Sad / Tragic News, Deaths, Memorials 2016

about deaths of those involved in NASCAR main three divisions or major auto racing series in 2016

NOTE: do not post fan deaths, etc, usually keep it to the main three National series [Cup, XFINITY, Trucks],
major auto racing [F1, Indy, etc], immediate family [mother, father, etc] and NASCAR related media

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  • Sad News - Steve Allen: Steven Wayne Allen III, 33, of Advance, NC, and formerly of Rockingham, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 at Baptist Hospital. Steve was an employee of Lanier Hardware in Lexington. His main love was his daughter Lexi, sports, being at the lake with his mom Debbie and Kevin, and spending time with his dad Steve who works for ECR Engines.(Carter Funeral Home)(12-31-2016)

  • Sad News - Ryan Copeland: Ryan Copeland, 42, passed away December 22, 2016 as a result of injuries from a snowmobile accident. He graduated the University of Akron in 1998 Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He was employed by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company for 18 years, the last 12 years in the NASCAR Race Tire division. He is survived by his loving wife, of 12 years, Maria; their three children, Tyler, Vincent and Gina. Full obituary, guest book and service info at Akron Beacon Journal and/or schermesserfh.com and GoFundMe (12-26-2016)

  • Sad News - Fed Harb: Mr. Fareed "Fred" Joseph Harb, Jr., 86, of Archdale, passed away Friday, December 16, 2016, at the Select Specialty Hospital in Greensboro. Born June 14, 1930, in Lexington, Fred was the son of the late Fareed and Catherine Carter Harb. In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by three brothers, Crawford, Thurman, and Mitchell Harb, and two sisters, Queenie Wells and Flomina O'Leary. Fred was a Sgt. First Class in the US Army's 82nd Airborne during the Korean War. He had owned and operated Harb's Garage and Body Shop in High Point for 62 years. He was a member of Christ Community Church, formerly First United Church of Christ. He was active in the High Point Senior Golf Association, and the High Point Bowling Association. He was also a member of the Old Timers Racing Club, having been involved in stock car racing since it's early days. He raced for the first time in 1949, in the NASCAR circuit formerly known as Grand National. He competed for a total of 10 years, and his most prized trophy was the James Naughton Sportsmanship Award which he earned for saving another driver's life during an actual race. He was featured in the book Red Dirt Tracks which later was made into the movie, Red Dirt Rising. On December 18, 1949, Fred married the former Betty Garner, who survives of the home. Also surviving are three sons, David Harb, of High Point, Randy (Martha) Harb, of Trinity, and Jerry (Tammy) Harb, of Sophia; grandchildren, Brian Harb and wife, Ashley, Mandy Luckey and husband, Bradley, Adam Harb and wife, Aryn, Brandon Harb and Bradley Harb; great grandchildren, Everette Harb, Garrett Harb, and Emma Luckey; and two sisters, Miheepa Jones and Margaret Carroll, both of Lexington. Funeral will be 11:00 a.m. Tuesday in the chapel of Cumby Family Funeral Service in Archdale, officiated by Rev. Bill Hare. Interment will follow in Floral Garden Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends Monday night from 6 until 8 at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Community Outreach Archdale Trinity, (COAT) 10607 N. Main St., Archdale, NC 27263.(Cumby Funeral Home)(12-18-2016)

  • Sad News - Dave Malcolmson: Dave Malcolmson, former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team owner of MRD Motorsports, passed away at the age of 67. He spent 25 years in construction and entered 92 races as a team owner in the Truck Series. Dennis Setzer, Regan Smith, and Mike Bliss were a few of the drivers to drive for him during his seven-year stint as an owner. The team tallied five top-fives and 21 top-10s. Memorial information can be found via Brewer & Sons.(11-25-2016)

  • Sad News - Ray Hill: Ray Hill past away peacefully after a short illness on November 17th, 2016. After high school he enlisted in the United States Air Force. He served in the military for fifteen and one-half years. Ray's accomplishments in life included driving race cars in NASCAR (best finish was 7th in 8 races), to working in the racing industry building cars and engines. He was race director for Hoosier Race Tires and ultimately worked for NASCAR as Cup Series competition director and Busch Series competition director. He also won the Bobby Isaac Memorial Award in 1999. He finally retired from NASCAR to work on his farm and hunt with his dog, Banjo, and fish. For the full obituary, services info and condolences go to wilkinsonfuneralhome.com(11-20-2016)

  • Sad News - Mel Larson: Mel Larson, a co-founder of Las Vegas Motor Speedway and one of the pioneers of Las Vegas's rise to international acclaim, died Tuesday. He was 87. Larson assisted the late Ralph Engelstad and Bill Bennett, along with Richie Clyne, to spearhead the construction of LVMS in the mid-1990s, and it was his guidance that paved the way for the new speedway to land its first NASCAR premier series event in 1998. Larson's friendship with Speedway Motorsports Chairman Bruton Smith helped pave the way for SMI's purchase of LVMS in late 1998. Services are pending.(LVMS)(11-2-2016)

  • Sad News - Dwane James Batey: James Dwane Batey, 56, of Charlotte passed away Wednesday October 19, 2016. Dwane was employed by Hendrick Motorsports for sixteen years as a Fabricator in the Chassis Shop. He's always had a passion for cars and racing. Even as a young child he spent hours drawing cars and dreaming about racing during school. Dwane also had a passion for aviation and photography. One of his favorite events to learn about was WWII. He was a longtime volunteer at the NC Aviation Museum where he helped to restore aircraft. A service to celebrate Dwane's life will be held at Forest Lawn West on Sunday October 23, 2016. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. and his service at 2:30 p.m. Reverend Robert Shaw will be officiating. Arrangements under the direction of Forest Lawn West Funeral & Cremation Service, Charlotte, NC. For the full obituary, services info and condolences go to dignitymemorial.com(10-21-2016)

  • Sad News - Chip Warren: condolences go out to the family and friends of Chip Warren. Chip was a long time NASCAR official in what was then called Winston Cup and Busch Series and after retiring from NASCAR went on to work for JTG Racing. Alton G. "Chip" Warren Jr., 69, of Indian Trail, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, surrounded by his family at the Harris Hospice Unit, Novant Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. Chip was born in Concord, July 18, 1947, the only child of A.G. Warren Sr. and Merilyn Clontz Warren. A graduate of Concord High School, he engaged in various occupations before signing on with NASCAR in 1978. Chip worked his way through the stock car racing organization in several positions, his most visible job being on the stand as the chief starter/flagman in the late 70s and early 80s. He put almost 50 years into the race business, but it was the close friendships that he made with everyone involved in racing that gave him such satisfaction in his career. He was quoted a few years ago as saying "It's like a family. I like a good race and the fact that we put 43 equal cars out there, but the people are what draw you back. That's the gratifying part." Survivors include his loving wife, Margie Warren; son, Alton Shawn Warren of Cornelius; daughter, Andrea Michelle "Missy" Warren of Huntersville; and his special canine companion, Minnie. The family will greet Chip's racing friends and family on Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Hartsell Funeral Home in Concord. A memorial service will follow at 7:30 p.m. in the Hartsell Funeral Home Chapel officiated by NASCAR Chaplain Kenny Crosswire. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a memorial donation in Chip's memory are asked to consider St. Jude Children's Research by visiting www.stjude.org. Hartsell Funeral Home of Concord is serving the Warren family. Online condolences may be made at www.hartsellfh.com. See full obit for more info and services Independent Tribune (10-7-2016)

  • Sad News - Brock Yates: Automotive-journalist icon Brock Yates, inventor of the Cannonball Run cross-country road race, writer of successful screenplays and a fixture for decades at Car and Driver, passed away today [October 5th] from complications of Alzheimer's. Yates's columns in Car and Driver attacked everything from the 55-mph speed limit to the arrogance of safety advocate Ralph Nader. They spoke to the frustrations of people who loved cars but who were prevented from enjoying them by meddling government bureaucrats. Yates said in the pages of the magazine and in other outlets in which his work appeared what so many car enthusiasts felt.(AutoWeek). Yates wrote many Auto Racing books including: NASCAR Off The Record (10-6-2016)

  • Sad News - Bob Margolis: Robert "Bob" Henry Margolis, 65, of Macungie, PA, passed away Wednesday, September 21, 2016 surrounded by his family in Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest Hospice. Bob was born in Allentown, PA to Joseph Louis and Shirley (Jacoby) Margolis. He fought a battle with cancer for 10 years, having both Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and Head & Neck cancer. Bob was married to Becky Overcash. His youngest, Alana Margolis, is currently enrolled at University of Colorado at Denver, pursuing her dream of being a singer/songwriter, following in Bob's footsteps. Bob was a musician for over 50 years, working as a producer and record executive at RCA and Geffen Records with bands like Aerosmith, Guns N Roses, and Whitesnake. Bob also worked in the motor sports industry, starting as a sports journalist and continuing as a media consultant. Bob flourished in every job he had, and had copious amounts of friends in each field of business. Bob's passions were his children, music, motor sports and cooking. If you were to look up the definition of a Renaissance Man, you would see a picture of Bob and all of his accomplishments in life. Survivors: Include brother Donald Margolis of Orefield, PA, wife Becky Overcash, his children Brian Margolis of Gainesville, FL, Janelle Margolis of Allentown, PA, Natasha Margolis of Macungie, PA and Alana Margolis of Denver, CO; his granddaughter Brianna Margolis of Gainesville, FL and great-grandson Legend Mathes. His two labs, Maggie and Lola, will miss him as well. He is predeceased by both of his parents, his older sister Sandi Lynn and younger sister Jayne Margolis. Services: A Celebration of Life ceremony will be announced at a later date. Arrangements by Robert C. Weir Funeral Home. Contributions: In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated because Bob's biggest desire was for Alana to attend college and achieve her dreams.(9-25-2016)

  • Sad News - Huguette Drouin: Huguette Drouin passed away suddenly on Monday, at the age of 81. She was a dearly loved wife, mother and grandmother, as well as, the loving step-mother to Mario Gosselin. "We head to Kentucky with heavy hearts and deep sorrow. We lost the most loving, caring human being on the planet on Monday morning. She will be planting flowers in Heaven," said Gosselin. "She said she wanted us to go on like usual, but that request is impossible." While we mourn the loss of a remarkable woman, we celebrate her life and cherish all the memories we shared. We can all only hope to live a life where we hold a place in as many people's hearts as she did. At Drouin's request, no religious ceremonies or services will be held. Instead, she will be cremated and her ashes brought to sea at a later date.(9-21-2016)

  • Sad News - Robert and Sharon Gordon UPDATE: Detectives Thursday continued to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of a 68-year-old man and a 57-year-old woman in Orange. The bodies were discovered around 5:00pm Wednesday inside of a home located in the 1400 block of North Kennymead Street, according to police. The coroner's office has identified the victims as Robert and Sharon Gordon. The cause of their deaths remain under investigation, however, detectives said it appears to have been a murder-suicide incident. CBS2's Jasmine Viel confirmed that Robert and Sharon were the [father and step-mother] of former NASCAR driver Robby Gordon.(CBS Los Angeles)(9-15-2016)
    UPDATE: Former NASCAR driver Robby Gordon fought back tears and expressed disbelief Thursday about the deaths of his father, Robert "Baja Bob" Gordon, and stepmother, whose bodies were found at home on a Southern California hillside where he grew up and developed his love of racing. "I'm so sad and I can't believe it," the racing star told reporters near the gated house where police discovered the bodies Wednesday after receiving a 911 call from a neighbor making a welfare check at the request of a relative. Robert Gordon, 68, and Sharon Gordon, 57, were found at the home along with a rifle. Known as "Baja Bob," Robert Gordon was also an accomplished off-road racer. He also owned a feed business that supplied a racetrack, residents said. Robby Gordon said he would speak about the deaths in more detail once authorities conclude their investigation.(Associated Press)(9-16-2016)
    AND Police say the father of former auto racing star Robby Gordon strangled his wife before fatally shooting himself in their Southern California home.(Associated Press)(9-16-2016)

  • Sad News - Ben Byrd: Ben Byrd, a legendary, influential, and highly respected figure in the history of Knoxville sports journalism died Monday morning at the Ben Atchley Tennessee State Veteran's Home in Knoxville after an extended illness. Byrd was father of Emmett Byrd, who serves as Business Manager for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Scott, Belmont NCAA men's basketball coach Rick Byrd and Kathy Byrd who is the Dean of English at Pellissippi State Community College. Mr. Byrd was surrounded by his immediate family, according to his son, Emmett. He was 91. Mr. Byrd returned home from service in World War II in 1947 to begin work as a sportswriter for the Knoxville Journal. During his career, he covered Tennessee and SEC football and basketball, the Kentucky Derby, the Masters, the U. S. Open golf tournament, the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He was a co-host of the "Ray Mears Show," with John Ward and Mears. He was with the Journal until the newspaper ceased operations in 1991. Mr. Byrd was also a trailblazer, one of the first sportswriters to cross over media formats by appearing regularly on television and radio. He was one of the first mainstream sportswriters in the United States to provide equal coverage of women's college basketball. Over the years, he had developed a lifelong friendship with longtime Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt.The National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association named Mr. Byrd "Tennessee Sportswriter of the Year" five times. The Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame honored him with its "Thanks for the Memories" award in July. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Joan, three children and four grandchildren. Visitation will be Wednesday at Berry Funeral Home, 3704 Chapman Highway, from 2-4 p.m., with services to follow at 4 p.m. Burial will be at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Woodlawn Cemetery, 4500 Woodlawn Pike. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley, 967 Irwin Street, Knoxville, 37917.(Knoxville News-Sentinel)(9-13-2016)

  • Sad News - Garth Finley: Garth Alan Finley, age 46, was born in Albuquerque, NM on August 5, 1970 and died unexpectedly Wednesday, August 10, 2016. He graduated from Manzano H. S. in 1988, then attended Texas Tech University where he graduated with honors in Mechanical Engineering in 1992. He furthered his education at University of Wyoming where he received his Master's degree in Composite Materials Engineering in 1995. He pursued a career in racing and started his dream job in NASCAR. He worked 10 years for several teams as track side engineer/crew chief and was currently working as a WEB designer. Garth loved all forms of racing and grew up driving go carts, BMX bikes, and radio control cars. He was an outstanding pistol marksman, setting two Junior International records. He also had a love for fishing, skiing and was a loyal Pittsburg Steelers fan. The family has requested in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to Albuquerque Christian Children's Home, 5700 Winter Haven Rd NW, 87120.(Albuquerque Journal)(9-7-2016)

  • Sad News - Charles Hardy: Charles L. Hardy, age 82, of Hiram, GA, passed at home surrounded by his family on Tuesday, August 30, 2016. He was born on December 3, 1933, in Dallas, GA, to the late John Pinkney & Simmie Beatrice Hardy, and was preceded in death by his sister, Mary Martin and granddaughter, Jessica Hardy. Mr. Hardy founded Hardy Chevrolet Buick GMC in Dallas in 1978 and Hardy Family Ford in 1985. His wife, Jeanette, is the Dealer Principal of Hardy Chevrolet in Gainesville, Georgia. Prior to that, Charles was a successful home builder, mobile home dealer and operator of Southeastern International Drag Way. During the mid-1990s, Charles owned a NASCAR team and later partnered with Bill Elliottt to form the Elliott-Hardy Racing Team, in which Bill Elliott drove the #94 McDonald's Ford. Later, Mr. Hardy owned a team NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series under sponsorship by Ortho. Mr. Hardy was a 50+ year member of Bartlett Lodge #139 F&AM, of Hiram, and Yaarab Shrine Temple in Atlanta, He was widely recognized for his philanthropic contributions, especially to the Shriners' Hospitals for Children and WellStar Paulding Hospital. Charter member of Paulding County Shrine Club. Mr. Hardy was a life-long resident of Paulding County and cared deeply about his community, his employees and his family. That feeling of goodwill was epitomized in his trademark slogan, "We love you and we need you!" Greater than any business achievement was his love for his family, which include his wife of 64 years, Jeanette Hardy of Hiram, GA; children, John C. & Teresa Hardy of Hiram, GA, Diane & Gene Fuller of Hiram, GA, Brenda & Terry Hillhouse of Hiram, GA, Mike & Robin Hardy of Hiram, GA, and Rene & Mike Gordon of Hiram, GA, brothers-in-law, Richard Martin of Hiram, GA, and Tony Eubanks of Douglasville, GA; grandchildren, Julie & Lee Burger of Hiram, GA, Ashley Benson of Hiram, GA, Justin & Lara Fuller of Hiram, GA, Jennifer & Mark Campbell of Hiram, GA, Natalie & Josh Higgins of Hiram, GA, Niki & Michael Hilley of Hiram, GA, Mandy & Shain Jackson of Hiram, GA, Chuck Hardy of Hiram, GA, Jeb Gordon of Hiram, GA, and John Gordon of Hiram, GA; fifteen great-grandchildren, four nieces and one nephew. Funeral services will be held on Friday, September 2, 2016 at 2 PM, from West Ridge Church, with Reverend Don Rackley, Mayor Boyd Austin, Donnie Williams, and Mr. Jeb Gordon officiating. Interment will follow in Paulding Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday, September 1, 2016, from 3 PM until 9 PM, and on Friday, September 2, 2016, at West Ridge Church, from 11 AM until 1 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either Shriners Children's Hospital- Greenville at www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/donate, or mail to Shriners Hospitals for Children 950 West Faris Road, Greenville, SC 29605; or The CART Fund, make checks payable to The CART Fund, mail to Rotary Club of Paulding County PO Box 853, Dallas, GA 30132. Clark Funeral Home in Hiram, GA, is in charge of arrangements.(8-31-2016)

  • Sad News - Steve Edens: W. Steve Edens passed away on August 24, 2016. Edens served honorably in the U. S. Air Force. He enjoyed a long career in automobile racing and was a fixture in NASCAR, representing Crane Cams. Full obituary, guest book and service info at at East Lawn Funeral Home website (8-31-2016)

  • Sad News - Cliff Stewart: Mr. H. Clifton "Cliff" Stewart Sr., 91, resident of Kernersville, died August 28, 2016 at Shannon Gray Rehabilitation and Recovery Center. Mr. Stewart was born July 10, 1925 in Davidson County, a son to the late Bernie and Lue Teague Stewart. A resident of this area all his life, he graduated in 1942 from Wallburg High School and later received his Bachelor of Science from High Point College. He owned and operated Stewart Fabric Sales and Spectrum Furniture Company, as well as several different NASCAR teams. He was of the Baptist faith. In 1944 he married Eva Mae "Tommie" Stewart who preceded him in death on December 15, 2013. In addition to his wife and parents, he was also preceded by two sisters, Pauline Eller and Peggy Lydia; a brother, Loyde Stewart; a grandson, Sonny Wheeler; and a great grandson, Nicholas Sgroi. Surviving are three daughters, June Stewart of High Point, Henrietta Wheeler of Thomasville and Jackie Johnson of Asheboro; a son, Howard Stewart Jr. of High Point; nine grandchildren, Tammy Sgroi, Julie Jones, Tonia Dyer, Shannon Pope, Kara Webber, Clifton Stewart, Hannah Ridge, Bernie Stewart and Zach Johnson; and nine great grandchildren. Funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday in the chapel of the Cumby Family Funeral Service in High Point with Rev. Roy Cantrell officiating. Interment will follow at Oaklawn Memorial Park Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to the organization of the donor's choice. Services under the direction of Cumby Family Funeral Services.(8-30-2016)

  • Sad News - Betty Jane France: Betty Jane France, known fondly as the "First Lady of NASCAR Racing," died Monday, according to various sources, including a tweet from a family member. A NASCAR representative would neither confirm nor deny France's death, but a friend of the family late Monday night confirmed that she had died in the afternoon. Betty Jane's grandson, driver Ben Kennedy, sent out a message on his Twitter account that read: "We all miss you grandma. Thank you for being you still can't believe it. #neverforgotten" France was executive vice president and assistant treasurer of NASCAR and chairperson of the NASCAR Foundation. The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award was created in her honor in 2011. Through the NASCAR Foundation, this award recognizes outstanding charitable and volunteer efforts of NASCAR fans. For the last five years, France presented this award at the NASCAR Awards Banquet in Las Vegas. A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, France, the former Betty Jane Zachary, met her husband, William C. France in her hometown. They married and soon relocated to Daytona Beach. Bill France Jr. rose through the ranks to become the chairman and CEO of NASCAR. He passed away in June 2007 at the age of 74. France's children, Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of International Speedway Corporation and Brian France, chairman and CEO of NASCAR, now lead the empire started by William H.G. France, along with Betty Jane's brother-in-law, Jim France, who is vice chairman of NASCAR and chairman of ISC. Betty Jane France was a community leader and known as a champion of health care for children. She assisted in the establishment of the "Speediatrics" children's care unit at Halifax Health Medical Center and helped develop a similar facility for children in Homestead, where International Speedway Corporation owns a racetrack. She was a member of the Junior League and has served on boards of numerous area community service organizations including the Volusia/Flagler chapter of the American Red Cross and the Garden Club of the Halifax Country.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)
    AND Betty Jane France, a philanthropist in support of children's health causes, passed away Monday evening. France is the mother of NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy. A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the former Betty Jane Zachary was the widow of the late NASCAR Chairman and CEO William C. France, who passed away in 2007. Betty Jane France was executive vice president and assistant treasurer of NASCAR and the chairwoman emeritus of the NASCAR Foundation.
    "Last night, the NASCAR family lost a mother, a grandmother, a friend and the light that guided the sport's charitable arm," said Brian France. "My mother taught us incredible values, that of love, patience, compassion and joy. She embraced life every day, and nothing fueled her passion more than children. Her unmatched efforts in building The NASCAR Foundation improved the lives of millions of children throughout this country. And because of that, her legacy will live forever. My father leaned on my mother throughout his life, relying on her wisdom and calming demeanor to help grow the sport of NASCAR. She was there, every step of the way. When we lost my father, her positive presence remained, as she used her immense skill to grow NASCAR's heart and soul, The NASCAR Foundation. Our family thanks you for all of your thoughts, prayers and well wishes. My mother was a special woman, and an impressive person, and she will be dearly missed."
    France became chairwoman of The NASCAR Foundation upon the foundation's inception in 2004. Headquartered in Daytona Beach, the foundation is an entity that embodies the compassion of the NASCAR Family and its commitment to serving communities. The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Presented by Nationwide, recognizing outstanding charitable and volunteer efforts of NASCAR fans, was created in her honor in 2011. France was a longtime community leader in Daytona Beach, Florida, and best known as a steadfast champion of health care for children. She assisted in the establishment of "Speediatrics" children's care unit at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach and at Homestead Hospital in Homestead, Florida. In 2003, France was presented the Halifax Medical Center Foundation's Humanitarian Award in recognition of her advocacy, commitment, support and advancement of numerous area community service organizations including the Volusia/Flagler chapter of the American Red Cross. She was a member of the Junior League of Daytona Beach serving on boards of numerous area community service organizations. In July 2008, she was named as an honorary co-chairperson for the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, a project headed by longtime NASCAR team owner Richard Childress in Winston-Salem, N.C. Funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.(NASCAR)(8-30-2016)

  • Sad News - Waymond Lane Stricklin, Sr.: Waymond Lane Stricklin, Sr. went home to the Lord on August 24, 2016. He was born February 19, 1940 in Vina, AL (Franklin County). Mr. Stricklin was the owner of Giant Auto Parts in Pelham, AL for 32 years. He drove late model race cars until the late 1970s after which he enjoyed watching NASCAR races. His son, Hut Stricklin raced in NASCAR, competing in 328 Sprint Cup Series races with 2 2nd place finishes and 54 XFINITY Series races. Full obituary, guest book and service info at at pattersonfuneralhomes.com (8-26-2016)

  • Sad News - Josephine Bonnett: Josephine Bonnett, 99, from Hueytown, AL, had been a resident of Self Health and Rehab since 2011. Mrs. Bonnett worked at the Deli at Hills Grocery and later at Winn Dixie until she retired around 1985. She then, with her husband, traveled to many NASCAR races. They were their son, Neil's greatest fans as he raced on the NASCAR circuit until his death in 1994. She is preceded in death by her husband of 68 years; Lawrence Bonnett. Son; NASCAR driver Neil Bonnett and 13- brother and sisters. Full obituary, guest book and service info at at pattersonfuneralhomes.com (8-18-2016)

  • Sad News - John Cooper: John R. Cooper, a longtime motorsports executive, passed away August 17. Cooper became President of the Daytona International Speedway in December 1987, serving in that capacity until July 1990. Simultaneously, he served as Vice President of Corporate Development for ISC until July 1994. Cooper was a member of ISC's Board of Directors from 1987 until April 2003, and then was elected Director Emeritus.(ISC)
    See an article about Cooper at the Daytona Beach News Journal (8-18-2016)

  • Sad News - Bryan Clauson: Bryan Clauson, 27, died Sunday evening from injuries sustained in a crash the night before at the Belleville (Kan.) Nationals midget race on the half-mile dirt oval. Clauson was airlifted to Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Neb., but did not survive. The native Californian earned a USAC-INDYCAR scholarship for winning the 2010 USAC national driver's title. The scholarship earned Clauson six Indy Lights starts in 2011 in a car shared with current Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Conor Daly at Sam Schmidt Motorsports while Clauson continued to race in USAC's national series. His best finish in eight career Indy Lights was third at Iowa Speedway in 2011. Clauson won the scholarship award again in 2012, allowing him to make his Indianapolis 500 debut in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, qualifying 31st and finishing 30th. Clauson returned to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2015, finishing 31st in the Indy 500 for KVSH/Jonathan Byrd's Racing. Clauson also served as a development driver for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2007-08, winning an ARCA race in 2007. He made 21 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts in 2008, finishing second in rookie points where he teamed occasionally with three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti.
    Statement from family of Bryan Clauson: The family of Indy 500 veteran and USAC champion driver Bryan Clauson released the following statement this morning: "Last night, the 7th of August, we said goodbye to our son, my fiancÚ, our friend, Bryan Clauson. He was surrounded by family and friends and we were grateful that we could experience his final moments with him. Our Bryan fought to the end with the same desire that he demonstrated behind the wheel of all the various race cars he would park in victory lane. However, we were more proud of our Bryan that took a moment to make a young fan's day, or demonstrated his uncommon kindness and appreciation toward his friends, family and fans. We would like to thank everybody who has shown their concern toward us and kept us in their prayers. We will never be able to truly thank you. We would also like to thank the staff at Bryan Medical Center who stood and fought with our Bryan since he arrived here early yesterday morning. We know that our Bryan is also your Bryan and that you would like to participate in honoring him. A service will be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at a date and time to be announced soon. In lieu of flowers, or to make a donation, people may direct their contributions to the USAC Benevolent Fund website or checks should be made out to the USAC Benevolent Foundation in the name of Bryan Clauson. The address is 124 E Northfield Drive, Suite F #129, Brownsburg, IN 46112.
    Thank you for being a part of our Bryan's life. Lauren, Tim, Di, and Taylor."(IMS)(8-8-2016)

  • Sad News - Dave Sisco: Former NASCAR Cup driver and 1969 Nashville Fairgrounds late model champion Dave Sisco passed away, July 25, 2016, at the age of 79. He was U. S. Army Veteran. His family has asked that those desiring to make memorial contributions to do so to either the Alzheimer's Association, St. Judes or Caris Hospice of Dickson, TN.(full obit and service info at mcdonaldfuneralhomeinc.com). Sisco ran 133 NASCAR Sprint (then Winston) Cup races from 1971 to 1977, with 6 top-fives and 31 top-tens. His best finish was 3rd two times, both in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, the first in 1974, won by Cale Yarborough 2nd was Darrell Waltrip. Sisco finished 3rd again in 1975 to winner Bobby Allison with Richard Petty 2nd.(7-26-2016)

  • Sad News - Judy Parrott: Judy Kelley Parrott, 75, of Statesville died peacefully in her home on July 22, 2016. Survivors include her husband (former NASCAR Crew Chief) Buddy Parrott; sons, (NASCAR crew chief) Todd Parrott (Billie) of Mooresville and (NASCAR crew chief) Brad Parrott (Mary) of Huntersville; siblings Pat Power and Mike Kelley, and 6 grandchildren, Tyler, Blake, Chandler, Ella, Ayden and Lola. Judy was Vice President of Sports Management Group, which was formed in 1986 to manage the Folgers NASCAR racing program. As the account manager she worked along side of many drivers ranging from Tim Richmond to Mark Martin. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Judy Parrott's name to the following: Motor Racing Outreach or Victory Junction. A memorial service will be held in her honor at Langtree Plantation on Wednesday August 17th at 6:00 pm. Rev, Kenny Crosswhite will officiate.(Jamesfuneralhomelkn.com)(7-27-2016)

  • Sad News - Nancy Hammond: Nancy Tadlock Hammond, 85, of Charlotte died July 21. She was born on August 30, 1930 in Mecklenburg County to the late Marion Rube and Lura Tadlock. She was preceded in death by her husband Jacque Hammond. Survivors include her sons, Jeffrey Lee Hammond (Sharon) of Cleveland and Rodney Craig Hammond (Debra) of Cleveland; and grandchildren, Colt, Heather, Jacob and Jake. Visitation will be 5-7 PM Sunday, July 24 at James Funeral Home. The funeral service will be at 11:00 Monday at Oak Grove U.M.C. with Rev. Bob Roten officiating. Burial will follow at Sharon Memorial Park. Memorials may be made to the Serenity House, 110 Centre Church Rd., Mooresville, NC 28117. James Funeral Home of Huntersville is serving the family.(7-22-2016)

  • Sad News - Garland Jack Biffle: #16-Greg Biffle tweeted Tuesday morning that his father has passed away, "My father/veteran Garland Jack Biffle passed away this morning at 10:32am.. He taught me some much in life and I will miss him greatly..RIP". No additional details available at this time.(7-20-2016)
    Obit: Garland Jack Biffle, 75, of Mooresville, NC, passed away on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. He was born on March 8, 1941 in Pasadena, CA, to the late Garland Jack Biffle and Eileen Woodward Biffle. Mr. Biffle was a US Army veteran, where he served in France and Germany. He was retired owner and operator of a steel construction company. Jack loved Mexico, where he sent half the year in San Carlos. He also enjoyed cars, racing, fishing and all kinds of outdoor activities. Jack is survived by his wife, Sally Frye Biffle; sons, Jeff Biffle and Greg Biffle both of Mooresville, NC; sisters, Jane Rader and Joann Caro both of Anderson, CA; and granddaughters, Megan, Jordyn, and Emma Biffle. A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, July 26 at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home Chapel. A reception will follow the service in the Heritage House of Cavin-Cook Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Friends of the Animals, P.O Box 3937, Mooresville, NC 28117. Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the Biffle family. Condolences may be made to the family at www.cavin-cook.com.(7-21-2016)

  • Sad News - Richard Donlavey: Charles Richard Donlavey, 68, of Chesterfield, died July 10, 2016. He was preceded in death by his parents, Junie and Phyllis Donlavey; and his first wife, Janet M. Donlavey. He is survived by his wife, Sandy Donlavey; daughter, Ashley Gold (Andrew); two stepsons, Brent and Zach Harper; and two sisters, Linda Perkins (Billy) of Williamsburg, Va., and Beverly Swata of St. Petersburg, Fla. Richard was a member of the NASCAR Donlavey Racing Team of Richmond, Va. A memorial ceremony will be held 2:00pm Wednesday at Bliley's-Chippenham, 6900 Hull Street Road, with a reception to follow.(Richmond Times-Dispatch)(7-12-2016)

  • Sad News - Carl Haas: Carl Haas, an important figure in American motorsports for nearly 50 years, died June 29 at the age of 86, it was revealed Thursday (at haasauto.com). A quirky character who became famous for chomping on a huge cigar that he rarely lit, Haas built a business as the North American distributor for Lola cars and Hewland gearboxes in the 1960s and branched into racing team ownership in the early '70s. After dominating the Sports Car Club of America's Formula 5000 and Can-Am championships, Haas joined forces with actor (and rival Can-Am team owner) Paul Newman to form Newman/Haas Racing in 1983 with driver Mario Andretti. NHR immediately developed into one of the top teams in the CART IndyCar series and expanded to run two cars in 1989 when Andretti's son Michael joined. The Andrettis combined to score 57 of the team's 107 race wins, a total that ranks second only to Team Penske's 183, and each won a CART championship during their time at NHR. Newman/Haas won a total of eight Indy car championships with drivers including Nigel Mansell, Cristiano da Matta and Sebastien Bourdais. The team competed in the Verizon IndyCar Series through the end of 2011, at which time Haas withdrew from public life due to the effects of Alzheimer's disease. In 1985 and '86, Haas was the last American Formula 1 team owner prior to Gene Haas' (no relation) entry this year. Carl Haas also served as the chairman of the board of the SCCA and was presented with the Woolf Barnato Award in 2007, when he was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame. In all, Haas-owned cars won a total of 147 races. His other notable drivers included Jackie Stewart, Peter Revson, Brian Redman, Alan Jones and Paul Tracy. The only thing missing from Haas' record as an Indy car team owner is a win at the Indianapolis 500. His cars finished second in 1985 and '91.(ESPN), Haas also co-owned a NASCAR Winston Cup Series team with Travis Carter for eight seasons. In lieu of flowers, a contribution can be made to the Alzheimer's Association at 8430 W. Bryn Mawr, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60631 (847/933-2413) or The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp at www.holeinthewallgang.org.(7-8-2016)

  • Sad News - David Smith: David Ray Smith, 65, went to be with his Lord and Saviour June 30, 2016. He was born in Forsyth County, on August 25, 1950, to Ina Lois Smith, and the late Thomas Mclean Smith. David knew early in life that racing would be his life's direction. He began racing at Bowman Gray Stadium that eventually led to a career in NASCAR with Richard Childress Racing. He was the award-winning and multi-championship jack man for the #3 Chevrolet for many years as one of the "Flying Aces." He then became Crew Chief in 1996 during his tenure in his career. He moved on to being team manager and pit crew coach for the multi-team operation. His testimony of being a Christian was well known throughout the racing industry as he witnessed to all with whom he came into contact. His successful career was replicated in being a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Realtors. He is preceded in death by his father; and one brother, Tommy Smith; one nephew, Jonathan Whiteheart. Surviving is his beloved wife of 36 years, Karen Opal Smith; two sons, Joshua and Justin Smith; one grandson, Owen Smith; his mother, Ina Lois Smith; two sisters, Janet (Terry) Griffin, and Susan Whiteheart; sister-in-law, Linda Smith. He is also survived by his in-laws, Glen and Opaline Shockley; two brothers-in-law, Michael (Lisa) Shockley, and David (Becky) Shockley. Surviving in addition are several nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles. A funeral service will be conducted 3:00 P.M. Thursday, July 7, 2016 at Freedom Baptist Church in Rural Hall, N.C. with Pastor Jon White and Rev. Clint Fredericks officiating. Interment will follow at Rural Hall Memorial park. The family will receive friends Wednesday, July 6, 2016 at Hayworth-Miller Chapel Rural Hall from 6 PM to 8 PM. The family would like to give special thanks for those at Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home for their professional care given. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Freedom Baptist Church, PO Box 159, Rural Hall, NC, 27045, and Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home, 101 Hospice Lane, Winston-Salem, NC, 27103. Online condolences may be made at Hayworth-Miller Rural Hall.(Winston Salem Journal), to help out with funeral expenses, a fund has been set at gofundme.com(7-6-2016)

  • Sad News - Mario Fiore: Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship team owner and New England Racing Hall of Fame member Mario Fiore passed away Thursday of an undisclosed illness. Fiore was 65 years old. Fiore was widely known across the Modified racing scene for the immense success of his #44 teams in the 1970's, 80's and 90's. Fiore was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2012. Fiore, a Springfield, Mass. native, got involved in race team ownership for the first time in 1969. He won track championships at the former Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass., Stafford Speedway, New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. He won his first and only NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship in 2000 with driver Jerry Marquis.(RaceDayCT)(6-24-2016)

  • Sad News - Dave Jones: Erik Jones announced on Twitter Saturday afternoon that his father Dave passed away Tuesday. He had recently been battling cancer.(6-11-2016)
    Obit: David Scott Jones (Dave), age 53, of Byron, MI passed away peacefully June 7, 2016 at home surrounded by his family. Dave was born on August 14, 1962 in Flint, MI to Robert and Doyleen Jones. He graduated from Byron High School in 1980 and then graduated from DeVry University in Grapevine, TX in 1982. After returning to Michigan he married his wife Carol (Eckert) in May of 1985. In 2002 Dave co-purchased Paragon Corvette Reproductions. He was very dedicated to his work, but in the meantime he enjoyed scuba diving, learning how to fly a plane, traveling with his family while his son raced cars, and drinking a nice craft beer. Dave is survived by his wife, Carol; children, Erik Jones and Lindsey Jones; parent, Robert Jones; siblings, Frank (Kay) Jones and Diana (Dan) Horvath. A Celebration of Dave's life will be held from 3pm to 7pm on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at Swartz Funeral Home 1225 W. Hill Rd. Flint, MI 48507.(6-13-2016)

  • Sad News - Kat Teasdale: Kathryn (Kat) Pennington Teasdale, aged 51, born December 25, 1964, died unexpectedly on Thursday, June 2, 2016 after a long struggle with physical and mental health issues. Daughter of Margaret (Penny) Teasdale of Houston, Texas and Worden Teasdale of Toronto. Sister to Brittney Teasdale and Karen McLellan (Allan), aunt to Sarah. Niece to Stan and Judy Teasdale. Cousin to Chris Teasdale, Jeff Teasdale and Erin Balding Mowat. Kathryn was an accomplished and groundbreaking race car driver in Canada and the United States, NASCAR, Busch Series, Formula Atlantic, Indy Lights. She was passionate in her work with children's charities. Kathryn had a successful event-planning business. In recent years, Kathryn was well recognized internationally as a breeder of Wirehaired Pointing Griffons (hunting dogs). She was extremely loving and dedicated to her dogs. A memorial and celebration of Kathryn's life will take place on Friday, June 10, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. at Markland Wood Golf Club, 245 Markland Drive, Etobicoke, Ontario M9C 1R1. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Kathryn's memory to the Canadian Mental Health Association or a charity of your choice. See more at: legacy.com. Teasdale attempted 1 NASCAR Busch Series (now XFINITY Series) race in 1997 and 2 in 1998. She qualified for the Milwaukee Race in 1998 and finished 31st.(6-8-2016)

  • Sad News - Mike Belden: Mike Belden, former hauler driver and fuel man for Jeff Gordon during the 'Rainbow Warriors' years passed away, Sunday, May 29th. No details or obituary found. Gordon tweeted "The Captain" as all of us @TeamHendrick knew him. 24 team 1995-2000, 3 Championships & 55 wins. RIP Mike Belden.(6-5-2016)

  • Sad News - Bernie Fletcher: Bernard "Bernie" William Fletcher Jr of St Augustine FL passed away in Baldwin GA on May 21, 2016 at the age of 87. Bernie was born in Clarion PA and resided in DuBois PA in his early years. Bernie enjoyed automobile racing and NASCAR in particular. In the mid 1950's Bernie worked as crew member for the late Walt Chapman on one of the Fabulous Hornets with late driver Dick Rathmann. Bernie was active in the automobile business having begun his career as a wash boy at age 15 and having worked for or managed with several dealerships and owned various used car lots and rental businesses in St. Augustine. Service, donation and guest book info at whitfieldfuneralhomes.com (5-27-2016)

  • Sad News - Leroy Leibelsperger: Leroy Leibelsperger, a dedicated and always fun-loving staff photographer of Area Auto Racing News for over 30 years; and prior to that a stock car racer, has passed away. Mr. Leibelsperger, 85, of Temple died May 19 at home. Going back to the 1970s, Leroy and good friend and fellow AARN staff member Henry Plesnarski traveled to most all of the eastern NASCAR Cup level races as photographers for this publication. In the era before digital photography, they would take pictures at the track, then have those black & white images developed and printed in the darkroom. They would then drive to the AARN office in Trenton, N.J., with pictures in hand to make the early Monday deadline. Not just a racing photographer, Leroy was also a huge NASCAR fan. That led to many special and treasured friendships for him among track operators, NASCAR?officials and race team members who enjoyed visiting with him. Even in recent years, when health issues slowed him down, Leroy was still a regular at his "home tracks" of Pocono and Dover thanks to fellow AARN photographer Dean Patton who drove him there and made sure that he was taken care of. Before becoming a racing photographer, Leroy was a stock car driver in the flathead motor era, competing in a coupe at the close to home Pennsylvania dirt ovals of Reading and Grandview. Donations in memory of Leroy Leibelsperger may be made the to NASCAR Foundation.See full article at aarn.com (5-25-2016)

  • Sad News - David Wheeler: Mr. David Vincent Wheeler, Sr., 74, of Belmont, NC passed away in the afternoon, Wednesday, April 27th, 2016 at Caromont Regional Medical Center, Gastonia, NC. Born in Charlotte, NC in 1941, he was the second child of the late Howard A. "Humpy" Wheeler, Sr. and Kathleen Dobbins Wheeler. For almost 30 years, he enjoyed a successful career at Charlotte Motor Speedway (brother Humpy Wheeler).(Charlotte Observer) (5-13-2016)

  • Sad News - Francis Edward Allen: Francis Edward Allen, 79, of Concord, passed away on Thursday, April 21, 2016, at the Tucker Hospice House in Kannapolis, NC. Mr. Allen worked in NASCAR for over 30 years before becoming Owner/Operator of a CARQUEST Auto Parts store in Denver, NC.(Charlotte Observer)(5-13-2016)

  • Sad News - Jeanne Barnes: Jeanne Barnes, 77, who drew dozens of portraits of NASCAR legends, died Wednesday morning following an extended illness, according to Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee. Barnes' work is displayed in the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame inside the Darlington Raceway Museum. It's filled with dozens of her drawings and portraits of NASCAR legendary drivers, including Dale Earnhardt, Cale Yarborough and Kyle Petty. She often worked at the Raceway during race time, helping out in the credentials office.(WPDE)(5-12-2016)

  • Sad News - "Dutch" Hoag: Donald C. "Dutch" Hoag, 89, of Bath, New York died Wednesday, May 11, 2016. Services will be held at Kanona United Methodist Church, 7, Kanona, New York, date and time pending. Hoag ran four Sprint Cup races in the 1950s. See obituary info at legacy.com)(5-12-2016)

  • Sad news - Steve Turner: Steve Turner, a Texas businessman and one-time NASCAR team owner who won the 2012 Truck Series championship with driver James Buescher, died Thursday night with his family at his side, family members confirmed. After serving in the Navy and finding a great deal of success in the oil and gas industry, Turner's hobby in racing turned into a full-time racing operation in 1999 with the formation of Turner Motorsports, competing on dirt and asphalt tracks throughout Texas. In 2009, Turner Motorsports joined NASCAR competition and later that year he acquired Braun Racing, a successful team in what is now the Xfinity Series. In 2013, Turner joined with Harry Scott Jr. and the team was renamed Turner Scott Motorsports. The owners went their separate ways at the conclusion of the 2014 season.Turner most recently lived in Houston. Funeral arrangements are not available at this time.(Motorsport.com)(5-6-2016)

  • Sad News - Don White: Donald O.H. White, 87, of Keokuk, Iowa passed away on Friday, April 29, 2016, at his home. He served in the United States Army. Don was a professional race car driver. His career started on dirt tracks in Cedar Rapids. He also raced on sand at Daytona Beach and held the speed record at Daytona Beach before the big track. Don White was the first Keokuk race car driver to have an effect racing on the national scene. He began in the IMCA in 1949 and won titles in 1954, 1955 and 1958. He moved on to the United States Auto Club (USAC) where he won titles in 1963 and 1967. He had the most wins in USAC history and was selected for the USAC Hall of Fame in 2013. Don had eleven seasons in a row where he finished in the top five in points, including eight seasons in a row when he finished in the top three. During a four-year-stretch between 1966 and 1969, Don won 32 races and finished second sixteen times in eighty-two starts. He finished his racing career in 1986. Service info, full obituary, condolences, donation info at dejongsfuneralhome.com.
    From 1954 thru 1972, White ran 24 Sprint Cup Series races with 12 tops tens, 7 top fives with three 2nd place finishes (Racing-Reference)(5-2-2016)

  • Sad News - Bill Wimble: Bill Wimble, 84, who captured NASCAR's National Sportsman Championship in 1960, died Sunday from a brain aneurysm. Wimble, from Lisbon, New York, is best known in this area for his heroism by helping save the life of 1961 Daytona 500 champion Marvin Panch. Panch was trapped in a burning sports car after crashing during a test run at Daytona International Speedway in 1963. Tiny Lund, Wimble and several other men rushed to Panch's aid and pulled him out of the flaming race car. Panch, who was injured in the incident, in turn gave his Daytona 500 ride with Wood Brothers Racing to Lund, who won the race. Wimble captured numerous track championships in the northeast. He made two NASCAR Cup Series starts in Daytona in 1962. He finished 17th in a qualifying race, which counted as a points race, and finished 11th in the Daytona 500. The Living Legends of Auto Racing honored Wimble with its prestigious Pioneer of Racing Award in 2007.(Daytona Beach News-Journal) There will be a memorial service on Monday, May 2, at Serenity Meadows, 6919 Providence Road in Riverview, FL. Friends and family will be received from 10-11 am, with the service at 11 am. Memorial donations may be made in his memory to LifePath Hospice. (full obit and more info at legacy.com.(4-28-2016)

  • Sad News - Dennis King: Dennis P. King, 69, of Salina, KS, passed away Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Dennis was a cam grind engineer formerly with General Kinetics and a lifelong machinist in his own business; High Velocity Cams, never really retiring. Dennis was long standing member of the NASCAR family known by engine builders and crew chiefs alike. (full obituary and more info at dignitymemorial.com)(4-8-2016)

  • Sad News - Ryan Shea: Ryan Shea, car chief for Chip Ganassi Racing's Xfinity Series team, died overnight, NBC Sports has confirmed. He was 34 years old, according to his Facebook page. According to his LinkedIn page, Shea joined Chip Ganassi Racing in Jan. 2015. He was a car chief/mechanic at Michael Waltrip Racing from 2007-15. Shea began working in NASCAR in Feb. 2001 when he was hired by BAM Racing. He later worked for FitzBradshaw Racing, Carver Racing, ppc Racing and Braun Racing. Kyle Larson and Justin Marks have split time driving the #42 car this season.(NBC Sports)(3-31-2016)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing is sad to report that Ryan Shea, car chief on the #42 NASCAR XFINITY Series team, passed away last night at his home in Troutman, N.C. "It is a sad day for our team as we mourn the untimely loss of Ryan," said Chip Ganassi, team owner. "Ryan was a dedicated worker and a great friend to those on our team, as well as others in the garage. Our hearts go out to Ryan's family and friends during this difficult time." "Ryan was a tremendous asset to Chip Ganassi Racing and the No. 42 team and will be sorely missed," said crew chief Mike Shiplett. "My thoughts go out to his wife, children, family and friends in this time of mourning." Chip Ganassi Racing will communicate further details regarding funeral arrangements and memorials as they become available.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(3-31-2016)
    Service / Memorial info at legacy.com.(4-3-2016)

  • Sad News - Bobby Johns: Robert "Bobby" James Johns, 83, passed away suddenly March 7 at his home in Miami. Born May 22, 1932 in Miami, where he resided his entire life and began his racing career. He was a racing legend as he won the Atlanta 500, the Bristol 500, 2nd in the Daytona 500 and many other racing achievements (stats at racing-reference.info). He was one of the first NASCAR drivers to race in the Indy 500, where he raced twice and finished in the top ten.(full obituary and more info at the dignitymemorial.com)(3-11-2016)

  • Sad News - Larry Balewski: Larry Balewski, known for his written work in the sports pages of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, and later throughout NASCAR for his work as a public-relations manager at Daytona International Speedway, died this past weekend in Daytona Beach after a lengthy illness. He was 66. He served under three enormous figures in this area's history: He played football for Bud Asher at Father Lopez High School, he wrote for Herbert M. Davidson's newspaper and he managed media affairs for Bill France Jr. "He was a very good person and we became close friends," said Jim France, longtime Speedway and NASCAR executive and son of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. "I am saddened by the news of his passing and extend my condolences to Larry's family and friends." Balewski ended an 11-year career as a News-Journal sportswriter in 1982 and joined the Speedway's PR department. He'd spent his last several years at the N-J as motorsports editor. He remained with the Speedway, in PR and then administration, for 15 years until the late 1990s, when he left and eventually entered real estate sales. "Larry was one of my many mentors, especially when it came to motorsports," said Godwin Kelly, who replaced Balewski as motorsports editor and remains in the position today. "He was very encouraging and helpful when I first started the beat and became one of my go-to resources when it came to NASCAR and Speedway stories."(full story and more info at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-11-2016)

  • Sad News - Jim Freeman: Jim Freeman, former public relations expert for Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, passed away in Murfreesboro, TN on Sunday morning. Freeman was 73. A native of Murfreesboro, Freeman was named Sports Information Director at MTSU in 1969 after serving stints on the staffs of the Daily News Journal and Nashville Banner. In 1976 he joined a small group of MTSU administrators to create the Blue Raider Sports Hall Fame. Over the following 40 years, Freeman was an integral part of the hall of fame process at his beloved alma mater. In 2014, he was honored by director of athletics Chris Massaro in being named to the Ring of Honor. After a decade at MTSU, he was offered the stock car media coordinator position at Daytona International Speedway, a post he held from 1979 to 1982. He then moved up in the NASCAR family, accepting the position of Public Relations Director at the famed Talladega Superspeedway, where led the PR efforts for 14 years. In 1996, Freeman was asked to serve as the executive director of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. He led the hall of fame for 10 years before retiring in 2006.(full post with service info at the Daily News Journal)(3-7-2016)

  • Sad News - Clarence Davis: Clarence Davis, 81 of Gaffney, SC, passed away Saturday March 5, 2016 at Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home. Davis enjoyed creating things; he built his own home, racing engines, dirt track cars, race cars; and will be remembered for building Richard Childress' first race car. He also worked for Bud Moore, Bobby Allison and James Hilton. Full obituary / service info at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal .(3-6-2016)

  • Sad News - Harvey Walters: Harvey Walters, who worked 33 years at Charlotte Motor Speedway as Race Director and Operations Director, passed away on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at age 72 surrounded by his family. Walters was well known and respected around the NASCAR Community from the 1970's thru the 1990's as a track manager at CMS. He was a track operation consultant who consulted at racetracks across the country. A memorial is scheduled to be held at Hartsell Funeral Home on Saturday, March 5 at 1:00pm/et.(Full obituary at the Charlotte Observer)(3-4-2016)

  • Sad News - Lennie Pond: Former stock car racing driver Lennie Pond has died of complications of cancer. A Chester, VA resident who grew up in Ettrick, Mr. Pond died at VCU Medical Center in Richmond. He was 75. NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bobby Allison, in Richmond last week for a tribute to Mr. Pond at an Arena Racing USA event, recalled racing against Pond for decades - both at NASCAR's major races and in smaller events at short tracks such Southside Speedway. "Lennie was a tough competitor," Allison said. "I raced against him lots of times over the years. He was fun and fair to race against. And when the race was over, if you needed help, Lennie would help you out. You knew he was going to be competitive. He worked hard with his part of the deal and came to the track ready to race."
    Mr. Pond's brother, Wright Pond, said on Saturday that support had poured in from fans and racers around the country during his brother's illness. "He is loved more than he knows," Wright Pond said. Mr. Pond won scores of races, starting in the 1950s, on dirt tracks and asphalt tracks in NASCAR's Modified and Late Model Sportsman classes. He was a five-time Virginia champion of the Late Model Sportsman class. At NASCAR's Cup level he was the 1973 Rookie of the Year. He scored his lone Cup victory in August 1978 in the Talladega 500 at the 2.66-mile Alabama International Motor speedway (Talladega Superspeedway). At the time, his average speed of 174.7 mph was the record for a 500-mile race in any racing series. Mr. Pond's last Cup Series race was in 1989. He had 234 career Cup starts with 88 top-10 finishes. After retiring from racing, Mr. Pond got into automotive sales. Until his illness, he was a member of the staff at Heritage Chevrolet in Chester.(Richmond Times-Dispatch)(2-10-2016)

  • Sad News - Barney Hall: Hall of Fame broadcaster Barney Hall, a cornerstone of MRN's NASCAR coverage since the network's founding in 1970, died Tuesday from complications following a recent medical procedure. He was 83. At the time of his death, Hall was in the company of long-time companion Karen Carrier - the love of his life. Hall was born on June 24, 1932, in Elkin, N.C., the town he called home his entire life. After graduating from high school, he joined the Navy and served four years of active duty, during which Hall launched his radio career. He would return to his hometown and work as a disc jockey at radio station WIFM for 13 years.
    Hall was widely known for his calm voice and unmatched storytelling. He was part of MRN's award-winning race coverage since the network's debut in 1970. Prior to that, Hall served as Bristol Motor Speedway's first public address announcer, called his first Daytona 500 in 1960 and missed only four broadcasts in the 57-year history of "The Great American Race." One of those was the "500" won by Matt Kenseth in 2012, when illness sidelined Hall. But as NASCAR returned to Martinsville Speedway one month later, fans once again heard a comforting, familiar voice over the airwaves. Barney was back in the booth.
    Hall remained an integral part of the network's NASCAR coverage throughout the next two years. On July 6, 2014, he worked his final race - calling Aric Almirola's rain-shortened win at Daytona International Speedway, which returned the iconic #43 Richard Petty Motorsports entry to Victory Lane. Hall's voice was heard on a number of special broadcasts in the months that followed. The National Motorsports Press Association named Hall its Broadcaster of the Year in 2014. He and MRN producer Darrell Smith teamed up to win another NMPA award in 2015. Barney was inducted into that organization's Hall of Fame in 2007. In May 2012, NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame jointly announced the creation of a new award to honor the media's contributions to the success of the sport. It carried the names of two legendary MRN broadcasters: Barney Hall and Ken Squier, who were also the first recipients.
    Hall was recently recognized by the Motor Racing Network with an appreciation award for his 45 years of service. Mr. Hall is survived by Karen Carrier, the love of his life for 35 years, an aunt and several cousins.(Motor Racing Networks)(1-27-2016)
    SERVICE/OBIT INFO: Funeral services will be held Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, at 2 p.m. at Jonesville First Baptist Church with the Rev. Stanley Stogner, Pastor Scott Price and Dr. Roger Hensley officiating. Interment will follow in Crestwood Memorial Gardens with full military honors provided by U.S. Navy and Yadkin VFW Post 10346. The family will receive friends Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Jonesville First Baptist Church and also on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, from noon to 2 p.m. prior to the funeral service. Flowers will be accepted, or memorials made to Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, NC 27317; or Woltz Hospice Home, 945 Zephyr Road, Dobson, NC 27017. Online condolences may be made to www.elkinfuneralservice.com or the Charlotte Observer.
    . (nice article at the Charlotte Observer by Tom Higgins: Since Day 2, voice of NASCAR Barney Hall has approached sport with measured respect.(1-28-2016)

  • Legendary Broadcaster Barney Hall Passes Away At Age 83: Barney Hall, who communicated the thrill of NASCAR stock car racing to millions of radio listeners during a more than 50-year broadcast career has died at the age of 83. A native of Elkin, North Carolina, Hall was one of the original members of the Motor Racing Network staff and was known as the "Voice of MRN." He was inducted into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2007 and in 2012 joined former MRN colleague Ken Squier as the initial recipients and namesakes of the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.
    "The entire NASCAR family extends its condolences to the family, friends and fans of Barney Hall, a NASCAR broadcasting giant for more than 50 years," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. "Barney's impeccable delivery and incredible storytelling skills left an indelible mark on the sport that he so clearly loved. His legacy remains through an honor that rightly carries his name - the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. It will remain a constant reminder of the skill and passion that Barney brought to his work."
    Hall began his broadcast career in the 1950s working at local radio stations in North Carolina. He served as Bristol Motor Speedway's first public address announcer and called his first Daytona 500 in 1960. Hall joined the Motor Racing Network first as a turn announcer and then moved to the booth in the late 1970s, where he had been a fixture until 2014. Hall called a number of the sport's milestone moments including the landmark 1979 Daytona 500 that featured a post-race scuffle among Bobby and Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough; Richard Petty's 200th career victory in 1984; and Dale Earnhardt's 1998 win in the Daytona 500.
    Hall's NASCAR broadcast career began almost by accident. The recipient of free tickets as a local radio personality, he started attending races in the late 1950s. He was offered $75 for a weekend of public address duties at the then-new Bristol Motor Speedway in 1960 and a career was born. That led to a job with what was known as the Daytona 500 Network, operating out of WNDB in Daytona Beach, Fla. - a forerunner of the Motor Racing Network.(NASCAR)(1-27-2016)

  • Sad News - Rex Robbins: The founder of the Pendleton-based American Speed Association, Rex Robbins, died Sunday following an extended illness. Robbins, 80, founded the American Speed Association in 1968 at Anderson Speedway and over the years developed the short track late model series into a national touring series that spawned the careers of Mark Martin, Alan Kulwicki, Jimmie Johnson, Rusty Wallace and Dick Trickle. The national tour started in 1973, and Robbins sold ASA in 2003. Known as an innovator in the sanctioning of stock car races, Robbins, through the ASA, was the first to require the use of the HANS head and neck restraint system, brought crate motors to the series as a cost-saving measure and ran the last five laps of every event under green flag racing conditions. ASA also incorporated the technology and designs of cars on the highway to the racetrack in the 1990s. During his tenure with ASA, Robbins negotiated the contract that brought the traveling series to live television through a partnership with The Nashville Network (TNN). Robbins, along with his late wife Becky and several partners, owned and operated Anderson Speedway until they sold the local track to Rick Dawson and Action Entertainment.(Anderson Herald Bulletin / Anderson Speedway)(1-27-2016)

  • Sad News - Hank Bechtloff: Henry George Bechtloff went by Hank, which due to his chosen line of work, became known as "Hank The Crank." Bechtloff, who had recently turned 76, passed away Sunday, January 3, 2016. Bechtloff grew up in Southern California. Bechtloff and one of his friends had a shop in the bay of a local gas station where the two worked tuning engines. In 1957, Bechtloff went to work for the CrankShaft Company near downtown Los Angeles. In 1971, Bechtloff opened his own company, which was appropriately named Hank The Crank Inc.(SEMA). Hank The Crank Inc. made crankshafts for many NASCAR teams from the 1980's into the 2000's. He worked with some of the greatest names in the industry such as Richard Childress, Robert and Doug Yates, Smokey Yunick, Dan Gurney, Don Garlits, Danny Lawrence, Keith Simmons, Randy and Keith Dorton, Richard Petty, Warren Hodgdon, Bobby Allison, Bobby Labonte and others. Bechtloff developed technologies in racing crankshafts, connecting rods, pistons, piston pins, piston rings and bearings.(1-9-2016)


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