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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Mike Skinner #31 RealTree Camouflage Chevrolet

    Hello again NASCAR Racing Champions fans, and welcome back to the blog!~ I've been really busy here lately with work, and haven't had time to post in a while, but thanks to a case of the Bristol flu, I've slowed down enough to crank one out, and I chose Mike Skinner's #31 RealTree Camouflage Chevrolet~

   Skinner drove a total of 5 races for Richard Childress in this car during the 1996 Winston Cup season, becoming a teammate of Dale Earnhardt~ He would run full time in 1997, with sponsorship from Lowe's, but he got his start with Richard Childress in this RealTree car, and he had some decent success in it, to a degree.. so let's take a look back on his time in the ride~

                                                              Watch out for that wall!~
Mike Skinner #31 RealTree Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1996 Richard Childress

    Well, first of all.. I pretty much just lied to you above when I said that Skinner drove this car 5 times during 1996~ He actually drove it 4 times, and the first race he ran was sponsored by RCR, for a total of 5 races~ Now that I've confessed my sins to you, I'll tell you that Skinner's first race with RCR was in the "Goodwrench Service 400" @ Rockingham, where he rolled off from the 35th position~ The pole was won by Terry Labonte, driving the #5 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet~

    Terry's car was strong, and looked like the car to beat for a while, but he suffered engine problems, and was out of the race~ Then Jimmy Spencer looked strong for a while, but his car blew up, and he finished 27th~ Dale Earnhardt and Bobby Hamilton were battling back and forth for the lead after that, and it looked like Hamilton was gonna pull it off, and win one for Petty Enterprises~

    That's when Earnhardt pulled an Earnhardt, and popped poor ol' Bobby Hamilton right into the wall~ Earnhardt sped away, and won the race.. saying he didn't mean to do it, just like every other time he stole a win from someone~ Skinner held his own throughout the day, and came home in 12th place, which is pretty impressive for his first start with a new team~ My "Hero of the Race Award" goes out to Steve Grissom, who finished in 5th place, after starting from the 6th position in the #29 Cartoon Network Chevrolet~

                                             Mike Skinner LOVES beating Jeff Gordon~
Mike Skinner #31 RealTree Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1996 Richard Childress

    Skinner next ran with the team at Bristol, for the "Food City 500"~  To the shock of at least a few, he qualified 6th~ I can remember wondering who the "guy in the white car" was when I got to the track~ I had to look in the program to find out who it was~ Although he seemed to be holding a few guys up, he was holding his own during the beginning of the race~

    Mark Martin won the pole, and led the first 59 laps, before pitting~ The lead was then handed over to Skinner, who didn't pit during the caution~ He led for 10 laps, before being passed by Bill Elliott~ He eventually crashed into the wall, ending his day early, which resulted in a 36th place finish~ This race was red flagged a total of three time~ Twice for rain, and once for Darrell Waltrip's accident, when his fuel cell busted~ It was a long day, and the race was eventually ended early due to the weather~

    Rusty Wallace was strong throughout the day, leading a total of 76 laps, and finishing in 5th place~ Jeff Gordon won the rain shortened event, followed by Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Earnhardt, and Wallace~ My "Hero of the Race Award" goes out to Dick Trickle, who brought the #19 Healthsource Tri-Star Ford home in 8th place, for his only top 10 of the season~ 




                                                      Skinner leading the Food City 500~
Mike Skinner #31 RealTree Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1996 Richard Childress

    The next stop for Team RealTree came in the "Winston Select 500" @ Talladega, where Skinner again qualified in the 6th position~ Good ol' Ernie Irvan won the pole for the event, driving the #28 Texaco Havoline Ford~ This race had a TON of lead changes, with the bulk of the laps being led by Sterling Marlin, Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt, Terry Labonte, Rusty Wallace, and Jeff Gordon, who all led for at least 16 laps each~

     This race is probably best remembered for the huge wreck on lap 129, involving 13 cars~ The most noticeable of those cars was the #41 Kodiak Chevrolet, driven by Ricky Craven~ Craven's car jumped into the sky, and over 5 cars before crashing down~ This was the first of several accidents that eventually ended the career of Craven, who was having a great start to the 1996 season prior to this accident~ Bill Elliott also broke his leg during this crash, and as a result, he missed seven races during the season~

    Following the caution for the Craven accident, Sterling Marlin basically ran away with the show, on his way to his second consecutive Talladega win~ Dale Jarrett was second, followed by Earnhardt, Terry Labonte, and Michael Waltrip, who picked up the only top 5 of his three year stint with the Wood Brothers~ My "Hero of the Race Award" goes to Steve Grissom again, who finished 6th in the #29 Cartoon Network Chevrolet~ Skinner ended up finishing in 17th place, after dealing with an ill handling car~

                                                 The Batman and Robin of NASCAR~

Mike Skinner #31 RealTree Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1996 Richard Childress

    Team RealTree didn't race again until 16 races later, in the "MBNA 500" @ Dover~ Skinner qualified in 16th place, while the pole award went to Bobby Labonte and the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet team~ Our ol' friend Rick Mast qualified on the outside pole, in the #1 Hooters Pontiac~

    The race was a wreck fest for the most part, with 14 cautions, and is probably best remembered as the time Jimmy Spencer tried to beat up Wally Dallenbach Jr.~ Ernie Irvan led for a while, but crashed out when he claimed he was pinched down by the lapped car of Derrike Cope~ Later in the race, Cope's car caught fire and retired from the event, and members of Irvan's team (mainly Larry McReynolds) tried to start a fight with Cope, before being broken up by NASCAR officials~

    Jeff Gordon basically dominated the danged race, leading for a total of 204 laps on his way to the checkered flag~ He was followed by Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, and Mark Martin finished out the top 5~ My "Hero of the Race Award" goes out to Rick Mast, who after qualifying on the outside pole, came home with a 6th place finish for the Richard Jackson owned Hooters team~

                                                    I told him to watch out for that wall!~
Mike Skinner #31 RealTree Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1996 Richard Childress

    Skinner's final race in the #31 RealTree car came in the "Dura Lube 500" @ Phoenix, where he managed to put the car on the outside of row number 1~ Bobby Labonte narrowly beat him out for the pole position in the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet~
                  
    There wasn't really a dominant car all day long during the race, as several drivers kept swapping the lead back and forth from each other for the most part of the day~ Bobby Hamilton, Mark Martin, Terry Labonte, Geoff Bodine, Dale Jarrett, and Bobby Labonte each lead for at least 29 laps, with Martin leading the most with 83~

    In the end, it was our ol' pal Bobby Hamilton picking up his first career Winston Cup victory, and the first for Petty Enterprises since 1983, which made for a pretty emotional victory lane celebration~
Mark Martin finished second, followed by Terry Labonte, Ted Musgrave, and Jeff Gordon~ My "Hero of the Race Award" goes to Ted Musgrave, picking up a top 5 finish in the #16 Family Channel/Primestar Ford~ Mike Skinner finished 13th, and would go on to race the #31 Lowe's Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing for the next five seasons, all winless~

                                       Mike Skinner #31 RealTree Camouflage Chevrolet~
Mike Skinner #31 RealTree Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1996 Richard Childress
                                                               Click pics to enlarge~
Mike Skinner #31 RealTree Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1996 Richard Childress

     This has to be the ugliest Richard Childress paint scheme of all time~ It's sponsored by RealTree, and it's just mostly white.. the most un-camouflaged color of all time~ Don't get me wrong.. I'm a fan of simplistic paint schemes, but this car is just pretty ugly~ I mean.. it looks like someone took a dump all over the hood of the car for crying out loud~

    RealTree went on to have some pretty awesome paint schemes, most notably with Dave Marcis, but this one just bites~ I've been told that this car is one of the harder ones to find from the 1996 set, though I'm not sure why that would be, and I've never found out any information as to why it would be harder to find than any of the others~ It usually commands a little bit of a higher price tag, compared to a common car, but it's by no means an expensive rarity~

    I'm gonna give this car a D- on the Racing Champions quality scale~ The card is boring, the car is boring, the stand is boring, just everything about this car is totally boring~ I'm just not a fan of this car, and although I do like the history around the car, the car itself is a big ol' pile of Dale Jarrett style boring~ Now let's take a look at the bonus car for this post, before I start spitting all over the place~

                              **BONUS CAR** Marty Noll #46 Qik Joe/Milazzo Chevrolet~
Marty Noll #46 Qik Joe Milazzo Chevrolet Busch North Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Marty Noll was a Busch North driver who drove a total of 4 races during the mid to late 90's~ He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on April 1st, 1962~ His best finish came in the 1997 "Thompson Sunoco 300" @ the Thompson Speedway in Thompson, Connecticut, where he finished 24th~

    Not much is known about Noll other than that.. he just kind of disappeared from the sport~ I found an old postcard featuring his car, and decided I'd make a Photoshopped Racing Champions version of it for a bonus car post~ It's a pretty nice looking car, in my opinion~ I used Shawna Robinson's #46 Polaroid Chevrolet as the "donor" car for this one~

    Thank you all for stopping by the blog once more~ I'd like to be posting on a more regular basis, but I've gotta stay busy during the warm months so I don't freeze to death in the winter time~ I'll get these posts up as quickly as I can, though they might be a little more spaced apart until the end of summer~ Below are some random videos from Mike Skinner's career, since there isn't much on his RealTree car~ Please share this post on social media, and anywhere else, and click the follow button at the top of this page, on the right hand side~ Until next time, stay alive.. don't drink and drive!~ :)

                                                  Skinner Cup wins~ Non points races~

                                           Skinner relieves Earnhardt 1996 Brickyard 400~

                                                         Skinner being a whiny baby~

                                                        Top 10 Mike Skinner crashes~

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Clifford Allison #12 Sports Image Chevrolet

    Hey there NASCAR diecast fans!~ It's time for another installment of the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog!~ In this post, I'm going to be looking back on the career of Clifford Allison, the youngest son of NASCAR legend Bobby Allison, and the brother of Davey Allison~ Clifford's time in the sport was short lived, so he isn't as well known as his father or older brother, but to those who knew him, Clifford Allison was a wild, funny, unpredictable character, and another link in the NASCAR chain that was the Alabama Gang~

    Clifford's death on August 13th, 1992 was the first racing fatality in the Busch Grand National series since its inception in 1982, and it was later determined that a bolt holding the seat down malfunctioned, making the crash worse than it would have been, resulting in a basal skull fracture, and instant death for the 27 year old driver from Hueytown, Alabama~

                                      Clifford celebrates his 9th birthday with Bobby~ 1973~
Clifford Allison #12 Sports Image Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 1994 BGN ARCA Bobby

    Ten years after the above photo was taken, Clifford Allison started his racing career~ He began in the Street Stock division, and went on to drive in the All-Pro Series, the IMSA Sports Car Series, and the ARCA series, before running his first BGN race in 1990~

    Allison was originally scheduled to compete for Rookie of the Year honors during the 1990 BGN season, driving Frank Cicci's #34 Gwaltney Meats Buick, but was released after only seven races due to poor performance~ In his first BGN start, Clifford finished 13th in the "Goody's 300" @ Daytona, following a 42nd place qualifying effort~

    He then failed to qualify for the "Pontiac 200" @ Richmond, and crashed out of the "Goodwrench 200" @ Rockingham, finishing in 29th place~ He finished 25th in the "Miller Classic" @ Martinsville, then failed to qualify for the "Mountain Dew 400" @ Hickory~ Allison finished 17th in the "Pontiac 200" @ Darlington, and 25th in the "Budweiser 250" @ Bristol~ Following the Bristol race, he was replaced for the remainder of the season by Jack Sprague~

                                               Clifford chatting with Butch Miller~ 1992~
Clifford Allison #12 Sports Image Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 1994 BGN ARCA Bobby

    After failing to qualify for the 1991 "Goody's 300" @ Daytona, Allison ran a total of three races for Clint Folsom's #23 Seal-Tech Buick team~ He qualified 35th for the "Goodwrench 200" @ Rockingham, and finished in 28th place~ After starting from 26th for the "Pontiac 200" @ Darlington, he was able to work his way up to finish 14th~

    Clifford rolled off 29th for the "Budweiser 250" @ Bristol, and held his own throughout the entirety of the race, with a respectable 6th place finish, which was a career best for him in the BGN series~ Bobby Labonte won the race in the #44 Penrose Pickled Sausage Oldsmobile, followed by David Green, Dale Earnhardt, Jimmy Spencer, and Ed Berrier~

   Allison also ran two All-Pro races during 1991, finishing 25th in the "Birmingham 250" @ Birmingham, Alabama, and 34th in the "Snowball Derby" @ Pensacola, Florida~ He also made time during the 1991 season to run 1 ARCA race, finishing 7th in the "Motorcraft Fast Lube ARCA 500K" @ Atlanta, driving the #12 Raybestos Brakes Buick for his father's team~

                                               Headshot of Clifford Allison~ 1989 ARCA~
Clifford Allison #12 Sports Image Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 1994 BGN ARCA Bobby

    Cliff had some pretty good success during the 1992 ARCA Series, where he ran a total of 7 races~ He qualified 16th for the "Daytona ARCA 200", and came home in 5th place,  picking up his first top 5 of the season in the first race of the year~ He then nearly grabbed the pole for the "Slick 50 ARCA 500K" @ College Station, but had to settle for the outside pole position~ He led for 32 laps, but was beat out in the end by Eddie Bierschwale and the #23 SplitFire Spark Plugs Oldsmobile team~

    Allison finished 10th in the "Poulan Pro 500K" @ Talladega, and 9th in the "Champion Batteries 150" @ Pocono, before he started picking up momentum~ After starting 11th for the "GM Goodwrench 200" @ Michigan, he went on to finish runner up to Michigan's own, Bob Keselowski~ Loy Allen Jr. was 3rd, followed by Jim Sauter, and Bill Venturini finished out the top 5~

    Moving on to the "ServiStar 150" @ Pocono, Allison started from the 4th position, and while he didn't lead any laps, held on to finish runner up to Bob Keselowski yet again~ His final start in the ARCA series came in the 1992 "Mello Yello 350K" @ Topeka, Kansas~ After starting from the 12th spot, Allison fell back during the race to finish in 27th place~ A funny side note on this race... Frog Hall finished in 6th place~ Go Frog!~ :)

                                               Clifford and Bobby talkin' car stuff~ 1992~




Clifford Allison #12 Sports Image Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 1994 BGN ARCA Bobby

    Clifford started the 1992 BGN season with the intention of running the majority of the schedule for Barry Owen~ This was a tactic Bobby Allison was using so that Clifford wouldn't tear up all of his own cars while gaining his BGN experience~ Bobby fully intended to have Clifford driving for him as early as the 1993 season, but unfortunately that day never came for the elder Allison~ For those of you who aren't familiar with Barry Owen, this team eventually became the #9 FDP Brakes car that Mike Wallace won three races in during the 1994 BGN season~

    In his first race with the team, Allison started 35th in the 1992 "Goody's 300" @ Daytona~ He lasted only 87 laps due to an engine failure, and finished in 29th place~ The team would alternate between the numbers 9 and 91 throughout the season, and had various sponsorships, which consisted of: Mac Tools (1 race), Owen Racing (4 races), Holiday Inn Atlanta (1 race), High Point Bedding (6 races), Sports Image (1 race), and QVC (1 race, but was the sponsor for his Michigan car as well)~

    Allison finished 17th in the "Goodwrench 200" @ Rockingham, and 16th in the "Hardee's 200" @ Richmond, and was involved in a lap 3 crash in the "Atlanta 300", which involved 12 cars~ His day was done, and he came home in 36th place~ Jeff Gordon went on to win the race, in what was the first BGN victory of his career~ Clifford finished 17th in the "Miller 500" @ Martinsville, and 24th in the "Mark III Vans 200" @ Darlington~

                                       Allison in front of the #12 @ Daytona~ ARCA 1992~
Clifford Allison #12 Sports Image Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 1994 BGN ARCA Bobby

    In his only BGN start with sponsor "Sports Image", Allison started 21st for the "Budweiser 250" @ Bristol, and finished in 15th place, which was at this point his season best~ He then finished 24th in the "Nestle 300" @ Lanier, and followed that up with a 13th place finish in the "Pontiac 200" @ Nazareth~

    He back stepped in the "Champion 300" @ Charlotte after qualifying 21st, blowing an engine on lap 139, ending his day prematurely, in the 26th position, though he did lead 4 laps during the race~ Allison had the best run of the season in the "Goodwrench 200" @ Dover, where he rolled off 23rd, and held on to a 9th place finish, in what would turn out to be the final top 10 of his career~

    Cliff went on to finish 20th in the "Fay's 150" @ Watkins Glen, and followed that up with a 37th place showing in the "Budweiser 300" @ Loudon, following a lap 94 crash involving Jimmy Spencer~ He qualified 30th for the "Fram Filter 500K" @ Talladega, and came home on the lead lap, in 17th place~ This would be the final time Clifford Allison would finish a NASCAR BGN race~

                                Bobby at the garage with Clifford, Davey, and the family dog~
Clifford Allison #12 Sports Image Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 1994 BGN ARCA Bobby

    Next up on the schedule was the "Detroit Gasket 200" @ Michigan.. a track that Allison had finished runner up at in the ARCA series, and he was confident going into the race week that he would have a strong run~ He rolled out for the first practice session and put down a strong lap, and pulled into the garage to have some minor adjustments made to the car before he went out and tried it again~

   On his way out of the garage, he looked at Bobby Allison and said "We're gonna get 'em, Dad~" Those were the final words Clifford ever said to his father~ As he was making his way around the track, his car spun out in turn four, hitting the wall with the left rear of the car first, followed by the car being pancaked on the driver's side~ Allison was killed instantly, although there were attempts to save his life~

   To this day, Bobby Allison still has flashbacks of the wreck, and sees his son there in the car, lifeless~ Eleven months to the day that Clifford died, Bobby only surviving son Davey was killed in a helicopter crash on his way to Talladega to watch Neil Bonnett's son David during a practice session~ Seven months after Davey's death, Neil Bonnett passed away following a practice crash at Daytona~ In the blink of an eye, the Alabama Gang was virtually gone~ I can't imagine what that was like for Bobby, who was going through his own battles following his career ending, nearly fatal 1988 crash at Pocono~

                                              Clifford Allison #12 Sports Image Chevrolet~
Clifford Allison #12 Sports Image Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 1994 BGN ARCA Bobby
                                                                 Click pics to enlarge~
Clifford Allison #12 Sports Image Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 1994 BGN ARCA Bobby

    Well, I'll start this off by saying that in the post here, I'm calling this car a Buick, based off of his stats in the 1992 ARCA series, where he ran this sponsor during 4 races, and notched 2 runner up finishes, whereas he only drove it once in the 1992 BGN series, at Bristol, where he finished 15th~ His BGN car was an Oldsmobile for that race, so that's why I'm calling it a Buick~

    Now, supposedly this is the car that Clifford was driving at Michigan, but to my knowledge, the only thing that's right about that is that it's a Chevrolet, which is what he was driving that day~ What I'm second guessing is the sponsor.. because I was always under the assumption that he was driving a QVC sponsored car that day~ I could be wrong, and the car would make more sense.. but I've never seen any evidence to prove otherwise~

    This car is 1 of 10,000, so it isn't extremely rare, but can be difficult to find at times~ I would price this car in the 12 dollar range, so if you can get it below that, you're getting a pretty decent deal~ This car was also made in a Premier version, as well as 1/24 scale~ I've never seen a 1/43 version, but I've been shocked before, so you never know~

    I'm going to give this car a B- on the Racing Champions quality scale~ It's a nice looking car, I'm a fan of minimalist paint schemes.. but the card leaves me wanting more~ Clifford photos are hard to come by, and I would have preferred a full photo card, showing Clifford standing beside of the car, or just a shot of the car, and a little pic of Clifford in a small square on the card... anything but this~ I'm just not a fan of this card~ Let's move on to the bonus car for this post~

                                          Diggity Dave #11 McCormick Spices Oldsmobile~
Diggity Dave #11 McCormick Spices Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog custom

    I used Rick Mast's #1 Majik Markets Oldsmobile for this one, and it didn't turn out too bad, though I could have did a little better~ I like McCormick spices, and use them all the time, so why not a McCormick race car?~ I think it looks pretty awesome~ If it was on a real car, it would look way better~ I'd be intimidated by this thing on the track!~ :P

    I hope you enjoyed this installment of the NASCAR Racing Champions Blog, and learned about or rekindled memories about Clifford and his family~ I didn't think I'd have time to get a post out this quickly, but it rained last night and some today, and I was able to make time to get this one done thankfully~ It may be a while till the next one though, but if you click the "follow" button on the top right hand side of this page, you will get notified whenever I make a new post.. that way you don't have to keep coming back to check if I've done anything~

   Please share this post on your Facebook, Twitter, etc.~ It really helps get the message out to people who are interested in the hobby/sport~ Below are some random videos, since there's pretty much nothing on Clifford out there~ Included is a review of the Premier version of the Allison car, recorded by  my new friend on YouTube "WimmerTV"~ Check out his videos, and subscribe to his channel for more diecast reviews~ You'll dig it~ Thanks again, and I'll see y'all next time that I do~ :)

                                                 Bobby talking about Davey and Clifford~

                                             WimmerTV reviews Clifford Allison diecast~

                                         Davey, Clifford, Red Farmer, and others at the river~


                                              A moment at the shop with Davey Allison~

Friday, March 31, 2017

Terry Labonte #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet

    Hello again to all of you NASCAR Racing Champions diecast fans!~ I've been busy with work the past couple of weeks, so it took me a while to get this post up, but it's finally here.. Terry Labonte's #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet~ This car was driven by Terry for only one season, 1993, and was owned by Billy Hagan~

    Labonte and Hagan had a previous working history together, teaming up to win the 1984 Winston Cup Championship.. but this time around, things were different~ Hagan was on his way out of the sport, after being in the business for 20 years, and the team just wasn't competitive on the track anymore~ So let's jump into this thing, and take a look at Terry's time in the #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet~

                                               Beautiful sky in this Kellogg's promo card~
Terry Labonte #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Hagan 1993

    Labonte first teamed back up with Hagan during the 1991 Winston Cup season, driving the #94 Sunoco Oldsmobile~ He did the same for 1992, but the team switched sponsors for the start of the 1993 season, and along with the new colors came a new number, and the car was now #14~ The team also made the switch to Chevrolets for the season~

    Terry qualified 34th for the 1993 Daytona 500, but Lady Luck was on his side during the race~ On lap 92, Labonte narrowly avoided a 13 car pileup, and thanks in part to that crash, he managed to finish in 7th place~ Davey Allison crushed the field, leading for 127 laps on his way to victory lane~ Morgan Shepherd finished second, followed by Geoff Bodine, Alan Kulwicki, and Dick Trickle finished out the top 5~ Racing Champions made a 3 car set featuring the top 3 finishers in this race, and certain ones had the wrong cars in them, and are worth a bit more than the correct version~

    After a 21st place qualifying effort for the "GM Goodwrench 500" @ Rockingham, Labonte was again able to wheel his way up to the front runners, and again came home in the 7th position~ Bill Elliott won the race, in what was a doozy of a battle with Davey Allison, who finished in 2nd place~ Harry Gant was 3rd, followed by Michael Waltrip, and Ken Schrader~ Even though he wasn't in great equipment, Labonte was looking pretty good early on, and was confident moving forward that he could pick up a win before the season was over~ At this point, he hadn't won a race since the "1989 DieHard 500" @ Talladega~

                                       Terry wishing he was still driving for Junior Johnson~
Terry Labonte #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Hagan 1993

    Labonte struggled in the next two races... finishing 24th in the "Pontiac Excitement 400" @ Richmond, and 33rd in the "Motorcraft Quality Parts 500" @ Atlanta, after starting from the 8th spot~ After starting 17th in the "Transouth 500" @ Darlington, he was able to turn his bad luck around, and picked up a 9th place finish~ He then had a minor hiccup in the "Food City 500" @ Bristol, finishing 60 laps off the pace, in 21st place~

    After qualifying 6th for the "First Union 400" @ North Wilkesboro, Labonte was able to get as close as he would all season long to a top 5 finish, coming home in the 6th position~ He followed that up by finishing 9th in the "Hanes 500" @ Martinsville~ Hoping to get back to his winning ways at the track where he got his last win, he qualified 38th for the "Winston 500" @ Talladega, which wasn't exactly what he was hoping for~

   He had moved up somewhat during the race, but due to the tight racing that was going on all race long, Labonte was caught up in a hellacious 9 car accident on lap 130, ending his day, and winding up with a 37th place finishing position~ Ernie Irvan went on to win the race, while Dale Earnhardt crashed Rusty Wallace, who flipped his car across the finish line in 6th place~ Jimmy Spencer was second, followed by Dale Jarrett, Earnhardt, and Joe Ruttman had a strong run in the #20 Fina Lube Ford, to finish in the 5th spot~

                                    During 1993, Terry's life was like a bowl of Hate Flakes~
Terry Labonte #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Hagan 1993

     He followed up his poor showing at Talladega with an impressive 9th place finish in the "Save Mart Supermarkets 300K" @ Sonoma~ This was followed by four horrid finishes of 33rd in the "Coca-Cola 600" @ Charlotte, 20th in the "Budweiser 500" @ Dover, 32nd in the "Champion Spark Plug 500" @ Pocono, and 20th in the "Miller Genuine Draft 400" @ Michigan~

    Every now and then, someone would toss some fruit into Terry's bowl of Hate Flakes, and he'd pull off a decent finish~ After starting 31st in the "Pepsi 400" @ Daytona, he was able to use his experience to pull off a 9th place finish~ The bad part is that he started 5th in the "Slick 50 300" @ Loudon a week later, and blew an engine with just 20 laps remaining, resulting in a 31st place finish~

   The series returned to Pocono for the "Miller Genuine Draft 500", and after starting 36th, Labonte was able to crawl his way up to a 16th place finish~ He finished 14th in the "Die Hard 500" @ Talladega, and after starting 3rd for the "Budweiser at the Glen" @ Watkins Glen, he encountered issues throughout the race, and had to settle for a 23rd place showing, two laps off the pace of race winner, Mark Martin~




                                               Early promo card for the #14 Kellogg's car~
Terry Labonte #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Hagan 1993

    Labonte had his worst qualifying effort of the season in the "Champion Spark Plug 400" @ Michigan, starting dead last in the 41 car field~ He finished in 29th place, 17 laps off the pace of race winner,  Mark Martin~ He qualified 18th for the "Bud 500" @ Bristol, but was caught up in a crash early on, and finished dead last, in 34th place~

    After starting the "Mountain Dew Southern 500" @ Darlington from the 20th position, Labonte blew an engine on lap 299, which resulted in a 33rd place finish~ The race was won by Mark Martin, followed by Brett Bodine, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, and Ernie Irvan, who had taken over Davey Allison's famous #28 Texaco Havoline Ford earlier in the season~

    The rest of the season was somewhat kind to Labonte, starting with the "Miller Genuine Draft 400", where he qualified 23rd, but was able to hang on during the race, with an 8th place finish~  Rusty Wallace fittingly won the race, followed by "Awesome" Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, and Brett Bodine~

                                                  Labonte awaits the start of another race~
Terry Labonte #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Hagan 1993

    Qualifying wasn't Labonte's strong point during 1993, and that showed once more when he qualified 27th for the "SplitFire Spark Plug 500" @ Dover~ He was however able to move up drastically during the race, finishing in 8th place~ Rusty Wallace won the race, followed by Ken Schrader, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, and "Handsome" Harry Gant~

    The qualifying bug bit again for the "Goody's 500" @ Martinsville, with Labonte starting from the 29th position.. but just like the Dover race, he charged his way up to the front, and held on for a 7th place finish~ Ernie Irvan had an emotional victory following an extremely dominating race, while Rusty Wallace finished runner up, followed by Jimmy Spencer, Ricky Rudd, and Dale Jarrett~

    In what had to be the team's shining moment of 1993, Labonte qualified 4th for the "Tyson/Holly Farms 400" @ North Wilkesboro~ He actually got out front and led 53 laps, and battled till the end for his chance at victory lane~ In the end, he settled for a 7th place finish, in what turned out to be the final top 10 of Billy Hagan's career as a Winston Cup team owner~

                                                        Terry looking forward to 1995~
Terry Labonte #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Hagan 1993

    Terry qualified 22nd for the "Mello Yello 500" @ Charlotte, and didn't fare much better in the race, though he did manage to move up to finish in 16th place~ He qualified 24th for the "AC Delco 500" @ Rockingham, and went home in the 15th position~

    Labonte rolled off from 26th in the "Slick 50 500" @ Phoenix, and finished the race in 14th place, one lap off the pace of race winner, Mark Martin~ Ernie Irvan finished second, followed by Kyle Petty, Earnhardt, and Bill Elliott~ In his final race with the team, Terry started 30th in the "Hooters 500" @ Atlanta, and came home in the 14th spot, one lap off of race winner Rusty Wallace~

     Terry Labonte ended the 1993 Winston Cup season with 30 starts, and 10 top 10's~ He had an average start of 21.9, and an average finish of 18.4, and finished 18th in the final points standings~ He would go on to race for Hendrick Motorsports the following year, and won his second, and final Winston Cup Championship in 1996~ A new team, and a new year can do a lot for a driver sometimes, and the end of the 1993 season was a happy ending for Labonte indeed~

                                       Terry Labonte #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Chevrolet~
Terry Labonte #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Hagan 1993
                                                               Click pics to enlarge~
Terry Labonte #14 Kellogg's Corn Flakes Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Hagan 1993

    This is by far my favorite car that Labonte ever drove~ It's the best looking Corn Flakes car of all time, in my opinion~ Terry was so bad in this car, that when I first bought the Racing Champions version of it, I thought it was a BGN car~ He was rarely seen during the 1993 Cup season, so I just assumed he was driving it in the Busch series~ In reality, he was driving the MW Windows car in the BGN series during the 1993 season~

    The colors on this car go perfectly together, and creates an amazing looking car~ The paint on the rear tire is messed up, but I don't really mind about that.. just makes it look like a used tire~ I'm gonna give this car an A- on the Racing Champions quality scale~ The car is perfect, but I feel like the card could have been a bit better~ If this car had a better card, it would easily be an A+ car~

    I never was much of a Terry Labonte fan~ He was a good driver, a consistent one for sure, but he was always kind of boring for my tastes~ Although I was never a fan of his, this was one of my favorite Racing Champions cars as a kid~ It was a truly awesome car, from a truly horrible team that would be out of the sport completely following the 1994 Cup season~ Now that we're done with this one, let's take a look at the bonus car for this post~

                                                      Rick Ware #22 Otter Pops Pontiac~
Rick Ware #22 Otter Pops Pontiac Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 Watkins Glen D.K. Ulrich

    First things first, this obviously isn't a Pontiac, but heck.. the Rob Moroso car that I used for this one looked pretty much just like the Otter Pops car that Rick Ware drove in the 1990 Budweiser at the Glen, in what turned out to be his only Cup series start~ He qualified 35th in the D.K. Ulrich owned Pontiac, and lasted 42 laps until dropping out of the race due to brake issues, finishing in 36th place~

    Rick attempted to make the field for the 1998 "Save Mart / Kragen 350" @ Sonoma in his own ride, but failed to do so, thus ending his endeavor as a Cup series driver~ He ran two BGN races, 1 in 1990, and the other in 1995, with a best finish of 25th in the 1990 "Pontiac 300" @ Nazareth, where he was also sponsored by Otter Pops, this time in a Chevrolet, and also competed in a total of 16 Truck series races, with a best finish of 13th in the 2000 "O'Reilly 400" @ Fort Worth~

    Ware eventually retired from the sport, and became a car owner, mostly in the BGN/Xfinity series~ As an owner, his stats are 417 total races ran in 10 partial seasons, with 1 top 5, and 4 top 10's~ His drivers are almost always the worst of the worst, and the team has only led a total of 15 laps in 417 races~ Even though Ware sucked as a driver, as well as an owner, he brought the Otter Pops sponsorship to the series, and that's pretty cool~ Jeffrey Earnhardt is the only other driver to drive an Otter Pops car in the Cup series~

    Thank you all for stopping by to visit the blog again!~ Posts may become sparse in the coming months, because I'm gonna be out of state working music festivals... but I'm not gonna forget about y'all~ I'll find a way to get a few posts out here and there, and things should get back to normal in a few months~ Below is some clips spanning Terry Labonte's career~ As I said earlier, he wasn't much in this car, so footage is hard to come by~ Please share this post on social media, and don't forget to click the follow button at the top right hand side of this page~ :)

                                                       Terry and Bobby talk about 1996~

                                                    The spin and win @ Bristol - 1995~

                                                              The Iceman from Texas~
       
                                                1989 DieHard 500 finish~ Labonte win~

   

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Jimmy Spencer #57 Heinz Pontiac

    Hello again, and welcome to the NASCAR Racing Champions blog~ I hope you didn't get too wild on Saint Patrick's day, and if you did, go get yourself a tall glass of V8 juice with a splash of Tabasco, and come on back here and we'll talk about Jimmy Spencer's time in the #57 Heinz Pontiac, owned by troubled former Cup owner, Rod Osterlund~

    Following the real estate crash of the late 70's - early 80's, Osterlund, who was a big real estate man had lost tons of money~ So much that he had to sell his team to probably the worst Cup series owner ever, J.D. Stacy, just to stay afloat~ The worst part of that deal was that Dale Earnhardt (who was driving for Osterlund at the time) had just won his first of seven Winston Cup Championships~

    Osterlund would return to the series in 1989, following an eight year absence, first with Hut Stricklin, then Spencer, followed  by a three race stint with Jim Bown, and ending with a one off Daytona 500 start for Buddy Baker~ So let's get into this post, and find out how Jimmy Spencer fared in the #57 Heinz Pontiac~

                                            Spencer hanging out in the garage area - 1990~
Jimmy Spencer #57 Heinz Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 Osterlund

    Following a partial Cup season driving for Buddy Baker in 1989, Jimmy Spencer signed on to be the driver of Rod Osterlund's #57 Heinz Pontiac, that had been driven the year before by Hut Stricklin, who was fired~ Spencer started 17th in his 125 mile qualifier, and finished in 3rd, netting him a 6th place starting position for the 1990 Daytona 500~

    Spencer found himself leading for the first time in the Cup series when he only took two tires in the pits, and got out in front of Dale Earnhardt~ He led a total of four laps before being gobbled up by the field, and wound up finishing in 15th place~ Derrike Cope ended up winning the race due to Dale Earnhardt cutting a tire down on the final lap~ Terry Labonte finished second, followed by Bill Elliott, Rudd, and Earnhardt ended up finishing in the 5th position~

    Jimmy qualified 21st for the "Pontiac Excitement 400", with Ricky Rudd on the pole~ At the drop of the green flag, Spencer was able to bash his way up through the field to finish in 9th place, scoring his first top 10 with the Osterlund team~ The race was won by Mark Martin, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Ricky Rudd, Bill Elliott, and Dick Trickle, who ran a great race in the Cale Yarborough owned #66 TropArtic Pontiac~

                                                  Spencer on track in the #57 Heinz Pontiac~
Jimmy Spencer #57 Heinz Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 Osterlund

    Spencer again had qualifying troubles for the "GM Goodwrench 500" @ Rockingham, where he rolled off 26th, but just like the Richmond race, he was able to claw his way up to finish in 8th, which ended up being his season best finish~ The race was won by Kyle Petty, who completely dominated the event, leading 433 of the 492 laps~ Geoff Bodine finished second, followed by Ken Schrader, Sterling Marlin, and Rusty Wallace~

     Jimmy had a strong car for the "Motorcraft Quality Parts 500" @ Atlanta, tying his season best qualifying position with a 6th place effort~ He wasn't able to do much in the race, but held on to finish in 15th, three laps off the pace of race winner Dale Earnhardt, who led 216 of the 328 laps to take the checkered flag~ Morgan Shepherd was runner up, followed by Ernie Irvan, Ken Schrader, and Mark Martin~

    The team then had a string of bad races, with finishes of 25th (TranSouth 500 - Darlington), 18th (Valleydale Meats 500 - Bristol), and 20th (First Union 400 - North Wilkesboro)~ This was followed up with an 11th place finish in the "Hanes Activewear 500" @ Martinsville, after starting from 21st~ Following this race, the team is in for nasty weather.. I'm talkin' Gilligan's Island style weather!~ Have Mercy!~

                                               Spencer was no match for the Intimidator~
Jimmy Spencer #57 Heinz Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 Osterlund

    Spencer qualified 12th for the "Winston 500" @ Talladega, but a blown engine turned his Heinz Ketchup Pontiac into rotten tomatoes, relegating him to a 32nd place finish~ Following this race, he wouldn't qualify higher than 21st for the rest of the season, and would only finish in the top 15 one more time~ Like I said, it gets bad.. it gets really bad~ After qualifying 26th for the "Coca-Cola 600" @ Charlotte, he ended up 21st, six laps of the pace of race winner, Rusty Wallace~

    In the "Budweiser 500" @ Dover, Jimmy couldn't keep his dumb foot off of the gas again, blowing another engine, and finishing in 32nd place~ In the "Banquet Frozen Foods 300" @ Sonoma, Spencer qualified 40th, and still managed to finish three laps down, even though it was a road course~ He finished in 27th place~

    Jimmy rolled off from the 23rd position for the "Miller Genuine Draft 500" @ Pocono, and crashed out before lap 200, finishing in 30th place~ In the "Miller Genuine Draft 400" @ Michigan, he started 21st, and finished in 20th, in what must have seemed like a win for the team, following the horrid finishes they'd been having at the time~

                               A track worker checks on Spencer following a crash @ Pocono~
Jimmy Spencer #57 Heinz Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 Osterlund

    Spencer rolled off 33rd for the "Pepsi 400" @ Daytona, and though he finished three laps down, still managed a 15th place run~ In the "AC Spark Plug 500" @ Pocono, he finished 19th, after starting from the 29th position~ After starting 31st for the "DieHard 500" @ Talladega, he was only able to move up a few positions  during the race, finishing in 24th place~

    Jimmy followed this up with a 29th place finish in the "Budweiser at the Glen" @ Watkins Glen, following another blown engine~ He then finished 25th in the "Champions Spark Plug 400" @ Michigan, and managed to crack the top 20 in the "Busch 500" @ Bristol, with an 18th place run~

    Due to his association with the Heinz Company, Spencer had high hopes for the "Heinz Southern 500" @ Darlington, but that was soured when he finished 23rd, seven laps off the pace of race winner, Dale Earnhardt~ Next up was the "Miller Genuine Draft 400" @ Richmond, but Spencer was again hampered with an ill handling car, which resulted in a 27th place finish~




                                  Spencer leads his first Cup series laps in the Daytona 500~
Jimmy Spencer #57 Heinz Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 Osterlund

    Jimmy qualified 30th for the "Peak AntiFreeze 500" @ Dover, and finished the race twelve laps down to race winner, Bill Elliott, who crushed the field, leading 364 of the 500 laps~ Elliott was followed by Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Harry Gant, and Michael Waltrip finished out the top 5~




    In the "Goody's 500" @ Martinsville, Spencer qualified 29th, and finished in 18th place, twelve laps behind race winner, Geoff Bodine~ Up next was the "Tyson Holly Farms 400" @ North Wilkesboro, where after starting from 31st, he was able to move up only a few positions to finish in 23rd place~ Mark Martin won the race, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Brett Bodine, Bill Elliott, and Ken Schrader~

     Spencer qualified 34th for the "Mello Yello 500" @ Charlotte, but was involved in crash early on, which took him out of competition, and relegated him to finish last in the 41 car field~ The race was won by Davey Allison, followed by Morgan Shepherd, Michael Waltrip, Kyle Petty, and Alan Kulwicki~

                                          Custom Jimmy Spencer Racing Champions card~
Jimmy Spencer #57 Heinz Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 Osterlund

    Following the Mello Yello 500 @ Charlotte, Spencer was fired from the Osterlund team, and replaced with Jim Bown, who drove the remaining three races left in the season, and did even worse than Spencer did, with finishes of  27th, 28th, and 39th~

    Spencer's time in the Osterlund car consisted of 26 races, with 2 top 10's, and 10 laps led~ He earned $219,775 in race winnings, and finished 24th in the points standings, with an average start of 26.3, and an average finish of 21.7~ He would go on to drive Travis Carter's #98 Banquet Frozen Foods Chevrolet during the 1991 Cup season, posting 1 top 5, and 6 top 10's~

    The Osterlund team went on to field Buddy Baker's #88 Marines Pontiac for the 1991 Daytona 500, where Baker qualified 16th, but suffered a blown engine just 35 laps in, resulting in a 37th place finish~ Osterlund then sold his team off, and went back to making tons of money in the real estate business out west~ And that's all she wrote, folks~

                                                   Jimmy Spencer #57 Heinz Pontiac~
Jimmy Spencer #57 Heinz Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 Osterlund
                                                                 Click pics to enlarge~
Jimmy Spencer #57 Heinz Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1990 Osterlund

    I can tell you one thing for sure.. this car is a lot more appealing than that boring 1990 season Spencer had~ This Heinz car was one of my favorites back then, and it still dazzles me today~ Heinz has the best ketchup in my opinion, and although I'm not a fan of Teresa Heinz-Kerry, I can't knock her ketchup, it rules~

    As with almost all of my custom cars, this one is a Photoshop custom, and not a real diecast~ I sure wish it was real though, because it's pretty amazing~ I'm gonna give this car an A- on the Racing Champions quality scale, with a couple points taken off due to it's just a custom~ After I thought I was done with this one, I had to go back and add the Heinz 57 logo, and I also added the gold rims to match the original car~

    Jimmy Spencer was a raging bull on the track, and that gained him a few fans, but it also cost him a few as well~ Personally, I always liked the guy, and his first Cup win was super awesome!~ I still have the newspaper article from when he won, and I look at it from time to time, and then re-watch the race on YouTube~ Those were some exciting times in NASCAR, and I yearn for them to return~
           
                                **BONUS CAR** Diggity Dave #16 Chocolate Soldier Buick~
Diggity Dave #16 Chocolate Soldier Buick Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog custom

    This is another one of my Photoshop customs, and it's sponsored by one of my all time favorite drinks, Chocolate Soldier~ Chocolate Soldier was basically like Yoo-Hoo, but much better~ It has been discontinued for several years now, but I can still taste its awesomeness to this very day~

    When I was a kid, we would have races to see who could chug a Chocolate Soldier the fastest~ I would usually win, although the winner didn't get anything for winning, but it's always good to be first at something, even if it is chugging Chocolate Soldiers~

    Thanks again to everyone who visits the blog!~ Please share this post with your friends on social media, and click the "follow" button at the top right hand side of this page~ Below I have included some clips from Spencer's career, enjoy them, and I'll see you next time, right here on the NASCAR Racing Champions blog!~ :)

                                   Spencer pitches a fit on Wally Dallenbach~ Dover - 1996~

                                    Spencer pitches a fit on Kurt Busch, then belts him one~

                                                      All of Spencer's Cup wins~ 3 total~

                            Spencer being awesome and telling the truth about current drivers~
 
   
   

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Joe Ruttman #20 Fina Lube Ford

    Hello again fellow NASCAR Racing Champions fans, and welcome to another installment of the NASCAR Racing Champions blog!~ In today's post, were gonna be transporting back to 1993, where I'll discuss Joe Ruttman's time in the #20 Fina Lube Ford, owned by Dick Moroso, father of the late Rob Moroso~

    Moroso's team ran a total of 10 races during the 1993 Winston Cup season, with Ruttman and Bobby Hamilton running five races each for the team~ Hamilton's time in the car was due to his release from Mike Smith's #68 Country Time Ford, following the Hanes 500 @ Martinsville~ Ruttman hadn't had a full time ride since the 1991 season, when he ran drove the #75 Dinner Bell Foods Oldsmobile/Chevrolet for RahMoc Enterprises~ Now let's jump back to the 1993 Daytona 500, presented by STP~

                                            Ruttman on the track in the #20 Fina Lube Ford~
Joe Ruttman #20 Fina Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dick Moroso 1993 Cup BGN

    Ruttman's first Cup race in the #20 Fina Lube Ford came in the 1993 Daytona 500, where he qualified 36th~ A total of 13 drivers failed to make the field for the event, including James Hylton, Rich Bickle, Kerry Teague (no relation to Brad), Delma Cowart, Stanley SmithBrad Teague, Steve Kinser, A.J. Foyt, Jeff Purvis, and Ken Ragan~ (David Ragan's father)~

    Derrike Cope led 30 laps of the race in the #98 Bojangles car, but faded at the end of the race to finish 29th~ Kyle Petty was running a special scheme on the Mello Yello car, with "Thanks Dad" on the back of the car, referencing his father's accomplishments and retirement from the sport~ He led for 19 laps, but was caught up in a crash, and finished in 31st~

    Jim Sauter had a very good run in the Mueller Brothers' #89 Evinrude Ford, coming home in 19th place, following a 39th place starting position~ Ruttman's day came to an end on lap 128, when his engine expired, resulting in a 38th place finish, in what was a truly disappointing day for the team~ The rest of the race is blah, blah, blah... the "Dale & Dale" show thing~ The wrong Dale won the race, so I just wasn't happy that day~ I was already mad that Wilson crashed out.. then boring head Dale Jarrett wins the race?~ Blah!~

                                   Ruttman behind Dick Trickle in the 1993 Winston 500~
Joe Ruttman #20 Fina Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dick Moroso 1993 Cup BGN

    The team was back for the "Motorcraft Quality Parts 500" @ Atlanta, following a two race absence~ Ruttman qualified 30th in the 40 car field,  and Rusty Wallace won the pole in the famed #2 Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac~ Joe was hoping for better luck than what he had down at Daytona, but sometimes, Lady Luck likes to stay away for a little while before she shows her face again~

   It looked like Mark Martin was the car to beat early on, leading a race high 140 laps, but his engine gave out on lap 225, and he finished in 32nd place~ Jeff Gordon finally got by Rusty Wallace, and it look like he was going to win, but his inexperience got the best of him in the end~ The end is where the veterans were always on top of their game, and Gordon would soon find that out~ The Ruttmeister ended up crashing out, and finished in 38th place~ :(

    As it was getting closer to the end of the race, Alan Kulwicki (who had crashed out of the race already) came down to the Wood Brothers pits and started telling them to tell Morgan to start saving gas, and slowing down, and that they could win if they listened to him~ Morgan did, and he ended up running better lap times, because he was letting off earlier and rolling through the corners~ He also started running a lower line, since it was the shortest way around the track~ Morgan ended up rolling across the finish line in first, in what turned out to be his final victory in NASCAR, at 51 years old~

                                                   The Ruttpuppy turning into a fireball~
Joe Ruttman #20 Fina Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dick Moroso 1993 Cup BGN

    Ruttman was back in the car for the "Food City 500" @ Bristol, which was the first race held following the death of Alan Kulwicki, who died in a plane crash just three days before the event~ Joe qualified 27th for the event, and Rusty Wallace won the pole~

    One funny moment that did happen was when Dale "Boring" Jarrett got mad at Bobby Hillin Jr., and threw his helmet at Hillin's car~ I liked when people would make Dale Jarrett mad.. it was the one other emotion he had besides being a vanilla boring ugly person~

    The race was a wrecker from the get go, and Rusty dominated basically the entire event~ He led 376 laps, and didn't really have any competition until the very end of the race, with Dale Earnhardt~ Rusty ended up winning the race, with Dale coming in 2nd, followed by Kyle Petty, Jimmy Spencer, and Davey Allison~ After the race was over, Rusty and Dale both did a Polish victory lap, to honor Alan Kulwicki~ The Ruttster climbed his way up to finish 19th, although 33 laps off the pace of the race winner~

                                                 Ruttman crashes out of the Atlanta race~
Joe Ruttman #20 Fina Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dick Moroso 1993 Cup BGN
                                        
    Ruttman qualified a season high of 6th for the "Winston 500" @ Talladega, and Dale Earnhardt won the pole for the event~ Dale Earnhardt destroyed the field for most of the day, leading 102 of 188 laps, but in the end, Ernie Irvan got by Earnhardt, and led the final 3 laps of the race on his way to the victory~ Jimmy Spencer finished 2nd, followed by Dale Boring,  Dale Earnhardt, and are you ready for this... JOE RUTTMAN finished out the top 5!~

    I bet you wasn't thinking I was gonna say his name~ Don't blame yourself, the announcers at one point said he was a lap down, and to basically ignore him.. they later confessed that they were imbeciles, especially Ned Jarrett~ B.P. and I laughed, and high fived~ I'm lying.. we didn't do that.. but just pretend like we did, and that we made fun of Ned a lot until he ran away from the booth, spilling Fresca all over the place, like a bad Ned Jarrett~

    Another cool thing about this race was that Derrike Cope finished in 7th, followed by Jimmy Hensley, and Michael Waltrip~ I'm happy all of them got top 10's that day, they deserved it~ Ritchie Petty, Maurice Petty's son, finished 25th in the #53 Winston Cup Water Ford, owned by his father~ And that's all I've got to say about that~

                                         Ruttman's BGN ride shown here was a Chevrolet~
Joe Ruttman #20 Fina Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dick Moroso 1993 Cup BGN

    Ruttman's final race in the car came in the "Coca-Cola 600" @ Charlotte, where he qualified 40th~ The pole was won by Ken Schrader, who was driving the #25 Kodiak Chevrolet~ Rutty blew the engine on lap 231, and he was done for the night, finishing 35th~ In his five races with the team he had 1 top 5, and 1 top 10, with $70,700 in race winnings, an average start of 27.8, and an average finish of 27.0~

    Ruttomatic also drove 3 BGN races for Moroso during the 1993 season, which was also sponsored by Fina Lube, but was a Chevrolet instead of a Ford~ Ruttman qualified 9th for the "Goody's 300" @ Daytona to start the season, but crashed out on lap 64, finishing 38th~ He then qualified 23rd for the "Budweiser 250" @ Bristol, but crashed out on lap 12, and finished 33rd in the 34 car field~

    His final ride in the BGN car came in the "Champion 300" @ Charlotte, where he qualified 36th, but was able to climb his way up to finish in 13th place by the end of the race~ His three races in the series netted him $9,970, with an average start of 22.7, and an average finish of 28.1~

                                                     Joe Ruttman #20 Fina Lube Ford~

Joe Ruttman #20 Fina Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dick Moroso 1993 Cup BGN
                                                              Click pics to enlarge~
Joe Ruttman #20 Fina Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dick Moroso 1993 Cup BGN
                                                                      Back of card~
Joe Ruttman #20 Fina Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dick Moroso 1993 Cup BGN



    This Ruttman car comes in a promo packaging with the car and card, but no stand~ I didn't like that, so I took mine out, and put it in the standard issue 1993 packaging with a stand~ It looks much better like that.. heck, half of the card is covered up by the car in the promo package~ That's dumb~

     I added a photo of the back of the card, because I had never seen a Racing Champions card like this before~ It sure must suck to be known as "BEST FINISH: 2nd three times"~ Joe was a heck of a driver, and it defies me how he never got a Cup series win~ He ended up doing really well in the Truck series a few years later, even winning 2 races at the age of 56, so I guess he's got something to show for his career, but it should have been more~

    As for the car and card, I'm gonna give them a B+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~ The paint is smooth, and the lettering is well done, not chipped, and the card is pretty cool, getting so see ol' Rutty smilin' away~ Joe will be 73 years old this year~ It's funny how time flies when you're having fun~ With that said, let's jump down to the bonus car~

                                                Greg Sacks #50 Be My Valentine Pontiac~
Greg Sacks #50 Be My Valentine Pontiac 1988 Daytona 500 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog custom

    I was watching the 1988 Daytona 500 on Sunday, because the new racing sucks, and I saw Sacks in this car~ I knew I had to make a custom of it, so I hopped on Photoshop, and here she is, the Greg Sacks #50 Be My Valentine Pontiac~ Sacks qualified 7th in this Dingman Brothers Pontiac, but the engine blew on lap 22, resulting in a 40th place showing~

    Sacks didn't have a sponsor for the race, which was being held on Valentine's Day, so the team just stuck a "Be My Valentine" logo on the hood and went at it~ I'm curious as to where Sacks would have finished if the engine would have held up throughout the race~ I love this car, and I am probably gonna order a real custom of this car in the near future~ Heck, it looks so easy, I could probably make one myself~ I may just try that~

    I'd like to thank you all once again for coming by and visiting the NASCAR Racing Champions blog!~ Please share this post on social media, and click the follow button at the top right hand side of the page~ Below are some Ruttman videos, enjoy them, and come back anytime!~ :)

                                             Joe Ruttman Quaker State commercial~ 1986~
                                        
                                     1991 Champion Spark Plug 400 - Ruttman, Sauter crash~

                                           Finish of the 1997 Kragen/Exide 151~ Amazing~

                                       Joe Ruttman sings "I'm Always A Winner With You"~