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2006 SAD/TRAGIC NEWS/DEATHS/MEMORIALSabout deaths of those involved in NASCAR main three divisions or major auto racing series


  • Sad News – Lyn Jeffers: Lyn Jeffers passed away last night, December 30, 2006 at the VA Mountain Home Nursing Center, in Johnson City, TN due to complications from a cancerous brain tumor. Lyn worked for ESPN, FOX, NBC, and TNT for the last 24 years, handling duties in the booth as stage manager while coordinating the placement of in-car cameras for ARCA, Craftsman Truck Series, Busch Series, and formally the Winston Cup, now Nextel Cup Series. Early on in Lyn’s career he handled public relations duties for Joe Rutman’s #75 Pet Dairy ride, and Brad Teague’s #31 Slender You machine in the early 80;s and 90’s. He was a part of many various activities that were race related, including contributing writer for DieCast Digest. Lyn was a pleasant face in the garage area for many years, who had a love for stock car racing that stemmed from when he was a child growing up in Greenville, TN. Funeral arrangements are being performed by Tetrick Funeral Home in Johnson City, TN. In lieu of flowers Lyn has asked for donations to be made to The Victory Junction Gang Camp or to The Tug McGraw Foundation.(12-31-2006)
  • Sad News – Bruce Hayes: Bruce Jeffrey Hayes, age 44 of Concord, passed away Wednesday 12/27/2006. A memorial service will be held at 11am on Saturday 12/30/2006 at Wilkinson, NC. Funeral Home Chapel. Ron Pegram will officiate. The family will receive friends from 9:30 to 11:00 am at the Wilkinson Funeral Home prior to the service on Saturday. Hayes was a sheet metal fabricator for Penske Racing and owned S&S Performance Fabrication. In his racing career he worked for Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Racing, Robert Yates Racing, Darrell Waltrip Racing, Butch Mock Motorsports and Petty Enterprises. He was also an avid hunter. Bruce was a beloved husband, proud father and loved by everyone he met. Survivors in addition to his mother Reba Hayes of Asheboro, include his wife Amy Stewart Hayes; daughter Victoria Hayes of the home; sister Janice Pierce and husband Donald of Asheboro; mother-in-law Jenni Blackwelder Stewart of Concord and niece Anna Pierce. A fund has been established for his daughter Victoria Hayes and contributions may be made in her name to Jenni Stewart 3230 Dunmore Court, Concord, NC 28027.(12-29-2006)
  • Sad News: Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States, died Tuesday night at the age of 93. More at
  • Sad News – Bobby Santos: Bobby Santos passed away Thursday morning Dec. 21, after a long battle with cancer. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001 his legacy is still living on with his grandchildren Erica and Bobby III, both accomplished racers. Bobby was around to see the start of what appears to be a stellar future for his grandson Bobby III which appears may surpass the accomplishments of his famous grandfather. Calling hours are Wednesday Dec. 27th from 2:00 to 4:00pm/et and 6:00 to 8:00pm at the Roberts Mitchell Funeral Home, 90 Curve St., Millis, Mass. Funeral is Thursday Dec. 28. My first memory of Bob Santos is at Lancaster (N.Y.) Speedway’s 1972 National 400, where Bobby beat Richie Evans to the finish line in a thrilling victory in the Modified 200.(
  • Sad News… Herman Ross McKay: Herman Ross McKay, 78 of Mooresville, NC, died Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at Carolinas Medical Center. For many years he was a truck driver for TCT and later was employed with Joe Gibbs Racing in the parts department. He was one of the original Joe Gibbs Racing employees. Ross especially enjoyed being around antique tractors. Survivors include his wife, Louise Wilson McKay, sons, David McKay and wife Betty Y. and Ronnie McKay and wife Shirley B. all of Mooresville, NC, daughter, Denise McKay Motes and husband Charles W., Jr., sisters, Lorrine M. Harris of TX and Doris McKay of VA, 6 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren. Services were helf Friday, December 8th. Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association 222 S. Church St., Suite 303, Charlotte, NC 28202 or Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church, Cemetery Fund, 1600 Mallard Creek Church Rd., Charlotte, NC 28269.(12-9-2006)
  • Sad News… Bob Tomlinson: James Robert (Bob) Tomlinson, born in Stanley County, NC on July 31, 1939, passed away on Tuesday, December 5, 2006 after a long bout with cancer. Bob began his professional career working in management at Cannon Mills in Kannapolis, NC, where he retired at an early age. As a long time supporter of NASCAR, Bob then embarked on a journey that took him down many roads in the sport. Many will remember him from his time with Darrell Waltrip, as well as Jack Beebe and Race Hill Farms. He also served as a field representative for Pontiac Motorsports and NASCAR. At the peak of his career, he acted as team manager for Cale Yarborough Motorsports, Whitcomb Racing and Eel River Racing. Bob was one of many who did his part to help make the sport what it is today. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in memory of Bob Tomlinson to Candor Presbyterian Church, PO Box 635, Candor, NC 27229. A memorial service will be held in his honor at Candor Presbyterian Church on Saturday, December 9 at 11:30 AM.(12-7-2006)
  • Sad News – Len Sutton: Len Sutton, a race car driver who appeared in seven Indianapolis 500s, including a second-place finish in 1962, died Monday in Portland, Ore. He was 81. Sutton finished 11.5 seconds behind Rodger Ward in the ’62 500. He also won the Milwaukee 200 in 1960.(Indy Star)
    AND Portland’s Len Sutton, one of the greatest race car drivers of his generation and the second-place finisher in the 1962 Indianapolis 500, died in his sleep Monday morning at his Portland home. He was 81, and his wife Anita, the love of his life for 59 years, was close by. While horrific racing accidents claimed the life of Oregon drivers Les Anderson, George Amick and Art Pollard over the years, Sutton survived several close calls, raced in seven Indianapolis 500s, and won United States Auto Club championship races at Trenton, Springfield and Milwaukee. Sutton had 43 career top 10 finishes. Among his numerous honors, Sutton said he was proud to be a member of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, joining ageless stock car racing legend Hershel McGriff and Portland sports car racer Monte Shelton, who noted simply of his longtime friend, “he was almost too nice to be in racing. You couldn’t find a mean bone in that guy’s body. And yet, when he raced, he was really good.” Sutton is survived by his wife and his two daughters, Christy and Hollie. Funeral services are pending.(The Oregonian), Sutton also race in five Nextel Cup events [then called Grand National] once in 1958 [at Portland, starting 9th and finished 11th] and four races in 1963 with his best finish of 30th at Daytona].(12-5-2006)
  • Sad News – Wilson Shanks: He made stock car history in the Valley last year. NBC29 brought you Wilson Shanks’ story just before he became the oldest stock car driver to ever win a race. Shanks passed away over the weekend at the age of 75. Known as the “Millboro Express” on the track, where he had been racing since the 1950’s, Shanks was the owner and operator of Shanks Logging in Millboro for more than 58 years. Shanks is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son.( AND Wilson raced at Eastside Speedway some thirty-five years and made many cherished friends and fans along the way. Wilson set history as he became the oldest active Late Model driver in the United States to win a feature race in what turned out to be his final race back on September 27th, 2005. Wilson Shanks was best known at Eastside as a quiet fraile old man who wheeled his familiar red Ford #77 Late Model like a 20 year-old, not like the 70 plus year-old man he was. Shanks suprised many people every week as many first timers discovered that behind the wheel of that car speeding down the oval was not what they would expect. And as Shanks climbed out of his car in victory lane one last time back in Sept of 2005, the crowd was quiet except for a few sobs as Shanks announced he was going for surgery for throat cancer. Weeks later Dick Berggrens Speedway Illustrated did a story proclaiming Shanks historic win.(Eastside Speedway site)(12-5-2006)
  • Sad News – Al Grinnan: Arnold Perry “Al” Grinnan Jr., a Fredericksburg native and long-time Richmond resident who was a well-known race car driver, died Friday at the age of 76. Grinnan was a driver at many race tracks in Virginia, as well as others from Florida to Maine . He began racing after leaving the Army following a decorated tour in Korea where, for a short period of time, he was a prisoner of war. One of the original breed of stock-car racers on the precursor to NASCAR known as the Grand National circuit, Mr. Grinnan estimated last year in an interview with The Times-Dispatch that he won more than 500 races from the early 1950s until he retired from racing in 1979. He raced at Strawberry Hill – now Richmond International Raceway – with legends such as Runt Harris, Ted Hairfield, Sonny Hutchins, Eddie Crouse and many others. In 1968, Mr. Grinnan was voted the most popular Modified Sportsman driver on the circuit. Grinnan is survived by his Wife, Carolyn O’Neal Grinnan, a daughter and three sons, three grandchildren and three sisters. Visitation will be today from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at the Mechanicsville Chapel of Bennett funeral Home, 8014 Lee Davis Road, with a service immediately following. Burial will be tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Sunset Memorial Park in Fredericksburg.(Richmond Times Dispatch), Grinnan ran one Nextel Cup race [then know as Grand National Series] in 1971 at Richmond, starting 33rd and finishing 13th.(11-30-2006)
  • Tragic News: A Kansas woman and her teenage son have died in a wreck on Interstate 85 in South Carolina. Daniel John Becker, 19, of Mooresville, N.C., was driving south at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, when a northbound tractor-trailer crossed the median, went through the barrier cables, and hit his car nearly head-on, troopers said [Becker worked in Concord NC at the Fast Track Driving/Racing School]. Pamela Becker, of Milford, Kan., was taken to the hospital, where she died Thursday from head injuries. The tractor-trailer also hit two other vehicles, but no one else was seriously injured, authorities said.(Topeka Capital-Journal)(11-25-2006)
  • Sad News: J.J. Weaver, born on August 13, 2005, went to heaven to be with Jesus on Saturday, November 11, 2006. J.J. died in peace in his daddy’s arms after a difficult and courageous battle with cancer. Funeral services will be conducted 2:00 p.m. Wednesday November 15, 2006 at the First Baptist Church of Huntersville with Rev. Doug Danner officiating. Burial will follow in the Church cemetery. The family will receive friends Tuesday evening from 4:00 to 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home. Survivors are his parents, John [of Ganassi Racing] and Teri Weaver; paternal grandfather, John M. Weaver of Flushing, MI; maternal grandparents, Frank J. Miller of Herminie, PA, and Judith and Clifford Bateson of Greensburg, PA; and several aunts, uncles and cousins. J.J. was preceded in death by his paternal grandmother, Marilyn F. Weaver. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The JJ Weaver Fund, P. O. Box 652, Cornelius, N.C. 28031. Arrangements by Raymer Funeral Home, Huntersville, NC.(Charlotte Observer)(11-15-2006)
  • Sad News: M. Verne Joy, 91, passed away peacefully Oct. 30, at home in Athol, Mass. Joy is the father of Fox broadcaster Mike Joy. A 1938 graduate of Parks Air College of St. Louis University, Mr. Joy was an aeronatutical engineer at Lockheed in Burbank, Calif. where he helped design the famed P-38 Lightning, and the Hudson bomber. In 1942, Verne oversaw restoration to flying condition of the first Japanese Zero fighter downed by allied forces. Test flying the Zero to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses was of great help to the air war in the Pacific. He later was materials control manager for production of the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk. In March 1952, Verne joined the Fuller Brush Company’s home office in Hartford, CT, named chief engineer in 1954, and national industrial sales manager in 1960. He was named vice president in 1969, and elected to the company’s board of directors. Mr. Joy retired in 1975 to Petersham, Mass., where he enjoyed mechanical restoration projects, served on the town finance committee, and was elected tothe Board of Selectman.
    Verne is survived by his wife Jean (Peters) Joy of Whitinsville, MA; sons Michael Kinsey Joy of Mooresville, NC and David Sullivan Joy of S.Windsor, CT; daughters Susan Jean Winters of Athol, Caroline Anne McKenney of Whitinsville, 14 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, his younger brothers Stephen and Oliver, and a daughter, Marian, from his first marriage. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations the Gardner Visiting Nurse Hospice Program, 34 Pearly Ln, Gardner, MA 01440.(10-31-2006)
  • Sad News – #55 Jackman passes: Bill Davis Racing statement on the passing ofr Steve Spahr, #55 NAPA Team Jackman: “Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with Steve’s family,” said Bill Davis, owner of Bill Davis Racing. “Steve was an important part of the Bill Davis Racing family for many, many years. He was a quiet mentor to his peers and was both respected and well-liked by everyone on our race team and many others within the NASCAR Nextel Cup garage. He will be missed and remembered fondly by everyone associated with our team.” Spahr, 48, worked both at the shop and at the track performing a wide range of tasks from engine tuning to suspension work in the shop and in the past had served as the jackman for the #22 team. Most recently, Spahr was the jackman for the #55 NAPA Racing team. A long-time employee of Bill Davis Racing, Spahr had recently been hospitalized with a tear of the aorta and had undergone surgery in the Greensboro, N.C. area. Spahr was recovering at home with his family when he passed away suddenly Friday evening.(BDR PR)(10-26-2006)
  • Driver dies in auto wreck: Up-and-coming Chelsea race car driver Charlie Bradberry died after a Saturday morning automobile accident. Alabama State Trooper spokesman Sgt. Tim Sartain said Bradberry, 24, was driving a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup that went off Shelby County 11 and overturned inside the Chelsea city limits at 7:05am Saturday. Bradberry was transported to UAB Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:30am. The driver of the bright red #78 car in the Super Late Model racing series had a career in high gear since first climbing behind the wheel of a go-cart in 1994 at the age of 12. Bradberry had six wins in 24 races this year, mostly on the Super Late Model circuit. After visiting with friends at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday morning, Bradberry spent the rest of the day tooling with his race car at his Chelsea garage, trying to get it dialed in for upcoming races. He was on his way home Saturday morning when the accident occurred a couple of miles from his garage. Bradberry, the younger brother of former NASCAR Winston Cup driver Gary Bradberry, hoped to earn himself a spot in NASCAR’s Busch Series next year, Richard Walton of Walton Motorsports Marketing said. “His career was really taking off. The season was going phenomenally well,” Walton said. Bradberry spent early 2004 racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series before shifting to Super Late Models and, at times, the NASCAR Southeast Series and Hooters Pro Cup Series. His wife, Brandi, is expecting the couple’s first child this February.(Birmingham News)(10-8-2006)
  • Sad News: Race driver Mark Porter died today after he suffered massive injuries in a crash at Mount Panorama on Friday while preparing for the Bathurst 1000. Porter died at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney today after suffering serious head and chest injuries in a 180kph crash with David Clark during a second tier V8 race at the Bathurst 1000 meeting. The Gold Coast based New Zealander leaves behind his wife Adrienne and one-year-old son Flynn. He was 31. V8 Supercars Australia said they would launch a thorough investigation into the crash.(Herald Sun)(10-9-2006)
  • Australian racing legend dies in crash during rally: Peter Brock, one of Australia’s most successful and well-known race car drivers, died Friday in an accident during a rally in Western Australia state. The 61-year-old Brock died when his car crashed into a tree about 25 miles east of Perth during the Targa West rally, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport said his co-driver was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition. Brock dominated Australian auto racing for three decades before retiring from the touring car circuit in 1997. He made a couple of brief comebacks and at one stage owned a racing team. He won Australia’s premier touring car event, now known as the Bathurst 1000, a record nine times, and held more pole positions and won more races than any other driver since the inception of the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1960. It was the second death this week of an iconic Australian, coming four days after Steve Irwin, globally famous as television’s “Crocodile Hunter,” was killed by the barb of a stingray while scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.(
  • Driver dies at Knoxville: Sprint-car driver Steve King died [Thursday] this afternoon from injuries suffered in a crash during Wednesday night’s Knoxville Nationals, hospital officials and the family confirmed. King, 33, of Jetmore, Kan., was pronounced dead at 3:32 p.m., Mercy spokesperson Gregg Lagan said. Preliminary reports from Knoxville Raceway indicate the wreck involved only King and happened when a part broke, sending his #88 car into the Turn 3 fence during a preliminary feature. King was taken by helicopter to Mercy late Wednesday night to undergo treatment for a brain injury, according to his Web site. Knoxville race director Ralph Capitani said earlier today that Nationals races would go on as scheduled. “Our hearts, our souls, our prayers are certainly with the family,” Capitani said. There have been 15 racing-related deaths at Knoxville, according to Capitani and Des Moines Register research. The most recent death was June 16, when Courtney Roger Schuur of Fridley, Minn., was killed during a sprint-car exhibition race held as part of a once-a-year “old-timers” event. An family update on King’s Web site — — also confirmed King died this afternoon. “He loved you all,” a note on the Web site said. “Thank you so much for your support. Please keep our family in your prayers. Arrangement details will be posted [at ] once they have been made.” The 46th Knoxville Nationals are scheduled to conclude Saturday night.(Des Moines Register)(8-10-2006)
  • Sad News – Lynn Barkdoll: Lynn Patricia Barkdoll of Fletcher, NC passed away on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006, at St. Joseph’s Hospital after a valiant battle with cancer. She was born in England and moved to the United States in 1987. She worked in banking and was a Certified Fitness Trainer in North Carolina. She was a member of Fletcher United Methodist Church. She is survived by her husband, Steve [former Andy Petree Racing General Manager for many years and now works for Phoenix Racing in the same capacity]; one son, Austin; and one daughter, Kerby, all of the home; her parents, Tom and Irene Muckell of Hoddesdon Hertz, England; in-laws Dollie Barkdoll of Garrison, Iowa, and Phil and Linda Barkdoll of Vinton, Iowa; many close cousins; and several nieces and nephews; three dogs, Kelsey, Trish and her special Sophie; a wonderful caregiver, Jane Hendrix; and many close friends. A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Fletcher United Methodist Church with the Revs. Ed Hillman and Steve Combs officiating. Burial will follow at Shepherd Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Victory Junction Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, N.C., 27317. Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors is in charge of arrangements. An online register is available at News)(8-7-2006)
  • Sad News: Mark Alan Westbrook (Brook), 52, of Pinebluff, NC died Friday, July 28, 2006, at his home. A memorial service was held at 6:00pm/et, Monday, July 31, at Pinecrest High School Auditorium with Father Jim Buchholz and the Rev. Gregg Newton officiating. Born May 28, 1954, in Moore County to the late Claudius Delmar and Ola Rachel Lee Westbrook, Mr. Westbrook grew up in Aberdeen and graduated from Pinecrest High School in 1971. From an early age he worked in his family’s business, which his father operated in Moore County for more than 50 years. The present owner of Broad Street Bar/Grill and Catering, Mr. Westbrook owned several bars in Southern Pines that still bear the family name. NASCAR competitors and fans will remember his previous establishments, Brooks, Fat Puppies and Bucketheads. He was an avid supporter of NASCAR and the events held at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham. He worked with NASCAR, Moore County Emergency Communications, Moore County Sheriff’s Department, Southern Pines Police Department, Pinehurst Police Department, Moore County Building Inspector, and was a N.C.-licensed auctioneer. “Mark was an avid North Carolina sports fan. He loved the UNC Carolina Tar Heels, Carolina Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes,” said a family spokesman. “He also loved Carolina beach music.” Mr. Westbrook is survived by his wife, Sharon Monroe Westbrook; his step-mother, Louise Westbrook, of Pinehurst; a brother, Donald Lee Westbrook and wife, Kathryn, of Ocean City, Md.; two sisters, Sheri Lynn Westbrook, of Pinehurst, and Barbara W. Phillips and husband, Brian, of Sarasota, Fla., and several nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to FirstHealth Hospice, 150 Applecross Rd., Pinehurst, NC 28374, or UNC Oncology Department, Chapel Hill, NC.(8-5-2006)
  • Sad News: not much info – Condolences to the family of James Hudson who passed away recently, James is the father of Bobby Hudson, spotter for #99-Carl Edwards.(7-28-2006)
  • Sad News – David McGehee: David Wayne ‘Rawhide’ McGehee, 46, of the Silver Valley Community, died Saturday, July 15, 2006, at his residence after a period of declining health. Born Jan. 4, 1960, in San Diego, Calif., he worked at Labonte Racing and operated 109 Custom Exhaust south of Thomasville until his health began to decline. Memorials may be directed to David Wayne McGehee Memorial Fund, 102 Christopher Lane, Thomasville, N.C. 27360 or to Hospice of the Piedmont, 1801 Westchester Drive, High Point, N.C.. 27262.(in part from Thomasville Times.(7-25-2006)
  • Tragic News: Former Robert Yates Racing employee, Jay Thompson and his wife Carrie were killed Wednesday night near Davidson, NC. Robert Alexander Morrison, 19, of Cabarrus County, was in critical condition in the burn unit at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill after the Charlotte area’s deadliest crash in recent months. Highway Patrol investigators said the accident occurred on Wednesday just before midnight, about two miles east of Davidson. While driving north on Shiloh Church Road just north of Kingsview Lane, Morrison tried to pass a motorcycle in a no-passing zone with a double yellow line, according to the investigators. Morrison’s white Ford truck crashed head-on into a southbound red Chevrolet Blazer, investigators said. The motorcycle then plowed into the truck, which caught fire. “All I saw was a light and that was it,” said Leonard Troutman, a passenger in the Blazer’s front seat. The crash killed Shirley Ann Jones, 38, of Charlotte, who was driving her Blazer toward Charlotte. Motorcycle riders Jay Edward Thompson, 38, and his wife, Carrie Ann Thompson, 36, of Mooresville, also died. Jones’ daughter, Christine Massey, who was in the Blazer’s back seat, was released from NorthEast Medical Center in Concord Thursday. Troutman, a family friend, was in good condition. Carrie Thompson had two children, Amber, 17, and Austin, 14, said her ex-husband, George Ard of Lexington, NC. Ard said Jay Thompson was a trained welder and fabricator who used to work for Dale Jarrett’s NASCAR racing team. Morrison was airlifted to UNC Hospitals and was in critical condition Thursday evening. Investigators were still trying to determine how fast the vehicles were traveling and whether alcohol was involved, a Highway Patrol spokesman said. N.C. Department of Transportation traffic engineer David Naylor said a crew will investigate the accident scene. On Thursday, a DOT maintenance crew was clearing vegetation from the shoulder where the crash occurred.(Charlotte Observer)(7-21-2006)
  • Sad News – Anne Smith: Anne Ford Smith, 57, died Tuesday, July 18, 2006, at her home in Martinsville. Anne’s husband, Mike Smith is the Director, Public Relations at Martinsville Speedway. Surviving are her husband, Mike Smith of the home; two daughters, Julie Metz Arnold of Martinsville and Megan Smith Bowen of Lynchburg; a son, Todd Metz of Roanoke; and one brother, William A. Ford Jr. of Abingdon, Md. The funeral will be held at noon Friday at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church with the Revs. John Monroe and Larry House officiating. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at McKee-Stone Funeral Services and other times at the home. Memorials may be made to Hospice of Memorial Hospital, P.O. Box 4788, Martinsville, Va. 24115.(Martinsville Bulletin), thoughts and prayers go out to Mike, family and friends.(7-19-2006)
  • Sad News – Bob Brooks: The chairman of the Hooters restaurant chain, Robert Brooks was found dead at his [Mrytle Beach, SC] home Sunday morning, according to information from the Horry County coroner’s office and a funeral home director. He was 69. It was unclear Sunday how Brooks died, but the coroner’s office told The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News that an autopsy would be performed Monday. Brooks’ companies sponsored Alan Kulwicki’s team when Kulwicki won the Cup championship in 1992. On April 1, 1993, Brooks’ son Mark was killed along with Kulwicki and two others in the crash of a Hooters-owned plane that was attempting to land at the Tri-Cities Airport at Bristol, TN. Services are pending.(AP Sources)(7-16-2006)
  • Sad News: Dick Schroder, 66, died Monday, July 3, 2006, at his residence. He was a founder and president of C-Line Engineering, which supplies oil pans and parts to many racing teams.(
  • Sad News – Susan Kathleen Irvan Lewis: Mrs. Lewis, 51, of Cornelius, NC died Sunday, July 2, 2006 at her residence. She was born on August 25, 1954 to Vic Irvan and Jo Ann Graves Irvan in Carmel, CA. She loved designing and painting her own works of art. Her pleasures in life were boating on the lake, traveling, auto racing and spending time with children and grandchildren. She was a 1972 graduate of Salinas High School (California) and attended Monterey Penninsula College. She was a beloved and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, daughter and sister.
    Survivors include her husband, Jack Lewis; son, Chad Dotseth of Concord; daughter, Staci Graulich of Concord; brother, Ernie Irvan and wife Kim of Mooresville; sisters, Sheryl Bradford and husband Jerry of Monterey, CA Tracy Smith and husband Kevin of Concord; grandchildren, Kenslie Dotseth, Zachary and Ella Kae Hagler and five nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her brother, David Irvan.
    Memorials may be made to Hospice of Lake Norman, 705 Griffith Street, Suite 203, Davidson, NC 28036.(Charlotte Observer)(7-5-2006)
  • Sad News – Bill Gazaway: Long-time NASCAR official Bill Gazaway passed away in the Atlanta area on Thursday. “Bill was one of those pioneers who did a lot of good things during his time at NASCAR,” said NASCAR Vice Chairman William C. France. Gazaway was born February 16, 1930, and raised in Atlanta, Ga. He was in the Marine Corps from 1947 to 1951, serving as an instructor in motor maintenance. Gazaway went on to build engines for Delta Airlines and later opened a competition garage in Atlanta. In 1960, Gazaway was a NASCAR team owner with his cars making seven starts; four with Tiny Lund as his driver, two with Joe Caspolich and one by Gazaway himself. This lone venture into the ranks of NASCAR drivers came at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 30, where he started 44th and finished 45th. Gazaway drove his Oldsmobile a total of one lap before the rear end failed. He came to NASCAR as a technical inspector in 1963, maintaining that job until 1967 when he was given the position of Assistant Technical Director under William O. Taylor. Gazaway assumed the role of Competition Director in 1968 after the Taylor’s death; it was a position Gazaway would hold for 10 years. During that time his title changed to National Technical Director and then Winston Cup Grand National Competition Director. In 1979, he was named the Director of Racing Operations & Competition Director. He was promoted to Vice President of Competition in 1984, a position he held until his retirement from NASCAR in 1987. He is survived by his wife Gwen, daughter Alicia and several grandchildren.(NASCAR)(6-30-2006)
  • Sad News: A Minnesota man died during a Nostalgia Night exhibition sprint-car race late Friday at Knoxville Raceway, police and track officials said. Courtney Roger Schuur , 61, of Fridley, Minn., was pronounced dead at Knoxville Hospital after sustaining injuries during a wreck shortly after 10 p.m., officials said. The caged sprint-car race was part of a once-a-year “old-timers” event – not one of the usual driving circuits at the racetrack. Dwayne Robuck of the Marion County Fair Board said the accident happened “going down the front chute, into turn one.” Robuck was on the other side of the track at the time, but said officials with his group said a tangle with another car led to the crash.(Des Moines Register)(6-18-2006)
  • Sad News: Fred Brownfield: Fred Brownfield, president of the National Sprint Tour, died after being struck by a modified stock car at Grays Harbor Speedway on Wednesday night. According to a statement released by Grays Harbor Raceway, Brownfield was struck while lining up cars before the start of the D Main race and was taken by medical personnel to Mark Reed Hospital in McCleary. Brownfield is survived by his wife, Debbie; three daughters, Carrie, Jessica and Shelby; and two sons, Ty and Luke. The NST’s scheduled race at Tri-City Speedway Sunday night has been postponed. Fred’s memorial celebration will be held on Monday, June 26, 2006, at 2:00 in the afternoon at Grays Harbor Raceway.(RacingOne)(6-18-2006)
  • Sad News: Bettie Gong Panch: Bettie Gong Panch, beloved wife of NASCAR legend Marvin Panch, passed away unexpectedly Friday morning (June 9, 2006) at the Haywood Regional Medical Center in Waynesville, NC. As a long-time summer resident of Riverside Campground, Canton, NC, Bettie was actively involved in the local community unselfishly volunteering her time at the Cruso Friendship Club, Folkmoot USA in Waynesville, and the Cruso Craft Co-op. Bettie was also a member of the Riverside Red Hat Society. Bettie was preceded in death by her son, Marvin Richard Panch. She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Marvin; her daughter, Marvette Panch Bagwell; son-in-law, Kevin Bagwell; siblings Lilley Pon, Edward Gong, May Lee, Howard Gong and his wife Elizabeth, Wallace Gong and his wife Pearl, Bill Gong and his wife Maryan, Jane Chan and her husband Ron, Priscilla Gong; and numerous nieces and nephews.
    Celebration of Life Ceremonies for Bettie Panch will be held on:
    Friday, June 16, 11:00 am, Cruso Community Center, 13186 Cruso Road, Cruso, NC – Potluck dinner and music. Contact Harry and Betty Canfield at (828) 648-8903 for more information.
    Sunday, June 18, 1:30 pm, May Lee Residence, San Rafael, CA – Celebration of Food & Music. Contact Auntie May Lee at (415) 492-9637 for more information.
    Thursday, June 29, 8:00 am, Pancho’s Rancho, Daytona Beach, FL – 8:00 am service followed by breakfast and music. Contact Marvette at (386) 295-5500 for more information.
    Memorial donations may be made to either the Haywood Habitat for Humanity, PO Box 283, Waynesville, NC 28786 or the Living Legends of Auto Racing, PO Box 290854, Port Orange, FL, 32129-0854. More at the site.(6-12-2006)
  • Roush Racing crew member dies in accident: Michael Fermaglich, 32, of Mooresville, N.C., was killed Friday night in an automobile accident in Concord, N.C. Fermaglich was an employee of Roush Racing, a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich. based Roush Enterprises, where he worked for the past two years as a fabricator at Roush Racing’s Mooresville, N.C. based operation. In addition to his weekday role of fabricator, Fermaglich served as the pit boss for Roush Racing’s #17 NASCAR Busch Series team on race day.(Roush Racing)(6-4-2006)
  • Sad News: Eleanor Bird: Eleanor Bird, 75, mother of Steve Bird (Birdie), four-time NASCAR Busch Series Champion Crew Chief, passed away on Tuesday, May 30, 2006 in Bedford, NH. Calling hours will be held Monday, June 5th from 9-11 am, followed by a memorial service at 11 am at the Douglas & Johnson funeral Home, 214 Main Street, Salem, NH. Burial will follow in Mt.Vernon Cemetery, Boxford, MA.Mrs.(Douglas & Johnson Funeral Home)(6-4-2006)
  • Sad News: Ron Perry: Ronald Douglas Perry, 58, of Troutman, NC, passed away on Wednesday, May 24, 2006. Perry was Parts Manager for Ganassi Racing. He was a Vietnam Veteran, having served in the US Marine Corps. Mr. Perry was a recipient of the Purple Heart. He is survived by his fiance, Marsha Feltz, of Mooresville; children, Chase Perry and wife, Megan, of Dunn, and Nicole Wolcott and husband, Stephen, of Concord; brothers, Fred Perry, of Montague, NY, Ed Perry, of Mt. Dora, FL, and Dennis Perry, of Fulton, NY; and sister, Brenda Arnold, of Fulton, NY. Funeral services will be held at 2:00pm/et Sunday, May 28, 2006, at the Cavin-Cook Funeral Home Chapel, Mooresville, NC. A memorial service will be held at a later date in New York. The family will receive friends from 6:00 – 8:00pm/et Saturday, May 27, 2006, at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, and from 1:00 – 2:00pm/et, Sunday, prior to the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, 222 S. Church St., Suite 303, Charlotte, NC 28202. Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the family of Mr. Perry.(Charlotte Observer – Guestbook)(5-27-2006)
  • Tragic News: Spencer Clark: Nineteen year-old NASCAR Busch Series driver Spencer Clark died late Sunday night in a single-car accident on Interstate 40 about forty miles east of Albuquerque, NM. Clark, who was a passenger in the truck, was returning to his native Las Vegas after spending the last couple of weeks preparing a car in the Charlotte area for this weekend’s West Series race at the Irwindale Speedway. As his truck and trailer were navigating the tricky crosswinds over the Sandia Mountain range, an unexpected gust of wind began a short sequence of events that ultimately led to the vehicle overturning. Clark was pronounced dead on the scene. Clark made his Busch Series debut at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past March with the help of local Las Vegas sponsor, Allegiant Air. Clark qualified the car 33rd and finished 35th after a day of learning and adapting to the high-level competition. The day was even more special to Spencer as he had grown up winning multiple main-events on the bullring located just outside turn two of the superspeedway and had been able to race in front of some of the same people that had supported him from the very beginning of his career. In eight career NASCAR West Series races, Clark had recorded three top-5 finishes and a pole at Phoenix in January. Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.(Motorsports Management PR)(5-22-2006)

    SERVICES: Funeral services for Spencer Clark will take place on Thursday, May 25. Visitation will take place from 2-4 p.m. at Canyon Ridge Christian Church located at 6200 Lone Mountain Rd. Services will begin at 4 p.m. followed by a procession to Palm Mortuary on N. Jones Rd. for his burial. A reception will be held at the church at 7 p.m. Friends and fans are invited to attend.(5-24-2006)
    AND Spencer was ejected along with driver Andy Phillips, a former University of Hawaii football player from Phoenix who was part of Spencer’s race team. A spokesman for the New Mexico state police said its highly unlikely either would have died had seat belts been worn. We’ll never know why they weren’t used or what caused Phillips to lose control of the truck. On Thursday, Spencer was eulogized, buried and celebrated. A special tribute will be held Saturday night at the start of the NASCAR Weekly Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Bullring. Spencer’s #23 Legends Car will be driven around the track one last time in a memorial lap as other drivers stand nearby.(Las Vegas Review Journal)(5-26-2006)

  • Sad News – Brasington: Harold Brasington Jr., the son of Darlington Raceway’s founder, has died. The 63-year-old Brasington passed away Saturday, one week before the facility’s Nextel Cup event. His survivors include four children, among them daughter Annie Brasington of Charleston. Brasington’s father built the track in 1950, the same year it hosted NASCAR’s first 500-mile event and first race on a paved track. Brasington Jr. spoke with the media in early April, when the facility’s new grandstand was named in honor of his father, and said he would like to see the elder Brasington inducted into NASCAR’s upcoming Hall of Fame. “I would, if they see fit,” he said. “Because what he did here, he put his whole livelihood and effort into this thing. And he never really profited from it. I think he deserves that. Yes. The answer is yes.”(Charleston Post and Courier)(5-13-2006)
  • Sad News: Alson Lemuel “Al” Basnight, 61, passed away at his home April 27, 2006, unexpectedly. Basnight was formerly employed by Petty Enterprises as general manager; NASCAR official of the Winston Cup Series and director of development of NASCAR Australia. In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to Gideon’s Memorial Bible, c/o Dobson Camp, P.O. Box 791, Dobson, NC 27017. Condolences to family and friends.(more at the Virginian Pilot)(5-11-2006)
  • Sad News – Scott Geoffrion: Scott Geoffrion, a two-time former Pro Stock world championship runner-up and nine-time national event winner, died May 8 of an apparent heart attack in Southern California. He was 40. According to his family, wakes will be held Thursday in California and Monday, May 15, at the Vander Plaat Funeral Home, 257 Godwin Ave., Wyckoff, N.J. His funeral will be Tuesday, May 16, at Immaculate Conception Church, 900 Darlington Ave., Mahwah, N.J., at 10 a.m. The services are open to the public. Geoffrion is survived by his children, Kyle and Alexa; brother, Rick; sister, Michele; and parents, Richard and Jeanne. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Drag Racing Association of Women, Channel)(5-9-2006)
  • Sad News – Brewster: Army Sgt. Bryan Allen Brewster, 24-year-old son of Inland Valley Daily Bulletin sports editor Louis Brewster, was killed Friday along with nine others of the 10th Aviation Brigade Mountain Division in helicopter crash in a remote area of the Afghan mountains on Friday. They were not hit by enemy fire, military officials said. The aircraft went down along the Pakistan border as troops scoured a remote area of the Afghan mountains in search of al-Qaida and Taliban militants, a U.S. military official told the Associated Press. Rescuers located the wreckage in an inaccessible ravine, officials said. It is being called one of the deadliest for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in a year. A military investigation into the incident is planned. All 10 soldiers onboard, including Brewster, were based at Fort Drum in New York. Of the roughly 18,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan, about half are from the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, according to the Associated Press. Brewster is survived by wife Kati, parents Louis and Linda, brother Scott, grandparents Louis and Sara Brewster.(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(5-8-2006)
  • Sad News – Bill Ellis: Bill Ellis, 42, of Mooresville, NC, passed away on Tuesday, April 18, 2006, at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center, Mooresville. Born August 20, 1963 in Danbury, CT, he was a son of William and Barbara Ellis, of Bethel, CT. Mr. Ellis was a metal fabricator for Chip Ganassi Racing. He was a member of St. Therese Catholic Church, Mooresville, and a former baseball coach for the Lake Norman Youth Athletic Association. In addition to his parents, Bill is survived by his wife, Karen Joan Reilly Ellis; children, Brianna Ellis, of Danbury, CT, Alec and Raymond Ellis, of the home. The family will receive friends from 6 – 8 PM, Thursday, April 20, 2006, at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville. Funeral and burial will take place at a future date in Danbury, CT. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Donor Services, P.O. Box 4072, Pittsfield, MA 01202 or the Christopher Reeve Foundation, 636 Morris Turnpike Suite 3A, Short Hills, NJ 07078.(
  • Sad News – Chuck Warren: Chuck Warren died on Monday April 17 after a valiant fight against cancer at the age of 78. He left behind a son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter and countless friends from the racing community. Although Warren is not a household name among today’s racing fans, he was well known and well respected by the NASCAR community in his day. Warren got his start in auto racing working as a crew member for a local Ashtabula, Ohio short track racer in the late 1940s. He moved to Florida in the early 1950s and took a job as body shop foreman for Stephens Pontiac in Daytona Beach, a new-car dealership known for its sponsorship of race cars. While in that position, Warren worked with the original factory-backed Pontiac racing team of Ray Nichels with driver Cotton Owens in their 1957 win on the beach at Daytona. It was the first NASCAR victory for Pontiac. Warren formed a working relationship with Daytona’s own Smokey Yunick through the Stephens body shop. He became the paint and body man for the Yunick team, applying the famous black and gold colors to the legendary Pontiacs for several seasons. After leaving the Yunick team and the Stephens dealership, Warren secured a position with the Champion Spark Plug Co., where he served on the team which represented the product on the NASCAR circuit. During the off season, part of Warren’s job was to visit all the race shops and install the electrical wiring in the race cars. He also implemented a plan to provide lunches for race team crew members at the track. Warren later moved to the Prestolite Company where he instituted the first pit crew competition, later adopted by the Unocal Co.(NASCAR Media)(4-19-2006)
  • Sad News – Barbara Cleveland: Services for Barbara Cleveland, 49, of Pahrump, who died April 15 in Pahrump, will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Pahrump Winery. Barbara is the wife of former Pahrump Valley Times NASCAR columnist Davve Cleveland [NASCAR Junky]. She was born July 22, 1956 in Queens, N.Y. She moved to Nevada in 1982 and to Pahrump in the early 1990s, with her husband David, who with his wife owned Valley Homes in Pahrump. Barbara was trained in classical ballet and acting, she loved camping, fishing, gardening, and photography, NASCAR and worked for many organizations engaged in the battle against pancreatic and other cancers. She is survived by her husband, David, of Pahrump; father Jerry Padell of Pahrump; Sister Linda of Connecticut; a niece and nephew, Amanda and Glenn Greenberg; and many loving friends.(Pahrump Valley Times)(4-18-2006)
  • Sad News – King Hodges: King Hodges, the Vice President and General Manager of Langley Speedway passed away. Thurs. [Apr 20] night practice is cancelled due to visitation that will be held in his honor from 6:30 – 8:30 at Amory Funeral Home in Grafton, Va. The track will be closed on Friday for his funeral which will be held at 1:00 pm at Williamsburg Baptist Church, Richmond Road in Williamsburg. Amory Funeral Home in Grafton, Virginia is handling the arrangements. Anyone wishing to send cards, flowers or food may contact the track.(4-19-2006)
  • Sad News: Louise Smith: Louise Smith [obit link], Greenville’s stock car racing pioneer whose fearless passion for speed made her the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1999, died Saturday. She was 89. Smith battled cancer and had been under hospice care in Anderson, but she remained fiercely independent well into her ninth decade, according to Dora E. Owens, one of her nieces. A native of Barnesville, Ga., Smith lived in Greenville from age 4. Her father and brothers were mechanics. One of her early memories was of driving her daddy’s Model T –straight into the chickenhouse. Services for Smith will be today at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Westville Funeral Home, 6010 White Horse Road. The family will receive friends from 12:30-1:30pm/et before the services. Interment will be in Graceland West in Greenville.(Greenville News), Smith raced in 11 Grand National [now Nextel Cup] races in 1949, 1950 and 1952. Her best finish was 16th at Langhorne in 1950, her last race was in 1952 at Morristown, NJ.(4-17-2006)
  • Sad News: Condolences to former Cup Team Owner and 2-time Cup Champion crew chief, Andy Petree on the passing of his father Joe Petree Jr., who passed away Tuesday, April 11, 2006 at Frye Regional Medical Center. A Service of Remembrance will be held at 11:00am/et, Thursday, April 13, 2006 at First United Methodist Church in Newton. Revs. Daniel G. Martin and Amy Foley will officiate. The family will receive friends following the service. Memorials may be made to: First United Methodist Church, Renovation Fund, P.O. Box 926, Newton, NC 28658 or to the Humane Society, P.O. Box 63, Hickory, NC 28603. Condolences may be sent to the Petree family at
  • Sad News – Jack Bowsher: Three-time ARCA national driving champion and six-time car owner champion Jack Bowsher died Saturday, April 8th. He was 75. Bowsher had 80 victories as a car owner (#1 in ARCA competition) and 48 as a driver (#2 in ARCA competition). Bowsher’s car sat on the pole and won the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at the road course in Riverside, California in 1970 with A.J. Foyt behind the wheel. Bowsher finished 1st in the 24 Hours of Daytona as a car owner in 1976 with drivers David and Larry Pearson, and sons Jim & Gary. He is survived by wife Julie Bowsher, sons’ Jack Bowsher Jr., Gary Bowsher, Jim Bowsher, Bobby Bowsher and Todd Bowsher, and daughter Jodie Bowsher. As per Jack’s wishes, there will be no funeral home viewing. Graveside Services open to the public will be Tuesday April 11 at 1:00pm at Fletcher Chapel Cemetary, 5920 Fletcher Pike, Harmony Township, Springfield, Ohio 45505
    There will be a memorial gathering open for family and friends immediately following the graveside service from 3:00pm to 7:00pm at: VFW Post 8673, 2825 East Leffel Lane, Springfield, Ohio 45505. In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Jack’s name to: Focus Motorsports Ministries, Bill Krick, Chaplain, 2497 Governors Pointe, Concord, NC 28025-2425.( and
  • Sad News – Jack Arute, Sr.: One of the best known and most progressive track operators in the country has passed away. Jack Arute, Sr. of Stafford Motor Speedway fame died Monday morning in Connecticut. Arute was in the construction business and co-owned Eddie Flemke’s racecars in 1969 when he was approached about buying the track from former driver Bill Slater. At that time, the track was almost ready to shut down. Arute came in and made several improvements to the facility, including building new grandstands. Through the years, he aligned the track closely with NASCAR, started the SK Modified division and created a weekly racing card that attracted national short track stars on a regular basis. Drivers like Ron Bouchard and Richie Evans raced there regularly in the 1970’s and well known touring competitors like Ted Christopher and Zach Sylvester compete there on Friday nights to this day.( and
    from NASCAR: “Racing has lost one of its best friends. Jack Arute Sr. certainly helped build our sport and helped make NASCAR what it is today. He was a ‘man’s man,’ a personal friend, and he will be greatly missed. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Arute family,” NASCAR Vice Chairman Bill France said.(4-4-2006)
  • Sad News: Veteran NASCAR Crew Chief Butch Hylton’s, Mother, Patsy Hylton past away yesterday afternoon. She had been recovering from MAJOR aorta aneurysm surgery on 12/19/2005 and been in the hospital ever since the surgery, fighting for recovery. Family and Friends are invited to her Memorial service at 12:30pm on Monday, April 3, 2006. It will be held at her church: Epworth United Methodist Church, 1030 Burrage Road, Concord NC 28025. There will be a reception for Family and Friends at BKB2 Motorsports, 41 Odell School Road Suite A, Concord NC 28027 immediately following her memorial service, a celebration for her life. Patsy’s request for donations should be made to Epworth United Methodist Church- Building Fund at the address already given.(3-31-2006)
  • Memorial Service for Campbell at RIR Today: The family of Kenneth Campbell will hold a memorial service for him today, Friday, March 31 at 5:00 p.m. The service for the longtime VP of Public Relations at Richmond International Raceway who passed away last Friday will be open to friends, family and business associates of Mr. Campbell and his family, and not the general public. The service will take place in the media center in the Richmond International Raceway infield. Upon Mr. Campbell’s retirement in 2001, the building was renamed the Kenneth Campbell Media Center in his honor. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in his name to the Victory Junction Gang Camp at 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317.(Richmond International Raceway PR)(3-31-2006)
  • Tragic News from Homestead: Driver Paul Dana died after a two-car crash Sunday during the warmup for the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The other driver, Ed Carpenter, was awake and alert at a Miami hospital, IRL officials said. The race will start as scheduled, officials announced. However, Rahal Letterman Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal announced that drivers Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice, teammates of Dana, will not race. “Obviously, this is a very black day for us,” Rahal said. “This is a great tragedy.” Dana is the first IRL driver killed since Tony Renna died in a crash during testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2003, and the third to die in the 10-year history of the series. Scott Brayton perished in a practice crash at Indianapolis in May 1996. The last NASCAR driver killed was Dale Earnhardt in February 2001, and the last driver to die in Formula One was Ayrton Senna in May 1994. It is the third racing death at the Homestead track — John Nemechek was killed in a NASCAR truck race in February 1997 and Jeff Clinton died in a Grand Am sports car event at the track in March 2002. Dana, 30, a former motorsports journalist with a degree from Northwestern, competed in three IRL races for Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing last year with a best finish of 10th in the race at Homestead.
    Carpenter, the stepson of Indy Racing League founder Tony George, spun his Vision Racing car exiting Turn 2 of the 1.5- mile Homestead-Miami Speedway oval and hugged the outside wall before slowly creeping back onto the racing surface. It was nearly stopped when it was hit in the left-rear corner at nearly full speed by Dana’s car. Rahal said that there were no radio communication problems with Dana’s car and that he was informed by his spotter of the accident ahead. Dana cannoned into Carpenter’s crippled race car approximately six seconds after yellow lights were displayed around the track warning of Carpenter’s spin. Dana’s car nearly split in half. The chassis flew about 6 feet off the ground and pieces were strewn down the track. It nearly turned over, but landed on its wheels before sliding to a halt. It took track safety workers about 15 minutes to get both drivers out of their cars. The practice session did not resume. Dana and Carpenter both were airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. IRL officials said Dana died shortly before noon. In 2005 for Hemelgarn Racing, he broke his back in a practice crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Vision Racing team manager Larry Curry was more optimistic about Carpenter’s condition. “I’ve been told he is awake and alert and is going to be fine,” Curry said. “They want to check him out at the hospital, but he should be fine.”(
  • Sad News – Kenneth Campbell Sr.: Former Richmond International Raceway Vice President of Public Relations Robert “Kenneth” Campbell Sr., who helped promote racing for nearly 60 years in Richmond, passed away late last night. He was 83 and resided in Chesterfield County, Virginia at the time of his passing. Known as “Kenneth” to his friends and co-workers, Mr. Campbell helped promote races in Richmond starting in 1948 when Nelson Royall built the facility that is now know as Southside Speedway. Fourteen years later, he joined former Richmond International Raceway owner Paul Sawyer as a partner to help promote races at the ½-mile dirt track known at the Virginia State Fairgrounds. That track, of course, was later reconfigured into a ¾-mile paved oval and today is known as Richmond International Raceway. Before retiring in 2001, Mr. Campbell was known for being a tireless and innovative promoter. Decades ago, he organized a group of fans, government officials and civic leaders from Richmond to take a train to Darlington to help them understand how big NASCAR was becoming in other cities throughout the south. The plan worked, as the fares were sold out and fans were left at the platform.
    He also helped start the big business of sponsorships in NASCAR. Before decals on cars were commonplace, he once brokered a deal to put a logo from a Richmond car dealer on Richard Petty’s car. Long before NASCAR was a mainstream sport, he helped bring ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” to Richmond to tape a race segment. Mr. Campbell also drove the NASCAR pace car at most major tracks throughout the country and he worked for CBS at NASCAR races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Lois Gronlund Campbell; daughter, Deborah “Dodie” Campbell Ortland; son, Robert Kenneth Campbell, Jr.; sister Wanda Campbell Brinkley and brother Garland Campbell. He was preceded in death by his parents John Harding Campbell and Era Atkins Campbell. The family will hold a private burial. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in his name to the Victory Junction Gang Camp at 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317. Upon Mr. Campbell’s retirement, the Richmond International Raceway media center was named after him. A memorial service will be held at the Kenneth Campbell Media Center located in the Richmond International Raceway infield on Friday, March 31 at 5:00pm/et.(RIR)(3-25-2006)
  • Sad News – Helen Rae Daley Smith: Helen Rae Daley Smith, 83, died unexpectedly Thursday, March 9, in her home at the Biltmore Estates in Phoenix, AZ. A beloved mother, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother and friend to many, she was born Sept. 27, 1922, in Ames. Helen was married for more than 40 years to Clyde B. Smith. This partnership yielded one of the most successful grocery chains in Arizona history, Smitty’s Big Town. She later was married to a retired military officer, Earl Morgan, of Las Vegas. She was the first “lady” NASCAR race team owner. Contributions, in lieu of flowers, can be made to the Geisinger Medical Foundation, 100 N. Academy Avenue, Danville, PA, 17822.(, drivers included Morgan Shepherd, Ed Sanger, Sterling Marlin and Phil Barkdoll for 11 races in 1985.(3-16-2006)
  • Sad News: “Bunkie” Blackburn: James Ronald “Bunkie” Blackburn, a former NASCAR driver who once won a race at Daytona International Speedway, has died. He was 69. Blackburn died Tuesday, Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home in Columbia [Tenn] announced. His cause of death was not available Thursday night. Blackburn drove in the Grand National and NASCAR circuits from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, driving for teams run by Smokey Yunick and Petty Enterprises. He had four top fives and 14 top 10s in the Grand National series, The Daily Herald in Columbia reported. Blackburn ran 71 races at 26 different tracks in his career. His top finish was in 1968, when he won the Permatex 300 at Daytona from the pole. He also won poles at Talladega and Bristol and was inducted into the Pure Darlington Record Club in 1964 after posting a record qualifying time. He finished in the top 10 twice in the Daytona Firecracker 400. Blackburn grew up surrounded by racing — his father owned and operated a dirt track in his hometown of Fayetteville, N.C. Blackburn also competed throughout the Middle Tennessee area on dirt tracks and at Nashville Speedway against drivers like Darrell Waltrip, who lives in Franklin, and Coo Coo Marlin, the late father of current Nextel Cup driver Sterling Marlin, also of Columbia. He retired from racing after an injury and went to work for General Electric in Columbia for 20 years before retiring. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Nancy Hedrick Blackburn, three daughters, a son and 12 grandchildren. A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. (;
    Mr. James Ronald “Bunkie” Blackburn, 69, resident of Campbellsville Pike, died Tuesday, February 28, 2006 at Maury Regional Hospital. A memorial service will be conducted at 11 a.m., Saturday at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home with Dr. Jim Hughes officiating. The family will visit with friends Friday from 4-8 p.m. and Saturday from 10-11 a.m. at the funeral home. Notes of sympathy may be sent to the family at
  • Sad News – Bill Deese: Bill Deese slipped quietly and peacefully away to Heaven after fighting cancer for nearly three years, on February 6, 2006. Bill was born January 21, 1954, in Charlotte to parents William Curtis Deese, Sr., and Ruth Parker Deese. Survivors include his loving wife of 30 years, Sheila Thompson Deese, and their beautiful daughter, Mandy Lee Deese, of Charlotte. Other survivors include his mother, Ruth P. Deese, of Mt. Holly, and three sisters, Jan (Wayne) Beaty, Linda Capps, both of Mt. Holly, and Sherry Deese, of Charlotte. Niece Dana Capps and nephews Kevin Capps, Chad Beaty, Brent Thompson and Travis Thompson also survive. Mother-in-law, Hazel Thompson Hagler, and brother-in-law, Dan Thompson and wife, Brenda, are also left to keep him close in heart. Bill was preceded in death by his father, William “Curtis” Deese (2000), father-in-law, Lat H. Thompson (1985), and step father-in-law, Bruce Hagler (2006).
    Bill was a 1972 graduate of South Iredell High School, and a man of many self-taught talents. He was an accomplished metal fabricator, a skill at which he made a successful career. He is known for the custom street rods that he built, but is better remembered for his work in the racing industry where he worked for great teams owned by Joe Gibbs, Rick Hendrick, and most recently with Ray Evernham, where he was instrumental in the Research and Development department of Dodge Motorsports upon their return to NASCAR. His hands and mind were always busy as he designed tools to make life easier for the racing industry. In his pleasure time, he enjoyed flying remote controlled planes, going to car shows in his Chevy truck, and most recently fishing on Lake Norman with his family. Bill was a member of Wiggins Road Baptist Church in Mooresville, where he had served on the treasury committee, and assisted with grounds maintenance.(Charlotte Observer)(2-10-2006)
  • Sad News: Former NASCAR driver and broadcaster Dick Brooks, 63, died earlier today, apparently of a heart attack. Brooks was the 1969 NASCAR Rookie of the Year. He won one race, the 1973 Talladega 500, and earned 93 top-10 finishes in 358 starts. He retired from racing following the 1985 season and went on to a successful career as a Motor Racing Network broadcaster.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)
    AND The visitation will be held in the chapel of the Lanford Funeral Home, 257 N. Main Street, Woodruff, SC 29388 (864) 476-3101, from 1:00-2:00pm on Saturday, Feb. 4, followed by a 2:00pm service. Private burial will take place at 3pm. At this time, the family has not designated any memorial charity, but Lanford Funeral Home offered “A Arrangement Florist” in Spartanburg (864.576.9279) as a good choice of florists.(2-1-2006)
  • Sad News – Tony Venturini: Tony Venturini, father of two-time ARCA Series driving champion Bill Venturini and grandfather of current series competitor Billy Venturini, died Wednesday, February 1st after a long, courageous battle with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. He was 77. Tony, of Chicago, Illinois, was the first line of three generations of Venturini’s who competed in motorsports. Tony began his career racing jalopies at Soldier’s Field in Chicago in 1952. During his racing career that lasted through 1959, Tony also raced at Rockford Speedway, O’Hare Stadium and Milwaukee. Tony was also a driver in Andy Granatelli’s Hurricane Hot Rod Association. Tony earned his living through the years as a Chicago-area gas station owner.
    Tony’s son Bill, a veteran of ARCA and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, earned ARCA national championships in 1987 and 1991. Bill also has the distinction of being officially the fastest qualifier in ARCA history with a 205.432 mph qualifying run at Talladega Superspeedway in 1987.
    Third-generation driver Billy Venturini finished a career-best 4th in ARCA RE/MAX Series points in 2004. Granddaughter Wendy is a broadcaster with Speed Channel. Tony is survived by sons’ Bill Venturini, Jack Venturini, Tony Venturini Jr., John Kaminski, Kenny Kaminski and daughter Caprice Towne. Visitation is from 11am to 8pm Sunday, February 5th at the Cumberland Chapel, 8300 W Lawrence Ave, Norridge IL 60706, phone (708) 456-8300. Funeral services will be held on Monday, February 6th with interment to follow at St. Joseph Cemetery in Elmwood IL, phone (708) 453-0184. All messages of well-wishes can be sent to Venturini Motorsports, 571 Pitts School Rd., NW, Concord NC 28027. Condolences go out to family and friends.(In part from ARCA Racing site)(2-1-2006)
  • Sad News: Elizabeth Toomes Petty, wife of NASCAR champion Lee Petty and mother of NASCAR champion Richard Petty, passed away Sunday morning at age 88. She is survived by sons Richard and Maurice, as well as nine grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, one great great grandchild, two sisters and two brothers. Funeral services are to be held privately. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations by made to Level Cross United Methodist Church, Victory Junction Gang Camp or to Hospice of Randolph County.(Williams Company)(1-9-2006)