ERNIE IRVAN SITE
Retirement Date: September 3rd, 1999, Darlington Raceway, Darlington, SC
Kim Irvan: "He's like a cat with nine lives, and he's used up eight of them."(from the Press Conference)(9-4-1999)
- The Complete Announcement It's LONG: Thanks to Hoagland Communications
Note: M&Mís Pontiac driver Ernie Irvan announced his immediate retirement from Winston Cup racing today.
ERNIE IRVAN (No. 36 M&Mís Pontiac Grand Prix): ďThis is really a special moment in my career. Itís probably one I thought Iíd probably never have to face. I figure itís smart for me to retire. Thereís nothing that the doctors have actually told me. They did say if I had another accident like the one Iíve had and had another accident like the one I had at Michigan earlier, it would probably be detrimental to me to be able to live a wholesome life. I have two kids that are great. I have a wife. They mean a lot to me. All of the people with this race team have really supported me. Itís something that brings tears to my eyes, knowing that Iíll never drive a Winston Cup car again. I know itís something that Iím very cherished with what Winston Cup racing has done for me. I never thought Iíd have this many people listen to me tell them that Iím going to retire. I guess a lot of times people wonder what Iíve got up my sleeve. Normally I have something up my sleeve, but I donít have anything this time. I know that my family means a lot to me. I know my son Jaredís future may some day be Winston Cup. If he so happens to want to do that, thatís what Iím going to help him do. I feel very fortunate to be able to sit here and tell everybody that I know itís probably good for me to retire so I can comprehend what Iím saying. The doctors have told me itís a miracle that Iíve been able to do what Iíve been able to do, being able to survive some of the accidents that Iíve had. Theyíve never told me that I wonít survive again, but they also told me that Iím very fortunate to survive what I have. Jared is a special person in my life and so is Jordan. They (doctors) told me that if I was ever able to drive my little girl to school (after his first Michigan crash) that it was going to be a very pleasurable moment. Iíve not only been able to drive her to school Iíve been able to help her with school. I got to drive her to school this week and from that moment on I said, ĎThis is something that I treasure.í Your family means a lot to you and my family has been great to me. Right now I can comprehend everything that Jordan is going through. Hopefully, Jared is going to grow up and want to be a race car driver and follow in his dadís footsteps. Jordan has already told me that she doesnít want to be a race car driver. Iím going to do everything I can to help (them) live a great life.
"This sport grows a lot of tough people. I know that Irvan-Simo Racing is looking forward to the future. We hope to advance my Winston Cup racing team with Federated Auto Parts into a full-fledged Winston Cup team. Right now weíve got to make it advance a little bit. All my race fans have been an amazing part of my career. Being able to distinguish different people and being able to be involved with all the race fans, itís amazing how the sport has grown.
I never thought Iíd be able to draw this much attention because Iím going to retire. Iíve won a race before and I donít think we had this many people. I know that itís a pleasurable moment in my career to be able to sit here in front of everybody. There have been a lot of times where people thought Iíd never be able to sit here and comprehend what Iím saying and that Iím retiring. Itís really hard for me to say that because it means that Iím never going to drive a Winston Cup car. Also, being able to sit here with my son, little girl and wife, thatís what makes it all worthwhile. Iím hopefully going to help them do whatever they want in their career.
ďObviously, the race track at Michigan saved my life (after his first nearly fatal crash there). The facility that they had and the people that they had to help, the doctors and all that stuff, that really saved my life. Being able to win there, that was an awesome time. I was driving for Robert Yates and it was an awesome time. Being able to win a Winston Cup race knowing that I almost died at that race track. Again, there the ones that saved my life.
"(The decision to retire) was solely between me and my family. Again, I went to the doctor a couple of days ago. When the doctor picks up the paper heís going to see that I decided to retire. He didnít know it. He didnít tell me that I needed to retire. He told me that there are a lot of things that can hinder me from being able to carry on a regular life. It was my decision to be able to retire. There was nobody quizzing me about it. Everybody here has watched me race and knows that I give it 110 percent every day. They realize, obviously, I donít want to retire. Today I donít want to retire, but I know that itís the smart thing to do. To be able to sit right here and say, ĎThe smartest thing for me to do is retire, because I donít know if Iím going to be able to survive another wreck like I had at Michigan. Two of them at Michigan.í I appreciate everyoneís support.
ďEverything that Iíve done and been able to accomplish in the sport has made me decide that the smartest thing I can do is look to the future and retire. A lot of times, financially, you canít retire. Iím able to make that decision and make it smart. I know that my wife and kids (are taken care of). That means a lot to me. Obviously, being able to come back and drive again was a dream come true. Itís still a dream. Winston Cup racing is something I love to do, but I know itís smart for me to say, ĎHey, I donít want to push the envelope.í Iím 40-years-old and my experience in Winston Cup racing has been very good and thereís no doubt that I donít want to push the envelope. There are a lot of things Ernie Irvan can do for his career, but hey, right now Iím going to hang it up as a driver.
"I made the decision on my own. The doctor didnít really say anything that made me say, ĎNo matter what Iíve got to retire.í The doctor just told me that the first time I came back it was a full-fledged miracle. He kind of explained to me how many miracles can you have. That kind of woke me up. Thereís no doubt itís going to be hard because all my career has pointed to being able to race in Winston Cup. Iíve been able to win a few, Iíve been able to lose a few. Sometimes itís been my fault. Sometimes itís been other peopleís fault. Itís been a great career and thatís the important part. I cherish the moments I had in Winston Cup racing. Iíve had a lot of fun with everybody. Thank you.Ē
No Ernie...THANK YOU!
NOTE: once again, this has no bearing on my Jayski Silly Season Site, that is going onward and upward, the decision I talk about is whether to continue the Ernie site. May make it an Ernie tribute site or an Irvan-Irvan/Simo site, don't know. But my heart will have to be in it or I won't do it.
JAYSKI's THOUGHTS: for some reason folks have been emailing me all day wanting to know my opinion on Ernie's retirement and if I would quit the Ernie site, here are my thoughts, it's long, but you asked, so here are my ramblings:
What can I say? When I got the first rumor floating around from an excellent source early Thursday evening, I felt like someone kicked me in the stomach. But I knew and know it's for the best and tells me Ernie is a pretty smart guy. He has a great family, is financially secure and has already laid a foundation in the Irvan-Simo team to stay in the sport. The race will not be the same at all without him. I didn't care where he was running, I always had to know and would always look to see where his car was. Ever since he left the Yates #28, he didn't seem as competitive but that never stopped me from following him. Never had a top five with the #36 but the team was and is coming around and he had a lot to do with that. His experience with the #36 should allow him to be a better car owner for the Irvan-Simo team. I only met the man once, at Talladega, no way he would remember it. He was talking to Mike Helton near the NASCAR trailer in the garage area in Talladega, Oct 1997. Every once in a while a fan would walk up to him and get an autograph. Ernie would break off from his conversation sign or smile for a photo and go right back to talking to Mr Helton. After watching this for a while, I just went up to him and said "Ernie, can I shake your hand?", he looked shocked and extended his hand, I shook it and said "Thank You for being a great driver, I enjoy watching a rooting for you". He said "Thank You", still looking surprised I didn't ask for an autograph, but I am not and have never been a big autograph hound. At that point some other fans came up to get his autograph and while he was signing the next item and I walked away, he looked over at me and smiled. That was worth more then any autograph to me.
Folks ask me, why Ernie Irvan as your favorite. Well, from talking to people who do know him, I have some of the same traits, I guess. I am not a real personable guy, can be surely, not big on publicity, I just want to drive(my Jayski site). I started really following Cup in 1989 when I lived up in North Jersey. It was pretty hard to find much info on Cup back then. There was no RPM2Nite, but there was SpeedWorld with Bob Jenkins. I would watch or tape that show whenever they chose to show it, usually once a week on a Saturday at midnight. Just think, that is only TEN years ago, look how the sport has evolved and grown. I remember going to a Cup race when I was stationed in Dover, Sept 1982. The grandstands were on the front stretch and the enclosed section on the back stretch. The place was maybe 2/3's full, at best, and it was soooooo hot. But it was fun. Anyhow, I got off tract there. I remember thinking back in 1989 that this Ernie Irvan guy had a funny name and always seemed to be in the middle of something out there.
What really sold me on Ernie, was that Press Conference that he held, in which he apologized to all the drivers in a drivers meeting. I had never heard of a driver doing that before and haven't seen it since. I am not saying something similar hasn't happened but it was a big story at the time. At the time, I was following the Polish dude, Alan Kulwicki (I am part Polish, so I thought it was cool). I was a big Ford guy at the time, so all my favorites were Ford drivers. But I choose Ernie as my 'GM' driver. After AK died it was hard to watch the races without him, but I had always liked Davey Allison and he slowly became my favorite with Ernie lurking as my GM guy. The a year and half later we lost Davey. I had not heard about the crash until the Tuesday after in a Press of Atlantic City story. I just sat there at work crushed. Then a few weeks later when they announced Ernie was going to the #28, I wasn't sure if I liked the fit or not, but I went with it. And Ernie showed so much class and emotion driving that car, he became my instant favorite when he won at Martinsville and had a Davey Allison T-Shirt on, I was sold. To my delight in 1994, Ernie was running 2nd in the points and consistently running in the top five and thought we had a championship season going. We didn't have NOL or much info instantly like now, the Internet was a new thing, only a few years old to the public anyway. On Saturday August 20th, a day after qualifying 6th for the race at Michigan, Ernie had his practice crash. I heard when my Dad's boss called and told me, I still remember the words he said, "Hey, did you hear, Ernie might not make it", I was like "No he qualified 6th", then he explained about the accident. I immediately put on ESPN and CNN Headline news for any info. The next few days, my thoughts were with Ernie and his condition. At first the news was grim, and I thought, "after losing Mark, Alan and Davey, I can't take another one". But as the days passed, I kept hearing better news, and soon Ernie was showing up at the races and walking around with the eye patch. As 1995 moved along, I started hearing that Ernie would indeed make a comeback and when he finally did, I had a tear in my eye. Of course we had to endure the idiots calling him 'one eye' and crap like that, but I ignored it and kept rooting for Ernie, more then ever. And through all the good and bad, the Yates mess, when they parted, etc, he was my driver. And when he got hurt at Talladega last year and didn't race in the last three races, it was just not the same, and I suppose the last eleven Cup races of 1999 will be the same. But there is no next year hope as I had last year. Time to move on. I am a fan of the sport and will continue to do my best with the Jayski Site as I can, hopefully full-time soon
As for this site(the Ernie site ONLY, NOT the jayski site)? I don't know what my plans are yet. It's like someone asking you if you want another dog the day after your dog of 15 years passes away. Me personally, need time to 'heal' from my favorite driver retiring before deciding if I will continue the site. I will at least through 1999 keep it going in some way. I had a clear cut #1 driver and that was Ernie. No one else has been close since I started following him. My past favorites were Mark Donohue, Rick Mears, Alan Kulwicki and Davey Allison. I am an Al Unser, Jr fan and would love to see him in Cup, but that looks doubtful at best now. I used to dislike certain drivers before I started the Jayski site and gained my "Knowledge". I realize all the Cup guys are my heroes and good people too. I really like Jerry Nadeau ever since he showed up and we were all like 'who'? For Jerry to be in the #36 will help heal me a little faster. Tony Stewart I also like, have since his IRL days, he a hard racer in the Ernie mold and not afraid to speak his mind even if it gets him in trouble.
- Irvan Announcement UPDATE 2-BUMMER: Ernie Irvan and MB2 Motorsports will make an announcement Friday at 12:30pm/et at Darlington Raceway regarding Irvan's future plans in racing(NOL) I have heard rumors saying Irvan will return to driving and rumors that he is retiring, looks like we (an I) will have to wait it out, he may retire, may sit the rest of the year or be back in a few weeks -- UPDATE: From That's Racin' - Ernie Irvan, who has suffered injuries in numerous accidents recently in his career, has called a news conference for noon (EDT) Friday at Darlington Raceway to announce his retirement from Winston Cup racing. See the full story at: Irvan to announce retirement at That's Racin'. Irvan is also co-owner of Irvan-Simo Motorsports, which has fielded entries in NASCAR's Truck, Grand National and Winston Cup series this season. Irvan is expected to continue his role as a car owner(9-2-1999) -- could Johnny Benson be a candidate for this ride? Irvan gave him his BGN start(9-3-1999) -- UPDATE-ANNOUNCEMENT: NASCAR Winston Cup Series veteran Ernie Irvan, the 1991 Daytona 500 champion, announced his retirement from racing today. Irvan's career was marked by remarkable success and three major wrecks, including one that nearly took his life. See the full story at NOL: Ernie Irvan announces retirement. No word on a full time replacement for Irvan in the #36(9-3-1999)
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