about the deaths of those involved in NASCAR main three divisions or major auto racing series
NOTE: do not post fan deaths, etc, usually keep it to the main three National series [Cup, XFINITY, Trucks],
major auto racing [F1, Indy, etc], immediate family [mother, father, etc] and NASCAR related media
Sad News - Bernie Fletcher: Bernard "Bernie" William Fletcher Jr of St Augustine FL passed away in Baldwin GA on May 21, 2016 at the age of 87. Bernie was born in Clarion PA and resided in DuBois PA in his early years. Bernie enjoyed automobile racing and NASCAR in particular. In the mid 1950's Bernie worked as crew member for the late Walt Chapman on one of the Fabulous Hornets with late driver Dick Rathmann. Bernie was active in the automobile business having begun his career as a wash boy at age 15 and having worked for or managed with several dealerships and owned various used car lots and rental businesses in St. Augustine. Service, donation and guest book info at whitfieldfuneralhomes.com (5-27-2016)
Sad News - David Wheeler: Mr. David Vincent Wheeler, Sr., 74, of Belmont, NC passed away in the afternoon, Wednesday, April 27th, 2016 at Caromont Regional Medical Center, Gastonia, NC. Born in Charlotte, NC in 1941, he was the second child of the late Howard A. "Humpy" Wheeler, Sr. and Kathleen Dobbins Wheeler. For almost 30 years, he enjoyed a successful career at Charlotte Motor Speedway (brother Humpy Wheeler).(Charlotte Observer) (5-13-2016)
Sad News - Francis Edward Allen: Francis Edward Allen, 79, of Concord, passed away on Thursday, April 21, 2016, at the Tucker Hospice House in Kannapolis, NC. Mr. Allen worked in NASCAR for over 30 years before becoming Owner/Operator of a CARQUEST Auto Parts store in Denver, NC.(Charlotte Observer)(5-13-2016)
Sad News - Jeanne Barnes: Jeanne Barnes, 77, who drew dozens of portraits of NASCAR legends, died Wednesday morning following an extended illness, according to Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee. Barnes' work is displayed in the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame inside the Darlington Raceway Museum. It's filled with dozens of her drawings and portraits of NASCAR legendary drivers, including Dale Earnhardt, Cale Yarborough and Kyle Petty. She often worked at the Raceway during race time, helping out in the credentials office.(WPDE)(5-12-2016)
Sad News - "Dutch" Hoag: Donald C. "Dutch" Hoag, 89, of Bath, New York died Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Services will be held at Kanona United Methodist Church, 7, Kanona, New York, date and time pending. Hoag ran four Sprint Cup races in the 1950s. See obituary info at legacy.com)(5-12-2016)
Sad news - Steve Turner: Steve Turner, a Texas businessman and one-time NASCAR team owner who won the 2012 Truck Series championship with driver James Buescher, died Thursday night with his family at his side, family members confirmed. After serving in the Navy and finding a great deal of success in the oil and gas industry, Turner's hobby in racing turned into a full-time racing operation in 1999 with the formation of Turner Motorsports, competing on dirt and asphalt tracks throughout Texas. In 2009, Turner Motorsports joined NASCAR competition and later that year he acquired Braun Racing, a successful team in what is now the Xfinity Series. In 2013, Turner joined with Harry Scott Jr. and the team was renamed Turner Scott Motorsports. The owners went their separate ways at the conclusion of the 2014 season.Turner most recently lived in Houston. Funeral arrangements are not available at this time.(Motorsport.com)(5-6-2016)
Sad News - Joni Roberts: Joan M. Hensel (Joni) Roberts died Tuesday, April 12, in the Huntsville (AL) Hospital. She was 58. Her death came at the end of a 10-month battle with lung cancer after being diagnosed the day before her birthday last June. Mrs. Roberts was a devoted employee of the Marshall County Health Department. Mrs. Roberts was working in the avionics field when she relocated to the Atlanta area. It was there she met her husband, Guntersville native Tom Roberts, who was the public relations director at Atlanta International Raceway at the time. Tom moved on to be the assistant general manager of the Nashville International Raceway and the couple were married in 1981 in Nolensville, TN. The couple bought a weekend cabin at Pine Island Point and moved there to live in 1989 as Tom was now traveling on the top level NASCAR circuit working with drivers, teams and sponsors. After serving as hospitality director for driver Alan Kulwicki's team for a few seasons, Mrs. Roberts was tired of the road and eventually landed her position at the health department.
Service info, full obituary, condolences, donation info at carrfuneralhomeguntersville.com.(4-14-2016)
Sad News - Inez Bagley: Inez Gladden Bagley of Dover, DE died Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at Bayhealth Kent General Hospital. She was 68. She was the secretary of Christ Episcopal Church in Dover for over 40 years. Following her retirement she volunteered for the Dover Interfaith Mission. She was a member of Wesley United Methodist Church in Dover. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband Walter Bagley in 2013. Inez is survived by her son, Michael Bagley (of the Motor Racing Network) of Wilmington, DE; and 2 sisters Deborah Gladden Tatterson of Snow Hill, MD, and Denise Gladden of Hebron, MD. Funeral services will be held 1PM, Saturday, April 16 at Wesley United Methodist Church, 209 S. State Street, Dover, DE 19901. Friends may call from 6-8 Friday evening at Torbert Funeral Chapel, 61 S. Bradford St., Dover. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions be made to Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing, PO Box 1148, Dover, DE 19903. Letters of condolence may be sent and guest book signed at www.torbertfuneral.com.(4-13-2016)
Sad News - Dennis King: Dennis P. King, 69, of Salina, KS, passed away Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Dennis was a cam grind engineer formerly with General Kinetics and a lifelong machinist in his own business; High Velocity Cams, never really retiring. Dennis was long standing member of the NASCAR family known by engine builders and crew chiefs alike. (full obituary and more info at dignitymemorial.com)(4-8-2016)
Sad News - Ryan Shea: Ryan Shea, car chief for Chip Ganassi Racing's Xfinity Series team, died overnight, NBC Sports has confirmed. He was 34 years old, according to his Facebook page. According to his LinkedIn page, Shea joined Chip Ganassi Racing in Jan. 2015. He was a car chief/mechanic at Michael Waltrip Racing from 2007-15. Shea began working in NASCAR in Feb. 2001 when he was hired by BAM Racing. He later worked for FitzBradshaw Racing, Carver Racing, ppc Racing and Braun Racing. Kyle Larson and Justin Marks have split time driving the #42 car this season.(NBC Sports)(3-31-2016)
UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing is sad to report that Ryan Shea, car chief on the #42 NASCAR XFINITY Series team, passed away last night at his home in Troutman, N.C. "It is a sad day for our team as we mourn the untimely loss of Ryan," said Chip Ganassi, team owner. "Ryan was a dedicated worker and a great friend to those on our team, as well as others in the garage. Our hearts go out to Ryan's family and friends during this difficult time." "Ryan was a tremendous asset to Chip Ganassi Racing and the No. 42 team and will be sorely missed," said crew chief Mike Shiplett. "My thoughts go out to his wife, children, family and friends in this time of mourning." Chip Ganassi Racing will communicate further details regarding funeral arrangements and memorials as they become available.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(3-31-2016)
Service / Memorial info at legacy.com.(4-3-2016)
Sad News - Bobby Johns: Robert "Bobby" James Johns, 83, passed away suddenly March 7 at his home in Miami. Born May 22, 1932 in Miami, where he resided his entire life and began his racing career. He was a racing legend as he won the Atlanta 500, the Bristol 500, 2nd in the Daytona 500 and many other racing achievements (stats at racing-reference.info). He was one of the first NASCAR drivers to race in the Indy 500, where he raced twice and finished in the top ten.(full obituary and more info at the dignitymemorial.com)(3-11-2016)
Sad News - Larry Balewski: Larry Balewski, known for his written work in the sports pages of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, and later throughout NASCAR for his work as a public-relations manager at Daytona International Speedway, died this past weekend in Daytona Beach after a lengthy illness. He was 66. He served under three enormous figures in this area's history: He played football for Bud Asher at Father Lopez High School, he wrote for Herbert M. Davidson's newspaper and he managed media affairs for Bill France Jr. "He was a very good person and we became close friends," said Jim France, longtime Speedway and NASCAR executive and son of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. "I am saddened by the news of his passing and extend my condolences to Larry's family and friends." Balewski ended an 11-year career as a News-Journal sportswriter in 1982 and joined the Speedway's PR department. He'd spent his last several years at the N-J as motorsports editor. He remained with the Speedway, in PR and then administration, for 15 years until the late 1990s, when he left and eventually entered real estate sales. "Larry was one of my many mentors, especially when it came to motorsports," said Godwin Kelly, who replaced Balewski as motorsports editor and remains in the position today. "He was very encouraging and helpful when I first started the beat and became one of my go-to resources when it came to NASCAR and Speedway stories."(full story and more info at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-11-2016)
Sad News - Jim Freeman: Jim Freeman, former public relations expert for Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, passed away in Murfreesboro, TN on Sunday morning. Freeman was 73. A native of Murfreesboro, Freeman was named Sports Information Director at MTSU in 1969 after serving stints on the staffs of the Daily News Journal and Nashville Banner. In 1976 he joined a small group of MTSU administrators to create the Blue Raider Sports Hall Fame. Over the following 40 years, Freeman was an integral part of the hall of fame process at his beloved alma mater. In 2014, he was honored by director of athletics Chris Massaro in being named to the Ring of Honor. After a decade at MTSU, he was offered the stock car media coordinator position at Daytona International Speedway, a post he held from 1979 to 1982. He then moved up in the NASCAR family, accepting the position of Public Relations Director at the famed Talladega Superspeedway, where led the PR efforts for 14 years. In 1996, Freeman was asked to serve as the executive director of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. He led the hall of fame for 10 years before retiring in 2006.(full post with service info at the Daily News Journal)(3-7-2016)
Sad News - Clarence Davis: Clarence Davis, 81 of Gaffney, SC, passed away Saturday March 5, 2016 at Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home. Davis enjoyed creating things; he built his own home, racing engines, dirt track cars, race cars; and will be remembered for building Richard Childress' first race car. He also worked for Bud Moore, Bobby Allison and James Hilton. Full obituary / service info at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal .(3-6-2016)
Sad News - Harvey Walters: Harvey Walters, who worked 33 years at Charlotte Motor Speedway as Race Director and Operations Director, passed away on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at age 72 surrounded by his family. Walters was well known and respected around the NASCAR Community from the 1970's thru the 1990's as a track manager at CMS. He was a track operation consultant who consulted at racetracks across the country. A memorial is scheduled to be held at Hartsell Funeral Home on Saturday, March 5 at 1:00pm/et.(Full obituary at the Charlotte Observer)(3-4-2016)
Sad News - Lennie Pond: Former stock car racing driver Lennie Pond has died of complications of cancer. A Chester, VA resident who grew up in Ettrick, Mr. Pond died at VCU Medical Center in Richmond. He was 75. NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bobby Allison, in Richmond last week for a tribute to Mr. Pond at an Arena Racing USA event, recalled racing against Pond for decades - both at NASCAR's major races and in smaller events at short tracks such Southside Speedway. "Lennie was a tough competitor," Allison said. "I raced against him lots of times over the years. He was fun and fair to race against. And when the race was over, if you needed help, Lennie would help you out. You knew he was going to be competitive. He worked hard with his part of the deal and came to the track ready to race."
Mr. Pond's brother, Wright Pond, said on Saturday that support had poured in from fans and racers around the country during his brother's illenss. "He is loved more than he knows," Wright Pond said. Mr. Pond won scores of races, starting in the 1950s, on dirt tracks and asphalt tracks in NASCAR's Modified and Late Model Sportsman classes. He was a five-time Virginia champion of the Late Model Sportsman class. At NASCAR's Cup level he was the 1973 Rookie of the Year. He scored his lone Cup victory in August 1978 in the Talladega 500 at the 2.66-mile Alabama International Motor speedway (Talladega Superspeedway). At the time, his average speed of 174.7 mph was the record for a 500-mile race in any racing series. Mr. Pond's last Cup Series race was in 1989. He had 234 career Cup starts with 88 top-10 finishes. After retiring from racing, Mr. Pond got into automotive sales. Until his illness, he was a member of the staff at Heritage Chevrolet in Chester.(Richmond Times-Dispatch)(2-10-2016)
Sad News - Barney Hall: Hall of Fame broadcaster Barney Hall, a cornerstone of MRN's NASCAR coverage since the network's founding in 1970, died Tuesday from complications following a recent medical procedure. He was 83. At the time of his death, Hall was in the company of long-time companion Karen Carrier - the love of his life.
Hall was born on June 24, 1932, in Elkin, N.C., the town he called home his entire life. After graduating from high school, he joined the Navy and served four years of active duty, during which Hall launched his radio career. He would return to his hometown and work as a disc jockey at radio station WIFM for 13 years.
Hall was widely known for his calm voice and unmatched storytelling. He was part of MRN's award-winning race coverage since the network's debut in 1970. Prior to that, Hall served as Bristol Motor Speedway's first public address announcer, called his first Daytona 500 in 1960 and missed only four broadcasts in the 57-year history of "The Great American Race." One of those was the "500" won by Matt Kenseth in 2012, when illness sidelined Hall. But as NASCAR returned to Martinsville Speedway one month later, fans once again heard a comforting, familiar voice over the airwaves. Barney was back in the booth.
Hall remained an integral part of the network's NASCAR coverage throughout the next two years. On July 6, 2014, he worked his final race - calling Aric Almirola's rain-shortened win at Daytona International Speedway, which returned the iconic #43 Richard Petty Motorsports entry to Victory Lane. Hall's voice was heard on a number of special broadcasts in the months that followed. The National Motorsports Press Association named Hall its Broadcaster of the Year in 2014. He and MRN producer Darrell Smith teamed up to win another NMPA award in 2015. Barney was inducted into that organization's Hall of Fame in 2007. In May 2012, NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame jointly announced the creation of a new award to honor the media's contributions to the success of the sport. It carried the names of two legendary MRN broadcasters: Barney Hall and Ken Squier, who were also the first recipients.
Hall was recently recognized by the Motor Racing Network with an appreciation award for his 45 years of service. Mr. Hall is survived by Karen Carrier, the love of his life for 35 years, an aunt and several cousins.(Motor Racing Networks)(1-27-2016)
SERVICE/OBIT INFO: Funeral services will be held Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, at 2 p.m. at Jonesville First Baptist Church with the Rev. Stanley Stogner, Pastor Scott Price and Dr. Roger Hensley officiating. Interment will follow in Crestwood Memorial Gardens with full military honors provided by U.S. Navy and Yadkin VFW Post 10346. The family will receive friends Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Jonesville First Baptist Church and also on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, from noon to 2 p.m. prior to the funeral service. Flowers will be accepted, or memorials made to Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, NC 27317; or Woltz Hospice Home, 945 Zephyr Road, Dobson, NC 27017. Online condolences may be made to www.elkinfuneralservice.com or the Charlotte Observer.
. (nice article at the Charlotte Observer by Tom Higgins: Since Day 2, voice of NASCAR Barney Hall has approached sport with measured respect.(1-28-2016)
Sad News - Rex Robbins: The founder of the Pendleton-based American Speed Association, Rex Robbins, died Sunday following an extended illness. Robbins, 80, founded the American Speed Association in 1968 at Anderson Speedway and over the years developed the short track late model series into a national touring series that spawned the careers of Mark Martin, Alan Kulwicki, Jimmie Johnson, Rusty Wallace and Dick Trickle. The national tour started in 1973, and Robbins sold ASA in 2003. Known as an innovator in the sanctioning of stock car races, Robbins, through the ASA, was the first to require the use of the HANS head and neck restraint system, brought crate motors to the series as a cost-saving measure and ran the last five laps of every event under green flag racing conditions. ASA also incorporated the technology and designs of cars on the highway to the racetrack in the 1990s. During his tenure with ASA, Robbins negotiated the contract that brought the traveling series to live television through a partnership with The Nashville Network (TNN). Robbins, along with his late wife Becky and several partners, owned and operated Anderson Speedway until they sold the local track to Rick Dawson and Action Entertainment.(Anderson Herald Bulletin / Anderson Speedway)(1-27-2016)
Legendary Broadcaster Barney Hall Passes Away At Age 83: Barney Hall, who communicated the thrill of NASCAR stock car racing to millions of radio listeners during a more than 50-year broadcast career has died at the age of 83. A native of Elkin, North Carolina, Hall was one of the original members of the Motor Racing Network staff and was known as the "Voice of MRN." He was inducted into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007 and in 2012 joined former MRN colleague Ken Squier as the initial recipients and namesakes of the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.
"The entire NASCAR family extends its condolences to the family, friends and fans of Barney Hall, a NASCAR broadcasting giant for more than 50 years," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. "Barney's impeccable delivery and incredible storytelling skills left an indelible mark on the sport that he so clearly loved. His legacy remains through an honor that rightly carries his name - the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. It will remain a constant reminder of the skill and passion that Barney brought to his work."
Hall began his broadcast career in the 1950s working at local radio stations in North Carolina. He served as Bristol Motor Speedway's first public address announcer and called his first Daytona 500 in 1960. Hall joined the Motor Racing Network first as a turn announcer and then moved to the booth in the late 1970s, where he had been a fixture until 2014. Hall called a number of the sport's milestone moments including the landmark 1979 Daytona 500 that featured a post-race scuffle among Bobby and Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough; Richard Petty's 200th career victory in 1984; and Dale Earnhardt's 1998 win in the Daytona 500.
Hall's NASCAR broadcast career began almost by accident. The recipient of free tickets as a local radio personality, he started attending races in the late 1950s. He was offered $75 for a weekend of public address duties at the then-new Bristol Motor Speedway in 1960 and a career was born. That led to a job with what was known as the Daytona 500 Network, operating out of WNDB in Daytona Beach, Fla. - a forerunner of the Motor Racing Network.(NASCAR)(1-27-2016)
Sad News - Hank Bechtloff: Henry George Bechtloff went by Hank, which due to his chosen line of work, became known as "Hank The Crank." Bechtloff, who had recently turned 76, passed away Sunday, January 3, 2016. Bechtloff grew up in Southern California. Bechtloff and one of his friends had a shop in the bay of a local gas station where the two worked tuning engines. In 1957, Bechtloff went to work for the CrankShaft Company near downtown Los Angeles. In 1971, Bechtloff opened his own company, which was appropriately named Hank The Crank Inc.(SEMA). Hank The Crank Inc. made crankshafts for many NASCAR teams from the 1980's into the 2000's. He worked with some of the greatest names in the industry such as Richard Childress, Robert and Doug Yates, Smokey Yunick, Dan Gurney, Don Garlits, Danny Lawrence, Keith Simmons, Randy and Keith Dorton, Richard Petty, Warren Hodgdon, Bobby Allison, Bobby Labonte and others. Bechtloff developed technologies in racing crankshafts, connecting rods, pistons, piston pins, piston rings and bearings.(1-9-2016)
Sad News - Marvin Panch: Marvin Panch, who gained fame by winning the 1961 Daytona 500 while driving Smokey Yunick's backup stock car, died Thursday. Panch, 89, was born in Oakland, CA, but spent a good part of his life in Port Orange, FL with his wife Bettie. They raised two children, Richie and Marvette. Richie died in an airplane crash in 1985. Bettie passed away in 2006. Panch was found unresponsive in his car Thursday morning and pronounced dead of natural causes a short while later. He raced NASCAR in the 1950s and 1960's and made 216 Sprint Cup Series starts and won 17 races, including that 500. Panch had a near-death experience at Daytona International Speedway in 1963, when he flipped a sports car, which caught on fire, during a practice run over the track's road course. Several people near the crash site, including NASCAR Grand American driver Tiny Lund, came to his rescue. Panch suffered excessive burns and was unable to start the 1963 Daytona 500 for Wood Brothers Racing. The injured driver asked Wood Brothers to put Lund in his place. The team agreed and Lund went on to score the 1963 Daytona 500 victory. Panch's last NASCAR start was in 1966. He worked in the automobile and racing business until he retired about two decades ago. After retirement, he did extensive traveling. He was heavily involved with the local club, Living Legends of Auto Racing.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-31-2015)
NASCAR statement on the passing of Marvin Panch For more than 60 years, Marvin Panch was a familiar and friendly face around NASCAR and Daytona Beach. He was one of the true pioneers of the sport, winning races across several NASCAR divisions, including the 1961 Daytona 500. As one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers, he represented the sport with class both on and off the track. Marvin will be missed dearly, especially as we approach Speedweeks at Daytona international Speedway, where he was a fixture.(NASCAR)(12-31-2015)
Sad News - Fremon Treadway: Fremon Arthur Treadway, 78, of Altavista died peacefully Sunday, December 27, 2015 at his home with his family by his side. He was the husband of Phyllis "Trudy" Goodman Treadway for fifty-four years. He was born July 21, 1937, in Flag Pond, TN, a son of the late Arthur Alvin Treadway and Mary Lee Bailey Treadway. He attended First Baptist Church in Altavista, and was the owner of Treadway Racing and Truck Service.
Fremon worked in the NASCAR racing industry since 1964, beginning with Richard Petty. He opened his own shop in 1970 continuing to build for Petty Enterprises which included Kyle Petty's first Grand National race car, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and Wood Brothers Racing. In 1994, he built A.J. Foyt's Inaugural Brickyard 400 car.
He was a member of the Lynch Station Ruritan Club and received the "Man of the Year" award in 1973.During his lifetime as husband, father and grandfather, Fremon taught his children and grandchildren many life lessons; canoeing, fishing, swimming, go-cart racing and 4-wheeling. His daughters remember growing up at the race tracks every weekend during NASCAR season. They never considered their dad famous; it was just the "norm." They always admired his intelligence and creativity. "Daddy could do or fix anything".Fremon spent many long days and nights at his shop. He had several employees and took many others under his wing to teach them his skills. "Daddy was a perfectionist and never quit or gave up on anything." He instilled that in everyone who spent time with him especially his daughters and grandchildren. Fremon was always making people laugh with his joking nature. To know him was to love him.We are so thankful to have had him as husband, dad," Popie" and now, as our guardian angel.In addition to his wife, he is survived by four daughters, Tamera Treadway-Pippin of Lynchburg, Suzanne Treadway of Altavista, Shelly Treadway Peery (James) of Troutville, and Dale Treadway-Mann (Ricky) of Madison Heights; five grandchildren, Lyndsey Bennett (Brad), Callie Prest (Ryan), Taylor Hall (Seth), and Carson and Tucker Peery; two brothers, J.L. Treadway, and Floyd Treadway (Judy); three sisters, Bea Morton (James), Lois Ann Cooper, and Lucille Dudley (Dennis); three sisters in law, Peggy Treadway, Anita Treadway, and Barbara Treadway; a brother in law, William "Billy" Goodman (Daisy); and a very close friend, Bob Childress, as well as many others.He was preceded in death by three brothers, Dallas, Earnest and Guy Lee Treadway; and one sister, Willedean Rocchins.A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m., Thursday, December 31, 2015 at First Baptist Church in Altavista by the Rev. Dr. Michael Lee with interment to follow in Green Hill Cemetery.The family will receive friends from 5 until 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, December 30, 2015 at Finch & Finch Funeral and Cremation Service, Altavista and other times at the residence. Please visit the online tribute at www.finchandfinchfuneralservice.com to share a memory or send a condolence to the family.(News Advance)(12-29-2015)
Sad News - Victoria Siegars: Victoria Danielle Siegars, 17, of Concord, NC passed away December 22, at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte. Victoria was a senior at J.M. Robinson High School in Concord, NC. Victoria was the granddaughter of Charlie Seigar of Race Engines Plus and former engine builder for Hendrick Motorsports. Full Obituary and Service info at Hartsell Funeral Home website.(12-27-2015)
Sad News - Torie Costa: After a lengthy battle with cancer, Scott Zipadelli's stepdaughter died Friday night. She had been battling a rare form of muscular cancer for more than four years. Torie Costa's battle began at the age of 16 just as she was completing her junior year in high school. Zipadelli functioned as crew chief for Red Horse Racing and Ben Kennedy in 2015, but never lost his focus on the family. Instead of returning to the shop after Camping World Truck Series races, he often headed straight home. Throughout the 2015 season, one of Costa's strongest supporters was Sherry Pollex who has been fighting her own battle with ovarian cancer. "The world won't be the same without this beautiful soul on the planet. RIP my sweet friend," Pollex tweeted late Friday night. Costa passed at 9:37 pm.(NBC Sports / FoxSports)(12-26-2015)
Daughter of #23 Crew Chief Killed in Accident: Stephanie Rembert, the daughter of BK Racing crew chief Joe Williams, was killed in "freak car crash" Saturday afternoon, team officials confirmed to NASCAR Talk Sunday. Williams is the crew chief for the No. 23 Sprint Cup Toyota driven by Jeb Burton. The crash reportedly occurred outside Asheboro, North Carolina in unincorporated Randolph County. Team officials could also get very little information from authorities, but did learn Rembert was in a vehicle with her two children, nine-year-old Jamie and six-year-old Frankie, when it was involved in a crash. Rembert was reportedly airlifted to a hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C., where she passed away. Her children were also transported to the hospital but suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to a team official. "Obviously, everyone is in shock," team spokesman Kate Fegley told NASCAR Talk. "It's so close to the holidays. They're just overwhelmed with everything that's happened. It's a very difficult time but we've had overwhelming support from the NASCAR family and community."(NBC Sports)(12-20-2015)
For service info and full obituary, go to the Charlotte Observer.(12-23-2015)
Sad News - Don Tucker: Donald L. Tucker, 78, passed away Saturday, December 19, 2015 surrounded by family. Funeral will be 2:00pm Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at George Brothers Funeral Service with burial to follow at the Tucker Family Cemetery on Concord Church Road. Mr. Tucker is preceded in death by his parents, Willard and Irene Hepler Tucker, along with two daughters, Lisa Tucker and Cheryl Tucker. Donald retired from the Guilford County School system. He was a member of the Kernersville Moose Lodge #2181. Donald ran nine NASCAR races in 1965 and was multi time Track Champion with 417 wins on local dirt tracks. He was also the winningest driver at Caraway Speedway. Donald is survived by his wife of fifty-nine years, Ann Tucker; sons Ray Tucker (Carla) and Ronnie Tucker (Linda); daughters, Ellen Tucker Cayton and Linda Tucker Jones (Marvin); eleven grandchildren; twenty-eight great grandchildren; brother, Jerry Tucker (Patsy); and sister, Becky Farrington. The family will receive friends from 6-8 pm Monday, December 21, 2015 at the funeral home and other times at the residence. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, 2500 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27405.(George Brothers Funeral Service)(12-22-2015)
Judy Allison, wife of Bobby, Passes After Complications from Surgery: The Allison Family is sad to announce the passing of Judy A. Allison, age 74, after complications from surgery earlier today at Iredell Memorial Hospital in Statesville, NC. Bobby Allison, NASCAR Hall of Famer driver, and Judy were married for 55 years. She was surrounded by her family, daughters Bonnie Farr and Carrie Hewitt, grandson Robbie Allison, brother-in-law Donnie Allison and his wife, Pat. At this time, funeral and memorial arrangements are pending and will be announced when finalized. The family members ask for privacy during this difficult and sad time (NASCAR)
NASCAR Statement on the Passing of Judy Allison: "NASCAR extends its condolences to the friends and family of Judy Allison, the wife of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison. Judy, the matriarch of a cornerstone NASCAR family, provided the foundation for the careers of a legendary husband and two sons who both lost their lives entirely too soon. Her love extended well beyond her own family, as many in the NASCAR family leaned upon Judy for support and compassion during many difficult times. We are deeply saddened by the loss of a true friend, and a woman who has given much to our sport."(NASCAR)(12-18-2015)
Services and more Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12 Noon on Monday, December 28, 2015, at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Bessemer, AL. Burial will follow at Highland Memorial Gardens, Bessemer, AL. The family will receive friends from 10:30 - 12 Noon prior to the mass at the church. Mass of Christian Burial will also be held at 11 AM, Saturday, January 9, 2016, at St. Therese Catholic Church, Mooresville, NC. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Therese Catholic Church, 217 Brawley School Rd, Mooresville, NC 28117, St. Aloysius Catholic Church, 751 Academy Dr., Bessemer, AL 35022, Victory Junction, 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317 or Big Oak Ranch, 6000 Shelley Dr, Springville, AL 35146. Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, NC and Peoples Chapel Funeral Home, Hueytown, AL is serving the Allison family. Condolences may be made to the Allison family at www.cavin-cook.com.(Charlotte Observer)(12-20-2015)
Sad News - Lloyd Dane: Lloyd Dane, NASCAR's first three-time champion on the West Coast, has passed away. He was 90. Dane won three of the first four championships held for the Pacific Coast Late Model championship, the forerunner to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. He was originally from Eldon, Mo., before moving to Lakewood, Calif. He relocated to Charlotte, N.C., in recent years. "Lloyd will always have a significant place in NASCAR history as one of our first champions," said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, touring and weekly series. "He was well respected as a competitor and champion and will be missed. All of us at NASCAR would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends." Dane also competed in 52 races over 11 years in NASCAR's premier series, collecting four wins. He picked up victories in 1956 at California State Fairgrounds in Sacramento and Oregon's Portland Speedway, in 1957 at California's Eureka Speedway and 1961 at Riverside International Raceway in California. In 1964, Dane received the Naughton Award for Sportsmanship in NASCAR racing. He withdrew from a race at Sacramento, in October and loaned his car to Ron Hornaday Sr. This helped Hornaday to win his second straight win the Pacific Coast championship. In 2010, his achievements were recognized as part of NASCAR's Champions & Pioneers project. He took part in the championship presentation at Phoenix International Raceway that year as Eric Holmes clinched his third NASCAR K&N Pro Series West title.(see full article at the National Speed Sport News).(12-17-2015)
Sad News - Don Arnold: Donald L. Arnold, Loving "Patriarch," passed away on December 12, 2015 surrounded by his family. Don, born on October 27, 1942, was originally from Chicago, IL and a Naples resident since 1959. After attending the University of Florida on a Basketball scholarship Don and the Arnold Family were proprietors of Arnold's Variety Store and Gulf Sporting Goods. Don along with his father Arthur, established the family real estate business, Arnold and Arnold developing several of the Gulf Shore Boulevard Condominiums before continuing as Arnold Development Companies, developing commercial and industrial office parks in Naples and throughout the Southwest Florida area. Don's local business endeavors also included Don Arnold Lincoln Mercury/Honda which he sold in the early 1980s. His enthusiasm for automobiles inspired the forming of Arnold Motorsports a Winston Cup Nascar team. A hobby he enjoyed with his family. Don's interests and contributions were vast and varied. His love of life on "his terms" was evident whether being on his boat navigating the "high" seas or flying in his jet at lofty altitudes. His compassion and generosity was bestowed as he treated all with dignity and respect but his true passion pride and joy are his family. Don is survived by his five children, Andrea Arnold Jeppesen, Tamara Arnold Wright (Anthony), Dean Arnold, Drew Arnold (Lori), and Stuart Arnold (Nicole). His seven grandchildren, as he was affectionately known as "Big Pappa", Chase and Connor Jeppesen, Andrew and Emily Wright, Zach and Nick Arnold and Jackson Arnold. His loving companion of many years Clara Sweet. The mother of his children, Harlene Arnold Young; and his sister-in-law, Annette Arnold. Many other friends and extended family as Don took everyone under his wing. He was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur L. and Dorothy Arnold; and his brother, John Arnold. Our patriarch has "earned his wings"-"Godspeed"! A Celebration of Life will be Saturday, December 19, 2015 at 3:00 PM at First United Methodist Church, 388 1st Ave S, Naples, FL 34102. The family will receive friends from 1:30-3:00 PM.(Naples Daily News)
Arnold Motorsports ran 44 races using the #50 Dodge from 2004-2005 with drivers Todd Bodine(11 races), Derrike Cope(12), Jeff Fuller(3), P.J. Jones(5), Mike Wallace(3), Jorge Goeters(1) and Jimmy Spencer(9). Spencer has the best finish for the team, a 21st at Bristol in 2005. Arnold also owned a share of a Craftsman Truck Series team with Germain Motor Company as the #30 Toyota.(12-16-2015)
Sad News - Sid Mauldin: Sid Mauldin, co-owner of the #8 Chevrolet for NEMCO Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), passed away last night, December 14, from complications stemming from his courageous fight with gastric cancer. He was 61 years-old. Mauldin was diagnosed in February 2013 and made his battle with Stage IV gastric cancer in public in an effort to inspire others also struggling with the emotional and physical strains of cancer. As a rancher and owner of SWM International Inc., Mauldin initially was reluctant to talk about his disease with his NASCAR friends and business associates. But more than two years later, he spoke openly about his cancer and his treatment. He had been an in-and-out patient at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston since October 2013, with a typical stay lasting four days. The cancer had metastasized to his liver and lungs.
"Sid (Mauldin) was a great man," NEMCO Motorsports co-owner Joe Nemechek said. "From meeting him the first time in the parking lot of the Bristol Motor Speedway to becoming a partner of ours in John Hunter's racing career - it was all pretty phenomenal. "He had a vision, and wanted to be involved in racing, and I cannot thank Sid and Dawna enough for helping getting John Hunter going. We will truly miss him."
As requested by Dawna Mauldin, wife of Sid, the # 8 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado driven by John Hunter Nemechek at the Texas Motor Speedway on November 6 featured on the deck lid No Stomach For Cancer, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support research and unite the caring power of people worldwide affected by stomach cancer. It is very safe to say that John Hunter Nemechek's motorsports career would not have begun to bud at age 16 years-old without Mauldin's involvement. Likewise, Mauldin wouldn't be co-owner of the #8 Chevrolet Silverado without John Hunter Nemechek, son of NASCAR veteran Joe Nemechek.Mauldin's business in NASCAR was rooted in the bonds of a deep mutual affection, and together they have put to life their respective dreams. The family will hold a private memorial for Mauldin.(NEMCO Motorsports)(12-15-2015)
Sad News - Joe Brady: Modified Racing lost Hall of Famer with the death of longtime and legendary Modified team owner Joe Brady. Brady was killed Friday in Stoughton, Mass. while walking across the street outside of his business after he was struck by a driver allegedly under the influence of drugs. Brady, of Stoughton, Mass., was 71 years old. In Modified racing circles Brady was long known for doing a lot with a little and fielding cars for some of the best Modified drivers in the business. Among the drivers who had driven for Brady at one time or another were Bugsy Stevens, Leo Cleary, Bob Santos, Ken Bouchard, Steve Park and Ted Christopher to name a few. Even short track legend and longtime Sprint Cup Series driver Dick Trickle drove for Brady. He won races as a team owner over five decades. In recent years Brady was best known for fielding his familiar #00 cars for Christopher, often at the World Series at New Smyrna Speedway and in many special events and Valenti Modified Racing Series shows. Brady and Christopher won three New Smyrna championships together. Brady was inducted into the New England Racers Hall of Fame, which is overseen by the New England Antique Racers, in its 2008 class. According to a report from the Stoughton Journal, Brady was walking across Route 27 near 630 Park St. at about 8:35 p.m. Friday when he was struck and killed. The driver of the car, 33-year old Michael Burns, was determined to be under the influence of drugs according to the Stoughton Journal report and was charged with drugged driving. Brady was walking across the street to the Christmas Tree sales lot he operates this time of year outside of Brady Enterprises.(racedayct.com)(12-13-2015)
Sad News - Ron Bouchard: Former Modified great and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Ron Bouchard passed away Thursday. Bouchard, a native of Fitchburg, Mass. and a member of the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame, was 67 years old. Ed Flemke Jr. confirmed that Bouchard passed away early Thursday morning after battling cancer for many years. "It was a tough battle," said Flemke, Bouchard's brother-in-law. "But he fought the good fight, as he always did." Bouchard's wife Paula is the daughter of legendary Modified driver Ed Flemke Sr. "They were such a tremendous team," Ed Flemke Jr. said. Bouchard was a member of the charter class of the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame in 1998. Bouchard began his racing career at 14 years old at the former Brookline Speedway in the 1960's. He made his name winning in Modified events across the Northeast and became the star attraction at Stafford Motor Speedway in the 1970's. Though Bouchard was most known for his lone Sprint Cup Series victory, coming in the Talladega 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway on Aug. 2, 1981. It was his eleventh career Sprint Cup Series start. Bouchard was the 1981 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year. He had 160 Sprint Cup Series starts between 1981 and 1987 with 19 top-five finishes, 60 top-10's and three poles. He won the Talladega event driving for New England car owner Jack Beebe and New England crew chief Bob Johnson. He also made 20 XFINITY Series starts from 1983 to 1987 with two victories and eight top-fives.(RaceDay CT, see other articles at the Charlotte Observer and at the Telegram & Gazette)(12-10-2015)
Sad News - Nina Guthrie: Nina (Pyles) Guthrie passed away November 25, 2015. She was 86 years old. Her husband (Glenn Guthrie) preceded her in death. Glenn raced for 30 years, 1951 - 1981. He was the 1959 NASCAR National Modified Champion, won the Langhorne Race of Champions in 1957 and is an inductee in the Maryland Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame. Nina spent many a Friday night in the stands cheering and scoring Glenn's laps. Nina herself raced in a few powder puff races on the East coast. Being a Washington DC resident, she was recruited by Bill France Sr. to work on Capitol Hill as a volunteer. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be directed to the Humane Society of Maryland or Virginia or the St. Barnabas Church Cemetery Fund.(Washington Post), service info and condolences at www.leefuneralhomes.com.(12-1-2015)
Sad News - Ryan McNulty: Ryan Christopher McNulty, son of long time Toronto Sun motor racing writer Dean McNulty, passed away suddenly on Sunday, November 29th, 2015 at the age of 33 years. Ryan was a member of the United Association Local 46. Ryan, beloved husband of Jessica (Jordan). Loving father of Malcolm and Francis. Dear son of Roxanne and Dean McNulty. Loving brother of Natasha McNulty (Colin McDavid) and Justine McNulty (Mike Shrives). Loved uncle of Jack Shrives. Beloved son-in-law of Terry-Anne and Elliott Jordan. Dear brother-in-law of Robin and Katherine Jordan. Loving grandson of Florence Wood, Larry and Lila Curl. Loving owner of the Guinness "Doggers". Ryan is lovingly remembered by his aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends. Visitation will be held at the Morris Funeral Chapel, 4 Division Street, Bowmanville, ON on Friday, December 4, 2015 from 1 - 3 p.m. A memorial service will be held on Friday at 3 p.m. in the Morris Chapel. Donations to the Sick Kids Foundation (Toronto, ON) would be gratefully appreciated.(12-1-2015)
Sad News - Mark Bieberich: Mark "Biebs" Bieberich, 45 years of age, of Harrisburg, passed away Wednesday, October 28, 2015. Mark was born March 17, 1970 in Sayre, PA to Neil Bieberich and the late Janet Emmons Jackson. Survivors include his wife, Holly W. Bieberich of Harrisburg, NC; his children, Anna and Alexa Bieberich, Shannon and Zachary Ponder; brother, Brian Bieberich and wife, Brandy; brother, David Bieberich; brother-in-law, David Wooten and wife, Denise; his father, Neil Bieberich and wife, Autumn; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Frank and Bobbie Pullen.
Mark moved from Spencer, NY almost twenty years ago to begin his career in NASCAR. At the time of his death he was employed by JTG Daugherty Racing but during his long career worked with many teams as a mechanic and car chief. Other than his love for racing, his biggest love was his family. He was happiest spending time with his wife and children, but always knew his family extended into the NASCAR community.
The family will receive friends from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Monday, November 2, 2015 at Harrisburg United Methodist Church. The funeral service will immediately follow at 7:00 pm, officiated by Rev. Toni Ruth Smith. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Mark Bieberich Children's Fund c/o Wells Fargo Bank, 5075 NC Hwy 49, Harrisburg, NC 28075. Memories and condolences may be shared at www.hartsellfh.com.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(10-31-2015)
Thelma Kulwicki mourned by Racers and Friends: Thelma Kulwicki was laid to rest on October 19, 2015 at St. Adalbert's Cemetery in Milwaukee, WS. Fittingly, her grave is directly beside husband Gerald's, who passed away in 2008. A stone's throw across the massive neatly-kept graveyard lays the final resting place of her stepson Alan, the 1992 NASCAR Champion. Mrs. Kulwicki passed away peacefully at her Milwaukee home last Tuesday evening (Oct 13). "She was so special and never realized she meant so much to so many people," said Julie Horanski, who delivered the opening remarks at Mrs. Kulwicki's memorial service on Monday at St. Matthias Catholic Church. Horanski dated Alan and accompanied him to the 1992 NASCAR Awards Banquet in New York. She remained a close family friend after Alan's untimely death in a plane crash on April 1, 1993. Mrs. Kulwicki's love for automobile racing extended far beyond just being a fan who attended races with her husband to cheer her stepson on. Her charitable endeavors to the sport over the years have included the establishment of engineering scholarships at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. In 2014, Mrs. Kulwicki spearheaded the creation of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program. The KDDP was established for the purpose of helping worthy drivers toward reaching their dreams, while at the same time keeping Alan's memory and legacy alive. During the 2015 racing season, seven young competitors from Maine to California are benefiting from the program and proudly carrying the Kulwicki colors on their race cars and driver uniforms.(KDDP / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(10-22-2015)
Statement from Jamie McMurray regarding the passing of his niece: "I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of the friends and fans for the thoughts and prayers to our family, following the loss of my niece Lauren [Montez], who passed away last Sunday Oct. 4. Lauren was the inspiration behind my becoming involved with Autism awareness and the work that we have done through the Jamie McMurray Foundation with Autism Speaks. My sister Trisha and our entire family appreciate the respect of privacy during this difficult time.(more info at jamiemcmurray.com.(10-7-2015)
Sad News - Gail Sommer Germain: After a long, courageous and inspiring fight with breast cancer, the wife of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Bob Germain Jr. has passed away at the age of 45. Gail Sommer Germain bravely and openly shared her struggles, victories and experiences as she fought through the disease. Mrs. Germain made it her mission, her legacy, to help other women who are also struggling with the emotional and physical strains of fighting against cancer. Mrs. Germain made her battle with cancer very public in an effort to inspire other women to keep their grace and dignity throughout the challenges of cancer. Gifts to The Gracie Foundation Inc., named after her nickname, "Gracie," are used fully to fund comfort gift bags for women undergoing cancer treatments. The Gracie Foundation is formed so that 100-percent of donations are used for creating thoughtful "gifts that boost positive energy in women undergoing chemo or radiation treatments." In honor of Mrs. Germain and her gracious battle, the #13 GEICO Chevrolet SS race car has long featured a pink ribbon on the C-post and a nod to Gracie on the B-post. This tradition, along with a special message on the decklid of the #13 GEICO Chevy SS will be continued at Darlington Raceway for Sunday's "Bojangles Southern 500." Germain Racing crew members will also wear pink arm bands in honor of Mrs. Germain. The family will hold a private memorial for Mrs. Germain.(Germain Racing)(9-5-2015)
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)
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 - 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)