Sad / Tragic News, Deaths, Memorials 2014

about deaths of those involved in NASCAR main three divisions or major auto racing series in 2014

NOTE: do not post fan deaths, etc, keep it to the main three National series, major auto racing and immediate family [mother, father, etc]

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  • 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:
    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.(
    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)

  • Sad News - Bob Wright: Bob Wright, age 82 of Tunnel Hill, GA, passed away Wednesday, November 12th. Wright was a legendary racing pioneer in the Southeast, Tri-State area. He was well respected by all of the racing community and he had ties all the way to NASCAR racing. Wright was a crew chief for Donnie Alliosn in the early 1960's. Wright was never married, but he is survived by a number of nieces and nephews. A Celebration of Bob's life will be from 2:00 pm until 5:00 pm Sunday, November 16th at Jones Funeral Home of Tunnel Hill. Bob was a Veteran of the United States Army. His request was to be interred at the Chattanooga National Cemetery. Bob supported Saint Jude's Children's Hospital. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Bob's honor would be greatly appreciated.
    Charitable donations may be made in Bob's memory to the following organization:
    St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
    501 St Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105

  • Sad News - Bill Schmitt: Bill Schmitt, loving husband, dad and grandpa, respected businessman, NASCAR Champion, and community supporter in his home city of Redding, CA, made his last lap here on earth, and headed to his final pit stop in heaven on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at the age of 78. Bill was a prolific businessman, starting or buying more than two dozen businesses over his lifetime, and driving the majority to success. He was well-known as one of the leaders in the North State logging industry in the 1980s and was chosen Logger of the Year in 2007. He wasn't all work, though, and made time to play hard at his dual passions, fishing and NASCAR racing. Bill and Sylvia hosted dozens of their friends and family on their Alaskan King Salmon fishing trips annually. He was also a constant presence on the NASCAR circuit from the late 1970's into the 1990's, , powering his way to NASCAR Winston West Champion four times [1977, 1979, 1989, 1990] with the help of Sylvia, his family, and many friends. He was inducted into the Gatorade Circle of Champions in 1989 and competed in the very first International NASCAR race. Schmitt made 44 starting in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from 1975-1993 with a best finish of 4th at Riverside in 1979.
    He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sylvia, his children and their spouses, Jim & Karen, Steve & Rhonda, Kathie & Frank, Kenny, his nine grandchildren and their spouses, Jimmy, Tracie, Kristi, Melanie, Denise & Joe, Frankie, Jon & Beth, Megan & Steve, Amber & Dustyn, and seven great-grandchildren - Kevin, Matthew, Addison, Ryder, Jaylen, Baylie, and Kynzie.
    There will be a public celebration of his life on Saturday December 6th, 2014 from 1pm-3pm at the Shasta Baptist Church at 6600 Westside Road in Redding. If they wish, parties can make a donation in his memory to the schools he supported - Shasta Baptist School, 6600 Westside Road, Redding, CA 96001, or the school his granddaughter Megan teaches at: Fort Bragg High, Ag Department, 300 Dana St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437.(Allen & Dahl Funeral Chapel)(11-15-2014)

  • Sad news - Alene Brownlee: Office Manager for Billy Ballew Motorsports since 1994 passed away at home, Friday, November 7, 2014 in Sanderson, Georgia. Alene was born on December 17, 1952. Alene was a frequent friendly face at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with the Billy Ballew Motorsports team and continued working as Ballew's bookkeeper since his departure from racing. Alene will be deeply missed by her NASCAR friends. A memorial will be held at her home, 766 McIntyre Street in Sandersville, on Saturday, November 15th, from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. with a service at 2:00 p.m.(11-13-2014)

  • Sad News - Gary Overman: Herman "Gary" Overman, 60, of North Wilkesboro, died Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. He was born June 16, 1954, in Iredell County to Herman Bean and Evelyn Call Overman. He was a mechanic with NASCAR race teams and worked for Junior Johnson as well as Travis Carter Motorsports, Team Rensi Motorsports and others. Mr. Overman was preceded in death by his father and grandparents, Lois Brooks Call and Brance Call.
    Surviving are three daughters, Patricia Johnson and husband, Chris, Samantha Call and husband Keith, all of North Wilkesboro, and Kayla Danielle Overman of Oklahoma; his mother, Evelyn Call Overman of North Wilkesboro; a brother, James Randy Call and wife, Vickie, of North Wilkesboro; a sister, Lois Call Sumner and husband, Ricky Sr., of Pleasant Garden; and four grandchildren, Gregory Williams, Nicole Call, Zack Call and Emily Johnson.
    A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, at the Miller Funeral Chapel, with the Rev. David Wellborn and the Rev. Mike Church officiating. Burial will follow in Fishing Creek Arbor Baptist Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Miller Funeral Service from noon until 2 p.m. on Thursday, prior to the service.
    The family has requested no flowers. Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 2361, North Wilkesboro, N.C. 28659 or to Fishing Creek Arbor Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, 2446 Fishing Creek Arbor Road, Wilkesboro, N.C. 28697. Miller Funeral Service is in charge of the arrangements. Online condolences may be made to Journal-Patriot)(11-5-2014)

  • Sad News - Jim Sauter: Jim Sauter, a racer and father of four drivers including NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter, died on Friday night. He was 71. Sauter competed in 82 NASCAR national series races from 1980 to 2004, including 76 premier series starts. The native of Necedah, Wisconsin, made his final NASCAR Nationwide Series start at the Milwaukee Mile in 2002, racing against his sons Jay, Johnny and Tim. Jim Jr. followed in his father's footsteps as well. A two-time champion in the ARTGO Racing Series in the Midwest, Sauter tested International Race of Champions cars with fellow Wisconsin racers Dave Marcis and Dick Trickle.(
    SERVICES: The wake for Jim Sauter will be held Tuesday night, November 4 at HARE Funeral in New Lisbon, Wisconsin, located at 217 W. Pearl Street New Lisbon, WI 53950. The funeral will be held at Our Lady of Victory in Necedah, Wisconsin on Wednesday morning, November 5, N11190 17TH Ave. Necedah, WI 54646. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Jim Sauter's name to: Queen of the Holy Rosary School in Necedah, WI. (11-3-2014)

  • Sad News - Raymond Beadle: Legendary drag racer and team owner Raymond Beadle passed away Monday following a heart attack, at the age of 70. Beadle gained fame as the owner-driver of the "Blue Max" Funny Cars in which he won three straight NHRA Funny Car championships from 1979-'81. His first title in 1979 ended Don Prudhomme's four-year reign in that class. He also won three IHRA championships. All told, Beadle won 13 NHRA nationalevents and appeared in 28 final rounds. He made the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association's prestigious All-American team in 1980 with Shirley Muldowney and Bobby Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Dale Earnhardt, and Cale Yarborough. He and his Blue Max crew chief Dale Emery were among the 11th class of inductees into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame and was inducted earlier this year into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Detroit. Retired as a driver since 1987 and as an owner since 1990, Beadle had dabbled in cattle and quarter horses but recently had moved back to Dallas with his wife Roz. After he retired as a driver, Beadle transitioned to the role of full-time car owner successfully, building a championship-winning NASCAR team that won the 1989 Cup title with Rusty Wallace. He also fielded a World of Outlaws sprint car that was driven by Outlaws ace Sammy Swindell. Beadle's cars always carried #27 and he maintained an allegiance to Pontiac for much of his career in motorsports.(FoxSports)(10-20-2014)

  • Sad News - Richard Cozze: Richard A. Cozze Sr., "Dick" 87, of Jutland NJ passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Sunday October 12 2014, at Hunterdon Medical Center. Born in Union Township, Hunterdon County, NJ on September 14, 1927, he resided in Jutland most of his life. He attended Clinton High School and served in the Merchant Marines. He was well-known and highly respected in the sport of auto racing, mostly stock cars. He was a car owner for such famous drivers as Al Tasnady, Budd Olsen, Stan Ploski and Robert Pickell, who raced his car in the 1967 Daytona 500. Racing was a family affair. He and his sons were behind the Cozze Brothers Engineering race team, which was known for its well-constructed and best prepared rides. Many years prior to becoming a car owner, he raced for one season in 1950 at tracks in Newark and Morristown. His sons also raced and one continues to race today. He was inducted into Eastern Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006. And, in 2011, he was recipient of the Northeast Modified Hall of Fame Gene DeWitt Outstanding Car Owner Award. A funeral service will be held at 10:00a.m. on Thursday October 16, at Martin Funeral Home, 1761 Route 31, Clinton, NJ 08809. Visiting will be held on Wednesday October 15, from 2:00 to 4:00p.m and from 6:00 to 9:00pm at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Shannon Daley Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 1271, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889. Services are under the direction of Martin Funeral Home.(10-14-2014)

  • Sad news - Lynn Olson: Lynn Olson, retired NASCAR Camping World Truck Series official, passed away on Saturday October 4. A memorial service will be held at Covenant Church of Harrisburg, 6900 Hickory Ridge Dr, Harrisburg NC 28075 at 5:00 p.m. October 12, 2014. Lynn retired as a truck official after working for approximately 17 years officiating in several of the NASCAR series. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made out to Camp Jim, a Christ centered camp in Brainerd MN. Donations can be sent to Covenant Church of Harrisburg.(10-9-2014)

  • Sad News - Gary Marshall: Statement on Gary Marshall - #51 Assembly Mechanic. We are saddened to announce that HScott Motorsports employee Gary Marshall died last night in a motorcycle accident on Interstate 85 in Spartanburg, S.C."Gary was part of the HScott family and it's a loss for all of us," said team owner Harry Scott Jr. "This is a very sad day for us and for Gary's family. We ask that you please keep them in your hearts and prayers during this time."
    "Gary was a good friend of mine and will very much be missed," said competition director and crew chief Steve Addington. "I hired Gary who was always a team player and I was proud of the work he did. My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends." Gary had been with HScott Motorsports all season and was a car assembly mechanic. The team will provide additional information about funeral arrangements when they become available.(HScott Motorsports)(10-7-2014)

  • Sad News - Dan Ford: Robert Daniel "Dan" Ford, 78, of Huntersville, NC, died Friday, October 3, 2014, at his residence. He was drafted by the Army serving at White Sands, NM, building tracking systems for NASA. After he was honorably discharged, he went to work for Holman & Moody building cars for Ford Motor Company that ultimately won at Le Mans. He was a crew chief for Mario Andretti in 1967. He continued working on the sports car program at Sebring with drivers AJ Foyt, Mark Donahue, Paul Hawkins, and Lloyd Ruby. In 1968 he switched to the stock car program with drivers David Pearson, and Bobby Allison. Although he worked for only three other teams during his 41-year career - Ranier, DiGard, and ultimately Hendrick Motorsports - he worked with a number of drivers, including: Neil Bonnett, Darrell Waltrip, Ricky Rudd, Cale Yarborough, Joe Ruttman, Buddy Baker, Benny Parsons, Geoff Bodine, Terry Labonte, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Jimmy Johnson, Mark Martin, and Brian Vickers. Dan was well-respected among his NASCAR peers, winning the Copenhagen-Skoal All Pro Award in either the General Mechanic or Gear and Transmission Specialist categories. These awards were given by peer review, and Dan won every year the awards were given, with one exception: when he lost to his good friend and colleague, Howard "Slick" Poston. Upon his retirement in 2007, he divided his time between Huntersville and Sierra Vista, AZ. He loved the out-of-doors, enjoying hunting, and in his later years simply sitting outside reading a book or talking to the many visitors at Coronado National Memorial and the Friends of the San Pedro River where he and his wife, Bette, volunteered. Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Bette Katzenmoyer Ford of Huntersville, NC; his son Michael Steven Ford of Charlotte, NC; his daughter Julia Ford Eckard and her husband Tom of Raleigh, NC.
    A Memorial Service to celebrate his life will be held on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, at 7:00 PM, at James Funeral Home Chapel. The family will receive friends following the service at the funeral home.
    Donations can be made to the Friends of the San Pedro River, 4070 S Avenida Saracino, Hereford, AZ 85615 (, and to the National Parks Foundation (designated to Coronado NM), 1201 Eye Street NW, Suite 550B, Washington DC 20005 ( James Funeral Homes of Huntersville, NC is serving the family of Mr. Ford and online condolences can be made to full obituary, service info, online condolences and more at

  • Sad News - Ben Blake: former NASCAR / Motorsports writer/reporter, Ben Blake, passed away. Blake covered NASCAR for many years with some of the outlets being the Richmond Times-Dispatch and RACER among others. Blake was one of the panelists on the defunct show Pit Bulls which aired on Speed in 2005. Blake also wotre or co-wrote five motorsport-related books, including the only authorized biography of Dale Earnhardt.(USA Today's Nate Ryan's Twitter)(9-30-2014)
    UPDATE From RACER: We learned today of the passing of Ben Blake. Ben was one of the best and brightest writing for RACER and he knew he had big shoes to fill as he took over the RACER NASCAR beat following the death of his friend Gerald Martin in 1999. Ben also worked closely with our RACER Special Projects editor Steve Nickless and produced much of the content in our Penske Motorsports race programs for California Speedway, Michigan Speedway, North Carolina Motor Speedway, Nazareth Speedway and Homestead Miami Speedway from 1997-1999. He also was a key player on the original team in our Charlotte office where he joined Bill King, John Gardner, Eric Mauk and John Davison and the rest of our RACER crew in California in re-launching (later known as for network founder Roger Werner in January 2000. Ben was a wonderful writer and he was passionate about telling the real stories of NASCAR racers, mechanics and team owners. He wrote from the heart and we're proud that he sometimes made people in very high places nervous because he wrote it like it was, without any hint of political correctness. We believe they admired the fact that he would not be intimidated. Sure, Ben could drive us crazy on deadline but once we received his brilliant words it was always worth the battle to get them. Our sympathies go to Ben's family and his many friends in racing. He was truly one of a kind and we are forever grateful to have had him on our team. - Paul Pfanner, Founder and Executive Publisher (RACER), no word on services or any other info(10-2-2014)
    AND NASCAR: Ben Blake - a tribute by his daughter Eva, and RACER's NASCAR writer Tom Jensen at

  • Sad News - Carl Dickinson: Carl Mason "Skeeter" Dickinson, 67, of Spotsylvania County (VA) died Wednesday, September 2014 at St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond. Mr. Dickinson was a 1965 graduate of Stafford High School. He served in the Virginia National Guard and later retired from McLean Mid-Atlantic after 37 years. He was also an avid farmer. He enjoyed working for the Aldridge family for many years, and most recently, the Lyon family. Mr. Dickinson was a life member of the Spotsylvania Volunteer Fire Department where he served as a Captain and Safety Officer. He was a member of Goshen Baptist Church. Mr. Dickinson loved NASCAR and drove a transporter for the #90 Junie Donlavey team for five years.(see full obituary, service info and more at

  • Sad News - Gordon Gibbs: Gordon Ernest Gibbs, 56, of Lexington, NC, passed away Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at Glenn A. Kiser Hospice House in Salisbury after a courageous battle with cancer. Gordon spent his entire career in NASCAR sharing his love of stock car racing with many. He was well known for his passion, his drive and dedication to racing. Gordon started his career on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit as a mechanic and tire changer for Hendrick Motorsports and driver Geoff Bodine when the team won the 1986 Daytona 500. He was a crewman for drivers Lake Speed, Sterling Marlin, Brett Bodine, and Ricky Rudd. He was named crew chief for driver Steve Grissom for the Diamond Ridge Motorsports team in 1994. Gordon then worked for Joe Gibbs Racing with Coy Gibbs in a late model car. In 1999 Gordon returned to Hendrick Motorsports and was the car chief for drivers Joe Nemechek, Wally Dallenbach and Jerry Madeau. In 2003, he was the car chief for the Hendrick Motorsports Research and Development Team with Kyle Busch and David Green in ARCA. In 2004, Gordon worked with Kyle Busch in the Sprint Cup series. From 2005 to 2007, Gordon worked for the Hendrick Motorsports Busch Team and worked with multiple drivers. In 2008, he then went to work for JR Motorsports as the shop foreman. He was loved and respected by many in the racing community. See the full obituary, services and memorials info at

  • Sad News - Earl Ross Earl Ross, the only Canadian driver to ever win a race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, died Thursday in Canada. He was 73. Ross made 26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts during his career, running 21 of 30 races during the 1974 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. He scored his only series victory on Sept. 29, 1974 at Martinsville Speedway, leading the final 79 laps and beating Buddy Baker by a full lap to score the victory. He also won the 1974 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Award. Ross was inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2011. (National Speed Sport News)
    NASCAR Statement: "NASCAR extends its condolences to the family and friends of Earl Ross, a true racer whose considerable on-track success helped grow the sport internationally. Ross was the first Canadian driver to win a race in what is today known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and he did it at one of NASCAR's most historic tracks for one of NASCAR's most historic owners. His 1974 win at Martinsville for Junior Johnson helped lay the foundation for the sport's tremendous growth in Canada, and beyond."(9-19-2014)

  • Sad News - Don Tilley: A motorcycle crash on Friday night claimed the life of former NASCAR driver and owner of Tilley Harley Davidson, Don Tilley, 78, and left his wife, Robinette, in critical condition. News of the accident left people across Iredell County (NC) and the nation and throughout the motorcycle and NASCAR communities shaken. "God speed, @don_tilley. Don taught me how to ride long distance, love Harleys & most importantly how to be a friend," Kyle Petty wrote Saturday on Twitter. The motorcycle driven by the Tilleys, who own Tilley-Harley Davidson in Statesville, crashed near Mile Post 394 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Buncombe County, according to the U.S. Park Rangers office. Robinette Tilley was taken to Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC and was listed in critical condition on Friday evening with a spinal injury.(Statesville News & Landmark)(8-30-2014)
    AND In the 1950s and 1960s, Don won many stock car races in Hickory and used local success to run several races on NASCAR's Grand National Circuit, including two at Daytona. He also worked for Richard Petty before focusing on building motorcycles and opening Tilley Harley-Davidson in Statesville.(Statesville News & Landmark)(8-31-2014)
    MEMORIAL: Hundreds of Harley riders will converge on Statesville Sunday to celebrate the life of Don Tilley, who died as he lived most of his 78 years: Riding a motorcycle with his wife. Tilley was a legend in racing and Harley-Davidson circles, having led all 20 of Kyle Petty's " Charity Ride Across America" treks to raise money for seriously ill children. He died when he lost control of his motorcycle on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville Friday evening. Robinette Tilley, his wife of 53 years, was riding with him. She remains hospitalized in Asheville with serious injuries, said Vickie Kress, a staffer at Tilley Harley-Davidson in Statesville. Sunday's memorial service will be held in Statesville High School's stadium to accommodate the crowds expected to turn out - many of them riding motorcycles from the Tilley dealerships in Salisbury and Statesville, thundering in with a police escort.(in part from the Charlotte Observer)(9-2-2014)

  • Sad News - David Garvin: David Garvin, a Bowling Green entrepreneur who founded Camping World and formerly owned Beech Bend Park and Raceway, died Saturday morning in an accidental fall at his home. Stephen Harmon, spokesman for the Warren County Sheriff's Office, said Garvin was working on the roof at his house when he slipped after getting too close to the edge. Deputies responded at 9:53 a.m. to 449 Old Richardsville Road regarding a person who had fallen from a rooftop. Garvin, 71, was pronounced dead at the scene. No suspicious circumstances existed surrounding the fall, and the death is considered accidental, Harmon said. Garvin founded the business that would become Camping World in 1966 at age 23, starting a small store and mail-order business that sold camping products and supplies.(Bowling Green Daily News)(8-31-2014)

  • Capt. Herb Emory Remembered: There is an empty seat in the back corner of the media center this weekend, an area that is usually filled with booming laughter and lively stories, replaced instead with a single ballcap laid there in memoriam of Capt. Herb Emory. That voice went silent in April when Emory died from a sudden, massive heart attack while assisting victims of a car accident in front of his home. For anyone who has ever lived in Atlanta, Capt. Herb was the voice of drive-time traffic, instructing commuters on backups and delays throughout the city. For race fans everywhere, he was one of the sport's biggest proponents, hosting a weekly racing show on WSB-AM for nearly 20 years. This weekend, Atlanta Motor Speedway officials and NASCAR drivers will be honoring the memory of the great man who gave so much to the sport. Atlanta Motor Speedway has painted a special "Capt. Herb" logo in the corner of the frontstretch ballfield and will honor his vast community service efforts during a pre-race presentation to his widow, Karen Emory.(AMS Pit Notes)(8-31-2014)

  • Sad News - Ed Whitaker: One of the greats of NASCAR history died this morning in Bristol, Tennessee. Family members tell us team owner and car builder Ed Whitaker died just after 8:00am Friday. His teams posted 28 Nationwide Series races wins and was a three time winner at Bristol Motor Speedway. Whitaker is known for helping many of the biggest names in NASCAR get their start on the Nationwide Series. Looking over the names of previous drivers who drove for Whitaker you will find Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin, Alan Kulwicki, Tim Richmond, and Davey Allison. BMS officials say Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s first Nationwide race at Bristol in 1997 was in an Ed Whitaker-owned car.(WCYB)
    AND former NASCAR car owner Ed Whitaker, who earned 28 victories in the former Busch Series, died this morning [8-22-2014] at his Bristol, Va., home, according to business associate Peter Laura. Whitaker provided Dale Earnhardt, Jr., with his first ride at Bristol Motor Speedway in what is now known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 1997 and built machines for the late Dale Earnhardt, Alan Kulwicki and Davey Allison and other drivers like Harry Gant, Morgan Shepherd and Mark Martin. "He loved every driver that every got in one of his cars. They were family to him," Maxine Whitaker, Ed's wife, said in an interview earlier this afternoon.(Bristol Herald Courier), see Whitaker's record as an owner at

  • Sad News - Tom Mitchell: Longtime NASCAR team owner Tom Mitchell passed away yesterday in his hometown of Ozona, Texas at the age of 86. Mitchell owned and operated the Circle Bar Truck Corral in Ozona, and was an avid supporter of motorsports for more than 40 years, owning teams in all three NASCAR National Series, as well as Indy Car. His teams all carried the Circle Bar Racing banner, copying the name of one of his cattle ranches. He is best remembered for owning and sponsoring Rick Crawford's NASCAR All-Pro and Camping World Truck Series teams for many years. He also owned an Indy Car Series team for driver Chet Fillip in the early 1980s. In 1985, he sold all his Indy Car equipment to Al Unser, Jr., who won the series championship the following season. He was a major player in the Texas cattle industry - once owning more than a half-dozen ranches, the smallest measuring approximately 30,000 acres - and made a fortune from the discovery and excavation of natural gas on his ranch land. At one time, he owned the local cable TV company in Ozona, a pair of truck stops off I-10, a motel and RV Park, and many other businesses. He was not the stereotypical NASCAR sponsor/owner, however, with Crawford saying his longtime team owner never saw the inside of his race shop, or watched him race in person. Memorial services for Tom Mitchell have not yet been announced.(Godfather Motorsports)(8-19-2014)

  • Sad News - Rod Eulenfeld: Ludwig E. Rod Eulenfeld, Sr. died Friday, August 8, 2014 at Coweta Manor in Coweta, Oklahoma. He was 78 years of age. He was a Professional NASCAR Driver and Mechanic for over 18 years. He served as a Missionary in Guatemala for 12 years. He was a veteran of the United States Navy. He married the former Miss Dora Mae Roberts on August 20, 1970 in Kingsland, Georgia. She preceded him in death on February 7, 2014. Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, PO Box 841125, Dallas, TX 75284-1125. You may sign the online guest book or leave a memory for the family by going to and clicking online tributes.(Times Union). Eulenfeld ran six Sprint Cup Series races from 1964-1971 with a best finish of 16th at Daytona.(8-19-2014)

  • Sad News - Bob Cronin: Robert "Bob" Cronin died Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. Bob's greatest inspiration was his love of his family. He was a faithful husband and father. He was a humble man, who walked in integrity and honor. Bob's love for the outdoors and adventure also includes a passion for racing. He spent over 40 years in the racing community. He was a brilliant engine builder and an expert at his craft. He owned CRD Engine Development for the past 25 years. He built and designed engines for multiple teams. He has an extensive background with many aspects of road racing. The Cronin family is known for living life to the fullest sharing a love of horses, fishing, boating and biking and spending time in the outdoors. We will share Bob Cronin's story Monday evening, Aug. 11, at 7 pm, at Concord First Assembly Church, where he and his family faithfully attended for a Celebration of Life service. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Wings of Eagles Ranch Therapeutic Horseback Riding & Outdoor Adventure Center, 4800 Faith Trails, Concord, NC 28025. Remembrances may be sent to the family at Lady's Funeral Home & Crematory is assisting the Cronin family.(8-10-2014)

  • Sabates' grandson killed in shooting: An accidental shooting over the weekend in Florida claimed the life of a grandson of Chip Ganassi Racing co-owner Felix Sabates. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has relayed the findings of a Palm Beach Gardens police report on the incident. The report says it took place during a party in which a group of friends were playing with a 9mm pistol while drinking and doing drugs. An unnamed 17-year-old pointed the gun at multiple people inside the apartment before pointing it at 18-year-old Feliciano "Chany" Sabates. The gun then went off, and Sabates was hit in the chest by the round. Sabates died at the scene. The shooter now faces a charge of manslaughter by culpable negligence.(NBC Sports)(8-6-2014)

  • Sad News - Layman Utsman: Layman Utsman, from the Bluff City pioneer NASCAR racing Utsman family, passed away Sunday at the Johnson City Medical Center at the age of 81. Layman is survived by his three children; seven grandchildren; three brothers; two sisters; and nine great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. Layman was a devoted Christian man and was an active member of Boones Creek Christian Church. He loved racing and had a racing career that spanned from 1955 to 1978. He was retired from Harris Trucking but continued to work at the StockPot in Johnson City. In addition to his love of racing, he also loved to read and study his Bible and attended small groups and Sunday school class at BCCC. He is loved and will be missed. A celebration of life service will be held at Boones Creek Christian Church on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 pm with the service beginning at 8:00 pm. The committal service will be Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 10:45 am at the VA. In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations be made to Boones Creek Christian Church, 305 Christian Church Road, Johnson City, TN 37615, in his memory. Services are under the direction of Dillow-Taylor Funeral Home. Utsman competed in three Sprint Cup Series events in his career. (8-4-2014)

  • Sad News - Paul Kuhl: Paul R. Kuhl Sr. of Raritan Township died Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at his home. He was 87. He was probably most known for his involvement in the Flemington Agricultural Fair, serving as both president of it and the related Flemington Fair and Carnival Association. And he served as president and promoter of Flemington Speedway, at the fairgrounds. He was a former director of Racing Promoters Workshop, Daytona Beach, Fla. and was elected to the National Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1991. He served as vice-president of National Old Timers Auto Racing Club. In addition, he was voted Auto Racing Promoter of the Year in the Eastern United States at Daytona Beach in 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990 and 1991; was voted Auto Racing Promoter of the Year Nationwide in 1991; and received American Racing Legends Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.
    Funeral services will be held Monday, July 28, 11 a.m. in the Flemington Presbyterian Church, Main Street, Flemington, followed by interment in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Flemington. Calling hours will be Sunday 1-4 and 6-8 p.m. at Holcombe-Fisher Funeral Home, 147 Main St., Flemington; and also on Monday, 10-11 a.m. at Flemington Presbyterian Church, 10 E. Main St. Memorial contributions can be made to Flemington Presbyterian Church, 10 E. Main St., Flemington, NJ 08822.(Hunterdon County Democrat)(7-23-2014)

  • Sad News - Dr. John Melvin: Most NASCAR fans might not know the name Dr. John Melvin, but in the NASCAR community his work was paramount in the field of driver safety. A former University of Michigan professor and senior research engineer with General Motors, Dr. Melvin became a paid safety consultant for NASCAR, serving as the Technical Consultant to NASCAR for Racecar Safety. In this role, Dr. Melvin worked on safety innovations such as the head-and-neck restraints, seat construction, seat belts and SAFER barriers. Dr. Melvin was also the first to develop a black box for racecars in 1991 as part of the GM Racing Safety Program. "NASCAR and the entire motorsports industry lost a giant on Thursday with the passing of Dr. John Melvin. Dr. Melvin was a pioneer in the field of driver safety, particularly in the area of driver restraint systems," NASCAR president Mike Helton said in a statement. "His many contributions as a safety consultant to NASCAR for more than 13 years forever changed the sport. We lost a colleague, and a friend. NASCAR extends its condolences to Dr. Melvin's family and friends. He will be greatly missed by the entire racing community."(FoxSports)(7-18-2014)

  • Sad News - Gary Lee: Longtime motor sports broadcaster Gary Lee, 63, was found dead in his Indianapolis home today [Monday], likely the result of a heart attack, friends confirmed. Lee, who lived on the city's Eastside near Shadeland Avenue, was synonymous with ESPN's earliest televised events. He teamed with former driver Larry Rice to broadcast the "Thunder" short-track series that featured drivers such as a young Jeff Gordon at what was then Indianapolis Raceway Park in the late 1980s and early 1990s. "Larry and Gary were 'Thunder,'" said fellow broadcaster Bob Jenkins, who helped start the weekly traveling motor sports show along with Larry Nuber. "They got along so well." Lee worked on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network through the 1990s and owned Whiteland Raceway Park for a time.(Indianapolis Star)(7-15-2014)

  • Sad News - Jay Hesse: Chris Lafferty and Lafferty Motorsports are mourning the loss of Blue Ox owner Jay Hesse who passed away Sunday after a battle with cancer. Blue Ox is the longest running sponsor of Lafferty Motorsports - first partnering in 2005. "Man, it's so sad," commented Lafferty, "Jay and the whole Blue Ox team have been so good to me. If you knew Jay for one minute then you knew exactly who he was! Going to miss him." We hope you will join us in keeping his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.(Lafferty Motorsports)
    AND It is with heavy hearts that we announce the death of beloved CEO and President of Blue Ox, Jay C. Hesse. Jay privately battled cancer and lost his life to this disease, June 22, 2014. With Jay's passing, the RV industry has lost a visionary and inspiring leader who was loyal to the development and growth of the RV industry, his community and his Company. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Jay, we have lost a beloved husband, father, brother, dear friend and inspiring mentor. Jay leaves behind a company that he, his father and grandfather built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Blue Ox.(Blue Ox PR)
    Blue Ox sponsored the Camping World Truck Series team of Lafferty Motorsports and some Nationwide races with Jay Robinson Racing.(6-23-2014)

  • Sad News - Ray Fox: Ray Fox, 98, one of NASCAR's premier engine builders and mechanics in the 1950s and '60s, died at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach on Sunday afternoon with members of his family at his side. A family spokeswoman said Fox, who had battled COPD for years, was hospitalized a few days ago and succumbed to pneumonia. Two of Fox' daughters, Gerri and Sandra, were at his side when he died. Fox, who moved to Daytona Beach in 1946 from New Hampshire, captured every major NASCAR Grand National Series (now Sprint Cup Series) race of his day. His driving roster reads like a Who's Who in stock-car racing with NASCAR Hall of Famers Junior Johnson, David Pearson and Buck Baker taking his equipment to Victory Lane in showcase events. Fox is credited with 14 wins as a car owner, but his victory count was much higher in his many roles in sport. He stayed active in racing into his 80s as an engine inspector for NASCAR, then as president of the Living Legends of Auto Racing. He celebrated his 98th birthday at the Living Legends Museum in South Daytona on May 24. For the last two years, Fox has been nominated for the NASCAR Hall of Fame honors but came up short of votes on the final ballot. His grandson, Ray Fox III, remains in the sport as a Car Chief for Penske Racing. Fox most famously won the 1960 Daytona 500 with driver Junior Johnson wheeling the #27 Chevrolet.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-16-2014)
    SERVICES info can be viewed at Daytona Beach News Journal or

  • Drivers, family, fans honor Donlavey: Nearly 500 people gathered in the Dominion building at the Richmond International Raceway complex Monday to celebrate the life of W.C. "Junie" Donlavey Jr., iconic NASCAR car owner who died June 9 at the age of 90. Racing historian and radio personality Joe Kelly served as the host. Family, fans, former crew members and former drivers were among those on hand. Ricky Rudd, one of the 60 drivers who drove Donlavey's #90 Ford in NASCAR's Cup series, was among those who recalled Donlavey's genial good humor -- even after Rudd had hit the wall at Darlington Raceway and spoiled the steering in a car that was leading the race.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-17-2014)

  • NASCAR Euro driver killed in Philippines: Former NASCAR Whelen Euro Series driver Ferdinand "Enzo" Pastor was shot and killed Thursday night in Quezon City, Philippines. Pastor was the first Filipino driver in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, finishing sixth in the series standings in 2013. According to reports, the 32-year-old was traveling to Pampanga for the Asian V8 Championship, a stock-car race for drivers from the Asia-Pacific area. The incident occurred when Pastor was driving a truck carrying his race car to Clark International Speedway in Pampanga. Paulo Salazar, Pastor's assistant who was also injured in the shooting, said they stopped at a traffic light when a masked man approached the vehicle and began shooting. Pastor was struck in the head, neck and arm, and died after being transported to the hospital. According to the report, police investigators ruled out robbery since none of Pastor's personal belongings were stolen during the incident. They are still trying to determine if the shooting was related to racing.(FoxSports)(6-14-2014)

    All four Hendrick Motorsports teams will remember Junie Donlavey with a special car decal at MIS.
    From Hendrick Motorsports Twitter

  • Sad News - Junie Donlavey: Legendary NASCAR owner and Richmond native Junie Donlavey has died at age 90 according to family members. Donlavey suffered from Alzheimer's disease and passed away Monday night in Richmond. Donlavey got his start as an owner in 1950 at Martinsville. He fielded NASCAR teams all the way into the 2000s. Donlavey's famous #90 car fielded rookie of the year drivers three times (1970, 1980, 1985). Donlavey's family told NBC12 that Junie thought it would only be appropriate if he passed away at age 90, the same number famously featured on his stock cars.(WWBT), see Donlavey's owner stats at
    SERVICES Wesley "Junie" Donlavey, Jr., 90, of Richmond, went to be with the Lord on Monday, June 9, 2014. He was preceded in death by his parents, Esther Mary and Wesley C. Donlavey, Sr. and by his beloved wife, Phyllis May Donlavey. Surviving him are his daughters, Linda Perkins (Bill), and Beverly Swata; a son, Richard Donlavey (Sandy); 6 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren and devoted friend Kenneth "Ding" Bell. Junie was a U.S. Navy veteran and the owner of Swansboro Motor Company (aka Donlavey Racing). He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007. A Celebration of Junie's Life will be held 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 16 at the Richmond International Raceway, Old Dominion Building, 600 E. Laburnum Ave. His graveside service will be held on Sunday, June 15, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. in Washington Memorial Park, 6217 Memorial Drive, Sandston, VA. 23150. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, NC, 27317.(RIR)(6-12-2014)

  • Sad News - Ed Negre: Ed Negre, who fielded the car Dale Earnhardt drove in his first start in NASCAR's premier series, died Wednesday in a Hospice care center in Longview, Washington. He was 86. Without drivers such as Negre, who started 338 races in NASCAR's top series from 1955-79, the fields in NASCAR Cup Series races would have seemed mighty skimpy during the 1970s. Negre, Baxter Price, Frank Warren, Walter Ballard and other "independents" without heavy sponsorship assured that there would be full fields at most events, usually meaning competition all the way around the tracks. Racing his own Dodges mostly out of a shop in Concord, NC, Negre posted four top five finishes and 26 top 10s. His best finish was fourth in a 150-lap race at Portland Speedway in Oregon in 1956, an event won by NASCAR Hall Of Famer Herb Thomas (see his stats at Negre is perhaps best known for providing a car to a young, shy, long-haired driver from Kannapolis named Earnhardt for his first Cup Series start, at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25, 1975 in the World 600. Earnhardt finished 22nd that day, Negre was 32nd. After retiring from racing, Negre returned to the Northwest fulltime in '79 and founded Bee Line Truck in Kelso/Longview. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Faye, four daughters and a son, Norman, who lives in Concord. At Ed's request there was to be no service, but his body cremated and the ashes placed with his Samples grandparents' remains at Longview Memorial Park. Memorials may be made to Community Health and Hospice, P.O. Box 2067, Longview, Wash., 98632 or to a hospice of choice.(full story at the Charlotte Observer)(6-5-2014)

  • Sad News - Charles "Hoss" Ellington: Former NASCAR team owner and driver Charles "Hoss" Ellington has passed away at the age of 79. Ellington, a native of Wilmington, N.C., won five races as a car owner in NASCAR's premier division, and his cars had 52 top-five and 92 top-10 finishes in 264 races from 1968 to 1988. Donnie Allison won four races in 55 starts with Ellington from 1977 to 1982. The most famous race for Ellington wasn't one he won, it was one he lost. In 1979, Donnie Allison was leading the last lap of the Daytona 500 in Ellington's No. 1 Hawaiian Tropic-sponsored Oldsmobile when Yarborough attempted to slingshot under him on the backstretch. The two crashed in Turn 3, allowing Richard Petty to win. Allison, his brother Bobby and Yarborough got into a fistfight in the infield after the race, generating national headlines for NASCAR. Ellington also had 21 starts as a driver in what is now known as the Sprint Cup Series from 1968 to 1970. In those 21 races, Ellington never led a lap, but had four top-10 finishes.(Fox Sports)(6-1-2014)

  • Sad News - Ray DeWitt: Former NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series team owner Ray DeWitt passed away Thursday evening after suffering a heart attack at his home in Sunset Beach, NC. He was 63. DeWitt fielded cars on the local and regional scene for many years, including an American Speed Association (ASA) operation that included eventual NASCAR drivers Ted Musgrave and Tim Fedewa. DeWitt's NASCAR national series career began when he fielded Sprint Cup Series Chevrolets for drivers Rich Vogler and Ted Musgrave in a trio of 1990 races at Pocono, Michigan and Rockingham. He teamed with former driver DK Ulrich to form RaDiUs Racing in 1992, running the full Winston Cup championship schedule with Musgrave, crew chief Buddy Parrott and sponsor Jasper Engines. The following year, RaDiUs Racing claimed a pair of Top-5 finishes at Pocono and Michigan with Musgrave at the controls, finishing 25th in the final standings. DeWitt also fielded a full-time Busch Grand National Series effort with driver Tim Fedewa under the D-R Racing banner, finishing 18th in points. In 1994, DeWitt ended his partnership with Ulrich and concentrated mainly on the NASCAR Busch Series, finishing 10th in points with Fedewa. He also made 18 Winston Cup starts that year with drivers Jimmy Hensley, Fedewa and Butch Miller.(Godfather Motorsports)(5-31-2014)

  • Sad News - Henry "Spook" Caspers: Henry "Spook" Habbe Caspers, Jr., 76, died May 17, 2014 at Regional Hospice Home. Caspers was born May 3, 1938 in New Bern, Nebraska. Mr. Caspers retired as a veteran of the U.S. Navy after 20 years of service, serving four tours of duty in Viet Nam. He then worked at Lockheed in aerodynamics contract work helping design engines for the A-10 Warhog, and then he began his NASCAR career retiring as a truck driver with Phoenix Racing and NASCAR affiliation for over 30 years. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, 18251 Quantico Gateway Dr., Triangle, VA, 22172. Services and more info at

  • Sad News - Jack Brabham: Jack Brabham, the three-time Formula One champion who famously pushed his car to the finish line to claim his first season title, died Monday, May 19, 2014, his Gold Coast home. He was 88. The Australian driver -- known as Sir Jack in racing paddocks around the world after he was knighted in 1979 -- won world titles in 1959 and 1960 and became the only F1 driver to win a world championship in a car of his own construction -- the rear-engined BT19 -- which he drove to the title in 1966. The following year the Brabham team won its second successive world championship when New Zealander Denny Hulme drove the BT20 to victory. Brabham won his final Grand Prix race in South Africa in 1970 before retiring from F1 at the age of 44. Brabham continued to compete at different venues after his F1 retirement and his three sons, Geoff, Gary and David also had professional racing careers. Two of his grandsons, Matthew and Sam, are racing in the U.S. and Britain. Brabham returned to Australia after he retired and his new interests included developing a farm, car dealership and aviation company. He was also a spokesman for a major Japanese automaker and maintained his interest in the sport, visiting numerous major international races. Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles described Brabham, a four-time Indianapolis 500 starter, as "the patriarch of a racing dynasty."(full story at

  • Sad News - Pam Noterman: Pamela Wilhelm Noterman, born September 23, 1955, passed away peacefully on May 6, 2014 at her home in Sarasota, Florida after a lengthy illness. She was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida and graduated from Samuel Wolfson High School and subsequently from the University of Florida. She had a love for animals (especially dogs and horses) and spent many years caring for them as she managed the family ranch, Moss Hill Farms in Melrose, Florida while pursuing her degree. Pam was founder and CEO of Tempus Ltd. watch company, which was very actively involved in NASCAR for over a decade.
    After college, Pam married John Noterman, with whom she raised two wonderful children: Annsley Elizabeth Noterman, currently attending medical school in Poznan, Poland; and Jonathan Richard Noterman, graduating from St. Leo University this summer. She was a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother who cherished her children and was very proud of the young adults they have become. Pam's greatest joy in recent months was traveling to Europe to spend time with her new grandson Jack Grayson Nall (born Sept 17, 2013).
    Pam is survived by her husband, John Stewart Noterman; daughter, Annsley Elizabeth Noterman and her family, John D. Nall III and their son, Jack Grayson Nall; son, Jonathan Richard Noterman; father, Richard James Wilhelm, M.D., sister, Lisa Wilhelm Goode; sister, Julie Wilhelm Glaze. Pam was predeceased by her mother, Velma Romedy Wilhelm and daughter, Ashlyn Marie Noterman.
    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.(

  • Sad News - Patricia Petty: Patricia Petty, wife of Maurice Petty and sister-in-law to Richard Petty, passed away Sunday, May 11. Richard Petty offered the following statement: "We all love Patricia. She was another cornerstone in the Petty family and was always there for Maurice and allowed us to do what we loved to do. She was just another special part of the family. We'll miss her and give our love and support to Maurice and his family at this time."(Richard Petty Motorsport)(5-12-2014)

  • Sad News - Wilbur Rakestraw: In the early years of stock car racing, Wilbur Rakestraw of Paulding County (GA) was one of the stars of Atlanta-area tracks such as Lakewood Speedway and the Dallas Speed Bowl. He also was well-known on the NASCAR circuit now known as Sprint Cup and on NASCAR's old Convertible Series. Rakestraw, who died Wednesday at age 85 of congestive heart failure, was among the drivers who made the transition from the old beach course at Daytona to the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. He ran the first three Daytona 500s as well as the first race at the track now known at Atlanta Motor Speedway, finishing 11th. Rakestraw ran 30 points-paying races in the Cup Series and 11 in Convertibles. But his best performance came in a non-points event at Daytona International Speedway in 1961 in which he finished second to Junior Johnson and just ahead of Fred Lorenzen (Atlanta Journal Constitution), service info coming at ClarkFuneralHome.comno info on services yet.(5-9-2014)

  • Sad News - Norman Toshio Koshimizu: Norman Toshio Koshimizu [longtime Robert Yates Racing gasman of the #28/#38 car], 69, of Mooresville, NC., died May 7, 2014 at CMC Main. Arrangements are incomplete.(James Funeral Home), no full obituary or details on services yet.(5-8-2014)

  • Sad News - Wayne Rust: Wayne Edward Rust, 70, of Georgetown, passed away Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at Beebe Healthcare, Lewes, DE. Rust worked as a civil engineer for DelDOT for 33 years, retiring in 1990. He also worked for Sunoco at NASCAR for 26 years.
    He is survived by his son, Duane Rust and wife Lynette of Georgetown; former wife and good friend, Irene Rust of Georgetown; sisters, Ruth Hart of Frankford and Denise Browning of Georgetown; and brothers, Billy G. Rust and Eric Rust, both of Georgetown; grandchildren, Colleen, Casey and Deanna Rust; and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be held Monday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the chapel of Short Funeral Services, 609 E. Market St., Georgetown, where friends may call after 11 a.m. Interment will be in St. John's Cemetery, Millsboro. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Georgetown Little League, P.O. Box 105, Georgetown, DE 19947, or S.P.C.A. Sussex County, 22918 S. DuPont Hwy., Georgetown, DE 19947.(Cape Gazette)(5-2-2014)

  • Sad News - Richard 'Dick' Duff: Richard S. Duff, of Sylvania, OH died peacefully Sunday, April 20, 2014 at Kingston Care Center of Sylvania, OH, where he had lived for the past several years. He was born in St Louis, MO in 1936 to Richard D. and Marguerite Duff, and spent most of his early years in Toledo. He was preceded in death by his wife, Frances Adams Duff, who he married in 1966, by his parents, and by his daughter Paula Adams Krall. He leaves to mourn his passing his sons Alan Adams, Sylvania, OH and Patrick Adams, Ann Arbor, MI; his daughters Laurie Gay Meidt (Rick), Woodbridge, VA, Mary Adams Geronimo (Ed Mehler), Shaker Heights, OH, Chris Adams Gardner (Bill), Charlotte, NC and Amy Adams Norwood, Raleigh, NC; his sister Nancy Killen (Bill) of NY, and his brother David (Pam) of Beijing and Los Angeles; 16 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
    Dick was a graduate of Devilbiss High School and attended the University of Toledo. He worked as a foreman at Allied Chemical for many years, and moved to the accounting department at The Anderson's after he was injured in an auto accident in 1977.
    On weekends, he and and his wife Fran worked scoring major events at numerous short tracks throughout Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. When not traveling throughout the Midwest, they both worked as chief scorers for the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) and at both Flat Rock (MI) and Toledo Speedways. Dick frequently contributed news articles from the races to the National Speed Sport News, MARC Times, and Mid-American Racing News. Additionally, he was a Charter Member of the Michigan Auto Racing Fan Club since 1965, and served as the group's publicity director until he moved to North Carolina in 1985.
    Once in Charlotte, he served as head of accounting for DiGard Racing, and later Hendrick Motorsports. While at Hendrick Motorsports, Dick was part of an organization that won over 100 NASCAR races and 6 championships. He retired from Hendrick Motorsports shortly after being honored by team owner Rick Hendrick for 20 years of service in 2007. Dick's grandson, Charles Krall, is the play-by-play voice of the ARCA Racing Series broadcasts on as well as the public address announcer at Michigan International Speedway.
    The family wishes to thank and commend the staff of C Hall, second floor at Kingston Care Center, who lovingly cared for Dick in his years as a resident, and who helped see him through to the end. The family will receive guests at Coyle Funeral Home, Reynolds Rd., Toledo, Thursday, April 24, 2014 3 - 7pm; a memorial service will immediately follow.(4-21-2014)

  • Sad News - Ronald Johndrone: Ronald Johndrone, longtime crew member for Means Motorsports #52, passed away Monday at the age of 71. Born in Chicago Illinois, Ron began his life time love affair with NASCAR when he started work with JD McDuffie's Cup team in the 80's. After JD's passing, "Ron John" as they called him, spent the next 24 years traveling the country as a full and part time crew member to help support his long time friend Jimmy Mean's Sprint cup driving days and in more recent years his effort with the #52 in the Nationwide Series. See the complete obituary at

  • Sad News - Tim Leslie: Tim Leslie, 50, brother of Ben Leslie (technical consultant for #32 Go Fas Racing Sprint Cup team), passed away April 10, 2014. After a long battle with cancer he passed peacefully in the company of his family at their home in New Baltimore, MI. He is survived by his wife Tina Leslie & daughter Lauren Leslie & Renee Hall. Tim was the owner of "Tim Leslie Tire", Mount Clemens for 20 years. He was a member of the Detroit Yacht Club, and enjoyed bowling, boating, driving his Lamborghini and Ford Lightning, he also had a passion for working on boats and Corvettes, and traveling to NASCAR races with his brother, Ben and other friends.
    Visiting hours are 12-9 p.m., Sunday, April 13, 2014 at Will and Schwarzkoff Funeral Home, 233 Northbound Gratiot, Mount Clemens. Funeral service 1 p.m., Monday at the funeral home with Reverend Mark Reynolds officiating. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery, Clinton Township. Share memories at: Daily)(4-16-2014)

  • Sad News - Marty Little: Longtime Florida racing journalist, promoter and track announcer Marty Little passed away on Saturday, April 12th in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Little was a USAF Vet and longtime track announcer at the now defunct Hialeah Speedway. Little the public relations person for Rahmoc Racing, wrote weekly racing articles for National Speed Sport News for South Florida race tracks and was the historian for South Florida racing for over 40 years. Marty is the brother of long time Penske Racing employee David Little. Little currently worked at Dometic Enviromental. Survivors include wife Janet, children Richard, Suzanne (Brian) grandson Paul, brother David (Malinda) their children Chris, Dee, and Katelyn. Donations to Vitas 152 or Victory Junction. Services info at Fred Hunters in Davie, FL.(4-15-2014)

  • Sad News - "Captain" Herb Emory: Longtime WSB Radio and Channel 2 Action News traffic reporter, "Captain" Herb Emory, passed away Saturday. According to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Emory stopped to help at a car accident on South Burnt Hickory Road when he suddenly fell ill. He was transported to WellStar Douglas Hospital where he later died. Emory had been with WSB Radio and Channel 2 Action News since 1991. Emory has served as an Atlanta traffic reporter since 1971. Emory watched over the interstates during the week and hosted special traffic and NASCAR broadcast programs with his wife, Karen Emory. He was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the inaugural Excellence in Motorsports Journalism Award in 2012. Emory's father was a volunteer pit crew member for Ralph Earnhardt, Dale Sr.'s dad, in the 1960s.( and an article at WSB Radio Race Blog)(4-12-2014)
    More info at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.(4-14-2014)

    The decal ran by JD Motorsports cars (#01, #4, #87) at Darlington
    on April 11th to honor former NASCAR driver Billy Standridge

  • Sad News - Billy Standridge: former NASCAR driver Billy Standridge passed away of cancer at 1:30am/et on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Standridge made 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts from 1993-1999 with a best finish of 14th in the 1995 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. For services and visitation info or leave a comment at the blog set up by Billy's family, go to: Billy's Battle, a site for posting and sharing information for Billy Standridge. was the listed sponsor of the #47 Ford at Talladega in October 1997. I made a page back in 1997 with some notes and images of the #47 Ford at Jayski's Talladega Experience page.
    Three cars entered by the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team in Friday's VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 Nationwide Series race at Darlington Raceway carried decals honoring Billy Standridge. Standridge also raced in the Nationwide Series from 1986 to 1993. JD Motorsports owner Johnny Davis formerly worked for Standridge as a crew chief, engine builder, truck driver and all-around mechanic. The Standridge decal was carried on the C post of JDM Chevrolet's driven by #01-Landon Cassill who finished 12th, #4-Jeffrey Earnhardt (20th) and #87-Kevin Lepage (19th) at Darlington and will run in other races this year.(4-12-2014)
    SERVICES A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Tuesday April 15, 2014 at 2:00pm at New Beginnings Church, 4317 Fallston Road, Shelby NC 28150, with Dr. Johnny Ware officiating. Burial will follow at Cleveland Memorial Park. The family will receive friends two hours before the service from 12:00pm until 2:00pm, and after the burial the family will be at Billy's home in Shelby for visitors. 1521 Sulphur Springs Road.
    Memorials can be made to the Billy Standridge Memorial Scholarship Fund, Automotive Recyclers Association, 9113 Church Street, Manassas, VA 20110.
    William "Billy" Gerald Standridge, age 60 died Saturday April 12, 2014 at his home. Billy started out his very first business while in high school, which was an auto body shop. This was the foundation to owning and operating three successful salvage yard companies. At a young age Billy had a love for racing. He would race lawn mowers for fun and the love that he had for cars led into a long challenging career in stock car racing and NASCAR. He began Stock car racing in the early 80's with much success, running small tracks and gaining driving experience. He began running the NASCAR Busch Series in 1986, when he finished 14th at the All Pro 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in his own Pontiac. After that, he began running a limited schedule in the Busch Series, posting five top-ten finishes in 84 starts, the last of which came in 1993. In 1994, he began running a limited schedule in Winston Cup, making his debut at North Carolina Speedway but finishing 42nd after a crash. He ran seven more races that year, his best finish being 24th at the Southern 500 as well as picking up sponsorship from the WCW and Dura Lube. He followed that up with a 14th place finish at Darlington the following year. After an unsuccessful stint with Triad Motorsports being sponsored by Hanes and Diamond Rio in 1996 and 1997, Standridge began running his own team, the #47 Ford Thunderbird, picking up sponsorship from Jayski and also from fan-sponsored donations. He even picked up sponsorship from Phillips after Geoffrey Bodine failed to qualify for a 1998 Talladega race. Standridge was one of the last drivers to run in NASCAR using a Thunderbird after other teams switched to the Taurus for the 1998 season. His last career start was the Pepsi 400 in 1998, where his engine expired 19 laps into the race.
    In addition to his father, Billy is survived by his wife, Becky Adkison Standridge; three daughters, Stacey Walker and husband Travis, Deedra Dimsdale and husband Jason, and Jody Standridge all of Shelby; two sons, Ethan McDaniel and Matt McDaniel both of the home; a grandson, Alex Moore of the home; a brother, Bobby Standridge and wife Vicki of Little River, SC; and grandchildren, Taylor Walker, Melana Walker, Izabel Moore, Eliza Dimsdale, Alyssa Turner, Mackenzie Turner, and Gracie Beam.
    See the full obituary at

  • Sad News - Ed Spencer: Edgar Robert Spencer Sr., 85, of Salem Boulevard, Berwick, PA, died Thursday, April 3, 2014, at Fritzingertown Senior Living Community, Drums. Edgar owned and operated Ed Spencer's Auto Parts since 1957. He held racetrack championships at Bone Stadium, Selinsgrove, Port Royal and Rummages Drive-In Speedway. His nickname was "Fast Eddie" and he raced under the car number 24. Ed was the father of former NASCAR driver Jimmy Spencer.
    A memorial service to celebrate Edgar's life will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Clarke Piatt Funeral Home Inc., 6 Sunset Lake Road, Hunlock Creek, with the Rev. C. Glenn Neely officiating. Friends may call at the funeral home 5 p.m. until the time of service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Alzheimer's Association , P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011; and the American Diabetes Association , P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312. See full obituary at the Times Leader.(4-8-2014)

  • Sad News - Sandy Grossman: FOX Sports President & COO Eric Shanks on the passing of legendary sports television director Sandy Grossman: "Sandy was part of the original heart and soul of FOX Sports. He was a brilliant director and a thoughtful colleague. He mentored many of us here and throughout the sports TV industry, and we learned more from him than he could imagine. On behalf of everyone at FOX Sports, we extend our deepest condolences to Sandy's family who are in our thoughts and prayers. He'll be greatly missed."(FoxSports)(4-3-2014)

  • Sad News - Bob Pressley: Robert "Bobby" Russell Pressley, 53, of Landis died Sunday at his home. He was born December 29, 1960 in Norfolk, VA , a son Brenda Rich Pressley of High Point and the late Robert Pressley. He was the fitness director of Penske Racing for 17 years before moving to South Port, NC where he owned an antique shop. He later moved to High Point to give loving care to his dad who was terminally ill. Mr. Pressley was a member of the Connect Christian Church in Concord. He will be remembered as a devoted son, brother and uncle. In addition to his mother Mr. Pressley is survived by a brother Bradford Pressley and wife Heather of Raleigh and three nephews, Hudson, Heath and Hogan. Also surviving are his beloved friend Darlene DeRosa and nephews Robert and Domenic DeRosa.Funeral services will be private. In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials be given to Hospice of the Piedmont, 1801 Westchester Drive, High Point, NC 27262, First Baptist Church of High Point, 405 N. Main Street, High Point, NC 27260 or to McGill Baptist Church, 5300 Poplar Tent Road, Concord, NC 28027-9757. Online condolences may be made on Mr. Pressley's memorial page at

  • Sad News - Jordan Janway: [Jimmie and Chadnra] Johnson are saddened by the tragic passing of Chandra's brother, Jordan Janway, 27. Jordan was an incredible son, brother, uncle and friend and will be dearly missed. Please keep the Janway family in your thoughts and prayers. The family asks for privacy at this time.(
    AND more information Jordan Janway's accident at the Associated Press.(3-31-2014)

  • Sad News - Roy Trantham: Roy M. Trantham, 73, died March 17, 2014 after a long battle with leukemia. Roy was born on February 10, 1941 in Asheville, N.C. He was involved in NASCAR auto racing in engine development and as a driver. He moved to St. Croix, USVI where he was a managing partner in an automobile dealership and several related businesses. He moved to Palm City Florida in 1994 and stayed involved in the automotive world. He was passionate about all animals and helped in animal rescue. He is survived by his loving wife, Lucia; his daughter, Regina and son in law, Earl, and his son, Roy III and grandchildren, Sydney, Rebecca and Travis and his brother Jim.(Asheville Citizen-Times), Trantham ran 5 Cup races in 1968.(3-30-2014)

  • Sad News - Sharon Grubb: Sharon Grubb, 62, passed away on March 18, 2014. She was born to Reginald C. Stokes and Billie J. Updegraff on January 20, 1952. She was preceded in death by her father, Reginald; and her son, Kevin Grubb. Sharon is survived by her husband, William Grubb; her mother, Billie J. Updegraff; daughter, Michelle Grubb-Solaimani and husband, Michael; son, Wayne Grubb and wife, Holli. She was a proud grandmother to Rylee, Taryn and Reygan Solaimani, and Jordin and Alivia Grubb. Sharon is also survived by her sisters, Carol S. Jones and Reggie S. Loth; and numerous nieces and nephews. The family received friends on March 21 at the Woody Funeral Home, Atlee Chapel, 9271 Shady Grove Rd., Mechanicsville, Va. 23116, and the funeral service was held at the funeral home on March 22. Interment followed at Forest Lawn Cemetery. The family would like to give a special thanks to Star Austin, her caregiver. In lieu of flowers, honor her love of NASCAR Racing by sending donations to the Kyle Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp at or Victory Junction, 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, N.C. 27317.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-29-2014)

  • Sad News - Lynda Petty: Lynda Gayle Owens Petty, 72, one of the first women of NASCAR and its most beloved wife, mother and friend, passed away peacefully at her home in Level Cross, North Carolina today. She was surrounded by her family.
    Affectionately known as "Mrs. Lynda" to so many, Lynda Petty set a standard for being a loving, supportive and, when needed, an authoritative wife and mother. She also set the benchmark for being a leader in her local community while raising a family in the fast-growing sport of stock car racing.
    It was with strong will that Petty fought cancer over the past several years. It was the same determination that led her to make a difference as a Red Cross volunteer, a school volunteer, the president of the athletic booster club and a Girl and Boy Scout leader in her lifetime. She also served on the Randolph County School Board for 16 years and was on the board of the Randolph County Hospice.
    Lynda helped start the Racing Wives Auxiliary and will always be remembered as the wife to Richard Petty. Their steadfast love endured trials that only a marriage of over 50 years can. Through triumph and heartache, Lynda Petty was the castle that supported a king in private and public moments.
    Lynda is proceeded by grandson Adam K. Petty and is survived by her loving husband Richard; son, Kyle and daughters Sharon and husband Terry Farlow; Lisa and husband Charlie Luck; Rebecca and husband Brian Moffitt. In addition, she is survived by grandchildren Austin Petty and wife Sarah; Hannah and husband Brad Leonard; Montgomery and husband Randy Schlappi; Maggie and Kyle Farlow; Richard, Sarah and Margaret Luck; Helen, Thad and Harrison Moffitt, and great grandchildren Sullivan Mae Schlappi and Adam Christopher Stonewall Petty.
    A private memorial service for family and friends will be held at Reverie Place in Randleman, North Carolina which Pastor Kenny Crosswhite will officiate. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following:

    Petty Family Foundation
    311 Branson Mill Road
    Randleman, N.C. 27317

    A public memorial service will not be held and the family asks for privacy at this time.
    The family offered the following statement to the public:
    "We wish to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us and our family throughout the years and at this time. We will forever love and miss a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend."
    (Petty PR)
    NASCAR Statement: "On behalf of the France Family and everyone at NASCAR, I want to offer sincere condolences to the Petty Family regarding the loss of their beloved matriarch, Lynda Petty," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. "Through the years, Lynda became an integral part of the NASCAR landscape. We have lost a true friend, who will be missed each and every day. Our thoughts and prayers will be with the Pettys throughout this difficult time."(NASCAR)
    Austin Petty statement: Victory Junction's COO, Austin Petty, makes a statement on the passing of his grandmother, Lynda Petty:
    "We have lost my grandmother, but my family and our Victory Junction family are grateful to have had her love and wisdom for so many years. It was no secret that she was the cornerstone of the Petty family; a woman of humility and extraordinary strength. While we mourn her death, we also celebrate her life and the profound impact she had on those who knew her. The pride she had in her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren was shared with us through her unconditional love. Her strong example of leadership outside of her home was most recently acknowledged by the Association of Fundraising Professionals when she, along with my grandfather, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy Award for her personal commitment to seriously ill children and to our American troops. We honor my grandmother's legacy of inspiration and enduring love at Victory Junction today and always."PR)(3-25-2014)

    The decal ran by Michael Waltrip Racing cars (#15, #55) at Martinsville
    on March 30th to honor Bobby Waltrip, Darrell and Micheal's brother

  • MWR cars paying tribute to Bobby Waltrip: Bobby Waltrip, the middle brother of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip and NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner and FOX announcer Michael Waltrip, died of natural causes last Sunday. The middle Waltrip formerly managed Darrell's race team and was best known as a promoter and announcer of go-kart races in both the American Karting Association and the World Karting Association. To memorialize Bobby, the two Michael Waltrip Racing Toyotas of #15-Clint Bowyer and #55-Brian Vickers are carrying the name "Bobby Waltrip" over their respective driver's doors, as well as decals honoring his memory this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.(FoxSports)(3-29-2014)

  • Sad News - Bobby Waltrip: Robert Lynn "Bobby" Waltrip, middle brother of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and Fox Sports announcer Darrell Waltrip and NASCAR team owner and fellow Fox Sports announcer Michael Waltrip, died Sunday [March 23, 2014). [Darrell and Michael Waltrip were informed of their brother's death after the race.] Both worked the Fox Sports' Sunday afternoon telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Auto Club 400 race at Auto Club Speedway. Michael, the youngest of the three Waltrip brothers, confirmed his brother's passing on Twitter Sunday evening. Moments later, Darrell, the oldest Waltrip brother, also paid homage to brother Bobby. Bobby Waltrip grew up in Owensboro, Ky., but had lived in the Concord, N.C. area the last 25 years. While he never followed his brothers into NASCAR as a race car driver - although he did work for Darrell in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the latter formed his own Winston Cup team - Bobby became a major force in the world of go-kart racing, first as a successful kart racer himself and later as an announcer and promoter in the sport in both the World Karting Association (WKA) and the American Karting Association (AKRA). He was believed to be in his early 60s at the time of his death.(NBC Sports)(3-24-2014)

  • Sad News - Gary Bettenhausen: Officials with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway say race car driver Gary Bettenhausen has died. He was 72. Bettenhausen was a member of a famous racing family and a veteran of open-wheel competition who drove in 21 Indianapolis 500s between 1968 and 1993. His best finish was third in 1980. He led 138 laps of the 1972 race and was the top qualifier in 1991. Bettenhausen's father, Tony, also was an Indianapolis 500 veteran who was killed in a practice crash at the speedway in 1961. Speedway president J. Douglas Boles issued a statement Monday, noting Gary Bettenhausen's success in many types of cars and calling him "the perfect definition of a race car driver of his time."(Associated Press/ESPN), Bettenhausen ran eight career NASCAR Sprint Cup races.(3-17-2014)

  • Sad News - Joyce Hutcherson: Mrs. Joyce Ann Martin Hutcherson, 66, of Statesville, NC died Sunday March 9, 2014 at her residence. Joyce was the wife of Ron Hutcherson. Former owner of Hutcherson-Pagan Enterprises. Born April 10, 1947 in Keokuk, Iowa she was a daughter of the late Leo Richard Martin and Ruth Evelyn Thews Martin. Mrs. Hutcherson was a retired realtor with Prudential Realty and co-owner of Benchwarmers Sports Complex in Mooresville, NC. She had a tremendous love for animals, loved spending time in their mountain home and traveling around the country in their motor coach. Funeral services will be conducted 1:00 p.m. Thursday, March 13, 2014 in the Chapel of Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home. The family will receive friends 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday evening at the Funeral Home. Graveside services will be conducted 1:00 p.m. Saturday, March 15, 2014 at Comers Rock Cemetery in Elk Creek Virginia. She leaves to cherish her memory her husband, Ronald Dean Hutcherson; son, Rick Hutcherson of Mooresville; daughter, Roni Hutcherson of Denver, NC; grandsons, Josh, Travis, Austin; brothers, Leo Richard Martin Jr and James Dale Martin of Eldon, Missouri; sister, Rose Miller of Mooresville, NC and several nieces and nephews. Memorial Contributions may be made to Iredell County Hospice, 2347 Simonton Road, Statesville, NC 28625 or Levine & Dickson Hospice House, 11900 Vanstory Drive, Huntersville, NC 28078. Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Huntersville NC is assisting the family. Friends may offer condolences to the family at

  • Sad News - William Clay Ford Sr.: William Clay Ford Sr., the owner of the Detroit Lions, has died at the age of 88. Ford Motor Co. said in a statement Sunday that Ford died of pneumonia at his home. He was the last surviving grandson of automotive pioneer Henry Ford and owned the Lions since 1964. Away from football, Ford worked for Ford Motor Co. for 57 years and was the chairman of the company's design committee from 1957 until 1989. He was instrumental in the design decisions of many of Ford Motor's cars in that span. In 1978, he was named the chairman of the executive committee of Ford. Funeral services will be private, and Ford locations across the United States will lower Ford and American flags to half-staff for 30 days.(ESPN)
    NASCAR Statement: "On behalf of the France family and everyone at NASCAR, our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Ford family on the passing of William Clay Ford Sr.," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. "He was a worthy successor not only to a great company but also a legacy - and he served both exceptionally well. The grandson of Henry Ford will be remembered as a man of style, for both the automobiles he built and the life he led. He was a giant ... who forever will be missed."(NASCAR)(3-10-2014)

  • Sad News - Gary Cross: Funeral services will be held at 11:00am on Friday at the Wasko Funeral Home in Campbell for Gary Robert Cross, 76, formerly of Youngstown, who passed away on March 1, 2014, at 4:30 p.m. at Catawba Valley Medical Center in Conover. Mr. Cross was born April 30, 1937, in Youngstown, the son of William P. and Lois E. Leonard Cross. He resided in the Youngstown area until he relocated to Daytona Beach in 1993. Gary was employed by NASCAR for 20 years. He started his employment as a tour guide at Daytona International Speedway. He transferred to the mail room and then worked his way up to Transportation Manager in Daytona Beach, Fla. and Conover. The Cross family has entrusted their loved one to the care of the Wasko Funeral Home, 216 Coitsville Road in Campbell and will receive family and friends from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 6. Visit to view this obituary and send Gary's family condolences.(3-7-2014)

  • Sad News - Mike Martin: Lafourche Parish Assessor Mike Martin, who held the office for more than 13 years, died Tuesday at Terrebonne General Medical Center. Martin's exact cause of death hasn't been determined, according to his father, Leroy Martin. Mike quit breathing at his home Feb. 23 as he and his wife prepared to travel to Birmingham, Ala., for a doctor's visit related to Mike's kidney transplant, Leroy said. "She tried to give him CPR and called 911 ... they stabilized him and sent him to Terrebonne General," Leroy said. Mike, unable to breath on his own, remained hospitalized and connected to machines until Tuesday, when his family made the decision to remove him from life support. Leroy said his son was already brain dead, and his condition wasn't going to change. In addition to his father, Mike Martin leaves behind his wife, Tammy, and son, Hal, 28. Hal Martin races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and his dad was one of his biggest fans from early on. "He loved to watch him race and would go where he would race. He followed him everywhere he went," Leroy said. Mike Martin was an attorney, and he served as a Lafourche Parish assistant district attorney before following in the footsteps of his father as assessor in 2001. He also served as president of the Louisiana Assessor's Association earlier in his tenure. The funeral is set for 11 a.m. Friday at Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Golden Meadow.(Daily Comet)(3-6-2014)

  • Sad News - Reino Tulonen: Reino Kalervo Tulonen, 89, of Fitchburg, died Jan. 26th at HealthAlliance Leominster Hospital, after an illness. "The Flying Finn", as he came to be known, began his racing career in 1946 and continued for thirty years. He raced many types of cars including; big cars, midgets, stock cars and late models. His most successful car was a cut down that he designed and built himself. Most of his car racing was done in New England, but he also drove in Canada, Darlington, NC, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Over the years, Reino won many races, with trophies reflecting his skill as a race car driver and articles describing his daring exploits on the track. He was awarded the 1964 Champion Class A Driver by the Atlantic Auto Racing Association. In 2005, he was inducted into the New England Antique Racers Hall of Fame in recognition of a life time of racing. Tulonen made four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts, all in 1951, with a best finish of 5th.(service info at

  • Sad News - Bruce Patrum: Mr. Bruce Paul Patrum, 66, of 6800 Charnel Lane passed away on January 20, 2014 at Beacon Place, NC. Patrum was owner of Patrum Motor Racing Properties. He pioneered the souvenir industry for NASCAR drivers and founded the Race of Champions, an exhibition racing series featuring top NASCAR drivers, for over thirty years. More info and services at

  • Sad News - Al Hammond: Albert S. "Al" Hammond, 70 of South Paris, Maine died at his home early Thursday morning. Al had worked as a truck driver and mechanic . Al was a race car driver, racing over 50 years at Oxford Plains Speedway and other tracks up and down the east coast. In 1971 he raced at Daytona International Speedway. Al had 91 careers wins and won every time he raced in Arundel. His life was racing and in 2009 he was inducted into the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame. He served on the board of directors for the Maine Vintage Race Car Association, was a member of Granite Lodge AF & AM in West Paris and served in the National Guard. Al is survived by his wife Delores of South Paris, a son Ryan Kane and his wife Rae-Ann of Oxford and their children (Chandler Funeral Homes)(1-19-2014)

  • Sad News - Ernie Derr: Ernie Derr didn't need to brag about his racing career. He let his records in racing speak for himself. Derr helped put Keokuk (Iowa) on the map with his accomplishments. He was a 12-time International Motor Contest Association champion and is the winningest driver in the history of the circuit. Derr was a master mechanic and a dirt track whiz. Derr died Wednesday in his home. He was 92. Derr dominated IMCA racing from 1959 to 1962, claiming four consecutive titles. He won 101 races during that four-year span, including 30 in 1959 and 28 in 51 races in 1962. Derr cut back on his racing after the 1971 season. He ran a limited schedule in the USAC series through 1976 and ended his racing career at the Fall Jamboree at Knoxville in September 1977. Complete records of Derr's achievements aren't available because they were destroyed in a fire, but he finished with more than 300 feature wins in his illustrious career.(in part from the Daily Gate City). Derr ran one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in 1953 at Davenport Speedway in Davenport, IA finishing 11th. See the full obituary, service info at DeJong-Greaves Celebration of Life Center.(1-10-2014)

  • Sad News - George Tet: Former modified racer George Tet died Dec. 31. He was 90 years old. Tet's real name was Tetsuo Fuchigami and he was the first Japanese to drive in a NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup, running three races in 1960-1961) car. In the 1950s he won at many tracks including Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, N.J., and Dexter Park in Queens, N.Y. He excelled in smaller engined cars, often beating the modifieds with his sportsman. For many years he ran a florist business, located by Aqueduct Race Track in Ozone Park, NY.(National Speed Sport News)(1-2-2014)

  • Sad News - Richmond Gage: Richmond Gage, a program chair and instructor for the Motorsports Management and Technology program at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, died suddenly on Sunday. He was 51 years old. Richmond had a lengthy career in the motorsports industry, including serving as the Chief Stewart of the USAC Eastern Ford Focus Midget Series. He spent several years working on various NASCAR teams before joining Rowan-Cabarrus Community College to direct and instruct the first accredited degreed-program in motorsports in the United States. He was also the Director of the North Carolina Community College Motorsports Consortium. Gage is survived by his wife Carol, and daughters Alex and Sarah.(NSSN)
    AND He spent his life around race cars, and turned that passion into a way to help students fulfill their dreams. Richmond Gage was well known in NASCAR circles and served in several capacities with various teams, including as a business manager, and most recently was an instructor in the motorsports program at Rowan Cabarrus Community College. On Monday, RCCC issued this statement to WBTV on the death of Richmond Gage: "Last night, we received the sad news that Instructor Richmond Gage died unexpectedly from an aneurysm. Richmond was program chair for Motorsports Management Technology at the College's South Campus in Concord. He was a talented and caring instructor who always put his students first. Those of us who worked with him loved his energy, sense of humor and commitment to the College and his students. He created a signature program - the first of its kind across the country - that will reap benefits for our community for years to come. He was an asset to the College and the community and his passing represents a huge loss for Rowan-Cabarrus. We are deeply saddened by this loss to our Rowan-Cabarrus family and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends. He will most certainly be missed."(WBTV)(12-24-2013)
    UPDATE: a fund to set up the family of Richmond Gage has been established at Wells Fargo. It's the Richmond Gage fund account #6301712680.(12-27-2013)
    Memorial Service Richmond Gage's memorial service is scheduled to be held Saturday January 4th at 2pm at the Hendrick Team Center at Hendrick Motorsports. The address is 4433 Papa Joe Henrick Blvd. Charlotte, NC 28262.(12-31-2013)
    Obituary: Richmond Bullen Gage III, 51, of Harrisburg, passed away suddenly on Sunday, December 22, 2013, at CMC-Main in Charlotte. He was born December 7, 1962 in Dunn, North Carolina. Richmond had a passion for racing. He enjoyed watching Formula 1 racing. He has worked with various Nascar teams for over 25 years. He was presently Program Director of Motorsports Management at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. He enjoyed watching Formula 1 racing. He has worked with various Nascar teams for over 25 years. He was presently Program Director of Motorsports Management at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. He was a member of Harrisburg United Methodist Church. He enjoyed spending time with his wife and daughters. He is survived by his wife, Carol Stone Gage, daughters, Alexandra Elizabeth Gage and Sarah Bullen Gage, his father, Richmond Gage, Jr. and wife Vonnie, his mother, Dava N. Anderson, his brother, Will Gage, his half-brother, Roger Slate Gage and half-sister, Juli Gage Owen. A memorial service to celebrate Richmond's life will be held at the Hendrick Team Center at Hendrick Motorsports Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 2:00 PM. The address is 4433 Papa Joe Hendrick Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28262. Memorial Donations may be made to any Wells Fargo Branch, % Richmond Gage Fund. Online condolences may be left at Observer)(1-1-2014)

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