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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Tim Richmond #25 Tim Richmond Race Club/Folgers Chevrolet

    If you became a fan of NASCAR during the 1990's, the name Tim Richmond probably doesn't ring a bell~ He's hardly talked about compared to Dale Earnhardt, and Richard Petty, but the man was just as good as them, if not better~ Those who watched him on the track will never forget his relatively smooth transition into NASCAR, and the fact that we lost a legend of his size, at not even the peak of his prime, is a true tragedy~ Although this car doesn't have a Folgers logo on it, it represents that time period, which is what I'm gonna be discussing in this post~

    Tim signed a new deal with Rick Hendrick before the start of the 1986 season~ He had previously drove for Raymond Beadle~ His new number would be 25, and he had a new sponsorship deal with Folgers~ Teamed up with veteran crew chief Harry Hyde, the team picked up their first pole in the Sovran Bank 500 @ Martinsville~

    If you're familiar with Tim Richmond, it won't be a surprise to you that his first win with Rick Hendrick was @ Pocono, in the 1986 Miller High Life 500~ Out of all the drivers I've ever seen drive at Pocono, Richmond was by far the best~ He knew his way around that track so good, that it made veteran drivers look like rookies~ Following his Pocono win, Richmond went on a rampage that dang near set the NASCAR world on fire.. dominating races in outrageous fashion~

                                           Tim Richmond wins the 1986 Firecracker 400~
Racing Champions Tim Richmond Blog Die-Cast 1/64 Race Club NASCAR
    Tim won the pole in the 1986 Miller American 400 @ Michigan, and finished 15th~ The next race was the Firecracker 400 @ Daytona, where he qualified 9th, and won the race~ Up next was the Summer 500 @ Pocono, in which he also won, sweeping the season at the track~ He then finished 2nd in the Talladega 500, and then went on to win the Budweiser at the Glen @ Watkins Glen from the pole~

    He finished 2nd in the Champion Spark Plug 400 @ Michigan, 6th in the Busch 500 @ Bristol.. and then won the Southern 500 @ Darlington, and the Wrangler Jeans Indigo 400 @ Richmond~ He had 4 more poles on the season (Holly Farms 400 @ North Wilkesboro, Oakwood Homes 500 @ Charlotte, Nationwise 500 @ Rockingham, and the Winston Western 500 @ Riverside), as well as 1 more win in the Winston Western 500 @ Riverside, which he won from the pole~

    Tim finished his breakthrough 1986 season with 8 poles, 7 wins, 13 top 5's, and 17 top 10's, while finishing a career high 3rd in the final points standings, behind 1986 Champion Dale Earnhardt, and Darrell Waltrip~ It appeared as if NASCAR had a bright new star on their hands, one who would win several championships~ That would all change before the start of the 1987 season, everything would change~

                            Tim demonstrating personality.. which current NASCAR drivers lack~
Race Club Tim Richmond 1/64 Racing Champions blog NASCAR #25

    Tim liked to have a good time, and have a good time he did~ He was a charmer, and there wasn't many women who could resist him once he got wound up~ Following the 1986 awards banquet in New York, Tim fell ill, and was admitted to a Cleveland hospital for quite some time~ He wasn't able to start the 1987 season, so Benny Parsons drove the #35 Folgers car, which was the old Richmond team, with Harry Hyde as the crew chief~

    Richmond made his 1987 debut at, you guessed it.. Pocono, for the Miller High Life 500~ After starting 3rd, Richmond charged to the lead, leading 82 of the 200 laps, to win in his first race back~ This was with a whole new team, although he was still the #25 Folgers car.. as Hyde and crew were with Benny Parsons~ Richmond's new crew chief was Dennis Conner, who would also crew chief for Rick Hendrick, in his only NASCAR Cup start @ Riverside during this season~ Rick drove the #25 Folgers car that Richmond should have been in~

    The next race was the Budweiser 400 @ Riverside, and Richmond would again be the victor, for the final time in his career.. leading 48 of the 95 laps~ He said later that when he saw the checkered flag, he had tears streaming down his face~ The following week, in the Miller American 400 @ Michigan, Tim would pick up his final career top 5, with a 4th place finish~ He won his final career pole 2 races later, in the Summer 500 @ Pocono, but finished 29th after his engine went south~ He finished the season with 1 pole, 2 wins, 3 top 5's, and 4 top 10's in 8 races.. and finished 36th in the final points standings~

                                                    Tim Richmond's final Pocono win~
Tim Richmond #25 Racing Champions Race Club 1/64 blog NASCAR

    Tim ran his last race in the 1987 Champion Spark Plug 400 @ Michigan, where he finished 25th after engine issues~ He was going to run the Southern 500 @ Darlington, but withdrew the Thursday before the race, due to "flu like symptoms"~ He attempted a comeback in 1988, but was banned by NASCAR~ He was reinstated later during the season, but was unable to find a ride~

    Richmond spent the remainder of his life at his condo in Florida~ In his final interview, he denied abusing drugs, and blamed NASCAR for a faulty drug test~ Tim died on August 13th, 1989, at the age of 34~ Shortly after his death, it was reported that Dr. Forrest Tennant falsified drug tests that cut Richmond's career short~

                             Tim Richmond #25 Tim Richmond Race Club/Folgers Chevrolet~
Tim Richmond #25 Folgers Racing Champions blog 1/64 NASCAR Race Club die-cast
                                                               Click pics to enlarge~
Tim Richmond #25 Folgers Racing Champions blog 1/64 NASCAR Race Club die-cast

    This has to be the worst Tim Richmond die-cast of all time, and for that.. I'm blaming Ertl~ I'm not 100% sure on this, but I think Ertl had the rights to Folgers die-cast, and Racing Champions couldn't use the Folgers logo~ Again, that's my opinion, and not a fact~ The mold they used to make this car had to have been on its last leg, as the molding of the car is complete crap.. one of the worst I've got as far as Racing Champions goes~

    I am however happy that a Richmond car was made by Racing Champions~ As I said earlier, Ertl made a Folgers Tim Richmond car, but it looked worse than this, in my opinion~ Ertl cars just aren't my favorite, although they are leaps and bounds better than Matchbox/WhiteRose, or Hot Wheels~ I love the gold rims, and the gold trim on the bottom of the car, as well as Richmond's name above the window~ Although I'm very fond of Tim Richmond, I'm gonna have to give this car a D+ on the Racing Champions quality scale.. and it's only that high because of the custom card I made for it~

    I've had a lot of "What if?~" moments over the years when thinking about Tim Richmond~ But I've come to find out, that you can't go through life thinking "what if?"~ Tim lived his life to the fullest, and had a blast in the short time he had on Earth~ We should all be doing that as well~ Don't dwell on the past.. look forward to the future~ Below, I have posted some video clips featuring Tim's time in NASCAR~ I'd like to thank y'all again for visiting by the blog~ I could have kept writing for a long time, but I don't like to take up too much of your day~ lol~ I hope y'all enjoyed this post~ Don't stay gone too long~ Have a great July 4th!~ :)  

                                                    Tim Richmond - Racing Withdrawal~

                                                         Remembering Tim Richmond~

                                                         Tim Richmond 1986 interview~

                                                         Tim Richmond "A Natural"~
                                          

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