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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Jimmy Means #52 Turtle Wax Pontiac

    Good evening, and welcome to the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog~ In today's post, I'm gonna be breaking the rules again with this Jimmy Means #52 Turtle Wax Pontiac~ This car was ran partially in the 1987 Winston Cup season, so it came before Racing Champions were producing cars, however I just couldn't resist doing a Photoshop custom of it for the blog~ Besides, Racing Champions did the same thing with Sterling Marlin's #44 Piedmont Oldsmobile~

    Means was one of my all time favorite Cup racers, along with Brad Teague~ He never won a race, but he was a mainstay on the Winston Cup circuit for 18 years~ He never fooled with the BGN series, besides a three race stint in 1989, where he picked up a 10th place finish @ Darlington.. Means followed the philosophy of "Go big, or go home", and he dedicated nearly 20 years to the Winston Cup series~ Let's get into this post, and see what Means was able to do with his time in the #52 Turtle Wax Pontiac~

                                           Custom Jimmy Means Racing Champions card~
Jimmy Means #52 Turtle Wax Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1987 Winston Cup Folgers Eureka

    Means was heading into the 1987 Winston Cup season basically unfunded when he picked up sponsorship from Turtle Wax~ Although it wasn't a season long deal, it was definitely a much needed break for the Means Racing team~ Means qualified 40th in the 1987 Daytona 500, his first start in the Turtle Wax car~ He managed to squeak out a 24th place finish, despite running with lesser quality parts/equipment than most teams had~

    He qualified 26th in the car at Rockingham for the Goodwrench 500, and finished in 22nd place, several laps off the pace of race winner, Dale Earnhardt~ Means' best finish in the Turtle Wax Pontiac came the following week in the Miller High Life 400 @ Richmond, where he finished in 14th position, after starting 23rd~

                                           Means on track in the #52 Turtle Wax Ponitac~
Jimmy Means #52 Turtle Wax Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1987 Winston Cup Folgers Eureka

     Jimmy qualified in 33rd for the Motorcraft Quality Parts 500, but was involved in a crash on lap  234 involving A.J. Foyt, and Neil Bonnett~ Foyt and Bonnett were able to continue the race, while Means was knocked out, resulting in a  32nd place finish~ Ricky Rudd won the race in Bud Moore's #15 Motorcraft Ford, after Dale Earnhardt's #3 Wrangler Chevrolet suffered electrical problems~ Earnhardt, who finished the race in 16th, led a race high 196 laps before the issue occurred~

    Moving on to the TranSouth 500 @ Darlington, Means qualified the car in 31st place, but his engine expired after only 85 laps, and he would finish the race in the 36th position~ Dale Earnhardt, who had lost the previous race due to electrical issues, dominated the race, leading 239 of the 367 laps on his way to the victory~ Earnhardt was challenged late in the race by Bill Elliott, and Bill eventually passed Earnhardt for the lead, but would run out of gas on the final lap, allowing Earnhardt to coast by him for the win~

                                   The #52 Turtle Wax Pontiac getting prepared for the race~
Jimmy Means #52 Turtle Wax Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1987 Winston Cup Folgers Eureka

    The next race on the Cup schedule was the First Union 400 @ North Wilkesboro~ Means qualified the car in 27th, and was holding on pretty good during the race, but he cylinder head issues that ended his day after only 74 laps~ He finished the race in 30th place~ Dale Earnhardt also won this race, leading 319 of the race's 400 laps, in a runaway victory over 2nd place Kyle Petty~

     Up next was the very first race I ever attended, the 1987 Valleydale Meats 500 at Bristol~ I don't recall much of the race, because I was four years old.. but I remember it rained, Dale Earnhardt won again, and my Mom went crazy~ lol~ She loved him~ I don't remember seeing the Means car, but I'm sure I did~

     Means qualified 21st for the race, but was involved in a crash on lap 130, and finished in 29th place in the 30 car field~ Sterling Marlin was leading the race at one point, but was punted out of the way and crashed by Dale Earnhardt~ A lot of fans starting putting the label of "dirty driver" on him following this race, while many cheered him for his hard charging approach~

                                              Means with his good friend, Tim Richmond~
Jimmy Means #52 Turtle Wax Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1987 Winston Cup Folgers Tim Richmond
                                                                Colorized by me~

     Jimmy would be sponsored by "Hots V Carolinas" for the Sovran Bank 500 @ Martinsville, where he qualified 26th, and finished 14th~ He would return to the Turtle Wax sponsorship the following week for the Winston 500 @ Talladega, and qualified 41st in the 41 car field~ He would suffer wheel bearing problems in the race after only 61 laps, which resulted in a 33rd place finish~ Davey Allison won the race, having led for 101 of the 178 laps in his first career Winston Cup victory~

    The Coca-Cola 600 @ Charlotte would turn out to be Means' last race with the Turtle Wax sponsorship~ He rolled off dead last in the 42 car field, as he battled and clawed his way to a 15th place finish~ Kyle Petty actually won the race, as only 17 cars were remaining on the track at the end of the race~ Bill Elliott had the dominant car all evening long, but his engine gave out on lap 267~ Following this race, Means ran the next four races in an un-sponsored #52 "Means Racing" Pontiac, with a best finish of 13th at Dover, in the Budweiser 500~

    He then race two races in the #52 Voyles Auto Salvage Chevrolet, with a best finish of 29th in the Pepsi Firecracker 400 @ Daytona~ For the remainder of the season (minus one race) Means drove the #52 Eureka Vacuum Cleaners Pontiac/Chevrolet, posting a 9th place finish in the Wrangler Jeans Indigo 400 @ Richmond~ He also led a career high 21 laps during the event, in what was arguably his greatest NASCAR race ever~ He ran down Earnhardt and passed him for the lead, but in doing so, he ran his tires out and Earnhardt was able to get back, and eventually win the race~

                                                     That one good shot with a great car~
Jimmy Means #52 Turtle Wax Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1987 Winston Cup Folgers Tim Richmond

    Following the medical issues of Tim Richmond, Means was called upon by car owner Rick Hendrick, who asked Means to drive Richmond's car in the 1987 Oakwood Homes 500 @ Charlotte~ Jimmy jumped at the offer to drive a Hendrick car, and as news got out, everyone was cheering for him to do well in the race, and he was getting lots of publicity about the whole ordeal~

   Means was fast every time he was out on the track during the week leading up to the race~ He actually qualified a career high of 5th place for the race~ If he did this good during the race, he was bound to get a racing deal with a good team, and he was determined to get it done~ Sadly, fate got in the way of Means' dream, and crushed him, as well as all his cheering fans, like little bugs~

   On the 20th lap of the race, Means was caught up in a crash involving Derrike Cope, Buddy Baker, and Greg Sacks~ All four drivers suffered so much damage that they couldn't continue the race, with Means finishing in 40th position~ Though heartbroken, Means chugged on in the #52 Eureka Pontiac for the remainder of the season, with a best finish of 20th in the AC Delco 500 during the three race span~ He finished the 1987 season with the lone top 10, while finishing 23rd in the final points standings~

                                                    Jimmy Means #52 Turtle Wax Pontiac~
Jimmy Means #52 Turtle Wax Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1987 Winston Cup Folgers Eureka
                                                                     Click to enlarge~
Jimmy Means #52 Turtle Wax Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1987 Winston Cup Folgers Eureka

    I think this car turned out pretty good, at least the second picture~ I used this Pontiac body because the older Racing Champions Pontiacs were ugly, and these have a little more curve to them~ I would probably use Turtle Wax on my car if they would sponsor a NASCAR team again, but until they do, I'll just let the rain shine it for me~:P

   I've always been a fan of green cars~ I know there are superstitious drivers who won't drive one, but that's just a bunch of poppycock~ I'm sure Derrike Cope would drive a green #13.. because he loves to be out there racing...he doesn't care about superstitions~  I give this car an A- on the Racing Champions quality scale, again the points taken off were because of my own mistakes, not the car~ I still pull for the #52 Means Racing team in the what I call "Busch" series~ Driver Joey Gase does a great job with the equipment he's given, and brings the car home in one piece at the end of the day~

   Drivers like Means, Marcis, and Teague were always my favorites~ They didn't have to win a lot to gain my respect.. I could see all the hard work they put in to get to where they were~ These days its all about who your father or mother is.. that's what it requires to drive in NASCAR~ You have to have rich parents who will pay your way, unless your a minority~ haha~ I'd like to thank you all for again stopping in to check out the blog, below are some random NASCAR clips that I think you'll enjoy, and please remember to share this post on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media sites~

                       Last race at "Good Richmond"1988 Pontiac Excitement 400 - Means crash~

                              Mike Wallace crashes driving for Means in the 1991 Hardee's 500~

                              1987 Bud at the Glen - Moise/Christman crash, then Means spins~

                 1987 Wrangler Jeans Indigo 400 highlights~ Means lead/top 10 race~ *42 mins*


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