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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Steve Grissom #31 Roddenbery's Foods Oldsmobile

    Welcome back to the NASCAR Racing Champions blog~ Today's post took me forever to put together, because I couldn't find many pictures of this car~ The car we're gonna be looking at today is the #31 Roddenbery's Foods Oldsmobile, driven in parts of the 1991, and 1992 BGN seasons by Steve Grissom~ Steve drove a white version of the car during the 1991 season, and switched to the maroon version for 1992~ Since the white version of the car was never made, I'm gonna be discussing both seasons in this post~

    With 4 wins during the 1991 season, driving the #31 Big Mama Meat Snacks Oldsmobile, it was a little odd seeing Grissom's team show up to the season opener in Daytona sponsorless~ The team, which was owned by Steve's father, Wayne, ran the first 6 races of the season before picking up a partial season deal with Roddenbery's Quality Foods~ Roddenbery's, who was new to the sport, ended up sponsoring Grissom's car for 17 races during the 1991 season~ Now let's get into how he did in the car~

                                           Grissom on track in the white Roddenbery's car~
Steve Grissom #31 Roddenbery's NASCAR Racing Champions 1/64 diecast blog BGN 1991 1992 Busch Wayne Champion

    After 6 races, Grissom was able to pick up 2 top 10's (Miller Classic @ Martinsville - 6th, Spring 200 @ Volusia County - 9th), and drove his first race for Roddenbery's in the Pontiac 200 @ Darlington~ He qualified in 16th, but was in a lap 24 crash which also took out Rich Burgess, and Jack Sprague~ Grissom's day was done, and he finished in 37th place~ His next race with the sponsor came 2 races later, in the Nestle 200 @ Lanier, where he started and finished in 26th place, due to a blown engine~

    He then ran in the Carquest 300 @ South Boston, where he picked up his only pole award of the season~ After leading the first 88 laps, he lost the lead to Chuck Bown, and never led again, finishing in 5th place, one lap off the pace of eventual race winner Jeff Burton (his only win at his home track)~ This race is also remembered for the death of driver Gary Neice, who had a heart attack during the race, and crashed into the wall~

    Grissom finished 20th in the Champion 300 @ Charlotte, and then picked up another top 10, with an 8th place showing in the Budweiser 200 @ Dover~ He finished 12th in the Roses Stores 300 @ Rougemont, and then notched another top 5 in the Granger Select 400 @ Hickory, with a 5th place effort~ He would better that the following week, in the Carolina Pride/Budweiser 250 @ Myrtle Beach, as he led 9 laps, and came home with a 3rd place finish~

                                            Nice promo shot of the white Roddenbery's car~
Steve Grissom #31 Roddenbery's NASCAR Racing Champions 1/64 diecast blog BGN 1991 1992 Busch Wayne Champion

    Following his 3rd place finish @ Myrtle Beach, Grissom ran the next 3 races with Channellock sponsorship, with finishes of 9th @ Watkins Glen, 9th @ Oxford, and 3rd @ Loudon~ He returned to the Roddenbery's car for the Coors Light 300 @ South Boston, where he qualifed in 14th, and drove to the front at just the right time~ Kenny Wallace led the majority of the race, but Grissom passed him with 50 to go, and led the way to the checkered flag, for his only win of the season~

    In the Granger Select 200 @ Dublin, Grissom picked up a 6th place finish, and finished 4th in the Texas Pete 300 @ Rougemont~ That was the last decent finish he had during the season, and he finished it out with 1 pole, 1 win, 7 top 5's, and 13 top 10's, while finishing 10th in the final points standings~ For the start of the 1992 season, Grissom would again split the season with the Roddenbery's and Channellock Tools~

                                         Grissom's car changed colors for the 1992 season~
Steve Grissom #31 Roddenbery's NASCAR Racing Champions 1/64 diecast blog BGN 1991 1992 Busch Wayne Champion

    Grissom ran a total of 15 races with the Roddenbery's sponsorship in 1992, including the season opening Goody's 300 @ Daytona~ He rolled off 16th in the 44 car field, and brought the car home safely, in the 10th position~ The following week, NASCAR was @ Rockingham, for the Goodwrench 200, and Grissom finished 7th in this race~ He next raced the Roddenbery's car @ Atlanta, in the Atlanta 300, where he finished 17th~

    He next ran the car @ Darlington, in the Mark III Vans 200, where he started in 16th, and battled his way to a 6th place finish~ This was followed up by a poor showing in the Budweiser 250 @ Bristol, where he started 24th, and finished in 21st place, at a track he normally ran well at~ In the Granger Select 200 @ Dublin,  Grissom's car was sponsored by both Channellock, and Roddenbery's, in what was the first, and last pairing of the two sponsors~ He started in 15th, before climbing his way up to a 4th place finish~

    That 4th place finish proved to be the highest finishing position of the season for Grissom, while driving the Roddenbery's colors~  It was looking like 1992 just wasn't going to ever go his way, and it really didn't~ In his next race in the Roddenbery's car (Champion 300 @ Charlotte), he finished 29th, following a crash on lap 111~ And that's about how the whole season went for Grissom... rarely any hits, and tons of misses~

                                                   Both of these cars were real beauties~
Steve Grissom #31 Roddenbery's NASCAR Racing Champions 1/64 diecast blog BGN 1991 1992 Busch Wayne Champion

    In the Goodwrench 200 @ Dover, Grissom started dead last in the 27 car field, but managed to scrape out a 12th place finish~ Robert Pressley won the race, and Clifford Allison picked up his final top 10, finishing in the 9th spot~ Butch Miller also had a nice run in the Charlie Henderson owned, #75 Food Country USA Oldsmobile, with a 7th place finish~

    The next stop on the circuit was @ Rougemont, for the Roses Stores 300~ Grissom started the race in 18th, and was never able to move up to the front, finishing in 20th place following a blown engine~ This race was the first ever race for former Atlanta Falcons football coach, Jerry Glanville, who finished 22nd, following a crash, and was won by Robert Pressley, who won the previous week as well~

    Grissom next raced the car in the Carolina Pride/Budweiser 200 @ Myrtle Beach, where he rolled off in 6th, and after leading 32 laps, fell back, and finished in 11th place~ Jimmy Spencer won the race, driving for Rob Moroso's father, in the car that Rob used to race~ It was a very emotional victory lane, with Spencer coming back from 3 laps down to take the checkered flag~

                                                            All good things come to an end~
Steve Grissom #31 Roddenbery's NASCAR Racing Champions 1/64 diecast blog BGN 1991 1992 Busch Wayne Champion

    The Roddenbery's car was back on the track @ Talladega, for the Fram Filter 500K, where Grissom qualified a disappointing 26th, and came home in 16th, at least all in one piece~ He finished 13th in the Texas Pete 300 @ Rougemont, and 11th in the Food City 250 @ Bristol, where he was running strong, until his engine gave up~ Butch Miller and Rick Wilson were both driving Food Country USA sponsored cars, and both finished in the top 10, in a rare "icing on the cake" moment for the Charlie Henderson owned team~

    Grissom started from the 13th spot in the Autolite 200 @ Richmond, but an oil leak put him out of the race by lap 66, resulting in a 31st place finish~ He next ran the car in the Winston Classic @ Martinsville, in what would be his final time driving for Roddenbery's~ He started 32nd in the 32 car field, and worked his way up to 11th by the end of the race~ Bobby Labonte won the race, and Butch Miller finished 3rd, in the Food Country USA Oldsmobile~

   Steve finished the season with 1 pole, 1 win, 2 top 5's, and 7 top 10's, while finishing 12th in the final points standings~ This was his worst season in three years, but he would make up for it the following season, by winning the series championship, driving the #31 Channellock Chevrolet~ Roddenbery's Foods was sold to Dean Foods in 1993, thus ending its tenure in NASCAR permanantly~ Now let's take a peek at this beautiful hot rod~

                                        Steve Grissom #31 Roddenbery's Foods Oldsmobile~
Steve Grissom #31 Roddenbery's NASCAR Racing Champions 1/64 diecast blog BGN 1991 1992 Busch Wayne Champion
                                                              Click pics to enlarge~
Steve Grissom #31 Roddenbery's NASCAR Racing Champions 1/64 diecast blog BGN 1991 1992 Busch Wayne Champion

    I want to start out by saying that I wouldn't have this car if it wasn't for my good friend Jeff Glover, who was kind enough to send it to me as a gift~ I'm very appreciative for it~ Also, as with the Ken Schrader car I posted yesterday, this one has a Photoshop custom card, and didn't originally come with a card~ It comes in a promo package, by Racing Champions, and has details about Grissom and the team on the back~

   Now that all the information is out of the way... I really, really love this car!~ I've never been a fan of the color maroon, but it for some reason looks great on a NASCAR car~ As I've mentioned in my Butch Miller Food Coutnry post, my Dad was a grocery store supervisor for many years, so I remember Roddenbery's products vividly, which adds a lot to my appeal of the car, personally~

    The striping around the bottom of the car is also a very nice touch~ Watching this car at the track was awesome~ It looked even better in person, and I wish I could see one restored~ Some of my favorite BGN races from Bristol were of Jimmy Spencer and Steve Grissom battling it out for the win~ Those guys could flat out run like a wildchild at Bristol, and it was a pleasure to get to see them so many times~ I give this car an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~ While I am sad it didn't come with a card, or stand.. the packaging on the front and back of this one easily makes up for that, as far as I'm concerned~

    Steve was always one of my underdog heroes, like Ken Schrader was~ I know it gets said a lot, and people get tired of hear it, but he's one of them people that didn't get a good ride in the Cup series~ Heck, he got a top 10 in a Petty car in 2002.. that's pretty amazing~ Something happened to Grissom after 1997, and I think it was his crash in Atlanta~ He just never was the same, no matter what series he raced in after that crash~ It's a shame, because I witnessed that he was an amazing driver, countless times at Bristol~ Anyway, thanks for stopping by the blog again~ Below are some old Grissom videos~ :)

                                                         The 1997 crash @ Atlanta~

                                                     Steve Grissom with Mean Gene~

                                                Steve Grissom leading at Hickory 1992~

                                             Steve Grissom crash - 1994 Coca-Cola 600~


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