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2008 SAD/TRAGIC NEWS/DEATHS/MEMORIALS
about deaths of those involved in NASCAR main three divisions or major auto racing series


 

  • Sad News – Milt Lunda: Milt Lunda, age 88, died on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008, in Black River Memorial Hospital under the care of Black River Hospice. Milt loved to travel with family and friends, watch sports and read. In the past, he also enjoyed piloting his airplane. In the late 1960s, he was a Winston Cup NASCAR team owner with Dave Marcus as the driver. Survivors include his wife, Lidy; his son, Larry (Anne) Lunda; and his daughter, Marlee (Richard) Slifka, all of Black River Falls. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials be given either to the Lunda Community Park Maintenance Fund or Black River Hospice. All memorials may be sent to the Lunda Family, c/o Carl Holmquist, P. O. Box 669, Black River Falls, Wis. 54615.(Jackson County Chronicle), Lunda owned the car Davis Marcis drove 34 races in 1969.(1-6-2009)
  • Sad News – John Rebhan: Former Cup car owner, John Rebhan, passed away on December 30th. Rebhan owned Warren Fabricating in Warren, Ohio. Rebhan owned the #77 car fielded in 11 races over 3 seasons [1979-1981] by John Anderson, Kenny Hemphill and Donnie Allison with Allison having the best finish of 5th at Talladega in May 1981. see a story about Rebhan at the Tribune Chronicle;
    SERVICES: At the family’s request, calling hours and services are private. Entombment will take place at Crown Hill Burial Park. Material contributions may be made to the donor’s favorite charity. Arrangements are entrusted to McFarland & Son Funeral Services Co., 271 N. Park Ave., Warren 44481. Please visit mcfarlandfuneral.com to view this obituary and send condolences.(Tribune Chronicle)(1-3-2009)
  • Sad News – Sam Yunick: William “Sam” Yunick, 42, son of of racing legend, Henry Smokey Yunick, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, December 27, 2008. Sam was a graduate of Georgia State and began his journey as an entrepreneur in Atlanta, Georgia in August 1991. Sam and his wife, Sharon, started with one Subway franchise and built it into a successful business with five operations in the Atlanta area. Sam and Sharon returned to Jacksonville in 1996 where Sam started Sync, Inc. which currently employs over 95 people in its various operations. Sam is survived by his wife, Sharon Yunick; two sons, Michael and Patrick; and a daughter, Nicole. More info at the Daytona Beach News Journal.(12-31-2008)
  • Sad News – Grady Humphryes: Grady Humphryes, age 71, passed away December 23, 2008. Mr. Humphryes was a respected member of the racing community, Mr. Humphryes worked for ML Motorsports, Bobby Allison, Davey Allison and several other NASCAR and ARCA racing teams over his 40 year career. Funeral Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, December 29, 2008 at Brown Service West Chapel with interment following at Valhalla Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Sunday, December 28, 2008 from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Dearly loved by his family, he is survived by his wife, Angela Humphryes; children, Shelia Humphryes, Angie Weldon (Larry), Scott Humphryes and Andrew Humphryes; siblings, Sox Humphries, Albert Humphries (Eloise) and Gladys Ann Goodwin (Glen); as well as many loving extended family and friends. Memorial Contributions may be made through Bobby Allison Racing, c/o Bonnie Allison Farr, 140 Church Ave., Hueytown, AL 35023. Brown Service West Chapel is honored to serve the Humphryes family.(Birmingham News)(12-29-2008)
  • Sad News – “Pee Wee” Jones: Mr. Phillip “Pee Wee” Sylvester Jones, Jr., 80, passed away Wednesday, December 24, 2008 at his home. He was born March 31, 1928 in Davidson County to Mittie Cornish and Phillip Sylvester Jones. He was a member of First Christian Church of Clemmons and retired from Modern Chevrolet. Pee Wee was one of the original members of NASCAR beginning in 1949 until his retirement in 1972. He was a six-time ‘ Modified’ Champion at Bowman Gray Stadium where his record of five consecutive championships still stands. He also won multiple championships at other race tracks.
    He was preceded in death by his son, Steve Jones. Surviving are his wife, Shirley Jones of the home; two sons, Tim Jones and wife, Donna of Mooresville, Mike Jones and wife, Tammie of Clemmons; and two special grandchildren, Austin Jones and Vidalia Smallwood. The Jones Family will receive friends on Saturday, December 27, from 6-8 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held on Sunday, December 28 at 2 p.m. at the Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel with the Rev. Stacy Abernathy officiating. Burial will follow at First Christian Church Cemetery in Clemmons. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice by going to www.hospicecarecenter .org. Online condolences may be made at www.hayworth-miller.com.(12-28-2008)
  • Sad News – Ken Kuhl: Ken Kuhl passed away Tuesday morning in Parkersburg WV following complications from a heart attack suffered on December 13th. Ken was 74. He is survived by his wife Rose. The Kuhl’s have five children, one of which is Melissa Colley, former Office Manager for Bang Racing. Ken’s son-in-law is Van Colley, long-time Business Manager for Darrell Waltrip. Services for Ken are being planned for Christmas Eve.(12-23-2008)
  • Sad News – Ron Hornaday Sr: Ron Hornaday Sr. passed away on December 21, 2008 at the age of 77. Ron Sr., was a two-time champion in the NASCAR Camping World Series West, when it was known as the NASCAR Winston West Series – winning back-to-back titles in 1963 and 1964. He made 17 NASCAR Grand National/Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) starts between 1955 and 1973, mainly on the West Coast. Ron was inducted in the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in its first class in 2002.(12-22-2008)
  • Sad News – Colby Crooks: Colby Crooks, 33, shock specialist for Mike Skinner in the Truck Series and for Connor Cantrell Racing of California, passed away November 19th. Crooks is the son of Joe Gibbs shock specialist Ronnie Crooks [see a story about Ronnie at nascar.com](11-26-2008)
  • Sad News – Don Hunter: Award-winning motorsports photographer Donald A. Hunter of Charlotte passed away on Nov. 6 following a brief illness. Hunter, 79, worked as a photographer for the Charlotte Observer for many years and was the director of photography for Charlotte Motor Speedway, according to an obituary in the Observer. Considered a pioneer in motorsports photography, Hunter won close to 100 awards, and was best known for his black- and-white photographic work. Many of his best photos captured the legends of NASCAR. In 1967, Hunter was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for photography, and one of his images remains in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Hunter is survived by his wife, Jean A. Hunter: daughter, Donna H. Franklin; and granddaughter, Marie R. Franklin. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association and the Alzheimer’s Foundation.(SceneDaily)(11-19-2008)
  • Sad News – Barbara Rinaldi: Barbara Rinaldi wife of Bob Rinaldi, former NASCAR member in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series, passed away early Friday morning 11-14-08, due to complications of cancer. Barbara was a long time employee of Fischer Engineering and BSR Products, before retiring to spend time caring for her beloved rescue Beagles. The family would like to thank the Doctors, Nurses and all staff members of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center for their valiant efforts and compassion during her time in the facility. Bob would also like to thank Bobby Hutchens of DEI and formerly of RCR, for his help in getting Barbara into the capable care of the folks at Wake Forest. Services: Visitation will be Tuesday 11-18 from 5 to 8pm at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, 494 E. Plaza Dr. Mooresvill, NC, and Friday 11-21 from 4pm to 8pm at Sansone Funeral Home, 192 Wood St. Bristol, RI Funeral services will be 10:00am at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Bristol, RI
    In lieu of flowers please make contributions in her memory to:
    The Greg Biffle Foundation
    P.O. Box 4359
    Mooresville, NC.(11-15-2008)
  • Sad News – Earl Small Jr: Long-time friend and sponsor of Billy Ballew Motorsports, Earl Small, Jr. was killed in a helicopter crash late last week. Earl Small Harley-Davidson was the primary sponsor for Ballew in many of the 2004 NCTS races. Decals will adorn the Billy Ballew Motorsports #15 and #51 this weekend in remembrance of Earl. The funeral will be 2:00pm Sunday, October 26th, at McEachern United Methodist Church in Powder Springs. Mayes Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home in Marietta, Georgia is handling arrangements.(Billy Ballew Motorsports PR)(10-22-2008)
  • Sad News – Steve Lawson UPDATE: it was reported on ABC’s opening coverage of the TUMS Quickpak 500 at Martinsville Speedway Sprint Cup race that NASCAR Sprint Cup official, Steve Lawson, has passed away. No details or arrangements known.
    UPDATE: Steve Lawson, a popular NASCAR official, was found dead in his hotel room Sunday morning, NASCAR officials said. He was 51. The cause of death was not announced. Lawson, of Rockford, Ill., worked as an official for stock car racing’s governing body for more than a decade, most recently as a safety inspector in the Sprint Cup Series. He was scheduled to work at Sunday’s TUMS Quikpak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. A moment of silence was held before the race.(ESPN/Associated Press)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR Statement On The Passing Of NASCAR Official Steve Lawson – Steve Lawson, 51, a NASCAR official for more than 10 years, passed away Sunday morning in Martinsville, Va. Lawson was in town working the NASCAR events at Martinsville Speedway. Lawson, a native of Rockford, Ill., worked as a safety inspector in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. NASCAR made the following statement regarding Lawson’s death: “The entire NASCAR family is saddened by the loss of one of its own – Steve Lawson. He provided outstanding service to our sport. And, while our officials are certainly keeping Steve’s family and friends in their thoughts and prayers, they are preparing to officiate today’s race with the quality and efficient manner that Steve would want them to.”(NASCAR)(10-19-2008)
    SERVICES: Funeral/memorial information for Steve Lawson follows:
    Tuesday, October 28, Visitation from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Funeral from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    Fred C Olson Funeral Chapel, 1001 2nd Avenue, Rockford, IL 61104 815-963-6521
    Donations in lieu of flowers to NASCAR Foundation/Brienne Davis Scholarship Fund.
    Anyone wishing to send cards to the family should send them to: Steve Lawson Family, C/O NASCAR R&D Center, 7010 Westwinds Blvd., Concord, NC 28027.(10-22-2008)
  • Sad News – T. Taylor Warren: Thomas Taylor Warren, a lifelong NASCAR photographer, died Wednesday. He was 83. Known simply as T. Taylor in the NASCAR community, T. Taylor Warren began photographing racing before NASCAR itself was born. Warren started shooting Sprint and Midget racing at the Milwaukee Fairgrounds in 1947 when he lived in Wisconsin. Over the next 60 years, Warren saw, and shot, it all. From his photo of the three-wide finish of the first Daytona 500 in 1959…to images from this year’s 50th anniversary Daytona 500 that he shot with a digital camera, Warren rolled with the changes in NASCAR and kept on going. Warren was the first photographer to win the International Motorsports Hall of Fame’s Henry T. McLemore Award for achievement in journalism, an honor presented to him in 2006. Funeral arrangements have not been released.(Scene Daily)(10-9-2008)
    SERVICES: A memorial service will be held this Sunday, October 12th at 4:00 p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 126 Pearl Street in Darlington, SC. The family also invites you to share in light refreshments in the church fellowship hall following the service. At the request of the family, in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA), P.O. Box 500, Darlington, SC 29540. For a personal message to the family, the Warren’s address is 325 Bar-M Ranch Road, Florence, SC 29501. Directions to the church from Darlington Raceway: Take Highways 151 & 34 into downtown Darlington, go through three stop lights, the church will be on your left at the third light.(10-9-2008)
  • Sad News – Hal Hamrick: Hal Hamrick, a pioneer in several forms of media coverage of stock-car racing, died Sunday night in Gastonia. He was 79. Mr. Hamrick was publisher of “FasTrack,” a weekly racing publication based in Gastonia, NC . He suffered a stroke on Friday. Mr. Hamrick had written about and talked about racing for nearly as long as there has been a NASCAR. He sat on a soft drink crate to broadcast a race from Martinsville Speedway in Virginia in 1952 and was part of the team that broadcast the first Daytona 500 in 1959. He did radio work for the Universal Radio Network, which pioneered radio broadcasts of NASCAR races, until 1983. Mr. Hamrick was born in Rutherford County and grew up in Asheville.(Charlotte Observer and at the Gaston Gazette)(9-29-2008)
    SERVICES: The family will receive friends on Wednesday [10/1] from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm at Parkwood Baptist Church, 1729 East Garrison Blvd., Gastonia (704-864-3930), The Celebration of Hal Hamrick’s Life will be at 3:00 pm, Wednesday at Parkwood Baptist Church. Since there will be no graveside services, in lieu of flowers, the family has asked that any tributes be made as contributions to:
    Parkwood Baptist Church, 1827 Dixon Road, Gastonia, NC 28054
    Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317
    American Heart Association, 222 S. Church Street, Ste. 303, Charlotte, NC 28202.(9-30-2008)
  • Sad News – Dick Bahre: Former NASCAR car owner, Richard “Dick” Bahre, 76, passed away on Saturday in Statesville, N.C. Bahre was the brother of New Hampshire Motor Speedway founder, Bob Bahre, and the uncle of former track president, Gary Bahre. Dick helped build the speedway with Bob and Gary in 1989. “Dick Bahre was an integral part of the speedway’s history,” said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “He worked side-by-side with Bob and Gary to build a first class facility for race fans to enjoy. As a car owner, Dick gave many drivers the opportunity to compete in NASCAR’s elite divisions. This is a tremendous loss for the Bahre family, the speedway, and the entire motorsports community.” Bahre was involved in auto racing for over 50 years starting with the midget racing circuit in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s with Bob. Dick and Chuck Rider formed Bahari Racing with young Waltrip behind the wheel in the mid-1980’s.
    The family will receive friends from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday [9/29] at Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home, 705 Davie Avenue, in Statesville, N.C. A second receiving for friends will be held at Oxford Hills Funeral Services, 1037 Main Street, Oxford, Maine on Wednesday. A funeral mass will be held on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Catherine of Sienna Church, 32 Paris Street, Norway, Maine. The family has requested that memorial contributions be made to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, N.C. 27317; to Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County, 2347 Simonton Road, Statesville, N.C. 28625, or to the American Cancer Society, 6000 Fairview Road, Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28210.(9-28-2008)
  • Sad News- Paul Newman: The world at large has lost one of its finest actors … and the world of motor sports has lost a friend. Paul Newman, whose passion for race cars seemed to equal his love of filmmaking, has passed away. He was 83. See more at ABC News.(9-27-2008)
  • Sad News – Mike Hollander: vice president of AARWBA [American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association], Michael F. Hollander, passed away September 24, when he succumbed to mesothelioma at the age of 61. Hollander was a racing enthusiast well known in every media center as the journalist who brought motorsports news online in 1979. His Racing Information Services and Motor Sports Forum evolved into a pioneer website providing real-time information from events all over the world. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Dr. Sandra Horwitz, Optometrist, and their daughter, Sharon. A memorial service is scheduled for 1pm. Friday, Sept. 26, at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 W. Centinella Ave., Los Angeles, 90045 (right off the 405 just south of the Marina Freeway).(motorpressguild.org)(9-26-2008)
  • Sad News – Ron Meade: Ron Meade, an original staff member of New Hampshire Motor Speedway and a long-time motorsports publicist, passed away on Saturday in Concord, N.H. after a brief illness. Ron most recently served as the Director of Special Projects at the speedway. He was also very actively involved in the promotion of travel and tourism throughout New Hampshire. Affectionately known as “Uncle Ron” to friends and colleagues, he had always supported the Lakes Region Association Scholarship fund for high school students continuing their education in travel and tourism. Recently the Association established the Ron Meade “On the Track to Tourism” Annual Scholarship to honor his enormous contributions to the region and the state. Gifts and donations in remembrance of Ron can be sent to: The Lakes Region Hospitality Scholarship Fund, Ron Meade “On the Track to Tourism”, Annual Scholarship, PO Box 430, New Hampton, NH 03256.(9-24-2008)
  • Sad News – Ed Justice Sr.: Ed Justice Sr., the last of the three famous brothers whose stickers rode on winning race cars around the world and whose automotive lubricants and additives rode inside many a winning race engine and transmission, died Sunday, Aug. 31, from kidney failure. He was 87. Ed and his brothers, Zeke and Gus, had always been in business together, starting with a bicycle-rental company they formed while the three were teenagers in Paola, Kan. A friendship with an Amoco gas station owner named Bill France lead to their participation in the founding of a new sanctioning body named NASCAR. Their sponsorship decals were on many of the first NASCAR entries. The 1950 Darlington race saw the first “Justice Brothers” crew shirts, another innovation. That same year one of their sponsored cars–a Kurtis Kraft–won the Indy 500 with Johnnie Parsons driving. Race teams around the world continue to use their products. Last year, Justice Brothers decals rode on winning entries in Le Mans, Baja, NHRA, NASCAR, IRL and CART. Among others, Ed is survived by his son, Ed Jr. Justice Brothers today makes more than 100 products. You can read about the company and its history at www.justicebrothers.com. Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11, in Sky Rose Chapel at Rose Hills cemetery in Whittier, Calif.(Autoweek)(9-3-2008)
  • Sad News – Mike Silver: Michael David Silver, 58, of 16 Salem Acres passed away Sunday, August 31, 2008. A lifelong resident of Buncombe County. He was Owner & Operator of Craggy Motors, was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Weaverville [NC] and former member of Newbridge Baptist Church, a 1968 graduate of Erwin High School, attended Montreat-Anderson College and was a Vietnam Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Surviving are his wife, Karen Elaine Rice Silver, of the home; son, Andrew Michael “Andy” Silver [Ganassi Racing] of Mooresville; daughter, Katie Marie Silver Hensley & husband, Michael of Candler; mother, Earline Arrowood Silver Ingle & husband, Bill of Asheville; mother-in-law, Lois Sawyer Rice of Asheville; brothers, Ronnie Silver [former Busch Series driver] & wife, Gracie and Terry Silver all of Asheville; brothers-in-law, Bryan Rice & wife, Margo of Asheville and Blix Rice and wife, April of Easley, SC; several nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church of Weaverville. Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Chuch of Weaverville (Missions), P.O. Box 247, Weaverville, N.C. 28787. See more at andersrice.com.(9-3-2008)
  • Sad News – Phil Hill: Phil Hill, a reserved Californian who became a gifted race-car driver and the only American-born driver to win the Formula One international auto-racing championship, died Thursday. He was 81. Hill died at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula of complications from Parkinson’s disease, said John Lamm, a close friend who is also editor-at-large of Road & Track magazine. Hill won the Formula One title for Ferrari in 1961. He also was the first American to win the 24-hour endurance race at Le Mans, France, — a race he would win twice again — and he won the Sebring 12-hour race three times, among many other victories.(The Italian-born Mario Andretti, whose family immigrated to the United States when he was a teenager, won the Formula One title in 1978.) Hill won his Formula One championship in the season’s penultimate race in Monza, Italy, after he had swapped the series lead all year with his Ferrari teammate Wolfgang von Trips of Germany. In the same race, Trips died in a crash that also killed 14 spectators. As a result, Ferrari did not participate in the season’s final race at Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Hill was unable to celebrate his championship in his home country. Hill, despite driving with safety gear that paled by today’s standards, never suffered a serious injury in his career. He retired from driving in 1967 at 39. Philip Toll Hill was born in Miami on April 20, 1927, and was raised in Santa Monica. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991. Hill is survived by his wife, Alma, son Derek of Culver City, daughter Vanessa Rogers of Phoenix, stepdaughter Jennifer Delaney of Niwot, Colo., and four grandchildren.(Los Angeles Times)(8-29-2008)
  • Sad News – Kenneth Campbell: Kenneth Campbell, Team Manager for Jay Robinson Racing passed away just after midnight Friday August 29, 2008. Kenneth had been sick and in the hospital for much of the last month. Kenneth’s career in racing spanned for more than thirty years. Kenneth is survived by his wife of twenty five years Kim, his daughter Taylor and his two sons Carson and Braden. He is also survived by his Mother and many other immediate Family Members. His Race Team was in California when Kenneth passed. Many of the Team including Jay Robinson, Kenny Wallace, Derrike Cope, Curtis Aldridge, Kertus Davis, Stacey Carlson, Elaine Hughes, Gene Allnutt and Cindy Woosley held a gathering just after his passing to Honor his life.(Jay Robinson Racing)(8-29-2008)
  • Sad News – Joe Pratt: AARN – Area Auto Racing News, advertising director and Motorsports Show manager, Joe Pratt, passed away late Sunday [Aug 23rd] night. Pratt had been ill over the last several years, and in the last year had been fighting an uphill battle with various complications related to his condition. Pratt of Woolwich Twp., formerly of Deptford. Age 48. Husband of Cindy (nee Watkins). Brother of Edward Pratt of Bellmawr, Richard Pratt of Sewell, John Pratt of Fl., Elizabeth Johnston of Glassboro, Clara Hughes of Alabama and the late Robert Pratt. Services will be this Thursday at Boucher Funeral Home 1757 Delsea Drive, Deptford, NJ 08096 from 6-8:30 p.m. Cards can go to Cindy Pratt, 19 Wayne Drive, Woolwich, NJ 08085.
    In lieu of flowers, donations can go to Gift of Life Transplant Foundation, 401 N. Third St., Philadelphia, PA 19123.(Area Auto Racing News)(8-28-2008)
  • Sad News – Terry Labonte’s Mother-in-Law: Barbara VanMeter went to be with her Lord on Saturday, August 16, 2008. A resident of Corpus Christi, Texas most of her life, Barbara was born July 14, 1937 in Kingsville, Texas. A daughter, Karlen J. VanMeter preceded her in death. Surviving her is her husband of 48 years, Eldon L. VanMeter of Corpus Christi, Texas; three daughters, Barbara L. VanMeter of Corpus Christi, Texas, Dana S. Marshall and her husband Ron Marshall of Robstown, Texas, Kimberly Labonte and her husband, Terry Labonte of Winston Salem, North Carolina; one sister, Pamela S. Clark and her husband, William Clark of Harlingen, Texas; and her five grandchildren, Justin Labonte of Trinity, North Carolina, Kristen Garrett and her husband, Matt Garrett of Fort Worth, Texas, Galen Kelly of St. Louis, Michigan, Travis Marshall of Robstown, Texas and Kimberly Marshall of Robstown, Texas.
    A Memorial Service celebrating Barbara’s life will be held at 6:00pm on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at the Seaside Funeral Home Chapel. The family will receive friends prior to the memorial service from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to Habitat for Humanity or Driscoll Children’s Hospital. To view guestbook and to leave condolences and shared memories please visit www.seasidefuneral.com.(Corpus Christi Caller-Times)(8-20-2008)
  • Sad News – Joe Dixon: Joe L. “Joey” Dixon, age 50, died Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at his home after battling cancer for 3 years & critically ill for the past 2 weeks. He was born October 6, 1957 in Iredell County, NC, the son of Betty Hayes Dixon and the late Wilbur Lavern Dixon. He was a 1975 graduate of A.L. Brown High School, Kannapolis, NC. He married his wife, Janet Hunter Dixon on December 20, 1980. He was employed in the NASCAR racing industry and has worked for Joe Gibbs Racing for the past 10 years as the Engine Parts Coordinator. He also coached and played on the NASCAR softball league and the NASCAR football team. He faithfully attended the weekly bible studies at JGR. The funeral will be 4:00 P.M. Monday, August 18, 2008 at Charity Baptist Church with the Rev. Dr. R.J. Hammond officiating also delivering eulogies will be Joe Gibbs, former Head Coach of the Washington Redskins Football team and owner of JGR and Bob Dyer, chaplain of JGR and Brian Martain, asistant chaplain at JGR and Ron Bushey of Charity Baptist. Burial will follow at Carolina Memorial Park, Kannapolis, NC. More information can be found at the Whitley Funeral Home web site.(8-17-2008)
  • Sad News: Steve “Big Guy” Helwig, services: Steve “Big Guy” Helwig, car chief for the CJM Racing Nationwide Series car driven by Jason Keller, died this morning at home, a team spokesman confirmed. Helwig, 53, was diagnosed with leukemia in June. Helwig had been involved in racing for more than 30 years, including many with ppc Racing. Keller took a solo lap prior to the second practice session Friday at MIS in Helwig’s honor.(SceneDaily.com)
    SERVICES: Memorial Service Announcement for Steve “Big Guy” Helwig
    Visitation: Monday, August 18th 6-9 pm
    Raymer Funeral Home, 16901 Old Statesville Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078 (704-892-9669)
    Memorial Service: Tuesday, August 19th 2 pm
    Raymer Funeral Home, 16901 Old Statesville Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078
    Memorials in his honor may be made to: Perception Ministries (PMC Life), 736-D St. Andrews Rd., PO Box 134, Columbia, SC 29210.(8-15-2008)
    Obit: Mr. Helwig, age 53, died Friday, August 15, 2008 at his residence. Born July 25, 1955 in Buffalo New York he was a son of the late Wallace and Alice Brush Helwig. ‘Big Guy’ a NASCAR crew chief was employed with NASCAR and CJM Racing for 30 years and a Harley Davidson enthusiast.
    Memorial services will be conducted 2:00 p.m. Tuesday August 19 in the Chapel of Raymer Funeral Home with Rev. Kenny Crosswhite officiating. The family will receive friends Monday evening from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Funeral Home and following the memorial service. Known and loved by all, he leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Linda D. Helwig, sons; Thomas Simmons and wife JoAnne of Syracuse, NY, Doug Simmons and wife Kirsten of Laurinburg, NC, Michael Simmons and wife Nicole of Beaufort, SC; grandchildren, Alex, Jack, Brooke, Tyler and Kristina; brothers, Paul Helwig and wife Vickie, Jeff Helwig and wife Lois; sister, Debbie Schuyler and husband Chip all of NY and his NASCAR family.
    Memorials in his honor may be made to Perception Ministries, P.M.C., 736 D St Andrews Road #134, Columbia SC 29210. Arrangements by Raymer Funeral Home, Huntersville. Guest Book.(Charlotte Obsever)(8-17-2008)
  • Sad News – Frances Spencer: Frances Veronica Spencer, 81 [Jimmy Spencer’s Mother], of Salem Boulevard, Berwick, died July 31, 2008 in Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA. She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Edgar Robert Spencer; daughters, Christine Frances Spencer, North Carolina, Justin Judith and her husband, Sinagar, Connecticut, Pamela Catherine Spencer, Berwick; sons, Edgar Jr., Shickshinny, James Peter and his wife, Patricia, North Carolina, Paul Nicholas and his wife, Stacey, Berwick, Gary Frances and his wife, Laurie, Berwick; grandchildren, Edgar III., Kristen, Dink, Jimmy, Katrina, Jerry, Paul Jr., Katie and Terra; great-grandchildren, Sierra, Brayden, Samantha Breauna; sisters, Carla Manik, Old Forge, Barbara Freeman, Beach Haven. Private memorial services will be held today at 3 p.m. from the Clarke Piatt Funeral Home, Inc., 6 Sunset Lake Road, Hunlock Creek, PA, with the Rev. C. Glenn Neely officiating. There will be no calling hours. Memorial contributions may be made to the SPCA, 524 E. Main Street, Fox Hill Road, Wilkes-Barre, PA, 18702.(Times Leader)(8-3-2008)
  • Kyle Petty Statement on the Passing of Close Friend ‘Click’ Baldwin: “Words cannot describe what “Click” Baldwin has meant to me, my family and the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Back in 1995, he and I, along with a few other close friends, were just a group of guys that wanted to ride our motorcycles across the country. We found out that we could raise some money for charity while doing it and the Kyle Petty Charity Ride was born. While it had my name on it, “Click” was a driving force behind the ride. There has never been a more giving human being. He was more than a friend; he was like a brother to me. Please keep his wife Diane, his daughter Chelsea, his Mom, his brother and his Carolina Harley-Davidson family in your thoughts and prayers. We have lost a great one.”(Petty Racing PR).
    MORE: The Baldwin Family would like to thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult period. Diane Baldwin requests the use of restraint from questions and inquiries to the staff until her return. They too are suffering from shock and grief and need time to heal and reflect. Arrangements will be made once the family is able to return home. In lieu of flowers, the dealership is asking for donations towards “Bricks for Click” to be a part of their memorial sidewalk at the dealership. Each brick will have a personal message inscribed on the brick from the donor. Bricks can be purchased at the dealership with one’s personal message in remembrance of this motorcycle icon, “Unlike Any Other”. For further information on the accident, video and reports can be viewed at www.kpax.com. Recent video footage of Click on his latest ride is available at www.kylepettycharityride.com/virtual_ride.(carolinaharley.com)(7-30-2008)
  • Sad News – “Checker” Carmichael: Ronnie “Checker” Carmichael, 49, died in a work-related accident on Monday, July 28th. Carmichael, the brother-in-law to #34 NSCS and #24 NNS team owner Bob Jenkins, volunteered as a crew member for several teams over the past twenty years. Carmichael is survived by his wife Mary Neal, and daughters Kristin and Amanda.(FRM PR)(7-29-2008)
  • Sad News – Steve Peterson: NASCAR Technical Director Steve Peterson, 58, was found deceased today at his home from what appears to be natural causes. Steve began his NASCAR career in January, 1995 and led many of NASCAR’s safety initiatives including development and installation of SAFER Barriers, management and approval of head and neck restraints and improved seat belts, and coordination of the safety features in NASCAR’s new car. “Steve’s accomplishments to increase driver safety will continue to be a benefit to every NASCAR driver that gets behind the wheel for generations to come,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Steve’s family and friends; he will certainly be missed throughout the NASCAR community.” Funeral arrangements will be announced later.(NASCAR PR)(7-15-2008)
  • Penske Racing Pays Tribute to Employee: This weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, all three Penske Racing NASCAR Cup Series entries will carry a special decal in memory of employee Bill Passwater. The decal will also be on Penske IndyCar Series entries at Nashville Superspeedway and the American Le Mans Series entries at Lime Rock. Passwater, 33, passed away on Wednesday morning. He is survived by his wife, Heather, and their baby daughter, Lyla Grace. Passwater had been employed at Penske Racing since 2005. He was the transportation coordinator for the NASCAR Cup Series teams.(Penske Racing PR)(7-10-2008)
  • Sad News – Irma Combs: Mrs. Irma B. Combs, 89 of Shelby NC, passed away Saturday, July 5, 2008. She was employed for 20 years with NASCAR as a track steward until 1970. Her late husband was Roby Combs, Pioneer NASCAR Flagman. She is survived by two sons, Roby S. Combs and Phil Combs, both of Shelby; two grandchildren, Shane Combs of Charleston and Tara Combs of Shelby; and a great-grandchild, Hannah Banicki-Combs of Charleston. Visitation info can be found at the Clay-Barnette Funeral Home website.(7-6-2008)
  • Sad News – Bob Reuther: ““Bullet Bob” Reuther, the first track champion in Music City Motorplex [Nashville] 50 years ago, died this [July 3rd] morning after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80. He grew up in Nashville and during a Navy stint was stationed in Seattle where he saw his first race car. When he returned he helped create a local league that raced on a dirt track on Cowan Street called Cumberland Speedway. His local success led him to other tracks in the South and then to Daytona Beach, Fla. In 1947 he set a beach record of 150.250 mph in the Modified Division that still stands. A decade later, the Fairgrounds track was built in Nashville and in 1958 Reuther won the first championship. He also raced in three Grand National (pre-Winston Cup) races, including Nashville in 1959 and 1960. Reuther owned and operated an electronics business to support his family and his racing. He also was a licensed pilot and flew his godson, Bobby Hamilton, to many of his NASCAR races. Visitation is Sunday from 4-7 p.m. at Nashville’s Woodlawn Funeral Home. The service is at 2:30 p.m. Monday at Woodlawn.(Tennessean)(7-4-2008)
  • Sad News – Jason Arden: Jason Michael Arden, 28, died in a tragic motor vehicle accident on Thursday, June 26, 2008. Born March 6, 1980 in Libertyville, IL, he was the son of Donna Smith Mason. Jason was currently employed as a Car Chief for Stanton Barrett. In recent years he also worked for Michael Waltrip Racing, Robbie Gordon Motorsports, among others in Mooresville, NC. Jason started his career working in Sprint Cars in Wisconsin. In addition to his mother, he is survived by his brother, Adam T. Arden and his companion, Jennifer; nephew, Jason Arthur Arden; and niece, Paige Nicole Arden. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 PM on Monday, June 30 at the Michael Waltrip Racing Center, 20310 Chartwell Center Drive, Cornelius, NC 28031 with Rev. Kenny Crosswhite officiating. The family will receive friends following the service. Memorials may be made to the Perception Ministry, 736-D St. Andrew’s Road #136, Columbia, SC 29210, to help with the cost of the funeral. Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the Arden family.(Charlotte Observer)(6-29-2008)
  • Sad News – Linda Braun: Yesterday afternoon Braun Racing lost one of its most beloved members of its team. Linda Braun, lovingly known as Mama B, mother of Nationwide Series owner, Todd Braun, passed away suddenly of natural causes in her hometown of Winamac, Indiana. As a tribute to “Mama B” both Braun Racing entries, the #38 Toyota driven by Jason Leffler and the #32 to be driven by Denny Hamlin, will go entirely black, void of all sponsor decals, in Saturday afternoon’s Camping World 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made on behalf of Linda Braun to the Dove House Children Advocacy Center. Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center, PO Box 825, 328 E. Broad Street, Statesville, NC 28687. For information about funeral arrangements and visitation please visit frainmortuary.com and click the obituaries tab for that information.(Braun Racing PR)(6-26-2008)
  • Sad News – NHRA driver Scott Kalitta: Scott Kalitta died Saturday when his Funny Car burst into flames and crashed at the end of track during the final round of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The NHRA said the 46-year-old Kalitta – the 1994 and 1995 Top Fuel season champion who had 18 career victories, 17 in Top Fuel and one in Funny Car – was taken to the Old Bridge division of Raritan Bay Medical Center, where he died a short time later. Kalitta’s Toyota Solara was traveling at about 300 mph when it burst into flames.(Associated Press)(6-21-2008)
  • Sad News – Tom Davies: Thomas J. Davies, 76, passed away June 13th, son of the late Thomas and Helen (Johnson) Davies. He owned and operated Thomas Davies Ford in Cortland, N.Y. In 1976 he moved to this area and for many years worked as a security guard for Daytona International Speedway. An avid NASCAR enthusiast, he enjoyed racing and belonged to Living Legends of Auto Racing. Donations may be made in his memory to Florida Hospice Oceanside, 264 S. Atlantic Ave., Ormond Beach, FL 32176. See more info at the Daytona Beach News Journal.(6-18-2008)
  • Sad News – Jim McKay: Jim McKay, 86, a longtime television sports journalist, has died of natural causes in Maryland, according to a statement from the McKay family. McKay is best known for hosting “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” and 12 Olympic Games. McKay won numerous awards for journalism, including the George Polk Memorial Award and two Emmys — one for his sports coverage, the other for his news reporting — for his work at the 1972 Munich Olympics, which were tragically affected by the Black September terrorists’ attack on the Israeli athletes in the Olympic Village. In 1988, McKay was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. In 1968, McKay won the first of his 13 Emmy Awards, becoming the first sports commentator to receive that honor. McKay was the first American network sports commentator to visit mainland China. In 1991, he visited Cuba to interview Fidel Castro. McKay was with “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” since its inception in April 1961. Jim McManus (McKay’s real name) was born in Philadelphia on September 24, 1921, and moved to Baltimore when he was 15.(ESPN.com)(6-7-2008)
  • Sad News – Bill Connell: William (Bill) D. Connell, Sr. (1947 – 2008) passed away Saturday morning [May 31st] at 9:07am/et. He was at Northeast Medical Center in Concord, N.C. Bill was preceded in death by his father and mother Mr. Demarcus William Connell, and his father-in-law William McKinley Steedley. Bill is survived by his wife Sherry Steedley Connell, daughter Angela and grandson Jordan Connell, son Mark and daughter-in-law Heather Connell, and his younger sister Vickie and brother-in-law Skip Kress. Bill was also a Vietnam War veteran serving in the U.S. Navy. He was best known for his thirty-four years of motorsports broadcasting which included twelve years of producing and hosting his own, regional network television show The PROS In Motorsports. During his glorious broadcast career Bill was also cast in three motion pictures: Last American Hero, Greased Lightning, and Stroker Ace. After losing a kidney to cancer in March of 1998, Bill continued to battle his health which led to his early retirement in May 2003, after the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where Bill called his final NASCAR event. His family will be receiving friends this Tuesday, June 3, from 6:30p.m. to 8:30p.m. at Linn-Honeycutt Funeral home in Landis, N.C. They will celebrate Bill’s, blessed life Wednesday, June 4, 4p.m at Dayspring Community Church in China Grove, N.C. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Dayspring Community Church building fund, P.O. Box 967, China Grove, N.C. 28023 or The North Carolina Kidney Foundation.(6-1-2008)
  • Sad News – Joe Whitley: Mr. Joseph “Joe” Edward Whitley Jr., age 58 of 581 Sandringham Place, passed away Monday May 19, 2008 at Alleghany County Hospital. Funeral services will be held on Thursday at 11:00 AM at Center United Methodist Church, with Rev. Jerry Hagler and Rev. Don Newman officiating. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 PM on Wednesday at Wilkinson Funeral Home and will be at the home the remaining time. A burial will be held on Friday at 1:00 PM at Buckhorn United Methodist Church Cemetery in Rock Ridge (Wilson), NC. The family will receive friends after the graveside service. He worked in NASCAR for 25 years and currently was the manager for Pro Cal Professional Decals. Survivors include his wife, Beverly Long Whitley; daughter, Taylor Whitley and son, Joseph (Jed) Edward Whitley, III, both of the home; sisters, Carol Whitley Cox and husband, Larry, Dianne Whitley Barnes and Beth Whitley Glover and husband, David, all of Wilson; mother-in-law, Audrey Long White of Rockingham. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Beverly Whitley Memorial Fund c/o Suntrust Bank, 818 Church Street North, Concord, NC 28025.(expressionstributes.com)(5-21-2008)
  • Sad News – Lloyd Moore: Lloyd Moore, 95, who was the oldest living NASCAR driver passed away peacefully while sleeping at 3:32pm Sunday, May 18th surrounded by his family in his and Virginia’s home just outside of Frewsburg, NY. Lloyd would have been 96 on June 8th. Arraignments will be announced by the Peterson Funeral Home, Frewsburg, NY.(Obit at the Post Journal), Moore ran 49 races in the now Cup Series from 1949-1955, winning 1, 13 top 5’s and 23 tens. PLus see an interesting article and image at NASCAR.com.
    Petty Comment Richard Petty Comments on the Passing of Lloyd Moore: “I was saddened to learn of the passing of Lloyd Moore yesterday. He was a joy to be around. Lloyd was a connection to the origin of NASCAR. Talking to him was like taking a trip down memory lane, for me, because he raced against my dad. I still have memories of those races. He would come by the house after a lot of the races because he and daddy were good friends. So I knew Lloyd from the time I was a young kid and I am proud to say that we developed a great friendship over the years. Lloyd was a great driver and a great person. He will truly be missed.”(MCG PR)(5-19-2008)
  • Sad News – Gene Glover: Gene Glover 73, father of Ganassi Racing’s Tony Glover, passed away yesterday [May 18th]. Glover won the 79 NASCAR Late Model Sportsman divison and over 300 races throughout his career. Survivors include his loving wife of 34 years, Reba Light Glover, of the home; son, Tony Glover and wife, Christy of Mooresville, NC; granddaughters Brittany Nicole Glover and Ashton Brooke Glover of Charlotte, NC; brothers, David L. Glover and wife, Brenda and Delmer Glover and wife Linda of Kingsport, TN; sisters-in-law, Nan Light and Patsy Willis, both of Kingsport, TN; and a very special cat, Samantha. More info on services and Glover at oakhill.createatribute.com. The family requests that memorial donations be made in Eugene Glover’s name to Victory Junction Camp.(5-19-2008)
  • Sad News – DJ Smith: Delwin “D.J.” Smith, father of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pioneer Jimmy Smith, died May 12 in Temecula, Calif. where he resided for the past 15 years. Smith was 83. D.J. was born on January 6, 1925 in Crookston, Neb. He served in the Navy, was stationed in San Francisco and later settled in Southern California. He married and had three children: Joan, Jimmy and Wendell Smith. D.J. became involved with auto racing in the late 1950s promoting all types of racing and later became a car owner. After retiring, he began his second career with his sons at Ultra Wheel Company and devoted 100 percent of his time to Ultra Motorsports which fielded cars in both the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the then NASCAR Winston Cup Series. D.J. developed relationships with many of the NASCAR greats such as Tiny Lund, A.J. Foyt, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Parnelli Jones and Junior Johnson, to name a few. His son, Jimmy, was one of four off-road racing owners who came to NASCAR in 1994 with the concept of racing pickup trucks on paved ovals and road courses. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debuted the following year and currently is in its 14th season. In 2005, Smith’s team won both owner and driver championships fielding Dodges driven by Ted Musgrave. Services will be held at 11:00am. Monday, May 19 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 4471 Lincoln Ave., Cypress CA 90630. Donations can be made to Victory Junction in memory of D.J. Smith, 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317. Please request Victory Junction to send donation cards to: The Smith Family, 75 Linda Isle, Newport Beach, CA 92660.(NASCAR PR)(5-14-2008)
  • Sad News – Butch Smith: Condolences to ESPN NASCAR analyst Marty Smith on the death of his father Leo. Thoughts go out to Marty and his family.
    AND Leo Harvey (Butch) Smith II, 60, of Pearisburg, died on Friday, April 25, 2008. In death, Leo regained life, reuniting with his everything, his beloved wife, Joy, in the arms of the Lord after 10 heartbroken years apart. He yearned for nothing but to see her sweet face again. He said so every day. In life, Leo impacted many through anonymous generosity. Few kids contemplate where those Big Macs come from as the athletic bus meanders down the mountain on fall Friday evenings, or how those sparkling new bats appear in the Little League dugout. He was that kind of man. A lifelong resident of the New River Valley, Leo was raised an only child in Christiansburg by a pair of hardworking educators, Leo H. Smith and Eunice Martin Smith. Following brief stints in Culpeper, Va., and Salem, W.Va., during which he worked tirelessly to provide for a young family while earning a college degree, Leo eventually settled his family in Giles Co., in close proximity to his widowed mother and the Virginia Tech Hokies. A loving son, he called his mother daily to ensure her well-being. She once broke a hip and he didn’t just visit sporadically. He was there every day and literally taught her to walk again, tracking every step with an elaborate Excel spreadsheet that spoke well to his meticulous nature. A loving father, he attended ballgames and high school chorus concerts, leaving little doubt to the assemblage which children were his. He was the proudest of papas, and until his dying day instilled in others the value of determination. He cared not if you were the best, he cared that you strove to be. Leo was preceded in death by his father, Leo H. Smith and his wife, Joy Massey Smith. He is survived by his mother, Eunice Martin Smith, 93, of Christiansburg; his daughter, Stacy Smith Moyer and her husband, Chris, of Suffolk, Va.; his son, Marty and his wife, Lainie, of Huntersville, N.C.; and one grandson, Cambron Reed Smith. Visitation will be held Tuesday, April 29, 2008 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Givens Funeral Home, in Pearisburg. Funeral services will be held April 30, 2008, at 2 p.m. at Angel’s Rest Baptist Fellowship, in Pearisburg, with the Rev. Lee Ellison officiating. The interment will follow at Birchlawn Cemetery. Flowers are appreciated and donations made in his honor may be sent to the American Breast Cancer Foundation or Angel’s Rest Baptist Fellowship.(Roanoke Times)(4-27-2008)
  • Sad News: Cameron Argetsinger: Cameron Argetsinger, the founder of racing at Watkins Glen, died Tuesday after a long illness. He was 87. Argetsinger’s death comes at a time when the Watkins Glen community is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first road race through the streets of the village, organized by Argetsinger, in 1948. That event eventually led to the construction of the Watkins Glen Racetrack and the community became world famous after Argetsinger succeeded in attracting Formula 1 races to the track in 1961. Argetsinger, a lawyer by profession, left Watkins Glen Grand Prix Corp. in 1970 to head up other racing organizations. He returned to the area in 1977 and became a partner in a local law firm. He remained passionate about all types of auto racing right until the end, said longtime track historian Bill Green. Argetsinger was a driver, a race promoter and organizer who did more than anyone to put Watkins Glen on the map with his vision for the future, Green said.(Elmira Star-Gazette)(4-24-2008)
  • NASCAR official killed in car accident MORE: Brienne Davis, one of NASCAR’s few full-time female inspectors, was killed in a car accident Tuesday night. She was 28. Davis joined NASCAR in 2004 and traveled every weekend to inspect carburetors and manifolds. She was scheduled to work this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. A Louisiana native, Davis relocated to North Carolina in 2002 as an engine builder for Dale Earnhardt Inc. She took the job after spending a year in Houston participating in an automotive technology training program that included six weeks of a NASCAR-approved curriculum on racing.(ESPN.com/AP)
    NASCAR Statement: “We are deeply saddened at the loss of NASCAR Sprint Cup official Brienne Davis. She was a key member of our team of inspectors and will be missed by the NASCAR community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.”(4-9-2008)
    MORE: The Transport Drivers of Motorsports Association plans on raising money in honor of NASCAR engine inspector Brienne Davis, who was killed in a traffic accident near Huntersville, N.C. on Tuesday. The funds will go to her alma mater in Jonesville, La. The organization wants to raise enough money to donate at least five computers and plant a tree in her name at the school. For information on how to donate, contact Shelia Lumpkin (404.484.9097) secretary for TDMA or TDMA President Robby Maschhaupt at 704-746-7945.(SPEEDtv)(4-10-2008)
    SERVICES: Brienne Nicole Davis, 28, of Mooresville, NC died April 8, 2008 as result of an automobile accident. She was born on June 4, 1979 in Natchez, MS to Terri Emrick Bridges. Brienne was a graduate of the Automotive Technical Institute in Houston, TX and worked four years with the Dale Earnhardt Enterprise. Over the last four years, she has been an engine inspector for NASCAR; the love of her life was working on cars. She will be missed by all of her friends and her NASCAR family. She loved cars and she loved her cat, Floyd. She is survived by her parents, Mark and Terri Bridges of Newport News, VA; grandmother, Sandra Emrick; Uncle Keith Emrick and his family Michelle, Heith and Harleigh of Baton Rouge; and Aunt Pamela Emrick of Anchorage, AK. She is preceded in death by her grandfather, Louie Emrick.
    The family will receive friends at Raymer Funeral Home from 5:30-7 PM Tuesday, April 15, 2008, and a service will follow in the chapel at 7 PM with Rev. Lonnie Clouse officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Victory Junction, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317. Raymer Funeral Home is serving the family.(4-10-2008)
  • Sad News: Shane Hammond NorthEastern Midget Association driver Shane Hammond was killed in an accident Sunday at Thompson International Speedway, the Connecticut State police confirmed. Hammond, 27, of Halifax, Mass. was involved in a crash on the fourth lap of a scheduled 25-lap NEMA Midget feature. Hammond’s car made contact with the car driven by Chris Leonard of Pelham, N.H. heading into turn 3. Hammond’s car ended up going over the concrete wall at the entrance to the corner and through a loose banner billboard above the wall. It was unclear if Hammond’s car impacted directly with the stanchion holding the banner billboard upright. Hammond’s car was entirely over the wall and caught in the billboard when rescue personnel arrived at the scene of the crash. The accident took place at 1:06 p.m. Rescue personnel spent about 12 minutes extricating Hammond from the car. The ambulance carrying Hammond left the track at 1:18 p.m. headed to Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam. Track officials said they expected that Hammond would be airlifted to a trauma center from Day Kimball. State police dispatcher Jay Robillard at Troop D in Danielson said Hammond was pronounced dead at Day Kimball. Robillard said only that Hammond sustained “traumatic injuries”(Hartford Courant)(4-7-2008)
  • Sad News – Max Helton…services: Max Helton, who 20 years ago helped begin a Christian ministry in the NASCAR garage that grew into the Motor Racing Outreach organization, died Sunday afternoon at his home in Huntersville, N.C. Mr. Helton was diagnosed with brain cancer in August. He is survived by his wife, Jean, along with four daughters and nine grandchildren. Funeral arrangements had not been finalized Sunday night. Mr. Helton was working at a church in Glendora, Calif., in 1988 when he met Darrell and Stevie Waltrip at a race in Riverside, Calif. Helton told the Waltrips that he felt he was being called to lead a racing ministry. The Waltrips, along with Lake Speed and Bobby Hillin Jr. and their wives, were looking for a spiritual leader for a Bible study group they had formed. Within a year, Mr. Helton had moved his family to North Carolina to begin MRO, which conducts chapel services at the track each weekend and also provides counseling and support services to people in racing. Helton led Bible study and counseling sessions at dozens of NASCAR drivers’ homes and race team shops before leaving the organization in 2002. Since then, Mr. Helton had formed World-Span, an organization to serve the spiritual needs of racing series around the world. Before his illness, Mr. Helton traveled extensively, helping spread his message of “personal evangelism” and teaching others to serve as spiritual leaders and teachers. “A lot of lives and a lot of things have changed in our sport because of Max.Helton,” Darrell Waltrip said.(Charlotte Observer)(3-31-2008)
    MORE: Max Edward Helton, 67, of Maryville, Tenn., passed away March 30, 2008 after a seven month battle with brain cancer. He joins daughter Leah Carron Helton in heaven, his parents Herman Marshall and Nellie Haddock Helton, of Maryville, Tenn., and sister Wanda McSpadden of Alcoa, Tenn.
    Max is survived by his wife Jean, their four daughters and two son-in-laws: Melanie and Daryl Barker of Gold Hill, N.C., Elaine Helton of Huntersville, N.C., Crista Helton of Orange County, Calif., and Becky and Rob Chapman of Raleigh, N.C. Max was “Papa” to nine grandchildren: DJ, Brooke, Samuel, Madison, Amber, and Marshall Barker and Rachel, Lily and Ella Chapman.
    In 1988, Max founded Motor Racing Outreach, an organization that continues to minister to the NASCAR community. In 2002, Max co-founded WorldSpan Ministries with son-in-law Daryl Barker. WorldSpan meets the spiritual needs of motorsports communities around the world.
    The family will receive friends on Tues., April 1 from 7-9 p.m. at Raymer Funeral Home in Huntersville, N.C. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held on Weds., April 2, at 3:00 p.m. at Grace Covenant Church in Huntersville. Officiating ministers include Dr. Mike Moses, Rev. Steve Hudson, Rev. Steve Green and Rev. Ron Pegram. A private burial for family and close friends will follow the memorial service.
    Services: A memorial service is planned for Wednesday, April 2 at 3pm at Grace Covenant Four-Square Church. (17301 Statesville Rd, Cornelius, NC 28031 – Exit 25 off of I-77). There will be a visitation and viewing on Tuesday evening, April 1, from 7-9 pm at Raymer Funeral Home,(16901 Old Statesville Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078 (704) 892-9669) located at Hwy 73 and Old Statesville Road in Huntersville.) The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorials contributions may be sent to: Worldspan Ministries, P.O. Box 681117, Charlotte, NC 28216.(MRO Site)(3-31-2008)
  • Sad News – Bill Neely: William Neely, a prolific racing writer who chronicled the lives of Richard Petty and A.J. Foyt, died Tuesday, March 25, in North Carolina after complications from heart surgery. Neely was 77. He was most famous for the 1974 classic Stand on It, a Novel by Stroker Ace, which told the fictional story of driver/wild man Stroker Ace and was later made into a movie starring Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson. Neely loosely based the book on his experiences in the 1960s, when he headed up public relations for Goodyear at the height of the racing “tire wars” with Firestone. Neely was AutoWeek’s travel editor in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His work also appeared in Playboy, Car and Driver, Esquire and Sports Illustrated. He also penned a chili cookbook, as well as Tire Wars, a look at Goodyear’s racing program in the 1960s. H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, who led public relations for Firestone at the same time, said Neely was known for his grace under fire, as the 1960s was a turbulent time for racing, wrought with accidents and driver deaths. “He was one of the icons of auto racing in the 1960s, when auto racing was really jumping forward by leaps and bounds,” said Wheeler, who is now the president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Neely also worked in public relations for Rolex and Exxon. In total, he authored 19 books. Neely later turned to acting and appeared in “Night Flier” in 1997, a movie based on a Stephen King novel where Neely’s character had his head chopped off. He moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, about a decade ago to try to secure more acting roles with a local studio. He also made an unsuccessful bid for Congress. He had a heart attack several years ago, and the surgery he was having Tuesday was to install a new heart valve. In his later years, he enjoyed driving around Wilmington in a black 2002 Corvette, and lounging in a yacht he owned that previously belonged to Hollywood actress Greta Garbo. As his longtime friend Jeannette McLean said, he was “living the life of a retired person who loved life.” Neely is survived by five children and four grandchildren. He was a native of Jane Lew, West Virginia, and graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1952. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Neely’s name be made to Friends of Felines, P.O. Box 475, Castle Hayne, NC 28429.(Autoweek)(3-30-2008)
  • Sad News – Geno Tataryn: Eugene ‘Geno’ Mychailo Tataryn passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday, March 23, 2008. He was a devoted son to Anna and Mykola, loyal brother to George, and close friend to many. Towering at 6’4″, Geno was a kind, gentle spirit with a heart as supersized as his stature. He never met a stranger because it took only minutes for a friendship with Geno to blossom, and he was always there to lend a helping hand or console a friend in need. He was brilliant and talented and possessed a wealth of qualities many admired. Geno developed a passion for racing that brought him to North Carolina, where he worked for five years as an Engine Development Engineer for Dale Earnhardt Inc. After resigning that position to care for his mother, he went on to work as a consultant for an engineering company, which allowed him the opportunity to travel and the freedom to pursue other interests. Geno was an SCCA sanctioned racecar driver and competed in road races around the country and in Puerto Rico. He was proud to have been the inspiration and the original track designer for High Rock Raceway in Salisbury, NC.(more info at the Charlotte Observer)(3-27-2008)
  • Sad News – Hazel Parsons: Hazel Parsons, mother of Phil and the late Benny, passed away today at Carolinas Medical Center. Tomorrow would have been her 85th birthday. Thoughts go out to the Parsons family.(3-21-2008)
    MORE” Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 2:00 PM at the Boone Family Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Rex Eldreth and Rev. Ken Pardue officiating. Burial will follow in the Stony Hill Baptist Church Cemetery, 406 Summit Road, Purlear, NC. Mrs. Parsons was born on March 22, 1923 in Wilkes County. She and her late husband Harold Parsons owned and operated a Taxi Cab Company in Detroit, Michigan. Mrs. Parsons is survived by two sons, Steve Parsons and wife, Donna, of Rochester, Michigan and Phil Parsons and wife, Marcia, of Cornelius, NC; a daughter, Patty Severt and husband, Rex, of West Jefferson, NC; one brother, Ritz Beshears of Purlear, NC; four sisters, Nancy Fletcher and Denton McNeill of West Jefferson, NC, Frances Cheek of Fleetwood, NC and Bernice Eller of Albemarle, NC; eleven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and a daughter-in-law, Mrs. Terri Parsons of Parsonsville, NC also survive.
    She was preceded in death by two sons, infant, Richard Allen Parsons and Benny Parsons and her husband, Harold Parsons.
    The Parsons family will receive friends Monday, March 24, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Boone Family Funeral Home, 2005 Mount Jefferson Road, West Jefferson, NC 28694. In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Connie F. Parsons Scholarship Fund, PO Box 443, Ellerbe, NC 28338 or the Ashe County Humane Society, 1175 Old Highway 16, Jefferson, NC 28640.(Charlotte Observer)(3-23-2008)
  • Sad News – Teresa Ellen Burton: Teresa Ellen Burton died on March 18, 2008, surrounded by her loving family. Her death follows a brave and cheerful fight against non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She was the aunt of NASCAR drivers Ward and Jeff Burton. More info and service times at the Richmond Times Dispatch.(3-21-2008)
  • Sad New – Bobbie Tripp Goldsmith: Bobbie Southerlin Tripp Goldsmith [Jason Keller’s Mother-in-Law], 64, of 201 Tigerville Rd., went home to be with the Lord on Monday, March 10, 2008 at her home. Surviving are her husband of 27 years, Dean Goldsmith of the home; daughter, Deborah Tripp Keller and husband, Jason, of Travelers Rest; son, Ricky Lewis Tripp and wife, Larie, of Travelers Rest; sisters, Jeanette Brookshire of Travelers Rest and Linda Stone of Sunset, S.C.; brother, Carroll Southerlin of Greer; grandchildren, Chelsea Tripp, Ha’lle Tripp, Joe Keller and Jade Keller. Along with her parents, Mrs. Goldsmith was predeceased by her first husband, William Ernest Tripp; and a brother, Charles Frank Southerlin. Funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Renfrew Baptist Church with burial to follow at Grandview Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Howze Mortuary. Memorials may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 5401 Kingston Pike, Suite #230, Knoxville, TN 37919 and/or Interim Hospice, 775 Spartan Blvd., Spartanburg, SC 29301. Condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting www.thehowzemortuary.com. The Howze Mortuary and Cremation Service, Travelers Rest, is in charge of arrangements. (864)834-8051.(3-12-2008)
  • Sad New – Kitty Allison: Kitty Allison, mother of legendary NASCAR drivers Bobby and Donnie Allison, died Thursday at the age of 101. From BobbyAllison.com: The Matriarch of the Allison Family, Kittie (Mom) Allison passed away on Thursday evening, March 6, 2008. She and Ed (Pop) had 13 children, 8 of whom are still living, 25 grandchildren, 32 great grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter. Mom was a devout Catholic and an inspiration to everyone she knew. Born and raised in New Jersey, Mom lived in Miami, Florida most of her life and raised her children there. She and Pop moved to Hueytown, Alabama to be near their family and racing in the 1970’s. A Lifetime Member of the Winston Cup Ladies Auxiliary in Racing (WAM) Mom was always on the racing scene and flew to many tracks with her son Bobby to watch him and Donnie race. For the last few years, she made her home at the Little Flower Catholic Assisted Living Community in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mom will be greatly missed by her family and all who met her over the 101 years of her life.
    There will be a Viewing and Rosary Service at Browns Service Funeral Home-West at 2885 Allison-Bonnett Memorial Parkway in Hueytown, Alabama on Tuesday, March 11th — Viewing at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm with the Rosary being said at 7:30 pm. The Funeral Mass will be at St. Aloysious Catholic Church in Bessemer, Alabama at 751 Academy Drive, Bessemer, Alabama at 10:00 am on Wednesday, March 12th with burial following at Highland Memorial Gardens in Bessemer, Alabama.
    In lieu of flowers, any donations can be made to: Little Flower Assisted Living, 8700 Lawyers Rd., Charlotte, NC 28227 or
    St. Aloysious Catholic Church, 751 Academy Dr., Bessemer, Alabama 35022 or
    Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Bobbyallison.com)(3-7-2008)
  • Sad News – Boyd Coddington: Car-building legend Boyd Coddington, whose testosterone-injected cable TV reality show “American Hot Rod” introduced the nation to the West Coast hot rod guru, has died. He was 63. Coddington died at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in suburban Whittier at 6:20 a.m. Wednesday. His La Habra office spokeswoman Amanda Curry wouldn’t disclose the cause of death. Coddington, who started building cars when he was 13 and once operated a gas station in Utah, set a standard for his workmanship and creativity, with his popular “Cadzilla” creation considered a design masterpiece. The customized car based on a 1950s Cadillac was built for rocker Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Coddington was a machinist by trade, working at Disneyland during the day and tinkering with cars in his home garage at night and on weekends. His rolling creations captured the imagination of car-crazy Southern Californians and soon he was building custom cars and making money. Most often, he customized 1932 Ford “little deuce coupes.” Coddington also surrounded himself with talent. Alumni from his shop include Jesse James and Chip Foose, who went on to open their own shops and star in reality TV shows. Coddington twice won the Daimler-Chrysler Design Excellence Award and he was inducted into the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame, the National Rod & Custom Museum Hall of Fame and the Route 66 Wall of Fame.(San Francisco Chronicle/AP))(2-28-2008)
  • Sad News -Tim Sullivan: Timothy Joseph Sullivan III, 83, of Ormond Beach, Fla. (formerly of Richmond, VA), passed away February 24, 2008, at 2:06 p.m., at Halifax Hospital, Daytona Beach, Fla. The former General Manager of Motor Racing Network held several other positions in racing after serving his country in Iwo Jima during World War II. Mr. Sullivan had struggled the last four months to get over pneumonia and other pre-existing conditions. He suffered cardiac arrest on February 22 at 2 a.m., and wasn’t able to recover. A loving husband, brother, father and grandfather, he leaves behind his devoted wife of 14 years, Betty Coulter Sullivan; sons Timothy Michael Sullivan, Cornelius, N.C., and Patrick Kelly Sullivan, Daytona Beach, Fla.; step-sons W. Jay Coulter III, Simpsonville, S.C., and Joseph Douglas Coulter, Richmond, Va.; sister Rachel Robinson, Richmond, Va.; two grandsons, William Patrick and Jacob Riley; and granddaughters Madison Owens, Ashley Douglas and Morgan Stewart, in addition to numerous nieces and nephews in Virginia. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 20 years, Marilyn Kelly Sullivan, and his parents, Timothy Joseph Sullivan II and Marie Cottrell Sullivan. Initially serving in numerous capacities at both Southside Speedway and Richmond International Raceway, Mr. Sullivan’s career also included serving as a Founder and Director of Racing at the now defunct West Virginia Speedway, Director of Auto Racing Telecasts for Teleprompter Broadcasting, General Manager of Motor Racing Network (MRN), Director of Auto Racing (NASCAR Division) for Valvoline Oil Company, Public Relations Director of Special Projects for Daytona Beach Community College (DBCC), Founder of the Richard Petty Fund for Automotive Education (DBCC), Founder of the National Conference for Automotive Technology (DBCC). During his retirement, he served as President of Motor Racing Heritage, and as a member of The Auto Racing Legends (ARL), where he recently received the honor of ARL Honor of Legend Emeritus. He was also a member of the Living Legends of Auto Racing. Mr. Sullivan was recently honored by the Eastern Motorsports Press Association (EMPA) with its Hall of Fame Award for his public relations work in the motorsports industry.
    The viewing will be Wednesday, February 27, from 2-4 p.m., at Lohman Funeral Home, 733 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach. FL 32174 (386-673-1100). The funeral is set to be on Thursday, February 28, at 10 a.m. at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Ormond Beach. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, February 27, 2008, from 2-4 p.m. at Lohman Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Ormond Beach, on Thursday, February 28, 2008, at 10 a.m., with Father Richard Grasso officiating. Burial will follow the service at Volusia Memorial Park, Ormond Beach. Condolences may be shared with the family online beginning Tuesday, February, 26, at www.lohmanfuneralhomes.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in his name to Victory Junction Gang Camp or Speediatrics at Halifax Hospital-Daytona Beach.(2-25-2008)
  • Sad News – Jimmy Johnson: Fayetteville, NC native Jimmy Johnson, who ran Hendrick Motorsports from 1986-98, died Friday night following a stroke earlier in the week. Mr. Johnson was 61. Mr. Johnson suffered a stroke about 5:30 a.m. Monday, according to his brother, Billy “B.J.” Johnson. He said Mr. Johnson died about 9 p.m. Friday at Carolinas Medical Center here after being taken off life support around 1 o’clock. Mr. Johnson was a graduate of Massey Hill High School. During his tenure, Hendrick drivers won 76 races, four championships and more than $45 million. Mr. Johnson’s funeral arrangements are incomplete except that his funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, his brother said. Mr. Johnson is survived by his wife, Priscilla, and their son Dustin. He has two other sons, Jamie and Ryan.(Fayetteville Observer)(2-23-2008)
    SERVICES: James “Jimmy” Charles Johnson, 61, of Teeter Farms Drive, died Friday, Feb. 22, 2008, at Carolinas Medical Center. Born July 23, 1946, in Whiteville, he was the son of the late James Luther and Mildred “Skeet” Moore Johnson. He was retired from Hendrick Motorsports, where he served as vice president/general manager. He is survived by his wife, Priscilla McKenzie Johnson; sons, James “Jamie” Charles Johnson II and Ryan Patrick Johnson, both of Fayetteville, and Dustin Reid Johnson of Mooresville; and brother, William “B.J.” Patrick Johnson of Hope Mills. Funeral services will be held at 11am/et Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008, at Williamson’s Chapel United Methodist Church with the Rev. Darrol Hood officiating. Burial will be private. The family will receive friends Monday evening from 6 to 8:30pm/et at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 6000 Fairview Road, Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28210; or to Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317. The family of Mr. Johnson is being served by Cavin-Cook Funeral Home of Mooresville.(Fayetteville Observer, condolences can be left there)(2-25-2008)
  • Sad News – Michael Dean Jackson: Michael Dean Jackson, 54, passed away on February 14, 2008 at his residence. He was President of Jackson Automotive Engineering Inc. (DBA-JAE Racing Engines Established 1974). Mike graduated from Gaston College, was a Deacon of Shady Grove Baptist Church and a longtime NASCAR Member and NASCAR Racing engine builder for all series. In addition to his parents he is survived by is wife Veda Dellinger Jackson of the home, one son Camden Jackson of Cherryville , two brothers, Douglas Jackson and wife Sheree and Charles Jackson and wife Ellen all of Cherryville. Nephews, Seth Jackson and Wesley Jackson. Memorial and Celebration of Life Services will be held at the Cherryville Country Club, 215 Club Drive, Cherryville, N. C. on February 18, 2008 at 4:00pm/et. Visitation will be immediately following the services. Mike’s wishes were for his body to be donated to Duke University Anatomical Gift Program. The family is at home and request that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: “Mike’s Wish” Brain Tumor Assistance Fund, C/O Peoples Bank, P.O. Box 134, Lincolnton, NC 28093 Attention, Nikki Crafton.(carpentersfuneralhome.net)(2-16-2008)
  • Sad News – Gerald Kulwicki: Gerald Kulwicki, the father of 1992 NASCAR Cup champion Alan Kuwlicki, passed away Saturday night in Charlotte. He was 78. Mr. Kulwicki lived part of the year in Charlotte in a home originally owned by his late son, while also residing in his native Wisconsin. Alan Kulwicki moved to North Carolina and started his own race team to compete at NASCAR’s highest level. He won rookie of the year honors in 1986 despite basically owning one car and two motors. Alan later turned down a chance to drive for car owner Junior Johnson to keep running his own team, and in 1992 he wound up edging Johnson’s team, with Bill Elliott driving, by 10 points to win the championship. Alan, who had five career Cup victories, was killed in 1993 when an airplane he was aboard crashed while trying to land at Tri-Cities Airport in Tennessee as Kulwicki was traveling to a race in Bristol. Funeral arrangements for Gerald Kulwicki were still pending as of late Saturday.(Charlotte Observer)(2-9-2008)
    MORE: Mr. Kulwicki, age 78, of Charlotte and Milwaukee, WI passed away Friday, February 8, 2008 at home. Funeral service will be held in Milwaukee later next week. Bruskiewitz Funeral home is assisting the family. Survivors his wife, Mrs. Thelma Buchanan Kulwicki. He was preceded in death by two sons, Alan Kulwicki and Kenny Kulwicki. Local arrangements are being handled by Wilkinson Funeral Home of Concord.(Charlotte Observer, sign Guestbook) .

    Tragic News for the Motorsports world: The two young sons of Top Fuel racer Doug Herbert were killed in an automobile accident Saturday morning in Lake Norman (Cornelius), NC. Jon, 17, and James, 12, died instantly when their Mazda3 collided with a second vehicle [2004 Hummer]. Herbert, who was in Phoenix for preseason testing, is heading home to be with his family. Condolences can be sent to Raymer Funeral Home, 16901 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville, N.C. 28078. In lieu of flowers, Herbert asks that people make a donation to the Speedway Children’s Charities in Jon and James Herbert’s name.(NHRA.com/ Charlotte.com), The thoughts and prayers are with the Herbert family. Guest Book: Post thoughts, condolences.(1-26-2008)

  • Sad News – David Weiss: David Michael Weiss 47, of Summerfield, died Thursday, January 17, 2008, at his residence. A memorial service will be held at a later date to be announced. David was born September 20, 1960, in Ohio, a son to Tom and Patricia Weiss. He worked with Toyota Racing Development and spent many years working in the aerospace industry in Denver, Colorado. His true passion was racing which brought him to California and to Toyota Racing Development. David was also a graduate of Youngstown State University. Survivors include his wife, Kristie Weiss of the home; his father , Tom Weiss of Nashville, Tenn.; and his mother, Patricia Manus of Atlanta, Ga.; one brother, Stephen Weiss of Atlanta, Ga.; and his dog, Lucy of the home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to U.N.C. Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center CB# 7295, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295. Forbis & Dick N. Elm Street Chapel is serving the Weiss Family.(News & Record)(1-19-2008)
  • Sad News – Hank Schoolfield: Henry “Hank” Palmer Schoolfield Jr., 79, of Winston-Salem passed away Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008, at Silas Creek Manor. He was born in Reidsville on July 5, 1928, to Henry Palmer and Margaret Wheeler Schoolfield. Mr. Schoolfield was president and owner of Universal Services Inc., which is a public relations and advertising agency with Universal Printers and Southern MotoRacing divisions. He was a publisher and editor of Southern MotoRacing, a bi-weekly tabloid newspaper with emphasis on motor racing news from the Southeast. He also covered major national and international events. Auto-racing clients have included a variety of tracks. The longest-running of these relationships were with North Wilkesboro Speedway, from 1961 until it closed in 1996; and seasonal weekly racing in Winston-Salem’ s Bowman Gray Stadium from 1961 to 2004. He founded the Southern MotoRacing publication in 1964. Also in 1964, he co-founded Universal Racing Network in a partnership with radio announcer Bob Montgomery, and became the network’ s sole owner when Montgomery died in 1971. The network produced and syndicated radio broadcasts of as many as 16 NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) races yearly with as many as 300 stations. He was on the production staff for the first ‘ live’ television broadcast of stockcar races, a closed-circuit venture of TelePrompter Corp. for Daytona 500 in 1967 and 1968. His recreational activities included fishing, and until recent years, hunting. Mr. Schoolfield is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Thelma H. Schoolfield; and a daughter, Judy S. Holstrom, and her husband Bruce of King. The funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel, with the Rev. Lee Strange officiating. Burial will follow at Shiloh United Methodist Church Cemetery in Julian. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. today, Jan. 11, at the funeral home. He was loved and will be missed by his family, friends and the racing world. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 4A Oak Branch Drive, Greensboro, NC 27407.(Winston Salem Journal/Guest Book)(1-11-2008)
    Comment by Fox’s Mike Joy at FoxSports.com: With the passing of Hank Schoolfield Thursday in Winston-Salem, N.C., I wanted to share a few of my thoughts: Hank was a stalwart and a pioneer of racing news in print, radio and television, and had a lifelong devotion to the sport that is seldom seen today. We were friendly competitors when I ran Motor Racing Network radio, which broadcast the races not carried by Schoolfield’s Universal Racing Network. When MRN eventually acquired the rights to URN’s tracks, Hank refused Bill France, Jr.’s offer of compensation. The highly-principled and independent reporter preferred to fold his radio network rather than be bought out by NASCAR. I’ll always admire Hank for his energy, his independent spirit, and the great success he had in promoting the sport he loved.(1-11-2008)
  • Sad news – Ed Sutton: Ed Sutton, father of Truck Series driver, Kelly Sutton, passed away December 30 in Crownsville, MD at the age of 61. Sutton followed in his father’s footsteps into the world of Motorsports, racing locally in Maryland. Sutton began drag racing, but quickly moved into Figure 8 racing and eventually oval tracks in the early 1980s throughout the east. Sutton passed his racing legacy on to his daughter, Kelly, in 1991, establishing Capitol City Motorsports and launching her racing career. In 2003, Sutton built Sutton Motorsports and took his daughter’s career to one of the top levels of NASCAR – the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Viewing for Ed Sutton will be held on Thursday, January 3rd from 2:00pm — 4:00pm and from 7:00pm — 9:00pm at Hardesty Funeral Home at 851 Annapolis Road in Gambrills, Maryland. Funeral services will be held at 11:00am on Friday, January 4th at South Shore Baptist Church at 725 Herald Harbor Road in Crownsville, Maryland. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kelly Sutton Let it Shine Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis.(Billy Ballew Motorsports)(1-2-2008)
  • Sad News – “Penny” Paniagua: James “Penny” Paniagua, who gave NASCAR superstar Jeff Gordon his first taste of speed, died Saturday, a week after suffering a heart attack. “He was at home, surrounded by all his family,” said son Jimmy Paniagua of his father’s passing. James Paniagua, 89, introduced hundreds of youngsters – including a 4-year-old Gordon – to quarter-midget racing. An innovative designer and mechanic, he custom built more than 100 quarter-midget cars. Among his first models was one bought by John Bickford, Gordon’s stepfather, for the racing prodigy. His wife of 65 years, Naomi, also has been in poor health. The couple have four children, all of whom have been active in the local auto racing community. Their grandson, Paul McMahan, is a veteran sprint-car racer in the World of Outlaws. Visitation for Paniagua will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Elk Grove Funeral Chapel, 9101 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove. His memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at the United Methodist Church, 6th and M streets in Rio Linda.(Sacramento Bee)(1-1-2008