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2007 SAD/TRAGIC NEWS/DEATHS/MEMORIALS
about deaths of those involved in NASCAR main three divisions or major auto racing series


 

  • Sad News: Laura Chichester, 28, of Cornelius, NC died Thursday, December 20, 2007 at Self Regional Medical Center in Greenwood, SC. Born in Sumter, she was the daughter of Roland and Kathleen Cooney Chichester. She was a graduate of the University of South Carolina and majored in Sports Management and was an Executive Account Director for GMR Marketing in Charlotte, NC. She and her family are members of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Surviving in addition to her parents of Greenwood; is a brother and sister-in-law, Mark and Karen Chichester of Mooresville, NC; maternal grandmother, Ann Cooney of Sumter, SC; and paternal grandmother Mildred Chichester of Wadsworth, NY. Laura is also survived by many loving aunts, uncles and cousins. A Funeral Mass will be held at 3:00pm/et on Friday, December 28, 2007 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church with the Father Timothy Tebalt officiating. Because of Laura’s love of animals, we request that donations be made in memory of Laura to the Ryan Newman Foundation, Attn: Rosalie Difini, PO Box 5998, Statesville, NC 28687. Online condolences may be sent to the Chichester family by visiting www.harleyfuneralhome.com.(12-23-2007)
  • Sad News – Ricky Bowman: Ricky “Biscuit” Bowman, 46, of Hickory, passed away Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007, at Catawba Valley Medical Center. Bowman was general manager of Dale Jarrett Inc. and had worked for Dale for 25 years. He is survived by his wife, Annette M. Bowman; his parents, Charles and Toni Bowman; one brother, Dennis Bowman of Hickory; a grandparent, Estelle Carswell of Valdese; mother and father in law, Jerry and Judy Miller of Catawba; brother in law, TJ Miller of Catawba; sister in law and nephew, Cissy and Joshua Prevette of Catawba; and numerous other family members. He also is survived by special friends, Dale and Kelley Jarrett, Terry and Teresa Shook, Kristen and Kelly Shook, Mark (Digger) and Donna Shook, Bruce Simmons, and his beloved dog, Roscoe. The funeral service was held at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007, at Highland United Methodist Church in Hickory, with Pastor Stuart Noell officiating. Burial followed in Catawba Memorial Park in Hickory. Memorials may be made to Highland United Methodist Church, 1020 Twelfth St. Place, NE, Hickory, N.C. 28601 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 50, Memphis, Tenn. 38101-9929.(12-19-2007)
  • Sad News – Patrick Heywang: Patrick Guy Heywang, 33, was a passenger in a lethal car accident Sunday December 9th which resulted in the death of another driver and left Heywang clinging to life and on life support. Heywang underwent several surgeries during the past week and remained on life support until Saturday [Dec 15th] night when he finally succumbed to his injuries. Heywang was a 15 year employee at Wilson Manifolds. His primary function was in the porting room, his contributions were felt in every service offered. Heywang was one of their top airflow engineers and he played a large part in the manifold development for manufacturers and teams in all forms of professional motorsports. (John Force Racing, Kalitta Racing, Dodge and Toyota just to name a few of them) and often traveled with to Talladega test sessions with Joe Gibbs Racing to help with their restrictor plate program, to Mooresville, NC to assist with the Ken Black Racing Team of Greg Anderson and Jason Line, and other private test sessions. Heywang is survived by his loving parents Charlie & Amy Heywang, brother Chris Heywang, sister-in-law Jessica Heywang, nephews Kyle & Ryan and niece Jenna. Heywang’s service will be held on Saturday December 22nd from 9:30am — 11:30am at the Forest Lawn Memorial in Davie, FL. After the services, there will be a “celebration of life” for Patrick held at Signature Grand from 1pm — 4pm. For directions please visit www.wilsonmanifolds.com or see the guestbook.(12-19-2007)
  • Sad News – Nancy Jane McClure: Nancyjane Brown McClure, a retired Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor of the 28th District Court Service Unit and the first female Juvenile Probation Officer in Washington County Virginia, died on December 15, 2007. She was 66. Her death, peacefully in her home in Glade Spring, was from a year long battle with lung cancer. Nancyjane is survived by her loving husband Edwin Grady McClure [co-owner of Morgan McClure Motorsports, son Patrick Robert McClure, daughter Morgan Lynn McClure Rooney, mother Rose Brown, brother Bob Brown, daughter-in-law Karen McClure, son-in-law Michael Rooney, granddaughter Olivia Whitaker, and her grandson Cooper Grady Rooney. The viewing will be held from 1:00-3:00 pm and 6:00-8:00 pm Tuesday, December 18 at Farris Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 11:00 am Wednesday, December 19. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Thomas Episcopal Church 124 East Main Street Abingdon, Va. 24210.(12-15-2007)
  • Tragic News: Mitchell Stimpson, who drove street stock cars at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem [NC], was shot and killed in his home in Yadkin County last week. Stimpson’s daughter, Lauren, discovered her father’s body after the shooting. Her mother died of cancer recently as well, leaving the 13-year-old without both parents. Members of the racing community have started a trust fund at Wachovia bank branches to help Lauren Stimpson. Donations can be made to the Lauren M. Stimpson trust at Wachovia branches.(Charlotte Observer)(12-12-2007)
  • Sad News: Kolene Potter, racing photographer and mother of #49 Bam Racing fabricator, Justin Potter passed away at the age of 49 on November 30th. She had just recently moved to the Mooresville, NC area from Kelseyville, CA.(12-6-2007)
  • Sad News – Marylois Colley – 85 – of Caldwell, Oh. She is the mother of Tom Colley, engineering coordinator for the Wood Brothers, Van Colley, Business Manager for Darrell Waltrip and Sue Colley, a pharmaceutical rep in Cleveland, Oh. She also leaves behind four grandchildren. Mrs. Colley had been battling Alzheimer’s for the past 3 years. She was precede in death….ironically 12 years to the day, by her husband of 53 years, Maurice “Shorty” Colley, a highly decorated WWII vet of the 101st Airborne. Burial is planned for Tuesday.(12-1-2007)
  • Sad News – “Cal” Johnson: Thomas Calvin Johnson, whose prominent career in the area racing circuit spanned four decades, died Tuesday. He was 86. Born Aug. 31, 1921, “Cal” Johnson broke onto the scene in the fall of 1949, when he was offered $25 to race in a five-car exhibition. Mr. Johnson won that race, and his career took off. Joe Kelly, a former racer and an authority on area racing, recalled meeting Mr. Johnson on March 18, 1950 at the Hank Stanley Memorial Race at Strawberry Hill (current site of Richmond International Raceway). Mr. Johnson drove a modified 1939 Ford Coupe. By 1953, Mr. Johnson was the champion at Royal Speedway (now Southside Speedway). Mr. Johnson won 106 Modified races, Kelly said, and his knowledge of a race car’s setup played no small role in his success. Mr. Johnson’s racing interest also included go-karts, and he went on to become a three-time world champion in the 1960s. In 1972, Mr. Johnson won the track championship at what is now Virginia Motor Speedway. “You run what you brung,” Kelly said of the track’s automobile specifications at the time. Mr. Johnson’s know-how was instrumental in him besting more tricked-up cars in his modified’32 Plymouth. Mr. Johnson is survived by his wife, Jane, and sons Tommy (wife Charlotte), Ricky, Fred (wife Patty) and Eddie (wife Penny) and a daughter, Cathy Johnson Forsythe (husband Robbie), and stepson Mike Sharp. Eddie Johnson is a former track champion at Southside, Old Dominion and Langley speedways [Cal also made two Cup race starts in 1951]. Mr. Johnson also had a combined 15 grandchildren and great grandchildren. Two grandchildren also are prominent in racing: Christopher Johnson was this year’s Modified Division rookie of the year at Southside, and Lee Johnson was the Virginia State Go-Kart champion. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Nelson Funeral Home at 412 S. Washington Highway in Ashland. Visitation is Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral is Saturday at 2 p.m. with burial to follow at Woodland Cemetery in Ashland. Memorial donations may be made to: Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, N.C., 27317.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-29-2007)
  • Sad News – Mabel Kimmel: The world of racing lost a true friend on Tuesday morning with the passing of Mabel Kimmel. Mabel, the mother of nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel, was a familiar figure at race tracks all across the country for many years [also has raced in seven Cup races]. Her husband, Bill Kimmel Sr., who survives, was a longtime competitor in ARCA and many other racing divisions. Bill Kimmel Jr., whose son Will Kimmel won the 2007 late model championship at Salem Speedway, serves as crew chief on Frank’s ARCA team. Another grandson, Frank Kimmel II, captured Rookie of the Year honors in the street stock division this past season at Salem. Visitation is at Scott Funeral Home in Jeffersonville, Indiana, on Friday, November 23 from 12 noon until 8 p.m., with a memorial service on Saturday, November 23 at 10 a.m. Scott Funeral Home is located at 2515 Veterans Parkway, Jeffersonville, IN, 47130 (p 812-283-8161). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Focus Motorsports Ministries. Prayers and condolences go out to the Kimmel family.(11-23-2007)
  • Sad News – Stan Shoff: Condolences to the family and many dear friends of Stan Shoff, who died Monday at the age of 78. His obituary mentioned he was a national champion sprint car owner, but that was a major understatement. In his 23-year career as a car owner, Shoff and his drivers won many national championships, including four with his last driver, Frankie Kerr. That relationship spanned Shoff’s final 11 years as a car owner and produced 54 feature wins. Seven years ago, when they ended their partnership and closed down the team, Shoff called his years with Kerr some of the best times of his life. Shoff got into sprint-car racing by sponsoring a car driven by Jerry Blundy in 1977. He took over ownership of Blundy’s car the next year. In 1987, his driver was a 16-year-old from Indiana who Shoff later fired. His name? Jeff Gordon. Shoff decided to close the race team in the summer of 2000 to spend more time with his family and do some traveling. Fittingly, he and Kerr won their last race together in June of that year at Fremont, Ohio.(Peoria Journal Star)(11-18-2007)
  • Sad News – Bill Hagan: Billy Hagan, whose team won the Nextel Cup championship with driver Terry Labonte in 1984, died Friday. He was 75.(Thatsracin)(11-18-2007)
    MORE: According to an obituary in the Charlotte Observer, in lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Cold Water Lutheran Church at 1725 Gold Hill Road, Concord, NC 28025, or to the Boys and Girls Club of Acadiana at P.O. Box 62166, Lafayette, LA 70596.(Thatsracin)(11-19-2007)
  • Sad News – “Red” Collins: Stanley “Red” Collins, 72, of 3938 Johnson Drive, died Sunday, November 11, 2007, at his home. Born June 17, 1935, in Spartanburg, SC, he was the son of the late Lyphus Collins and Nannie Million Collins Ridings and the step-son of the late Clarence Ridings. He was the former owner of M&R Wrecker Service and a member of the Hejaz Shriners and Roebuck Masonic Lodge #357. Survivors include his wife, Jackie Collins; a son, Barry Collins [driver of the NASCAR Communications Hauler] and his wife Debra of Roebuck; a daughter, Karen C. Wright of Spartanburg; a grandson, Evans Wright of Spartanburg; two sisters, Evelyn Jones and her husband Sam of Chesnee, and Mary Ann Hughey and her husband Jerry Wayne of Spartanburg; a brother, Harold Collins and his wife Rita of Spartanburg; a half-sister, Margaret Head of Six Mile; two half-brothers, Floyd Collins of Michigan, and Arthur Collins of San Antonio, TX; and a devoted friend and pet, Bisquick. He was predeceased by two half-brothers, Fred and Paul Collins. Visitation will be 6:30-9:00 PM, with Masonic rites at 6:00 PM, on Tuesday, November 13, 2007, at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM, Wednesday, November 14, 2007, at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel conducted by the Rev. Tommy Sparks. Burial will be in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. Honorary Escort will be members of the Spartanburg Hejaz Shrine Club. The funeral procession will be escorted by area wrecker services. Memorials may be made to Hospice Care of South Carolina, 110 Dillon Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29307; or to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children, 950 West Faris Road, Greenville, SC 29605.(11-13-207)
  • Sad News – Joe Collins: NASCAR lost one of its dear people and loyal servants when Joe Collins passed away Oct. 25 at the age of 65. Joe served NASCAR for more than 25 years in a variety of capacities, including official and Weekly Series Racing Director. A native of Alabama, Joe worked for the railroad for 20 years before working with NASCAR. He and his wife of 46 years – Barbara – have a son and a daughter and three grandsons.(NASCAR PR)(10-31-2007)
  • Sad News – James Grotton: James Frederick Grotton Jr., 61, died Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007, at home surrounded by his family. James was born Jan. 11, 1946, in Gardiner, Maine, the son of Fred and Rita (Hopkins) Grotton. He was happily married to Diane (Prescott) Grotton for 43 years. He was part owner of the Pipeline Co., Everett J. Prescott in Concord for 30 years. He left the business in 1995 to travel the country with his wife following the NASCAR racing success of his son-in-law [Ricky Craven]. In addition to his wife, James is survived by their three children, Carman Alenson, Erik Grotton and Cathleen Craven; and nine grandchildren. The death of his oldest grandson, James F. Alenson, in January brought him much sadness. James is also survived by his mother, three brothers, a sister, and several nephews and nieces. (Concord Monitor)(10-31-2007)
  • Sad News – Boyd Hole: Boyd Hole, 75, of Walnut Cove, NC passed away on Wednesday morning at Forsyth Memorial Hospital in Winston Salem due to complications from a lung illness. He was an avid race fan, a hard-working individual and a loyal family man. He was a long time friend and crew member of the Wood Brothers. He owned and operated a concrete business in Walnut Cove. He is survived by his wife, Betty Hole, daughter Sharon Hole, and son Toby Hole. Services are pending, but will take place at a church in Walnut Cove, NC.(10-24-2007)
  • Sad News – Ryan Bard: A dirt track racer died after a crash during weekend qualifying at the Abilene Speedway. Ryan Bard of Farmington, N.M., died early Monday at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where he was being treated for burns, according to the International Motor Contest Association. The 23-year-old Bard, a competitor in the association’s Southern SportMod division, was injured Sunday when his car rolled over and caught fire during a qualifying race for the Southern Challenge.(Associated Press / Yahoo Sports)(10-23-2007)
  • Sad News – Charlie Sentman: Charles W. Sentman, 65, of Waveland died on Sunday at Seton Specialty Hospital in Indianapolis. He was born Sept. 13, 1942 in Covington to Charles E. Sentman and Florence Briner Sentman. He was a 1960 graduate of Turkey Run High School. He was a member of Waveland Masonic Lodge F&AM 300. He attended Hillsboro Nazarene Church. He was an active auctioneer [Sentman Auctions] and appraiser for more than 40 years who was licensed and bonded in several states . He owned and operated a sawmill in Waveland and a pallet recycling facility in Hillsboro. He is survived by two sisters, Rita Harman of Waveland and Beverly Chaplain of Rockville; and a granddaughter. He parents and son, Gregory, precede him in death. Services will be Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at Machledt & Servies Funeral Home in Waveland with Revs. Greg McDonald and Dean Hancock officiating. Friends may call from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the funeral home. Burial will be in the Maple Ridge Cemetery at Waveland.(Journal Review)(10-23-2007)
  • Sad News – Shav Glick: Former Los Angeles Times beat writer Shav Glick passed away Saturday morning in his Pasadena (Calif.) home after a bout with cancer. He was 86 years old. A native Californian, Glick got his first byline in a daily newspaper in 1935 at the Pasadena Post – he was 14 years old. In 1954, legendary publisher Otis Chandler recruited Glick to the Los Angeles Mirror, which became a part of the Los Angeles Times in 1963. In 1969, Glick began covering motorsports for the Times, retiring from that post in January 2006. In 2004, he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He was only the fourth person in the 18-year history of the Motor Press Guild to receive a lifetime achievement award, and was a member of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. Shortly after his retirement, Glick was honored as the Grand Marshal of the 2006 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(10-20-2007)
  • Sad News – Ray Cooper: Ray Cooper, a manufacturer’s rep for Dodge on the Nextel Cup Series, passed away Saturday after a battle with cancer. Cooper was recently named the third quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award. Info on services will be posted when arragements are finalized.(10-13-2007)
    SERVICES: Stanley Ray Cooper, 53, a longtime reporter and manufacturer representative in NASCAR, passed away Saturday morning following a brief illness. Mr. Cooper was born in Inman, S.C., and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1976. He worked 12 years as a sports reporter at the News and Observer before becoming the first manufacturer media representative for Chevrolet in NASCAR. During a 15-year stretch, he covered 467 consecutive races, earning the prestigious Joe Littlejohn Award and the George Cunningham Awards from the National Motorsports Press Association for his excellence in motorsports reporting. Mr. Cooper joined Dodge Motorsports in 2001 and worked as its manufacturing representative. He recently was honored with the Pocono Spirit Award by the NMPA. Mr. Cooper was preceded in death by his father, Eugene Clarence Cooper. He is survived by his wife, Chris; his son, Andrew; his daughter, Katy; and his mother, Evelyn White Cooper. Visitation is Sunday at Forbis and Dick Funeral Home, 5926 West Friendly Ave., Greensboro, N.C., from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. and at the Friendly Avenue Baptist Church, Greensboro, Monday at 10 a.m. A celebration of Mr. Cooper´s life follows at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, Mr. Cooper requested donations be made to the Victory Junction Gang Camp and Hospice of Greensboro.(Charlotte Observer)(10-13-2007)
  • Sad News – Bobby Batson: Longtime motorsports publicist Bobby Batson passed away on Wednesday at his home in Concord, N.C., after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 66. A public memorial service was held Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in Concord. Batson became Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s public relations director from 1974 through 1976 when he accepted a similar position with Atlanta Motor Speedway. After that Batson worked with several sponsors in the motorsports industry – mainly the Chattanooga Chew and Swisher Sweets brands where he was national accounts manager.(LMS PR)(10-13-2007)
  • Sad News – Bob Burdick: Bob Burdick, perhaps Nebraska’s most storied and successful race car driver, died Thursday. He was 70 years old. Burdick won the 1961 Atlanta 500 in the Grand National Race, the equivalent of today’s Nextel Cup. It was considered a big upset on the national stage as Burdick drove the car of his father, Roy, besting a 46-car field on used tires. Burdick took home a check for $15,775 that day 46 years ago. It is still the only win for a Nebraska driver on NASCAR’s top circuit. He would compete in 15 races from 1959 through 1962, winning the race in Atlanta and finishing in the top 10 nine times, earning a pair of poles along the way. His career earnings were just shy of $30,000. “That’s all he liked to do,” Bud Burdick, Bob’s uncle and racing partner, said Friday evening. “Racing was it.” Bob Burdick won 40 features in three years on the IMCA stock car circuit. The Burdicks would run two more NASCAR races in 1962 before ending their days on the circuit. Visitation will begin Sunday at 3:30 p.m. with a vigil service scheduled for 5 p.m. at St. John Vianney Catholic Church on 58th and Oak Hills Drive. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. on Monday at St. John Vianney.(Omaha World-Herald)(10-7-2007)
  • Sad News: Mary L. Paskiecz, sister of #72 Busch team spotter, Chicago Paskiecz, passed away Thursday after battling cancer. Mary is survived by four children.(10-5-2007)
  • NHRA’s Parks passes away: Wally Parks, the driving force behind the formation of NHRA, has died at the age of 94. It was Parks’ vision, goals and unconditional commitment to the need for speed and side-by-side racing in a safer, more controlled environment that created what is today the world’s largest motorsports governing body. See nhra.com for tributes and more info.(10-2-2007)
  • Sad News – Mike Swims: Dixie Speedway’s Mike Swims passed away after a courageous seven-year battle with cancer this morning at his home with his family at his bedside. He was 42-years-old. Swims had a long and illustrious career in dirt racing, as he was a 2007 inductee in the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame. Swims worked with his family as the Vice President and General Manager of Dixie Speedway and Rome Speedway since his teenage years, and he founded the Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Late Model Series in 1990. Mike Swims is survived by his wife of 21 years, Debra; 16 year old daughter, Breanna a junior at Woodstock High School; 18 year old Chase a freshman at University of Alabama; his parents Mickey and Martha, sister and brother-in-law, Mia and Marshall Green; nieces Macy and Marla Green. The Swims Family will be receiving friends on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Roswell Funeral Home, 950 Mansell Road, Roswell, GA, 770-993-4811. A Memorial Service for Mike Swims will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday in the chapel at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, 11905 State Road 92, Woodstock , GA. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Dirt Racing Outreach Ministry (DRO).(9-29-2007)
  • Sad News – Kitchens: Jimmy Lee Kitchens, age 67, of Hueytown, AL, died September 24, 2007. He was retired from Alabama Power Company. He was a member of Crossroads Baptist Church. He was a race car driver at Racetracks around the South East. He owned and operated Kitchens Speed Shop in Prichard, AL during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Survivors include three sons, Jimmy Kitchens [former Busch driver and current spotter for #10-Scott Riggs], Lee Kitchens and Kurt Kitchens; daughter, Terri Martin and her husband, Randall; seven grandchildren; one great grandchild; brother, Bobby Kitchens and his wife, Betty; sister, Peggy Lacey. Funeral Service will be held Friday, September 28, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. at Peoples Chapel Funeral Home, with burial in Highland Memorial Gardens. Rev. Jimmy Bradford officiating. Visitation will be held Thursday from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Peoples Chapel Funeral Home directing.(Alabama Live)(9-28-2007)
  • Sad News – Chuck Silvey: Chuck Silvey, who worked for Motorsports Authentics [Action Performance] for roughly 17 years died earlier this week. Silvey ran Dale Earnhardt Sr’s souvenir hauler. In 1994, he was promoted to Transportation Director of Trackside and oversaw some 60 souvenir trailers. On any given weekend, Silvey would also play chauffeur and take drivers to and from autograph sessions, hospitality events and the helipad. Some drivers will display a decal to honor Silvey at Dover this weekend including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon, with others possibly displaying the decal, seen below.(9-21-2007)

  • Sad News – G.C. Spencer: NASCAR pioneer G.C. Spencer won so many short track races in the 1940s and ’50s he literally caused some Midwest racetracks to close down because fellow competitors would stop showing up. But the Jonesborough resident fell short of reaching victory lane in his 20-year NASCAR career, which included 415 starts in what is now known as the Nextel Cup. Spencer, 82, died Thursday morning at the NHC Healthcare Center in Johnson City following a long battle with emphysema. He’d lived in Jonesborough since 1962 when he married his wife, Faye, a Johnson City native. Spencer competed in NASCAR’s top division from 1958-77. Throughout that time he never acquired the coveted “factory deal” with a manufacturer, which was a necessity for any consistent winner in NASCAR. He was offered a deal with Ford prior to the 1965 season, his only full-time run for a championship. When Ford’s chief rival Chrysler dropped out of NASCAR prior to the first race, however, Ford backed out on the deal with Spencer, telling him they didn’t need him anymore. That year he placed fourth in the championship point standings and finished second in three races — each time behind eventual champion Ned Jarrett. “I believe if Ford had stuck with me in ’65 I could have won the championship,” Spencer said. Spencer had seven second-place Cup finishes in his career but never won a race. Spencer hung up his helmet in 1977 at the age of 51 and continued fielding cars as an owner until 1983. In 1983 Larry McClure purchased Spencer’s equipment and formed the Abingdon, Va.-based Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Spencer hired on as Morgan-McClure’s team manager for three seasons before retiring from racing. After racing he and Faye operated an antique business. “I saw G.C. a couple of weeks ago, and he certainly still had his wit and was as active as he could be,” McClure said Thursday. “He was a tough customer — a tough guy that the racing community is going to miss. I know I’m going to miss him sorely. He’s the reason I’m in racing and have been in racing the last 25 years. He was a good guy and a good friend.” Spencer told the Times-News he probably stayed in NASCAR too long and spent money as a car owner that he should have saved. At the end of his life he and Faye were living mainly on Social Security and his Veterans Administration health benefits in a small house in Jonesborough.(See full article at the Kingsport Times-News)
    SERVICES: A graveside service for Mr. G. C. Spencer will be conducted at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, September 22, 2007 at Monte Vista Memorial Park, Johnson City, with Rev. Mack Houston and Rev. Michelle Buckles officiating. Active pallbearers will be Tim Henley, Steve Ragan, Bud Rambo, James Collins, Ricky Pace and Bob Douglas. The family will receive friends Saturday from 12:30 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. in the East Chapel of Appalachian Funeral Home and travel in procession to the cemetery.(9-21-2007)
  • Sad News – “Buck” Sewell: Lawrence “Buck” Glen Sewell, 71, of 204 Red Haven Drive, died Tuesday, September 18, 2007, at home. He was the husband of Linda Bradham Sewell and son of the late Lawrence G. Sewell, Sr. and Virginia McCarter Sewell. He was with NASCAR for over 20 years as chief mechanic for Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Bobby and Donnie Allison, and Buck and Buddy Baker, all numerous NASCAR championship winners. He was a member of Croft Baptist Church. Visitation will be 1:00-2:30pm/et, Friday, September 21, 2007, at Bobo Funeral Chapel. Graveside services will follow at 3:00 PM, at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens officiated by Pastor Danny Cannon. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of South Carolina, 110 Dillon Drive, Spartanburg, SC, 29307.(9-20-2007)
  • Tragic News – Colin McRae: The police has confirmed the identity of the victims in the helicopter crash involving former World Rally Champion Colin McRae near the Scot’s own estate in the UK on Friday afternoon. Besides the 39-year-old rally star, his five-year-old son Johnny and two family friends, 27-year-old Graeme Duncan and six-year-old Ben Porcelli, have also been killed. McRae’s helicopter came down in Jerviswood, Lanarkshire, half a mile from the family’s home and burst into flames just after 4 p.m. on Friday. Jean-Eric Freudiger, McRae’s agent, confirmed to London’s The Times that the 39-year-old driver had been piloting the helicopter himself. McRae is survived by wife Alison and their daughter Hollie, 9. An aggressive driver whose flamboyant style had earned him fans worldwide, McRae won the 1995 world rally title driving for Subaru. Despite clinching that crown a single time, the Scot was one of the winningest drivers in the sport’s history with 25 event wins. He had been out of a full-time WRC ride since the end of the ’03 season, but remained active as a driver in a series of one-offs and guest appearances ranging from the X-Games’ rallying competition to the Goodwood Festival of Speed to the WRC itself, where he was drafted by Skoda for two events in ’05 and replaced and injured Sebastien Loeb for one round last year. Recently, McRae had revealed he was working on a deal to return to full-time WRC competition next year.(SPEEDtv.com)(9-15-2007)
  • Sad News – Terry Mayfield: Terry Mayfield, father of Bill Davis Racing driver Jeremy Mayfield, passed away last night at the age of 56. A native of Owensboro, Ky., Mayfield made his home in Mooresville, North Carolina. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. “Gail and I, as well as everyone at Bill Davis Racing, offer our condolences to Jeremy on the passing of his father. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, Shana, Terry’s wife Lisa and his family at this difficult time.” Mayfield will compete in this weekend’s Nextel Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(9-6-2007)
    AND Terry “Slick” Allen Mayfield, 56, of Mooresville , NC died Thursday, September 5, 2007 at his home. He was born on January 27, 1951 in Owensboro , KY to the late Zeb and Lillian Davis Mayfield. He was employed with Mayfield Motor Sports and loved to watch his son race. Slick was very gifted with his hands and had a deep love hunting, fishing and for animals, especially his cat Black Jack. He is survived by his wife, Lisa Rymer Mayfield; sons, Jeremy Allen Mayfield and wife Shana of Catawba, NC and John Wesley Harding of Statesville, NC; daughter, Amy Pooser of Owensboro, KY; brothers, Lawes, David and Ernie Mayfield, all of Owensboro; sisters, Mona Clark, Jackie Mayfield, Sharon Lockston and Sue Wedding, all of Owensboro; and 1 grandchild. He is preceded in death by his brothers, Bob and Barry Mayfield. Funeral Services will be held at 3:00pm Sunday, September 9, 2007 in the chapel of Raymer Funeral Home with Rev. Max Helton officiating. The family will receive friends 2 hours prior to the service, from 1-3 PM. Memorials may be made to the Catawba County Humane Society, PO Box 63, Hickory, NC 28603. Raymer Funeral Home Huntersville, NC is serving the family.(9-7-2007)
  • Sad News – Tex Trigg: Robert Earl “Tex” Trigg, 68, formerly of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, passed away Saturday, September 1, 2007 in Huntersville, North Carolina. A native of Brownsville, Texas, he had lived on Lookout Mountain for 12 years and had been a resident of Statesville, NC for the past 17 years. Mr. Trigg was employed as a machinist with Joe Gibbs Racing, served in both the U.S. Army & Air Force and was a member of the Remington Gun Club. His first wife, Charlotte Mae Trigg, preceded him in death. Survivors include his wife, Kathleen Trigg; daughters, Kim Crocker, Kannapolis, NC, Donna Blevins, Lookout Mtn., GA, Tina Nelson, Douglasville, GA, & Toni Trigg, Chattanooga Valley; step-children, Julie Dove, Statesville, NC, & Scott Haldane, Andover, NJ; thirteen grandchildren also survive. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in the South Crest Chapel with Bishop Billy Blevins officiating. Interment will follow in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Lookout Mountain. The family will receive friends Tuesday from 2 – 8 p.m. at the South Crest Chapel of Lane Funeral Home & Crematory, Rossville.(lane-southcrestchapel.com)(9-5-2007)
  • Sad News – Morris Metcalfe: Morris Metcalfe, one of NASCAR’s longest serving officials and a member of the organization’s timing and scoring department in five decades, died Thursday in Winston-Salem, N.C. Metcalfe, who retired as Chief of Timing and Scoring following the 2002 Daytona 500, was 81. Metcalfe, holder of a Master’s Degree in biomedical engineering from Texas Tech University following higher education at the Tennessee Military Institute and University of Miami, began scoring NASCAR races in the 1950s. He became an assistant to then NASCAR scoring chief Joe Epton a few years later after service at tracks from Daytona Beach to the Carolinas and Virginia. A World War II veteran who served as a signalman on the USS Randolph and later a colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve, Metcalfe joined NASCAR on a fulltime basis after his retirement with 30 years of service with Western Electric now Lucent Technology. Metcalfe, born in Morristown, Tenn., is credited for founding NASCAR’s first fan club, in 1955 for NASCAR Cup champion Lee Petty. Metcalfe died of natural causes according to his daughter, Laura Boblitz. “He was a very generous, giving person who loved life,” she said. Metcalfe was the recipient of many honors during his NASCAR service including the prestigious Buddy Shuman Award. He is survived by two children, M. Lee Metcalfe Jr. and Laura Boblitz; five grand children and one great grandson. Public services will be held at 7pm/et Wednesday, Sept. 5 at Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home on Silas Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Nextel Cup Wives Auxiliary.(NASCAR)(8-31-2007)
  • Sad News – Jackie Coffee: Jacklyn ‘Jackie’ Coffee of Glen Carbon, IL, mother of FoxSports Lee Spencer passed away Monday. Preceded in death by husband Lee Coffee, loving mother of Lee (Reid) Spencer and Carri Coffee; proud grandmother of Samuel and James Spencer, doting sister and friend to all. Before devoting her final years to the care of her mother Emily (Suchy) Bircher, Mrs. Coffee had been a member of Mary Queen of Peace Church, Missouri Historical Society, Webster Groves Herb Society, Variety Club, The Flea Market Monday Lunch Ladies and numerous bridge clubs. Her career included tenures at WIBV Radio in Belleville, KSD-TV and Broadcast Center, where she inspired many students. Memorial Mass 10:00am/et Friday, August 31 at Mary Queen of Peace Church, 676 W. Lockwood, Webster Groves, Mo. Memorials can be made to American Cancer Society, Catholic Family Charities or Forest Park Forever.(8-29-2007)
  • Sad News – Georgetta Roush: Georgetta Roush, mother of Roush Fenway Racing owner Jack Roush, passed away today at the age of 92. Georgetta Roush was a great fan of racing and was the designated owner for the #97 Nextel Cup entry from 1998 through 2005, including 2004 when the team won their first Nextel Cup championship. She was also the designated owner of the #26 Cup entry in 2006 and the #99 Cup entry in 2007. Roush is survived by her two sons, Jack and Frank, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Georgetta Roush’s name to: Speedway Children’s Charities, 5555 Concord Park South, Suite 336, Concord, N.C. 28027. Attn: Roberta Rotondo.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(8-28-2007)
  • Sad News: Kristina Garcia: The France family, which has been through its share of misery this summer, was touched by tragedy once again last week. Kristina Garcia, 32, a sister-in-law to NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France, died Friday in Los Angeles. Garcia was the younger sister to France’s wife, Megan. Details remain sketchy, even to those at NASCAR. The cause of death has not been released. “We just don’t know,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Tuesday. Poston said Garcia was not involved with either of the France family business ventures, NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., and never lived in this area. Still, the family is shaken by a third death in as many months. “The France family is treating this as a private family matter and is in a period of mourning the loss of Megan’s sister,” Poston said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-28-2007)
  • Sad News: Sam Conway: Sam Conway passed away at the age of 58 early Saturday morning after a valiant battle with lung cancer. The Tampa, Fla.-native was team manager for Darrell Waltrip’s Winston Cup Series team in the 1990s and served on the board of directors for Motor Racing Outreach for 10 years. Conway’s son, Kevin, currently races a limited schedule in the Busch Series for Joe Gibbs Racing. The 28-year-old’s next start comes Sept. 1 at California Speedway in Fontana. Funeral arrangements are still pending. Details will be announced on Monday.(True Speed Communication)(8-26-2007)
  • Sad News: Jimmy Clodfelter: Jimmy Dale Clodfelter passed away on Aug. 21, 2007. Jim is survived by his wife, Bobbie Moretz Clodfelter; daughter, Jennifer Rushing of Thomasville; two step-children, Julie Armstrong and Jeff Blevins and his wife Maria of Kernersville; three grandsons, Travis, Corey and Trey; sister, Shelbie Welborn and her husband Charles of Thomasville. Jim spent fifty-two years with the Ford Motor Company, and at the time of his death, was parts manager at Thomasville Ford. He had a great love for racing and spent 25 years working in the Pit Crew with his NASCAR family and friends. A celebration of life memorial service will be held with family and friends on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2007, at 3 p.m. in J.C. Green & Sons Chapel in Thomasville, NC. It was Jim’s wish that in lieu of flowers memorials be made to Victory Junction Gang, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, N.C. 27317.(8-25-2007)
  • Sad News: “Gunsmoke” Raines: McGill Motorsports [#36 Busch Series team]mourns the passing of team member Roy Eugene “Gunsmoke” Raines.  Raines passed away Monday afternoon. After retiring from ABF Truck Lines he joined the McGill Motorsports team as the co-hauler driver.  “Gunsmoke was a true asset to McGill Motorsports.  He was dependable and always went over and above expectations to help the team.”  Team owner John McGill said.  “He was a great family man and a friend to many people in NASCAR.  He will always be a part of our team and we will miss him.” Funeral arrangements are pending.(McGill Motorsports PR), Raines also worked for Andy Petree Racing as a hauler.(8-21-2007)
  • Kennedy’s plane reported smoke in cockpit: A pilot of a NASCAR plane was planning an emergency landing due to smoke in the cockpit seconds before communications cut off and the aircraft crashed, killing five people, a newspaper reported Friday. “Zero One November declaring an emergency. We need … smoke in the cockpit … we need to land at Sanford,” said one of two men aboard the Cessna 310, according to a recording obtained by The Daytona Beach News-Journal. “Zero One November” refers to the plane’s tail number. The man then said, “Zero One November, we’re going to shut off all radios and elec…” before communications cut out, according to the recording obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Air traffic controllers in Orlando responded with “Roger, you can land any runway at Sanford. They know you’re coming.” It’s not clear if the men, Michael Klemm and Dr. Bruce Kennedy, heard the response. About three minutes elapsed between the plane’s last radio communication and the first 911 calls reporting the crash, the newspaper reported. The recording confirmed witness accounts that the plane was smoking as it plunged to the ground, which were detailed in a preliminary report by federal investigators. The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet determined which man was piloting when the plane crashed July 10. A final ruling on what caused the crash is not expected until next year. NTSB investigators have sent electrical components from the cockpit to the agency’s Washington lab for more examination. Kennedy, the husband of International Speedway Corp. president Lesa France Kennedy, and Klemm, a NASCAR Aviation pilot, died when the plane crashed into two houses. Kennedy had a pilot’s license and was authorized to fly the plane only when accompanied by Klemm, according to the preliminary NTSB report. The crash ignited a blaze that killed three people in the houses. Three other people were injured. The plane was traveling from Daytona Beach to Lakeland, a 100-mile trip.(Associated Press)(8-18-2007)
  • Sad News – John Blewett III: A NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver was killed as a result of a crash during the New England Dodge Dealers 150 Thursday night at Thompson International Speedway, state police confirmed early Friday. John Blewett III, 33, died after a collision involving a car driven by his brother, Jimmy Blewett, 26. After the accident, John Blewett was taken by ambulance to Hubbard Regional Hospital in Webster, Mass., where he was pronounced dead, said Sgt. Eric Murray of Troop D in Danielson . The accident took place at 9:48 p.m. as the Blewett brothers, both from Howell, N.J., were racing for the lead following a restart of the race on lap 107. Jimmy’s car ended up on top of John’s car just beyond the apex of turns 1 and 2 on the 0.625-mile oval, and the fourth-place car of Woody Pitkat also was involved in the collision. Jimmy Blewett exited his car immediately after the crash and began jumping and waving his hands frantically to get the attention of track safety workers. Safety crews rushed to the scene. At least four state police cruisers were on the scene less than 15 minutes later. By 10:05 p.m., state police officers were measuring areas around the crash scene as crews worked to remove John Blewett from his car. The crowd of about 8,000, most still in the frontstretch grandstands, was silent. All that could be heard around the track was the hum of power generators on the midway outside of the frontstretch. Both of the Blewetts also competed in Thompson’s weekly SK Modified division and were involved together in an accident on a restart early in the event.(Hartford Courant), arrangements posted at modseriesscene.com and more info at speed51.com.(8-17-2007)
  • Sad News: Christian Elder Christian Stuart Elder, 38, of Catamaran Ct., Cornelius, passed away on Sunday, August 12, 2007, at his residence. Born December 6, 1968, in Minneapolis, MN, he was a son of John Stuart and Sherry Hansen Elder, of Bloomington, MN. Mr. Elder was a Project Manager for Elder-Jones, Inc. He was a race car driver in the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series, winning at Daytona and Lowes Motor Speedway [and in the Busch Series where he ran 24 races in 2001-2002]. In addition to his parents, Mr. Elder is survived by a sister, Elizabeth Elder, of St. Louis Park, MN; brother, Justin Elder and wife, Sara, and their son, Nolan; maternal grandmother, Phyllis Hansen, of Bloomington, MN; and his two best buddies, his dogs, Yukon and Henry. A service will be held at 2:00pm, Monday, August 20, at Normandale Hylands United Methodist Church, 9922 Normandale Boulevard South, Bloomington, MN, with visitation one hour prior. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, National Mail Processing Center, P.O. Box 6003, Albert Lea, MN 56007-6603. Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the family of Mr. Elder.(Charlotte Observer)(8-15-2007)
  • Sad News: Mr. Eugene Clarence Cooper, 85, of 104 Crestview Drive, Inman, SC passed away Saturday, July 28, 2007 at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, Spartanburg, SC. He is survived by one son, [Dodge’s] Ray Cooper of Inman; one grandson, Andrew Cooper of Inman and one granddaughter, Katherine Cooper of Greensboro, NC. Funeral services will be held at Seawright Funeral Chapel, Inman, SC, at 11:00 AM on Monday, July 30, 2007 with Rev. Gordon Raynal officiating. Burial will be in Glenn Springs Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Pauline, SC. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society, 154 Mile Stone Way, Greenville, SC 29615.(Seawright Funeral Home)(7-30-2007)
  • Sad News – John Weese: John Richard Weese, Jr., 49, died July 27, 2007. Weese was a paint and body guy for many years with many NASCAR teams and for some show car companies. Vewing will be at Lady’s Funeral Home of Kannapolis, NC, Sunday, July 29 from 4pm to 6pm and the Funeral will be Monday at 11am also at Lady’s Funeral Home.(7-29-2007)
  • Sad News – Julie Lusk: Julie Lusk passed away peacefully in her home with her family by her side on Wednesday. Julie, 50 was born in Arlington, WA. She celebrated her 32nd Wedding Anniversary with her husband Doug last week. Julie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October of 2006. Services for her will be held at Lake Forest Community Church, in Huntersville, NC at 11:00am Saturday 7-28-2007. Lusk is survived by her children Damon, Derek, Danielle, and Husband Doug. Your thoughts and prayers were and are greatly appreciated.(7-26-2007)
  • Sad News – Bill Flemming: Bill Flemming, a longtime ABC sports broadcaster who covered events as varied as the Olympics, college football and cliff diving, has died. He was 80. Flemming died Friday of prostate cancer in Petoskey, a Lake Michigan town near his summer cottage, his daughter, Lindy Flemming of Larkspur, Calif., said Tuesday. In addition to football and golf play-by-play announcing, Flemming reported on more than 600 events for ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” program. Survivors include his wife, Barbara Forster Flemming; daughter Lindy Flemming; son William Mason Flemming; son-in-law Phil Andrews and grandchildren Ian and Cody Adelson. A memorial service is scheduled for Aug. 10 at First Presbyterian Church in Harbor Springs.(Chicago Tribune)(7-26-2007)
  • Sad News: Dave Fay Loses Battle With Cancer: Washington Times sportswriter/editor Dave Fay was a hockey man first and foremost, but he took to covering NASCAR well in recent years, quickly making friends and building sources – trademarks of the consummate beat reporter. As a result, his coverage of NASCAR was just like his hockey stuff: Crisp, concise and creative – and a gift to readers of the Times. Fay passed away last week at the age of 67 following a long bout with cancer.(NASCAR PR)(7-25-2007)
  • Husband of NASCAR executive dies in plane crash; 5 killed; 4 hurt UPDATES: Dr. Bruce Kennedy, husband of International Speedway Corp. President Lesa France Kennedy, was killed this morning when the plane he was piloting crashed into a Sanford neighborhood, setting two houses on fire, according to informed sources close to Daytona International Speedway and NASCAR. At least four other persons were killed, including two children, Sanford Fire Chief Gerard Ransom confirmed about noon. The identities of the dead were not released and NASCAR did not immediately provide any details but at least four informed sources confirmed the identity of the Daytona Beach plastic surgeon to The News-Journal. A NASCAR spokesman in Charlotte, NC, said the public relations staff in Daytona Beach was “in the information gathering stage” and that he knew no details at this point. Kennedy was piloting the Cessna 310 when it went down about 8:50 a.m. shortly after takeoff from Daytona International Airport. At a briefing shortly before 11am/et, the Seminole County Sheriff’s office said the pilot and co-pilot were both killed in the crash. The plane crashed into one house and the resulting fire ignited another house next door. The crash occurred on Willowbay Ridge Court at a subdivision called The Preserve at Lake Monroe, south of U.S. 17-92 and east of Interstate 4. Located near the Central Florida Zoo and the Orlando Sanford International Airport, the subdivision is comprised of new two-story single family homes. “It was an extremely intense fire,” said Matt Minnetto, a fire investigator with Sanford Fire Department. Minnetto said a boy, believed to be about 10 years old, was among the injured, with about 80% to 90% of his body burned. Joe Brown, spokesman for Orlando Regional Medical Center, confirmed that two adults and child had been taken to that facility. He said he could release no names or conditions of the patients.
    The twin-engine plane 310 was registered to Competitor Liaison Bureau Inc. of Daytona Beach, said Kathleen Bergen with the Federal Aviation Administration. Competitor Liaison is based in Daytona Beach and lists William C. France, the late chairman of NASCAR, as its registered agent in online records from the Department of State Division of Corporations. James C. France also is listed as an officer of the company. The plane was traveling from Daytona Beach to Lakeland when the pilot declared smoke in the cockpit. The plane tried to land at the Orlando Sanford International Airport when it crashed about a mile or two north of the airport, Bergen said. At a news briefing, authorities confirmed that two people died in the plane. Three people in the home that sustained the direct hit were injured, including a mother, father and 10-year-old boy who sustained burns over 80 to 90% of his body.
    A Lake Mary firefighter who was off duty and without protective equipment was treated for smoke inhalation. The firefighter was the first to arrive on the scene, entered the home and rescued the boy.The crash call came about 8:30am. A witness saw the plane teetering as it was coming across Lake Monroe. It hit the rear of one of two houses on Willowbay Ridge Street. The resulting fire spread quickly because of the aviation fuel aboard. The two homes and the plane were completely destroyed. National Transportation Safety Board Spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz said an investigator has been sent to the scene. “You’re looking at the maintenance history of the aircraft, the flight history of the pilot and weather conditions,” Lopatkiewicz said of some the information the investigator will collect. A preliminary report will be available within a couple weeks while a complete investigation could take up to a year, Lopatkiewicz said. Kennedy’s death came just five weeks after the June 4 death of Lesa France Kennedy’s father, Bill France Jr. She serves as president of the family-run International Speedway Corp. The couple was married May 7, 1988 at Seabreeze United Church. They have one son, Ben, now about 15. FAA records confirm he received his commercial pilot certification on May 24.(Daytona Beach News Journal/Associated Press and more info at wftv.com)
    NASCAR Statement: Regarding Sanford, Fla. Plane Crash – “This morning, at approximately 8:40am/et, a Cessna 310 registered to Competitor Liaison Bureau, Inc. of Daytona Beach, crashed in a Sanford, Florida, area neighborhood. At this time, we can confirm there were two people on-board, including the pilot, Dr. Bruce Kennedy and Michael Klemm, a senior captain with NASCAR Aviation. Both were killed in the crash. “Dr. Kennedy was the husband of NASCAR Board Member and ISC President Lesa France Kennedy. It is clear that numerous families were affected by this terrible tragedy and unfortunately several people were deceased or seriously injured. Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with all of those who were involved in this tragic accident and their families. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.”(NASCAR PR)(7-10-2007)
    UPDATE: A twin-engine NASCAR plane had broken control cables and its crew reported smoke in the cockpit before crashing into a suburban neighborhood and killing five people. However, it was unknown whether the cables broke in flight or after impact, and the cause of the July 10 crash in Sanford remained unclear, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board released Tuesday. Numerous separations in the cables in the right wing and forward fuselage of the Cessna 310 showed signs of tension overload, according to the report.(Associated Press)(7-24-2007)
  • Sad News: Longtime Craftsman Truck Series Flagman Dennis James passed away on Wednesday, July 11, 2007. Services are pending.(Truckseries.com)(7-12-2007)
  • Funeral Arrangements for Dr. Kennedy and Michael Klemm The funeral arrangements for Dr. Bruce Kennedy and Michael Klemm have been scheduled for this Friday [July 13] at Seabreeze United Church in Daytona Beach. The services for Dr. Kennedy are scheduled for 11am/et and the services for Michael Klemm are scheduled for 5:00pm/et. The Klemm family will receive guests at the 500 Club (located in the infield at Daytona International Speedway) immediately after the church service. Both services are open to the public and employees are welcome to attend. Seabreeze United Church is located at 501 N. Wild Olive Ave., on Daytona’s “beachside,” between Seabreeze and Oakridge boulevards.
    In lieu of flowers, the Kennedy family requests that donations can be made to the Halifax Medical Center Foundation, C/O Bruce Kennedy Memorial Fund, 303 N. Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach FL 32120.
    The Klemm family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either the American Heart Association, C/O Michael Klemm, 1101 Northchase Parkway, Marietta, GA 30067 or Camp Boggy Creek, C/O Michael Klemm, 30500 Brantley Branch Road, Eustis, FL 32736.(NASCAR)(7-11-2007)
  • Sad News: Anne McLaughlin, mother of NASCAR internet writer Matt McLaughlin, passed away Friday after a lingering illness. Matt has taken a hiatus from writing until after the funeral. Thoughts go out to Matt, a good friend of mine, and his family.(7-10-2007)
  • Sad News: Wanda Phillips, 58, was killed late Saturday night in an accident at Lonesome Pine Raceway [Coeburn, VA] while making a move for the lead in the Ladies Pure 4 division race. The family learned Sunday that Phillips suffered a fatal heart attack in the accident. It was the first racing fatality at LPR since the track opened in 1972. A Coeburn native, Phillips was the most prolific winner in the women’s divisions at LPR since the Ladies divisions began in the late 1980s. She was a past champion and was attempting to become the first repeat winner of the season in the division when the accident took her life. Wanda Phillips is survived by sons Freddie Phillips, Clynus Phillips, Brett Phillips, as well as a sister, Twyla Barton, and grandson Justin Phillips. Visitation for Phillips will be held this evening at Sturgill Funeral Home in Coeburn from 5 to 9pm. The funeral will be held in victory lane at LPR Tuesday at 11am, followed by burial at her family cemetery. Drivers are encouraged to attend with their cars and help Phillips complete the lap she never finished in the funeral procession out of the track. In lieu of flowers the family asks that a donation be made to the Victory Junction Gang on Phillips’ behalf.(Times News)(7-2-2007)
  • Sad News: Bill France Jr.: during the race broadcast on FOX from Dover, it was reported that NASCAR Chairman, Bill France Jr., 74, passed away today, Monday, June 4, 2007.
    MORE Bill France Jr., who transformed NASCAR from a small Southern sport into a billion-dollar conglomerate during his 31 years as chairman, died Monday. He was 74. He died at his Daytona Beach, Fla., home, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. France had been in poor health for much of the last decade – he was diagnosed with cancer in 1999. Although he was in remission, the extensive treatments took a toll. He never regained his full strength, often had difficulty breathing and had taken to using a motorized scooter to get around. France was hospitalized at least twice this year but spent his final days resting at home. His last public appearance was Feb. 12 in Daytona Beach, where NASCAR’s top names gathered to “Roast and Toast” him at the Bill France Hot Dog Dinner during the Daytona 500 build-up. Even there, especially there, France Jr., who ruled NASCAR with an iron fist, called the shots. His toasters that evening were gently reminded to avoid any harsh roasting. France did not speak during the dinner but received guests from his seat on the banquet floor.(Associated Press)
    Statement from NASCAR: NASCAR Vice Chairman William C. France, whose leadership helped turn a family-owned company into a national phenomenon, died today at his home in Daytona Beach, Fla. at the age of 74. France served as NASCAR’s president from 1972-2000, taking over from his father, NASCAR founder William H.G. “Big Bill” France. In 2000, France – known as “Bill Jr.” – became NASCAR’s CEO and the chairman of the newly created NASCAR Board of Directors. In October 2003, the torch was again passed, with France’s son Brian France taking over as Chairman and CEO. France became Vice Chairman at that time, whereupon his influence and input remained considerable – and valuable.
    “He had a remarkable career and an even-more remarkable life,” said Brian France. “Words cannot express how much he’ll be missed by myself and the rest of our family and by the NASCAR industry overall.”
    Mike Helton became NASCAR’s president in 2000. He was the third president in the sport’s history and the first not named France. “Coming in, I had two big pairs of shoes to fill,” Helton said, talking about Bill Sr. and Bill Jr. “I was more familiar with Bill Jr.’s way of doing business but that didn’t make it any easier. He blazed so many trails for our sport. He was determined to follow the vision of his father while also expanding on that vision. Over nearly four decades, he did a masterful job.”
    France is survived by his wife Betty Jane France, NASCAR’s assistant secretary; his son Brian; daughter Lesa France Kennedy, NASCAR’s vice president and assistant treasurer; his brother James C. France, NASCAR’s vice chairman and executive vice president; and three grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.(NASCAR)(6-4-2007)
  • Sad News – Jimmy Crawford: In the nearly 60 years that NASCAR has been holding races, there have been lots of upset wins. Few have been as stunning as the one Jimmy Crawford and his brother pulled off at Talladega on Aug. 12, 1973. The Crawford brothers — Jimmy and Peter of Toccoa were pilots for Eastern Airlines at the time — took a car prepared in their parents’ basement in College Park, hired a journeyman driver named Dick Brooks and astounded the racing world by winning the Talladega 500. James Harrison Crawford Jr., 62, of Fayetteville died of a heart ailment Saturday at his house on Lake Jackson. The body was cremated. The memorial service was Thursday [May 31st] at Carl J. Mowell and Son Funeral Home, Fayetteville, GA. Eddie Wood, co-owner of the #21 Ford now driven by Bill Elliott and a friend of Mr. Crawford, said the Crawfords’ Talladega win was a major accomplishment. “They came into NASCAR and basically did it on their own, mostly just the two of them,” Mr. Wood said of the Crawfords’ brief but successful venture into major-league racing. “And that day at Talladega, they did a really good job and beat the best in the sport.” Mr. Crawford started his NASCAR career as a driver, concentrating on the superspeedways. From 1970 to 1974, he made 15 starts in the series now known as the Nextel Cup. His best days as a driver came in February 1974, when he qualified for NASCAR’s biggest race, the Daytona 500, and finished 19th. “Just making the 500 was as tough then as it is now,” Mr. Wood said. But it was the Talladega win that earned Mr. Crawford and his brother a special place in NASCAR history.”
    “It was our day in the sun,” Mr. Crawford said in a 2000 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We were all just stunned. I didn’t really believe it happened until I read it in the paper on Monday morning.” The Crawfords rarely raced after their Talladega victory. NASCAR’s rules on engines and cars were changing, rendering most of their equipment obsolete. And the sport was growing, getting more expensive and too time-consuming for people who had other careers. “We would have liked to have gone on and been more successful,” Mr. Crawford said. “But the handwriting was on the wall.” The Crawfords disappeared from the racing scene but were never forgotten. Just two weeks ago, Mr. Wood called Mr. Crawford to reminisce about the old days. “I hadn’t talked to him in 30 years,” Mr. Wood said. “But after we talked for a few minutes, it all came right back, just like we’d been talking on and off all along. We had some good times back then.” Survivors other than his brother include his wife, Rebecca B. Crawford; three daughters, Natasha Crawford of Fayetteville, Renee Crawford of Los Angeles and Charisse Meitin of Gaithersburg, Md.; a son, James Crawford IV of Newnan; his mother, June Crawford of College Park; and six grandchildren.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(5-31-2007)
  • Sad News: Neil Bonnet’s Dad: Larence Bonnett, age 88, of Bessemer, AL, passed away on May 23, 2007. He was a long time member of Ensley Baptist Church, veteran of WWII, served under General Patton. He was a loving husband, father & grandfather. Funeral Services will be held at Patterson-Forest Grove Chapel on Friday, May 25, 2007 at 11:00 A.M. with burial in Forest Grove Memorial Gardens. Rev. Roy Morgan & Rev. Mark Clifton officiating. Visitation will be held on Friday, May 25, 2007 from 10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. at the Funeral Home. He was preceded in death by his son, Neil Bonnett. Survivors: wife, Josephine N. Bonnett; grandchildren, Kristen Bonnett Ray, David Bonnett; great-grandchildren, Jessica Bonnett, Justin Bonnett.(Birmingham News)(5-26-2007)
  • Tragic News: Corey Tucker, car chief for #2-Kurt Busch, lost his father, Eddie Tucker, in a tragic accident earlier this week. Thoughts and prayers to Corey and his family. Calling hours are 5 to 8 p.m. today at the Copeland Funeral Home, 162 South Putt Corners Road in New Paltz, NY. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Reformed Church of Shawangunk, 1166 Hoagerburgh Road, Wallkill, NY. Donations may be made to the church or to the Shawangunk Valley Fire and Ambulance District. Details of the accident can be found here: recordonline.com.(5-24-2007)
  • Sad News: Shepherd’s Mother: Bettie Allen Poovey, mother of NASCAR veteran racer Morgan Shepherd, passed away Sunday at her home in Conover, NC. She was 82. Ms. Poovey was with a family friend at her Conover home when she became ill and collapsed Sunday morning. She was rushed to a local hospital and was pronounced dead. Ms. Poovey was born on August 30, 1924 in Benton County, Washington, and had a special love for flowers and antiques. She was a longtime member of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Hickory. In addition to her son, Morgan, and his wife, Cindy, Ms. Poovey is also survived by three daughters, Barbara Earnhardt of Hickory, NC; Joan Moore and her husband, Bill, of Stow, Ohio; and Edna Winston, and her husband, Winslow, of Shelby, NC. Ms. Poovey had 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Her visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Drum Funeral Home in Conover. Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Hickory, NC. She will be buried in Catawba Memorial Park in Hickory.(Faith Motorsports PR)(5-21-2007)
  • Sad News: Ellwood “Reds” Stofflet, John Andretti’s grandfather, passed away early Saturday morning [May 19th], he was 88. He was the husband of the late Mary (Bensing) Stofflet, who passed October 29, 2002. Prior to his retirement in 1981, he was employed as a shift foreman at Lone Star Industries in Nazareth [PA] for 35 years, prior to that he worked as a heat treater at Bethlehem Steel for 5 years and he also worked several years at Price Battery in Hamburg, PA. He is survived by his daughters, Harriet S. wife of Kenneth B. Horton of Edgewater, Florida, Carolyn H. “Corky” wife of Aldo Andretti of Brownsburg, Indiana, and Jeanne M. wife of Julius Kuchar of Bethlehem; he is also survived by 12 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, his brother Gordon U.S. Stofflet of Lake Ariel, PA, and sister Shirley D. wife of Wilbur Leh of Nazareth,Pa. Memorial funeral services to celebrate Ellwood’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Salem United Church of Christ, 2218 Community Drive, Bath, PA 18014.(5-20-2007)
  • Sad News: Tom Hamilton: Tom Hamilton, a local Southern passed away recently. The California racer saw that need and started a small company called “Stock Car Products.” The company opened for business in 1969 in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Soon the majority of NASCAR Grand National Series regulars were running his spindles, hubs, steering arms and rear end housings. The company later added brakes, shocks and steering components to it’s catalog. Virginia racer, Emanuel Zervakis. Zervakis, who was Stock Car Products biggest customer, became the East Coast distributor in the spring of 1973. Hamilton was also a successful car owner fielding rides for the likes of Hershel McGriff, Jimmy Insolo, George Follmer, Ivan Baldwin, Tom Maier, Terry Bivens, Ron Esau, Jim Cook and Vince Giamformaggio. Hamilton ran the Daytona 500 two times with drivers Timmy Williamson and Rusty Sanders. By 1988 Hamilton was ready to retire. What had as a hobby had turned into a multi-million dollar business, and Tom’s son Steve spun off a division of SCP and continues to supply racers with high quality race car dry sump systems. Emanuel Zervakis purchased Stock Car Products from Hamilton and moved the company to the east coast. Since the purchase, SCP has steadily added to its inventory and now stocks over 7500 racing parts and components. Hamilton was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame. Services are not finalized.(4-23-2007)
    The services for Tom Hamilton will be held at Memorial Park. 455 West Central Ave. Brea, Calif. Tuesday April 24, 2007 @ 1:00 pm.(4-24-2007)
  • Sad News – Dick Miller: Dick Miller of Raleigh NC, retired CEO of Goodmark Foods, died Thursday at Myrtle Beach, SC while on vacation after fighting Parkinson’s disease for several years. While Dick was CEO at Goodmark Foods they were very active in NASCAR with their Slim Jim and Penrose brands. Under his leadership they began sponsoring Bobby Labonte in the Busch Series with the Penrose brand in 1990. Bobby won the 1991 Busch Series Championship with Penrose. In 1992 they brought Slim Jim on as primary sponsor and Bobby finished second to Joe Nemechck, in the closest finish in Busch Series history. When Bobby moved to Cup racing he kept his team going and signed David Green to drive the Slim Jim #44. David then won the 1994 Busch Championship driving for Bobby and Slim Jim. Goodmark Foods also participated in NASCAR programs sponsoring the Penrose Rookie of the Year program and the Slim Jim All Pro Series. Other Slim Jim and Penrose drivers of note included Terry Labonte, Justin Labonte, Jason Keller, Mike Cope and Todd Bodine. Goodmark also made the famous Martinsville hot dogs under their Jesse Jones brand. Dick was cremated and there will be a visitation Saturday evening from 6-9 pm at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home on Millbrook Road in Raleigh. A memorial service will be held at 3pm Sunday at Brown-Wynne.(4-21-2007)
  • Sad News – Jack Combs: “Jack” Combs, age 80, of Speedway Road, North Wilkesboro died Wednesday, April 18, 2007. Mr. Combs was born in Wilkes County, July 15, 1926. Mr. Combs owned East Side Used Cars and was one of the owners of the North Wilkesboro Speedway along with his brother, Charlie Combs, brother-in-law, Lawson Curry and friend, Enoch Staley. He was a charter member of the Speedway Road Ruritan Club, where he served as president and vice-president.
    Mr. Combs is survived by his wife of 61 years, Zell Williams Combs of the home; one son, Carl Dean Combs and wife Diane of North Wilkesboro; three daughters, Norma Hayes and husband, Bill of Mechaniscville, VA, Doris Sebastian and husband, Jeral of McGrady, and Vanessa Church and husband, Larry, Sr. of North Wilkesboro; one brother, Paul Edward (PeeWee) Combs of North Wilkesboro. The family will receive at Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home from 6:00 until 8:00 Friday, April 20, 2007. Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 21, 2:00 PM at Fishing Creek Arbor Baptist Church with the Rev. David Wellborn and the Rev. Sherrill Wellborn officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to Fishing Creek Arbor Baptist Church Building Fund, C/O Mr. Rob Jones, 447 Carpath Road, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659.(Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home)(4-20-2007)
  • Sad News: Joie Ray: On Friday, April 13th, 2007, racing pioneer Joseph “Joie” Ray, Jr. passed away while hospitalized during a brief illness. He was 83 years old. Joie Ray was born in 1923 in Louisville, Kentucky just one year before Chicago businessman William Rucker founded the Colored Speedway Association, the barnstorming circuit where Black drivers would race all over the Midwest. Joie’s inspiration to become a race car driver was fueled by the stories he heard growing up about the drivers and mechanics that competed in the Colored Speedway Association’s “Gold and Glory Sweepstakes”. Joie’s racing career did not begin until 1946. In 1947, Joie Ray became the first licensed African American to compete in the American Automobile Association (AAA) sanctioning body. The significance of this accomplishment is that from the early 1900’s to 1947, Black drivers and mechanics were discriminated from participating in AAA sanctioned events—which included the Indianapolis 500; hence the creation of the Colored Speedway Association in 1924. Even after being licensed by AAA in 1947, Joie never got the opportunity to compete in the Indy 500 during his 17-year career. At one point, Joie was the only African American driver to hold simultaneously an American Automobile Association (AAA), Central States Racing Association (CSRA) and International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) license, which were the three largest sanctioning bodies in American motorsports during that time. Upon his retirement in 1963, Joie remained very active in motorsports traveling the country enjoying the sport he loved. In 1991, he was very proud to have witnessed Willy T. Ribbs become the first African American to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, and then have Willy appear as his guest at the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans (HARF) Banquet the following January. For the past decade, Joie has been a staple at the Indianapolis based HARF Banquet presenting the Emma Ray Award for Courage to a deserving individual who displayed courage, perseverance and dedication regarding the sport of auto racing in and around the Hoosier state in honor of his late wife who showed great courage while fighting a terminal illness years ago. In 1995, Joie was inducted into the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans (HARF) Hall of Fame. In recent years, Joie’s accomplishments have been honored and recognized by the following events: ESPN’s 2003 Black History Month special “The Forgotten Race – Where the Finish Line Crosses the Color Line”, as a featured subject for SPEED Channel’s 2004 Black History Month vignettes and in 2006 as a featured guest for Red Bull’s “For the Gold and Glory – Celebration of African American Heritage in Motorsports”. More info at joieray.com
    RAY, JOSEPH R. JR., 83, of Louisville, passed away Friday, April 13, 2007. He was a retired tax assessor for Jefferson County, a black pioneer in motorsports and owner of the gift shop at Breckinridge Inn. Survivors: daughters, Carol Bottoms and Susan Mark; a son, William “Billy” Ray (Glendal); nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a great-great- grandson. Funeral: noon Wednesday, April 18, 2007 at Burnett Avenue Baptist Church, 511 E. Burnett Avenue. Burial: Green Meadows Cemetery. Visitations: 2-4 p.m. Tuesday at Hathaway & Clark, Inc., and 6-9 p.m. at the church.(Courier-Journal)(4-17-2007)
  • Sad News – “Budman” Kircher: Scott “Budman” Kircher, a team member for Ginn Racing, passed away Saturday (April 14) at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte as a result of a motorcycle accident Friday in Mooresville, N.C. A resident of Mooresville, Kircher, 45, was one of the transport drivers for the #4 team. He is survived by his wife Lani and daughters Katie (21) and Lacey (14). The funeral will be held Thursday in Kircher’s hometown of Peoria, Ill. Prior to joining Ginn Racing for the 2007 season, Kircher worked at ppc Racing for six years. A trust fund has been established in the name of Scott’s daughters — Katie and Lacey. A donation can be made at any Bank of America. Donations can also be made to the Transporter Drivers of Motorsports Association, P.O. Box 5478, Mooresville, N.C. 28117.(Ginn Racing PR)(4-15-2007)
  • Sad News: Doug Carroll: Douglas Wayne Carroll, 44, of A. A. Barrett Road, Shelby, NC died April 5, 2007. Funeral service will be 4 p.m. Saturday at Cherryville Missionary Methodist Church. Burial will follow in City Memorial Cemetery. A native of Cherryville, he was employed by Roush-Yates Racing in Mooresville. Survivors include his father and stepmother, and Harry Wayen Carroll and arah Mull Carroll; and a brother, Gary Daniel Carroll of Cherryville. Memorials may be made to Cherryville Missionary Methodist Church, 318 W. Ballard St., Cherryville, NC 28021, or to Hospice and Pallative Care of Cleveland Co, 951 Wendover Heights Dr., Shelby, NC 28021.(Lincoln Times-News)(4-7-2007)
  • Sad News: Red Bull Team Member Killed UPDATE 2: Arrest Made: A member of a NASCAR team was shot to death outside his home in Alexander County late Saturday. Jimmy Sprinkle, 44, was a mechanic for the Red Bull racing team. He had been a member of the test team crew for about a year. Sprinkle lived on a farm in northeast Alexander County north of Hiddenite. He spent the afternoon working on his yard, then saw someone coming down his long gravel driveway around 10:30pm. Saturday and went out to investigate. That’s when the person shot him once in the chest and died at Iredell Memorial Office. Alexander County investigators and State Bureau of Investigation agents believe they’ve found the shooter’s vehicle, a white 1980s model Monte Carlo with a dark blue top. They are not commenting on a motive in the case. Although Sprinkle had spent much of his life in and around racing, his wife says he also had a life away from the track. “We live in the farming community, he helped plow many gardens, he’s out with fertilizer, anything they need to do with cattle and horses,” Sylvia Sprinkle said. Family members are still in disbelief and have many unanswered questions. Vickers’ team released a statement on Monday regarding Sprinkle’s death. The team, based in Mooresville, NC, had a moment of silence at the start of the day for their lost member. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Alexander Crime Stoppers at (828) 632-8555.(wsoctv.com.(4-2-2007)
    UPDATE: Police say they have identified a suspect in the shooting death of James “Jimmy” Sprinkle, a NASCAR crew team member and Hiddenite resident, but they are not naming names just yet. And no charges have been filed. Sprinkle, of Center Church Road, died Saturday at Iredell Memorial Hospital in Statesville. Sprinkle, was shot once in the chest about 10:30 p.m. at his home. Authorities located a vehicle believed to have been used in the shooting. They spent much of Monday combing the car for evidence. “We are making substantial progress in the case, and hope to make an arrest soon,” Capt. Keith Warren of the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office said. The shooting stunned Sprinkle’s friend, Phil Keever. “It’s beyond me,” Keever said. “This came from left field.” Keever was with Sprinkle shortly before he was killed. “He was helping me fertilize my pasture,” Keever, 48, said. “We were going to borrow his flatbed truck to load golf carts so my dad could take them to Virginia. “I dropped Jimmy off at his house about 7:30 p.m.” Sprinkle tested race cars for Team Red Bull, a Nextel Cup team based in Mooresville. He previously worked for Evernham Motorsports Marty Gaunt, vice president and general manager of Team Red Bull, issued this statement: “We are shocked and deeply saddened by the unfortunate loss of Jimmy Sprinkle’s life. We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Jimmy’s family and friends. Jimmy was one of those hard-working crew guys with great personality that don’t come around very often. Jimmy will be sorely missed at the race shop and at the track.”
    Tom Czoka, transportation manager for Team Red Bull, worked with Sprinkle for five years. He spent many hours on the road with his co-worker and friend. “He was quite a character,” Czoka said from the Mooresville office. “He never had a bad word to say. He always looked for positives, and was always upbeat, willing to help somebody. I don’t know if they can replace him.”(Hickory Record)
    Survivors include: his wife, Sylvia Dyson Sprinkle, of the home; his step-father, Willie Feimster of Taylorsville; a sister, Susan McLain and husband, Marty, of Hiddenite; a step-sister, Diana and husband, Shaun Cory, of Banner Elk; a step-brother, Chuck Feimster, of Waxhaw; two nephews, Darren and Kelly McLain of Hiddenite. He is also survived by several aunts, uncles and cousins.
    Visitiation is scheduled for today: Adams Funeral Home, 307 Main Avenue Drive, Taylorsville, NC. Tuesday, April 3 from 4:00-8:00pm/et. The funeral will be conducted at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, 2007 at Fairview Baptist Church by the Revs. Tony Dyson and Ruel Fox. Memorials may be given to Motor Racing Outreach, 5555 Concord Parkway S., Suite 405, Concord, N.C. 28027.(4-3-2007)
    UPDATE 2: A Taylorsville man was charged with the Saturday slaying of James Sprinkle, a NASCAR mechanic for Team Red Bull, according to the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office. Earl Wayne Flowers, 51, of Gravel Hill Court, was arrested at about 3 p.m. Thursday. He received no bond and was in the Alexander County Detention Center Thursday, charged with one count of murder.(Charlotte Observer)(4-5-2007).
  • Founder of Hot Rod Mag passes away: Robert E. Petersen, an entrepreneur who single-handedly created the largest special-interest publishing company in America, was instrumental in the evolution of the hot-rodding culture, and who, with his wife Margie, realized his dream of establishing an educational museum to pay tribute to the automobile, died on Friday, March 23, at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. after a short but valiant battle with neuroendocrine cancer. He was 80. In January 1948 he launched Hot Rod Magazine, and hawked the magazine at local speedways for 25 cents a copy. Motor Trend, a more upscale publication for production car enthusiasts, and dozens of other titles aimed at specialty automotive segments soon followed.(Hot Rod Magazine site)(3-25-2007)
  • Tragic News: Three friends bound for a NASCAR race in Tennessee were killed yesterday when their small plane crashed shortly after takeoff into a patch of woods near a Jacksonville home. Baltimore County police identified the victims as Theodore C. Ryder, 45, who was piloting the aircraft, Paul E. Sorensen, 48, and Timothy H. Conner, 48 – all from Joppa. There were no injuries on the ground, officials said. Officials said the plane, a six-seat Piper Saratoga, took off from Harford County Airport in Churchville at 9:06 a.m. and crashed about nine minutes later. The plane was heading for Abingdon, Va., and family said the three expected to attend a car race in nearby Bristol, Tenn.(Baltimore Sun)(3-25-2007)
  • Sad News – Eric Medlen: NHRA Funny Car driver Eric Medlen died Friday, four days after he suffered a severe closed-head injury in a test session crash at Gainesville, Fla. He was 33. Medlen’s family elected to have him taken off life-support systems, which they said was Eric’s wish for this type of situation. Medlen’s Mustang Funny Car crashed head on into the right concrete barrier after it blew a tire on a test run the day after the Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. Medlen was one of four drivers for John Force Racing. The other three JFR drivers — Force, Robert Hight and Ashley Force — stayed in Florida with Medlen’s family. Eric’s father, John Medlen, said, “On behalf of the family, I want to thank the medical staff at Shands not just for giving Eric the very best care he could have received, but for the compassion it showed for Eric and all those close to him. I also want to thank the thousands of people who offered their prayers and support to us during this very difficult time.” More at ESPN.com, NHRA.com and Ford Racing.(3-23-2007)
  • Sad News – Gerard Nadeau: Gerard Joseph Nadeau ‘Jerry’, 62, died Monday, March 19, 2007 at his residence. Born December 16, 1944 in Madawaska, ME, he was the son of Aurele and Imelda Nadeau. He was a veteran serving in the US Army. Mr. Nadeau was preceded in death by brothers, Robert and Reno Nadeau. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his wife, Pauline Cyr Nadeau; daughter, Debbie Fink and husband, David, of Parrish, FL; son, Jerry Nadeau of Davidson, NC; brothers, Gilman Nadeau and wife, Huguette, of Waterbury, CT, John Nadeau and wife, Rachel, Philip Nadeau and wife, Mildred, Ronald Nadeau all of Madawaska, ME, Roger Nadeau of New Britain, CT, and Norman Nadeau of West Palm Beach, FL; sisters, Patricia Prue and husband, Lewis, of Fort Fairfield, ME, Nancy D’Allaire and husband, Jean-Pierre, of Fort Lauderdale, FL, Joan Medlin and husband, Wallace, of Maner, TN, Betty-Ann Caron and husband, Francois of Baker Lake, Canada, Rena-Mae Voisine and husband, Brian, of Fort Kent, ME; granddaughter, Pepere’s Little Angel, Natalie Kate Nadeau. A funeral mass will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, March 23, at St. Therese Catholic Church. The family will receive friends Thursday from 6:00-9:00 pm at the funeral home. The family would like to give a special thanks to the staff of Community Home Care & Hospice of Cornelius, 9606 Bailey Road, Suite 230, Cornelius, NC 28031. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Victory Junction Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317 or Miry Brook Fire Department Company #13 Ladies Aux., Miry Brook Road, Danbury, CT 06810. Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the Nadeau family.(jerry-nadeau.com)(3-20-2007)
  • Sad News – Comerford: Thomas F. Comerford, Sr., 70 of Fort Lauderdale, Fl. formerly of Neptune, NJ, suddenly passed away on Thursday, March 15, 2007. Comerford was a modified race car driver for many years retiring from driving in 1987. He was an avid race fan and loved boating. Comerford enjoyed of his retirement in Fort Lauderdale, entertaining family and friends. Surviving is his loving wife, Laraine; three sons, Thomas Comerford Jr., Robert and his wife Diana Comerford and Keith and his wife Kimberlee Robinson; three daughters, Carolyn and her husband Leonard Valente, Shari and her husband Gil Steever, Kelly and her husband Michael Matthews; eleven grandchildren; Danielle, Dylan, Tiffany, Dalton, Chelsea, Justin, Morgan, Natalie, Rita, Bailee and Chase; and a brother Ronnie and his wife Louanne Comerford; a sister-in-law Kim Wooten, and several cousins, nieces, and nephews. Visitation will take place at the John E. Daly Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Avenue, Red Bank, NJ, 07701 on Monday, March 19, from 2-4 and 7-9. A Mass of Christian Burial will begin on Tuesday at 9:00 am at St. James RC Church in Red Bank, NJ. Internment will be private.(3-18-2007)
  • Food City Founder Jack Smith Passes Away: Bristol Motor Speedway lost a close and valued friend Thursday with the passing of Jack Smith, the founder and chairman of long-time race sponsor Food City. The 81-year-old Smith died Thursday morning at his home in Abingdon, Va., after a brief illness. Bristol Motor Speedway president and general manager Jeff Byrd was extremely saddened by Smith’s passing. “Jack Smith was a great friend to all of us at BMS,” he said. “He was a true gentleman and I’ve always felt that he and the rest of the Food City folks were just an extension of our family here. We were in business together certainly but the relationship we had with Jack went far beyond that. He built a very successful business based on the same exemplary values and principals he lived by. He was an outstanding individual and we will miss him a great deal. All of us at BMS are thinking about the Smith family during this very difficult time and have them in our prayers.” In 1955 Smith opened his first store in his hometown of Grundy, Va., and so began his storied career in the grocery business. Now more than 50 years later, Food City stands at the top among supermarket chains serving the Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee Tri-State region and boasts nearly 100 stores. Smith built his chain upon the premise of providing superior customer service – a principle that still rings loudly throughout the Food City chain today. Food City joined Bristol Motor Speedway in 1992 and is celebrating its 15th anniversary as sponsor of the spring Nextel Cup race, The Food City 500. Food City, which also sponsors the Food City 250 Busch Series event in August, recently extended its sponsorship through 2010. Farris Funeral Service in Abingdon is in charge of the funeral service. Arrangements, however, are incomplete at this time.(BMS PR)(3-16-2007)
  • Sad News – Laura Lorene Myers: Laura Lorene Myers (nee Yontz) died March 11, 2007 at the Brian Center in Lexington. She was 76. Lorene was born February 5, 1931 to Lala Atwood and Howard Younts in Winston-Salem. She married Bobby Myers, a NASCAR pioneer, who was killed in Darlington, at the Southern 500 in 1957. Lorene never re-married. She worked as school crossing guard for Winston-Salem police, then later worked for Southern Tool Company, where she retired. She leaves behind two sons: Danny “Chocolate” Myers, and his wife Caron of Lexington; and Richard “Poncho” Myers, and his wife Judy, of Titusville, FL; three brothers, George Yountz and his wife Ann of Davidson County, Steve Weeks and his wife Peggy, also of Davidson County and Rudy Yontz and his wife Jean of Atlanta. Her sister, Mary Rose Cates, preceeded her in death, as did her brother Jack. She also leaves behind four grandchildren, three great-children and several nieces and nephews. A family visitation will be held Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 at Hayworth Miller Funeral Home on Silas Creek in Winston-Salem. The funeral will be at Hayworth-Miller’s chapel on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Interment will be at the Oaklawn Memorial Gardens.(3-13-2007)
  • Sad News – Pete Babb: Long-time NASCAR official Pete Babb has passed away at the age of 79. “Pete Babb was a well-respected member of NASCAR officiating for over 55 years,” said Busch Series Director Joe Balash. “Our sympathy goes out to his family and the NASCAR community that called Pete a friend. Pete holds a place in NASCAR history that will never be replaced. He served in almost every position in officiating and saw the most change in the sport over his years of service. There are very few in this industry that experenced the world of NASCAR racing like Pete.” “Pete Babb was one of NASCAR’s pioneers,” said NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter. “He loved our sport and its people. He will be missed by everyone in the NASCAR community. Pete’s kindness touched thousands of people during his many years in NASCAR.” The visitation and funeral will be held at Alliance Church in Portsmouth, Va. Visitation: Friday, March 2nd at 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Funeral: Saturday, March 3rd at 3:00p.m. Alliance Church, 5809 Portsmouth Blvd., Portsmouth, VA 23701 (757) 488-6945 In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society.(NASCAR PR)(3-1-2007)
  • Sad News -Jack Birmingham: Jack Birmingham, who owned the #30/27 Eel River Racing Cup team [1998-2001, 58 races, was the Bahari Racing team before that], passed away at his home in Osterville, MA. No more details known.(2-27-2007)
    AND John P. Birmingham, Jr.,(65), known as Jack to his friends, the beloved husband, father, loyal friend, attorney and accomplished businessman passed away peacefully at his home in Osterville, MA on Saturday February 24, 2007 after a long illness. Previously, he lived in Wellesley, Boston and Vero Beach , Florida. Mr. Birmingham and his brother established The Steinway Foundation, which commissioned and funded new piano concertos by contemporary composers. The Foundation was inaugurated at a concert at Carnegie Hall and the first three, newly commissioned concertos were performed a year later at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. After a brief retirement, Jack Birmingham and his son Devin, established Eel River Racing, a NASCAR Nextel Cup racing team in Charlotte, North Carolina and competed in the series for three years. Mr. Birmingham is survived by his wife of 42 years, Karen (Murphy); his son, J. Devin Birmingham, and daughter- in- law, Cornelia S. of Sherborn, his daughters, Hilary Birmingham, of Los Angeles, CA, Sarah B. White, and son-in -law, Jonathan D. White of Newton; four beloved grandchildren, John M., Henry S., Cornelia S. Birmingham and Charles U. White; brothers Paul J. Birmingham and his wife Pamela of Palm Beach, FL., Robert M. and his wife Frances of Osterville MA, Mark F. Birmingham of Freeport, ME, and a sister, Lois I. Wrightson and her husband, Frederick W. Wrightson III of Osterville MA; and many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers his family asks friends to remember Jack with memorial contributions to any of the following charities; St. Sebastian’s School, 1191 Greendale Avenue, Needham Massachusetts 02492 (www.stsebs.org), the Birmingham Center for Cerebellum Neurobiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, 165 Cambridge Street, Suite 600, Boston Massachusetts 02114-2792 and Hospice and Palliative Care, 765 Attucks Lane Hyannis, Massachusetts 02601.(2-28-2007)
  • Sad News: Indy Exec Dies: Longtime Indianapolis Motor Speedway executive Buddy McAtee died Feb. 12 in Indianapolis. He was 53. McAtee passed away at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis with his family at his side. An employee of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its affiliated companies since 1987, McAtee was promoted to the position of president, chief operating officer and executive producer of IMS Productions on Jan. 15, 2007 after serving as vice president and executive producer since 2002, and leading the company to new heights of creative programming, broadcasting and profitability. A personal commendation that McAtee was proud to receive was the Torchbearer Award from the Indiana University Cancer Center in May 2006. Seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, who also received treatment at IU Cancer Center, presented the award to McAtee. McAtee is survived by his wife, Judy, and a daughter, Nikki. Visitation is scheduled for 2-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15 at Crown Hill Funeral Home, 700 W. 38th St., Indianapolis. Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 16 at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis. Memorial donations may be made to Indiana University Medical Center, Cancer Research.(See more at the IMS site)(2-13-2007)
  • Sad News: Benny Parsons: Benny Parsons, 65, passed away today [Jan 16] at the Intensive Care Unit of the Carolinas Medial Center in Charlotte, NC. Parsons, who became a popular television and radio personality after retiring from driving in 1988, entered the hospital Dec. 26 as the result of complications stemming from his battle with lung cancer. The cancer was diagnosed earlier this year and was recently reported to be in full remission.
    Survivors include his mother Hazel Parsons; wife Terri Parsons; sons Keith and Kevin Parsons; brothers Steve and Phil Parsons; sister Patty Severt; and granddaughters Emily and Libbie Parsons.(PRN/LMS PR)
    See info about Benny’s career and bios at BennyParsons.com, goPRN.com or rendezvousridge.com and many articles, quotes, slideshows on my Article Links page.(1-16-2007)
    SERVICES, correction: A memorial service to celebrate the life of 1973 Nextel Cup champion Benny Parsons will be held Friday, Jan. 19, at the Grace Covenant Church, 17301 Statesville Road [Rt 21], Cornelius, NC [next to the Home Depot in Huntersville]. Family, close friends and beloved members of the racing community who knew and loved Benny will be received at the 2:00pm/et service. The Parsons family has respectively requested that media members honor their wishes and not bring cameras or video equipment into the church during either the 2:00pm/et service or the following period during which race fans can pay their respects. Following the memorial, from 4pm – 5:30pm, race fans are welcome to pay their respects at the church.
    In lieu of flowers, Parsons asked that donations be made in his name to the Connie E. Parsons Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 443, Ellerbee, NC 28338; to the Blumenthal Cancer Center, 1025 Morehead Medical Drive, #600, Charlotte, NC 28204 or to The Victory Junction Gang Camp at victoryjunction.org. E-Mail Condolences to the Parsons Family at bp@goprn.com.(PRN site).(1-17-2007)
  • Kenny Wallace deals with more sad news: As race fans and NASCAR family mourn the death of former champion and broadcaster Benny Parsons, Kenny Wallace’s family was dealt a blow of its own Tuesday morning. Shortly after Parsons passing Wallace’s father-in-law Charlie Poole died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 61. “This day has not been a good day for me. In six days you have Bobby Hamilton die, Benny Parsons, my father-in-law…and I thought of Kevin Harvick because (last year) he lost his father-in-law too. My wife and the family asked me to please stay down here because Charlie liked racing so much. Unfortunately the pearly gates are backed up right now like a toll booth…and I don’t mean that funny…just not a real good two weeks you know…its pretty rough.”(PRN’s Garage Pass)
    AND Charles “Charlie” Poole died Tuesday, January 16 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was the husband of Dolores Sunshine Poole and the son of Edna Poole. He is survived by daughters Kim Wallace, Kelly Shackelford, Jenny Melton, son Jason Poole and 10 grandchildren. Cards may be sent to Dolores Poole and Family to the fan club office at 8949 Harris Road, Concord, NC 28027. Details of memorial donations will be available soon. Please leave online condolences at Kenny Wallace Official Forum.(Kenny Wallace site)(1-16-2007)
  • Sad News: Kathryn Helton: Kathryn Helton, mother of NASCAR President Mike Hleton, passed away Sunday, Jan. 7. Funeral services were held today. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested that memorial donations be made to: First Baptist Church P. O. Box 116 Bristol, VA 24203.(1-9-2007)
  • Bobby Hamilton dies at age 49: former Nextel Cup driver and 2004 Truck Series Champion Bobby Hamilton passed away today at age 49, according to his son, Bobby Hamilton, Jr. Hamilton, a former Fairgrounds [Nashville] Speedway champion, missed most of the 2006 season after being diagnosed with cancer.(Tennessean…more details Monday)(1-7-2007)
    MORE: Bobby Hamilton Racing is saddened to announce that its owner Bobby Hamilton Sr. passed away this afternoon at his home in Nashville, TN from complications of Cancer. “He will be greatly missed as a husband, a father, a grandfather, an owner and a friend,” said the Hamilton Family. “We want to thank everyone for their love and support of our racing operation and the outpouring of care and concern during his cancer battle. One of Bobby’s greatest loves in life was racing and we will continue on in his honor.” Hamilton won four Nextel Cup Races and the 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion. Funeral arrangements are pending.(BHR PR)
    Articles/News: see more articles about the passing of Hamilton at:
    ESPN.com
    NASCAR.com
    Tennessean
    Motorsports Soapbox
    and more on my Articles Links page.
    SERVICE INFO: Bobby Hamilton Funeral Services will be held Tuesday January 9, 2006
    5PM till 8PM – Visitation for the Public; at Hermitage Funeral Home, 535 Shute Lane, Old Hickory, TN 37138
    In lieu of flowers please make donations to the American Cancer Society or Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Bobby Hamilton Racing site)(1-8-2007)
    ARM BAND a fan has started a site: armbandforbobby.com, asking folks to wear a black armband in honor of Hamilton at Daytona.(1-9-2007)
  • Sad News – Dan Shaver: Dan Shaver, 56, ARCA/Busch Series driver and team owner, died Tuesday Jan. 2 at his home after a battle with cancer. A lifelong resident of Charlotte, he was a graduate of South Mecklenburg High School, attended Central Piedmont Community College and served in the US Army Reserve. An exceptionally successful entrepreneur, he left a Texaco distributor in 1979 to start his own petroleum wholesale firm, Carolina Petroleum Distributors. Shaver established Shaver Motorsports in 1992, and drove in the IMSA, SCCA, ARCA RE/MAX Series and NASCAR Dash and Busch Series. In SCCA and IMSA competition, Shaver recorded 23 victories. In 17 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts his best finish was 9th at Michigan. Shaver also made two Busch Series starts in 2002 for Jay Robinson with a best finish of 38th at Chicago. Shaver Motorsports also formed divisions focusing on engine building and driver development. As a team owner, Shaver´s drivers included Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Todd Bodine, Justin Marks, Jeff Buice and Ron Cox. Dan Shaver is survived by his wife Donna and two children. On-line memorials and tributes may be made at www.mem.com. In honoring Dan’s wishes, funeral services will be private. Contributions can be made to the Dan Shaver Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 240606, Charlotte NC 28224 or to Hospice and Palliative Care, Charlotte Region, 1420 E 7th St., Charlotte NC 28204.(Charlotte Observer/ARCARacing.com)(1-5-2007)
  • Sad News: Larry Childress: Mr. Larry J. Childress [brother of Richard Chirldress], 59, of Pfafftown, NC went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, at his home. He was born Sept. 5, 1947, to the late Robert Reed and Virginia Harrell Childress. Mr. Childress was a member of Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church, where at one time he was a member of the United Methodist Men’s Fellowship. Racing was his life and joy. He was associated with NASCAR for the past 25 years in many different aspects. He also was affiliated with RCR [Richard Childress Racing] Promotions and most recently with Childress Properties. He was an avid motorcyclist and loved the outdoors. He is survived by his loving wife of 38 years, Judy C. Childress of the home; a son, Larry C. Childress, and wife Tia of King; two grandchildren, Carter Jackson Childress, 2 years old and Avery Michelle Childress, 4 months old, whom he adored; two sisters, Linda Cline and husband Thomas of Cherokee and Becky Hodge and husband Johnny of Winston-Salem; two brothers, Richard Childress and wife Judy Kay of Lexington and Ronnie Childress and wife Debbie of Winston-Salem, many, many cherished friends and a very special companion, his dog Angel. A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, at Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel, with the Rev. Richard W. Payne officiating. Burial will follow at Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, at Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317.(Winston Salem Journal)(1-4-2007)
  • Sad News: William B. Coleman, Jr: Keith Coleman Racing is sad to announce the passing of owner Keith Coleman’s father, Mr. William B. Coleman, Jr., of New Orleans, LA on December 29th.. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the NASCAR Foundation.(KCR PR)(1-2-2007)
  • 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)