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Monday, June 12, 2017

Mike Olsen #61 Little Trees Pontiac

    Hello once more, and welcome back to the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog~ Today's post is going to be on Mike Olsen and his time in the #61 Little Trees Pontiac~ Olsen is the grandson of legendary New England driver, Stub Fadden~ Olsen also had one of my favorite sponsors of all time.. I mean, who doesn't love Little Trees?~ Sure they smell generic, and only last a couple of days before their fragrance disappears, but they're cool looking and cheap~

    Olsen got his start in NASCAR with the help of Fadden, who was almost godlike in their hometown of North Haverhill, New Hampshire~ Fadden and his family ran the local NAPA store in North Haverhill, and NAPA would also sponsor Fadden's cars in various racing divisions~ Click on the blue link above to read more about Stub's career~ Now let's get into the Olsen post, and see what he was doing in the #61 Little Trees Pontiac~

                                                           One of many Olsen postcards~ 
Mike Olsen #61 Little Trees Pontiac Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Busch 1996 1997

    Mike Olsen was born on February 8th, 1968 in North Haverhill, New Hampshire~ He won the Camping World Series East championship in 2001, as well as 2006~ His first BGN attempt came in 1990 @ Oxford, for the "True Value Oxford 250", but resulted in a DNQ~ He wouldn't make another attempt in the BGN series until 1996, where he made his first start in the "Meridian Advantage 200" @ Nazareth~ 

    Olsen qualified 38th in the 42 car field, while David Green put the #95 Caterpillar Chevrolet on the pole for the event~ Martin Truex Sr., Bill Hoff, and Brian Donley failed to make the show and were sent home early~ Tom Peck qualified Dick Trickle's car since Trickle was also racing in the Cup race, and wasn't at the track for qualifying, so he was sent to the rear of the field for the start of the race~ Jeff Fuller was in the #17 for this race, (instead of his usual #47) due to the fact that he was lower in the BGN points standings than Kelly Moore was in the Busch North Series points standings, so Moore had the rights to the #47~ 

    This was a pretty wicked race, with five cars blowing up with two laps of each other, and a ton of wrecks~ Thanks to that, Olsen was able to finish in 21st place, one lap down~ The race was won by Randy LaJoie, followed by David Green, Jeff Green, Dick Trickle (nice run from the back of the pack), and Jason Keller finished out the top 5~ This was the only BGN race Olsen ran during the 1996 season, but he was back in 1997, driving the same car~ 

          With the amount of postcards made, Olsen should have been sponsored by "If It's Paper"~
Mike Olsen #61 Little Trees Pontiac Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Busch 1996 1997

    Olsen's first race of the 1997 BGN season came in the "Hardee's Fried Chicken 250" @ Richmond, where he qualified 25th~ Randy LaJoie won the pole in the #74 Fina Chevrolet, and seven driver failed to make the field, including brothers Kevin and Wayne Grubb~ This race would mark the end of Doug Heveron's BGN career, and he qualified 17th in the #40 MHCO Ford, and finished in 24th place~ 

   The race was largely dominated by Jeff Burton, who was driving the #9 Track Gear Ford~ Burton led a total of 179 laps, but was booted out of contention on the final lap by Jason Keller~ Burton and Keller got into a screaming match after the race, but nothing really came of it~ Mark Martin passed them both, and went on to win the event in the #60 Winn-Dixie Ford~ 

   Martin was followed to the checkers by Jeff Green, Steve Park, Phil Parsons, and Jason Keller~ Ed Spencer III brought the #20 Spencer Motor Ventures Chevrolet home in 15th place, which was a career high in what turned out to be his final start in the series~ Ron Barfield picked up his career best BGN finish with a 9th place effort in the #94 New Holland Ford, owned by Bill Elliott~ Olsen had major issues with the car throughout the event, and came home in 35th place, nearly 70 laps off the pace of the race winner~ 

                                                                Yet another postcard~ 
Mike Olsen #61 Little Trees Pontiac Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Busch 1996 1997

    Olsen next ran in the "Galaxy Foods 300" @ Hickory, where he qualified 29th in the slimmed down 31 car field~ Todd Bodine was on the pole in the #36 Stanley Tools Pontiac, and nine driver failed to make the field for the show, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rodney Combs, The Krogh brothers Jeff & Mark, and the Grubb brothers Kevin & Wayne~ 

    Randy LaJoie led all but 45 laps of the wreck filled event, but he was no match for eventual race winner Dick Trickle, who picked up the first win of his BGN career, and in doing so he became the oldest driver ever to win in one of NASCAR's top three divisions, a record that has only been broken since by Dick himself, one year later - at the age of 56~ 

    The Trickler was followed to the stripe by LaJoie, Tim Fedewa, Jeff Green, and pole winner Todd Bodine~ Mike Olsen was the first car to exit the event, ending his day only 62 laps into the event due to overheating issues, which resulted in a last place finish~Although his day ended early, at least he had a car to bring back to the shop that wasn't damaged, other than the overheating problems~

                                                   He really liked making these postcards~
Mike Olsen #61 Little Trees Pontiac Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Busch 1996 1997

    The next event Olsen entered was at his home track of Loudon, for the "United States Cellular 200", where he rolled off from the 33rd starting position~ Randy LaJoie was again on the pole in the #74 Fina Chevrolet, as qualifying was rained out for the event~ The Grubb Brothers finally made their BGN debuts together driving the #82 and #83 Chevrolets~ 

    Todd Bodine and Jeff Fuller led the biggest portion of the race, but both drivers faded in the closing laps~ "Magic" Mike McLaughlin pushed Jeff Fuller out of the way to take the lead with three laps remaining, and barely beat out Steve Park for the victory, in what was a wild finish to say the least~ Todd Bodine, who led a majority of the race wound up finishing in 6th place~ 

    McLaughlin and Park were followed to the checkered flag by Jeff Fuller, Elton Sawyer, and Phil Parsons~ Pole winner Randy LaJoie wound up finishing in 7th place in a car that seemed like it just wasn't there from the get go~ Olsen blew the engine in the #61 Little Trees Pontiac with 20 laps remaining, which resulted in a 29th place finish, in what easily could have been a top 20 effort~

                                          Olsen battles with the #75 car of Doug Heveron~
Mike Olsen #61 Little Trees Pontiac Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Busch 1996 1997

    Olsen and the team were back at the track the following week in Nazareth for the "Core States Advantage 200", where Olsen qualified 32nd in the small 35 car field~ Elliott Sadler was on the pole in the #29 Phillips 66 Chevrolet, and I must add that I hated that car~ Why is the Phillips 66 car #29?~ It would have been an awesome looking car if it were #66, but the #29 just throws everything off for me, and I don't enjoy it one little crumb~ 

    Steve Park was pretty dominant in the first half of the race, but started having engine trouble midway through the event~ His motor finally gave out with 30 laps remaining, which basically handed the win to Elliott Sadler, in what would be his first career BGN victory~ Todd Bodine tried his hardest to get by Sadler in the closing laps, but his best just wasn't good enough, and Sadler was able to make it to the line first~ 

    Sadler was followed by Bodine, Randy LaJoie, Jeff Green, and Dale Shaw, who picked up his first career top 5 in the event~ He would go on to capture two more top 5 finishes, all in the 1997 season~ Olsen finished the race in 25th place, 8 laps off the pace of the race winner~ His car didn't have any speed, and it seemed like it was like this every week~ He could keep the cars clean for the most part, but he just didn't have the speed to be competitive with the front runners of the series~ 

                                        Olsen steers clear of leader Todd Bodine (yellow car)~
Mike Olsen #61 Little Trees Pontiac Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Busch 1996 1997

    The final race Olsen made in the 1997 BGN season came in the "Autolite Platinum 250" @ Richmond, where he qualified in the 37th position~ Michael Waltrip won the pole in the #21 Band-Aid Ford, and fifteen drivers failed to make the field for the event, including the Grubb brothers, the Krogh brothers, Ron Barfield, Scott Lagasse, and Lyndon Amick amongst others~ 

   Fellow Virginian Jeff Burton had a very strong car all day, leading for a total of 89 laps, but Steve Park's team worked on his car throughout the day, making it better with each pit stop~ By the closing laps of the race, it was clear that Park wasn't going to go home without the win, which would sadly be the final win of his BGN career~ 

    In the first laps of the race, Joe Bessey was taken out by Dale Shaw - in retaliation, Bessey threw his helmet at Bessey's car, and the helmet actually ended up on Shaw's lap~ Shaw threw the helmet back onto the track during the caution~ When asked about the incident, Bessey said he thought Shaw might need a bigger helmet, so he was just trying to offer him his helmet~
 
    Park was followed to the stripe by Randy LaJoie, Jeff Burton, Dick Trickle, and Buckshot Jones~ Olsen finished the event four laps down, in the 29th position~ This would be his final start in the 1997 season, though he did have three DNQ's throughout the year as well~ ("Goodwrench Service 200" @ Rockingham, "Coca-Cola 300" @ Fort Worth, and the "AC-Delco 200" @ Rockingham")~

                           Olsen narrowly misses a crashing Toshio Suzuki in his BGN debut~
Mike Olsen #61 Little Trees Pontiac Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Busch 1996 1997

    Olsen attempted to make three races during the 1998 BGN season, but was only successful in the "First Union 200" @ Nazareth, where he started from the 39th position, and came home four laps down in 25th~ The two events he DNQ'd in were the "Gumout Long Life Formula 200" @ Loudon, and the "Hardee's 250" @ Richmond~ 

    He attempted to make two races for the 1999 BGN season, making the field for the "Lysol 200" @ Watkins Glen, where he rolled off from the 43rd starting position, and surprisingly worked his way up to finish in 18th place in the #81 Little Trees Chevrolet~ (Tony Roper was using the #61 for this event)~

    His DNQ came in the "First Union 200" @ Nazareth, where he was one of seven other drivers who failed to make the field~ The 2000 BGN season would mark Olsen's final season in the BGN series~ By this point, the car had a yellow paint scheme, instead of the usual white one~ This would be the scheme Olsen would use for the remainder of his time with the Little Trees sponsorship~ 

                           Postcard celebrating 10 years with Little Trees~ Also shows the yellow car~
Mike Olsen #61 Little Trees Pontiac Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Busch 1996 1997

    Olsen qualified dead last for the "Busch 200" @ Loudon, while Tim Fedewa won the pole~ This was the race where Adam Petty died from a practice crash~ Fedewa won the event, followed by Jeff Green, Jason Keller, Todd Bodine, and Hank Parker, Jr.~ Olsen finished in 26th place, three laps off the pace of Fedewa~ 

    Mike then qualified 42nd for the "Lysol 200" @ Watkins Glen, with Canadian Ron Fellows on the pole~ There were two Little Trees cars in this race, with Butch Leitzinger driving the #30 Little Trees car as well~ Leitzinger would go on to finish runner up to pole/race winner Fellows~ Leitzinger was followed by Kevin Harvick, Todd Bodine, and "Magic" Mike McLaughlin~ This was the race where Jimmie Johnson had his hard crash in the #92 Alltel car~ Olsen finished thirty laps down, in 42nd place~

    His final BGN start came in the "Econo Lodge 200" @ Nazareth, where he started 42nd in the #61N Little Trees Chevrolet~ The "N" was to signify that Olsen was a Busch North driver~ Jeff Green was on the pole in the #10 Nestle NesQuik Chevrolet, but when the race got underway, it was all Ron Hornaday - who took the #3 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet to victory lane after leading 104 of 200 laps~ 

    Hornaday was followed by Elton Sawyer, Jason Keller, Jeff Green, and Kyle Petty, who was driving Adam's car following his death at Loudon~ Olsen finished the final race of his BGN career in 27th place, two laps off the pace of race winner, Hornaday~ He would continue to race in lower tier series events, but this was the end of his top tier NASCAR career~ 

                                                 Mike Olsen #61 Little Trees Pontiac~
Mike Olsen #61 Little Trees Pontiac Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Busch 1996 1997
                                                               Click pics to enlarge~
Mike Olsen #61 Little Trees Pontiac Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Busch 1996 1997

    Although Olsen ran the Little Trees cars for over 10 years, this diecast was modeled after his first BGN start, as it was the only time he ran a Pontiac in the BGN series~ He did run a Little Trees Pontiac from 1996-1999 in the Busch North series, but that's not what this car was modeled after~ I loved when Racing Champions would make obscure one off cars like this~ It didn't happen a lot, but it happened more than you'd figure it would~ 

    The car itself is rather bland~ I could have came up with a better design than this one when I was 12~ I mean, it's not horrible.. but it's not really that good either~ It's just a run of the mill paint scheme, and that's a shame~ The Little Trees car could have looked way better than this, even back then when paint schemes weren't the best~ This car came in a clear plastic bag originally, with no stand or card~ I made the card on Photoshop, and put it in a standard Racing Champions package~ I used the older stand for it, because I'm not a fan of the solid black stands.. I prefer the chrome look~ 

    I'm going to give this one a C+ on the Racing Champions quality scale, due to it not coming with a card or stand, and the car is just kind of boring in my opinion~ It's a cool car to have for your collection, but it's just nothing special to look at really~ If you can pick this car up for under 10 dollars, I'd consider that a good deal~ It doesn't come up for sale much on Ebay, and when it does, someone usually snatches it up really fast - so your best bet is try and find it out in the wild somewhere at a flea market or thrift store~ And now it's time for the bonus car for this post~ 

                                           Kelly Denton #75 Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce Ford~ 
Kelly Denton #75 Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1999 BGN Busch Henderson Food Country

    I remember it as if it were a meal ago.. the Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce deal was huge for Henderson Motorsports, and everyone in town was congratulating the team for their newly acquired sponsorship~ The deal was supposed to be a full season sponsorship, in what was going to be Denton's rookie campaign, but rumors started swirling about Big Daddy's sometimes failing to meet their financial obligations~ The team was told that they would receive their first check at Daytona, so they headed to Daytona, with two Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce Ford's in their transporter~ 

    When the team arrived at Daytona, no one from Big Daddy's could be located~ Phone calls were not being returned, and the team was starting to realize that they'd been duped~ Denton is listed as a DNQ for this race, but I'm fairly certain the team just came back home when they realized they'd been shafted~ I honestly don't think they made a qualifying attempt, though my memory could be wrong~ I remember sitting in meetings with Charlie Henderson back then (my Dad was the supervisor of Food Country for 21 years, so I got the inside scoop) and he made it sound like he forced the team to come back home~ 

    Either way, the #75 Big Daddy's car never ran a single event, and the Henderson Motorsports team ran a very limited schedule, making four races, and failing to qualify for another five, not counting the Daytona race~ Denton was back with the team for the 2000 BGN season, running four races with a best finish of 15th in the "Cheez-It 250" @ Bristol~ He was fired at the end of the 2000 season, and ran two more partial BGN seasons before retiring from NASCAR competition at the age of 29~ 

    Thank you all for visiting the blog again!~ Please share this post on social media, and if this is your first time visiting the blog, please click the "follow" button at the top right hand side of this page~ Below are some random NASCAR clips, enjoy them - and until next time, Adios amigos~ 

                                                           Mike Olsen interview~
                                

                                       Kelly Denton basically murders Ken Schrader~
                                
              
                                                      1995 Winston 500~ Big one~    
                                

                                                      Buffet Benny's - Bristol~                                                                   
                                

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet

    Hello again fellow NASCAR diecast fans, and welcome back to the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog!~ I hope you've all been having a great start to the summer season, and though it's been pretty wet down here where I live, I've still been enjoying the warmer weather quite a bit~

    Today's post is going to be on Dale Fischlein, and his time in the #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet~ Now, he only drove the diecast version of this car in one ARCA race during the 1993 season, but he also drove the same car in the BGN series for a few events during the 1994 campaign~ Even so, he didn't race a lot - so I'm just gonna give a brief history spanning his entire racing career, since this will be the only post I ever do on him~ Though I'll be talking about his entire career, the pictures used in this post are all from his time in the Safelite car that the post is originally about~

                                     Fischlein sits in his car following a crash while leading~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

     Dale Fischlein (pronounced "Fish-Line") was born on January 2nd, 1960 in Davenport, Iowa - and began his racing career nine years later, racing go-karts~ By 1976, he had won two national championships, and in 1978 he moved up to racing stock cars in the Winston Racing Series~

    In 1988, Fischlein won the Central Region championship for the Winston Racing Series divison, and soon after began racing for Phil Barkdoll~ He and his wife Kari relocated to Arden, North Carolina to be closer to the Barkdoll team, and Dale competed mainly @ Tri-Country Speedway in Hudson, North Carolina, and Hickory Speedway~

    In his championship winning season in 1988, Fischlein's stats were stacked like a big' ol' pile of pancakes drenched in butter and maple syrup~ In 46 starts, he had 26 wins, 38 top 5's, and 41 top 10's~ That's pretty awesome, but in 1985, Fischlein had 44 starts @ Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway, and finished in the top 10 every single time~

                                                   Fischlein's car getting tinkered~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    Following his success in the 1988 season, Fichlein tried to jump straight up to the Cup series, where he made a failed qualifying attempt for the "Holly Farms 400" @ North Wilkesboro~ I tried to find a picture of that car, but I couldn't even find out what number it was, the color/make of the car, or if it had a sponsor or not~

    Fischlein would make one final Cup Series attempt in 1991, for the "Miller Genuine Draft 400" @ Richmond, driving Phil Barkdoll's #73 Oldsmobile, but he failed to make the 36 car field, and was also the slowest of the "go or go home" drivers~ James Hylton and Jerry Hill also failed to make the field for the event~

    The following year, Fischlein became the new crew chief for Dave Marcis, and the #71 Winston Cup team~ Though he had a lot less free time, he was still able to run 4 ARCA races, all in cars owned by Marcis~ In fact, the cars Fischlein was running was the same cars Marcis ran in the Cup Series~

                                Fischlein battles with Dick Trickle in the ARCA series - 1993~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    Fischlein's first time in an ARCA car came in the 1993 season opening "ARCA 200" @ Daytona, where he started 23rd in the 42 car field~ Tim Fedewa got out of shape in the middle of turns 3 and 4, causing a massive 24 car pile-up only two laps into the event~ This crash took 17 drivers out of the race, so only 25 cars remained, and the race had just begun~

    Following the crash, the remainder of the race was mild mannered to say the least~ Jeff Purvis led 71 of the 80 laps to take the checkered flag first~ He was followed by Loy Allen Jr., Kirk Shelmerdine, Jeremy Mayfield, and Bobby Bowsher~ Fischlein was credited with a 39th place effort, a zillion laps down~

    Dale was back in the car three races later for the "Poulan Pro 500K" @ Talladega, where he qualified 11th (season high) for the event~ Loy Allen Jr. won the pole for the event, driving the #2 Hooters/Jasper Ford~ Allen swapped the lead back and forth with Tim Steele and Kirk Shelmerdine for the majority of the day, and Fischlein stayed right up there with the pack, learning all he could and just having a clean race~

    In the end, Tim Steele held off Loy Allen Jr. for the win~ They were followed by Bob Brevak, Kenny Allen, and Mark Thompson~ Bob Keselowski finished 6th, and Jeremy Mayfield came home in the 10th position in the #95 Shoney's Inn/Mac Tools/Texaco Ford~ Fischlein finished the race in 13th (season high), and I guess I forgot to mention, but during these races, his car was being sponsored by "Dynamic Motorsports"~

                                           Fischlein comes down pit road in the Safelite car~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    Fischlein wasn't back in the car until six races later, for the "GM Goodwrench 200" @ Michigan, where he qualified 25th (season low)~ The pole was won by Jimmy Horton, driving the #32 Active Trucking Chevrolet~

    Tim Steele led more than half of the race, but faded late to finish in third~ Jeff Purvis beat out Frank Kimmel for the win, followed by Steele, Bill Venturini, and Jeremy Mayfield~ Purvis punted Bob Schacht out of the lead with three laps to go to take the win~

    Fischlein was involved in a crash on lap 46 that also involved Laura Lane~ Both drivers dropped out of the race, with Fischlein finishing 31st, and Lane 32nd~ Following this race, Fischlein would run one more ARCA event during the 1993 season, and for the first time his car was sponsored by Safelite Auto Glass~

                                         Safelite fixes your glass, Fischlein - not your @$$~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    Fischlein's sole ARCA start with the Safelite sponsorship came in the "Jiffy Lube 500K" @ Atlanta, where he qualified 22nd~ Kirk Shelmerdine won the pole in the #98 Action Rent-to-Own Oldsmobile~ A total of 69 cars attempted to make the 43 car field, so just making the show was a pretty big accomplishment~

    The race was filled with crashes and blown engines~ By the end of the race, only 17 cars remained to take the checkered flag~ Sadly, Fischlein wouldn't be one of them~ He was involved in a crash on lap 169, which also took out Jeff Davis, and finished the race in 19th place~ Jeff Purvis would again win the race, followed by Dick Trickle, who should have won but got penalized late in the race, Kerry Teague, Bob Hill, and Kirk Shelmerdine~

    The real bad thing about the crash, was this was going to the the Cup car for Marcis in just two days~ Since it was totaled, Marcis was forced to use a back-up car, and had to start from the rear of the field~ He still managed to finish 18th in the event, so it wasn't a total loss~ Fischlein finished out his ARCA career with an average start of 20.2, and an average finish of 25.5, in a total of four races~

                                             Close-up of the damage from the Atlanta race~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    Fischlein next drove the Safelite colors in the BGN Series during the 1994 season, though the car was now #70, and the car owner was Ivan Murphy~  Their first attempt to make a BGN race ended with a DNQ in the season opening "Goody's 300" @ Daytona~ Their second attempt didn't go any better, with another DNQ for the "Busch Light 300" @ Atlanta~ He followed that up with another DNQ  for the "Champion 300" @ Charlotte~ The fourth time was a charm however, and Fischlein would make his first career BGN start in the 18th event of the season~

    Fischlein's debut in the series came in the "Fram Filter 500K" @ Talladega, where he rolled off from the 31st starting position~ Jeff Purvis won the pole for the event in the #51 Country Time Chevrolet, owned by James Finch~ Sterling Marlin led a majority of the event in the #4 Kodak Funsaver Chevrolet, but he was passed by Ken Schrader with two laps remaining, as Schrader went on to win the race~ Schrader was followed by Terry Labonte, Dale Earnhardt, Marlin, and Jeff Purvis~

    Dale Fischlein managed to run a clean race throughout the day, and held on to finish in 14th place, in what must have felt like a victory for Fischlein, a rookie in the series~ The racing bug must have bit him pretty hard too, because he was at the very next BGN event the following week @ Hickory~

                                                 Fischlein awaiting the restart @ Atlanta~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    Dale qualified 26th for the "Pantry 300" @ Hickory, while David Green won the pole in the #44 Slim Jim Chevrolet~ Fourteen drivers failed to qualify for the event, including Rodney Combs, Stevie Reeves, Kevin Lepage, and Tommy Houston~ Fischlein's car was a Buick for this race, though I'm not sure what the reason behind that was~

    The race was a battle between pole sitter David Green, Dennis Setzer, and Kenny Wallace~ Green led a total of 92 laps before fading away to finish in 3rd, while Kenny Wallace took the lead~ Wallace held the lead until the final three laps of the race, when he was passed by Setzer, who went on to win the event~

    Kenny Wallace finished in second, followed by David Green, Doug Heveron, and Larry Pearson finished out the top 5~ Fischlein must not have been very fond of the Buick, because he never was a factor during the race at all, and finished the event seven laps down, in the 21st position~ After starting 36th, he came home 30th in his final event of the season, for the "Detroit Gasket 200" @ Michigan, driving the #70 EZ Go Chevrolet, an event won by the #33 Dentyne Chevrolet, driven by Bobby Labonte~

                                          Fischlein makes laps in the #71 Safelite Chevrolet~

    Fischlein ran an extremely limited schedule in the BGN series until the end of the 1998 season, appearing in a total of 18 races during a five year career, with an average start of 23.3, and an average finish of 27.4~ Along with his 18 career starts, he also DNQ'd for another 12 events, and was a lead lap finisher in just one event~

    The best finish of his BGN career came in the 1995 "Humminbird Fishfinder 500K" @ Talladega, where he qualified 8th, led a lap (the only one of his BGN career), and finished in 13th place~ The final race he ran was the "DieHard 250" @ the Milwaukee Mile, where he qualified 32nd in the #70 Adrian Carriers Chevrolet, and finished 28th after rear end problems~ (hopefully with the car)~

    The final race he attempted to make came in the "Pepsi 200 Presented by: Devilbiss" @ Michigan, where he was one of seven drivers who failed to make the field~ Among the others who DNQ'd were Dave Blaney, J.D. Gibbs (Joe's son), Lyndon Amick, and Casey Atwood~ A sad way to end a unique racing career, but at least he got to have his shot at it, and he'll have those memories forever~

                                           Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC
                                                                Click pics to enlarge~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    This car had a limited production, and only 2,000 were made~ It was packaged in the clear PVC Racing Champions box, and didn't come with a card or stand~ I made the card from Dale's Maxx card, since there isn't many pictures of him on the internet~ This car is in high demand amongst NASCAR Racing Champions fans, and the last one that was offered on Ebay sold for over 40 dollars~

    Racing Champions did a fine job on this diecast, as the blue color is very appealing, and the white is nice and crisp~ Though Fischlein only raced this specific car in one event (Jiffy Lube 500K - Atlanta 1993), the cars primary paint scheme was based off of Dave Marcis' Cup car at the time~ I feel as if Racing Champions did a splendid job on this car, and only wish a few thousand more were produced.. why so many Jay Fogleman #5 Innkeeper cars instead?~

    On the Racing Champions quality scale, I'm gonna give this one a solid A.. I'll leave off the + for the simple fact that there is no card with this one~ Fischlein is all but forgotten by NASCAR fans, be them old or new.. but his legacy (albeit small) lives on in his Racing Champions diecast, and now here on the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog - his story has been told, and his past has been brought back to present day once more~ May his racing history live on with this post, but for now - let's get to the bonus car~

                                            Dick Johnson #38 RedKote Steel Tubing Ford~
Dick Johnson #38 Redkote Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Red Kote 1989 1990 Winston Cup

    With a name that is pretty much the equivalent of calling someone "Penis Penis", Dick Johnson has to rival Dick Trickle for the "Most Absurd NASCAR Driver Name" award~ Dickie boy Johnson was a heck of a driver in the Australian Supercar Series, with 30 wins, and 5 championships to his credit... but he was in another galaxy in a NASCAR Winston Cup car~                                                               
    
    The Dickster ran a total of seven races during the 1989 and 1990 seasons, with a best finish of 22nd in the 1989 running of the "AC Spark Plug 500" @ Pocono, and never finished a race on the lead lap~ He is best remembered for his crash in the "Budweiser at the Glen" in 1989, where he slammed hard into tire barrier, getting his car stuck on top of the barrier~ The guys in the booth interviewed him, and he was a pretty funny character~ He eventually got back on the ground, and continued on his way~

    Thanks to everyone who stops by and reads the blog here!~ Please share this post with your friends on social media, and click the "follow" button at the top right hand side of this page~ I hope you all enjoyed this installment of the NASCAR Racing Champions blog.. below I have posted some videos on featuring Fischlein and ol' "Penis Penis" - enjoy them, and with that... let's roll that beautiful bean footage!~

                                         Fischlein's #71 Safelite car in action~ Atlanta 1993~

                           Crashing the #71 Dynamic Motorsports car~ Daytona ARCA 1993~

                                                    Dick Johnson being funny after crash~

                         Awesome NASCAR Stop Motion by Campbell N. Add him on YouTube~


   


   

Monday, May 29, 2017

Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet

    Hello once again diecast fans, and welcome to the NASCAR Racing Champions blog~ I hope you're all having a wonderful Memorial day today, and I'd like to start this post by thanking all of the soldiers who died for our freedom~ They may not be around to see my gratitude, but we should never forget those who lost their lives for our country~

    In today's post, I'm going to be delving into the history of Tom Peck's time in the #31 Channellock Chevrolet, which was owned by BGN champion Steve Grissom, and his father Wayne~ Grissom had won the championship with the car during the 1993 season, and was moving up to the Cup series full time for the 94 season, and the team pegged Peck as their driver of the future~ The marriage was short lived, as Peck was outed from the car just eight races into the 1994 BGN season, all but ending his NASCAR career~

                                                           Tom Peck #31 Promo card~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    Peck qualified 35th for the season opening "Goody's 300" @ Daytona, while Michael Waltrip won the pole in the #30 Pennzoil Pontiac~ A total of 21 drivers failed to make the field for the event, including Jimmy Spencer, Hut Stricklin, Patty Moise, and Jason Keller, among others~ A slew of Cup drivers were in the field for this one, including Dale Earnhardt, Dale "Boring" Jarrett, Terry Labonte, Ernie Irvan, Sterling Marlin, Bill Elliott, Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip, and Ken Schrader~

    With the exception of the conclusion of the race, the event was moderately boring, with the Cup guys leading all but four laps of the thing~ In the end, Dale Earnhardt passed Terry Labonte on the final lap in dramatic fashion to win his fifth consecutive Goody's 300~ He was followed to the line by Dale Boring, Chad Little, Terry Labonte, and Ernie Irvan, in what sounded more like the conclusion of a Cup race, minus the fact that Little was third~

    Although the spot light wasn't shown on him hardly at all during the event, Tom Peck was able to claw his way to a 10th place finish, picking up his first top 10 with his new team in his very first start~ It looked like Peck was in for a heck of an awesome season, and he was more than eager to drive his car into victory lane for the first time in his career~ It looked as though he wouldn't have to wait long before his dream became a reality~ But the greedy ol' Grissoms were already plotting his demise~

                                    Peck's car receives medical attention~ Richmond - 1994~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    Next up on the schedule was the "Goodwrench 200" @ Rockingham, and Peck and the #31 team qualified 24th for the event~ Robert Pressley grabbed the pole in the #99 Papke Racing Chevrolet~ This was to be the final consecutive start for legendary BGN driver, Tommy Houston, as he failed to make the field for the upcoming Richmond race~ Up until then, he had started every single BGN race since the inception of the series in 1982~

    I have to admit, this was a very pleasurable race to watch, with the exception of the race winner, who I find to be almost as boring as Dale Jarrett, but a little more genuine, so that makes up for it~ Dennis Setzer led a majority of the race in the #59 Alliance Training Centers Chevrolet, but faded in the end to finish 9th~ Terry Labonte led the final 29 laps of the event to take the checkered flag~

    Labonte was followed to the line by "Handsome" Harry Gant, Hermie Sadler, Randy LaJoie, and Robert Pressley~ Our ol' pal Tom Peck silently fought his way to a 6th place finish, narrowly missing out on his first top 5 with the team~ His record so far was pretty good however, and following the race, he was 4th in the BGN championship points standings~ But don't get too excited about his success... them sneaky ol' Grissoms are hot on his tail, and they're mighty hungry - and the only thing that'll satisfy their hunger is Tom Peck's NASCAR career~

                                          Custom Tom Peck poster made from an old shirt~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    The #31 car wasn't up to speed @ Richmond for the "Hardee's Frisco 250", qualifying 36th in the 39 car field~ He did however beat out several Cup drivers to make the field, including Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Michael Waltrip, Kyle Petty, Dale Boring, and Bobby Labonte, among others~

    The Peckster was collected in a lap 28 crash when Mike Stefanik lost control of his #1 Luxaire Ford~ Peck slid into the wall - ripping the back bumper off of his car, before heading to the pits~ He was able to get back out on the track, but was caught by the leaders and put a lap down~ Peck was able to get his lap back, and stayed out following a lap 111 caution to take the lead~ Confusion ensued, and it took NASCAR 16 laps of caution to figure out the starting order of the field~

    When the field was set, the green flag waved - and Peck made one lap around the track before coming in for four tires~ Back then, the only way you could take on four tires in one stop was under green flag conditions~ As a result of his lengthy pit stop, he came out two laps down, and wound up four laps down by the end of the race, finishing in 20th place~ The race was won by Joe Nemechek, who led 147 of the 250 laps on his way to victory~ He was followed by Kenny Wallace, Harry Gant, Elton Sawyer, and Hermie Sadler~

                                            Side shot of the Peckmobile~ Richmond - 1994~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    Tom qualified 29th for the "Busch Light 300" @ Atlanta, while Shawna Robinson became the first female in the history of NASCAR to win the pole position~ She would be taken out on the first lap of the race by that nasty little weasel Mike Wallace, who in my opinion deserves another punch in the mouth~

    Mark Martin had the car to beat early on, but a blown engine put him out of contention on lap 155~ Harry Gant led the final 42 laps of the event on his way to the final victory of his BGN career~ He was followed by Larry Pearson, Randy Porter (the only top 5 of his career), Terry Labonte, and Tracy Leslie~ Peck never found speed throughout the race, and was regulated to a 26th place finish~

    Moving on to Martinsville, Peck qualified 20th for the "Miller 500", while David Green won the pole position in the #44 Slim Jim Chevrolet~ Hermie Sadler had the car to beat for a while, but he was collected in a lap 71 crash involving six other drivers~ Kenny Wallace took the lead from there, and gave it up to Terry Labonte 25 laps later~

    Labonte dominated the rest of the day, leading a total of 205 of 300 laps in the #14 MW Windows Chevrolet~ He was followed by David Green, Kenny Wallace, Randy LaJoie, and Doug Heveron, who picked up his first career BGN top 5, driving the #75 Food Country Oldsmobile for long time BGN car owner, Charlie Henderson~ Peck finished 25th after having another ill handling race car~ Could this be a sabotage job by those greedy, sneaky little snakes, the Grissoms?~

                                                           Front shot of the Peckmobile~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    Peck again was without power for the "Mark III Vans 200" @ Darlington, qualifying 34th in the 42 car field~ The 1990's version of Kyle Busch (Mark Martin) was on the pole in the #60 Winn-Dixie Ford, and that was never good for BGN regulars~ Shawna Robinson (who had won the pole for Atlanta two races earlier) failed to make the field~

    Mark Martin dominated the race, leading 138 of 147 laps on his way to his first BGN victory of the season~ He was followed by Larry Pearson, Randy LaJoie, Kenny Wallace, and Harry Gant~ Peck rode around the track like a little ol' snail, finishing two laps off the pace of race winner - in the 27th position~

   As the team was putting the car back in the hauler to head home, the Grissoms were already there - plotting their next move~ Following four straight finishes of 20th or worse, they figured they had to be getting close to pulling off their evil scheme - destroying the NASCAR career of Tom Peck~
                                                      
                                      Peck is interviewed after finishing 6th @ Rockingham~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    With the short track of Hickory, North Carolina next up on the schedule, Peck qualified 10th (season high) for the "Sundrop 400", while David Green captured the pole position in the #44 Slim Jim Chevrolet~ Fifteen drivers failed to make the 30 car field, including short track ace Junior Miller, Rodney Combs, Shawna Robinson (again), and former Atlanta Falcons football coach, Jerry Glanville~

    Ricky Craven passed Green at the drop of the green flag, and led for the first 174 laps~ Kenny Wallace led a handful of laps, along with David Green, and Hermie Sadler, but in the end - Craven led 206, including the final one on his way to the checkered flag in the #2 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet~ Craven was followed by Randy LaJoie, David Green, Johnny Benson Jr., and Tommy Houston, who had been having a horrible time finding sponsorship money during the start of the season~

    The Peck-O-Matic was strong all night long, and he came home quietly in the 6th position, for what would be the final top 10 of his career~ The Grissoms were completely furious with the strong run Peck had, and knew they had to make sure it never happened again~ They needed one final nail in the coffin to assure Peck's career would finally be put to rest - Permanently!~

                                     Peck drives by the #05 car, driven by Randy MacDonald~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    Tom's final race in the #31 Channellock car came in the "Goody's 250" @ Bristol, where he barely made the 36 car field, with a 35th place qualifying effort, while Mark Marin won the pole for the event~ Before the start of the race, Peck found himself 9th in the BGN championship points battle, and was confident a win was coming his way real soon~ The Grissoms however were going to make sure that didn't happen, giving Peck one of the worst Grissom cars in the history of Grissom's career at Bristol~

    Mark Martin led 195 laps, but did that thing he did... and handed the win over to David Green, in what was his only win during the season - a season in which he went on to win the BGN championship~ Tommy Houston finished 2nd in a Piggly Wiggly car (You know that pissed off Food Country and the Henderson team), followed by Jeff Green, Dale Jarrett, and Jim Bown, who had a great run in the #63 Lysol Chevrolet~

    Peck was left to die in a rotted ol' turd of a car the Grissoms had rigged up~ He finished the event 112 laps off the pace of the race winner, in 29th place~ Following this event, the Grissoms had convinced Channellock that a change had to be made - and thus Steve Grissom took over for the remainder of the year~ The team shuttered down following the end of the season, never to return again~

                                The sad end of Tom Peck's NASCAR career~ Click to enlarge~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

      Tom was interviewed the following week in the broadcast booth during the "Pantry Stores 300" @ Rougemont, where he told the announcers that the team was sold to Cup owner Gary Bechtel, whom Grissom was driving for at the time, and that Bechtel wanted extra seat time for his young driver - thus leaving Peck as the odd man out~ The problem with that story is that Bechtel didn't assume ownership of the team until the start of the 1995 BGN season~ Wayne Grissom was still the owner of the team, along with his son, Evil Steve~

    When compared side by side, Peck's stats blow Grissom's away hands down~ In his 8 starts with the team, Peck had three top 10's, with a best of 6th twice, along with leading 16 laps~ He had an average start of 27.9, and an average finish of 18.6~ Compare that to Grissom's 11 starts in the car, where he had one fifth place finish, an 18th, and a 19th place finish, and the remaining eight races - he finished no higher than 22nd, he led a total of 0 laps, and had an average start of 27.5, and an average finish of 26.6~ Peck was running at the end of each of his races with the team, while Grissom only finished four out of eleven races he ran in the same car~ It's called finesse, Grissom - and you never had it~

    Although the Grissoms didn't really "kill" Tom Peck, the deal they made with him pretty much did him in as far as being a driver~ He had sold his old team to Kirk Shelmerdine to drive for the Grissoms, so after that deal fell through, he didn't have anything to fall back on~ He ran a one off race for Mike Greci @ Watkins Glen, and two races for Curtis Key, where both resulted in blown engines (Key's cars were notoriously terrible)~

    He finished out his career the following season, driving two races for "Group III Racing" in the #18 Unifirst Uniforms Ford, with a best finish of 19th in the "Gatorade 200" @ Darlington, before running his final race in Michael Peck's #67 Spartan Motors Chevrolet~ That race was the "All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300" @ Charlotte, where he qualified 40th, and held on for a 24th place finish in an extremely low budget car~ His final attempt in a NASCAR race came in the "Jiffy Lube Miami 300" @ Homestead, where he failed to make the field~ The final nail was in the coffin, and the Grissoms finally lowered the NASCAR career of Tom Peck into the ground - Forever!~

                                                    Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom
 Click pics to enlarge~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    I was a huge fan of this paint scheme (and of this team in general) back then, and it still holds up well today~ As I've said in previous post, I have a love for these light blue race cars, so I was a fan of Peck driving this car from the start~ Now when I see a Channellock car, I get sad and think about the Grissoms killing Peck's career the way they did, and I just want to spit on some ol' dirty rags~ 

   This is your typical Channellock car, nothing really special about it, and it had this same paint scheme when Grissom drove the rest of the races in 1994~ Of the cars that Racing Champions produced for 1994, this Peck one is perhaps somewhat harder to come across than some of the other cars~ This car's value is around 7 dollars currently, which I feel is a fair price~

   Though there wasn't anything special about Peck's Channellock scheme, it's still a beautiful paint scheme, as well as a great card~ Peck is just gleaming with confidence as he stands in front of his first truly competitive ride in the series, with sponsors backing him well - He had no clue what the future had in store for him at this point, and he looks totally stoked~ This one has to get an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~ Super awesome car, and a great job on the card - it doesn't get any better than that for Racing Champions diecasts~ Now let's dive into the bonus car for this post, shall we?~ 

                                   Rich Vogler #50 Coors Light Chevrolet~ Pocono - 1990~
Rich Vogler #50 Coors Light Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Winston Cup Pocono 1990

    A fellow NASCAR fan named Rob emailed me recently, and requested amongst others - a custom of Rich Vogler's #50 Coors Light Chevrolet, from the 1990 Winston Cup season~ Vogler (a five time USAC Midget, and two time USAC Sprint Car champion) was attempting to break into the Cup series after noticing its growing popularity~ He had ran a BGN race back in 1988 @ Rockingham, where he finished 17th in the "Goodwrench 200", driving the #31 B.A. Lawmaster Ford~

    His first attempt in the #50 Coors Light car cam in the "Miller Genuine Draft 400" @ Michigan, where he failed to make the field by one position~ Two races later, Vogler made the field for what would be his first Winston Cup series start, in the "AC Spark Plug 500" @ Pocono, where he qualified 32nd in the 40 car field~ 

    The night before the Cup race, Vogler competed in a sprint car event at Salem Speedway, in Salem Indiana~ He was there to do one thing... beat the heck out of up and coming star, Jeff Gordon~ He was doing just that when his car smacked the wall with one lap remaining, killing him instantly~ Because of USAC rules on red flags, Vogler was awarded the victory posthumously, his 170th~ His qualifying spot was left open for the start of the Cup race, and he was awarded the 40th finishing position~ 

   Now I've gotta say, I never found a single photo to go off of for this car, and so this isn't what his car looked like 100%, but I feel like it was something like this~ I know the car was driven by Ted Musgrave that season a little, and his car was white with red numbers, so I'm guessing Vogler's was the same~ I used Ken Schrader's #25 as the "donor" car for this one, and I think it turned out pretty good~ It's not the best, but heck.. I didn't have anything to go by~ If anyone has a picture of his car, and could email it to me, I can make a more accurate version, but for now, this will have to do~ 

    As usual, thank you all for stopping by the blog again!~ We're keeping the old NASCAR scene alive, one post at a time, and I couldn't do it without the support of others like myself, who still crave the old glory days of NASCAR, and Racing Champions diecasts~ Please share this post with your friends on social media, and remember to click the "Follow" button at the top right hand side of this page~ Below are some videos featuring Peck's career, along with some of Vogler's, enjoy them, and until next time - keep my skillet good and greasy while I'm gone!~ 

                                           Tom Peck explains his absence @ Rougemont~
                                             
                            David Bonnett hits Tom Peck in the rear~ Volusia County 1992~

                                                       Hidden Heroes: Rich Vogler~

  Rich Vogler segment from ESPN~