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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Butch Miller #75 Food Country USA Oldsmobile

    The Food Country USA team has always been a favorite of mine, and even though the team is now run by the owners son, who is a complete boob, I still get excited when I see them on the track~ In today's post, I'll talk about Butch Miller's time in the car~

    Butch's first race in the Food Country car came in the 1991 running of the True Value 250 @ Oxford, where he qualified in the 31st position, and finished 22nd~ He ran the remainder of the 1991 season with the team, with a best finish of 3rd in the Texas Pete 300 @ Rougemont~

    Miller grabbed his first pole with the team in the SplitFire 200 @ Dover, where he finished in 12th~ In his 13 races with the team that season, Miller scored 4 top 10's, and failed to qualify for the All Pro 300 @ Charlotte~ He was finished the season 16th in the final points standings~

                                   The Food Country team in 1989 with driver Rick Wilson~
Food CoRacing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Food Country #75 Rick Wilson Butch Miller Charlie Henderson Don BGN Brad Teague Bristol Abingdon Debbie Caleb Holman Trucks

    The 1992 season would be the only full season Miller ran with the Food Country team, and he did quite well in the car that year~ He picked up his first top 10 of the season in the Miller 200 @ Martinsville, finishing in the 7th position~ He followed that up a week later with a 3rd place finish in the Mark III Vans 200 @ Darlington~ The next week @ Bristol for the Budweiser 250, Miller put the car on the pole, but finished 23rd after having issues with the car, along with horrid pit stops, a trademark of the Food Country team~

    The next race on the schedule was the Mountain Dew 300 @ Hickory, where Miller qualified, and finished in the 9th position~ In the 13th event of the season, the Goodwrench 200 @ Dover, Miller picked up another solid top 10 finish, coming home in 7th place~ The following race was the Roses Stores 300 @ Rougemont, and Miller again scored a top 10, finishing in 8th place~

    His next decent run came in the 20th event on the schedule, the Kroger 200 @ IRP, where he drove to an impressive 4th place finish~ Miller put the car on the pole again in the Winston Classic @ Martinsville, and finished 3rd in the race, after having to come from the rear of the field following a lap 1 incident~ In the season finale @ Hickory, Miller finished in the 2nd position, behind race winner Bobby Labonte~ At seasons end, Miller had accumulated 4 top 5's, 10 top 10's, and 2 poles, while finishing a career best 7th in the final points standings~

                                       The remains of a car similar to the one Miller drover~
Food CoRacing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Food Country #75 Rick Wilson Butch Miller Charlie Henderson Don BGN Brad Teague Bristol Abingdon Debbie Caleb Holman Trucks

    Miller signed on with the team again for the 1993 season, and was off to a great start again, finishing 12th in the season opener @ Daytona, and following that up with a 9th place finish in the Goodwrench 200 @ Rockingham~ The next race was the Hardee's 200 @ Richmond, where Miller finished 10th~ In the 7th event of the season, the Roses Stores 300 @ Rougemont, Miller finished in 5th place~ The following race @ Martinsville, he scored what would be his final pole in the car, but finished 20th due to engine failure~ In the Laneco 200 @ Nazareth, Miller picked up what would be his final top 5 in the car, finishing in 5th place~ In his final race of the season, the Champion  300 @ Charlotte, he finished 15th~

    Now, this is where I get mad~ Due to an extremely boneheaded move by then car owner Charlie Henderson, Miller was let go after only 10 races, while he was 11th in the points standings~ He was replaced for the rest of the season by a slew of middle of the pack drivers that includes Rick Wilson, Scott Lagasse, Glenn Jarrett, Jimmy Hensley, and Jim Bown~ This is where the Food Country team basically met their demise, as they were field fillers for the remainder of their time in the BGN series~ From 1989 until this point, they had built a team that was very capable of winning races, if not for their horrible pit stops~ I believe the guys at the shop gave up on Henderson after the horrible call to fire Miller 10 races into the season~

                                          Butch Miller #75 Food Country/Tombstone car~
Butch Miller #75 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR die-cast blog Charlie Henderson Don


    Butch was called back to race for the team again in 2002, but by this time, the team was not even close to being competitive anymore due to the money pinching ways of the Henderson family~ In 11 races, Miller's best finish was a 16th place @ Nashville~ He ran his final race for the team in the Sam's Town 250 @ Memphis, and called it quits with them for good~

    The team eventually got so terrible that it folded its BGN team in 2007, after making only 1 race with driver Caleb Holman~ They now run middle of the pack with Holman part time in the Truck Series for current team owner Don Henderson, the incompetent son of team founder, Charlie Henderson~Holman seems to enjoy tearing up the Henderson team trucks, and also seems more than happy to run middle of the pack in the third tier series~ His sister Lindsey also runs in Food Country sponsored cars in an even lower division, where she too is usually tearing up cars and wasting money that could be spent to pay their employees more than minimum wage~

                                          Butch Miller #75 Food Country USA Oldsmobile~
Butch Miller #75 Food Country Charlie Henderson 1/64 Racing Champions die-cast NASCAR blog BGN Brad Teague
                                                               Click pics to enlarge~
Butch Miller #75 Food Country Charlie Henderson 1/64 Racing Champions die-cast NASCAR blog BGN Brad Teague

                     Extremely rare Butch Miller #75 Food Country USA Oldsmobile 1/43 scale~
Butch Miller #75 Food Country Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/43 1:43 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 Charlie Henderson Don Caleb Holman
                                          I purchased this car on 1/5/2017~ Amazing find~
Butch Miller #75 Food Country Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/43 1:43 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 Charlie Henderson Don Caleb Holman


    This car was one of my shining moments as a child~ My father was a supervisor for Food Country for 21 years, so I grew up with Food Country being a very big part of my life~ The picture on the card was taken at the team race shop in Abingdon Virginia, a place I spent a lot of time in as a kid~ Racing Champions did a superb job on this car, and it looks exactly as the real car did on the track~ I always loved the gold rims they ran, and was happy to see them on the RC car as well~ This was my favorite paint scheme used by the team, and I give this car an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~ 

    After Charlie Henderson got too old to run the company, it was handed over to his incompetent son, Don Henderson~ Don is completely incapable of making decisions on his own, and this has tarnished the name of Food Country to no end~ If you ask a local person around where I live about Food Country, they laugh and say that the company is a complete joke~ 

    And that's exactly what it has become, sadly~ They built a brand new, state of the art store on the outskirts of Blountville Tennessee, that they claim as a "Bristol" store, and it has been an utter disaster~ The produce department there usually does about 8% profit, which is atrocious, even for their standards~ There are rumors that they have been trying to sell the store to other grocery chains in the region, but no one seems to want it~ *UPDATE* The "Bristol" location has since closed down~ lol~

    To make matters even worse, Don Henderson has a son named Adam.. and guess who got a big job running the Subway's that are in some of the Food Country stores?~ You guessed it, derpy little Adam~ I've talked to several of the people that still work for the company, and they can't stand Don, nor Adam, as they are destroying what once was a great company~ 

    Many of the people I speak with despise working there now, and I can't blame them, yet it makes me sad~ I respected them for so many years of my life, and in the end, was treated the same way they treat all of their employees, which is terrible~ I will hopefully still be alive to see the demise of this company, and that day will be a day of happiness, along with sadness for what used to be a great company~ 
  
    Below I have added some clips of the Food Country car from back in the day~ As always, I thank you all for visiting the blog, and I hope you have a wonderful day~ I'll see ya' next time~

                             **Bonus Car** Rick Wilson's 1995 Food Country Ford~ Custom~
Rick Wilson #75 Food Country Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1995


                                                   Butch Miller spins @ Volusia County~

                                                      Butch Miller spins @ Hickory~

                                           Butch Miller wins the 1995 Total Petroleum 200~



                                                Butch Miller crashes @ Volusia County~


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jason Keller #57 Excedrin Migraine Chevrolet

    Jason Keller is, in my opinion, the Mark Martin of the BGN series~ Keller was a solid, consistent driver, who was never able to claim a championship, but truly deserved one~ Today, I'll be writing about his time in the #57 Excedrin Chevrolet~

    Keller's first race in the Excedrin car came in the 1999 season finale race @ Homestead, the HotWheels.com 300~ He started the race in 19th, and finished in 26th, 3 laps of the pace of race winner Joe Nemechek~ Two years before this race, Nemechek's brother John was tragically killed in a crash at this very track~

                                        Custom made Jason Keller Racing Champions card~
Jason Keller #57 Excedrin Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN

     Keller's only full season with Excedrin on the car came in 2000~ He was running at the finish in all but 1 race that season, with the only exception being the Aaron's 312 @ Atlanta, where he was involved in a crash on lap 82, and finished last~

    He managed to score one victory during this season, in the MBNA Platinum 200 @ Dover~ He finished the season with 1 win, 13 top 5's, and 10 top 10's, and finished 2nd in the points to Greg Biffle~ He had an average starting position of 15th, and an average finish of 10.5~ Following this season, Excedrin parted ways with Keller, and he drove the next season being sponsored by Alberton's~ He ended his career in 2010, having amassed 10 wins, 11 poles, 83 top 5, and 175 top 10's~

                                            Jason Keller #57 Excedrin Migraine Chevrolet~
Jason Keller #57 Excedrin Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN
                                                              Click pics to enlarge~
Jason Keller #57 Excedrin Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN


    Racing Champions did a splendid job on this car~ I love the sparkles they added in the paint, although they don't show up as good in pictures~ This car, to me, is reminiscent of J.D. McDuffie's car that Racing Champions made~ The black and white stripes on the car really accent it well~ I have to give this car an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale, even though it didn't come with a stand or card, the car itself is truly a great looking piece~

    Keller, to me, always looked like an old man.. much older than what he actually is~ He's the same age as Greg Biffle, yet looks like he could be Biffle's uncle~ This may have been part of the reason why he couldn't ever get very good sponsorship~ He just didn't look very marketable~ That's a shame, because he was an amazing driver, very capable of winning races, and having strong finishes throughout his career~

    Below I have added some videos featuring Keller throughout his racing career~ I've mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again.. people on YouTube just love to post crash videos, so that's why most of the video's I post on here are of the driver being mentioned crashing~ There isn't a single video of any of Keller's wins posted~ As always, I want to thank you all for visiting the blog, and I hope to see you on the next post~ :)

                                                         Jason Keller/Kyle Busch crash~

                                                      Jason Keller/Erin Crocker crash~

                                                             Jason Keller fiery crash~

                                                Jason Keller 2009 Sam's Town 300 crash~
                          
                                               

Monday, August 24, 2015

1992 Mountain Dew Southern 500 Darlington Event Car

    The 1992 Mountain Dew Southern 500 was held on September 6th, 1992~ Sterling Marlin won the pole for the event, and finished 28th~ Davey Allison, who had a chance at the Winston Million coming into the race, was let down once again by crew chief Larry McReynolds when McReynolds called Davey into the pits with rain coming on strong~ Larry mentioned after the race that it was in fact another crew member he had sent to check the weather radar who fouled up the call.. but we all know this is the crew chief's responsibility, and Larry loves to make excuses and blame others instead of placing the blame on himself~

    The first driver out of the race was John McFadden, driving for Jimmy Means Racing~ He ended his day after only 3 laps of competition~ The first caution came on lap 38, for debris, with the second coming on lap 139 due to a crash involving Chad Little and Geoff Bodine~ The crash ended Little's day, and he finished in the 34th position, while Bodine continued the race, finishing 19th~ The next caution came out on lap 184 due to a crash in turn 3 involving Morgan Shepherd and pole winner Sterling Marlin~ This would end Shepherd's day, which resulted in a 31st finishing position, while Marlin continued, and finished the race in 28th~

                                        Program for the 1992 Mountain Dew Southern 500~
1992 Southern 500 Davey Allison Darrell Waltrip Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    On lap 228, the caution flag flew again, this time due to a crash in turn 4 involving Dick Trickle, Geoff Bodine (again), Jimmy Means, and Ted Musgrave~ Caution came out again on lap 278, and most of the field came in to pit.. but Darrell Waltrip stayed out~ Shortly after this caution, the rain began to fall~ Laps 295-298 were ran under caution, and the race was then put on hold~

    Waltrip celebrated ahead of NASCAR calling the race official, saying the win was "worth a million dollars to him".. mocking the fact that Davey had lost the Winston Million~ This was Darrell's second win in a row, and 3rd of 1992~ This would also be the final victory of his career~ The race would also be the final race for Hut Stricklin in the #12 Raybestos Brakes car, as he was replaced by Jeff Purvis, and later Jimmy Spencer for the rest of the season~

                                           1992 Mountain Dew Southern 500 Event Car~
1992 Darlington Track Car #92 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diescast blog
                                                           Click pics to enlarge~
1992 Darlington Track Car #92 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diescast blog

    This may very well be one of my favorite event cars of all time~ The simple off-red and white paint scheme, along with the white cone tires, just make this car beam on any display shelf or case~ Most event cars up to this point were mostly all black or white, which makes this one stand out even more~ Overall, I give this car an A- on the Racing Champions quality scale~ It could have easily been an A+ if not for the card, which I find just a bit dull~

    Some of the opinions used in this post may offend some of you... please remember that these are my opinions, and are not meant to be facts~ If you like McReynolds, that's your opinion, and I won't hold it against you~ To me, he was one of the whiniest people I've ever seen in NASCAR, and I for one was happy when he threw the towel in on his career as a crew chief~ That being said, I thank each and every one of you for visiting the blog~ There are no videos whatsoever on this specific race, so I'll leave you with some highlights from some other races at Darlington~ :)

                                                      Top 5 moments from Darlington~

                                                  Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch - 2003~

                                                   1985 Southern 500 - Bill Elliott win~     
            
                                                    Last laps of the 1979 Southern 500~
                                               

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sterling Marlin #44 Piedmont Airlines Oldsmobile

    With his strong southern accent, and funny sense of humor, Sterling Marlin, like many other past drivers, is someone that can't be duplicated~ So many of the "up and coming" drivers of today lack any kind of humor or personality of their own~ It's as if they're from the same cookie cutter they use with so many of the newer NASCAR tracks.. bland and exactly the same~ Today, I'm going to be writing about Marlin's time in the #44 Piedmont Airlines Oldsmobile, a car owned by Billy Hagan, and chew chiefed by Steve Hmiel~

    Following Terry Labonte's departure from the team in favor of driving for the famed Junior Johnson, Hagan picked Marlin to drive his car for the full season~ This was only Marlin's 2nd time getting to drive a full season, his first coming in 1983 driving for Roger Hamby~  He picked up his first top 5 finish of the season in the TranSouth 500 @ Darlington, finishing in the 4th position~ As the season progressed, Marlin slowly moved his way up the points standings, and finished the season 11th in the points, with  4 top 5's, and 8 top 10's~

                                                  Sterling on track in the Piedmont car~
Sterling Marlin #44 Piedmont Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    The 1988 season would be the last time he drove the Piedmont colors~ He started the season off strong with an 8th place finish in the Daytona 500~ He followed that up with a 5th place in the Pontiac Excitement 400 @ Richmond, and a 3rd place finish in the Goodwrench 500 @ Rockingham~

    With that string of solid finishes, Marlin found himself 2nd in the points standing headed to Atlanta~ But the Atlanta race wouldn't be so kind to Sterling, and he ended his day in the 20th spot, dropping him down to 4th in the points~ He would rebound in the next 2 races, where he finished 5th @ Darlington, and 8th at Bristol~ These finishes catapulted him back up to 2nd in the points~

     With a 16th place finish in the next race @ North Wilksboro, Marlin again slipped back to 4th, but not for long~ The very next race @ Martinsville, he finished 2nd behind race winner Dale Earnhardt putting him back up to 2nd in the points~ He followed that up with a 6th place finish @ Talladega~ He then started to have a bit of mid season bad luck, that somewhat continued for the remainder of the season~

                                              Sterling Marlin passing Rusty Wallace~
Sterling Marlin #44 Piedmont Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

     Most of this bad luck was due to engines going sour, with Marlin having 5 engines expire throughout the season~ He was only involved in one crash all season, and was running at the end of all the other races, minus those 6~ Marlin finished in 12th place in his final race with the Piedmont car, in the Atlanta Journal 500~

    He finished the season off with 6 top 5's, and 13 top 10's, having led 334 laps, and finished 10th in the final points standings~ After this season, Marlin stayed with the Hagan team, with sponsorship from Sunoco~ The team also changed numbers from 44 to 94~ He would keep this sponsorship until the 1991 season, when he left the team to drive for Junior Johnson himself, after Johnson's second failed attempt to get Alan Kulwicki to drive for him~

    Junior also stole the Maxwell House Coffee sponsorship Alan had thought he had secured for himself before the start of the season, leaving Kulwicki without a sponsor for the start of the season~ He ran the Daytona 500 with Army as a sponsor, and later picked up Hooters as his sponsor for the remainder of his career~

                                        Sterling Marlin #44 Piedmont Airlines Oldsmobile~
Sterling Marlin #44 Piedmont Airlines Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diescast blog club exclusive Underalls
                                                             Click pics to enlarge~
Sterling Marlin #44 Piedmont Airlines Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diescast blog club exclusive Underalls


    This car was made by Racing Champions as a club exclusive in 1991, when Marlin had long since raced his final race in the car~ To my knowledge, this is the only time RC made a car of a current driver after the sponsorship was over~ I was always a big fan of the Oldsmobile's RC produced, even though the original cars were a bit shoddy~ This one however, isn't shoddy at all, and RC did a wonderful job on it, even adding secondary sponsor Underalls to the car~

    I don't know how many favorites a person can have, but once again, this is one of my favorites in my collection~ The big blue stripe on the bottom of the car, along with the bright white of the rest of the car, really make it stand out on my display~ The number on the side of the car is huge, which I also like, it's as big as the roof number, maybe even bigger~ I give this car an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale, and really enjoy having it as part of my collection~

    As with all of my posts, I have added some videos of Marlin's career down below~ I've added as many as I could find of him in this car~ Thank you all for visiting the blog!~ I'll be at the race track this weekend, so this may be my last post until next week~ I hope you all have a great weekend, and I'll see you next time!~ :)

                                               1987 Bud at the Glen~ Marlin, Hillin crash~
                                        
                                               1988 Pepsi Firecracker 400~ Marlin crash~
            
                                            1988 Coca-Cola 600 Marlin and Marcis crash~

                                                  Marlin's horrible Kansas wreck 2002~

                                             

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Winston Cup Series #1 Pontiac

    Today I've decided to mix things up a bit and talk about a promotional item, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series 16 oz. mug, put out by Howw Manufacturing Incorporated~ This mug features a Winston Cup Series #1 Pontiac in the bottom of it, and it was produced for the 1991 season~

    Howw Mfg. Inc., to this day, is a supplier of promotional drink ware, and has been in business since 1984~ This specific mug stands 5 1/2 inches tall, and features the Winston Cup Series #1 Pontiac resting on a checkered bottom, sealed in the base~

                                                   Winston Cup Series #1 Pontiac mug~
Winston Cup Series #1 Cup Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Howw Mfg. Inc. Cigarettes Bill France


    I first came about this car while going through a box of items bought at an auction by my Father~ The mug was in horrible condition, with most of all the paint chipped off of it~ Because of this, I simply cracked the mug open to get the Racing Champions car out of it~ About a month after I did this, I came across a perfect condition mug at the Salvation Army, and picked it up for a dollar~ It has since become my daily water mug that I use at home~

                              Custom Winston Cup Series #1 Pontiac Racing Champions card~
Winston Cup Series #1 Cup Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Howw Mfg. Inc. Cigarettes Bill France

    I consider myself to be an avid Racing Champions fan, as these are the cars that started it all, and the ones I grew up with~ So finding a mug like this was a true gem to add to my collection~ Each sip of water I drink out of it tastes better than any water I've ever drank, simply due to the fact that I get to look at a RC car every time I take a drink~ Obviously it doesn't change the taste of the water, it's all in my head.. but it does make it much more enjoyable to be able to see a RC car in a mug like this~

                                                        Winston Cup Series #1 Pontiac~
Winston Cup Series #1 Cup Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Howw Mfg. Inc. Cigarettes Bill France
                                                           Click pics to enlarge~
Winston Cup Series #1 Cup Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Howw Mfg. Inc. Cigarettes Bill France
                                                           Right side of the car~
Winston Cup Series #1 Cup Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Howw Mfg. Inc. Cigarettes Bill France

    This car is a special car to me because it features the words "Winston Cup" all over it, along with the famous Winston eagle~ Racing Champions got in a bit of trouble when they made Rusty Wallace's Miller car, and so they didn't make beer or tobacco sponsored cars that often~ Oddly enough, the mug I bought had a Wal-Mart sticker on the bottom of it~ I was, at first, under the impression that the car was only sold at the Winston booths at the race tracks... looks like I was wrong~

    I normally don't post pics of the other side of my RC cars, due to the fact that they look the same on both sides.. but with this car, they made a mistake.. so I had to show that~ If you look at the bottom picture, you can notice that it says "Winston Series Cup" instead of "Winston Cup Series"~ I got a laugh out of that~ In 1992, they made a 20 oz. mug that looked just like this one, and fixed that error, as well as put gold cone rims instead of the black ones featured on this car~ The 1992 car also featured Goodyear tires instead of the RC tires~

    I love the look of this car~ The gold stripe along the bottom is a nice touch, and accents the maroonish red of the car nicely~ The eagle looks as if it's about to attack the #1 and carry it away to feast upon it, which I find comical~ I give this car an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~ Obviously there are no videos on this car, as it was not driven in the NASCAR series, so I'm gonna just post a few random old videos for your enjoyment down below~ As always, thank you for taking time out of your day to visit the blog!~ :D

                                    Best of the worst NASCAR crashes~ Old School Racing~

                                     NASCAR steals victory from Ricky Rudd~ Sonoma 1991~

                                                 The day that changed NASCAR forever~

                                               The crashes that have changed NASCAR~
                        

Monday, August 17, 2015

Tracy Leslie #72 Detroit Gasket Oldsmobile

    Some fans that are newer to NASCAR may have never heard of Tracy Leslie, but in the early to mid 90's, he was somewhat of a fan favorite in the BGN series~ Today I'm gonna write a little bit about his time in the #72 Detroit Gasket Oldsmobile, the sponsor he used throughout most of his career in the BGN series~

    Leslie started his first BGN series race in 1991~ He ran the full season being sponsored by Detroit Gasket~ His first career top 10 came 8 races into the season in the Budweiser 250 @ Bristol, where he finished in the 8th position~ In the 15th race of the season, the Granger Select 400 @ Hickory, he picked up his 2nd top 10, with another 8th place finish~ 3 races later, in the True Value 250 @ Oxford, Leslie picked up his first career top 5, finishing in 4th place~ His best finish of the season came in the Kroger 200 @ IRP, where he qualified 28th, and clawed his way up to a 2nd place finish behind race winner Bobby Labonte~ The following race, the Texas Pete 300 @ Rougemont, Leslie scored his final top 10 of the season with a 10th place finish~ He finished out his rookie season with 2 top 5's and 5 top 10's, and finished 15th in the final points standings~

    For the 1992 season, Leslie competed in every event, and had a somewhat solid year~ His best finish was 4th in the Carolina Pride/Budweiser 200 @ Myrtle Beach~ He finished the season with 2 top 5's (Martinsville, Myrtle Beach), and 10 top 10's, and also led 13 laps, 2 @ Atlanta, and 11 @ Martinsville~ He again finished 15th in the final points standings~

                                                    Tracy Leslie hero card from 1995~
Tracy Leslie #72 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN win

    The 1993 season was perhaps Leslie's best~ He picked up his first career pole in the Champion 300 @ Charlotte, but finished 34th due to a sour engine~ In the 16th race of the season, the Kroger 200 @ IRP, he picked up his first and only career win~ Following that win, the team swapped manufactures from Oldsmobile's to Chevrolet's~ In the Autolite 250 @ Richmond, Leslie almost won again, finishing in 2nd place behind race winner Mark Martin~ Tracy finished the season with 1 win, 1 pole, 5 top 5's, and 13 top 10's, while finishing a career best 11th in the final points standings~ Leslie had a decent season again in 1994, making the field for every event, while picking up 2 top 5's, and 8 top 10's, and again finishing 11th in the final points standings~

    The 1995 season would be his final season with Detroit Gasket as his sponsor~ He qualified 2nd in the Red Dog 300 @ Charlotte, and led a total of 48 laps, finishing in the 3rd position behind Jeff Green and race winner Chad Little~ The following race, the GM Goodwrench/Delco 200 @ Dover, Tracy picked up his last career pole, he led 11 laps, but came home in the 24th position, 5 laps down~ His last top 5 with the Detroit Gasket sponsor came in the Kroger 200 @ IRP, where he finished in 4th place~

    Following the All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300 @ Charlotte, he lost sponsorship from Detroit Gasket with just 2 races remaining in the season~ He did manage to finish the season however, driving the #98 PerforMax Racing Chevrolet for Brian Donley @ Rockingham, where he finished 36, and the #86 Coors Light Chevrolet for Phil Barkdoll in the final race of the season @ Homestead, where he finished in last place~ He finished the season with 1 pole, 2 top 5's, and 3 top 10's, and dropped to 16th in the final points standings~

                                              Tracy Leslie #72 Detroit Gasket Oldsmobile~
Tracy Leslie #72 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN
                                                                Click pics to enlarge~
Tracy Leslie #72 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN


    As a child, this was one of my favorite RC cars, and it still is to this day~ One of the main things I like about it is the styling of the number 72~ The simple bright red paint scheme makes the car stand out from most of the cars on a display stand~ I also like the logos on the hood and deck lid~ There aren't really any flaws on this car, and I give it an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~

    Leslie continued racing 3 more seasons after he lost the Detroit Gasket sponsorship, with most of those races ran with Lysol as his sponsor~ He finished his BGN career with 2 poles,1 win, 14 top 5's, and 45 top 10's in 206 races ran, and led a total of 175 laps~ He finished on the lead lap 47 times, and had 6 DNQ's~ He currently races in the ARCA series with his son Billy~

    There isn't much footage of Leslie's career, but I'll post below what I was able to find~ Thanks to all who visit the blog, y'all are great!~ I've had a busy schedule as of late and haven't been posting on a regular basis, but after the Bristol race, I should be able to get back on track with that~ Until next time, I hope y'all have a great week!~ :D

                                                  Tracy Leslie crash @ Rougemont 1994~

                                           Leslie and Mike Wallace tangle~ Hickory 1992~

                                               Interview with Leslie after only BGN win~
      
                                                    1993 Goodwrench 200~ Big crash~
           
            

Monday, August 10, 2015

Bill Venturini #25 Rain-X/True Value/Amoco Chevrolet

    Bill Venturini was the 1983 ARCA series Rookie of the Year, as well as champion of the series in 1987, and 1991~ He is also the father of broadcaster Wendy Venturini~ Today, I'm going to talk about his time in the #25 Rain-X/True Value/Amoco Chevrolet, which he drove in parts of the 1992, and 1993 ARCA seasons~ Bill ran several seasons with Rain-X and Amoco as sponsors, but only a handful of races with Rain-X, True Value, and Amoco all together on the same car~

    His first start with all three sponsors on the car came in the 2nd race of the 1992 ARCA season, the Southern 300 @ Pensacola, where he qualified the car in the 7th position, and came home in the 6th spot, having led for 39 of the 300 laps~ The next race he ran with the sponsors came 2 races later, in the Poulan Pro 500K @ Talladega, where he started in the 6th position, led 2 laps, and finished 4th~ Bill then started 10th in the Toledo ARCA 125 @ Toledo, and finished in the 15th position~

    He started in the 10th position for the Kil_Kare Icebreaker 150 @ Kil-Kare, where he led the final 3 laps to win his first and only race of the season~ This would also be the final time during the season where he ran the car with all 3 sponsors shown on the RC car~

                                                   Venturini's Racing Champions card~
Bill Venturini #25 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Wendy Venturini nude

    Bill started the 1993 ARCA season with all the sponsors on the car again for the season opener, ARCA 200 @ Daytona, where he qualified 22nd~ As he was trying to make his way to the front, he was involved in a crash on lap 3, which ended his day~ He finished in the 30th position~ For the 4th race of the season, all 3 sponsors were back on the car, and Venturini qualified the car 21st~ He finished the race 1 lap down, in the 12th position~ His final race with all 3 sponsors on the car came in the Mountain Magic Jamboree 150 @ Pocono, where he rolled off 14th, and finished the race in the 4th position, his final top 5 of the season~

    During the late 1980's, Bill famously used an all-female pit crew while running in the ARCA series, with his wife Cathy serving as crew chief~ Far from a publicity stunt, the all-female pit crew played a major role in his first ARCA championship in 1987~ His son, Billy was also an ARCA driver, driving for over 10 years~ Bill's father, Tony was also a NASCAR driver, who began racing in the 1950's, and is considered one of the early pioneers in the sport~ Venturini currently owns Venturini Motorsports, and fields cars and trucks for several up and coming drivers~

                                   Bill Venturini #25 Rain-X/True Value/Amoco Chevrolet~
Bill Venturini #25 Rain X True Value Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Wendy
                                                             Click pics to enlarge~
Bill Venturini #25 Rain X True Value Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN Wendy


    You've gotta agree with me, this is a danged pretty race car!~ The car is totally full of logos, with lots of colors~ Up until I got this car, my favorite yellow RC car was the Michael Waltrip #30 Pennzoil Pontiac, but this car just blows it out of the water~ I wish he would have ran this car more with all 3 sponsors on it, as it is shown here~ I have to give this one an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale, as the card also looks pretty cool~

    I have added a few videos below featuring Bill Venturini,  I hope you enjoy them, and as always, I thank each and every one of you that visit the blog!~

                                                              Bill Venturini interview~
                                                     
                                                        Venturini Motorsports segment~

                                                1982 Rockford Speedway Pit Stop contest~
                   
                                                             2011 Venturini interview~
                                                                                      
                                                 

    

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Alan Kulwicki #7 Hooters Ford

    Alan Kulwicki is, in my opinion, the last true champion of NASCAR~ A lot of very talented drivers have attempted to do what he did during the 1992 season, win a NASCAR Cup series championship as an owner/driver, including Darrell Waltrip, Ricky Rudd and Geoff Bodine among others, but no one since has been able to pull it off~ Today, we look back on Alan's career in the Hooters Ford...

    Car owner Junior Johnson tried his hardest to get Alan to drive for him in both the 1990 and 1991 seasons, even offering Kulwicki 1 million dollars to drive one of his cars, Alan declined, thinking he had secured sponsorship for his own team from Maxwell House Coffee, Johnson then went behind Alan's back and secured Maxwell House's sponsorship for his own car, being driven by Sterling Marlin~ This forced Alan to start the season with no sponsor~ He picked up sponsorship from the U.S. Army for the start of the Daytona 500, and then ran unsponsored cars for the following 2 races~

    Kulwicki's first race under the Hooters sponsorship came in the Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 @ Atlanta, where he put the car on the pole, led for 8 laps, and finished in the 8th position~ This was supposed to be a 1 race deal, but due to Alan's good finish, the deal was extended~ I had the privilege of being at the Bud 500 that season, where Alan won his first race for the Hooters team~  Hooters stuck with Alan for the remainder of the season, as well as throughout the remainder of his career~ He finished the 1991 season with 4 poles, 1 win, 4 top 5's, and 11 top 10's, finishing 13th in the final points standings~

 Alan poses in front of the Hooters car in Daytona 1992~
                                            
          The 1992 season proved to be magical for Kulwicki~ He sat on the pole for the Food City 500, where he led for 282 laps, and won the race~ However, he was not considered to be a contender for the championship, and was expected to fade from contention~ After winning the Bristol race, Kulwicki was 5th in the points, and he was never lower than 5th for the remainder of the season~ He started 6th in the Champion Spark Plug 500 @ Pocono, and won the race, his second win of the season~ This was to be the final race win for Kulwicki in his career~ The win moved Kulwicki to 3rd in the points standings after 13 events, behind Davey Allison and Bill Elliott~

      Alan remained 3rd in the points for most of the season, until the Peak Antifreeze 500, where he won the pole for the race, but was caught up in an accident on lap 91, resulting in a 34th place finish~  After this race, he was 278 points behind in the points, and was very vocal that this was probably the demise of his championship hopes, being quoted as saying "This probably finishes us off in the championship deal"~

    But in the following race @ Martinsville, Kulwicki posted a 5th place finish, while Bill Elliott's engine expired on lap 158, resulting in a 30th place finish~ Davey Allison also had a poor finish, ending up 16th, as well as Gant, who was 3rd going into the event, finished 19th~ Alan had cut Bill Elliott's lead down to 191 points~

                                                 Alan Kulwicki's "Underbird car" 1992~
Alan Kulwicki #7 Hooters Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog die age


    The following race was @ North Wilksboro for the Tyson/Holly Farms 400, where Elliott again had a poor running, resulting in a 26th place finish, while Allison finished 11th, and Kulwicki, who had won the pole for the race, finished in the 12th spot~ Alan was now 144 points back from Elliott in the points standings~ He again won the pole for the following race, the Mello Yello 500 @ Charlotte, leading 63 laps, and finished 2nd to Mark Martin~ Elliott had sway bar problems, which knocked him back to finishing 30th, while Allison finished 19th~ This put Kulwicki just 47 points back from Elliott in the points standings with just 3 races remaining~

    Bill Elliott extended his lead over Allison and Kulwicki the following race @ Rockingham, finishing 4th, while Allison was 10th, and Kulwicki, now 85 points behind Elliott, finished 12th~ But Elliott had a horrible run the following race in Phoenix, finishing 31st, while Allison went on to win, and Kulwick finished in the 4th position~ Allison's win moved him into the points lead, and Alan's finish moved him up to 2nd, only 30 points behind Allison, while Elliott dropped to 3rd, 40 points back~

    The final race of the season came @ Atlanta for the aptly named Hooters 500, and was Allison's to lose, and lose he did~ Allison got into a scuffle with Ernie Irvan when Irvan had a tire go out with 73 laps to go, leaving his car too damaged to continue~ It was now up to Elliott and Kulwicki to battle it out, and boy, did they ever~ Kulwicki made his final pit stop only after securing the "most laps led" bonus points, and the team rushed to put fuel in his car~

    Alan left the pits with little fuel in the car, and had to conserve throughout the remainder of the race, while Elliott took advantage of the teams mistake, and went on to win the race, but it wasn't enough, as Kulwicki came home in 2nd, and went on to win one of the most talked about championships in NASCAR history, defeating Elliott by 10 points~

                                      Alan Kulwicki hoisting up the championship trophy~
Alan Kulwicki #7 Hooters Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog die age

    Due to his tragic death, Alan would run only 5 more races in the car for the 1993 season~ He finished 26th in the Daytona 500, 4th in the GM Goodwrench 500 @ Rockingham, 3rd in the Pontiac Excitement 400 @ Richmond (his final top 5), 36th in the Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 @ Atlanta following a crash on lap 133, and in his final race ever, the TranSouth 500 @ Darlington, he finished in the 6th position~ At the time of his death, the defending champion was 9th in the points standings~
   
                                              The aftermath of Alan's plane crash~ 4-1-93~
Alan Kulwicki #7 Hooters Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog die age

     I'll never forget April 1st, 1993 as long as I live~ I was in bed, about to be woken up for school~ My mother ran into my room crying, screaming "He's dead!~ Alan's dead!~" I at first thought this was some kind of elaborate April fools prank.. but I quickly realized it wasn't once I wiped the sleep from my eyes and saw my mother standing there crying her eyes out~ I didn't go to school that day, instead I stayed home weeping, in shock that the champion of the sport I cherished so dearly was gone just like that~ I was almost 10 years old, so to me, heroes were still "immortal"... they weren't supposed to die~

    My Dad was a supervisor for Food Country USA, and we visited with him on the weekends due to my parents being divorced~ The assistant meat cutter at the Blountville store was also a part time EMT, and was one of the first people to arrive on the scene of Alan's crash~

    She described in graphic detail what she had seen.. being a small child, I couldn't believe what she was saying to me... describing how Alan's brain's were "scattered all over the place"~ I wanted to punch her in the nose for the way she was just basically treating it like a freaky little game or something, but I refrained, went into the back stock room behind a huge pallet of paper towels, and weeped~

     The race that Sunday was extremely saddening~ Everyone in attendance, you could see it in their eyes.. this was like a giant funeral for Alan~ We all stood there with a glaze in our eyes, hardly pay attention to the race, just reflecting on Alan's memory~ It was a weekend I'll never forget, and a weekend I wish never happened~ Alan finished his career with 24 poles, 5 wins, 38 top 5's, and 75 top 10's in 207 races~

                                                    Alan Kulwicki #7 Hooters Ford~
Alan Kulwicki #7 Hooters Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 Champion Winston Cup
                                                             Click pics to enlarge~
Alan Kulwicki #7 Hooters Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 Champion Winston Cup
 
                                                   1/43 scale Pit Crew Showcase~
Alan Kulwicki 1/43 Hooters #7 Pit Crew Showcase Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

                                                                1/24 scale version~
Alan Kulwicki #7 1/24 Racing Champions Hooters 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Racing Champions did a spectacular job on all of these Kulwicki cars~ Every detail is there, and the logos and striping on the cars are all very crisp and clean~  As far as I know, these are the only 3 scales of cars Racing Champions made featuring Alan's Hooters car~ If they made a 1/144 or 1/18 scale version, I'm not aware of it~ You can get a version of the 1/64 with a different card, featuring Alan with the Hooters girls, but I don't have that one~

    I give all 3 versions of these cars an A+ rating on the Racing Champions quality scale, and consider each one of them great additions to my collection~ Looking at them sometimes makes me sad, and I often sit around, as many of you, wondering "What if?"~ I guess I should be thankful we got to see a driver of his caliber for the years he was alive, as no other driver in NASCAR history since has been able to do what he did, and probably never will~

    As with all of my blog posts, I have added some videos featuring some highlights from Alan's career~ Enjoy them, and thank you all so much for visiting the blog~ - BMJ~

                                                        Last 9 laps of the Hooters 500~

                                                     Outside the Lines - Alan Kulwicki~

                                                                All of Alan's Cup wins~

                                            ESPN tribute before Bristol Busch series race~