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Monday, November 28, 2016

Mike Alexander #84 Nashville Ford Dealers Ford

    Welcome back to the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog~ I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and got their bellies full~ In today's post, I'm going to be looking back on Mike Alexander's Cup and BGN career~ The actual car I will be reviewing, I believe is an ASA car, but I'm not totally sure on that~ I do know that I wasn't able to find any information on the car, not even one picture~

    Mike Alexander was an awesome race car driver, and was well on his way to becoming a short track ace in the Winston Cup series, until a vicious crash in the 1988 Snowball derby basically ended his racing career~ Although he was able to race for a few more years, he never was quite the same after the accident, though he did win the 1992 track championship at the Nashville Fairgrounds track, for the second time in his career~

                                                                   The early days~
Mike Alexander #84 Nashville Ford NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog BGN Cup Series Track age

    In the early 80's, Alexander was mostly racing late models~ From 1983 - 1984, he won a whopping 31 of the 56 races he entered~ He was the 1983 Grand American Stock Car series champion, in what was its final year, and in 1984, he won the All-American Challenge series championship~ In the picture above, you can see he had a friendly rivalry with legendary racer, Richie Evans, whom he often battled to the checkered flag~

    Alexander entered his first Cup race in 1980, driving D.K. Ulrich's #40 Midwestern Farm Lines Chevrolet in the Music City USA 420 @ Nashville~ He qualified 12th in the 30 car field, and wound up picking up his first career top 10, with a 10th place finish~ This was his only Cup race for the season, but he would be back in 1981, driving for Bob Rogers in the #37 Rogers Auto Leasing Oldsmobile/Buick in 19 events~

    He had a bumpy season in the Rogers owned machine~ When he could finish a race, he had some decent finishes~ The problem was, 1/2 the time the engines were blowing up, and he wasn't getting to finish the races~ His first top 10 of the 1981 season came in the Virginia 500 @ Martinsville, where he started in 11th, and finished in 10th place~ He had a season best finish of 7th in the Firecracker 400 @ Daytona, and also finished 10th in the Champion Spark Plug 400 @ Michigan~

                                               Alexander posing in front of the #12 car~
Mike Alexander #84 Nashville Ford NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog BGN Cup Series Track age

   Following the 1981 season, Alexander was without a Cup ride, and ran 1 BGN (at the time called Late Model Sportsman Series) race in 1983, where he finished 38th in the Miller Time 300 @ Charlotte~ He attempted to make the field for the Goody's 500 Cup race @ Martinsville, driving the #01 Action Van Chevrolet for car owner Emanuel Zervakis~ He managed to qualify in 14th place, but had to withdraw from the event due to blowing an engine during practice, and not having a spare~

   Mike got a break in the 1984 season, when driver/owner Dave Marcis was hired by RahMoc Enterprises to drive their #75 Pontiac, after Neil Bonnett vacated the seat just before the start of the season to drive for Junior Johnson~ Alexander was asked by Marcis to fill his seat in his self-owned #71 Oldsmobile for a partial, 19 race schedule~ For the most part, the 1984 season was lackluster for Mike, with his only top 10 coming in the Busch 500 @ Bristol, where he finished in 7th place~ He finished out the season with a career high of 28th in the final points standings~

    He was picked in for the start of the 1985 season to race for Sims Brother Racing, in the #84 Sims Brothers Racing Chevrolet, and would finish the season driving for Sadler Brothers Racing, in the #95 Action Vans Chevrolet~ In the 11 races he ran during the season, his best effort came in the season opening Daytona 500, where he started 29th, and limped his way up to a 12th place finish~

                                                       Alexander with his #84 BGN car~
Mike Alexander #84 Nashville Ford NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog BGN Cup Series Track age

    Following his 1985 Cup campaign, Alexander then race 11 races in the BGN series for his own team, with sponsorship primarily from Action Vans~ He had a decent season, winning his first career pole in the Busch 200 @ South Boston, where he finished 18th~ He finished 8th in the Winn-Dixie 300 @ Charlotte, and also finished 8th in the All Pro 300 @ Charlotte~

    Mike ran his first full season of BGN competition in the 1987 season~  He finished 2nd in the Mountain Dew 400 @ Hickory, and 5th in the Miller 500 @ Martinsville~ He picked up his first career BGN victory in the Hamptons 200 @ Hampton, leading 97 laps, and beating out veteran driver Tommy Houston to the checkered flag~ Alexander won the pole in the Kroger 200 @ IRP, but wound up finishing in 13th place~

    He was runner up again in the Budweiser 200 @ Jefferson, and again in the Bobby Isaac Memorial 200 @ Hickory~ He finished 3rd in the World Crown 200 in the return to Jefferson, and again finished 2nd in the Winston Classic @ Martinsville to end the season~ He finished out his first full time BGN season with 1 pole, 1 win, 8 top 5's, and 12 top 10's, while finishing 6th in the final points standings~

                                                     Mike on track in the Raybestos car~
Mike Alexander #84 Nashville Ford NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog BGN Cup Series Track age

    The 1988 Cup and BGN seasons were by far Alexander's best~ In the Cup series, he was driving for the Stavola Brothers, and was teamed up with legendary crew chief, Jimmy Fennig~ The pairing was due to Bobby Allison's injuries he sustained in the Miller High Life 500 @ Pocono~ Alexander finished out the season in the car, and finished 10th in his first race with the team, in the Miller High Life 400 @ Michigan~ He finished 5th in the Budweiser at the Glen, 7th in the Delaware 500 @ Dover, and 6th in the AC Delco 500 @ Rockingham~

    Alexander qualified 4th for the Atlanta Journal 500 @ Atlanta, and had his best race of the season, leading for 20 laps, and finishing in 3rd place~ He finished out the 1988 Cup season with 2 top 5's, and 6 top 10's in 16 races, while finishing 32nd in the final points standings~ His 1988 BGN season was equally impressive, as he was again fielding his own cars~ He finished 7th in the season opener @ Daytona, and didn't waste any time finding victory lane, picking up his only win of the season in the Mountain Dew 400 @ Hickory~

    In the very next race of the season, Mike finished 2nd in the Goodwrench 200 @ Rockingham, and followed that up with a 4th place finish in the Miller Classic @ Martinsville~ He won the pole for the Pennsylvania 300 @ Nazareth, but only managed an 18th place finish~ Following the Nazareth, Alexander finished 2nd in the Busch 200 @ South Boston~ He then won the pole in the Budweiser 200 @ Dover, and finished in 10th place~

                                                    Alexander at Nashville Fairgrounds~
Mike Alexander #84 Nashville Ford NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog BGN Cup Series Track age

    Mike then finished 5th in the Roses Stores 150 @ Rougemont, and the Big Star/Coca-Cola 200 @ Lanier, and finished 4th in the Granger Select 200 @ Louisville~ Up until this point, he had been the points leader for practically the entire season, but a 20th place finish @ Myrtle Beach, followed by a 43rd place finish @ Oxford put an end to that~  He finished 2nd in the Poole Equipment 150 @ Rougemont, and again in the Tri-City Pontiac 200 @ Bristol~

    Alexander picked up his final top 5 of the season in the Advance Auto 150 @ Martinsville, with another 2nd place finish, and had clawed his way back up to 2nd place in the points standings, but finished poorly in the final 3 races of the season, and wound up finishing a career high 4th place in the final points standings~ He finished the season out with 1 pole, 1 win, 10 top 5's (career high), and 17 top 10's (career high), while leading 337 laps (career high), and finishing 4th in the points standings (career high)~

    But fate dealt Mike a bad hand, and following the end of the 1988 BGN season, he was involved in a brutal crash in the 1988 Snowball Derby, which nearly took his life, and basically ended his racing career~ He ran the 1989 Daytona 500 for the Stavola Brothers, but it was clear that he wasn't ready to be back behind the wheel, and that was the final start of his season~ He ran a handful of Cup races in 1990 for Bobby Allison, before calling it quits from Cup and BGN series competition, ending what would have been a spectacular racing career, at the age of 32~

                                          Mike Alexander #84 Nashville Ford Dealers Ford~
Mike Alexander #84 Nashville Ford NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog BGN Cup Series Track age
                                                                Click pics to enlarge~
Mike Alexander #84 Nashville Ford NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog BGN Cup Series Track age

    I have to admit, before last year, I didn't know this Racing Champions car existed~ I found it at a flea market in Sevierville, when my wife and I were visiting Dollywood~ I was so happy to have a car that I'd never seen before~ I'm guessing this is some kind of ASA car, but I can't guarantee that to be accurate.. just my guess~

    I love the red, white, and blue paint scheme on the car, and through my research, I found out that Mike's father used to own some dealerships in Nashville~ I would imagine that they owned "Nashville Ford Dealers", but that too is just a guess~ Mike's father has since passed away, and the dealerships were sold~ I also found out that Mike has a son, Clay, who also races~

    All in all, I give this car a B- on the Racing Champions quality scale, as there are a few imperfections on the paint, and I don't really care for the picture on the card~ That said, it's still an awesome little car, and I'm happy to have it in my collection~ Below are some clips of Mike, and some random NASCAR stuff, since I couldn't find a lot of Mike Alexander videos~ Thanks for stopping by the blog again, and please remember to share this post on any social media outlets you may be a part of~ :)

                                                           Rusty Wallace ruins it again~

                                                 Interview with Mike and his son, Clay~

                                     1988 Budweiser 200 (full race) Mike interview from pole~
                                                 1990 Daytona 500 - Alexander crash~

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