2010 SAD/TRAGIC NEWS/DEATHS/MEMORIALS 2010about 2010 deaths of those involved in NASCAR main three divisions or major auto racing series
- Sad News – Thomas Rogers: Thomas A. Rogers, of Wrentham, MA, where he has lived since 1963, died Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010 at his daughter’s home in Cumberland. He was 84. Born in Natick, he was the son of the late Roland C. and Nellie (Hegarty) Rogers, and has lived in the same house in Wrentham for 47 years. A mechanic by trade, he had worked for Rodman Ford, Devine Lincoln-Mercury, Leard Chevrolet, Bezema Service Center, Doug’s Texaco, and at West Street Service Center and was a mechanic on the Dick Armstrong/Hop Harrington Nascar Modified that Geoff Bodine drove to 55 wins in 85 starts in 1978.
Rogers was a U.S. Marine Corps, World War II, veteran. Husband of the late Dorothy V. (Cobb) Rogers, he was the father of Thomas C. Rogers and his wife Lorrie of Wrentham, Roland “Skip” Rogers and his wife Dorothy of Attleboro, Christie Lee Colvin and her husband Robert of Cumberland, and Jane Allard and her husband Michael of Plainville. He is also survived by his five grandchildren: Melissa Colvin, Katie and Ashley Allard, and Jennifer and Sean Rogers. Funeral services and burial were private (R.J. Ross Funeral Home)(12-24-2010)
- Sad News – Gib Repass: Gilbert “Gib” Repass Jr., a long-time series director for NASCAR, died Saturday at the age of 76. Repass of Bremerton, Wash., worked for NASCAR in several capacities from 1986 through 2006. Soon after starting work for NASCAR, Repass was appointed as the director of the former NASCAR Northwest Tour, a post which he held through 2001. He also worked with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, which was then known as the NASCAR Winston West Series. Repass was initially the technical director for that series and later served as the series director through 1997. He remained with NASCAR as the Northwest Regional Director for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series through February of 2006. Repass was a native of Bland, Va., but made Bremerton his home after retiring from the U.S. Navy in 1975. In addition to NASCAR, Repass also worked for the Kitsap County School District following his military retirement.
A viewing will be from 4-8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 23, at the Tuell-McKee Funeral Home at 2215 Sixth Ave., in Tacoma, Wash. Funeral services and burial will follow in Bland, Va. A viewing will be from 5:00-7:00 pm on Monday, Dec. 27, at the Highland Chapel and Funeral Home in Bland, with funeral services at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 28. Repass is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jean Repass; son, Ed Repass; and sister, Betty Kelly.(NASCAR Hometracks)(12-21-2010)
- Sad News – Ray Baker: Raymond Baker passed away, unexpectedly, December 10, 2010 at his winter home in Moorseville, NC. He was born on August 30, 1942 in Muskegon, Michigan. Ray was a graduate of Reeths-Puffer High School and also a graduate of Ferris State University in 1962 and went on to acquire a Journeyman Tool and Die card from General Motors. He was the founder of Baker Engineered Racing Engines, Pro / Cam, Integrity Trailers, and Ray Baker Classics. Ray was awarded the Manufacture of the Year by American Speed Association, inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame, and the Berlin Raceway Hall of Fame. He was the recipient of FSU Alumni of the Year 2009, and currently has an exhibit at the Gilmore Car Museum. Ray was a longtime resident of Spring Lake Michigan, where he spent his final years restoring classic cars and spending time with his children and grand children. Ray is survived by his loving wife, Linda; children, Jeff (Susan), Jennifer, Joel (Kate), Steve (Kelly), Michelle (Troy) Gundy and brother, Al (Grace); sister, Margie (Bill) Sangster; his grandchildren, nieces and nephews and extended family. Ray’s visitation will be held 2-4 & 6-8 PM on December 18th & 19th, and funeral service will be held at 3:00pm, Monday, December 20, 2010 at The Lee Chapel Sytsema Funeral Home, Inc. 6291 S. Harvey St. Norton Shores, MI 49444 231-798-1100 Memorial contributions can be made to the Ferris State University (sytsemafh.com), also see an article at Michigan Live.(12-14-2010)
- Sad News – Tommie Irvin: On Sunday, 2009 Georgia Racing Hall of Fame inductee Tommie Irvin passed away at a hospice in Athens, Georgia. Irvin was the 16th driver to obtain a NASCAR license during the sanctioning body’s first year in operation, and would run in many modified and short track events under the sanctioning body in 1948 and 1949, racing all over the southeast, including at Daytona Beach. Irvin would record what he said was the biggest win of his career in 1955 with the annual non-NASCAR Labor Day event at the Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia. That event would open up the door for him to race in Chicago, Illinois at Soldier’s Field for Andy Granatelli. Later that year, he would open the Banks County Speedway in Northeast Georgia, a track he operated until the early 1970s. In 2009, he was inducted into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. Services will be held Tuesday, December 7th at 2:00pm/et at Whitfield Funeral Home – South Chapel in Baldwin, Georgia. See full obituary at Whitfield Funeral Home.(12-6-2010)
- Sad News – Katron Sosebee: Katron Arthur Sosebee, age 81, of Lilburn, passed away on Thursday, November 25, 2010. The funeral will be at 2:00 PM on Monday, November 29, 2010 at Bill Head Funeral Home, Lilburn/Tucker Chapel. Interment will follow in Floral Hills Memory Gardens, Tucker. Katron was a mechanic for local Ford dealerships, a stock car racer for several years, and a member of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. Survivors include his wife, Christy Sosebee of Lilburn; daughter, Judy Arnold of Concord, NC; son, Terry Sosebee of Dacula; daughter, Anita Carter of Bethlehem; son, Jerry “Bo” Sosebee of Lawrenceville; sister, Mary Jane Pope of Sanford, FL. The family will receive friends Sunday from 2:00 – 4:00 and 6:00 – 8:00 PM at Bill Head Funeral Homes and Crematory, Lilburn/Tucker Chapel. (770) 564-2726
Georgia Racing Hall of Fame member Katron Sosebee, inducted in 2009, passed away yesterday at his daughter’s home in North Carolina. Sosebee was a former NASCAR driver. He began his racing career in 1953 at the legendary Peach Bowl in Atlanta. From the early 50s to the 70s, Sosebee went toe-to-toe with the likes of Leon Sells, Bud Lundsford, Jabez Jones, T.C. Hunt, Bruce Brantley and Harold Fryar, just to name a few. Sosebee was a frequent winner in the Super Modified ranks at the famed Peach Bowl in Atlanta, where he was the NASCAR points champion in 1963. Sosebee made it all the way to Daytona in the early 70s, but his bid to run in the Daytona 500 was thwarted by an accident in the pits that totaled his car. After retiring from racing, Sosebee went on to build and maintain cars for his son Bo, and his nephew Michael, racing mostly at Lanier National Speedway. On October 22, 2009, Sosebee was inducted into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville, Georgia. He was 81 years of age.(11-27-2010)
- Charles F. Ford, 63, of East Kingston died Monday, Nov. 22, 2010 at his home. He was born Nov. 8, 1947 in Beverly, the son of the late Roy C. and C. Ann (McNeil) Ford. Mr. Ford was raised in Topsfield and was a graduate of Masconomet High School. He moved to East Kingston in the early 70s, where he raised his family with his late wife Kathleen M. (Dawes) Ford. He resided there until his passing. A truck driver, he owned and operated CF Ford Trucking Company. He was well known in the local auto racing community as he sold fuel to the area racing tracks for many years. He leaves behind his two daughters, Caryn Ford of Epping, Pamela Ford of Mooresville, N.C., and his five grandchildren, as well as many extended family members and friends. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to local animal shelters or pit bull rescue leagues.(11-28-2010)
- Jeff Riggs, the 48-year-old co-owner and former crew chief of the Martinsville-based Riggs Racing team, died Tuesday of unknown causes. Riggs grew up around the sport with his father, David Riggs, the founder of the family-race team. Together, the pair helped turn Riggs Racing into one of the most consistent and successful performers on the Modified and SMART circuits over the last 50 years. Jeff Riggs began helping out at the track as an 8-year-old, Paris said, and once traveled to Daytona as a 16-year-old to help work on the car of Busch Series driver Joe Henry Thurman. Around age 23, Riggs took over as the crew chief for Riggs Racing. The Riggs team won more than 100 races over the years, taking the checkered at tracks such as Martinsville Speedway, New Smyrna, North Wilkesboro, Caraway, New River Valley and Greenville-Pickens. Riggs was named co-owner of the team in 2008 when his father became semi-retired. Riggs Racing won five SMART Modified Tour championships in just nine years on the circuit during the mid-to-late ’90s, then claimed the inaugural NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour title in 2005 and again in ’06 with driver Junior Miller. The team has also had an abundance of talented drivers over the years, partnering with the likes of Paul Radford, Jamie Tomaino, Johnny Bryant, Tony Jankowiak, Melvin “Puddin” Swisher, Tim Arre, Miller and the late Dale Earnhardt. Bryant, in fact, remains the last southern driver to win Martinsville Speedway’s prestigious Modified race; he took the checkered in a Riggs car in 1985. The future of Riggs Racing is uncertain. Riggs was survived by his wife, Pamela Riggs, his daughter, Jessica Riggs, and two grandchildren, Caroline Knouse and Robert Knouse. The family has requested memorial contributions be made to the Jeff Riggs Memorial Scholarship Fund, for his grandchildren, care of American National Bank, 900 Liberty St., Martinsville.(11-27-2010)
- Sad News – Brenda Lockman: Brenda Lockman a NASCAR scorer for 42 years passed away in her sleep Tuesday after a short battle with cancer. Brenda had a long history with NASCAR. Her father was there when NASCAR was started and became its Chief scorer. Brenda scored her first race when she was just six years old. She scored for many teams and drivers in the Craftsman Truck and Nationwide Series eventually retiring from Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008 as the scorer for the 18 team. Her husband, Fred was an Official for NASCAR. She is survived by her husband of 42 years Fred Lockman, eight children, 17 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Services will be held 2:00 pm Saturday at Poplar Spring Baptist Church, 790 Hwy 117 in Moore, SC. Viewing will be held Friday from 6-8 pm at Dunbar Funeral home. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the Building fund of Poplar Springs Baptist Church or the Shriners of Greenville, SC.(Dunbar Funeral home obit)(11-18-2010)
- Sad News – Lafone Moles: Condolences to Charles Moles and family on the passing of his mother Lafone Moles. Charles is a tire specialist with Front Row Motorsports #38 team. More info and service info at maberryfuneralhome.com.(11-6-2010)
- Sad News – Jerry Long: Gerald “Jerry” Long, 82, passed away Wednesday, November 3rd from Lewy Body dementia, an umbrella term for two diagnoses related to Parkinson’s disease, according to his son, Mike. He had been ill for several months. Long was raised in a blue-collar fishing town near Long Island, N.Y. The family moved here from New York in 1973 as part of a career move with RJR Foods. Long perhaps was known best in the community for his firm but fair management style during his 19 years with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. He served four years as its chief executive, as well as two years as the chairman of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco USA. He championed Reynolds’ role with NASCAR through its Winston Cup sponsorship. He retired from both posts in July 1988 — one of hundreds of employees who left when F. Ross Johnson took control as part of the formation of RJR Nabisco.
The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 9:00 pm Friday at Holy Family Catholic Church, 4820 Kinnamon Road, Clemmons. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00am Saturday at Holy Family.(see full article at the Winston Salem Journal and the obit there as well)(11-5-2010)
- Jim Hunter remembered at service: The racing family has gathered to remember and celebrate former Darlington Raceway president and NASCAR executive Jim Hunter. Hunter was 71 when he died Friday night in Daytona Beach, Fla., after a yearlong battle with cancer. He had been an adviser to NASCAR executives and drivers for more than half a century in his role as journalist, promoter and one of the sport’s top administrators. The service is being held at Darlington Presbyterian Church with a reception to following at Darlington Raceway. The electronic sign in front of the track said simply, “Jim, we’ll miss you.” Hunter served as Darlington’s president from 1993 through 2001, when he moved to NASCAR headquarters to lead an expanded public relations effort.(Associated Press)(11-3-2010)
- Sad News – Clyde Purvis: Clyde J. Purvis, 77, Clarksville, died Sunday, October 31, 2010, at Veterans Hospital, Nashville, TN. A celebration of life service will be held at 2:00 P.M. Wednesday at Hilldale Baptist Church with Dr. Larry Robertson, Rev. Terry Brown, and Rev. Steve Freeman officiating. Burial will be in Resthaven Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home with a Masonic service to follow and from 11 a.m. until the time of the service Wednesday at the church. Neal-Tarpley-Parchman Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. He was born November 30, 1932 in Wheeler County, Georgia, son of the late Stanley Jackson Purvis and Ather Frances Locke Purvis. He was also preceded in death by brothers, Stanley Talmedge Purvis and David Ned Purvis and a sister, Rachel Culverhouse. Mr. Purvis was owner of Phoenix Auto Sales. He was a veteran of the US Army. Survivors include his wife Barbara Purvis; son, Jeff Purvis (Margo), Clarksville; three daughters, Elaine Wilkinson (James), Clarksville; Jamie Graham (Timmy), Springfield, TN; and Elise Brown (Kevin), Clarksville.(11-2-2010)
- Sad News – Jim Hunter: SERVICES: NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter, whose career in motorsports spanned portions of six decades as both a journalist and public relations professional, died last night in Daytona Beach, Fla. following a 12-month battle with cancer. He was 71. “Jim Hunter was one of NASCAR’s giants,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “For more than 40 years Jim was part of NASCAR and its history. He loved the sport, but loved the people even more. It seems as if everyone in the sport called him a friend. Jim will forever be missed by the NASCAR community. Our sympathies go out to his entire family.” Added NASCAR President Mike Helton: “Jim was a uniquely talented man that cannot be replaced. He was a great friend and mentor to so many in the sport. His influence will remain with and be carried on by so many of the people he touched. This is a sad day for Jim’s family and his extended, NASCAR family.” As a young man growing up in his native South Carolina, Hunter was a football and baseball player at the University of South Carolina. Those years preceded a future of being immersed in the sports world, primarily motorsports. Hunter learned motorsports from “both sides” by working as a newspaper reporter/editor and a public relations representative. As a member of the media, Hunter was sports editor of the Columbia Record newspaper; he had an award-winning stint at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; he was a columnist for Stock Car Racing magazine; and he authored a number of books, including a widely-read biography on NASCAR great David Pearson, entitled “21 Forever”. On the public relations side, Hunter broke into that business in the 1960s, with Dodge’s motorsports operation. He handled public relations for a number of top IndyCar drivers before going on to become the public relations director at his beloved Darlington Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway. In 1983, Hunter was named to his first executive position in his first NASCAR stint, becoming NASCAR’s vice president of administration. In 1993 he was named president of Darlington Raceway and corporate vice president of the International Speedway Corporation. He remained at Darlington until 2001 when he accepted an offer from then-NASCAR Chairman and CEO Bill France Jr. to return to Daytona Beach to lead an expanded public relations effort aimed at responding to the needs of burgeoning media coverage. Hunter won numerous awards during his career, including: the Hugh Deery Memorial Award in 1988; South Carolina Ambassador for Economic Development in 1994; South Carolina Tourism Ambassador of the Year in 1997; the National Motorsports Press Association’s Joe Littlejohn Award in 2005; and the Buddy Shuman Award in 2006. Hunter is survived by his wife of 48 years, Ann Hunter; his children, Scott Hunter and Amy McKernan and his grandchildren Dakota Hunter, and Hunter and Luke McKernan. In lieu of flowers the family asked that donations be made to The NASCAR Foundation or Hospice of Volusia/Flagler County. Funeral arrangements will be announced later.(NASCAR)(10-30-2010)
SERVICES: Tuesday, Nov. 2, 5–7 p.m. – Visitation at Darlington Raceway. Wednesday, Nov. 3, 11 a.m. – Celebration of Jim’s life at Darlington Presbyterian Church, 311 Pearl Street, Darlington, S.C. followed by a reception at Darlington Raceway.In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The NASCAR Foundation at NASCAR Plaza, 550 South Caldwell Street, Suite 2000, Charlotte, N.C. 28202 or to Halifax Health-Hospice of Volusia/Flagler, 3800 Woodbriar Trail, Port Orange, Fla. 32129.(10-31-2010)
- Sad News – Ed Shull: Edward Harvey Shull, 69, of Cumming, GA passed away on October 25, 2010 at Northside Forsyth Hospital. Born in Chattanooga, TN he was the son of the late Nancy Agnes and Harvey Shull. Ed had a long, distinguished career with the Quaker Oats Co. that spanned over 38 years. He spent his first years in sales up until 1983. While maintaining his sales position, he began representing Quaker Oats and Gatorade in the NASCAR circuit. Soon thereafter he transitioned roles and moved to the Sports Marketing Division of Quaker Oats for the NASCAR division. This was his passion and a position he truly loved. Along the way, he touched many lives in and around NASCAR. Even though he retired in 2003, Ed continued to live out his passion as a consultant with Gatorade and the NASCAR industry. The funeral service and celebration of Ed’s life will be held at 10:00 am on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 in the chapel of McDonald and Son Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Greenlawn Cemetery in Roswell, GA. The family will receive friends on Monday, November 1, 2010 from 1:00 – 4:00 and 6:00 – 8:00pm at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in his honor to the PKD Foundation at www.pkdcure.org.(10-29-2010)
- Sad News – Mike Fanello: Michael “Mike” C. Fanello, 62, of Lucas, Ohio died on the family farm Friday, October 15, 2010 while doing one of the many things he enjoyed-cutting wood. He was born April 3, 1948 in Mansfield. He enjoyed dirt track racing which progressed into a 21-year involvement with NASCAR [worked for Richard Petty Racing and D.K. Ulrich]. Memorial contributions may be made to the Lucas Schools Sustaining Fund.(Mansfield News Journal)(10-28-2010)
- Sad News – Carol June Bodine: Carol June Bodine, 85, of Pleasant Garden passed away Friday, October 22, 2010 in the Palliative Care unit at Wesley Long Memorial Hospital. Born May 1, 1925 in Elmira, New York, to Louise and Ronald Sechrist, Carol June was married in August 1943 to Eli Bodine. Together, while raising a family in rural Chemung, New York, they built their lives as prominent business owners. While their day to day lives revolved around operating one of the largest chicken farms in New York State, and the local ice creamery, weekends were dedicated to providing thrills and excitement to auto race fans at their ¼ mile dirt track, Chemung Speedrome.
Her love of adventure, spurred by the love of family, took Carol June, along with Eli on the NASCAR circuit for over a decade traveling from track to track selling souvenirs for sons Geoffrey and Brett. Her passion and dedication continued through their racing careers, and into son Todd’s, in the Camping World Truck Series. From practice to qualifying to the final lap, Carol June reveled in her son’s accomplishments.
The family will receive friends from 6:00 – 8:00 pm on Monday, Oct. 25, 2010 at Hanes Lineberry Sedgefield Chapel in Greensboro, NC. The service of celebration will be officiated by her nephew, Reverend Randall Stone, on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010 11:00 am. Burial will follow at Guilford Memorial Park. Please access the following link for service details and directions: www.haneslineberryfuneralhomes.com. In lieu of flowers, we are requesting that donations be made to The Alzheimer’s Association, Western Carolina Chapter, 2800 Shamrock Drive, Charlotte, NC 28215.(10-25-2010)
- Sad News – Phyllis Donlavey: Phyllis Donlavey, 85, passed away October 21, 2010. She is survived by her beloved husband of 68 years, Wesley C. “Junie” Donlavey [former Sprint Cup Series team owner, 863 races]; daughters, Linda Perkins and her husband, Bill, and Beverly Swata; son, C. Richard Donlavey and his wife, Sandy; eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Phyllis was a devoted member of the Nascar Women’s Auxiliary. The family will receive friends Sunday, October 24, 2010 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Morrissett Funeral Home, 6500 Iron Bridge Rd. (Rte. 10). A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, October 25, 2010 at Washington Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family suggest contributions be made to Victory Junction, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, N.C. 27317.(obit – Richmond Times Dispatch)
And see a full article about Phyllis at the Richmond Times Dispatch – Phyllis Donlavey, ‘first lady’ of NASCAR team, dies at 85.(10-24-2010)
- Community gathers for final goodbye to BMS’s general manager: Jeff Byrd took pride in hosting large crowds at Bristol Motor Speedway. And over the past 14 years, the former general manager of BMS entertained motorsports fans from around the world. Several hundred of those fans returned to NASCAR’s most popular short track Thursday to honor and remember the effervescent ambassador of BMS. Byrd died Sunday after an eight-month battle with cancer. He was 60. As friends and fans entered a large tent set up on the BMS infield, local musician James David Carter performed a stirring rendition of the timeless James Taylor ballad “Fire and Rain.” The evocative piece set the mood for a ceremony rich with heart-wrenching tributes. Byrd was painted as a generous, funny, compassionate and competitive leader who was guided by faith, family, hope and love. Throughout the emotional event, a video montage displayed a wide range of images from Byrd’s life. Several of the speakers and attendees contributed stories of how Byrd impacted lives without ever asking for anything in return. Those anonymous acts ranged from personal donations for charitable causes to various volunteer efforts and goodwill gestures. Each of the 70 BMS employees wore black shirts emblazoned with the now familiar track motto “Exceed Expectations.” Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, Food City Chief Executive Officer Steve Smith, Bristol Chamber of Commerce President Lisa Meadows and Bristol television personality Paul Johnson also offered personal stories that illustrated Byrd’s humility and compassion. BMS Director of Media and Public Relations Lori Worley said the track staff members are committed to follow the selfless example of their late mentor.(Bristol Herald Courier)(10-22-2010)
- Sad News – Jeff Byrd: Jeff Byrd, Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway President and General Manager, passed away today [Oct. 17th] following a lengthy illness. He was 60. The dynamic Byrd, one of the most respected and admired leaders in racing, had been at the helm of BMS since January of 1996 when Speedway Motorsports, Inc., purchased the Bristol facility. Under his leadership, the track became the most popular venue on the NASCAR tour. Prior to his move to BMS, Byrd served 23 years in the sports marketing department at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., departing as vice president of business development. He began his career as a sportswriter at the Winston-Salem Journal.
Byrd is survived by his wife of 36 years, Claudia, daughter Belton Caldwell and her husband Jerry, son Christian Byrd and his wife Amy, seven grandchildren and an extended family of more than 70 fellow employees.
“From his days as a sportswriter to his time at R.J. Reynolds to the last 14 years, Jeff Byrd was one of the greatest promoters both stock car and drag racing has known,” said Speedway Motorsports Chairman and CEO O. Bruton Smith. “To say his passing leaves a void would be an understatement. Simply put, Jeff got it. He understood that more than what happened on the track, it was the experience that fans took home with them that stayed in their memories. And those fans, and the people he worked with at Bristol Motor Speedway, were truly like family to him. Because of the mindset that he possessed, Jeff will stay in our hearts and memories forever. ”
A 35-year veteran in the sports marketing profession, Byrd was involved in the development and implementation of a multitude of sports and event marketing programs across the sports spectrum. Byrd was extremely active in numerous civic organizations and had made a tremendous impact in the Tri-Cities community, as well as his church, First Presbyterian in Kingsport, where he was a longtime member. He was involved with a number of charitable groups and he and his wife Claudia organized and spearheaded the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, a non-profit agency dedicated to aiding children in need in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Byrd received his B.A. degree in history and politics from Wake Forest University.(Bristol Motor Speedway), Funeral arrangements are pending.(10-17-2010)
SERVICES: Service Arrangements for Jeff Byrd – Jeff’s family invites his friends to join them in celebrating Jeff’s life at 11:00 am Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at Grace Fellowship Church, 2314 South Greenwood Drive, Johnson City, Tennessee with Dr. Greg Jordan and Dr. David Cagle officiating. A community appreciation service will be held at 11:00 am Thursday morning, October 21, 2010 in the infield at Bristol Motor Speedway. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Jeff Byrd Foundation, c/o Kingsport Community Foundation, 625 Market Street, Suite 1400, Knoxville, TN 37902. Donations also can be made through the website at www.easttennesseefoundation.org.(10-18-2010)
- Sad News – Gene Black: Francis ‘Gene’ Eugene Black Jr., 67 of Fletcher, NC passed away Monday, October 4, 2010. He was formerly a stock car driver and he raced with Richard Petty, Ralph Earnhardt, Junior Johnson and others. Surviving are his loving wife of 15 years Cheryl Lindsley Black, and Godmother Betty Shuford and many cousins. A memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Thursday October 21st, at the Calvary Episcopal Church in Arden. The Rev. Victor C. Mansfield will be officiating. An online registry is available at ashevillemortuaryservices.com.(Asheville Citizen Times), Black ran 37 Sprint Cup Series races from 1965 thru 1968 with six top-tens.(10-15-2010)
- Sad News – Beth Tuschak: Award winning motorsports journalist Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Ann Tuschak has passed away. Tuschak, who was the motorsports writer for USA Today in the late 1980s and early 1990s, was found dead in her Concord, NC, apartment on Monday, Oct. 11. The cause of her death has yet to be determined, but Concord police said there were no signs of foul play. Tuschak was instrumental in making sure NASCAR received equal coverage with Indy Car during her tenure at USA Today, especially during the month of May. Prior to joining USA Today, she was a motorsports writer in Detroit. Tuschak also wrote a series of comic books on NASCAR drivers and co-authored the book “NASCAR for Dummies.” She preceeded Cathy Elliott as the columnist for the NASCAR News Service.(full obit and service info at Wilkinson Funeral Home site)(10-15-2010)
- Sad News – Jack Flowers: saw some Twitter stuff by NASCAR writers and been told by a few, that longtime motorsports writer Jack Flowers passed away Monday morning, Oct 11th. See a columns at the National Speed Sports News: Say It With Flowers and NASCAR This Week by Monte Dutton.(10-12-2010)
OBIT & SERVICES: Mr. Flowers, 72, died at his home in Concord, N.C., on Monday, October 11, 2010. Born August 5, 1938 in Moultrie, GA, the son of Gordon H. Flowers and Ruby V. Hires who preceded him in death, Jack is survived by one half-brother Allen W. Gibbs, Jr. of Moultrie, GA, and one son, Greg Flowers of Orlando, FL.
Jack served his country in the United States Air Force from 1960-1963. Following service to his country, Jack’s career in journalism was his first love. A member of the NASCAR media covering the sport for nearly four decades. Jack was a part of the racing family since its humble beginning when he covered NASAR races before they were regularly televised. He was best known for his long-time column ‘Say it with Flowers.’
A memorial service will be held in the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage at Charlotte Motor Speedway 6:10 p.m. on Saturday, October 16 immediately following the Motor Racing Outreach chapel service. If you do not have race credentials but would like to attend the service, please call 704-905-5938.(Charlotte Observer)(10-14-2010)
- Sad News: Buddie Boys: “Buddie” George William Boys fought a courageous race against cancer but the checkered flag dropped on Saturday, October 2, 2010. Buddie’s greatest love in life was the race track. He was an innovator in the trucking industry where his success and accomplishments continue to be used now and in the future. Buddie’s other passion was riding his motorcycle. Buddie is lovingly remembered by his wife, Paulette; sisters, Betty (Ernie) Butler of Moose Jaw, Patsy (Frank) Sponchia of Nanaimo, BC; daughter, Barb (Allen) Deglow; son, Trevor (Theresa) Boys; daughters, Lori Sharratt, Tracy (Stan) Wadden and Darcy Bjazevic; 16 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. A Celebration of Buddie’s Life will be held at FOSTER’S GARDEN CHAPEL, 3220 – 4 Street N.W., Calgary (across from Queen’s Park Cemetery) on Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made directly to Chinook Hospice, 1261 Glenmore Trail SW, Calgary, Alberta T2V 4Y8. Expressions of sympathy may be forwarded to the family via the website www.fostersgardenchapel.ca.(10-7-2010)
- Sad News: Jason Terry: Jason C. Terry, 39, of Owensboro, passed away suddenly on October 5, 2010 at Owensboro Medical Health System. Born in Owensboro, he was a 1990 graduate of Owensboro Catholic High School where he excelled in basketball and baseball. Known affectionately as both Dog and Smiley, he holds the record for the most steals by an Owensboro Catholic basketball player, taking the ball away 107 times in the 1989/1990 season. Jason was an active member of Roseville Baptist Church in Hancock County, where he taught kindergarten through 5th grade Sunday school. For 11 years he worked with NASCAR as a jack man and right rear tire carrier for Brewco Motor Sports for drivers Mark Green, David Green, Casey Atwood, Jeff Purvis, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffel, and Kevin Grubb. Following his NASCAR career he was co-owner of MJ’s Flooring. The funeral service for Mr. Terry will be 2:00 p.m. Friday at Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory. Visitation with the family will be from 2:00 until 8:00 p.m. Thursday and from 12 noon until 2:00 p.m. Friday at Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory. Burial will be in Resurrection Cemetery. Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to the Blake and Kendall Terry Scholarship Fund, care of Chase Bank.(10-6-2010)
- Sad News – Charlie Selix: Charles Richard Selix, 81, of Farmington Hills, MI, Owner and Co-Owner of Roush Protofab Racing with Jack Roush, Gary Pratt (Pratt & Miller Racing) and Bob Riley (Riley Technologies) and owner of Protofab Racing in the Trans-Am. IMSA and Indy Cars, passed away Tuesday evening, September 28, 2010, following complications from heart surgery. Past drivers for Selix’s teams included Wally Dallenbach, Jr., who won two SCCA Trans-Am Championship titles, Willy T. Ribbs, Greg Pickett, Johnny Jones of Canada who won the IMSA GTO Championship, and Joe Ruttman in Late models in the early 70’s and many more drivers. Mr. Selix is survived by eight children, 14 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Two of his children worked in NASCAR: Gary Selix worked for DEI and the Woods Brothers, while Greg Selix work for JTG Racing. Both were factors in building the JTG Nationwide car driven by Marcos Ambrose to all wins in the Nationwide Series road courses races. Service info at phillipsfuneral.com.(9-30-2010)
- Sad News – Mike Porter: The Honorable Thomas Michael “Mike” Porter, 69, of 238 Maple Acres Road (Glenwood Park) in Princeton, WV died Monday, September 27, 2010 at Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, W.Va. Born May 10, 1941 in Lashmeet, W.Va., he was the son of the late Robert Jackson “Jack” Porter and Mary Magdalene “Maggie” Mills Porter. He attended Johnston’s Chapel Baptist Church in Princeton and was a U.S. Army veteran.
Mike was a former Driver/Owner of Mike Porter Racing in Princeton, WV. Competing in the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Division/NASCAR Busch Grand National Division/NASCAR Busch Series(All now the NASCAR Nationwide Series). Mike raced in that series from the mid 70’s through the mid 90’s. Mike is credited with one victory at Martinsville in 1980 in what was then the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Division(now Nationwide series). And Mike is also credited with the 1st pole for the NASCAR Busch Grand National Division(BGN) at Daytona in 1982. 1982 was the first year of the BGN Division, after Busch Beer took on the title sponsorship of the Late Model Sportsman Division. in the 90’s, as Mike’s focus changed from the BGN Division to the NASCAR Late Model Stock Divsion. Mike raced all over the east coast, winning over 100 victories racing late Model Stock Cars.
Survivors include his wife of forty-eight years, Evelyn “Ruth” Hedrick Porter of Princeton; one son, Thomas Michael “Mikey” Porter, Jr. and wife Sharon of Princeton; two grandchildren, Jacob Porter and Jared Porter, both of Princeton; and one sister, Patty Porter Grace of Princeton.
Funeral services will be conducted at 1:00 pm, Friday, October 1, 2010 at the Princeton Church of God, more information at the Seaver Funeral Home website.(9-29-2010)
- Sad News – Hilly Rife: Hillen “Hilly” Rife, 83, of Ormond Beach, FL, one of racing’s pioneer promoters and friend of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., died Friday [Sept 17th] morning after a long battle with cancer. Rife, who made one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start in 1954, moved here [Daytona area] from Pennsylvania in 1990 so he could assist the Frances when the family patriarch was slowed by Alzheimer’s disease. Rife’s primary duty was to drive France around town to keep various appointments. Several family members, including his wife, Becky, survive Rife. Services are pending. Lohman Funeral Home, Ormond Beach, is in charge.(see full story at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(9-18-2010)
- Sad News – Gaylord Marshall: #14-Tony Stewart raced with a heavy heart Saturday night at Richmond after his grandfather Gaylord Marshall, died at age 95 earlier in the day.(USA Today)(9-12-2010)
- Mae Odom Beaty: Mae Odom Beaty, age 87 of Charlotte, died August 19, 2010 at her residence. She was a member of Durham Memorial Baptist and the Joy Sunday School Class. Mae was a wonderful, loving person who enjoyed life, her church and was the official ‘church hugger’ and loved traveling with her late husband, ‘Dick’ who was associated with NASCAR for many years [Former NASCAR Winston Cup director and NASCAR driver]. The family requests that memorials be made to Durham Memorial Baptist Church, 1601 Toddville Rd., Charlotte, NC 28214.(Charlotte Observer)(8-24-2010)
- Sad News – Howie Lettow: Visitation for celebrated short-track stock-car crew chief Howie Lettow, who died Thursday, is scheduled for 5:30-9 p.m. Monday at Hafemeister Funeral Home, 611 E. Main St. in Watertown, WI. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 304 N. 6th St. in Watertown. One of the most respected crew chiefs in the Midwest, Lettow guided eight drivers to rookie of the year honors in the old American Speed Association and won three consecutive championships from 2005-’07 in the ASA Late Model Challenge Series. Lettow rejected offers from NASCAR teams, saying he preferred a comfortable family life to a larger paycheck, but his influence was still felt. At least eight drivers who worked regularly with Lettow went on to race full time in one of NASCAR’s three national series, including Johnson and 2003 truck series champion Ted Musgrave. In addition to his wife, Cheryl, survivors include son John and daughter Carin Eckes, son-in-law Jeremy Eckes and grandchildren Morgan and Jered Eckes. According to Cheryl, ESPN plans to do a piece on Howie at about 4:30 p.m. Friday with interviews with Tony Raines, who won the 1996 American Speed Association title with Lettow, and four-time defending NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, Lettow’s most famous pupil.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(8-23-2010)
- Sad News – Frank Millikan: Joseph Frank Millikan, 85, of Randleman NC died Sunday, August 15, 2010 at his home. Millikan was a native of Pleasant Garden and a Navy Veteran of WWII. He coached baseball with the Randleman and Level Cross Little Leagues for many years. He was part owner/operator of Frank and Larry’s Restaurant. Millikan’s son, Joe, ran 80 Sprint Cup races from 1974 thru 1986 with 10 top-fives, 38 top-tens and a pole. Joe was also part of a talented 1979 Rookie of the Year class which included ROTY Dale Earnhardt, Harry Gant and Terry Labonte. Another son, Blue, works in the Truck Series. For service info and guest book, go to pughfuneralhome.com/(8-16-2010)
- Sad news – Frank “Scoop” Vessels: Frank “Scoop” Vessels, a prominent Southern California breeder of racehorses and the grandson of the founder of Los Alamitos Race Course, died Wednesday in a twin-engine plane crash in southeastern Oregon. He was 58. Before taking over the family’s horse breeding enterprise, Vessels excelled in a different form of racing – off-road trucks. He competed in the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 desert races among others, was voted the sport’s rookie of the year in 1974 and in the late ’70s won a string of off-road class championships. Vessels, also, was among a small group of Southern California truck driver-owners who persuaded NASCAR to add a truck division to its stock-car racing series. He is survived by his wife of 18 years, Bonnie; and three sons, Bryan, Colt and Kash. [Mike Chase and PJ Jones drove for him in 1995. Jones had best finish – 2nd at Tucson/NASCAR PR] (L.A. Times)(8-14-2010)
- Sad News – Norm Froscher: Norm Froscher, a well-respected journalist for The Gainesville Sun who became a renowned national voice in drag racing, died Thursday. He was 79. Froscher died due to complications following a heart valve replacement procedure at Shands Hospital, according to his son, Teague Froscher. Born in Miami, Froscher had ambitions of becoming a horse jockey before growing too tall. Instead, Froscher turned to a journalism career, where his coverage of Gatornationals for The Sun and other media outlets brought him in contact with the top drag racers in the country. Froscher was universally liked by drivers, officials, pit crews and race organizers. After joining The Sun in 1971, Froscher covered the National Hot Rod Association event at Gainesville Raceway every year until 2009. In 2003, Froscher received a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Driver of the Year Foundation, joining Chris Economaki as the only two racing journalists to be so honored. Froscher also was a past president of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association and the Florida Sports Writers Association. Though Froscher made his mark writing about drag racing, he was passionate about covering all motorsports, covering the Daytona 500 and other NASCAR events. Froscher leaves behind his wife, Marilyn, of 42 years, a son Teague, two sons, Norman Jr. and Morris, from a previous marriage and a grandson, Jordan.(Gainesville Sun), services info and guest book at forestmeadowsfh.com(7-31-2010)
- Sad News – Earl Brooks: Earl Lee Brooks Sr., the “Earl of Lynchburg”, drove his victory lap on Wednesday, July 21, 2010. He was born in Lynchburg on Aug. 11, 1929, to Mattie S. and Eldridge L. Brooks. He was the owner and operator of Brooks’ Garage on Mayflower Drive from 1959 to 1992. He served his country in the U.S. Army. He lost the love of his life, Dorothy (Dot) Riley Brooks, in 1993. In his early years, he was a stunt driver with the Hollywood Hell Drivers Stunt Show. He was best known for his years in Grand National-Winston Cup Racing, which is now Sprint Cup. His career took him and his family all over the country. He had 262 starts which led to 37 top 10 finishes, three times in the nation’s top 20 in points standings. He proudly ran in the Daytona 500 four times. Earl was profiled in the “Stock Car Racing Magazine” as the “Earl of Lynchburg.” In 2006, he was chosen as one of the top 10 personalities of the “Well Known in Lynchburg.” Earl is represented in the Lynchburg Historical Museum. He was involved in the making of several movies which starred Elvis Presley and is featured in several books about the early years of racing. He was proudly inducted into the Lynchburg Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. He belonged to the Elks Lodge and was Elk of the Year in 1981. He was a member of Moose Lodge 1727, Virginia & Carolina Early Dirt Racers and the Old Timer’s Racer’s Club. Earl received many awards for his years of hard work and dedication to the sport of auto racing. His most recent honor was being notified that in October he will be inducted into the Memory Lane Museum Hall of Fame in Mooresville, N.C. Those wishing to make memorial contributions, please consider American Cancer Society or the charity of your choice. The family will receive friends from 7 to 9 p.m., July 23, 2010, at Whitten Timberlake Chapel and other times at the residence of Mark and Donna B. Skinner. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 24, 2010, at Spring Hill Cemetery, with the Rev. Mike Dodson officiating. To send a condolence to the family, please visit whittenfuneralhome.com.(7-23-2010)
- Sad News – Don Robertson: Donald Eugene Robertson, 79, of Roanoke, Va., passed away on Sunday, July 18, 2010. He was a veteran of the United States Army serving in the Korean War. He own and operated Star City Auto Body for over 46 years and was a racecar owner in NASCAR [1967-1980, 521 races, 2 wins, 6 top fives, 10 top tens]. Surviving are his wife, Rachel Altice Robertson, of Roanoke; three children, Donna Castillo and husband, Darryl, of Wirtz, Dale Robertson and wife, Chyrl, of Wirtz, and Karen Hunter and husband, Bill, of Butler, Pa.; six grandchildren; sister, Louise Guy and husband, Howard, of Hardy; and sister-in-law, Ruth Altice Rucker, of Fincastle. Service info and full obit at Roanoke Times.(7-21-2010)
- Sad News – Erik Durchman: Erik L. Durchman, age 63, of Orchard Road, Moravian Falls, NC died Sunday, July 18, 2010 at his home. A memorial service will be held 2:00, Friday, July 23, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church with the Rev. Scott Peterson officiating. Family and friends will gather for a celebration of life in the parish house after the service. The family will receive at Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home from 6:30 until 8:00 Thursday night. Mr. Durchman spent 30 years in the NASCAR racing business, where he worked in various roles as engine builder, mechanic, chassis manager and machinist. Until his death, he was employed by Penske Racing South in Mooresville. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Humane Society of Wilkes, PO Box 305, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659, Wilkes County Library, 215 10th Street, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659, or to Wilkes County Animal Shelter, 408 Call Street, Wilkesboro, NC 28697, Service info and full obit at Tributes.com.(7-21-2010)
- Sad News – Judy Tucker: Judy Wingate Tucker passed away on Tuesday July 6, 2010 after a brave fight with her illness. Judy was born in Charlotte February 1, 1942. She was a long time resident of Denver NC. Judy was preceded in death by Sherman Tucker, Husband and Best Friend, her Mother & Father, Ruby and Harry Wingate Sr., brother, Jerry and her best traveling buddy, BJ Currie. Judy enjoyed a long career in motorsports. She began in the early 70s at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Most recently she worked with the PR/Media Relations as a freelance employee with various tracks across the country including, Daytona, Charlotte, Bristol, Martinsville, Darlington, Rockingham, Atlanta, Texas, Talladega, Homestead and Las Vegas. During Judy’s career she worked with Pro Sports Inc and Blue Max Racing. She was a member of the Blue Max “Winston Cup Champion Team” in 1989 [#27-Rusty Wallace]. Judy was a lifetime member of National Motorsports Press Association and was awarded the esteemed Joe Littlejohn Award. In her spare time, she enjoyed volunteering at East Lincoln Ministries, “The Closet”.
Judy is survived by her brother, Harry “Sonny” Wingate, her uncle Ed” Buddy” Honeycutt, nieces and nephews, Kim, Amy, Mark, Trina and Lesa. Memorials can be made to East Lincoln Ministries, 4278 Catawba Burris Rd, Denver NC 28037. Funeral Services will be held Friday July 9, 2010 2pm at Steele Creek Presbyterian Church. Interment will be in the Church Cemetery. Visitation one hour prior to the service at the Church. Arrangements by Forest Lawn West Funeral and Cremation Service.(7-8-2010)
- Sad News – Robert Bouchard: Robert H. Bouchard [dather of former NASCAR drivers Ron & Ken], 88, of Winchendon Springs, died Saturday, June 26, 2010 in UMass Medical Center, Worcester. Robert was born on November 29, 1921, son of the late Henry and Irene (Ashby) Bouchard. Mr. Bouchard owned and operated Red & White Trucking Company on Lunenburg Street in Fitchburg for 65 years. He also worked with his son, Ron at the Honda Store in Fitchburg. Besides the mother of his children, Lorraine (Henault) Bouchard, Robert leaves his life companion Patricia Boucher and her daughter Jayne Boucher, two sons, Ronald R. Bouchard and his wife Paula, and Kenneth Bouchard, all of Fitchburg, one daughter, JoAnn Bouchard Bergeron and her husband Robert of New Ipswich NH, seven grandchildren, Gene Bouchard, Robert Bouchard, Michelle Bouchard, Tracy Bouchard DiNardo, Chad Bouchard, Courtney Bouchard Bergeron, and Olivia Bouchard, five great-grandchildren, four brothers, Ernie Bouchard of Maine, Jules Bouchard of NM, Norman Bouchard of Athol, and Larry Bouchard of Fitchburg, two sisters, Irene Wasserbeck of OH, and Terry Barber of Orange, and many nieces and nephews. Service info can be found at legacy.com.(7-2-2010)
- Sad News – Joe Phipps: Joe Phipps, of Newark, who was one of only a handful of race car drivers from Delaware to actually compete in what is now NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, died Saturday at the age of 74. Phipps, a longtime resident of Newark, was born in Piney Creek, N.C., but called Delaware his home state. He competed in nine Grand National events in his career in 1970 and ’71. Before taking his turn in NASCAR, Phipps was a renowned drag racer and dirt-track driver at tracks such as Cecil County, Atco, Lincoln and Susquehanna. Joe Phipps then moved on to NASCAR when things were far different from the high-dollar glitzy world of today’s Sprint Cup Series. Phipps worked on, maintained and drove his #65 race car against much-better funded drivers such as Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison, among others. Phipps’ NASCAR career got off to a solid start in 1970. He made his debut in 1970 at a race in Rockingham, N.C. He started 34th in a field of 40 and managed to stay out of trouble before finishing 16th. It was part of a respectable season for Phipps, who finished among the top 20 in five of his seven starts and failed to finish only two races. His best finish was an 11th-place outing at Beltsville. Unfortunately, Phipps’ Cup career ended after just two races in 1971. He started 17th at Richmond but had ignition trouble early and finished 26th. Then, at Dover, he blew an engine and finished 37th. Phipps, a Korean War veteran, was employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad and then by M&G Convoy. Services for Phipps will be held at 11 a.m. today at R.T. Foard and Jones, Inc., 122 W. Main St., Newark. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Stroke Association c/o R.T. Foard and Jones. To send condolences visit www.rtfoard.com.(Delaware News Journal)(6-23-2010)
- Sad News – Raymond Parks: Raymond Parks 96, (born June 5, 1914) owner of Red Byron’s car which won NASCAR’s first Strictly Stock (now Sprint Cup) championship in 1949 passed away at his home this morning in Atlanta, GA.
Parks was the first child of Alfred and Leila Parks and great-great-nephew of settler Benny Parks, who found gold in the state of Georgia in the early nineteenth century. Born in Dawsonville, Georgia, Raymond was the oldest of his father’s sixteen children, six of whom were born to Leila, and ten of whom were born to Leila’s sister, Ila. Parks left home at age 14 and began driving moonshine. He served nine months of a one-year and one-day sentence in the federal penitentiary in Chillicothe, Ohio, from 1936 to 1937. Parks served in World War II during the famous Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. He served in the 99th Infantry Division and was briefly stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Most famous for being a moonshine runner who helped to start NASCAR, Parks was the car owner for moonshine runner and nephew Lloyd Seay. He won the first two ever NASCAR championships. Parks is the last living member of the group who created NASCAR at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1947. He was one of eight drivers inducted in the first class of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in 2002, along with his cousin Lloyd Seay, Byron, Tim Flock, and Bill Elliott. He was inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009.
Parks, is honored at the NASCAR Hall of Fame with a life size statue and depiction of his old race shop where his chief mechanic Red Vogt, built his cars. Parks, car the #22 “Novelty Machine Co.” driven by Red Byron leads the field of cars at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Raymond is survived by his wife Violet.(6-20-2010)
SERVICES: Memorial services have been set for NASCAR pioneer Raymond Parks, who died Sunday morning at his home in Atlanta at age 96. NASCAR says a viewing for Parks will be held Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. at HM Patterson Funeral Parlor in Atlanta. A memorial service is planned for Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Peachtree Christian Church.(6-21-2010)
- Sad News – Les Richter: Les Richter, twice a key force in establishing big-league auto racing in Southern California after a career as an all-pro linebacker with the Los Angeles Rams, died Saturday. He was 79. Richter died at Riverside Community Hospital after suffering a brain aneurysm Friday, said his son, Jon. Richter first led Riverside International Raceway, a twisty road-racing course east of Los Angeles, to national prominence largely by bringing NASCAR there in the early 1960s. After that track closed in 1988, he helped supervise development of Auto Club Speedway, the 92,000-seat Fontana track initially called California Speedway that opened in 1997 and now hosts two top-level NASCAR races a year. Richter was an influential motor sports figure nationally even though he never drove a race car or turned a wrench, one whose football background earned him the nickname “Coach.”
“Les Richter will be missed by the entire NASCAR community and always remembered for all he did for the sport on all levels,” NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said in a statement. In promoting Auto Club Speedway’s construction, for instance, the track’s original owner, Roger Penske, tapped Richter to meet with politicians and answer the public’s questions at town hall meetings. In addition to his son Jon, he is survived by his wife, Marilyn; a daughter, Anne; and three grandchildren.(see full story at the Los Angeles Times)(6-12-2010)
- Sad News – Alan Craven: Alan Wright Craven, 72, passed away peacefully June 9, 2010, at a Bangor hospital. Alan was born June 9, 1938, in Hampden, to Carl R. Sr. and Catherine G. (Curtis) Craven. He was owner of Wiscasset Motor Speedway, and ran Red Barn, Monroe, for 16 years. Alan is survived by his son, [former NASCAR driver] Ricky Craven and his wife, Cathleen, of Concord, N.C.; daughter, Lauri Matheson and her husband, Mark, of Bangor; four grandchildren; sisters, Sharon Boltron and husband, Frank, of Monroe, Martha Smith and husband, Jerry, of Brewer, Kathy-Jo Ottoshavett and husband, Joseph, of Connecticut, and Shelley-Lou Craven of Newburgh; brother, Frank Craven of Florida; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins. Alan was predeceased by his parents; and special brother, Carl “Skip” R. Craven Jr. A graveside service for Alan will be held noon Friday, June 11, at Chapman Cemetery, Chapman Road, Newburgh. Memorial contributions in Alan’s honor may be made to CancerCare of Maine, care of Healthcare Charities, P.O. Box 931, Bangor, ME 04402-0931. Arrangements entrusted to Hampden-Gilpatrick Funeral Home, 45 Western Ave., Hampden. Messages of condolence and memories may be shared through www.hampdengilpatrick.com.(Bangor Daily News)(6-10-2010)
- Sad News – Richard Jackson: Former NASCAR team owner Richard Jackson passed away Monday evening. Jackson, who fielded cars from 1975 to 2001 in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Grand National Series, was 74. Richard Jackson was born on March 31, 1937 in Asheville, NC. Racing and race cars were always a passion of Richard’s, and he and brother Leo Jackson Jr. built their first racer when Richard was 18. They raced the car through the mid-1950’s at the McCormick Field baseball stadium in Asheville, NC. Jackson graduated in 1960 from Georgia Tech University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1964, Jackson, along with father Leo Jackson Sr., and brother Leo Jackson Jr., formed Precision Products of Asheville. Though they did not own a race team through the 60’s the Precision Products Company built specialized parts for many racers in NASCAR.
In the fall of 1974, brothers Richard, and Leo Jr., formed Precision Products Racing. The team competed in the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Division, which later became the NASCAR Busch Series, and then the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The team’s first season of racing was in 1975 with driver Bob Pressley (father of former NASCAR driver Robert Pressley and grandfather to NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Coleman Pressley) behind the wheel. The team won its first race, and went on to win an astounding 34 of 53 races that season. Drivers Tommy Ellis and Dave Marcis also drove for the PPR Late Model Sportsman Team.
In 1981 Precision Products Racing made its NASCAR Winston Cup debut (now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) at Darlington Raceway with driver Dave Marcis, and sponsorship from Asheville businessman Paul Young. At the start of the 1985 Winston Cup Season, Richard and Leo Jr. acquired the U.S. Tobacco team and sponsorship, competing in Winston Cup with a two car team driven by brothers Phil and Benny Parsons. In 1988, the team scored its first Winston Cup victory, with driver Phil Parsons taking the #55 Copenhagen Oldsmobile to victory lane in the Winston 500 at Talladega. In 1990, Jackson went on to form his own team, Richard Jackson Motorsports. The 1994 season was highlighted when Jackson and driver Rick Mast won the pole position for the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Drivers for the Richard Jackson Motorsports team include two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Terry Labonte, Rick Mast, Morgan Shepard, Jerry Nadeau, and Lance Hooper. In 1995, Jackson was the recipient of the Bobby Isaac Memorial Award, given to Richard in recognition of his contributions to short track racing. Richard Jackson married his high school sweetheart, Karen Fox, on August 27th, 1956. They have one daughter, Lisa Jackson, who also drove for her dad from 1979 to 1982 at Hickory Motor Speedway, and Asheville Speedway, in the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman, and BGN divisions.
Richard Jackson is survived by his wife Karen of 53 years, brother Leo Jackson Jr., sisters Patricia Marshall and Gail Morgan, daughter Lisa Jackson, and grandchildren Jackson T. Young (21) and Emily S. Young (18). A Celebration of Life for Richard Jackson will be held on Wednesday evening, June 2nd at Abernethy United Methodist Church, 1418 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC. Friends of Richard Jackson and the Jackson family will be received beginning at 6pm, and the service will begin at 7:00pm. Funeral arrangements will be assisted by Groce Funeral Home, 1401 Patton Avenue.
The Jackson family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina, www.ncwish.org 1293 Hendersonville Road, #1, Asheville, NC 28803, phone number (828) 274-9474, or to the Abernethy United Methodist Church Children and Youth Fund 1418 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC 28806, phone number (828) 254-2612.(Groce Funeral Home)(6-1-2010)
- Sad News – Michelle Dyer: Michelle Dawn Dyer, 40, of Sanford, Florida passed away Saturday, May 15, 2010 at Florida Hospital South in Orlando. She was the beloved daughter of Janis and Joe Dyer. She is survived by brothers, Jeffrey Dyer and Sean Dyer; sister, Laura Houger of Fairbanks, Alaska and grandmother, Josephine Konkel of Sanford, Florida. She was born on November 22, 1969 in Alexandria, Virginia. She enjoyed NASCAR and writing poetry. Her poetry was published in the 2007 issue of “Forever Spoken”, which is a compilation by the International Library of Poetry. She will be greatly missed and forever loved by her family. Memorial services will be held at the home of Janis and Joe Dyer in Sanford, Florida during the weekend of June 11 for family and friends. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Cancer Society in her honor.(Orlando Sentinel), Dyer was a Motorsports Reporter for the Stock Car Gazette.(5-28-2010)
- Sad News – Marti Rompf: Martha C. (Marti) Rompf, 67, a public relations professional in auto racing for more than 25 years, died at her home in Traverse City, Mich., on May 15 after a long illness. Born and raised in Lansing, Mich., Rompf served as director of public relations at Michigan International Speedway (1982-86) and Atlanta Motor Speedway (1986-1992) before joining Dearborn, Mich.-based communications agency PCGCampbell in 1992. While with PCGCampbell, she represented Ford Motor Company’s race teams in NASCAR, including The Wood Brothers, Bud Moore Engineering, and Robert Yates Racing, and drivers that included Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Elliott Sadler, Lake Speed, and Dick Trickle. She also worked as Ford Motor Company’s public relations manager in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for several years, promoting future NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standouts Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, and the late Kenny Irwin. In 2006, Rompf joined Wood Brothers Racing, from which she retired at the end of the 2007 NASCAR season. Prior to entering the public relations profession, Rompf worked as a journalist covering local news for both the Albion (Mich.) Evening Recorder and the Coldwater (Mich.) Daily Reporter during the 1970s. A 1961 graduate of Lansing Eastern High School, she is survived by her daughter Kathie, her sons Michael and Mark, and four grandsons. At her request, no services are planned. Memorials can be made to Munson Hospice MHRF at 210 Beaumont Place, Traverse City, MI 49684 or Victory Junction Gang 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317.(NASCAR)(5-20-2010)
- Sad News – Harriet Hicks: Harriet Hicks [maiden name Harris], mother of Stringer Motorsports crew chief Trip Bruce and Beth Baldwin, wife of Sprint Cup Series team owner, Tommy Baldwin passed away last Saturday, May 15, 2100. Services will be held in Franklinton, North Carolina next Monday, May 24th at Hall-Wynne Funeral Home, time has not been announced. Address is; 504 East Mason Street, Franklinton, NC.(5-18-2010)
- Sad News – Herb Scott: Herb Scott, 83, of Wexford. PA died on Thursday. He was the beloved husband of 60 years of Patricia (Koms) Scott; loving father of Richard “Deek” Scott (Chris), dear grandfather of Stephanie Sabo (Jason) and Jodie Cowan (Adam); great-grandfather of Julian Sabo; and brother of the late Harold, Lester, Ruby, Roy, Freeman, Donald and Betty. Herb was a local stock car racing champion. He was inducted into the National Dirt Track Hall or Fame. He won 520 feature events. He also was inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, was a three-time Dapper Dan Award winner, and was a 10-time Pittsburgh Racing Association winner. He was inducted into the Lernerville Speedway Hall of Fame and the Pocono Speedway Hall of Fame.(more info at legacy.com- Butler Eagle). Scott ran one Sprint Cup race, in 1962 he ran a race at Winston Salem, NC, starting 18th and finishing 17th in the #71 Austin Healey.(5-8-2010)
- Sad News – Al Allen: #05-Willie Allen is driving with a heavy heart Friday at Richmond International Raceway. His father, Al, passed away Thursday after battling complications from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Al Allen, 55, was a big supporter of Willie’s career, and that’s why Willie decided to drive all night to race in Richmond. “Tough week. After Talladega, as soon as I got home and laid in the bed, my mom called and said he was having trouble breathing, so we rushed him to the hospital,” Willie said. “He actually walked in the hospital. Just thought he was having a rough time, pneumonia or something.” But Al didn’t get any better, and doctors put him on a bi-pap breathing machine. Willie said the decision was made Thursday to take him off the machine. “Man, I wouldn’t be racing if it wasn’t for him, 100 percent,” Willie said. “Countless hours at the shop. There wouldn’t even be a chance of me being here (without him).” Willie wondered whether he should race Friday at Richmond, but he said he knew what his dad would want “I kind of questioned myself: What should I do?’ Willie said. “I know 100 percent what he’d want me to do. That’s all he worked for, for me to do this. It’s been tough today. It’s been super tough, just focusing. I ain’t going to lie. Trying to work through it.” Willie and his wife Kristen drove all night Thursday and got to Richmond about five minutes before practice began at 9 a.m. Eastern.(NNS Racing)(4-30-2010)
- Sad News – Dick Hartrick: Richard “Dick” Cecil Hartrick, 68, died Monday, April 5, 2010, at Columbus Regional Healthcare [Whiteville, NC]. He was born June 24, 1941 in Fairfield County, Conn., the son of the late John and Jeannette Wardell Hartrick. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Elaine Gustin. Services were held on Friday, April 9th at McHoul Funeral Home, 895 Route 82, Hopewell Junction, N.Y. 12533. Hartrick recently worked for Kirk Shelmerdine Racing in the Sprint Cup Series. He is survived by four daughters, Lisa Hartrick of Whiteville, Lora Metz of Puyallup, Wash., Wendy Howington of Cary, and Corinne Holmes of Jacksonville; and a sister, Barbara Deysenroth of Redding, Conn. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Macular Degeneration Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 531313, Henderson, Nev. 89053 or to the Lupus Foundation of America Inc., P.O. Box 631047, Baltimore, Md. 21263-1047.(4-11-2010)
- Sad News – Hubert Hensley: Hubert Shelton Hensley, 78, of 1600 J. S. Holland Road, Ridgeway, VA died Thursday, April 8, 2010 at Memorial Hospital of Martinsville/Henry County. He was born on September 27, 1931 in Henry County, VA. Hensley owned a Nationwide Series [usually #63] team from 1982-2002, with his drivers winning 11 races and the 1990 Series Championship with Chuck Bown driving. Hensely’s son Jeff is currently the crew chief for Timothy Peters in the Camping World Truck Series. Surviving are his wife, Pauline Shelton Hensley of the home; son and daughter-in-law, Jeffrey Shelton Hensley and Debra Hensley of Ridgeway, VA; sister Ruth Shields of the Preston Community, Martinsville, VA; brother, Billy Hensley of Ridgeway, VA and grandchildren, Emily Hebert, John Thomas Hensley and Meg Elizabeth Hensley. The funeral service will be held at 11:00am/et on Monday, April 12, 2010 at Norris Funeral Services Chapel with Reverend Kenneth McFarland and R. Darryl Holland officiating. Burial will be in the Horsepasture Christian Church Cemetery, Ridgeway, VA. The family will receive friends on Sunday evening, from 4:00 to 5:30pm/et at Norris Funeral Services and other times at the home. Memorials may be made to the Victory Junction, 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317. See obit here.(4-10-2010)
- Sad News – Tom Blackwell: Tom Blackwell, longtime NASCAR track promoter and a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame voting committee, passed away Wednesday night. He was 81. Blackwell operated and was the former owner of Greenville (S.C.) Pickens Speedway, the second- oldest race track in NASCAR. He has been involved with the track since 1955, when his family purchased the half-mile paved oval from the Garrison family and then-track promoter Bill France Sr. Blackwell was born Oct. 31, 1928 in Kings Mountain, N.C., and was the son of the late Ernest and Exie Lewis Smith Blackwell. He was predeceased by four brothers and his sister, Peggy Tannery. Tannery passed away earlier Wednesday. He is survived by his wife, Joanne Blackwell, and his two sons, Keith and Mark Blackwell. Greenville Pickens hosted 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races between 1951 and 1971. Included in that was the historic race on April 10, 1971 that was the first NASCAR race televised live flag-to-flag. The race was broadcast on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Funeral arrangements are still pending.(NASCAR)(4-8-2010)
ARRANGEMENTS: Memorials may be made to Shriner’s Hospital for Children, 950 W. Faris Road, Greenville, SC 29605; Overbrook Baptist Church, 1705 E. North Street, Greenville, SC 29615; or the American Cancer Society, 154 Milestone Way, Greenville, SC 29615. The funeral service will be held Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 4:30 p.m. in the chapel of Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Downtown with visitation following until 7:30 p.m. Burial will be held on Monday. The family will be at 374 Pimlico Road from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.(4-9-2010)
- Sad New – Chet Simmons: Sports broadcasting and cable pioneer, Chester R. “Chet” Simmons, who served as president of ESPN when it launched in 1979, died of natural causes Thursday in Atlanta. He was 81. See full story at ESPN.com.(3-26-2010)
- Sad News – Douglas D. Bancroft: Douglas D. Bancroft was reunited in Heaven with his loving wife and soul mate Mary Lee on February 3, 2010. He is preceded in death by his Mother, Erma Paciorkowski. During his time living in Southern California, Doug turned his passion for speed on two wheels to water and ultimately to more wheels, this time four, with his involvement in NASCAR as an official for the West Coast series. Bancroft is survived by his son Gary (Cheri) of Dallas, TX, Edward (Irene) of Antioch, CA and daughter Wendy English (D. W.) Ft. Walton Beach, FL. Grandsons Timothy and Kyle English of Ft. Walton Beach, FL and granddaughter Amanda Bancroft of Dallas, TX. A private memorial service for family and friends is being held. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Doug to Victory Junction or by mail to Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317.(Knoxville News Sentinel)(3-18-2010)
- Sad News – Joe Lewis: Joe Lewis, known as Big Joe in the NASCAR community, passed away late Tuesday night. He was the transport driver for the Copenhagen teams of Rick Mast and Terry Labonte in the late 1980s and into the 1990s. Later, he worked for Penske Racing, driving a test rig and handling other duties around Penske Racing. Gary Brooks, who works at Penske Racing, is his son-in-law. His daughter is Teri Brooks, who handled hospitality for U.S. Tobacco. His wife, Gloria, was the office manager for the Copenhagen team and worked for Humpy Wheeler at Robin Wood Speedway. Visitation is scheduled for Friday, March 19th from 6-9 p.m. at South Point Baptist Church in Belmont, NC and the service is 3:00pm/et on Saturday, also at South Point Baptist Church.(3-18-2010)
- Sad News – Mae Mann: Mae Elizabeth Diehl Mann, longtime employee of the Wood Brothers [#21 Ford] and many other NASCAR teams as a scorer from 1974 through 1992, including trips to victory lane with Bobby Allison, Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett, died Monday, March 15, 2010, at the age of 86. Born March 29, 1923, her long career included World War II service in the Women’s Army Corps and civilian employ with the Army until 1982, when she and John began following NASCAR around the country full-time. Memorial service on Friday, March 19, 2010, at 2:00pm at Nokesville Church of the Brethren, Fitzwater Drive, Nokesville, Virginia. Survivors include husband of 60 + years, John, their 3 children and their spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Condolences may be sent to John P. Mann III, The Oaks #317, 305 Oak Springs Drive, Warrenton, VA 20186. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Noah’s Outreach or Victory Junction Gang in her name. See a full obit and leave online condolences to Mae’s family at www.foundandsons.com.(3-17-2010)
- Sad News – Peggy Sappenfield: Peggy Sappenfield, wife of NASCAR Scorer Earl Sappenfield passed away on Saturday, March 13, 2010 after a courageous struggle with lung disease. She was 75 years of age. She was born in Winston Salem, NC. She married Earl Sappenfield in 1955 and they have been married for 54 years. They have lived in Jacksonville for 48 years. Peggy retired from the Duval County School Board Food Service where she worked at Sandalwood High School Cafeteria for 20 years. She is preceded in death by three sisters Ruby Page, Elise Thompson and Helen Williard. She is survived by her husband Earl Sappenfield, daughter and son in law, Marsha (Lee) Pruitt, one grandson, Marty, two sisters Martha (JC) Redmon and Francis (Bobby) Barlow. She is also survived by two special sister in laws Violet Kimmer and Earline Burton. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Hardage- Giddens Chapel Hills Funeral Home on 850 St. John’s Bluff Road North, Jacksonville, FL (904-641-9755). Services will be held on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 11:00am at Hardage-Giddens Chapel Hills Funeral Home located at St. John’s Bluff Road North.(Jacksonville Times Union)(3-16-2010)
- Sad News – Ann Plattenberger: Mrs. Ann Plyler Plattenberger, 70, of Wesley Chapel, passed away on Tuesday, March 09, 2010 at home with her family by her side. Services in celebration of her life will be held 2 p.m., Friday, March 12, 2010 from the graveside at Forest Lawn East Cemetery with Reverend Bruce Powell officiating. Survivors include her beloved husband and best friend of over 52 years, Ralph Plattenberger; sons, Steve Plattenberger [crew chief of the #23 R3 NASCAR Nationwide Series team] and wife Lisa S., Gary Plattenberger and wife Jan S., all of Wesley Chapel; brother, Joe C. Plyler and wife Charlotte, of Indian Trail; sister, Betty Holcomb; brother, Jerry Plyler and wife Joyce; sister, Nancy P. Boatright and husband Danny, all of Wesley Chapel; grandchildren, Scott Plattenberger, of Concord, Ashley P. Edwards and husband Aaron, of Charleston, SC, Bryan Plattenberger, John Plattenberger, Lara Plattenberger and Dan Plattenberger, all of Wesley Chapel and by one great-grandson, Cayden Edwards, of Charleston, SC. Memorials may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care, Charlotte Region, 1420 E. 7th St., Charlotte, NC 28204 or to Siler Presbyterian Church, 6301 Weddington Monroe Road, Matthews, NC 28104.Arrangements are in the care of Heritage Funeral Home, Weddington Chapel. An online guestbook is available at www.heritagefuneral.net.(3-10-2010)
- Sad News: Jake Elder: His name was J.C. Elder, but virtually everybody who knew him called him Suitcase Jake. Elder, one of the most successful crew chiefs in the history of NASCAR, died Wednesday. He was 73 years old and had been in failing health since suffering a stroke in 2006. Elder was the top wrench for driver David Pearson when Pearson won Sprint Cup championships in 1968 and ’69. Over a career that began in the late 1950s and stretched over the next 40-plus years, Elder worked either as a crew chief or leading mechanic for some of racing’s best drivers, including Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Fred Lorenzen and Benny Parsons. He attended public schools for only three years, but he might have been the best “shade-tree” mechanic ever in NASCAR racing. During Elder’s crew-chief years, the job was more about preparing the car and less about organizing and scheduling, as is the case today. Elder’s main task was to produce durable, winning race cars. Elder also is remembered for one of the best quotes in the history of the sport. It was been repeated in numerous versions over the years, but after crew-chiefing for Earnhardt in his first win, Elder told the young driver: “Stick with me, kid, and we’ll have diamonds as big as horse turds.” Ironically, it was Elder who did not “stick with” Earnhardt. A season after helping Earnhardt win the Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year title in 1979, Elder left the Earnhardt team for other pastures. It was a process, Elder, a committed perfectionist, would repeat many times during a career that saw him in more jobs than a normal resume sheet could hold. His frequent job-hopping earned him the nickname Suitcase Jake.(See full article by Mike Hembree at SPEED)
AND J.C. “Jake” Elder, 73, formerly of 125 Tree Lane, Statesville, NC, died Wednesday, February 24, 2010, at Autumn Care of Statesville. He was born November 22, 1936, in Statesville, and was the son of the late Dewey Lee and Mable Mae Sprinkle Elder. He was a retired crew chief with NASCAR and was known as “Suitcase Jake.” Beginning his career in 1959, he worked with 30 different drivers including, Lee Petty, David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Benny Parsons, Bobby Allison, Davey Allison, Terry Labonte, and Sterling Marlin, and served as crew chief for two Winston Cup championship teams. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Debbie Elder; a son, Randy Lee Elder; a sister, Maude E. Cline; and two brothers, Robert and Johnny Elder.
Jake is survived by a daughter, Sandy Elder Maxwell (Doug) of Elberton, GA; a son, Andy Elder (Beth) of Elberton, GA; three grandchildren, Brent Maxwell, Britney M. Scarborough, and Jacob Elder; and a great-grandson, Malec Scarborough. He is also survived by four sisters, Mary E. Russell, Helen E. Moore, Lou E. Haire, and Peggy E. Parker; and two brothers, Esker Elder and James Elder, all of Statesville.
Funeral services celebrating Jake’s life will be held at 2:00 PM Saturday in the Westmoreland Chapel of Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home with the Rev. John C. Parks, Jr. and the Rev. Charles Efird officiating. Entombment will follow at West Lawn Memorial Park in China Grove. The family will receive friends from 1:00 to 2:00 PM Saturday at the funeral home prior to the service. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.bunchjohnsonfuneralhome.com. Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home is serving the family of Jake Elder.(Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home)(2-25-2010)
- Sad News – Harry Davis – Services: from Marc Davis’ website – Marc Davis Motorsports has lost a father, a leader, and a true inspiration with the passing of Harry Davis. We will always remember his courage, dedication, and the marks he left on the challenging road to make his son’s dreams a reality. Funeral arrangements are pending at this time. You may send a note of condolence to: 136 Bridle Path Lane, Mooresville, NC 28117 or by email, for the address, go to marcdavismotorsports.com or Marc Davis – Facebook.
See nice article by Bob Pockrass: scenedaily.com.(1-21/24-2010)
SERVICES Due to the severe winter weather the funeral services have been postponed until Saturday, February 13, 2010. A Memorial Service will be held in the Mooresville, North Carolina area at a later date yet to be determined. Funeral Services: Saturday, February 13, 2010; Wake – 10:00am; Funeral – 11:00am at the Saint John The Baptist Catholic Church, 12319 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20904. Internment: Meadowridge Memorial Park, 7250 Washington Blvd, Elkridge, Maryland 21075. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that memorial contributions be made to the charity of your choice.(2-6-2010)
Davis memorial service: Marc Davis Motorsports would once again like to thank everyone for their continued thoughts, prayers, and support. They would like to invite members of the racing community to a memorial service in honor of Harry Davis, more info at marcdavismotorsports.com.(Marc Davis Motorsports)(2-26-2010)
- Sad News: John Simmons: John Edward Simmons, Jr., 79, of Statesville, passed away Friday, February 19, 2010 following a lengthy illness. John is the father of General Manager Ed Simmons of the #58 Nationwide Team XXXtreme Motorsport. Mr. Simmons was born January 8, 1931 in Iredell County and was the son of the late John E. Simmons, Sr. and Alda Josey Simmons. He was a graduate of Scotts High School, class of 1949 and served in U.S. Navy during the Korean War. On June 25, 1955, he was married to Margaret Sherrill Simmons, who survives of the home. He was a supervisor for Kewaunee Scientific for over 32 years and was a member of the Statesville Moose Lodge, where he was twice elected Governor. In addition to his wife of 54 years, Mr. Simmons is survived by one son, John “Ed” Simmons, III of Statesville, one daughter, Doris S. Harrington of Statesville, three granddaughters, Montana Star, Sherrill Hedrick, Stephanie Harrington, four grandsons, James Aaron Moore, Matthew Moore, Jonathon Adams, Josh Myers and one sister, Margaret S. Cloer. Mr. Simmons was preceded in death by one daughter, Susan Myers and one granddaughter, Angela Jarvis. Funeral services will be conducted 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 23, 2010 in the Nicholson Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Boyer officiating. Burial will follow in the Oakwood Cemetery.(2-22-2010)
- Sad News – Marilyn Makar: Marilyn E. (nee-Myers) Makar, Age 76, passed away on Tuesday, February 16th 2010 at Huntersville Oaks Nursing Home in Huntersville, N.C. She was born on February 3, 1934 in Newark, NJ to the late Albert and Stella Myers. She grew up in Whippany and lived in Cedar Knolls for 30 years before moving to Mooresville, N.C. in 1987. Marilyn worked for Van Dyke Research in Whippany for over 20 years before retiring as Office Manager. She co-owned with her husband Jim, their own NASCAR Race Car in Cedar Knolls for 3 years. She was also a member of the NASCAR Racing Wives Auxiliary. Once settling down in North Carolina, Marilyn became very active in the Davidson YMCA where she met a great group of friends [and was Jayski’s landlord back in 2004]. Marilyn was pre-deceased by her beloved husband of 54 years, Dmytro “James” Makar who passed away on October 13th 2009.
Survivors include her loving children: James “Jimmy” [from Joe Gibbs Racing] and his wife, Patti of Troutman, N.C., Robert “Bobby” & his wife, Libby of Whippany & Debbie Napolitano of Statesville, N.C.; her brother George Myers of Norfolk, Va. & her 7 grandchildren & 1 great-granddaughter.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend her Funeral on Monday, February 22nd 2010 at 8:00a.m. from the funeral home. With the Funeral Service to follow at 9:00a.m. at Saint John Ukranian Catholic Church. 60 North Jefferson Road, Whippany, NJ. Entombment: Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover. Visiting hours are Sunday [Feb 21st] from 5:00-7:00pm/et. ONLY at the funeral home. In Lieu of flowers, please make donations in her memory to the Marilyn Makar Memorial Fund at the Y.M.C.A., 21300 Davidson Street, Cornelius, N.C. 28031. or The American Cancer Society, 6000 Fairview Rd, Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28210.(partroyfuneralhome.com)(2-19-2010)
- Sad News – Tom Ehert: Thomas Franz Ehret, 68, of Davidson, NC died Monday February 8, 2010 at his residence. Born November 12, 1941 in Erie, PA he was a son of the late Robert Ehret and Dorothy Franz Ehret. He was employed as a fabricator for Roush-Fenway Racing and previously employed with Jr. Johnson, Robert Yates and Penske Racing. His compassion for racing made a lifetime of good friends including Robert and Carolyn Yates and Robin Pemberton. Funeral services will be conducted 7:00 p.m. Friday February 12 in the Chapel of Raymer Funeral Home with Rev. Rick Felts officiating. The family will receive friends 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. prior to the service. He leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Kathy; son, Michael Ehret of Huntersville; daughter, Laura Hicks and husband Thomas of Chesterfield, VA; sister, Anne E Takas and husband Ken of Ohio; sister and brothers-in-law, Elaine and Bill Young of Ellwood, PA and Karen and Jim Whitlatch of Fombell, PA; grandchildren, Michael and Thomas Vanstavern and Mack Hicks; and very special and supportive friends, Jean Carpenter, Danny Timmens and Gary Brooks. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to The American Cancer Society , 6000 Fairview Road, Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28210 or Hospice of Lake Norman, 705 Griffith Street Suite 203, Davidson, NC 28036. Arrangements by Raymer Funeral Home, Huntersville, NC.(Charlotte Observer)(2-12-2010)
- Sad News – Rosemarie Rossmann: Rosemarie Rossmann passed away Thursday Jan 21st at home Rosemarie and her husband Ron opperate Gavel Auction in Denver NC.were they serve the racing community. Visition is Monday, Jan 25th, 7:00-9:00pm/et at Stough Memorial Baptist, 705 Lakeview Drive, Pineville NC and interem on Tuesday, Jan 26th at 1:00pm. In leui of flowers. donation can be made to Stough Youth Mission Trip, 795 Lakeview Dr, Pinville NC 28134. See full obit at the Charlotte Observer.(1-23-2010)
- Sad News – Mike Addington: Michael “Mike” Addington, 50, of Rush, Ky., passed away Friday, Jan.8, 2010, at his residence. He was born April 17, 1959, to Larry Addington of Catlettsburg, Ky., and the late Patricia Louise Lyons Addington. He was also preceded in death by a sister, Robyn Addington. Mike was the owner of #60 truck in the NASCAR Truck Series and was a member of the Ashland Elks. Most importantly, he was a loving father, grandfather, brother, son and friend. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. In addition to his father, he is survived by a daughter, Amy Addington of Ashland; a grandson, Christian Addington; a sister, Megan Smith of Catlettsburg; and three nieces, Katy, Hannah and Kelsey. Donations may be sent to the Hannah Jo Smith Research Foundation [4403 Mesa Drive, Catlettsburg, KY 41129].(more and a guest book at the Lexington Herald Leader)(1-13-2010)
- Sad News – Chrissy Spencer: Christine ‘Chrissy’ Frances Spencer, age 55, passed away Saturday, January 9th, 2010. For over 30 years, Chrissy had been a scorer and employee with various NASCAR teams. Chrissy is the daughter of the late Frances Spencer and is survived by her father, Edgar Spencer of Berwick, PA and her six brothers and sisters: Edgar Spencer, Jr. of Berwick, PA, Jimmy [former Cup driver and now works on SPEED] and Pat Spencer of Cornelius, NC, Steven and Justine Sinagra of New London, Ct, Paul and Stacey Spencer, Gary and Laura Spencer; and Pamela Spencer of Berwick, PA. A memorial service will be held Monday, January 11th at Raymer Funeral Home, Huntersville, NC. The family will receive guests at 6:00 pm and the memorial service will begin at 7:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: Prepare International-Africa (A ministry to orphans in South Africa), 1530 12th Fairway Drive, Concord, NC 28027, or Victory Junction, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317.(Charlotte Observer – guest book there)(1-10-2010)
- Sad News – Bob Tasca Sr.: Bob Tasca Sr., an automotive enthusiast, Ford dealer and drag racing innovator, passed away on Friday, January 8, 2010, his family announced today. Tasca Sr. was 83 years old. An automotive businessman for more than 60 years, Tasca achieved fame as a record-setting automotive dealer and as an internationally-known designer of high-performance race cars. Tasca Sr. is credited with helping create the Ford Thunderbolt drag racing car, and bringing the Cobra Jet 428 engine to NHRA in the 1960s. Tasca Sr. started his long relationship with Ford Motor Company on May 5, 1943, while working at a dealership. In 1953, Tasca acquired his first dealership in Bristol, R.I., and attributed his success to two elements – knowing cars and taking care of the customer. After a hurricane destroyed his Bristol dealership, Tasca moved to East Providence, R.I., at the famous 777 Taunton Avenue address. While in East Providence, Tasca Sr. developed a friendship Carroll Shelby and became the first person to help Shelby assemble the Cobra. The two automotive legends maintained a lifelong friendship. Tasca Sr. became a Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury dealer in Seekonk, Mass., in 1971. Under his guidance, Tasca Ford acquired a Volvo dealership in Seekonk in 2001 and built its Cranston, R.I., dealership in 2002. Several years ago, the Tasca family purchased an adjacent property that now serves as its wholesale outlet, body shop and truck center. Tasca Sr. and his Rhode Island dealership team created their own engine, the Cobra Jet 428, from parts found in the Ford service parts catalog. Tasca’s Mustang Cobra Jet race cars were often taken to the drag strip where they defeated the competition, creating a demand for the Cobra Jet 428. While dominating on the race track, Tasca Sr. coined the phrase, “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday,” because that was exactly what he did. Tasca Sr.’s dealership modified Mustangs on Sunday, won races, and sold those same cars in his dealership on Monday.
Bob Tasca Sr. is also credited with helping make Ford products better than when they left the factory. His influence at Ford, as a quality consultant, resulted in years of Ford performance. Every one of Tasca Ford dealership’s vehicles was driven 200 miles by a Tasca before it was delivered to a customer as part of Tasca’s “de-bugging” plan. Tasca Sr. was also instrumental in the advent of short-term leasing, which made automobiles affordable throughout the world. Tasca Sr. developed a tight bond with Henry Ford II during the 1940s and two men held mutual respect for each other as automotive pioneers. Ford II viewed Tasca Sr. as one of his most trusted advisors in the automotive industry. He also wrote a well-known book in 1996 on customer service, “You Will Be Satisfied,” which remains the slogan of Tasca’s dealerships today. Ford Motor Company asked Tasca Sr. to train more than 150,000 Ford employees and dealers, and he was the key force behind the “Quality is Job 1” initiative. In his life, Tasca affected an entire generation of products and sales techniques from his dealership in Rhode Island. Memorial services for Bob Tasca Sr. are pending, and the family will release further information when it comes available.(Ford PR)(1-8-2010)
- Sad News – Larry Frank: Larry Frank, winner of the 1962 Southern 500 in one of the most surreal finishes in NASCAR history and a longtime Greenville [SC] businessman, died Tuesday [Jan 5th]. He was 80. A native of West Virginia, Frank was a Golden Gloves boxer and ex-Marine who took to racing like a duck to water. He raced motorcycles as a young man, according to wife Margaret Frank, and had a successful career in midget and sprint car racing. From 1956 through 1966 he competed on the NASCAR Grand National [now Sprint Cup Series] circuit – as the big-league was known then — running 103 events with 10 top-five finishes and 32 top-10. His best year was in 1962 when he finished 14th in points and won the only race of his career at Darlington International Raceway. Frank was convinced he had won though he finished the race on two blown tires and coasted to a stop. As he walked back to the garage, Frank passed legendary driver Junior Johnson celebrating in victory lane. Drivers David Pearson and Marvin Panch also thought they had won. “I had a lap lead on the field, and the scorers lost a lap,” he said in stories published by The Greenville News . “We knew we had won it before we left the race track,” Frank said. “The NASCAR scoring was pretty radical then. There had been a lot of mistakes, and it was pretty much confusion. But Bob Colvin (the track president) caught me after the race and said there was no way Junior won. He said, ‘We’ll straighten it out. You won the race.’ ” Protests were filed and late that night Frank was called at a motel in Florence and told he was the official winner. He picked up his trophy the next day. The official finish order was Frank, Johnson, Panch, Pearson and Petty. “They took a picture with the trophy sitting on the hood of the car,” Frank said. “But it still wasn’t like being in victory lane.”
Frank lived in North Carolina for a time, his wife said, then moved to Greenville where he opened a body shop. When the shop burned to the ground more than 30 years ago, he rebuilt Larry Frank’s Auto Body Shop on Fork Shoals Road. Margaret Frank said her husband was diagnosed with lymphoma six months ago and essentially beat it but never regained his strength. “He was a tough old bird with a tenacious attitude and spirit,” she said. “He was well-respected, well-thought of in the community.” Along with his wife at their home in Piedmont, Frank was also survived by sons Larry and Rob and two grandchildren, she said. She said Tuesday night that funeral arrangements were incomplete.(Greenville News)(1-6-2010)
SERVICES Surviving, in addition to his wife, are two sons, Larry J. Frank (Crystal) and Rob, all of Greenville; grandchildren, L. J., Adam and Nicholas Frank; and two sisters, Harriet Nocifora of Woodbridge, Va. and Wilma Douglas of Newark, Ohio.
Visitation will be Thursday, January 7, 2010, from 6:00 to 8:00pm/et at Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Downtown. The funeral service will be Friday, January 8, 2010, at 1:30pm/et in the Downtown Chapel. Burial will be at Greenville Memorial Gardens. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.thomasmcafee.com.(Greenville News)(1-7-2010)
- Sad News – Forrest Andrews: Forrest Dane Andrews, 27, died Monday, January 4, 2010. Mr. Andrews was born December 4, 1982, the son of Darrell R. and Janice Cox Andrews. Darrell formerly worked in NASCAR with Junior Johnson, Kranefuss-Haas Racing and Petty Enterprises. Mr. Andrews was born in Guilford County and was a 2001 Graduate of Jordan Matthews High and was employed by Darrell Andrews Trucking. He was preceded in death by his mother, Janice Cox Andrews. He is survived by one son, Ayden Andrews; father, Darrell R. Andrews; two sisters, Donna A. Stone and husband, Scott, of Siler City, and Angel A. Dwyer and husband, John, of Jamestown; niece and nephew, L’oreal and Andrew Jones; great-niece, Kiley Prestyn Dixon; grandmother, Juanita Baxter Cox of Bennett.
The family will receive friends from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 5, at Smith & Buckner Funeral Home, 230 North Second Avenue, Siler City, and other times at the home of Darrell Andrews, 1273 Harold Andrew Road, Siler City.
The funeral will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6,at First Wesleyan Church, 608 N. 3rd Ave., Siler City, with Rev. Eddie McClure officiating. Burial will follow in Bethlehem Wesleyan Church Cemetery, Snow Camp.
Memorials may be made to Bethlehem Wesleyan Church Cemetery Fund, c/o Pat Morgan, 5418 Garden Lake Drive, Greensboro, NC 27410. Offer condolences at www. news-record.com/obituaries .(1-5-2010)
- Sad News – Keri Wright: Keri Lynn Gebert Wright, 41, of Windy Pine Circle, Denver, NC, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009, at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, NC. Born Sept. 16, 1968, in Kalamazoo, MI. Wright was a former Las Vegas Motor Speedway credentials manager and Bullring (short track) manager — also Civil Air Patrol NASCAR Nationwide Series PR person. Survivors include her husband, Thomas Wright of the home; father, Ken Gebert and wife, Betty, Shane and Shannon of California; mother, Penny Perna and husband, Nick, of Maiden; one son, Nathan Wright of the home; one daughter, Gabryel Wright of the home; grandparents, Marion Gebert of California and Dale and Helen Palmer of Florida; one brother, Aric Gebert of Minnesota; and extended family. A celebration of life service was held Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009. Memorials may be made to Keri Wright Scholarship Fund, First Federal Savings & Loan, Denver, N.C. 28037. Visit www.burkemortuary.com to register your condolences.(Hickory Record)(1-3-2010)
- Sad News – D.J. Richardson – service: Richard Childress Racing pit crew member Donald “D.J.” Richardson, Jr., passed away December 25 in a Massachusetts hospital from complications of the H1N1 virus. He was 37. Richardson, of Leominster, Mass., contracted the H1N1 virus over the Thanksgiving holiday. He was admitted to Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster for evaluation, where it was determined he was suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome. “All of us at RCR are saddened by D.J.’s passing,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “D.J. was a gifted tire changer, one of the greatest team players in the business and a valued member of the RCR family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.” Richardson joined RCR in July 2009 and finished the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as the rear-tire changer for the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team. He began his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with Andy Petree Racing in 1999. He has also worked for Penske Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Braun Racing. “I am shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and teammate,” said Matt Clark, director of human performance and leadership development of Richard Childress Racing. “Anyone who knew D.J. realized that below the tough exterior was a caring father, friend and teammate. He had a huge heart and would do anything to help someone in need. D.J. loved changing tires and was recognized as one of the top pit athletes at the position. I want to extend my condolences to his family and friends.” Details of memorial services in Massachusetts and North Carolina are pending and will be made available as soon as possible.(RCR)
sites a couple sites were set up for Richardson, some notes can be left on the facebook group: Get Well DJ-Updates and a website was setup for Richardson at getwelldj.com.(12-26-2009)
Arrangements: Viewing is scheduled for Tuesday, December 29th at Sailas F Richardson and Son Funeral home from 4:00-8:00 pm/et. 106 West Street, Leominster, MA 01453 (978) 534-9137. The Funeral is scheduled for Wednesday, December 30th at St. Marks Church, 60 West Street, Leominster MA 01453 at 11:00am/et. A memorial service is planned for the future, details posted when known.(12-27-2009)
North Carolina Memorial Service: A memorial service is scheduled in North Carolina for DJ Richardson on Saturday, January 9th at 3:00pm/et. Grace Covenant Church, 17301 Statesville Road [Hwy 21], Cornelius, NC 28031 [Located between I-77 exits 25 & 28 – next to Home Depot]
Grace Covenant is only hosting the memorial but is not responsible for the planning of the event [please do not call]. Members of the NASCAR community are asked to wear “race day” crew shirts if possible (past or present). DJ was not a suit & tie guy, so it’s ok to come like you are heading to the track (black jeans & crew shirt). It will be awesome for the family to see all of the NASCAR support.(1-1-2010)