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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ralph Earnhardt #31 1964 Ford Galaxie Fastback

    Howdy Folks!~ It's me, Colonel Sanders, and I'd like to tell you about my new KFC Smoky Mountain BBQ~ *pulls off mask* I'm lying.. it's really me, Buttermilkjug, back with another installment of the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog~ I've been spending WAY too much time lately watching old NASCAR races, and it got me nostalgic for Dale Earnhardt~ I'm gonna be honest with y'all.. ever since the man died, it's like there's been a void in my NASCAR world~

   When Dale passed away, I basically started blocking him out of my NASCAR memories~ It hurt to even think about him~ This is my 128th blog post, and I've yet to do one on Dale, or Dale Jr., for the simple fact that it just pains me to think of Dale Earnhardt... that is, until recently~ It happened one night as I was watching an old Busch Grand National race, and it happened without me even noticing~ I got the fever.. the Dale Earnhardt fever... and the only prescription was more cowbell~ I'm kidding again.. it was more Dale Earnhardt videos~

   So with more Dale Earnhardt videos on the horizon, I started getting psychological about it, and that led me to thinking about the death of his father, Ralph.. which led me to wanting to do this post on Ralph Earnhardt, and the #31 Ford Galaxie Fastback, from the 1964 Grand National season~ I've really been thinking a lot about the Earnhardt family the past few days,I feel it's time for me to do a post on the man who started it all~

                                                 True love~  Ralph and Martha Earnhardt~
Ralph Earnhardt #31 1964 Ford Galaxie Fastback Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Grand National Dale Kerry Kelley Jr. 2018 Jeffrey

    If you do a search on Ralph Earnhardt, the stats you'd find about his racing career are pretty lackluster~ Records from the early days of racing are hard enough to find even for the Grand National series, let alone the many short tracks scattered throughout the south in the early 50's - mid 60's~ In reality, Ralph won over 350 races, multiple track championships, as well as the 1956 NASCAR Sportsman championship~ (Trophy shown above)~

   Ralph's Cup career consists of 51 starts, with one pole, six top 5's, and sixteen top 10's~ His lone pole came in his debut start in the Grand National series, driving the #22 DePaolo Engineering Ford (normally Fireball Roberts' car), in the "Buddy Shuman 250" @ Hickory~ He beat out Buck Baker for the pole, and finished runner-up to the #300 Carl Kiekhaefer Chrysler, driven by Speedy Thompson~

   Earnhardt was declared the winner of the race, but a protest was requested by the Kiekhaefer team, following claims of a scoring error~ After further inspection, it was declared that Thompson was the winner, to the dismay of nearly everyone in attendance~ Spectators were ready to torch the place to the ground before Earnhardt took to the track microphone to announce that he was okay with the decision, thus saving the venue from the destructive hands of the local crowd~

                         Cotton Owens, David Pearson, and Ralph~ 1964 Dixie 400 @ Atlanta~
Ralph Earnhardt #31 1964 Ford Galaxie Fastback Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Grand National Dale Kerry Kelley Jr. 2018 Jeffrey

    Moving on to the 1964 Grand National season, Earnhardt worked out a 9 race deal (10 if you count the Daytona 500 Qualifier race) with the newly formed Tom Spell racing team to drive their #31 Ford Galaxie~  Spell's team ran a total of 15 races during the 1964 Grand National season, ten with Earnhardt, four with Possum Jones, and one with Cale Yarborough, and ran their final Grand National event in 1965, with Cale at the wheel~ Of these 16 races, Earnhardt had the better average start by 5 spots, as well as having an average finish 5 spots higher than Jones or Yarborough~

    Along with these accomplishments, Earnhardt was also the only driver to be running at the end of a race while driving for Spell, doing so four times, as well as the only driver to earn a top 5 or top 10 finish for the team~ During my research for this post, I was unable to find any information about Tom Spell following the conclusion of 1965 Grand National race the team competed in~ I probably spent over two hours trying to find out who he was, and if he was still alive or not~ I'm guessing he's not alive anymore, but I never was able to prove that~ I figure he died in the 60's or 70's.. sometime before the rise of the internet, or else I'd have been able to find an obituary, or a mailing address~

   While the conclusion of Spell's fate remains a mystery, one thing is certain... Ralph Earnhardt finished 14th in his Daytona 500 Qualifier race, putting him 28th in the 46 car field for the 1964 "Daytona 500"~ The car had sponsorship from "Jimmy Rivers Body & Paint Shop" for this event, and Earnhardt finished 19th, twenty laps off the pace of race winner, Richard Petty, who killed the field, putting every car at least one lap down before the drop of the checkered flag~ This was the first of 7 Daytona 500 wins for the King, as well as his first win on a superspeedway~

                                                         Closeup of Ralph in a Pontiac~
Ralph Earnhardt #31 1964 Ford Galaxie Fastback Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Grand National Dale Kerry Kelley Jr. 2018 Taylor Nicole Jeffrey

    After Daytona, the team packed up and headed to Richmond, for the "Richmond 250"~ After qualifying 5th for the event, Earnhardt's car lasted on 73 laps before rear end troubles forced him out of competition, relegating him to a disappointing 22nd place finish~ This race was scheduled to be ran on March 8th, which was a Sunday.. but due to heavy rains, the track was too muddy, and the race couldn't be ran until Tuesday, March 10th~ This was the old dirt track version of Richmond, at the old Fairgrounds, not the track they run in current day NASCAR~ David Pearson held on to win the event, followed by Richard Petty, Billy Wade, Junior Johnson, and Doug Yates finished out the top 5~

   Next up on the circuit the team headed to Bristol, for the "Southeastern 500", and it did not go well for the elder Earnhardt~ After qualifying 33rd in the 36 car field, the engine gave out just a few laps shy of the halfway point, leading to a 23rd place showing~ The race was won by Mr. Fred Lorenzen, driving the famed #28 LaFayette Holman-Moody Racing Ford, followed by Fireball Roberts, Paul Goldsmith, Buck Baker, and Marvin Panch~ In his two career starts at Bristol, Ralph had an average starting position of 31.0, and an average finishing position of 28.0, which is surprising for all of his short track talent and abilities~ I'm pretty sure he would have preferred it as a dirt track~

   We've now made our way down to the Greenville-Pickens Speedway, in Greenville, SC, for the "Greenville 200"~ Ralph qualified 5th for this event, but again was plagued with rear end issues, dropping out of the race after 69 laps~ He finished 18th in the field of 22, and the race was won by David Pearson, who was on a hot streak in the #6 Cotton Owens Dodge~ Ned Jarrett was 2nd, followed by Marvin Panch, LeeRoy Yarbrough, and Tiny Lund~ Following this race, the team would take a three race absence from the Grand National series, but would return for the Hillsboro race~

                                              Ralph's #31 Ford in the 1964 Daytona 500~
Ralph Earnhardt #31 1964 Ford Galaxie Fastback Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Grand National Dale Kerry Kelley Jr. 2018 Taylor NicoleJeffrey

    In his return to the Grand National series, Ralph qualified 26th in the 28 car lineup for the "Joe Weatherly 150" (Weatherly was killed in the Riverside season opener) @ Hillsboro/Orange Speedway, with David Pearson on the pole in the #6 Cotton Owens Ford~ Hillsboro was a .900 mile dirt track located in Hillsborough, NC, so you can imagine this was the type of track Earnhardt felt most comfortable racing, and it showed that day~

    He not only finished the race, he did so by posting the final top 5 (and top 10) of his Grand National series career, with a 4th place finish~ The Silver Fox outfoxed the field again, with his closest competition three laps off of his race winning pace~ Ralph Earnhardt earned $575 in race winnings for his 4th place effort~ Adjusted for inflation, that is the equivalent of $4,612.41 today.. it's not much, but still good enough for a short track event back then~

   Next up on the schedule was "Race #16", which had no name.. so we'll call it the "Spartanburg 200"~ The race was held at the Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds, a 1/2 mile dirt track in Spartanburg, SC~ Earnhardt started 11th in the field of 19 cars, and finished 16th following an overheating problem~ The team received 100 dollars for their efforts, which equates to $802.00 today, so it's not as bad as it sounds, though a little skimpy if you totaled your car in the event~ Ned Jarrett went on to win the race in the #11 Bondy Long Ford~

                                                                    Eyes on the prize~
Ralph Earnhardt #31 1964 Ford Galaxie Fastback Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Grand National Dale Kerry Kelley Jr. 2018 Jeffrey Taylor Nicole

    Moving on to another 1/2 mile dirt track, Ralph qualified 11th for the "Columbia 200" @ Columbia Speedway~ He finished the event 12 laps down to race winner, Ned Jarrett, who lapped the field on his way to the checkered flag~ The thought of so many dirt tracks on the schedule is mind blowing these days~ We get one dirt race in the truck series, and I'm surprised that happened~ I feel like the Eldora race has become one of NASCAR's crown jewels, and it's easily one of my most anticipated races each year~
    Ralph next competed in the "World 600" @ Charlotte, driving the #70 Paul Clayton Pontiac, instead of the #31 Tom Spell Ford~ He finished 37th following a blown engine on the 5th lap of the event~ Jim Paschal and Richard Petty had 1-2 finishes for Petty Enterprises, with Paschal winning by a margin of 4 laps over Petty~ This race is sadly most known for the lap 7 crash involving Fireball Roberts, Ned Jarrett, and Junior Johnson~ Fireball Roberts died five weeks after this incident, from injuries/burns sustained in the crash/fire~
  Earnhardt returned to the Tom Spell team for two more races during the 1964 Grand National season~ After qualifying 9th for the "Pickens 200" @ Greenville, overheating issues resulted in an 18th place finish~ In his final start of the season, and what turned out to be the final race of his Grand National career, he qualified 5th for the "Concord 200" @ Concord, NC, a 1/2 mile dirt track~ The engine blew 55 laps into the event, resulting in a 13th place finish~ Ralph attempted to make one more Grand National race during the 1966 season, when he DNQ'd for the "World 600" @ Charlotte, driving the #00 Emory Gilliam Dodge~

                              Ralph on break with King Richard, Ned Jarrett, and Bobby Isaac~
Ralph Earnhardt #31 1964 Ford Galaxie Fastback Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Grand National Dale Kerry Kelley Jr. 2018 Jeffrey Taylor Nicole

    On September 26th, 1973, Ralph Earnhardt suffered a heart attack in his race shop behind the house~ Dale came in and found him, and he was taken to the hospital, but pronounced DOA.. he was 45 years old, and Dale was 22~ Dale Jr. was born the following year, and lost his father at the age of 27~ It's hard to imagine what that had to feel like for both of them~ Dale won the Winston Cup championship seven years after his father's death, and probably would have traded the world to have his dad be there to witness that~

   And then when Dale died, Dale Jr. had to go through the same thing, and will continue to do so for the rest of his life~ Earlier this month he was quoted saying "It's sad sometimes~ When I have my daughter, it will be super sad thinking about Dad, wishing he could see what I was able to accomplish, the man I have become, having a child~ I just would love if he could meet her and see what's going on~"... and what's sad about that is that I'm almost positive his father lived his adult life having those very same feeling about his father~

   We only get one father in life, and though you may be able to find a "father figure" in someone, it's never going to be the same as your real father, the man who raised you, and made you who you grew up to be~ Some people might not have had the best father in their life, and some people have never had a father in their life~ It's important to cherish your time with your parents.. you don't always realize it when you're young, but the older you get, the more you wish you'd have spent a little more time with them, and cherished the moments a little bit more~

                                         Ralph Earnhardt #31 1964 Ford Galaxie Fastback~
Ralph Earnhardt #31 1964 Ford Galaxie Fastback Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Grand National Dale Kerry Kelley Jr. 2018 Jeffrey Taylor Nicole
                                                               Click pics to enlarge~
Ralph Earnhardt #31 1964 Ford Galaxie Fastback Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Grand National Dale Kerry Kelley Jr. 2018 Jeffrey Taylor Nicole

    Well, here's the #31 Ford that Racing Champions came up with, but I don't know how they came up with it~ I looked high and low, but I couldn't find a single photo of Ralph driving a white #31 Ford with a black top~ Heck.. I couldn't even find a photo of him driving a white #31 Ford period~ I found him driving a red #31, and the one I posted earlier from Daytona, where his car was kinda Fireball Roberts purple color, with a gold top~ Also, though Racing Champions produced this car as a 1964 Ford Fastback, Ralph actually drove a '63 Ford during the 1964 season~

   Unless Racing Champions knew something that I'm not aware of, this car is a fantasy car, and never competed in NASCAR competition~ I'm not saying that as 100% fact, but as my personal opinion as of this posting~ If photo evidence of this car ever becomes available, I'll update this post accordingly~ I like this car, and would give it a B+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~ It's a nice, clean, simplistic paint scheme, with a nice card, and these Fastback cars are a great collection to have, and look great on display~

    There is also a red #54 Ralph Earnhardt car from this set, that is far more rare than this one is, but I'll save that one for another post~ This car was available in the Fred Lorenzen blister pack, as well as a PVC promo box (5,000 produced)~ As of this posting neither car is available on Ebay in Racing Champions form, though the white one shown here is seen more often than the red one when they do pop up for sale~ And now, let's move on to the bonus car for this post~

                                      Jeff Krogh #56 Clearwater Forest Industries Chevrolet~
Jeff Krogh #56 Clearwater Forest Ind. Chevy Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1997 1998 1999 Busch Grand National CFI Idaho

    Jeff Krogh was born in Kamiah, Idaho, on March 21st, 1972~ He is the brother of fellow racer Mark Krogh, and the son of Robert Krogh, who owns Clearwater Forest Industries~ I guess what I'm saying is that Robert bankrolled Jeff and Mark's NASCAR careers... and there's nothing wrong with that, I suppose~

   Sadly though, sometimes bankrolled drivers that shouldn't be allowed to compete in the highest form of motorsports are allowed to pay their way into competition, and they end up causing a lot of damage, and sometimes, even death on the race track~ Jeff Krogh found this out in 1999, during practice for the "DieHard 250" @ the Milwaukee Mile, when he slammed into the wall, and was sent into a coma~ He laid in a vegetative state for nearly a month before regaining contentiousness, and his recovery time took well over one year~

   Thank you all for stopping by the blog again~ Please share it with your friends on social media, and if you'd like, click the "follow" button at the top right hand side of this page to subscribe to these blog posts~ Below are some random NASCAR videos, as well as one small video clip featuring an interview with Ralph Earnhardt himself~ Thanks again for stopping by, and I'll see ya' the next time you come around!~ :)

                                       1962 "Southern 500" Earnhardt slams into guardrail~

                            Ralph's wife Martha doesn't want the #3 on the track~ (I agree with her)~

                                   Colorizing a black & white Brad Teague photo~ (My channel)

                                      Short Ralph Earnhardt interview/clip~ Turn volume up~




Friday, February 16, 2018

Dave Marcis #71 Big Apple Market Chevrolet

    Hello once again diecast fans, and welcome back to the NASCAR Racing Champions blog~ Another "Daytona 500" is upon us, and it just wouldn't be the Daytona 500 without mentioning Dave Marcis, who competed in 33 of them~ Yes, the "Great American Race" is turning 60 this year.. and even after being retired for the past 16 years, Dave Marcis has still competed in more than half of the Daytona 500's ever ran~

    Marcis never made it to victory lane in the Daytona 500, with his best finish being two 6th place finishes (1976, 1978), but you could always count on seeing Dave Marcis in the "Daytona 500", and it became sort of an event to watch qualifying to see if Dave was going to keep the streak going~ On February 20th, 2000, Marcis' streak of 32 straight "Daytona 500" appearances came to an end, and he would repeat this heartache the next season before making his final start in the 2002 "Daytona 500", one year after the death of his good friend, Dale Earnhardt~

   With drivers retiring younger than ever, I believe it's safe to say that we'll never see another driver with a 35 year career in the top level of NASCAR~ Drivers like Richard Petty, Morgan Shepherd, and Dave Marcis  may have stayed in the sport a little bit past their prime... okay, long past their prime.. but I enjoyed watching them still give it their all each week.. surviving on a shoestring budget in the case of Marcis and Shepherd~ Those guys have heart, and determination to continue, and well.. I love the heck out of that!~ Let's get into this post on Dave Marcis' #71 Big Apple Market Chevrolet, and let the good times roll!~

                                            Marcis reading about Daytona during downtime~
Dave Marcis #71 Big Apple Market Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 1991 1992 Winston Cup Owner Driver

    Big Apple Market first teamed up with Marcis and the #71 Chevrolet for the 1990 "Daytona 500"~ The business was owned by Michael "Mike" Miller, who was born on June 1st, 1940~ Miller's market sold fresh fruit from the family orchard, as well as meats, cheeses, sandwiches, and NASCAR memorabilia~ Miller was an avid racing fan, and met Marcis during one of his trips to Pocono, and the two hashed out a deal to run Mike Miller's Big Apple Market as the primary sponsor, in what turned out to be nearly two complete seasons worth of races~

   Miller was also an avid hunter, an interest shared by Marcis, and the two went on many hunting trips together~ When Mike retired, he sold the Big Apple Market, and moved to Spencer, West Virginia, where he married his wife, Linda Terrell-Miller~ Sadly, he passed away on September 9th, 2017, at the age of 77~ I hate to bring you to tears and all.. but I figured I'd go ahead and do it now, so that your eyes would be better by the time you get down to the car pictures~

  Marcis nearly dnq'd in his first attempt in the Big Apple Market Chevrolet~ He started last in the 42 car field, after finishing 20th in his "First Twin 125" duel race~ He avoided the three crashes in the race, and went on to finish in 23rd place~ His race winning for the event were $22,995, which doesn't sound like much to today's standards.. but in 1990.. to a very low budget independent team... it was like hitting the lottery compared to winnings at any other event~ Dave's second highest paycheck that season was $11,405 from Talladega~

                                              Marcis and Mike Miller pose with the #71 car~
Dave Marcis #71 Big Apple Market Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 1991 1992 Winston Cup Owner Driver

    Marcis followed his Daytona finish up with a 17th place showing in the "Pontiac Excitement 400" @ Richmond~ He then had a pair of 22nd place finishes ("GM Goodwrench 500" Rockingham - "Motorcraft Quality Parts 500" Atlanta), followed by a pair of 15th place runs ("TranSouth 500" Darlington - "Valleydale Meats 500" Bristol), and even led a couple of laps in the Bristol race~

    Following the Bristol race, Dave had his best finish of the season in the "First Union 400" @ North Wilkesboro, with a 12th place effort, narrowly missing a lead lap finish~ This was capped off with a couple of 14th place finishes ("Hanes Activewear 500" Martinsville - "Winston 500" Talladega), and a 16th place finish in the "Coca-Cola 600" @ Charlotte... which is pretty impressive for an independent team~

   Marcis led three laps in the "Heinz Southern 500" @ Darlington, before falling back to finish 16th~ His best qualifying effort of the season came in the "Goody's 500" @ Martinsville, where he started 13th, and finished in 14th place~ On the year, Marcis competed in all 29 races, completing 92% of the total laps ran, leading 8 of them, with an average starting position of 26.0, and an average finish of 20.7~ He placed 21st in the final point standings for the Winston Cup championship, and his total winnings on the year were $232,724~

                                       Marcis passes Rick Mast in a Dale Earnhardt loaner~
Dave Marcis #71 Big Apple Market Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 1991 1992 Winston Cup Owner Driver

    Coming into the 1991 Winston Cup season, Marcis had already secured the Big Apple Market sponsorship for another full season, however this deal couldn't have been for more than a set or two of tires each race, so the car was re-branded for the upcoming "Daytona 500" as the U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet, as part of a five car sponsorship by R.J. Reynolds entitled "Support Our Troops", in support of the Desert Storm troops~ Marcis finished 35th after breaking a valve~

   Compared  to his 1990 season, the 1991 season was disastrous in a lot of ways~ In 1990, Marcis completed all but 4 events, and made every race.. compared to 1991, where he had 10 DNF's, as well as two DNQ's ("Valleydale Meats 500" Bristol - "Hanes 500" Martinsville)~ My family used to go watch qualifying at Bristol, and I cried when Dave didn't make that race... hush, I was a kid!~

   Dave's shining moment of 1991 came in the "Peak AntiFreeze 500" @ Dover, where after starting 31st, he managed to miss a 15 car pileup early in the race, and held on to finish in 10th place~ This was to be his only top 10 of the season, and the next to last one of his career~ The 1991 Winston Cup season came to an end, and for Dave Marcis, it consisted of making 27 of 29 races, with 1 top 10, 3 laps led, and $217,760 in race winnings~ He had an average start of 28.7, and an average finish of 25.2, and was 29th in the final points standings for the Winston Cup championship~

                                                          Colorized b&w of Marcis~
Dave Marcis #71 Big Apple Market Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 1991 1992 Winston Cup Owner Driver

    By the start of the 1992 Winston Cup season, Marcis had worked out a four race deal with Abilene Boots, which included the first four races of the year~ Big Apple Market returned to the car for the "Food City 500" @ Bristol, where he qualified 21st, and finished in 31st place following a blown engine~ Alan Kulwicki went on to win the event, and eventually the 1992 Winston Cup championship~

   Though he was driving a plain blue car for the "Save Mart 300K" @ Sears Point (Sonoma), Big Apple Market is credited as being his sponsor that day~ Perhaps they paid for a set of tires or something, or Marcis just wanted to be kind, and give them some free publicity for helping him out.. regardless, Marcis started 27th, and made it to 23rd by the drop of the checkered flag~ The race was won by Ernie Irvan, who after qualifying 2nd, was black flagged for jumping the start of the race, and forced to start from the rear of the field~

   The final time Big Apple Market was credited with sponsoring the #71 car came in the "Champion Spark Plug 500" @ Pocono, where Marcis finished 18th after qualifying 32nd~ He competed in all 29 races that season, with an average start of 28.6, and an average finish of 27.3, while only completing 70% of the total laps ran during the season~ He finished 29th in the final points standings for the Winston Cup championship, with race winnings totaling $215,295~

                                            Dave Marcis #71 Big Apple Market Chevrolet~
Dave Marcis #71 Big Apple Market Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 1991 1992 Winston Cup Owner Driver
                                                               Click pics to enlarge~
Dave Marcis #71 Big Apple Market Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 1991 1992 Winston Cup Owner Driver

    In my very first post on this blog, I stated that I really wanted to do a post on this car.. but at the time, I couldn't find one that looked good enough to do a post on~ I kept finding them with chipped paint, or the autograph was smeared, there was always something wrong with every Marcis car I found~ And then I finally found this one.. but that was over a year ago~ I had different cars that I already had lined up to do a post on, and just never got around to doing this one~

   When I was a kid, I would have races on the floor with these Racing Champions cars~ These were 8 car events, and I would go around, and around in circles having races all day long~ This Marcis car and the Food Country car won almost all of those races~ One of the cars I used to race a lot in those races was the rare #33 Bobby Labonte Dentyne Pontiac, and although  I finally found another one a few months ago, it still bothers me that I ruined a rare car by having my little races~

   I was just a small sperm the last time Dave Marcis went to victory lane, so I made him a constant winner when I held my races~ This car has tons of nostalgic memories to me, and though Dave never did much in it, it's still one of my favorite Racing Champions cars of all time~  Now let's get to the bonus car for this post~

                                   Mike Wallace #7 Piggly Wiggly/Clabber Girl Chevrolet~
Mike Wallace #7 Piggly Wiggly Clabber Girl Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Ed Whitaker Bristol Virginia Busch Grand National 1997 Bristol
    Mike Wallace drove six BGN races for Ed Whitaker during the 1997 season, and in at least one race, this is what his car looked like~ I can't vouch for the other five races, but this was the car Mike drove at Bristol for the 1997 "Moore's Snacks 250", where he qualified 7th, and finished 17th after being involved in an 8 car pile-up midway through the event~ Wallace was able to continue, but the damage was too severe to compete for the win~

   The race was won by Jeff Burton, who was driving the #9 Track Gear Ford, followed by "Magic Shoes" Mike McLaughlin, Randy LaJoie, Michael Waltrip, and Dick Trickle to finish out the top 5~ This Piggly Wiggly scheme is one of my favorites, and I was pleased with the outcome of this Photoshop custom version~ It's feels good to bring a lost paint scheme back to life, and preserve it for people to see years from now~ 

   I'd like to thank you all for stopping by the blog.. I hope you enjoyed this post, if you did, please click the "Follow" button at the right hand side of the top of this page, and I'll have a new one up some time next month~ Below are some random NASCAR videos, because I've already used all the Dave Marcis videos in other posts~ Happy Racing Season, y'all!~ :)

                                                     Kyle Petty sings "The Other Guy"~

                                             Winston Cup Photographers segment - 1991~

                                      Dale Earnhardt McDonald's Breakfast commercial - 1991~

                                           1988 Valleydale Meats 500 - Bristol highlights~




Sunday, January 21, 2018

Ken Schrader #49 Schwan's Dodge

    Hello again race fans, and welcome to the 2018 edition of the Racing Champions 1/64 diecast blog~ Well, it's been a while since I've had time to make a post, so I hope you'll excuse my brief absence~ I didn't really want to do a post on Ken Schrader, but I already had the pictures finished, and the weather has been horrible here.. so I haven't been able to get any pictures for a while now~

   It's not that I don't like Ken Schrader.. I've just already done a post on him, and I've got a ton of drivers to do that haven't had a post yet~ I'll get to them when I can, but for now, we're gonna be looking back at Ken Schrader's boring time in the #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge, owned by Beth Ann Morgenthau~ Schrader drove for Morgenthau from 2003-2005, and once more in 2007, earning all six career top 10 finishes for the low budget team~

  The Schwan's sponsorship ended up being a two year deal for the 2004, and 2005 Cup seasons~ During the 2004 season, Schrader went through three crew chiefs, with Scott Eggleston, Donnie Richeson, and David Hyder~ So let's start this off looking back at that 2004 season, their first season with the Schwan's sponsorship~

                                           Custom Ken Schrader Racing Champions card~
Ken Schrader #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge 2004 2005 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Beth Ann Morgenthau Cup Series 2018

    At this point in his career, I'm just gonna start off by saying it... Ken Schrader deserved to be in dog equipment~ Throughout his career, he was given quality rides, and when he was good, he could fly... but that was part of his problem~ Schrader would take off and grow a powering lead, only to blow his engine up by giving it so much hell for so long~

    I know the guy would have had at least 6 or 7 more wins if not for that one issue alone~ And when his car wasn't perfect, he just couldn't make it perform better the way Dale Earnhardt and others could~ I was a Ken Schrader fan, but he just didn't have what it took to get the job done in crunch time~

   One good thing about Schrader was, he would usually bring the car home in one piece.. at least the body of the car~ He blew up a lot, but he usually steered clear of trouble on the race track, for the most part~ Well, now that I've got that out of the way, let's get into the meat and potatoes of the thing~

                                                         Does that thang got a Hemi?~
Ken Schrader #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge 2004 2005 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Beth Ann Morgenthau Cup Series 2018

    Schrader started the 2004 Cup season off with four straight finishes without a top 25~ He only squashed that feat with a 22nd place showing in the "Carolina Dodge Dealers 400" @ Darlington~ He capped that off the following week @ Bristol in the "Food City 500", with a nice 6th place run~ This would come to be the only top 10 finish of the season for Schrader, who was actually making the Morgenthau team look good at this point, even with such tepid finishes~

    Moving on to Texas, Schrader qualified poorly for the "Samsung/Radio Shack 500", rolling off from the 39th position, but was able to finish the race, and pull out a 19th place showing~ He wasn't so lucky the following week @ Martinsville, during the "Advance Auto Parts 500", where he dropped out after only 118 laps of competition, due to brake issues~

   For the next few races, Schrader didn't do anything spectacular, but he was able to lead a lap @ Fontana during the "Auto Club 500", something the team had never done before then~ The rest of the season was blah, blah, blah... the only time he cracked the top 20 for the rest of the season was an 18th place finish @ Indianapolis, and a 16th place showing in the "Sylvania 300" @ Loudon~ He did lead five more laps during the season, bringing that total to six on the year, and the team ranked 31st in the final points standings~

                                               Morgenthau got all fancy with this card~ :P
Ken Schrader #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge 2004 2005 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Beth Ann Morgenthau Cup Series 2018

    Remember that thing I said about Schrader not wrecking a lot... well, 2005 wasn't the best example of that, with Schrader being collected in four accidents throughout the season, along with three more blown engines~ But the ol' tiger did have a better season than the one before, it just didn't quite show in the points standings, but that was mostly due to the wrecks, and blown engines~ His finishes when he did finish improved significantly~

    Following a blown engine in the Daytona 500, Schrader came back "strong" @ Fontana, with a 14th place finish  in the "Auto Club 500", after starting 38th~ He did a role reversal the following week at Las Vegas, when he qualified 14th for the "UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400", but only mustered a 34th place finish at the end of the day~

    Blah, blah, blah on down to the 9th race of the season, where Schrader pulled off an 8th place finish in the "Aaron's 499" @ Talladega, after starting next to last~ Three races later, he picked up another top 10 finish, with a 9th place outing in the freakin' "Coca-Cola 600"~ He was at it again five races later, with a 10th place finish in the "Pepsi 400" @ Daytona, after rolling off from 40th position to start the event~

                                                         Schrader put an end to Digger~
Ken Schrader #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge 2004 2005 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Beth Ann Morgenthau Cup Series 2018

    After several disappointing finishes in a row, Schrader qualified 7th for the "Sharpie 500" Bristol night race, and finished in 11th place, on the lead lap~ Following this race, the remainder of the season was somewhat lackluster, with the exception of the "Subway 500" @ Martinsville~

    Schrader qualified 24th for the event, but was leading a quarter of the way in~ He kept the lead for 17 laps before handing the lead back to Tony Stewart~ Jeff Gordon went on to win the event, followed by Tony Stewart, Jimmy Johnson, Bobby Labonte, and Jeff Burton finished out the top 5~

   The last few races all ended in disappointment, and Schrader again finished the season 31st in the final points standings~ He would leave the team at the end of the season to drive for the Wood Brothers, but returned for one race during the 2007 Cup season, when the Wood Brothers decided to scale back the amount of races they wanted to run~ He finished 25th in the 2007 Brickyard 400, in what was his final race for the team~

                                                    Ken Schrader #49 Schwan's Dodge~
Ken Schrader #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge 2004 2005 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Beth Ann Morgenthau Cup Series 2018
                                                                   Click pics to enlarge~
Ken Schrader #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge 2004 2005 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Beth Ann Morgenthau Cup Series 2018

    I gotta give them credit, for a Beth Ann Morgenthau (BAM) car, this thing was pretty sharp!~ I can't think of many teams that have used this specific shade of yellow, but I like it~ I've never bought anything from Schwan's, but I've been to people's houses that did, and they have some pretty good items~ I just prefer to go to the store myself, and buy my stuff from a store~ I don't know why, but that's just what I'm used to doing.. so I don't think Schwan's is for me~ It seems to personal~

   Morgenthau's team went under in 2008, but as far as I know she still funds Derrike Cope to some degree, or at least she did when he was running in whatever they call the BGN series these days, before his return to the Cup Series~ I liked her team.. she gave rides to Hornaday Jr., Shawna Robinson, Derrike Cope, Kevin Lepage, and even German driver, Klaus Graf.. who finished 17th at Sonoma in 2004, in what was his only Cup start~

   Teams like that are pretty much gone in the series these days, but I feel like they are making a silent comeback~ With the arrival of Cope in the Cup series last year, it gave me hope that the "little team that could" mentality is slowly making its way back into a series that seems to have turned its back on them long ago~ Little things like that give me hope in the sport moving forward, and now that Danica is gone, at least Darrell Waltrip can get back to saying "Let's go racing boys!~", instead of "Let's go racing boys, and Danica!~"... that was making me want to just puke~ And now, for what was supposed to be the bonus car for the Christmas post that never happened until now~

                                                Santa Claus #25 Santamobile Chevrolet~
Santa Claus #25 Santamobile Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/24 diecast blog 2018 Merry Christmas

    If you look long enough, you'll eventually find out that there's nothing you can't expect Racing Champions to produce~ Any little dumb thing they could think of, they slapped it on a diecast~ I've spent countless hours researching these dang things, and just when I think I've seen it all... someone will email me a picture of a car they have, and my hair blows back~

    And it's not just me this happens to.. I know people who have collected these cars, and studied about them far longer than I have, and I'll show them a picture someone showed me, and it'll shock them too~ That's one thing I love about Racing Champions cars... you can NEVER have the full set~ There will always be someone who has some random error car that you don't have, and some will say those don't count as part of a "full collection"... but in the world of Racing Champions, anything counts.. that's the charm of them~

    When you find one that is all messed up with errors, it makes you feel good as a collector, because it's something that, perhaps only you can have.. and if not, it's only a small number of people with the exact error~ Anyway, I made this picture for y'alls Christmas post, and I just never got around to posting in time for Christmas, so I hope y'all had a Merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year in 2018!~ Below are some clips from some Youtube channels that I'd like you to subscribe to, enjoy them, and I'll see you next time, here at the Racing Champions diecast blog!~ :D

                                       Copperhead Cup Series - First Copperhead Cup race~

                                               Campbell N. - "The Craziest Race on Earth"
                                     nascarman History - Benny Parsons Family BBQ~ 1985~ 
                                              friskynixon - "The Nixon Tapes Podcast #2"~