about the deaths of those involved in NASCAR main three divisions or major auto racing series
NOTE: do not post fan deaths, etc, keep it to the main three National series, major auto racing and immediate family [mother, father, etc]
Sad News - Richard Brown: Richard Daniel Brown, 75, of Claremont, NC passed away on Thursday, August 27, 2015 from renal disease at Catawba Valley Medical Center. Born April 9, 1940 in Catawba County to the late George McFarland Brown and Maude Ruth Baker Brown. Richard was a 1958 graduate of Bunker Hill High School and a graduate from Nashville Auto Diesel College in 1959. He was a member of St. Marks ELCA in Claremont for 45 years, served in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict and Berlin Crisis, and retired from NCDOT where he worked as a crew leader for many years. Richard was also a NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver [raced in 50 Cup races 1971-1976 with one top-five and three top-tens, with a best finish of 5th at Martinsville in 1972].(service info and full obituary at Bennett Funeral Service website)(8-31-2015)
Justin Wilson Children's Fund Update: INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway encourage racing fans to make donations to a new fund established to support the family of Justin Wilson. Donations to the Wilson Children's Fund can be made online at www.wilsonchildrensfund.com or sent to the following address:
Wilson Children's Fund
c/o Forum Credit Union
P.O. Box 50738
Indianapolis, IN 46250-0738
If you previously sent a donation to INDYCAR, it will be forwarded to the new address. All donations will be kept confidential. In addition, commemorative decals and T-shirts are available at shop.ims.com, with proceeds going directly to the Wilson Children's Fund.(IMS)(8-30-2015)
Sad News - Jimmy Massey: James Massey, 86, passed away on August 21, 2015 at Alamance Regional Medical Center. He was a Legends NASCAR driver during the 1950s and '60s. James enjoyed racing, working on his race cars and spending time with his racing friends. He was the former owner of Pleasant Grove Esso and remained a mechanic after retirement. Massey ran in the Sprint Cup Series from 1955-1964, running 108 races, winning 3 in the NASCAR Convertible Series.(see full obituary / services at The Times News)(8-25-2015)
Stewart loans plane to Wilson family UPDATE Sad News: Tony Stewart loaned his plane and pilots to Stefan Wilson, brother of injured IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson, so Wilson could get from Indianapolis to his brother's side at a Pennsylvania hospital Sunday night. Justin Wilson was hit in the helmet by the flying nosepiece of Sage Karam's car during the race Sunday at Pocono Raceway and was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, PA. Wilson suffered a severe head injury and is in a coma in critical condition, according to the IndyCar Series. It is not unusual for Stewart to lend his plane to people in the racing industry amid a health crisis. Most of those acts go unpublicized at Stewart's request. He did not publicize his loaning of the plane and pilots Sunday night, but several in the IndyCar community sent out tweets thanking him.(ESPN.com)(8-24-2015)
UPDATE Sad News - Justin Wilson: INDYCAR announced that driver Justin Wilson, who enjoyed success in multiple motorsports series during a two-decade professional career, died today from a head injury sustained in the Verizon IndyCar Series race Aug. 23 at Pocono Raceway. He was 37. Wilson was struck by debris from a single-car crash on Lap 180 of the 200-lap race on the 2.5-mile triangular oval. Wilson was attended to by the Holmatro Safety Team and airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pa. Wilson is survived by his wife, Julia, and two daughters. His younger brother Stefan is an accomplished race car driver who has competed in the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights. Funeral arrangements are pending. In lieu of flowers, a fund has been set up for Wilson children. Donations may be sent to: Wilson Children's Fund, c/o INDYCAR, 4551 W. 16th St., Indianapolis, IN 46222.(INDYCAR)(8-24-2015
Friends, family say farewell to Buddy Baker: A church full of Buddy Baker's family and friends gathered Tuesday afternoon to say goodbye to Baker, one of NASCAR's fastest and most fearless drivers. Baker, who grew up in Charlotte and graduated from Garinger High, died Aug. 10 at the age of 74. He won 19 races over his 33-year career - including five times at Daytona and four at Talladega - and was also the first stock-car driver to eclipse the 200-mph barrier during a test at Talladega in 1970. "Buddy said the most important thing for him was to be with family," said pastor John Earl, who officiated Baker's funeral at Avondale Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. "Family and friends are here to be with and for each other." NASCAR was represented at the funeral by chairman Brian France and president Mike Helton. Former rivals Richard Petty, Ned Jarrett and Bobby Allison attended. Ryan Newman, who drives on the Sprint Cup Series and counted Baker as a mentor, served as a pallbearer with Allison. Bud Moore and Waddell Wilson, two of Baker's crew chiefs, were also in attendance. H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, Baker's longtime friend and former president of Charlotte Motor Speedway, spoke at the service. Wheeler said there was so much more to Baker than just being a driver and broadcaster (he was co-host of a satellite radio show when he was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year). Wheeler talked about a time recently that Baker talked a young man out of committing suicide. When Baker won at Talladega in 1975, Wheeler said Baker told him he didn't feel like a winner because a friend, fellow driver Tiny Lund, died in the race. "Buddy was a ferocious driver," said Wheeler. "He wasn't afraid of anything on the race track. He also wasn't afraid to kneel down and say a prayer."(Charlotte Observer)(8-19-2015)
Sad News - Dave Arledge: David Cline Arledge was born April 8, 1950 and passed away August 9, 2015. He graduated from Tryon High and UNC Chapel Hill; Son of Thurston and Margaret Arledge. He was a pilot & Captain in US Marines. He was employed as a corporate pilot by Richard Childress Racing. He is survived by his wife JoAnne of the home, daughter Andrea Keller of St. Pete, FL, a brother Michael & sister in-law Linda Arledge of Madison, NC. A celebration of his life will be held Aug. 19, 2015 from 6:00 until 8:00 PM at Spartanburg Country Club. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to American Cancer or Childress Children's trauma Center.(Spartanburg Herald-Journal), at Michigan and Mid-Ohio, RCR cars ran a special decal in his honor.(8-16-2015)
Sad News - Buddy Baker: Buddy Baker, who won the 1980 Daytona 500 and at 6-foot-6 was NASCAR's "Gentle Giant," died Monday. He was 74. Baker died after a brief battle with lung cancer, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio said. Baker left his job as co-host of "The Late Shift" for the station last month when he announced he had a "huge" inoperable lung tumor. "Do not shed a tear. Give a smile when you say my name. I'm not saying goodbye. Just talk to you later," Baker said in his final radio appearance. Baker rode for more than 30 years and was honored as one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers in 1998. He was the first driver to exceed 200 mph on a closed course. The milestone came in 1970 at Talladega Superspeedway, where he won four times. Born Elzie Wylie Baker Jr., Baker was the son of two-time champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker. He made his Cup Series debut in 1959 and ran his final race in 1992. Baker won 19 races, highlighted by the 1980 victory at Daytona. He also won the 1970 Southern 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in 1968, 1972 and 1973. He ranks 14th in NASCAR with 38 poles from 700 starts from 1959-1992. He had 202 top-five finishes and 311 top 10s. "Many of today's fans may know Buddy Baker as one of the greatest storytellers in the sport's history, a unique skill that endeared him to millions," NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said. "But those who witnessed his racing talent recognized Buddy as a fast and fierce competitor, setting speed records and winning on NASCAR's biggest stages. It is that dual role that made Buddy an absolute treasure who will be missed dearly." Baker raced for Petty Enterprises in 1971 and 1972, winning one race each season. "Buddy was always wide open and that's the way he raced and lived his life. He was always full of energy," Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty said. "He was a person you wanted to be around because he always made you feel better." After retiring from racing, Baker remained involved in NASCAR. He was a broadcaster for The Nashville Network, then CBS and finally SiriusXM NASCAR Radio when the station started a NASCAR channel in 2007. "I just want to say goodbye to everyone," Baker said before signing off from his final broadcast, which lasted about 40 minutes. "Thanks for being a friend."(Associated Press)(8-10-2015)
Services: The funeral will be 2:00pm. Tuesday, Aug. 18, at Avondale Presbyterian Church, 2821 Park Rd., in Charlotte, N.C., and will be conducted by Rev. John Earles. Burial will follow at Sharon Memorial Park on Monroe Road in Charlotte. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Humane Society of Iredell, 110 Robinson Rd., Mooresville, N.C., 28117.(8-11-2015)
Sad News - Larry Addington: Larry C. Addington, passed away on July 23, 2015. That competitive spirit carried Larry through many business ventures. His business objective was always to provide jobs for people, as many people as he could. He would say that the most important thing one person can give another is a job. Throughout his long career, Larry succeeded in providing thousands of jobs to people all over the United States and in Belize. One of Larry's biggest motivations was to make money in order to help the less fortunate. Larry enlisted in the U.S. Army upon graduation from Sandy Hook High School and served for two years in Korea. He then returned to Kentucky and attended college at Morehead State University with his brother, Robert, and sister, Virginia. After college, Larry began work as an engineer in highway construction. After a while, Larry started his own engineering firm. It was during this time the brothers learned about coal mining, so whenever highway construction slowed down, Larry and Robert formed their first coal company, Addington Brothers. This was the beginning of many ventures into the coal industry.
Larry's thrill of speed was legendary. He delighted in giving people a thrill, whether it was on a farm tractor, in an automobile or on a speedboat. Larry and his son, Michael, had a NASCAR truck racing team [5 wins in 123 races with Andy Houston and Travis Kvapil in the #60 Chevy].(see full obituary at Sandy Hook Lewis & Ferguson Funeral Home)(7-30-2015)
Sad News - Gary G. Cavitt: Gary G. Cavitt (father of #14 Jackman Getty Cavitt), 68, of Owensboro died Wednesday, July 22, 2015, at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. Gary was born Jan. 30, 1947, in Owensboro. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran, a member of Settle Memorial United Methodist Church and a retired insurance agent. An Owensboro High School graduate, Cavitt played on the 1964 OHS state baseball championship team. After high school, he graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he also played baseball.
Services are 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Settle Memorial United Methodist Church. Burial is in Owensboro Memorial Gardens with military honors. Visitation is from 2-8 p.m. Friday at James H. Davis Funeral Home and after 9 a.m. Saturday at the church. In lieu of flowers the family requests expression of sympathy take the form of donations to the Owensboro Independent Schools Foundation for Excellence, Margaret Cavitt Scholarship Fund, 450 Griffith Ave., Owensboro, KY 42301.(James H. Davis Funeral Home)(7-24-2015)
Sad News - Frances Brewer: Mrs. Frances Weaver Brewer, 93, of Winston-Salem, passed away Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at the Regency Care of Clemmons. She was born June 7, 1922 in Forsyth County to Esther Allred Weaver and Carlton Vaughn Weaver. Mrs. Brewer was a member of Trinity Moravian Church and retired from Duplan Corporation and Key Auto Parts. She was preceded in death by her husband, Elmo Leroy Brewer; one sister, Margaret Burns and two brothers, Roy and Allie Weaver. Surviving are one daughter, Susan Brewer (Tim)[former NASCAR crew chief and current TV analyst]; three sons, Larry Brewer (Judy), Tommy Brewer (Linda) and Harold Brewer (Lucy); five grandchildren, Christy, Scott, Pam, Lisa and Randy; four great grandchildren, Matthew, Jamie, Brittany and Sloan and numerous nieces and nephews. A funeral service will be held at 11:00am Thursday, July 23, 2015 at Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel with Pastor John Jackman officiating. Interment will follow in Salem Moravian Graveyard. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home. Services are under the direction of Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home.(7-21-2015)
Sad News - Duane Barnes: Longtime Michigan International Speedway employee Duane D. Barnes, who was involved in the bizarre jet-dryer crash during the 2012 Daytona 500, has died suddenly. Barnes, 55, of Addison passed away Tuesday at his home. He had worked at MIS for 27 years, where he was the chief jet dryer operator, fabricator and heavy equipment operator. During a caution flag in Daytona, driver Juan Pablo Montoya, who now drives in the Verizon IndyCar Series for Team Penske, spun into a pickup truck/jet dryer rig being operated by Barnes, who was on loan to Daytona International Speedway from MIS. The jet dryer, which held 200 gallons of jet fuel, was drying the track and blowing off debris during the caution. The force of the collision caused it, Barnes' truck and Montoya's car to explode into a fireball, bringing out a red flag with 40 laps remaining in the NASCAR Sprint Cup season-opening race. Both Montoya and Barnes managed to escape from their vehicles, and were taken to Daytona's infield medical center. Barnes later was transported to a nearby hospital. Neither was seriously injured, although both were shaken by the wreck. Barnes is survived by his wife, Barbara, two children and four stepchildren. Funeral services for Barnes will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Brown-Van Hemert Funeral Home in Addison.(Detroit Free Press)(7-17-2015)
Sad News - Mary Scott: The following is a brief statement from the NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley on the passing of Mary Scott. "On behalf of the entire NASCAR Hall of Fame team, I would like to offer our most sincere condolences to the entire Wendell Scott family on the passing of Mary Scott. Like many racing wives, Mary was not only the matriarch of the family but the foundation and rock of the family. She was a huge part of Wendell's life, his perseverance and the successes they shared together. She was so proud of Wendell and especially his selection into the NASCAR Hall of Fame for the Class of 2015. Mary will be deeply missed, but her memory and impact on so many will live on forever."(NASCAR Hall of Fame)(7-2-2015)
Sad News - Joan Farmer: Joan "Gram" Farmer passed away June 28, 2015. She was 84 years old. She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Charles "Red" Farmer. International Motorsports Hall of Fame member Red Farmer is a former NASCAR driver who still competes at the Talladega Short Track. Farmer, an Alabama Gang original, recently had shoulder surgery and is recovering. Farmer raced in 26 Sprint Cup Series races with two 4th place finishes as his best. See full obit and services info at al.com.(6-30-2015)
Sad News - Herb Adcox: Herbert Grant Adcox, 86, a prominent business owner and resident of Chattanooga, TN, died on Thursday, June 25, 2015 in a local hospital. Adcox operated car dealerships from 1949 until 2003. He served on the board of the National Automotive Dealers Association. Adcox also owned a NASCAR Sprint Cup team, fielding a car for 62 races from 1961 to 1989, mainly for his son, the late Grant Adcox, with a best finish of 5th in 1978 at Talladega.(full obituary at the Chattanoogan)(6-29-2015)
Sad News - William Haggard: William Howard Haggard, age 87, of Charlotte departed this life on June 23, 2015. Haggard was an active salesman for Class C Solutions, formerly KAR Products, for 53 years, serving many NASCAR teams, among other industries. He was a World War II Veteran having served on the USS Alabama and USS Yorktown, was a 32nd Degree Mason, a member of the Scottish Rite Bodies and Oasis Temple of the Shrine. (full obituary and service info at Charlotte Observer)(6-26-2015)
Sad News - Glen McDuffie: Glen Lester McDuffie, 78, of Sanford, passed away on June 17, 2015, at FirstHealth Hospice House in Pinehurst, NC. Born on April 6, 1937, in Moore County, he was a son of the late John and Ruby McDuffie. Glen owned and operated MacDuff's Cleaners for over 20 years. He also worked for Lee Paving Company for 15 years. Glen was a faithful member of Turner's Chapel and served as Past Deacon, Trustee, and on the Cemetery Committee. He was the Class President for 42 years of the Ed Wicker Bible Class and a teacher of that Sunday school class. He was also a race car driver from 1962-1983, making two starts in the Sprint Cup Series, both at Rockingham, one each in 1975 and 1976 with a best finish of 19th in 1975. He enjoyed many things in life, including dancing and playing cards every Wednesday night, but most of all being a devoted Duke fan for over 50 years. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
In addition to his parents, Glen was predeceased by one brother, NASCAR driver J.D. McDuffie Jr.
He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Helen Sineath McDuffie; four daughters, Kay M. Patterson, Freda M. Fulk and her husband Keith, Anita M. Napier and her husband Stephen, and Glenda M. Lassen and her husband Jerry; four grandchildren, Justin Glen Patterson and his wife Nikki, Joey Morrill, Ethan Fulk and Ashlyn Morrill; bonus grandchildren, Jessica Napier, Stephany Champy and Emma Lassen; one great-grandchild, Marly J. Patterson; and one bonus great-grandchild, Olive Champy.
A visitation will be held on Friday, June 19th from 6 until 8 p.m. at Miller-Boles Funeral Home in Sanford. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, June 20th at 11 a.m. at Turner's Chapel with burial following in the church cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Glen's memory to FirstHealth Hospice Foundation, 150 Applecross Road, Pinehurst, NC 28374.
Online condolences may be made at www.bolesfuneralhome.com. Miller-Boles Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Sanford is serving the family.(Sanford Herald)(6-20-2015)
Sad News - Jim Vandiver: Jim Vandiver, 75, of Huntersville died Thursday at a hospital in his native Charlotte, NC. He had been admitted Monday complaining of chest pains. The Vandivers made it to the big-time NASCAR tour for one race in 1968 and then appeared sporadically on it through 1983. Jim Vandiver compiled 85 starts on what now is the Sprint Cup circuit, posting five top-five finishes and 14 more in the top 10. His best finish, second, came in the inaugural Talladega 500 on Sept. 14, 1969, a date notorious in NASCAR history. The sanctioning body's top stars boycotted the event at the superfast 2.66-mile track, then known as Alabama International Motor Speedway, mainly out of concern that tires were unsafe for a scorching pace of almost 200 mph. Big Bill France, founder of both NASCAR and the facility now called Talladega Superspeedway, cobbled together a field of drivers and cars from other divisions and the show went on. Vandiver was among the drivers agreeing to race, taking over a Dodge fielded by Ray Fox. A funeral is scheduled at 4 p.m. Monday at Huntersville United Methodist Church with a viewing at 3:30. A reception is to follow at the Pearl Wedding and Events Center in Cornelius at 5:30. A private burial will be held at Northlake Memorial Gardens.(Charlotte Observer)(6-19-2015)
Services: The funeral will be held at 4 p.m. on Monday, June 22nd, at Jim's church of over 40 years, Huntersville United Methodist Church with a viewing at 3:30 p.m. Family and friends are invited to celebrate Jim's life, as he requested, with a party afterwards at The Pearl Wedding and Events Center in Cornelius at 5:30 p.m. A private burial will be held at Northlake Memorial Gardens. Memorials may be made to Huntersville United Methodist Church. James Funeral Home is serving the family. See full obituary at the Charlotte Observer.(6-20-2015)
Sad News - "Worth" Hollingsworth": Hollingsworth "Worth" McMillion, age 88, of Amelia, VA, passed from this life on June 5, 2015. McMillion was the first paid deputy in Amelia County and was a Navy Veteran of WWII, retired Special Agent with the ABC board and was a former NASCAR driver. "Worth" McMillion ran NASCAR Grand National (Sprint Cup) from 1962 to 1969. He amassed 18 top 10's in 62 starts with a best finish of 5th at Occoneechee Speedway on Sept. 15, 1968. He was preceded in death by his wife, Gloria, and son, Mac. His is survived by his sons, John (Vanessa) of Amelia, Va., and Scott (Susan) of Charlotte, N.C.; brother, Allen (Sarah) of Amelia; and sister, Kathleen Bohannon of Richmond; four grandchildren, Shelby, Zachary, Ryan and Ethan.(Hillsman-Hix Funeral Home)(6-8-2015)
Sad News - Jabe Thomas: Cerry Ezra (Jabe) Thomas born May 12, 1930 went home to be with the Lord , Thursday June 4, 2015. Thomas had a longstanding career in racing beginning in mid-1950's on the dirt tracks in Virginia. Driving a Ford Coupe, he was the 1958 track Champion at the dirt track at Radford Speedway, in Radford Virginia (now Motor Mile). In 1965, at the age of 35, Thomas started his racing NASCAR's Grand National Series, which later became known as the Winston Cup [and Sprint Cup] Series, in an ex Holman Moody 1964 Ford, making 322 starts with 77 top ten finishes in his career. Usually Thomas partnered with Roanoke Virginia's Don Robertson (Star City Body Shop) with crew chief Jimmy Cox preparing the cars.
In 1968 and 1969, Jabe purchased Petty Enterprises Plymouths, several years later they were re-bodied with Dodge Charger sheet metal. Between 1968 and 1973, Jabe finished in the top twelve national points each year, with a 6th place ranking in 1971. Always a fun loving driver, Jabe never hesitated to allow others to drive his car. In 1970, two of Richard Petty's 200 career wins came in Jabe's Plymouth. Others to drive Jabe's cars included Ned Jarrett, Bobby Allison, Wendell Scott, Cale Yarbrough, Charlie Glotzbach and Pedro Rodriques. Being one of the sports more outgoing Independent drivers Jabe always enjoyed meeting the fans and was known to many as the Clown Prince of Racing.
In 1977 Jabe passed the torch to his son Ronnie. In 1978 Jabe was the backbone and support of the team, which helped achieve Ronnie's and Jabe's goal of winning Rookie of the Year honors. Jabe was always coaching on the headset, giving lap times and looking for the best lane to pass and other times being the rear view mirror. Jabe held a major role in their 1990 Late Model Stock Car Championship at the New River Valley Speedway, wins at Martinsville Speedway and North Wilkesboro Speedway.
On October 17, 2010 Jabe was inducted into the Memory Lane Racers Reunion Hall Of Fame in Mooresville, NC, along with Ned Jarrett, Bobby Allison, Rex White, Louise Smith, Earl Brooks and Charlie Glotzbach.
Services: Family will receive Family and friends Monday June 8, 2015 beginning at 11:00 AM until 1:00 PM with service following immediately after at the Harbor of Hope Pentecostal Holiness Church in Christiansburg, Virginia, located off Interstate 81 ex 118. Service will be conducted by Rev. Richard Kingrea and Rev. Leon Alley. Interment will follow at Sunset Cemetery in Christiansburg, where he will be laid to rest. Full Obituary and online condolences may be left at hornefuneralservice.com.(6-5-2015)
Sad News - Jimmy Cox: Mr. Jimmy Ray Cox, 80, of Concord passed away Wednesday, May 13, 2015. He was born Jan. 28, 1935, in Cabarrus County to the late Clarence and Margie Whitley Cox. He was a 1955 graduate of Winecoff High School. He was retired from NASCAR and was with Hendrick Motorsports. He served with the U.S. Navy. He was an avid classic car enthusiast and attended many car shows. He was a member of Eastside Baptist Church. Mr. Cox is survived by his wife of 39 years; Earlene Martin Cox; two sons, Clint Cox, David Cox (Carrie) all of Kannapolis; one daughter, Rae Ann Stirewalt (Mike)of Concord; five grandchildren, Amber Burris, Andrew Cox, Laura Stirewalt, Jon Stirewalt, Garrett Cox; one brother, Boyd Cox ("Vallie") of Ocala, Fla.; and numerous nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends Friday May 15, at Whitley's Funeral Home from 6 to 8 p.m. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 16, at Whitley's Funeral Home Annex Chapel, with the Revs. Bill Perkins and Rex Burleson officiating. Inurnment will follow at Carolina Memorial Park in Kannapolis. Memorials may be made to the Nazareth Children's Home, 725 Cresent Rd., Rockwell, NC 28138. Online condolences may be left at www.whitleysfuneralhome.com.(5-15-2015)
Sad News - Danny" James Taylor: Mr. James Daniel "Danny" Taylor age 68 passed away Tuesday April 28, 2015 at Kindred Hospital in Greensboro, NC. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held Wednesday May 6, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Danny was born February 25, 1947 in Watertown, NY, son of the late James Daniels Taylor and Lucille Hance Taylor. He had called North Carolina home for over 30 years. He was employed with the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a job he truly loved. The tracks, race teams, people and anything to do with NASCAR was in his blood. You could find him hanging around outside just talking to everybody. He also enjoyed hunting during the season. Danny was a "one of a kind" person and he will truly be missed by his family and friends. Those left to cherish his memory are his loving wife, Dianne Threadgill Taylor; daughters, Kristine Schara of Spring Lake, NC and Kelly Rhoades of Kansas City, MO; son, Shane Baxter of Hammond, NY; 6 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild; sister, Peggy Smith of Brownville, NY; brother, Bob Taylor of Three Mile Bay, NY; his Threadgill family and a host of other relatives and friends. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Speedway Children's Charities 5555 Concord Parkway S. Suite 408, Concord, NC 28027 or Victory Junction, 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317, or to a charity of your choice.(5-8-2015)
Sad News - Wayne Stemler: Wayne Alfred Stemler, 63, of Concord passed away on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at his home. He was born July 9, 1951 in Philadelphia, PA., the son of Pearl Stemler of Concord and the late Alfred Stemler. Wayne was employed with Hendrick Motorsports for 29 years in the accounting department. He was a veteran of the US Air Force. He loved the outdoors, mountain climbing, hiking, cruising and all sorts of donkey fun.
Funeral services will be held at 3:00 PM Sunday, May 3, 2015 at Whitley's Funeral Home Chapel officiated by Rev. Larry Moore. The family will receive friends from 1 to 3 PM prior at Whitley's. In addition to his mother, he is survived by his wife, Barbara W. Stemler, daughter, Carolena Barringer (Brad), son, Michael Stemler (Heather), grandchildren, Ava and Julia Barringer, and a sister, Gail Ackerman (Steve). Since adoption was near and dear to Wayne and Barb's heart, in lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, 716 Mt. Airyshire Blvd., Suite 100 Columbus, OH 43235. Online condolences may be left at www.whitleysfuneralhome.com.(4-30-2015)
Sad News - Carl Lawrence: Lawrence Bermuda Run Daniel Carl "D.C." Lawrence 02/02/1936 - 04/22/2015 Mr. Daniel Carl "D.C." Lawrence, 79, of Bermuda Run, NC, passed away on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home. Lawrence began working in the building business in 1955 and attained his Unlimited General Contractor License. He was instrumental in developing and building of Rollingreen, Nestleway Acres, Westley Forest, Parkfield Lane, Arden Circle, Country Cove and others. Some of the buildings D.C. built were Clemmons Village Shopping Center, Clemmons Village Apartments, Village Inn and Conference Center (formerly Ramada Inn and Windjammer), an addition to Clemmons First Baptist Church and other buildings around Clemmons and in Winston-Salem. D.C. and his wife, Sue owned and operated the Ramada Inn in Clemmons. Mr. Lawrence was a long-time member of Clemmons First Baptist Church where he was an ordained Deacon and served on several committees. He served as President of the Winston-Salem Home Builders Association and both Secretary and state director of the North Carolina Home Builders Association. Lawrence was the father of Danny Lawrence, who works for ECR Engines / Richard Childress Racing. Funeral services for Mr. Lawrence will be at 2:00 pm on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at Clemmons First Baptist Church with Dr. Robby Phillips officiating. Interment will follow at Westlawn Gardens of Memory. The family will receive friends from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm on Friday at Hayworth-Miller Kinderton Chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Memory Assessment Clinic Counseling Center, Attn.: Development Alumni Affairs Office of WFUHS, P.O. Box 571021, Winston-Salem, NC 27157. Online condolences may be made at www.hayworth-miller.com.(4-24-2015)
Sad News - Marvin Ragan: Marvin V. Ragan, age 72, of Unadilla died Tuesday, April 21 from complications of Acute Myeloid Leukemia after being diagnosed with the disease in November, 2012. Mr. Ragan was born and reared in Henderson and lived in Unadilla the past 41 years. Mr. Ragan served honorably in the US Navy including 3 tours of duty in the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal with 2 bronze stars, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, the Navy Excellence (E) Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and he proudly wore his Navy Flight Wings with over 700 hours of flight time while serving in Vietnam.
He was an avid NASCAR fan and racing participant, having started racing in 1966 and periodically owned and drove race cars for over 30 years, driving his last race in Savannah in 2010.; He owned a NASCAR Winston Cup team for over 10 years in the 1980's and early 1990's and was a partner in the Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele for the past 10 years.
Service info and full obituary at the Brannen-NeSmith Funeral Home website.
His son Brett Ragan currently works for Roush Fenway Racing. His brother Ken Ragan, drove in 50 Sprint Cup Series races, mostly for his brother Marvin. And his nephew, David Ragan, currently drives for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, subbing for Kyle Busch in the #18 Toyota.(4-22-2015)
Sad News - Robert Harrington: Robert Louis (Boobie) Harrington, age 72, passed away on Monday, April 20, 2015 at his home. He was born November 19, 1942 in Union County, NC, son of the late Robert Lee Harrington and Mary Cooper Harrington. In earlier years, Boobie was a body man for the former Beasley-Cross Chevrolet Company and raced the local dirt tracks at that time. Later, he entered NASCAR racing with K & K Insurance, then J.D. Stacy Racing, and had also served as a crew chief for various drivers over the years. In the 1990's he became a car owner and started a wheel service business for many NASCAR teams. Boobie was also a member of Canaan Baptist Church, Salisbury, NC and was active in setting up several local Gospel singings. The funeral service will be held at 2:00pm Thursday, April 23, 2015 at Homestead Baptist Church, Kannapolis, NC officiated by Rev. Bruce Graham and Rev. Johnny (Buck) Canup. Entombment will follow at Carolina Memorial Park Plaza Mausoleum, Kannapolis, NC. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:0pm Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at Whitley's Funeral Home. Survivors include his wife of fifty years, Carolyn Aycock Harrington; one daughter, Crystal H. Barringer of China Grove, NC; two grandchildren, Chase Barringer and Kody Barringer of China Grove, NC; one brother, Charles Harrington & wife, Gail of Kannapolis, NC; and three sisters, Barbara Durham and Nancy Clark, both of Kannapolis, NC; and Dee Bost & husband, Dan of China Grove, NC. Memorials may be made to Canaan Baptist Church, 785 Barringer Street, Salisbury, NC 28146. On-line condolences may be left at www.whitleysfuneralhome.com.(4-22-2015)
Steve Byrnes remembered at memorial service: The late Steve Byrnes was eulogized in a memorial service Tuesday [April 28th] at Calvary Church in Charlotte, NC, where more than 500 mourners gathered to remember the longtime FOX Sports broadcaster, who passed away April 21 after a lengthy fight with cancer.(FoxSports)(4-29-2015)
Sad News - Steve Byrnes; Memorial and Services information: Mr. Steven Patrick Byrnes, age 56, of Fort Mill, S.C., went to be with the Lord on April 21, 2015.
Surviving are his wife of 22 years, Karen Byrnes; son Bryson, 12, a sixth grader at Charlotte Christian School; parents Jerry and Claire Byrnes of Charlotte; sister Betsy Byrnes of Charlotte; brother Dan Byrnes and wife Tammy of Charlotte; nephews Tyler, 21, and Dylan Byrnes, 17; and niece Samantha Byrnes, 13, of Charlotte.
Steve was born April 14, 1959, in Chicago, and was raised in New Carrollton, Md. He attended Church of Christ at Gold Hill Road, was a 1981 graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in Radio, Television and Film, and played football for one year at James Madison University before transferring to the University of Maryland.
Steve enjoyed a successful and highly respected television broadcasting career for 30 years. He joined the FOX Sports family in 2001, hosting and reporting for multiple NASCAR programs and serving as a pit road reporter for NASCAR on FOX's broadcast of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races from 2001-2014. Most recently, he was the play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports 1 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and was co-host of NASCAR Race Hub for the network.
Prior to joining FOX, Steve also hosted Darrell Waltrip's Racers on TNN, worked as a pit road reporter for CBS, WTBS and TNN, and hosted a variety of NASCAR programs for The History Channel and TNN, for which he moved to Charlotte in 1985 and remained in the area ever since. His first on-air job was at WCIV-TV in Charleston, S.C., in 1982, after commencing his television career as weekend sports producer at WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., immediately following graduation from college. Steve also called play-by-play for a Carolina Panthers/Minnesota Vikings NFL game on FOX and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for DirecTV Hot Pass.
Despite all his career accolades, Steve's greatest accomplishment was his son, Bryson, who is growing into a more Godly, compassionate and respectable young man every day. Steve's passion was spending every moment possible with Bryson, especially watching him play football and basketball and helping prepare him to play for the Charlotte Christian School football team as a seventh grader in the 2015-'16 school year. The other light of his life was Karen, with whom his relationship extended well beyond that of a spouse. The two were inseparable since meeting in 1988 while she was the public relations representative for Benny Parsons in his last season as a NASCAR driver.
Attending Appalachian State University football games was one of the family's favorite activities, in addition to cheering for the University of Maryland's football and basketball teams; the Washington Redskins; the Carolina Panthers; following NASCAR; and watching nephews Tyler and Dylan play baseball. Steve also delighted in gardening, travel with his family, photographing sports, nature and sunsets.
In addition to being a wonderful, loving and Godly husband, father, son and brother, Steve was an excellent friend, colleague and mentor to all who knew and loved him. His indelible impact extended even to the millions of television viewers who watched him every week over the years, as evidenced by the outpouring of public support he received following his cancer diagnosis in August 2013. Steve became a tangible example of strength, courage and fortitude to all who witnessed his battle with cancer and his personal crusade to spend as many days as possible with Karen and Bryson. He was honored to be designated as the keynote speaker at the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life on June 7, 2014, in Charlotte, where he shared the inspiring story of his battle with hundreds of cancer survivors, caregivers and families during the Luminaria Ceremony that evening.
A public figure who always made time for others and made strangers feel like longtime and valued friends, Steve took particular solace in his private life with his family. He was always smiling, supportive, selfless and loving. Upon his original diagnosis, Steve quickly found the positive in the situation and put his entire focus into his treatments, simultaneously vowing not to miss a single moment with his son. His motto and daily inspiration became "Be present" in every moment of his family's lives. Now Steve is present with the Lord, and until we see him again, he is present in our hearts and memories forever.
Steve, we give you back to the Lord with eternal love and great appreciation for His gift of you to us. We love you.
Funeral services are pending.(Fox Sports)
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Steve's honor to any of the following:
Church of Christ at Gold Hill Road, 1055 Gold Hill Road, Fort Mill, SC 29708
Charlotte Christian School, 7301 Sardis Road, Charlotte, NC 28270
NASCAR Foundation, One Daytona Blvd., 6th Floor, Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Charlotte Christian School - Byrnes Fund
Attn: Barry Giller
7301 Sardis Road, Charlotte, NC 28270
The family will receive visitors Monday, April 27, from 6-8:30 p.m. at Calvary Church at 5801 Pineville-Matthews Road in Charlotte, N.C. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28 at Calvary Church with visitation immediately following. Palmetto Funeral Home in Fort Mill is assisting the family..(4-21/22-2015)
NASCAR Statement on Steve Byrnes: "NASCAR extends its condolences to the many friends, FOX Sports colleagues and family of Steve Byrnes. Whether you had the privilege of knowing him or if you watched him on television for the last three decades, Steve's work ethic and authenticity made him a beloved individual inside and outside the garage. His level of professionalism was matched only by the warmth he showed everyone he met. He battled cancer with tenacity, and was a true inspiration to everyone in the NASCAR family. Simply stated, we'll miss Steve dearly. Our thoughts are especially with his wife Karen and son Bryson during this difficult time." - NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France(NASCAR)(4-21-2015)
Sad News - Poncho Myers: Richard "Bob" "Poncho" Myers, 65, of Highland Ter., Titusville, FL, died Thursday, April 16, 2015, at his home. Myers was born February 22, 1950, in Winston Salem, NC to NASCAR pioneer Bobby Harris Myers and Laura Lorene Younts. For over 30 years, Myers worked for Boeing/ULA. Surviving are his wife Judy Johnson Myers of the home; daughter Tracy Myers of Daytona; son Robert Myers of the home; grandchildren Hannah Myers and Jordan Snowden of Daytona; Brother Danny "Chocolate" Myers (RCR) and his wife Caron of Lexington, NC; brother-in-law James Johnson and Raymond Johnson of Titusville; sisters-in-law Beverly and her husband Charles, and Lisa Johnson of Titusville; Nieces Chrissy Johnson and Stacy Johnson of Titusville and Alexi Myers of Lexington, NC; and his beloved dog Sugar. Myers loved fishing, racing-especially the Richard Childress racing teams-his family and his church.(northbrevardfuneralhome.com)(4-17-2015)
Sad News - Earl Baltes: Earl Baltes, the founder and longtime promoter of Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, passed away this morning at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. He was 93. He is survived by Berneice, his wife of 67 years; daughter, Starr, and her husband, Joe Schmitmeyer; son, Terry, and his wife, Dee; beloved sister, Susie Barga, and six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Baltes built Eldora in 1954, first as a quarter-mile before shaping the track into its popular high-banked, half-mile oval configuration in 1958. Since then, it has become the premier dirt track in the United States. Under Baltes, the facility began hosting the highly successful Famous World 100 for Dirt Late Models, now the largest dirt race in the world, and the Dirt Late Model Dream, the richest dirt late model race in the world. A fan of sprint car racing, Baltes took great pride in his fabled Kings Royal Weekend for World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and many United States Auto Club (USAC) events, including the Four Crown Nationals. Races at Eldora were shown on ABC's "Wide World of Sports" with Keith Jackson and Al Michaels as broadcasters. ESPN, CBS and TNN also televised events that helped put Eldora on the map. Despite the track's growing popularity, Baltes kept ticket prices affordable and concessions costs low, which continued to attract fans from around the world. In 2001, Baltes posted a remarkable $1 million payout to the winner of the "Eldora Million" Dirt Late Model race and followed that with the "Mopar Million" in 2003, which had a purse of $1 million and paid $200,000 to the winner of a non-winged sprint car race. He was inducted into many Halls of Fame, including National Sprint Car, National Dirt Late Model, USAC, Dayton Auto Racing Fans and Hoosier Auto Racing Fans, and was named USAC Race Organizer of the Year in 1984 and 1997. He was named Auto Racing Promoter of the Year in 1993, and fellow iconic promoter H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler recognized him with the Charlotte Motor Speedway Promoter of the Year Award in 2001. The state of Ohio named Route 118 "Earl Baltes Highway" from Ansonia to the south to St. Henry to the north. In 2004, Baltes began to think about selling Eldora. Despite several suitors, he reached out to a driver whose style he had always admired, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion and former Eldora driver Tony Stewart. The sale was completed in the fall of 2004.(Eldora Speedway)(3-23-2015)
Services: The family will receive friends from 2-8 pm (EDT) on Friday, March 27 at the Oliver-Floyd Funeral Home, 1000 N. Broadway St., in Greenville, Ohio. A mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 am, on Saturday, March 28 at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Burkettsville, Ohio. Father Tom Hemm will lead the celebration. Baltes, who was a United States Army Solider during World War II, will be buried with full military honors in the St. Bernard Catholic Church Cemetery following mass. In lieu of flowers, the Baltes family requests that memorial contributions be given to the American Heart Association.(3-24-2015)
Sad News - Tim Attaya, Sr: Timothy A. Attaya, Sr., 75, died peacefully March 5, 2015 at Maine General Medical Center with his loving daughter, Debbie, by his side. He was born August 21, 1939 in Waterville, the son of Thomas Jackson and Frances Priscilla (Sibley) Attaya. He was educated in local area schools and graduated from Waterville High School in 1957. He was employed by S.D. Warren Paper Company as a bio-mass operator from 1965 to 1998 and also owned and operated All Seasons Motor Sports Show every January at the Augusta Civic Center from 1987 to 2009. Tim was president of the Maine Chapter for Richard Petty Fan Club from 1977 to 1985 and was vice president of the United Paperworker's International Union for most of the 1970s. He enjoyed NASCAR, auto racing, and he started his affinity for racing with promoter position at Unity Raceway, Unity,ME, from 1979-1982 and later at Beech-Ridge Speedway in Scarborough from 1983 to 1985. After retirement, he attended Daytona 500 and never missed a race on TV. At Timothy's Sr. request there will be no funeral or visitation hours. Graveside service in the spring at the convenience of the family. Arrangements under the care and direction of Dan & Scott's Cremation & Funeral Service, 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan, Maine 04976.(Daily Bulldog)(3-14-2015)
Sad News - Ron Lemasters Sr.: Ron Lemasters Sr., a longtime contributor to National Speed Sport News, passed away March 9 at Ball Memorial Hospital, Muncie, IN after a sudden illness. He was 76. Lemasters, former sports editor at The Muncie (Ind.) Star, began his stint with NSSN in the 1970s, writing copy from Winchester (Ind.) Speedway and other races in the area. Later, he covered the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and other major motorsports events for the paper, and penned news stories from the area. Lemasters spent his childhood near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and loved open-wheel racing his whole life. A member of the Indianapolis 500 Old Timers Association, Lemasters was an integral part of the News Bureau at IMS for the past 17 years. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Joyce Lemasters; sons Ron Lemasters Jr. (Chris) of Concord, N.C.; Mike Lemasters (Christy) of Boulder City, Nev.; five grandchildren; and brother Frank LeMasters, Brunswick, Ga. Lemasters served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, including two tours of the Western Pacific.
He was named sports editor of Muncie's morning newspaper in 1982, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1999. Lemasters was inducted into the Delaware County Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989, and was twice voted Sportswriter of the Year by the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. He was also named to that organization's Hall of Fame in 2001. He was inducted into the Mid-American Conference Media Hall of Fame for his coverage of Ball State athletics. Burial is set for Thursday in Muncie.(Muncie Star-Press / National Speed Sport News)(3-11-2015)
Sad News - Brian Hilderbrand: Brian Hilderbrand was an outstanding auto racing writer, and before that he was an outstanding baseball writer. Before that he was the best man at my wedding. Know this: The man could throw a hell of a bachelor party. I saw Brian at the speedway on Jan. 19 when some of the NASCAR drivers were in town to test tires and work on their setups. He asked if he could borrow my truck. He wanted to haul some stuff to the dump. Sure, I said. Let's do it on a weekend. I'll go with you. I think there's a bar just around the corner from the waste disposal station. The next time I saw him was Jan. 27. It wasn't a weekend. It was a Tuesday morning. Paramedics were carrying Brian from his home on a gurney. He had suffered a massive stroke. Brian Hilderbrand died Wednesday. He was 55 years old.(see full article at the Las Vegas Review Journal)(3-7-2015)
Sad News - Thee Dixon: Thee Carlin Dixon, of Durham, NC, the first African American team owner in NASCAR, passed away on Feb. 20, 2015. He was 76 years old. In 1989, he fielded his first Winston Cup entry, under the banner of Mansion Racing, with Mike Potter driving. In 1990, Dixon attempted two races with Mike Skinner. Carl Long and Dixon made three of an attempted twelve starts in 2001 and one of five in 2002. Dixon didn't field another Cup car after. His best Cup finish was 28th in the 1992 AC Delco 500 at Rockingham with Skinner (Frontstretch). Funeral arrangements at hwdfuneral.com.(2-25-2015)
NASCAR Statement on the Passing of Thee Dixon: "NASCAR extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Thee Dixon, a passionate team owner whose love for racing fueled his unmatched positive spirit. Dixon was one of NASCAR's early African-American team owners, fielding teams in NASCAR's Sportsman Series, Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from the late 1980s through the turn of the century. He was universally admired by all who knew him, a friendly presence on pit road and in garages throughout the series, and his dedication to the sport will forever serve as an example for the NASCAR family."(2-27-2015)
Sad News - Michael Colabucci Sr.: On Monday, February 23, 2015, Michael Anthony Colabucci Sr., passed from this world. Born to Lawrence and Angela "Tootsie" Colabucci on December 16th, 1962 in Washington, D.C., Mike attended Frederick Douglass High School. He was the beloved husband of Maureen; father of Mike Colabucci, Jr.; and survived by one granddaughter; brother of Brian, Kevin, Patrick, Lauren and Lesley. He also loved his 2 dogs, Toby and Bucci. Michael worked for 3 decades in the automotive business as a salesman, manager, general manager and dealer. He spent the majority of his career with Lustine Chevrolet in Hyattsville, MD and most recently in Waldorf, MD. He loved automobiles and in his younger days raced motorcycles, stock cars and competed in the NACAR Craftsman Truck Series. Family and friends are invited to Mike's Life Celebration on Friday, February 27 from 9:30am until a Mass of Christian Burial is offered at 11:00am at The Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 11704 Duley Station Rd., Upper Marlboro, MD. Interment will follow at Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions my be made to Little Sisters of the Poor, Jeanne Jugan Residence, 4200 Harwood Rd., N.E., Washington, DC or to Servants of the Lord, 1714 Crain Highway, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774.(2-25-2015)
Sad News - Dane Miller: Dane Miller, a biomedical engineer and entrepreneur sometimes known as "Mr. Biomet," died today, company officials confirmed. Miller, one of four founders of Biomet Inc., was CEO of the Warsaw [Indiana]-based orthopedic devices manufacturer from its founding in 1977 until 2006.(Journal Gazette), Miller was the husband of Mary Louise Miller, co-owner of the former #70 ML Motorsports XFINITY team.(2-11-2015)
Sad news - Evans Norris: Evans Norris, age 76, father of JR Norris the 2006 NASCAR All Pro Series/Southeast Series Champion and current Truck Chief on the #54 Kyle Busch Motorsports team, passed away on Sunday, February 1, 2014 in Hueytown, Alabama. Evans was a former Wheelen All American Series driver in the Hobby Class picking up two championships in 1964 and 1965 and was very instrumental in his son's NASCAR career.A viewing is set for Wednesday, February 4 from 5-7:00pm at Peoples Funeral Home in Hueytown, AL with the funeral Thursday, February 5, 2015 at St Stanislaus Catholic Church in Wylam, AL. In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations be made to the Kyle Busch Foundation or the Victory Junction Gang in memory of Evans Norris. The Kyle Busch Foundation 351 Mazeppa Rd. Mooresville, NC 28115. Victory Junction 4500 Adams Way Randleman, NC 27317.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(2-4-2015)
Sad News - Mike Thomas: Michael Jay Thomas, 58 of Jackson, Georgia left this earth on February 1, 2015. He was born on May 4, 1956 in East Point, GA. He worked at Delta Airlines for 32 years, retiring in 2008 having never called in sick. In the 80's he joined NASCAR working for Bill Elliott and later Richard Childress Racing with driver Dale Earnhardt, Sr. In 1996, he began working with Kawasaki doing demo shows all across the country. Mike's favorite place to be was at home on the lake surrounded by family and friends. He is survived by his wife, Leacheal Thomas; father and stepmother, Jay and Jean Thomas; mother and stepfather Karen and Bill Grubbs; sister and brother in law, Kaye and Rodney Dill; and several nieces, nephews and in laws that loved and adored him. Visitation and services will be at Conner-Westbury Funeral Home Monday 6-8pm and Tuesday at 1pm led by Pastor David Ables. Interment will follow at Brooks Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Mike Thomas Memorial Fund . Please join the family in honoring the life of Michael Thomas by visiting conner-westburyfuneralhome.com and posting your tributes and memories. Conner-Westbury Funeral Home, 1891 W. McIntosh Road, Griffin is in charge of arrangements.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(2-2-2015)
Sad News - Howard Thomas: Howard Monroe Thomas Jr., 85, of Asheboro died Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, at Clapp's Convalescent Nursing Home in Asheboro, NC Born on Jan. 11, 1930, in Randolph County, Mr. Thomas was the son of the late Howard Monroe Thomas Sr. and Bertie Victoria Coble Langley. He was formerly the co-owner and manager of Thomas Brothers Country Ham for 53 years. During his time at Thomas Brothers Ham, they sponsored a NASCAR late model car. (NOTE: Howard was a car owner in the Busch Series from 1982-1988 with drivers Sam Ard, Jimmy Hensley, Brett Bodine winning 27 times in 201 races). Mr. Thomas served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. In addition to his parents, Mr. Thomas was preceded in death by his wife, Clara Pearman Thomas. Surviving are his daughter, Brenda Phillips and husband Robert of Asheboro; son, Don M. Thomas of Asheboro; sisters, Gaynelle Yow and Louise Routh, both of Liberty; brothers, H. Dean Millikan, Jim Millikan and Charles "Bud" Thomas, all of Asheboro; stepbrother, Ronnie Kirkman of Liberty; and grandchild, Travis Thomas Phillips. Memorials contributions may be made to Hospice of Randolph, P.O. Box 9, Asheboro, NC 27204. Condolences may be made online at www.ridgefuneral home.com.(Courier Tribune)(2-2-2015)
Sad News - Jason Anderson: Dover International Speedway is mourning the loss of a dedicated employee who died yesterday from injuries sustained during a multi-vehicle collision on I-476 in Broomall, Pa. Jason Anderson, 33, senior director of ticket sales and operations for Dover International Speedway, died in the accident. Jason was a dedicated husband, father, employee and friend. He will be greatly missed. Anderson was a member of the Dover Motorsports, Inc. team for six years, and moved to Dover, Del. after operations were ceased at Memphis Motorsports Park. He worked at the New Orleans Saints prior to joining the Dover team. He was a proud Syracuse University graduate and recently received his master's degree in Sports Management from Ohio University. Memorial services will be announced when more information is available.(Dover Speedway)(1-19-2015)
Sad News - Edward Doebler: Edward John Doebler, father of Richard Petty Motorsports fabricator and body hanger Kevin Doebler, passed away in a motor vehicle accident near his home in Troutman, NC the evening of Tuesday, January 13, 2015. He was 62. Ed retired from IBM in Endicott, NY after over 30 years of service. He was a racer who had feature wins at the former Shangri-La Speedway in Owego, NY where he was nicknamed "The Leadfoot". While maintaining his full time job Ed assisted among others Alan Kulwicki Racing, Jimmy Means Racing and Brett Bodine Racing as a tire specialist, jackman, tire changer even crew chief when the series shifted to the northern tracks. Ed was a family man who is survived by his wife of 39 years, Patricia Doebler; his mother, Dorothy Doebler of Binghamton, NY; two sons, Joseph Doebler and Kevin Doebler both of Mooresville, NC, and his daughter, Kristi Doebler of Wilmington, NC. He was preceded in death by his Father, Richard Doebler. Celebrations of life will be held in Ed's honor on Monday, January 19 in Mooresville, NC at the Wingate Hotel from 6:30-8:30pm and on Thursday, January 22 in Binghamton, NY at American Legion Post 1194 from 6:00-8:00pm. In lieu of flowers please donate to your local Humane Society or favorite children's charity.(1-18-2015)
Sad News - Ray Williams: Ray Williams, father of veteran motorsports writer Deb Williams, passed away Tuesday at his Canton, N.C., home where he was born after a gallant 1 ½ year battle with prostate cancer. He was 91. A World War II veteran, he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps for three years before returning to his hometown where he spent 45 years as a machinist at Champion Paper and Fiber Co., which became International Paper. A man whose family was always first in his life and his heart, he is survived by his wife of 72 years, Christine "Cricket" Scroggs Williams; two daughters, Gail Williams O'Brien and her husband Tony La Vopa of Raleigh, N.C., and Deb Williams of Concord, N.C.; a granddaughter, Kelly Christina O'Brien of Albany, Calif.; and several loving nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Alvers Joshua Williams and Bertha Winchester Williams, and a brother, Earl Williams Sr. Crawford/Ray Funeral Home in Canton is handling the arrangements.(1-15-2015)
Sad News - "Dusty" Jones: Henry Clay "Dusty" Jones Jr., who died Wednesday [Jan 7th] at 90 in a local hospital, was a NASCAR man and Richmond's "sand man." After returning from World War II Navy service in the South Pacific, he and Wesley C. "Junie" Donlavey Jr. teamed up to build Modified Stock Cars in Donlavey's Midlothian shop and raced them all over Virginia. Mr. Jones' car, a 1939 Ford Coupe that he ran until 1952, was car number 91, and Donlavey's car was number 90. "One of his main claims to fame was that when he built the number 91 car, he beat Junie the first five times they raced," said Joe Kelly, radio co-host with his wife, Ruth, of "Let's Talk Racing." Some of Mr. Jones' drivers included Emanuel "The Greek" Zervakis and Ernest L. "Sonny" Hutchins. Mr. Jones left racing as an owner-driver in the early 1950s to take over the trucking business of his father, who had died, and to take care of his mother. He converted the business into H.C. Jones Sand & Gravel, which sold sandbox sand to Richmond schools and day cares, as well as to individuals. He became Richmond's "sand man" because no one else was doing it, according to Jean Green Jones, his wife since 1953. "You could buy a cup, or you could buy a bag of sand," she remembered. However, the racing bug never left him. He began a secondary career with NASCAR in 1952 as a flagman starter and worked races from Daytona on up the East Coast. Mr. Jones served as chief steward - the ranking NASCAR representative - at local speedways for 25 years, Kelly said. He was chief steward at Southside Speedway from 1974 until the end of the 1985 season, as well as for one year at Beltsville Speedway in Beltsville, Md., and at South Boston Speedway in South Boston. In 1975, he also became a Winston Cup technical inspector. "He inspected engines in cars before and after races to make sure they were legal," Kelly said. He had officiated at venues including Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas and Langley Speedway in Hampton and was an official at all racing events in Richmond until the late 1980s, Kelly said. Mr. Jones retired in 2000 when he was diagnosed with cancer and his health began to decline. See the obituary at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.(1-12-2015)
Sad News: #42-Kyle Larson's grandmother passed away on Tuesday, December 30th. From Kyle Larson's Twitter: "RIP Grandma Patty. I know you missed Grandpa and couldn't wait to be with him again in heaven. I love you guys!" )(1-5-2015)
Sad News - Valerie Shaak: Doug Shaak, former Melling Racing (w/Bill Elliott), Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing machinist, tire changer and mechanic lost his daughter Valerie to a automobile accident Friday night. Valerie worked as a hostess at Olive Garden. At 11:22pm/et, authorities said a moped driven by Phillip Brice Black, 19, was rear-ended by a 2011 Infiniti driven by Robert John Leahy, 46, in the 10000 block of Old Statesville Road in Charlotte. The moped was lodged in the front of the car and Black was thrown from the moped along with Valerie Shaak, 22, who was a passenger. Shaak was pronounced dead at the scene and Black was taken to Carolinas Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, police said.(full article on accident at the Charlotte Observer.
See the obituary at the Charlotte Obsever for info on services and condolences.(12-23-2014)
Sad News - Ted Proctor: Ted Wilson Proctor, 76, of Terrell, NC, died unexpectedly Friday, December 5, 2014 at Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC. Born September 16, 1938 in Hickory, he was the son of the late Burlie Michael Proctor and Pauline Wilson Proctor. Mr. Proctor graduated from Lenoir Rhyne College, Hickory and was a veteran of the US Air Force serving in Korea.
He is the retired former President and part-owner of Piedmont Distributors, Salisbury and part-owner of Proctor Wholesale, Hickory. He was an avid race fan and for the past 15 years has been working for NASCAR. Mr. Proctor was a member of the Masonic Lodge and Shriners, Salisbury Elks Lodge #699, American Legion Post #342 and the Hudson- Miller-Tatum, VFW Post 3006.
Those left to cherish his memory are his wife, Billie Jean Everhardt Baker Proctor; sons, Douglas T. Proctor and wife Julie of Salisbury and Jeffrey K. Proctor and wife Kristi of Salisbury; step-daughters, Tricia J. Sellers of Salisbury and Sherry Y. Goodman of Salisbury: brother, Dean Proctor and wife Brenda of Hickory; sister, Rebecca "Becky" Proctor Ward and husband Rick of Hickory; grandchildren, Candice Proctor of Salisbury, Brittany P. Adams and husband Spencer of Salisbury, Hobie Proctor of Salisbury, Payton Proctor of Salisbury; step-grandchild, Raven Blevins of Salisbury; great-grandchild, Piper Adams of Salisbury.
The family will receive friends from 5-6 PM Monday (Dec. 8) at the Summersett Funeral Home followed by a Memorial Service at 6 PM at Summersett Memorial Chapel with the Rev. Carroll Robinson, officiating. Memorials may be made to Hudson-Miller-Tatum VFW Post 3006, 1200 Brenner Ave., Salisbury, NC 28144.(Summersett Funeral Home)(12-7-2014)
Sad News - Bill Bigley Sr.: Bill Bigley, Sr., 74, Naples, FL, passed away peacefully at home on November 28, 2014. Online condolences may be made at the Fuller Funeral Home website: www.fullernaples.com.
AND Stock car racing was in Bill Bigley Sr.'s tank. It was a passion he passed on to his son and his grandsons. He was the ex-driver, track owner and workaholic who just couldn't get enough of the ovals. At the big tracks - or little ones like the Collier County Speedway he operated for a dozen years on Radio Road east of Naples - Bigley put the family name in many a winner's circle when others would have parked the hauler and given up. The elder Bigley, the patriarch of the Pen Air Conditioning business he started in 1982, unexpectedly passed away in his sleep on Nov. 28. "He was 74 and a lot of people would ask him why he hadn't retired," Billy Bigley Jr. said. "He always told them that if he retired, he wouldn't be able to keep doing the things he loved doing. A lot of had to do with racing. It's expensive. But I really don't remember a day that he didn't love coming to work. He loved every minute of it." To be sure, Bill Sr. didn't muster the racing career Billy has enjoyed - and still does. Back in the day, Bill drove late model machines that were primitive compared to the equipment now common. They were the kind of race cars a driver had to manhandle if he was going to stay on the track. And when he felt the time was right to get out of the car, Bill handed over the #28 machine to his son, who still wheels the 28 at tracks throughout South Florida. In fact, most nights now, there are two 28s out there rubbing fenders. Billy drives the No. 28A and his youngest son, Dylan, pilots the No. 28B. Corey Bigley, the older brother of Dylan, races on Saturday nights, too. Billy said Thursday that without his father's financial backing, racing experience and wisdom, he never would have become an All-Pro Series Late Model Champion and Rookie of the Year, or a driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Billy even won an ARCA Re/Max Series race while driving for Wayne Spears, his truck series owner, in 2001. At the age of 41, Billy Bigley even tried to debut in NASCAR's megastar Cup Series with a startup team owned by local developer Don Arnold. Against all odds, Bigley's first Cup qualifying attempt was at the revered Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On his last lap of qualifying, Bigley lightly scraped the outside wall exiting Turn Four, brushing off precious fractions of a second of speed that kept him from making the starting grid of the Brickyard 400 in 2003.
The Bigley legacy started right here in Collier County. The quarter-mile oval Bill Sr. ran was right next to the Swamp Buggy Grounds. The Radio Road location is now the site of an industrial park. "People worked all week just so they could go out to the track and play on Saturday night." Billy, now with 35 years behind the wheel, said. "It's where my dad raced and I started racing there. It was good. When the speedway did good, the swamp buggy track did good, too." The labor of love did wear on Bigley Sr. some after two spectators were killed as the result of a backstretch racing accident one night. Legal matters dragged out for some time. The legal issues were not, however, what caused the Collier County Speedway to close down in 1985, Billy recalled. "We went out there to race and the gate had new padlocks," he said. "There were new owners of the property. They told us we were done." The swamp buggy track was relocated to the present Florida Sports Park site on Collier Boulevard southeast of Naples. No one could ever justify the cost of building a new stock car track locally, however. Oval racing went by the wayside. "As a spotter, Dad was always my coach and eyes up above," Billy said. "He would keep me calm. If he sensed I was mad out there on the track and was ready to hit somebody on purpose, Dad would always say "Don't knock my $100 fender off to get'em back.' So I didn't. I always remembered what he said about that $100 fender."(Naple Daily News)(12-7-2014)
Sad News - Denny Darnell UPDATES: Denny Darnell, a sportswriter turned track general manager and respected public relations representative, died Saturday. A sportswriter for the Kingsport (Tennessee) Times-News, Darnell was VP/general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway from 1983 through 1988. During his time with the track, he worked with ESPN to televise both NASCAR race weekends live from Thunder Valley. From 1991 to 1998, Darnell served as director of communications for the National Hot Rod Association before becoming senior manager, media relations for Sports Marketing Enterprises at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for five years. He supported the company's motorsports sponsorships, including NASCAR's premier series. As president and CEO of Darnell Communications, he managed public relations for Dodge Motorsports from 2008 through 2013. His tenure included a Daytona 500 win by Ryan Newman in the 50th Daytona 500 in 2008, a NASCAR Nationwide Series championship with Brad Keselowski in 2010 and Keselowski's 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Darnell retired at the beginning of 2014.(NASCAR.com)(11-22-2014)
UPDATE: "NASCAR offers its sincere condolences to the friends and family of Denny Darnell. For decades working with Bristol Motor Speedway, RJ Reynolds, NEXTEL and Dodge, Denny was a familiar and friendly face in media centers and NASCAR garages throughout the country. He approached his job seriously and professionally, but few could bring laughter like Denny. He was a public relations institution, and will be greatly missed."(NASCAR)(11-22-2014)
OBIT: Denny Darnell, known as "The General" by his peers, 70, passed away peacefully of an apparent heart attack Saturday, November 22, 2014 in Tazewell, VA, surrounded by family and friends. Born in Coeburn, VA on September 1, 1944, a son of the late Denny F. and Hazel Campbell Darnell, growing up in Slant, VA, he has resided in Kingsport for the past 40 years. He graduated from Rye Cove High School in 1962. After graduating from ETSU in 1975, he got his start as a sports writer at Kingsport Times News. Denny's motorsports career had many pit stops. He served as Vice-President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, and Director of Communications at NHRA. His next pit stop was as the head of public relations for R.J. Reynolds Winston and NEXTEL. His final pit stop was as the head of public relations for Dodge Motorsports as CEO of Darnell Communications. His proudest moments included a Daytona 500 win by Ryan Newman in the 50th Daytona 500 in 2008, a NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship with Brad Keselowski in 2010 and Keselowski's 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Jean Honaker Darnell of the home and his son Denny F. "Trey" Darnell, III and husband Matthew Smith of Gray; one granddaughter, "Little Miss" Harper Darnell; one sister: Betty Carter and husband, Clay of Kingsport; one brother: Sidney Darnell and wife, Eva of Kingsport; Sister-in-law: Peggy Darnell of Weber City; Several Nieces and Nephews; two dogs: Dutchess and Ginger "Diggy". Denny was a conservative Republican who enjoyed talking politics to his peers and anyone else that would listen. Due to his comments on social media regarding how our country is being handled, he and his wife listened every day for a helicopter to fly over containing the CIA. After several years of saying "just one more year" before retirement, he retired earlier this year. Although he loved the media and missed the NASCAR community, he didn't miss the travel. He was often asked, "How are you enjoying retirement?" His answer was "I didn't do anything today, and I didn't get finished, and I plan on doing the same thing tomorrow". Family will receive friends Tuesday, November 25, 2014 from 4-7 p.m at Springdale Missionary Baptist Church, 1616 Haga Rd, Kingsport, TN. A celebration of his life service will follow at 7 p.m. with Pastor Alan Buckles, Pastor Dave Rossetti and Dr. David Troutman. Burial following graveside services at 11 a.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at Holston View Cemetery. Pallbearers will be nephews and friends. Those attending committal services are asked to assemble at the church by 10:15 a.m. Wednesday and then proceed to the cemetery. Those wishing to make memorial contributions may do so to Rye Cove High School Athletic Department, 164 Eagles Nest Ln, Duffield, VA or to Speedway Children's Charities, 151 Speedway Blvd, Bristol, TN 37620.(Hamlett-Dobson)(11-24-2014)