviewed the United States of America’s president Ronald Regan, live before the race.

Ned Jarrett was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991.

A famous moment in Ned’s television career was when he called his son Dale's victory at the 1993 Daytona 500, openly going against the networks rules of being biased, he tried to coach Dale to beat Dale Earnhardt in what is commonly known as “The Dale and Dale Show”. Embarrassed by his loss of objectivity, he tried to apologize to Earnhardt after the race, but Earnhardt merely smiled and said, "I'm a father, too." Jarrett also has been a television broadcaster on The Nashville Network, CBS, Fox Sports Network, and most recently ESPN.

In 1998 Ned was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers in honor of NASCAR’s 50th anniversary.

In 1999 his son Dale won his first and only championship in the Winston (Sprint) Cup series making him and Ned the second ever father-son combo to win championships only to Lee and Richard Petty.

On May 26, 2007 Ned returned to the booth to call the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 Busch (Nationwide) race alongside with the ESPN crew of Andy Petree, Jerry Punch, and his son, 1999 Cup Champ, Dale Jarrett.

Ned hosted a daily radio program about racing on MRN Radio called "Ned Jarrett's World of Racing" until May 15, 2009, when he announced he would retire from the program. Joe Gibbs became the show's new host the following Monday, May 18.

Ned's other son Glenn Jarrett, was a regular Busch (Nationwide) Series driver and had a few Winston (Sprint) Cup starts in the 1980s but now covers cable television as a race broadcaster. Ned also has a daughter Patti, who before becoming a mom, also worked in racing. Patti is married to Jimmy Makar, who worked with Dale Jarrett for three years at Joe Gibbs Racing, and won the 2000 championship crew chief with Bobby Labonte. Dale's son, Ned’s grandson, Jason Jarrett also had numerous Busch (Nationwide) and a few NEXTEL (Sprint) Cup starts, with several wins in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.

Total in Ned’s very short Grand National (Sprint Cup) career he won 50 races which is 8th on the all-time list, and 2 championships.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Elliott Sadler

Elliott William Barnes Sadler was born on April 30th of 1975 in Emporia, Virginia as the youngest of three sons to Herman and Bell Sadler. Elliott’s older brother Hermie was a race car driver and now is an announcer on the Speed Channel. Bud Elliott and Herman Sadler, his father and uncle were very successful short track racers before Elliott was born in the short-tracks of Virginia.

Sadler began racing go-karts in 1982 at the age of seven.

In 1984 Elliott won the Virginia State Karting Championship.

He was runner-up in 1989 for the World Karting Association national title.

In 1992 Sadler won the North Carolina Gold Cup. Between 1984 and 1992 in Karts Elliott’s accomplishments included over 200 wins.

When he turned 18 in 1993, he moved to the Winston Racing (Dodge Weekly) Series on a full-time basis; he achieved his first victory in that series in only his rookie year.

In 1995 Sadler was crowned the track champion at the South Boston Speedway, where he achieved 13 wins that year, including a 6-race winning streak. After being the champion at the SBS he made his Busch (Nationwide) Series debut there in the #46 Dewalt Tools Chevy; he started 15nd and finished 8th. He also made another start at Richmond International Raceway and finished 24th.

He began 1996 driving a part-time schedule for his family-owned team the Sadler Brothers, before switching over to the #29 World Championship of Wrestling Chevy owned by Diamond Ridge Motorsports. He had three top-tens in the Diamond Ridge ride, with his best finish coming at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, where he finished fifth. After making thirteen starts that year, he finished 35th in points.

Sadler and Diamond Ridge began 1997 without a sponsor but after earning two poles at Daytona and Darlington Phillips 66 came on board as a sponsor. Sadler won his first career NASCAR Busch (Nationwide) series race at Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania in only his 13th start. He followed that up with back-to-back wins at Myrtle Beach Speedway and Gateway International Raceway. He won an additional four pole positions and finished a career-high fifth in points. He also attempted the UAW-GM Quality 500 in the Cup Series for Team SABCO, but failed to qualify.

In 1998, Sadler's team switched to the #66 due to the sponsor Phillips 66, and won early in the season at Bristol. After another win at North Carolina Speedway, Sadler announced he would leave Diamond Ridge at the end of the season; that would be Elliott’s last full season in the Busch (Nationwide) series. He made his Winston (Sprint) Cup debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the #92 for Diamond Ridge, starting 31st, but finishing 42nd after an engine failure. He ran another Cup race later at Bristol, finishing 24th.

Sadler moved up to the Winston (Sprint) Cup Series full-time in 1999, driving the #21 CITGO Ford for the Wood Brothers. His best finish that year was a tenth at Texas Motor Speedway; he finished 24th in points and finished runner-up to Tony Stewart for the Rookie of the Year honors. He also returned to the Busch (Nationwide) Series on a part-time basis, filling in for the injured Andy Santerre for Innovative Motorsports; his best finish was a fifth at California Speedway. He also drove a handful of races for Lyndon Amick.

Sadler’s year in the Winston (Sprint) Cup series in 2000 was sort of rocky. He only had one top ten which was at Bristol and he failed to qualify at Talladega Superspeedway. He also had a wild flip at Michigan Speedway after cutting a tire in practice.

In 2001, Motorcraft became Sadler's new sponsor in his Wood Brothers #21. At Bristol in March he won his very first Cup race which just happened to be the Wood Brothers last win to date. He had another top-ten and finished 20th in points.

In 2002 Elliott had seven top-tens and finished 23rd in points.

Sadler left for Robert Yates Racing to drive the #38 M&M's Ford. In his first season of competition with Yates, Sadler won the pole at Darlington Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway, and finished 22nd in points. Ironically Ricky Rudd took Sadler’s old #21 and finished 23rd, one position behind Sadler, in the points.

In 2003, Sadler had a nasty crash at Talladega after near-contact with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and touched the right-front fender of Kurt Busch. Sadler blew into the air, flipped twice, landed on his roof, spun towards the banking, and flipped 5 times and thankfully Sadler was uninjured.

Sadler started 2004 with a top-10 finish in the Daytona 500, and six races later won at Texas Motor Speedway for his 2nd career win. He was only one of four drivers to stay in the top-10 in points all season. He won for the third time in his career at the California Speedway, winning the battle over Kasey Kahne and Mark Martin. He had another flip at Talladega after he spun out and blew over onto his roof. Sadler was uninjured, and he was even able to drive his car back to the garage. He made the Chase, and finished a career high ninth in the championship standings.

Sadler failed to win again in 2005, but won four poles. At the cut-off race at Richmond Elliott was 11th and didn’t get to make the chase. He also drove sixteen races for RYR's Busch (Nationwide) car, the #90 CitiFinancial Ford Taurus and in those he had three top-five finishes.

In 2006, Sadler had a pole at Talladega and was nineteenth in points. He made seven Busch (Nationwide) starts; his best finish was second at Richmond. After a lack of results, Sadler left RYR midway through 2006 for Ray Evernham’s team.

In the 2007 Daytona 500, Sadler along with a couple of other drivers was caught in a cheating scandal. Despite being docked 25 points, he still went on to finish a season best 6th after missing a big race at the end. Sadler then had many ups and downs throughout the season. In 2007, Sadler led 62 laps, posted two top-10 finishes and finished 25th in points. Sadler went longer than any other driver before failing to finish a race in 2007. That year he was featured on the cover of the EA Sports game NASCAR 07.

For the 2008 season, Sadler received new sponsorship from Best Buy for 15 races, Stanley Tools for 13 races, McDonald's for 6 races, and Siemens for 2 races. He struggled in 2008, garnering only 2 top fives, 8 top tens, and 16 top twenties. He had 4 DNFs and 12 finishes of 30th or worse. Sadler led 21 laps in 2008, his fewest since the 2000 season. He ended the year 24th in the Sprint Cup Series standings. On December 27, 2008, it was reported that A.J. Allmendinger would replace Sadler in the #19 Best Buy Dodge for Gillett-Evernham Motorsports in 2009. Elliott threatened a lawsuit for breach of contract; however the lawsuit was dropped after the GEM Petty Enterprises merger and he was promised his ride back.

During Elliott’s first race with the newly merged Richard Petty Motorsports at the Daytona 500 of 2009, Elliott led 24 laps and was leading about five seconds before it started raining, but Matt Kenseth passed him right before the yellow which caused him to finish 5th. Mid-way through the 2009 season Sadler said this about his future. "We are approaching the remainder of 2009 and beginning of 2010 thinking we can improve our program enough to where we can contend for victory lane," "Everyone is very positive on this team. With the personnel and resources, I think all of us expect to do that. That's our goal."

Sadler is heavily involved in the Autism Speaks charity because his niece Halie has Autism. In 2008, Best Buy (his sponsor) sponsored the Best Buy 400 Benefiting Student Clubs of Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. His car had a custom paint scheme specifically for that race. His hood and helmet were signed and auctioned off following the race, with the proceeds going to Autism Speaks.

On February 16th, 2010, Elliott's wife Amanda birthed Wyatt Herman Fritts Sadler at 9:47am in Richmond, VA.

When he isn't racing, Sadler enjoys hunting, golfing, playing video games, hanging out with friends and following a variety of sports. He is a spokesman for NASCAR SpeedParks and appears in national TV commercials for Coca-Cola. He also does periodic appearances on PRN’s weekly race show.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Buddy Baker

Elzie Wylie “Buddy” Baker, Jr. was born on January 25th of 1941 in Florence, South Carolina. Buddy is the son of two time NASCAR Grand National (Sprint cup) champion Buck Baker. Buddy began his NASCAR Grand National (Sprint Cup) career in 1959.

In 1970 Buddy became the very first driver to win a race at the same track as his father when he won the Southern 500 at Darlington 17 years after his father Buck was victorious. On March 24th of that same year he became the first driver to ever exceed 200 mph (320 km/h) on a closed course which just happened to be at Talladega, Alabama. That speed earned him the nickname “Leadfoot”.

In 1975 Buddy won both of the races at NASCAR’s longest track, Talladega, Alabama.

In 1980 Buddy won the season opening Daytona 500 with a blazing fast record average speed of 177.60 mph; that record still stands today. The reason he won that race, some envious drivers say, is because of his Oldsmobile commonly known as the “Gray Ghost”. The “Gray Ghost” was a gray and black painted car that some say would blend into the track and some drivers wouldn’t catch it when they glanced in there mirrors which caused Buddy to be able to surprise them when he passed them. NASCAR made him put Day-Glo on his car because of that reason. He also won at Talladega later on that year for the third time in his career.

Buddy co-owned a team with Danny Schiff from 1985 to 1989 in the NASCAR Winston (Sprint) Cup series.

In 1992 Buddy decided to call it quits as he drove in his last NASCAR sanctioned race.

Buddy raced 34 years with 699 starts but only competed a full season only 3 times. Throughout his career Buddy had 19 wins, 202 top fives, which is ninth on the all time list, 311 top ten finishes, $3,995,300 in career winnings, and is tenth on the all-time list for pole positions with 40. His father is ninth on that list with 44. Within his career he really helped Jimmy Spencer make a name for himself in the world of NASCAR. He also competed in two International Race of Champions (IROC) seasons. Another one of his career highlights is that he has led the most laps at Talladega with 1,099.

Baker is one of only eight drivers to have a Career Grand Slam or the “Big four”, by winning the sport's four major races, the Daytona 500, the fall race at Talladega, the 600 at Charlotte, and the Southern 500 at Darlington. The only other drivers to do so are Richard Petty, David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson. He is the only one of the eight to not win the championship.

In 1995 Buddy was inducted into the Charlotte Motor Speedway Court of Legends in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In 1997 Buddy was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama joining his father Buck as an inductee.

In celebration of NASCAR’s 50th anniversary in 1998 Buddy was named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers.

From 1991 to 2000 Buddy was a commentator for The Nashville Network for specified NASCAR races.

In 2001 and 2002 Buddy and Bob Dillner called American Speed Association (ASA) races for TNN. TNN was later renamed to Spike TV.

Now that Buddy is retired he, his brother, and his father, runs the Buck Baker Racing School in Rockingham, North Carolina. He also enjoys fishing and golf.
He spent almost a decade with Penske Racing mentoring drivers such as Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman after his retirement. He has also been a spotter for Newman and the No. 12 Alltel Dodge and still does test driving when needed. During 2007, Buddy could be heard as the part-time co-host of The Driver's Seat with John Kernan on Sirius Satellite Radio's NASCAR channel 128 and as of 2008, Buddy now the co-hosts “Late Shift” along with Alex Hayden on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Davey Allison

Davey is in a group with the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dale Jarrett, Richard Petty, Kyle Petty, and many more drivers that was born into a family of NASCAR legends. Davey’s father Bobby Allison was a successful driver along with his uncle Donnie Allison.

David Carl Allison was born on February 25th of 1961 in Hollywood, Florida which ironically was the day before his NASCAR legend’s father Bobby’s first Daytona 500. When his family moved to Hueytown, Alabama he became very good friends with Red Farmer, and Neil Bonnett; ironically Red and Neil would later witness the death of Davey.

Growing up, Davey participated in athletics, preferring football, but was destined, like many children of racers, to become a racer himself. He began sweeping floors for his father's Winston (Sprint) Cup team, and after graduating high school would actually work on the cars, and would work after-hours on his own race car, a Chevy Nova built by Davey and a group of his friends affectionately known as the "Peach Fuzz Gang".

He began his career in 1979 at Birmingham International Raceway where he earned his first win in just his sixth start.

He became a regular winner at BIR and by 1983, was racing in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) series. Davey won both ARCA events at his "Home track", Talladega Superspeedway in 1983, and was named ARCA Rookie of the Year in 1984, placing second in the series title. He also made his first Winston (Sprint) Cup start in 1984 at the Talladega 500, he started 22nd, and finished 10th in a Hoss Ellington owned Chevrolet. That same year, he married his first wife, Deborah.

Davey continued racing in the ARCA series in 1985 and eventually notched eight wins in the series, which four of them was at Talladega Superspeedway. He also competed in some of NASCAR's lower divisions.

His great race at Talladega earned Davey more Winston (Sprint) Cup opportunities in 1986 where he would sub for injured friend and fellow Alabama Gang member Neil Bonnett in Junior Johnson's #12 Budweiser Chevy.

Prior to the 1987 season, car owner Harry Ranier asked Allison to replace veteran driver Cale Yarborough in the #28 Ranier-Lundy Ford Thunderbird. Yarborough and his sponsor Hardees, was leaving the team to start their own operation. Ranier negotiated a sponsorship deal with Texaco's Havoline motor oil brand, a deal which was signed during the NASCAR edition of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. On qualifying day, Davey signaled that he was in the Winston (Sprint) Cup series to stay when he qualified an unmarked, but Texaco-Havoline painted #28 Thunderbird second, for the 1987 Daytona 500, which was the first time a rookie started on the front row for NASCAR's most prestigious event. A pit miscue which allowed a rear tire to fall off while he was on the track ended his hopes of a good finish in the race, but success for Davey would be just around the corner. At the Winston 500 in May Davey’s dad Bobby was in a major wreck which knocked him out of the race and when Bill Elliot, his only other competition, dropped an engine he was set and he won the darkness shortened race becoming the first rookie since Ron Bouchard in 1981 to win a race. He then won the Budweiser 500 at Dover Downs International Speedway about a month later becoming the first rookie to win two races in a season. Overall that season out ofthe 22 races he ran, he had 2 wins, 9 top-fives, 10 top-tens, and five poles in just his rookie season.

The 1988 season started with Davey for the second time in a row starting second in the prestigious Daytona 500; the difference between this race and the one before is this was the first race that had NASCAR mandated a Carburetor Restrictor Plate. Davey didn’t have to good of a day up until the last of the race when he and his father Bobby was running 1-2; Bobby held off Davey for the win but they celebrated together in victory lane. Mid-season sole owner Harry Ranier replaced Allison’s crew chief Joey Knuckles with the legendary engine builder Robert Yates and not to long after that at Pocono that summer his father had an almost life ending crash which put his career to a halt. At Michigan a month or so after his father’s horrific crash he won his first race of the season; he also won at Richmond and in October Robert Yates bought the #28 team from Harry Ranier. Overall that year he competed in every race and won 2 of them with an 8th place finish in the points.

Over the 1988-1989 offseason he and his wife Deborah had a divorce.

The team rebounded from a rocky start at Rockingham and when the series moved to Talladega in May for the Winston 500 Davey started on the pole and got his first win of 1989, which was his second victory in Talladega's spring event. After the race, Davey stood sixth in the Winston (Sprint) Cup Championship standings, but didn't win again until the next restrictor plate race, the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, his last win of the season. By the end of the season, Davey had collected seven top-five and 13 top-ten finishes along with one pole position to go with the two wins. He slipped to 11th in the final Winston (Sprint) Cup standings, a disappointment over the previous season. However, Davey would marry his second wife, Liz, during the season, and their first child, Krista, was born prior to the 1990 season.

At Bristol in March of 1990 he started the race a disappointing 17th in points, but crew chief Robert Yates decided to make a critical decision at the end of the race by pitting on the last caution; Davey won the race in a photo finish over Mark Martin. At Dover Davey got fellow Alabama native Hut Stricklin to drive his car. Yates hired “Suitcase” Jake Elder as the team’s crew chief after a pretty bad season up until that point. Davey won his second race that season at the Charlotte Motor Speedway that fall; his two wins, five top fives, and 10 top tens only propelled him to a 13th place finish in the points system.

The beginning race of 1991 at Daytona was a very conspicuous race for Davey, he won the pole but then got caught up in one of Dale Earnhardt’s many Daytona 500 mishaps to finish 15th, and from there things wasn’t looking much brighter until Robert Yates fired crew chief Elder and hired Larry McReynolds. At Charlotte in May Davey dominated the All-Star race and a week later he totally demolished the field in the Coco-Cola 600 leading 263 of 400 laps. At the race at Sears Point later that year him and Ricky Rudd was in a tight battle for the lead when Ricky spun Davey and crossed the finish line first, Ricky was stripped of the win for that reason and Davey was named the winner. At Talladega later that year Davey got mad and punched a wall, breaking his wrist; but of course he kept racing. The final results of 1991 was a third in points only four points behind second placer Ricky Rudd, five wins, 12 top fives, 16 top tens, and three poles. Davey’s wife Liz had a second child during the season, Robert Grey Allison.

During the 1992 season opening Daytona 500, Bill Elliott and Sterling Marlin started a 14 car crash at the head of the field which helped Allison become the only contender. Davey won that race leading 127 laps to join his father Bobby as a Daytona 500 winner. In May Davey went to the Charlotte Motor Speedway as determined as ever to win. He came with the same car he did the previous year and at the Winston he was on his way to winning again after he spun Dale Earnhardt on the third turn, but Kyle Petty came out of the last turn right beside Davey and they made contact and Davey slammed into the wall. Davey claims to have had an out-of-body experience after the wreck; he ended up with a concussion, bruised lung, and a very beat up body. Larry McReynolds his crew chief stated during the FOX telecasts that the first words from Allison when he awoke in the hospital were "Did we win"? McReynolds told Allison "Yes Davey we won". Victory celebrations went on even though the driver was not present and all crew members later went to the hospital to be with their driver.

The week after his horrendous wreck he went back to Charlotte for the Coco-Cola 600 to finish 4th in NASCAR’s most grueling race. He had the points lead all the way up until the second time they went to Pocono a couple months after his first major wreck of the season when he and Darrell Waltrip made contact and Davey went flying and landed on the infield guardrail. Miraculously, Davey survived the crash and was airlifted to the hospital with a severe concussion, along with a broken arm, wrist, and collar bone. His 33rd place finish left him nine points behind Bill Elliott for the series title, but that seemed insignificant at the moment. Especially traumatizing was the fact that Pocono was the site of Davey's father Bobby's career-ending crash a few years earlier. In fact, many worried fans wondered if the younger Allison's career was over. The week after that violent crash Davey raced a few laps at Talladega but then handed the reins over to Bobby Hillin Jr. who finished 3rd.

A couple weeks after his major wreck at Pocono at Michigan Davey’s younger brother Clifford was practicing in the Busch (Nationwide) series and slammed hard into the third turn wall; he died on the way to the hospital. The final race of the year was a great one in NASCAR history. Richard Petty drove his very last race in NASCAR, while Jeff Gordon drove the first, and that was only the tip of the ice-berg. Alan Kulwicki and Bill Elliott were in a major point’s battle with Davey but Davey was in a wreck which lost his championship hopes. Alan won the championship over Elliott by only one lap difference, while Davey finished 3rd; overall that season Davey had 5 wins. That year, his grandfather, Bobby’s father, Pop Allison, died.

In 1993 when Davey was thought to have been on the top of his game he won his very last NASCAR Winston (Sprint) cup race at Richmond. But in the International Race of Champions (IROC) series he got a second at Daytona and he won at Darlington. The previous year’s Winston (Sprint) Cup champion Alan Kulwicki tragically died in a plane crash, and just two days later Davey won a very emotional race at Bristol. One weekend in July Davey acquired a Hughes 369HS helicopter and was on his way to watch Neil Bonnett and his son David Bonnett practice for the Busch (Nationwide) series along with Red Farmer; on July 12th of 1993 he tried to land his helicopter, the nose lifted up and it crashed in the infield. Neil Bonnett was able to get Red Farmer out but was unable to reach Davey. He was alive but died the next day at Carraway Methodist Medical Center. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the crash on Allison's inexperience in helicopters, coupled with the decision to attempt a downwind landing. Thousands packed the auditorium at St. Aloysious Church in Bessemer, Alabama to pay their respects at his funeral. He is buried near his brother, Clifford in Bessemer's Highland Memorial Gardens. After the final race of the season, series champion Dale Earnhardt and race winner Rusty Wallace drove a side by side Polish Victory Lap carrying flags for fallen heroes Alan Kulwicki and Allison. Even through his death he still won the 1993 IROC championship with Terry Labonte filling in for him in the last race. Allison's championship money, $175,000, was set up as a trust fund for his children.

In his short NASCAR Winston (Sprint) Cup career of only 191 starts, Davey Allison posted 19 wins, 66 top-five, and 92 top-ten finishes. He also won 14 poles and earned $6,724,174. He was survived by his wife, Liz, and two children, daughter Krista Marie, and son Robert Grey.

In 1995, Davey Allison was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
Davey Allison was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1998. He was also named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers in honor of NASCAR’s 50th anniversary.

Liz Allison and their two children moved to Nashville and she married physical therapist Ryan Hackett on May 13, 2000. Ironically, after being divorced for four years, Bobby and Judy Allison reunited at the wedding, after nearly seven years of tragedy had separated them.

In 2003, on April 28, the mayor of Hueytown, Alabama declared it Davey Allison Day and is celebrated on the weekend of the springtime Talladega race.

Davey was the first, second-generation "Alabama Gang" driver and carried on the tradition established by his father, his uncle Donnie Allison, Neil Bonnett, and Red Farmer. Davey is said to have introduced his cousin Pam Allison to future driver Hut Stricklin. Hut is commonly recognized as the last member of the Alabama Gang.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Clint Bowyer

Clint Bowyer was born on May 30th, 1979, in Emporia, Kansas.

Bowyer began racing at the age of five in motocross in 1984.

Clint went on to capture over 200 wins and numerous championships in motocross between 1984 and 1992.

In 1996, Bowyer began racing in the Street Stock division at Thunderhill Speedway in Mayetta, Kansas, and in 2000 he won the Modified championship there.

Bowyer picked up 18 wins and 32 top-five finishes on his way to capturing the 2001 Modified championships at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas and Heartland Park Topeka.

In 2002, he began racing in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, posting 9 poles, 12 wins and 32 top-five finishes, he finished second place in the point standings. He was also crowned the 2002 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Midwest Champion after another Modified championship at Lakeside Speedway and a Late Model championship at the famed I-70 Speedway in Odessa, MO.

In 2003, Bowyer raced a full season in the NASCAR Midwest Series, scoring one top-ten finish in 11 starts. He also would make his first ARCA starts in 2003, and caught the eye of legendary car owner Richard Childress after leading 47 laps and finishing second in his debut at Nashville Superspeedway driving for Bobby Gerhart.

In 2004, Clint began his season by finishing 8th in the ARCA Remax series race at Daytona in the #7 Advanced Chevrolet for Bobby Gerhart. In 2004 Bowyer began running the NASCAR Busch (Nationwide) Series for Childress, sharing seat time in the #21 Reese's Chevrolet with Kevin Harvick. He drove in half of the 34 Busch Series races that year, winning one pole and gaining four top-fives and seven top-tens, attaining a season-high 3rd place finish in the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway in June. He also ran three races for Kevin Harvick Incorporated with help from Andy Petree Racing with sponsorship from Monaco Coach. Bowyer made two starts for Bill McAnally in the Camping world west series in the #20 Chevrolet. In his two starts at Phoenix & Auto Club speedway he won one pole and had a best finish of 2nd.

Bowyer's first full Busch (Nationwide) season was in 2005, replacing Ron Hornaday in the #2 ACDelco Chevrolet. He won two poles and two races en route to a second place finish. He only lost the championship to repeat-champion Martin Truex Jr., losing by only 68 points. He also made his NEXTEL (Sprint) Cup debut in the Sylvania-sponsored #33 Chevy on April 23, 2005, during the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. He finished 22nd as the first car one lap down. Richard Childress Racing announced on October 15, 2005, that Bowyer would race the #07 Chevrolet full time in the NEXTEL (sprint) Cup series, replacing Dave Blaney for the 2006 season.

Bowyer began his rookie Cup season with three top-fifteen finishes and had a total of eleven top-tens that season, with his best finish being a 3rd at California Speedway. He finished 68 points behind Denny Hamlin for the Rookie of the Year honor. Bowyer also continued to drive the #2 in the Busch (Nationwide) Series full-time, winning once and finishing 3rd in points. He started his first ever race in the Craftsman Truck (Camping World) truck series at Martinsville for green Light Racing and won his first Truck race at Texas in the #46 Jack Daniel’s Chevy fielded by Morgan-Dollar Motorsports in only his third start.

In only his sophomore year in the Cup series he ended up on his roof in the 2007 Daytona 500. At Richmond before the Chase for the Cup started he was 9th in points, and after it started he was seeded 12th due to him having no wins that year. In the first race of the chase at Loudon, New Hampshire, he won his second ever pole, and two days later he won his first ever NEXTEL (Sprint) cup race in only his 64th start; he ended up a career best 3rd in points that year. He also ran a partial schedule in RCR’s #2 BB&T Chevy in the Busch (Nationwide) series, he won two races. He also ran a partial schedule in the truck series with Kevin Harvick Inc.

In 2008, Bowyer continued to drive in the Cup and Nationwide Series full-time. On May 3, 2008, Bowyer earned his second Sprint Cup victory, winning the Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400 at Richmond International Speedway. Bowyer led only two laps, going to the front after Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kyle Busch got together with less than four laps remaining in the race. At the end of the season RCR announced Clint would be driving the #33 General Mills Chevy and Casey Mears would drive his old #07 in 2009. The reason they did it that way was because General Mills didn’t want Casey because he drove for Kellogg at Hendrick Motorsports previously. He won the Nationwide championship that year over Carl Edwards only by 21 points.

On May 6, 2008, Clint Bowyer attended and hosted the first annual Clint Bowyer Charity Golf Event in his hometown of Emporia, Kansas. It raised $160,000 for the Emporia Community foundation to "Make Emporia a better place”

The beginning of 2009 was a little bit of a challenge as he had to qualify for the first five races on speed, due to his new team not having any previous championship points; he overcame that challenge to finish in the top 10 5 times in the first 7 races. He also drove the #29 Holiday Inn Chevy in the Nationwide series.

Clint currently resides in Clemmons, N.C.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tim Richmond

If you were to look up Dale Earnhardt in an encyclopedia you would see Tim Richmond’s picture as an antonym. Tim would walk around the track in his own style Armani suit, silk shirt, and Rolex watch, while Dale would be in Wrangler jeans, old tennis-shoes, and a cowboy hat. Richmond grew up in a wealthy family, earning him the nickname "Hollywood”; his mother admits she spoiled him in his teen years, which did not help him at all in his career. Dale Earnhardt was Tim’s best friend according to some sources even though they were the opposites.

Tim Richmond was born on June 7th, of 1955 to Al and Evelyn Richmond. He was a native of Ashland, Ohio. Richmond was the first of many IndyCar drivers to make a move to NASCAR, and probably to date the most successful.

Tim was driving early in his life, when he was a toddler he was given a go-cart. He drove that go-cart in buildings, his yard, and anywhere he could; and he later raced at cart tracks at Moreland and New Pittsburg.

Due to his wealthy family, he was not accepted at his local school, so he was enrolled in the Miami Military Academy in Miami, Florida. He and his mother moved to Florida while his father stayed in Ohio.

In 1970 he was named the Athlete of the Year at the Miami Military Academy for his amazing football and track skills; he was so good at football when he graduated his jersey was retired. He attended Ashland University for about a year before dropping out.

When he turned 16 in 1971, he earned his private pilot license, and his parents bought him a small engine plane.

One of Al Richmond’s friends’ co-owned a sprint car, which led to Tim joining as a crew member for Dave Shoemaker’s car. In 1976 he took Dave’s the car onto Lakeville Speedway at Lakeville, Ohio for some practice laps. "Somebody put a stopwatch on me," Richmond said. "I was running laps faster than Dave had been. It was the first time I had ever driven a race car." After that practice session he was hooked.

Richmond and his father found a red, white, and blue #98 car in Pennsylvania, which was the same number and paint scheme that Richmond had used on model cars when he was a child and went racing. In his first competition at the Lakeville Speedway, officials placed Richmond in the slowest heat. He passed several cars and was moving up in the field, but spun out and broke an axle. After being towed to the pits, he parked the car for the rest of the event. Later that season, they towed the car to Eldora Speedway, only to have Richmond crash the car again. In response Richmond's father fired him as the driver.

Al Richmond bought Tim a SuperModified and in 1977 Tim Richmond went on to become the Sandusky Speedway's Rookie of the Year.

Richmond returned to racing sprint cars in the United States Automobile Club's (USAC) national sprint car tour in 1978; he competed in 12 races, and won the Rookie of the Year finishing 30th in points. He also attended Jim Russell's road racing school at Willow Springs International Motorsports Park that year, setting a student course record. Richmond raced in a Mini Indy car event that year at Phoenix International Raceway, winning the Formula Vee support event in a Lola T620. The win attracted sponsors and attention from major owners like Roger Penske. He also competed in USAC's Silver Crown series.

Richmond's father bought an Eagle Indy Car chassis and an Offenhauser engine for the 1979 IndyCar race at Michigan International Speedway; he qualified 21st. The race ended for him when his motor blew up on the fourth lap, and he finished 23rd out of a 23 car field. Owner Pat Santello was looking for a driver to replace Larry Rice for his CART team at the following race at Watkins Glen International, so he gave Richmond a test at Willow Spring where he had previously set the student record. Santello hired Richmond who then qualified 15th fastest for the event and finished in eighth place, the best of his IndyCar career. Richmond raced in three more events that season.

Richmond won the 1980 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award as he qualified 19th and finished 9th. Pocono Raceway owner and founder Dr. Joseph Mattioli convinced Richmond to move to NASCAR, and just two months after his Indianapolis 500 Rookie award he made his first ever NASCAR start at Pocono in which he finished 12th in D.K Ulrich’s Chevy. That season, he competed in five events, with two DNFs (did not finish) and three 12th place finishes.

Tim started his 1981 season by competing in the first 15 events of the year for D.K Ulrich. He had his first career top 10 finish with a sixth at Talladega Superspeedway, and then a seventh at Texas World Speedway. Tim left Ulrich’s team to go to Kennie Childers team after those 15 races. Richmond had top 10 finishes at Pocono and Bristol driving for Kennie and for the final seven races of the season, he drove for Bob Rogers and had a top 10 finish at Dover International Speedway. Overall for the season, Richmond had six top 10 finishes to place 16th in season points.

In the beginning on 1982 he went rideless until the Rockingham race when he got a one-race deal with Billie Harvey; he finished 31st after engine failure. The week after his one race deal he went to Darlington with J.D Stacy in the #2 car. He got his first top-5 finish of his career that week at Darlington finishing 5th and then the next week finished 2nd which was a career high for him up until that point. The next week he went to Riverside, California at the road course and won his very first race. Later on that season he won his first pole at Bristol. When NASCAR came back to Riverside, Tim was ready to win his second race, and he did. For the season, Richmond had twelve top 10s, two wins, one pole, and finished 26th in points.

In 1983 Richmond left Bob Rogers and started driving for Raymond Beatle, which was an acquaintance before he started racing. Tim won his first oval track victory at Pocono. He had four poles and fifteen top 10’s on his way to a tenth in points. He also entered three Busch (Nationwide) races but failed to finish any of them. Tim was featured in the 1983 movie Stroker Ace. Director Hal Needham said "He fell right in with the group working on the film.”

In 1984 he had one win which was at North Wilkesboro Speedway and six top 5 finishes and 11 top 10 finishes. He finished up that year 12th in points

In 1985 Tim’s best finish was a second place at Bristol. He ended the season 11th in points with 13 Top 10s in 28 races. In the Busch (Nationwide) Series, he qualified at the pole position in the two races he entered, and won the Charlotte race.

Some people say 1986 was his best season because he left Beadle and joined Hendrick Motorsports with legendary crew chief Harry Hyde in the #25 Folgers Coffee Chevy. He broke a 64 race losing streak at Pocono that year in June and when the tour came back to Pocono a month later, Tim was in a three car battle for the win with Geoff Bodine and Ricky Rudd in the final laps; he ended up winning the race by 0.05 seconds over Ricky. He also won 5 more races that year while on his way to finishing 3rd in the points. Overall that year he had 13 top-5 finishes, 16 top-10s, and 8 poles in what would be his final full season in NASCAR.

Tim raced in only 8 races in 1987. In those 8 races he won 2 of them at Pocono and Riverside, and won one pole. The media reported the reason he missed all those races was due to double pneumonia, and it was later reported that he had Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). He resigned from Hendrick Motorsports in September.

He attempted a comeback in 1988 before NASCAR banned him for testing positive for a banned substance. The substance was an over-the-counter allergy and respiratory medication so in April he sued NASCAR over banning him. He later denied he was abusive to drugs and his suit with NASCAR was settled out-of-court, the terms sealed. His very last race in NASCAR was in the 1988 Busch Clash at Daytona while driving for Ken Regan, current driver David Regan’s father.

According to Dr. Jerry Punch, Richmond was hospitalized for a motorcycle accident shortly before his death. He died on August 13, 1989 at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, about two years after his final NASCAR race. He was buried in Ashland, Ohio. The secrecy surrounding the circumstance of his death caused speculation for several days. On August 23, his death was revealed to be caused by AIDS, which he had acquired from an unknown woman. In the press conference, his physician Dr. David Dodson said: "There's no way of knowing who that woman was. Tim was a celebrity with a lot of charisma, a handsome guy. He naturally attracted a lot of women."

Cole Trickle, the main character in the 1990 movie Days of Thunder, played by Tom Cruise, was loosely based on Richmond and his interaction with Harry Hyde and Rick Hendrick.

In 1990, The New York Times reported that Dr. Forest Tennant, who was at that time the NFL’s drug adviser, "Falsified drug tests" that ultimately helped shorten Tim Richmond's NASCAR career. Washington television station WJLA-TV, in early 1990, reported that sealed court documents and interviews showed Tennant and NASCAR used "Allegedly false drug-test results in 1988 to bar Richmond from racing". Reporter Roberta Baskin stated that NASCAR had targeted Richmond, requesting that Tennant establish a substance-abuse policy with Richmond in mind. "A series of drug tests and falsely reported positive results shortly before the 1988 Daytona 500 kept Richmond from driving in what was to have been his last big race", the report said. While neither Tennant nor NASCAR supplied an official response at the time, NASCAR did confirm that they were seeking to replace Tennant.

The Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame inducted Richmond in their second class in 1996.

In 1998, NASCAR named Richmond as one of its 50 greatest drivers of all time while they were celebrating their 50th anniversary.

He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2002.

The Mansfield Motorsports Park ARCA Re/Max Series race in 2009 was named the Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA Re/Max 250 in honor of the area native. The race at Mansfield was co-promoted by Mattioli's son Joseph Mattioli III.

Tim had a total of 185 starts in 8 years with 13 wins, 42 top 5’s, 78 top 10’s, and $1,817,043 in career winnings. Even with those great stats he is probably the least recognized legendary driver there is. A lot of people have never even heard his name, and some people that have don’t really talk about him, people have basically disown his name all because of the way he died, which is not at all the way his legacy should live.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hut Stricklin

Waymond Lane "Hut" Stricklin was born on June 24th of 1961, in Calera, Alabama. He married Pam Allison, the daughter of NASCAR legend Donnie Allison after they were introduced by her cousin Davey. Hut was the last member of the Alabama Gang.

Stricklin was the Alabama Limited Sportsman champion in 1978 and 1979.

In 1986, Stricklin won NASCAR's Dash Series Championship with 9 out of 17 races won and ten poles.

In 1987 he made his debut in NASCAR Winston (Sprint) Cup series in three races for owner Skip Jaehne.

In 1989 he ran for the Rookie of The Year title and finished second only to Dick Trickle driving the #57 Heinz Ketchup Pontiac for Rod Osterlund.

In 1990, he competed in only three events before taking over the #12 Raybestos Brakes Buick for Bobby Allison for the rest of the season.

1991 turned out to be one of his best seasons yet, as he finished 16th in the Winston (Sprint) cup championship point standings as well as a career high 2nd place finish at Michigan International Speedway.

With only eight races left in the 1992 season, Hut left Allison's team and after a few races driving for Junie Donlavey, he started driving for Junior Johnson for the rest of the season and in 1993 driving the #27 McDonald's Ford; in 1993 he finished 24th in points.

In 1994, Junior and Travis Carter formed a new team with Hut driving the #23 Smokin’ Joe’s Racing Ford; he finished a respectable 26th in points.

Jimmy Spencer replaced Hut for the 1995 season in the #23, so he served as a consultant for Kenny Bernstein's rookie driver Steve Kinser, a World of Outlaws Sprint Car champion who drove the #26 Quaker State Ford; he was struggling to transition from open-wheels to stock cars so he was replaced by Stricklin. Him and his crew chief Richard Broome posted five top-10 finishes and his first ever pole at North Wilkesboro Speedway; even though he only raced 24 times he still finished 30th in points. Unfortunately Kenny’s team was sold to Brett Bodine at the end of the year, and Hut had to find a new job.

In 1996 he joined the Stavola Brothers Racing in the #8 Circuit City Ford. He had a career high tying finish of second at the Southern 500 at Darlington in a dominating run. He finished 22nd in championship points, which was his best points finish in 5 years.

The 1997 season was challenging for Stricklin because Stricklin’s owners, the Stavola brothers, pressured Stricklin to leave his hometown Calera, AL and live near the shop in Charlotte, North Carolina. They also advised Stricklin to sale his Busch (Nationwide) team, the #28 Smokey Mountain Chew Ford, and concentrate on his Winston (Sprint) Cup efforts; he finished 34th in the final standings which was his worst points finish in a full season of his career.

In 1998 he drove the #8 Circuit City Chevrolet until the Stavola Brothers closed due to Circuit City leaving. After they shut down he drove in the #97, #55, and #77 cars.

For the beginning of the 1999 season he was the crew chief for Gary Bradberry’s #78 Ford for Triad Motorsports, and when they shut down he started driving for Scott Barbour in the #58 Ford with multiple sponsors. Scott promised him a ride until 2003, but a bounced check forced Hut’s team to shut down and him being ride less.

In 2000, Stricklin drove for longtime owner Junie Donlavey at the Brickyard 400 and finished 14th in the #90 Hills Bros Coffee Ford without a crew chief.

In 2001 his sponsor Hills Brothers wanted to find a new team due to location problems, Hill Brothers wanted to move to Charlotte but Donlavey declined, they left the team and brought Hut with them to Bill Davis’ #23 Dodge. This year he made a record $1,006,021 in winnings even with the abbreviated schedule.

In 2002, Stricklin struggled and was soon replaced by Kenny Wallace in the #23 and his sponsor Hills Bros was replaced by Stacker 2. That was the last year that he drove in a NASCAR sanctioned race.

His family now owns Stricklin Auto & Truck Parts in Cleveland, North Carolina.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Geoff Bodine

Geoffrey Eli Bodine was born on April 18, 1949 in Elmira, New York, his younger brothers Brett and Todd are also NASCAR drivers.

Geoff’s father and grandfather built Chemung speedway when he was a year old, which gave Geoff the advantage of being able to practice racing at an early age.

He started practicing racing at his families track in the micro-midget division when he was just five.

Geoff loved to drive so much he disguised himself as a lady and entered a PowderPuff Division Race when he was only 15.

In 1978, Bodine won more races than any other Modified driver in recorded history driving against the greats, Richie Evans, Jerry Cook, Jimmy Spencer, and Ron Bouchard, with Dick Armstrong and Billy Taylor as his crew chiefs. Bodine started 84 events and won 55 of them. For these fifty-five victories, Bodine is credited in the Guinness Book of World Records with the "Most wins in one season". He also won track championships at Stafford Speedway, Shangri-La Speedway, Spencer/Williamson Speedway, and Utica-Rome Speedway in his prestigious racing career.

In 1979 he made his first Winston (Sprint) Cup start.

His rookie year in the Winston (Sprint) Cup series was in 1982 driving for Cliff Stewart; he earned the Rookie of the Year title and his first Winston (Sprint) Cup pole in only his 19th start, which was at the Firecracker 400.

His first Winston (Sprint) Cup victory in 1984 on his 69th career start at Martinsville while driving for the well respected historic car owner Rick Hendrick.
Geoff's biggest win of his career came at the 1986 Daytona 500 while driving the #88 Hendrick Motorsports car sponsored by Levi Garrett.

He won the 1987 International Race of Champions (IROC) championship.

Bodine is the co-owner of the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Company. His bobsled interest started during the 1992 Winter Olympics when the U.S. Bobsled Team was having a tough time during competition. Bodine learned that the sleds being used were all imported and not built locally. He felt that he could help the team win with better bobsled technology derived from his racecar engineering background and experience. With these beliefs, Bodine took a few runs in a bobsled at Lake Placid, New York to confirm his feelings and to learn more about the sleds, and in 2002 the USA team, who was driving his bobsleds won a race for the first time in 50 years.

In mid-1993, Bodine purchased the race team of the late Alan Kulwicki and toward the end of the season, and he took over as the driver with Motorcraft as the sponsor.

Geoff's final win in the NASCAR Winston (Sprint) cup series came in the "Bud At the Glen" at the Watkins Glen International Raceway in his home state of New York, in August of 1996 when pit stop timing led to him to taking the lead in his QVC Thunderbird while the other drivers pitted. Bodine managed to hold off the field the rest of the way beating Terry Labonte to the line by 0.44 seconds to claim the win.

In 1997, he won the pole at Atlanta with a speed of over 197mph which is a record that still holds for that track due to the repaving that was done before that race.

In 1998 he was honored as one of "NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers" during NASCAR's 50th anniversary celebration.

In 2000 Geoff was driving in the Truck race at Daytona when he was involved in a vicious wreck. He was three wide in the tri-oval when the trucks beside him made contact and slid up, causing him to fly into the air and slam into the fence and catch on fire, he barrel-rolled down the track, caught on fire again, and got hit by a few more trucks until he came to a stop in only the roll cage; 13 trucks was involved, which was one of the biggest wrecks in Truck series history. He broke his right wrist, right cheekbone, right ankle; he also broke a vertebra in his back, and had a concussion. Nine fans were injured in this wreck. After this wreck he missed 20 races leading him to finish 45th in points.

Geoff, his brother Todd, and Larry Gunselman started a race team in 2009. Geoff attempted to qualify the #64 Toyota for the 2009 Daytona 500.

Geoff currently races in ISCARS DASH touring series which is sanctioned by the American Speed Association (ASA).

Bodine has always been a great leader in the modernization and update in safety to the Winston (Sprint) Cup series in introduced power steering and full-faced helmets to NASCAR. He has served as a volunteer fireman and is now a board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Geoff has driven for some of the best car owners in NASCAR, such as, Junior Johnson, Bud Moore, Rick Hendrick, his brother Brett, and he has owned his own cars. He has 565 starts, 37 poles, 18 wins, and nearly $16 million in winnings during his illustrious Winston Cup (Sprint) cup series career.

Bodine currently lives in Cornelius, North Carolina while preparing for the 2010 Olympics and his company hopefully helping win a bobsledding championship.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tony Raines

Floyd Anthony Raines was born on April 14, 1964 in Glasgow, Montana. In high school he played football, basketball, and baseball all while helping out local stock car teams.

Before Tony even started thinking about racing as a career he got a college degree in aviation from the Southwestern Michigan College in 1984, and he started racing as a hobby after he got out.

In 1988, Raines competed in five American Speed Association (ASA) races with some success; he then realized this could become a career.

He competed in the rookie year battle in 1989 in the ASA.

In 1990, Raines moved to NASCAR's All Pro Series, where he won Rookie of the Year and finished fourth in the final points standings.

Tony returned to ASA in 1991 for a new team formed by Ernie Roselli all the way until 1995; in 1995 he had moved to join crew chief Howie Lettow and Baker Motorsports.

He won the 1996 championship in the ASA series.

Tony moved up to the new NASCAR Craftsman (Camping World) Truck Series which had only been in existence for one year in 1997. Johnny Benson, one of Tony’s competitors in the ASA, recommended Raines to owner Kurt Roehrig and he made his first start at Tucson, Arizona at the Tucson Speedway, and in the Truck Series he won his first NASCAR sanctioned race at the I-70 Speedway in just his third career start.

In 1998 he followed up his very successful rookie year and won 2 races and finished 5th in points in only his second year in the Truck series.

Raines moved up to the Busch (Nationwide) Series in 1999, with the #74 BACE Motorsports team. Raines raced 31 out of 32 races that year, without a primary sponsor; Raines had a best finish of fourth and finished 12th in points, which led to him earning the Rookie of the Year honors. He also made one start in the Truck Series at The Milwaukee Mile for Gerry Gunderman in the #68 truck; he started 22nd and finished 19th.

In 2000, Raines moved to BACE Motorsports's #33 Bayer Chevrolet full-time in the Busch (Nationwide) series. He had a career-best second-place finish at South Boston Speedway, but had no other top-tens that year; he fell to fifteenth in the final point’s standings in the Busch (Nationwide) series.

2001 was the year he had his first pole in the Busch (Nationwide) series driving the #33 Bayer/Alka-Seltzer Chevy; he also had a career high 13 top ten finishes, he finished 6th in the points.

In 2002, he drove a full Busch (Nationwide) Series schedule for BACE, and at Dover International Speedway in Delaware, he made his NEXTEL (Sprint) Cup Series debut with BACE. He started 17th and finished 31st in the #73 Staff America Chevy. He made 6 more races that year.

BACE Motorsports and Tony Raines moved to the Winston (Sprint) Cup series full-time in 2003, competing for the NASCAR Rookie of the Year honors. Despite running without major sponsorship, Raines made 35 out of the 36 races, finished 33rd in the championship standings, and third in the Rookie of the Year race just behind Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle. In the Busch (Nationwide) series, Raines had another second-place finish and three consecutive eighth-place runs, allowing him to finish 39th in points even though his season was shortened.

BACE closed its Cup team in 2004 due to the lack of sponsorship, and focused back on the Busch (Nationwide) Series. BACE hired Damon Lusk to drive there #74 Outdoor Channel Chevrolet in the Busch (Nationwide) series, and after four races Raines returned to the team in favor of Lusk, and finished sixth in his first race at Bristol. He ran fifteen races for BACE in the Busch (Nationwide) series, and 3 other for various teams. He returned to the Craftsman (Camping World) Truck series for one race at Atlanta, finishing seventeenth in the #08 Chevrolet for Green Light Racing. In the NEXTEL (Sprint) cup series he ran 6 races for, Phoenix racing, Bill Davis Racing, and Competitive Edge Motorsports, with a best finish of 28th.

In 2005 he made six NEXTEL (Sprint) cup series races with Front Row Motorsports, and R&J Racing. Raines drove part-time for Kevin Harvick Incorporated in the #33 Yard Man/Outdoor Channel Chevrolet in the Busch (Nationwide) Series; he had nine top-tens in 23 starts. At the end of the season, it was announced that he would share the #96 Texas Instruments/DLP HDTV Chevy with Terry Labonte with the brand new team, Hall of Fame Racing.

In the 29 races he drove in 2006 in the NEXTEL (Sprint) cup series, Raines had a seventh-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway and finished 35th in drivers’ points and the brand new Hall of Fame Racing team finished 26th in owners points.

He ran the whole 2007 season with Hall of Fame, except on the road course events when Ron Fellows took the ride. The team finished in the top 25 in owners points. At the end of the season he was replaced by J. J. Yeley. He also ran 9 races with Kevin Harvick Incorporated in the Busch (Nationwide) series.

In 2008 he sat out a few races in the Sprint Cup Series and then started driving the #08 E&M Motorsports Dodge sponsored by Rhino Energy Drink a few races into the season. At Pocono he began driving the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevy, and he later started back driving for Front Row Motorsports and he swapped in between those rides throughout the season.

In 2009, Raines returned to the Nationwide Series for a full time schedule driving the #34 Long John Silver's Chevrolet for Front Row Motorsports, in which he replaced Eric McClure who left at the end of 2008. Raines had a fourth place finish in the Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway which made Front Row Motorsports first top-five finish in any series. Tony earned a 12th place in the Nationwide series points standings that year and the #34 team earned a 20th place in owner’s points. Raines qualified for the Sprint Cup race in Phoenix in Barry Haefele's #73 car, and made a few other starts with Front Row Motorsports in the start and park #34 team.

When he is not racing, Raines enjoys spending time with his wife, Sue, and their son, Leland in Mt. Pleasant N.C where he currently resides. He also enjoys golfing, watching sports, hunting, gardening, and motorcycle riding.