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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Larry Pearson #16 Chattanooga Chew Buick

    Larry Pearson is the son of NASCAR legend David Pearson, so you can imagine the excitement when it was announced in 1986 that Larry was moving up to the Cup Series for a team owned by his father, and crew chiefed by his brother Ricky~

    The original plan was for David to drive the first few races to get the team going, and then hand it over to Larry, but that never came about, as David was suffering from neck and back pains in the car~

    Larry's first Cup race would come in the 1986 Daytona 500, where he started 23rd, and finished 40th due to engine problems~ He next raced 25 races later in the Oakwood Homes 500 @ Charlotte, where he qualified 22nd, and finished 12th~

    The following season, Pearson ran 4 races, with his best again coming @ Charlotte in the Oakwood Homes 500, where he rolled off 33rd, and finished in 6th, earning him his first career top 10, 1 lap down~ He also managed to lead a lap during the race~

    He would fail to finish in the other 3 races~ (First Union 400 @ North Wilksboro - Rear end, Coca-Cola 600 @ Charlotte - Crash, Atlanta Journal 500 @ Atlanta - Crash)~ He ran 2 races in 1988, finishing 41st in Charlotte, and 21st in Atlanta~
                                                    Pearson's Buick behind the scenes~
Larry Pearson #16 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog David

    The 1989 season was the first, and only time that Larry competed in every race~ The team switched from Chevrolet's to Buick's, as Larry competed for Rookie of the Year honors, which he lost to Dick Trickle~

    He finished the season 23rd in points, having collected the final top 10's of his Cup racing career in the Pontiac Excitement 400 @ Richmond (6th), and the Miller High Life 500 @ Pocono (9th)~ Following the end of the season, Pearson lost his Chattanooga Chew sponsorship~

    He ran 19 races during the next 2 seasons, but it was clear that Pearson's Cup days were nearing an end~ His final Cup start came in the Hardee's 500 @ Atlanta, driving for Larry Hedrick's #41 Kellog's Corn Flakes Chevrolet, where he qualified 33rd, and finished 14th~  He attempted to qualify for 2 races (Daytona 500, Brickyard 400) in 1997, driving for Bud Moore, but failed to make the field for either event~

                                             Larry Pearson #16 Chattanooga Chew Buick~
Larry Pearson #16 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog David #21
                                                           Click pics to enlarge~
Larry Pearson #16 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog David #21

    *UPDATE* ***The car you see now was created on Photoshop by me, on July 9th 2016~ So overlook what I said in the post below about it looking like an un-sponsored car~ I fixed that problem~***

     Larry's Racing Champions car basically looks like an un-sponsored car~ This is due to the fact that Racing Champions wasn't allowed to produce cars with alcohol or tobacco related sponsors~ To get around this, they would just produce the cars without the sponsors, or sometimes would use the team name on the car instead, for example, Rusty Wallace's car would say "Penske Racing" on it instead of Miller Genuine Draft~

    Speaking of Wallace, his #27 MGD car was produced by Racing Champions, causing an uproar by many parents, who felt it was wrong to have these cars for sale in the toy stores having beer sponsors on them~

    The car, being an early model Racing Champions Buick, isn't without its flaws~ If you click the pics to make them larger, you can see a lot of cracking in the paint.. this was common in early RC cars, especially with the Buick's and Oldsmobile's~ I've seen where some people order decals and put them on the car, and I must say, they look much nicer~ I still enjoy the car the way it is though~ I've seen some Larry Pearson cars that have his name in cursive, while some have just regular lettering, as this one has~ In all, Pearson ran 37 Cup races with this car~

    If you're not too familiar with Larry's career, you may be feeling a little bad about him, after reading this far.. but don't feel too bad~ Larry had a very successful BGN career that included 2 series Championships (1986,1987), and collected 15 wins, 129 top 10's, and 11 poles in 259 starts during his 16 year career~ His first win came in 1984 in the Bobby Isaac Memorial 200 @ Hickory, and his final win came in the 1995 Carolina Pride/Red Dog 250 @ Myrtle Beach~ Larry made his final BGN start in 1999's Textilease Medique 300 @ South Boston~

In 2010, I was at the Bristol race track watching one of my all time favorite drivers, Rick Wilson, win a Legends race~ With 5 laps to go, Pearson spun and hit the wall in turn 2, as he was sliding down the track, he was t-boned by Charlie Glotzbach in the drivers side at full speed~ Pearson was knocked uncontentious, and many feared the worst for him~

     The red flag was immediately displayed, and Pearson was cut out of the car and flown to  Bristol Regional Medical Center~ He suffered a fractured pelvis, fractured right hand, and a compound fracture to his left ankle which required surgery to repair~ Two days later, he was released from the Bristol hospital, and transported to the Carolina's Medical Center, where he was listed in fair condition~ Below are a few videos from that race and from Pearson's career~ Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by~

                                        2010 Scott's Bristol Legends Showdown (full race)~

                                                     1991 Winston 500 Pearson crash~

                                                  1995 BGN Homestead Pearson crash~

                                                        Clip of 2010 Legends crash~


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