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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Joe Bessey #9 Auto Palace / AC-Delco Pontiac

    Hello, and welcome once more to the NASCAR Racing Champions blog!~ In today's post, I'm going to be taking us back to the 1992 BGN season, where we'll relive Joe Bessey's time in the #9 Auto Palace/AC-Delco Pontiac~ This was a beautiful car, and one of my personal favorites of the time period~

    Bessey competed in nine events during the 1992 BGN campaign, as well as having one DNQ for the "All Pro 300" @ Charlotte~ He entered six races driving his own car, two for Dennis Shoemaker in the #64 Pontiac, and one for (I'm assuming) Ed Whitaker in the #7 Pontiac~ I say assuming because that's the number Ed ran back then, and I could never find who the owner of that car was when Bessey drove it~ Now before I tell the whole story in the intro, let's get this show on the road~

                                                     Bessey heading towards pit road~
Joe Bessey #9 Auto Palace AC Delco Pontiac Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 BGN Busch Grand National

    Joe's first start in the Auto Palace/AC-Delco Pontiac came in the 1992 BGN season opening "Goody's 300" @ Daytona~ The Busch North regular qualified 14th for the event, which is pretty danged impressive, considering 10 drivers failed to make the 44 car field, including Harry Gant, Tommy Ellis, and Terry Labonte~

    Michael Waltrip put Chuck Rider's #30 Pennzoil Pontiac on the pole, with "Front Row" Joe Nemechek on the outside of row number one, driving the #87 Texas Pete/Lozito's Chevrolet~ From the start of the race, down to the checkered flag, this race was cram packed full of action, as well as bad crashes~ Canadian driver Randy MacDonald's #01 GM Auto Parts Pro Shop Pontiac was involved in a crash early on, and his car caught on fire~ Later in the race, the same would happen to Joe Nemechek, who nearly lost his life due to the severity of his fiery crash~

    As the race was nearing its conclusion, Butch Miller's #75 Food Country USA Oldsmobile lost an engine, sending Miller spinning into the grass, and bringing out the final caution of the day~ As the race got back underway, it was a six car battle for the victory, with Dale Earnhardt coming out victorious, followed by Ernie Irvan, Ward Burton (his first Daytona start!~), Jimmy Spencer, Robert Pressley, and Rick Mast, who finished 6th in the #0 Skoal Classic Oldsmobile~ Bessey was involved in a crash on lap 66, which also involved Shawna Robinson, and the damage was too much to repair, knocking him out of the race, with a 35th place finish~   

                                      Bessey seemed to be around Shawna a lot back in '92~
Joe Bessey #9 Auto Palace AC Delco Pontiac Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 BGN Busch Grand National

    Bessey was back for the next race on the schedule, the "Goodwrench 200" @ Rockingham, and this is the race where he ran the #7 Pontiac~ Clifford Allison was in the #9 car, and since he qualified higher than Bessey, who was a Busch North driver, he was awarded the #9 for the race, but I don't understand why Bessey then went with the #7~

    In other races where this was the case, he ran the #91 car, and #91 wasn't entered in this race.. so I'm confused as heck about his number choice for this event~ When I started writing this post, I thought maybe for some reason he was in an Ed Whitaker car for this one, but now I'm thinking that wasn't the case.. for the simple reason that Whitaker didn't run Pontiacs.. he mainly ran Buicks around this time~ So I've come to the conclusion that this #7 car was owned by Quint Boisvert, who owned a #7 car during the 1992 season, with Curtis Markham making at least two starts in the #7 Skoal Bandit Pontiac~

    The pole was won by Jeff Gordon, driving the #1 Baby Ruth Ford (his second career BGN pole), and there were no DNQ's for this event~ Bessey qualified 28th, but ran well, led for 25 laps, and avoided accidents throughout the night, narrowly missing his first career top 10, with an 11th place finish~ Ward Burton fought off Mark Martin to win the event in the #27 Gwaltney's Big 8's Buick~ A 1/64 diecast was produced by "Trackside Collection" of Ward's winning car, with a production run of 20,000 pieces~ Davey Allison finished third, followed by Dale Earnhardt, and Kenny Wallace~

                                                      Bessey getting serviced in the pits~
Joe Bessey #9 Auto Palace AC Delco Pontiac Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 BGN Busch Grand National

    It must have bothered the heck out of Bessey that he didn't get that top 10 finish at Rockingham, because he was back the following week for the "Hardee's 200" @ Richmond, where he qualified 26th~ Jeff Gordon won the pole again, and Chuck Bown started alongside him on the front row~ As the race got underway, Bown passed Gordon before he could lead a lap~ He would lead the first 47 laps, before Bobby Labonte took over in the #44 Slim Jim Chevrolet~

    Labonte led the next 61 laps, before being passed by Harry Gant in the #7 Mac Tools Buick~ Gant led the remaining 92 laps of the event on his way to victory~ Kenny Wallace was second in the Rusty Wallace owned #36 Dirt Devil Pontiac, followed by Bobby Labonte, Darrell Waltrip, and Joe Nemechek, who never missed a race following his fiery crash at Daytona~ Nemechek would go on to win the 1992 BGN championship by season's end~

    Bessey (who was driving the #91 car due to qualifying lower than Clifford Allison) ran a strong race all day long, and it paid off in the long run, as he would score his first BGN career top 10 with a 10th place finish~ This would also be his season best finish during the 1992 BGN season~ Following the race, Bessey found himself 11th in the BGN point standings~

                                                       Bessey battles at New Hampshire~
Joe Bessey #9 Auto Palace AC Delco Pontiac Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 BGN Busch Grand National

    Bessey and team then followed the series to Atlanta, for the "Atlanta 300", where he was back in the #9 car thanks to beating Clifford Allison out in his qualifying session, where he qualified 33rd, while Allison rolled off from the 36th position, driving the #91 Holiday Inn Atlanta Oldsmobile~ Jeff Gordon won his third pole in a row, and Tracy Leslie turned some heads as well, putting the #72 Detroit Gasket Oldsmobile on the outside of row number one~

    The race had only gotten underway when a large twelve car pileup happened, putting several big name drivers out of the event, including Ernie Irvan, Tom Peck, Ward Burton, Darrell Waltrip, Chuck Bown, Clifford Allison, and Shawna Robinson~ Bessey was also involved in the accident, but was able to continue on, though he was several laps down due to repairs~ He ended up finishing 23rd, thanks in part to so many cars being crashed out of the event~ This was also the only time during the season that Bessey drove an Oldsmobile~ I would imagine this is because he crashed his car during practice, and leased a car from someone else before the start of the race~

    Jeff Gordon had the dominant car pretty much all day long, and easily went on to win his first career BGN race~ Rick Hendrick was there watching in the suites that day, and Gordon's win caught the eye of the famed owner, who went on to sign Gordon at the dismay of the Ford Motor Company~ Harry Gant came home in second place, followed by Hut Stricklin, Davey Allison, and Morgan Shepherd~ Dave Mader III also had a great run, finishing 6th in what would be his final career top 10, as well as the final race of his NASCAR career~ (He attempted to qualify for the Charlotte race in 1995, but DNQ'd)~

                                                        Promo shot of Bessy's #9 Pontiac~
Joe Bessey #9 Auto Palace AC Delco Pontiac Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 BGN Busch Grand National

    I don't know this for sure, but after Bessey crashed the Oldsmobile that I figured was leased to him because he totaled perhaps the only car he had, he started driving the #64 Pontiac for Dennis Shoemaker, and I think it was just because he didn't have a car, but still had his sponsorship, which was transferred over to the Shoemaker cars~

   Bessey ran two races for Shoemaker in the #64 Auto Palace/AC-Delco Pontiac ("Pontiac 200" - Nazareth, "Goodwrench 200" - Dover~), with a best finish of 24th in the Nazareth race~ He blew an engine in both events, but was able to save up enough money to purchase another car for his own team, and returned to driving his own cars for the remainder of the season~

    Following the Atlanta race, Bessey found himself 12th in the BGN point standings, but following his seven race absence, he dropped all the way down to 30th~ By the time he had finished his two race stint with Shoemaker, he fell two more spots to 32nd~ He would run three more events during the 1992 BGN season, two of those three were at Loudon, N.H., in what was considered his "home track", even though he was from Maine~
 
                                                    Bessey gets spun out by Jeff Gordon~

    Back in his own #9 Pontiac, Bessey qualified 10th for the "Budweiser 300" @ Loudon, with Kenny Wallace winning the pole in the #36 Dirt Devil Pontiac~ Bobby Labonte was alongside Wallace on the outside of row number one, and 46 drivers started the race, with no known DNQ's~

    Jimmy Spencer had a heck of a car, driving the #20 Daily's 1st Ade Oldsmobile, but he was involved in a crash with Clifford Allison which ended his day less that 100 laps into the event~ Hut Stricklin also had a fast machine, leading 71 laps in the #92 Stanley Tools Oldsmobile before ignition problems ended his day prematurely~

    Todd Bodine looked like the car to beat nearing the checkered flag, but he ran out of gas with five laps remaining, and wound up finishing in 6th place~ The lead was then passed to Jeff Burton, who led the remaining five laps to win the event~ Robert Pressley was second, followed by Bobby Labonte, Tom Peck, and Curtis Markham, who earned his best career finish with his 5th place run~ Bessey's car was damaged throughout the race, resulting in a 21st place finish~

                                                          Bessey's #9 at New Hampshire~
Joe Bessey #9 Auto Palace AC Delco Pontiac Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 BGN Busch Grand National

    Five races later, the BGN series was back at Loudon for round two, and Bessey made his first start since the last Loudon race~ He qualified 16th for the event, while Ernie Irvan claimed the pole position in the #4 Kodak Oldsmobile, with Chuck Bown on the outside of row number one in the #63 Nescafe/Nestea Pontiac~

   Ernie was in a league of his own until his engine gave out, then it was a battle between Dale Earnhardt, and Jeff Burton~ Burton finally faded away, but Joe Nemechek came up and started battling with Earnhardt, finally taking the lead with 43 laps remaining~ Nemechek and Earnhardt put on one heck of a show, in what was easily one of the top 3 greatest finishes ever at Loudon, but in the end, it was Nemechek who came out victorious, after battling side by side with Earnhardt on the final lap to take the win~

   Bessey was involved in a spin that also involved Mike Stefanik, who had the same sponsor as Bessey, though I doubt they were teammates~ The spin dropped Bessey to a 17th place finish, while Stefanik finished 15th~ Todd Bodine finished third, and was followed by Jeff Gordon, and Ken Schrader~ Dick McCabe had a nice 12th place finish in the #0 Fisher Snow Plows Buick~

                                                       More battlin' at New Hampshire~
Joe Bessey #9 Auto Palace AC Delco Pontiac Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 BGN Busch Grand National

    Bessey ran his final face of the 1992 BGN season in the "AC-Delco 200" @ Rockingham, where he rolled off from the 15th position~ Jeff Gordon won the pole, and Ward Burton was on the outside of the front row~ For some reason, Bessey drove the #93 for this event~ Mike Wallace drove the #9 car, but he qualified below Bessey, so Bessey should have had the #9.. and why he didn't use the #91 is beyond me~

   Mark Martin crushed the field all day long, leading 140 of 197 laps on his way to the checkered flag~ He beat out pole winner Jeff Gordon, who was followed by Todd Bodine, Darrell Waltrip (this was Darrell's final BGN top 5), and Harry Gant~ Bessey finished where he rolled off, in 15th place, three laps off the pace of the race winner~

   Bessey ended his 1992 BGN season with 9 starts, with 1 top 10, 50 laps led, with an average start of 19.0, and an average finish of 20.2~ He earned a total of $32,618 on the season, and finished 42nd in the final point standings~ Bessey would go on to earn one career win in the BGN series when he won the 1997 "MBNA 200" @ Dover~ He ran basically the entire 1993 BGN series schedule driving the #97 Auto Palace/ AC Delco Pontiac/Chevrolet/Oldsmobile, and a few races with "Delco Battery" in 1994, before losing the Delco sponsorship~

                                           Joe Bessey #9 Auto Palace/AC-Delco Pontiac~
Joe Bessey #9 Auto Palace AC Delco Pontiac Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 BGN Busch Grand National
                                               What's with all of this extra information?~
Joe Bessey #9 Auto Palace AC Delco Pontiac Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 BGN Busch Grand National
                                                                Click pics to enlarge~
Joe Bessey #9 Auto Palace AC Delco Pontiac Oldsmobile Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1992 BGN Busch Grand National

    I don't usually add a photo of the back of the cards, because they're usually all the same.. the driver's name, date of birth, and residence, as well as their signature, and that's about it~ But just look at Bessey's card!~ I'm surprised it doesn't list his favorite color, and favorite food~ They listed so many details that there was no more room to put his signature at the bottom of the card~ I don't know of another Racing Champions card that has this much information on the back, especially from the 1992 set or before~

   The car itself is a real beauty, and one of my favorites~ I've also got his #97 Delco car in 1/43 scale, and I think I like it better than this one~ The blue rims are just an added bonus, though his car did have them in real life~ It's nice to see them on a Racing Champions car~ With the exception of a few minor details, this car is the spitting image of his 1992 BGN car, and I'd give it a B- on the Racing Champions quality scale, mostly due to the dumb picture they used for the card~ What an awful card this thing is!~ I'm sure even Bessey himself would agree with me on that~

   Though the card sucks, I really enjoy having this car in my collection~ It's a very noticeable car when displayed along with the rest of the 1991-92 set, and it's easily one of the top 10 best looking cars from those sets~ Once I can get a little bit of extra money saved up, I'm gonna get someone to make me some custom Racing Champions cards for the drivers who had dumb cards~ It's just not fair to have an awesome car, and some boring looking card~ Let's move on now and take a look at the bonus car for this post~

                                                     Rick Mast #2 Alka-Seltzer Pontiac~
Rick Mast #2 Alka Seltzer Ponitac 1990 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog custom D.K. Ulrich Charlotte Coca-Cola 600 Jimmy Means

    Here we have the Rick Mast #2 Alka-Seltzer Pontiac, driven by Mast in the 1990 "Coca-Cola 600" @ Charlotte~ Mast only drove this Alka-Seltzer sponsored Pontiac once, due to the fact that it wasn't his sponsorship to begin with~ Jimmy Means' #52 Alka-Seltzer Pontiac failed to make the field for the event, so he passed his sponsorship over to the Ulrich team, which was sponsorless at the time~

    Mast qualified 36th for the event, and blew up a little past the halfway point, resulting in a 31st place finish~ Rusty Wallace totally destroyed the field all night, leading 306 of the 400 lap endurance race, on his way to victory lane~ Bill Elliott finished second, followed by Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip, and Ernie Irvan, who drove the #2 Ulrich Ponitac during the 1989 season, with sponsorship from Kroger~ 

    This is a pretty awesome car, and to tell you the truth, I was unaware of it until the other day~ Whenever someone finds my blog through Google search, etc., the blogger site shows me what the keywords were in their searches~ The other day I noticed someone found my blog by typing "Rick Mast #2 Alka-Seltzer Pontiac".. and it intrigued me~ So I found a picture of the car, and got to work on making a Racing Champions car featuring Rick in the Alka-Seltzer car~ So it's all thanks to some unknown race fan that this one was made~ It would be cool if that person eventually sees this picture, and realizes it was made because of their search~

    Thank you all for visiting the blog once more~ Please share this post on social media, and click the "Follow" button at the top right hand side of this page~ Below are some videos featuring Bessey throughout his career, and some other stuff since there isn't much on the guy.. enjoy them, and until my next post, please... stay alive, don't drink and drive!~

                                               Top 5 Joe Bessey crashes~ *FriskyNixon*

                                                      Bessey's only BGN career victory~

                                               Rick Mast hard crash~ 1994 Watkins Glen~

                                                 The Revs - Go or Blow~ Old racing song~
          
     
   
   
                                                                  

   


   
    
  

    
   


    

Friday, August 4, 2017

Neil Bonnett #31 Mom 'n' Pops Chevrolet

    Welcome back to the NASCAR Racing Champions blog~ In today's post, I'm going to be looking back on the final two Cup starts of Neil Bonnett's career, specifically his next to last race, where he drove the #31 Mom 'n' Pops/Goodwrench Chevrolet~  I've been thinking about Neil a lot here lately, and yes, I've already did a post on him in the past.. but I just felt like it was time to bring him up again for some reason~

   When I look at this car, I'm filled with lots of different emotions.. some are happy, while others are sad.. and others times I just wonder what it would have been like had he not got back in the drivers seat.. all the great commentary we lost, and all the great family time the Bonnett family lost~ We all lost Neil together, and together we can help keep his memory alive for years to come~

                                               Neil was thrilled to be back in a Cup car~
Neil Bonnett #31 Mom n Pops Goorwrench Western Steer Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1993 Talladega Atlanta

    Neil Bonnett had been out of racing since his crash in the 1990 "TranSouth 500" @ Darlington~ In 1992, he started doing some testing for Richard Childress, which fueled Bonnett's fiery passion for racing~ He started talking to Earnhardt about how he was wanting to get back to driving again, and Earnhardt convinced Richard Childress to give Bonnett the car Dale won the Pepsi 400 in, and let him drive it at Talladega~

    When word got out that Bonnett was gonna be racing at Talladega, fans snatched up tickets, and millions tuned  in to see the return of the man from Alabama make his return to the highest form of NASCAR~ I remember the first time I saw Bonnett's car on television, how I thought it looked even cooler than Earnhardt's car did~ That big red Mom 'n' Pops logo just popped on tv~ Bonnett's son David attempted to make the field for the BGN race, but his engine blew in qualifying, and he failed to make the field~

                                                  Bonnett awaits his qualifying session~
Neil Bonnett #31 Mom n Pops Goorwrench Western Steer Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1993 Talladega Atlanta
 
    The 1993 "Die Hard 500" was just completely filled with NASCAR history before it even started~ Buddy Baker was attempting a one off deal with Rick Hendrick in the developmental #46 DuPont Chevrolet, and as the story goes, certain drivers didn't feel comfortable racing around Buddy, due to recent blood clots in his brain at the time~

    It has been said that Baker was then blackballed by NASCAR officials when his car was impounded, and adjustments were made to the cowl~ These adjustments made the car two seconds slower than he was in practice, thus assuring Baker wouldn't make the field for the event~ The other drivers who failed to make the race were Rich Bickle, Bobby Hamilton, Clay Young, and Kerry Teague (no relation to Brad Teague)~

   When qualifying was over, Bonnett found himself rolling off from the 20th position, while his ol' buddy Dale Earnhardt qualified in 11th~ The pole position was awarded to "Awesome" Bill Elliott, and the #11 Budweiser Ford, with Ernie Irvan and the #4 Kodak Film Chevrolet on the outside of row number one~    

                                          Neil awaits the start of the 1993 "Die Hard 500"~
Neil Bonnett #31 Mom n Pops Goorwrench Western Steer Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1993 Talladega Atlanta

    This was the first race at Talladega since the death of Davey Allison, and for some weird reason, Robert Yates put Robbie Gordon in the #28 Havoline/Our Teammate Forever Ford~ As fate would have it, Gordon would bring out the first caution of the day, putting him out of the race with a last place finish~ I feel like Davey was smiling that day~ Robbie Gordon doesn't deserve to drive Davey's car at Talladega, and it was like Davey put a stop to it himself~

    The next caution happened on lap 70, and it was a massive, vicious crash that sent Johnny Horton and the #32 Active Chevrolet over the wall, and out of the race track in tremendous fashion~ Rick Mast, Loy Allen, Kenny Wallace, Stanley Smith, and Ritchie Petty were also caught up in the incident, with Smith getting the worst of it~

    As track workers were checking on Horton, it appeared obvious that something was wrong with Smith~ He appeared on raw footage of the race completely soaked in blood, as a tire from one of the other cars came through and hit him in the face, while it was still attached to the car~ Smith had sustained a basilar skull fracture in the accident, and spent many months in recovery~ This is the same kind of skull fracture that would later kill Bonnett, as well as Earnhardt, Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, and several others before safety measures were improved~

                                                   Ted Musgrave ruined it for everyone~
Neil Bonnett #31 Mom n Pops Goorwrench Western Steer Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1993 Talladega Atlanta

    Bonnett was battling with Ted Musgrave, and Jimmy Hensley on lap 132 when Musgrave gave Bonnett a tap coming out of the turn, sending him slamming into the wall and catch fence~ Hensley was caught up in the accident, as well as Loy Allen, who was making his second career Cup start~ Bonnett's car was totaled, and he finished what would be the last full race of his Cup career in 34th place~

    After a lengthy delay to repair the catch fence, racing resumed.. and man, what a battle it was!~ I've probably watched this race over 100 times in my life, and it's just a wild race from the start, and all the way down to the finish~ It ended up being a six car battle for the win, and eventually a five car battle when Bobby Labonte's #22 Maxwell House Ford ran out of gas~

    In the end, Dale Earnhardt prevailed over Ernie Irvan by just a couple of inches~ They ran the remaining 49 laps under green, and battled like maniacs the entire way to the checkered flag~ No need for "green white checkered" overtime crap.. these guys knew how to race, and they proved it in this wild race at Talladega~ Mark Martin finished third, followed by Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett~

                                                     Neil's final race~ Atlanta - 1993~
Neil Bonnett #31 Mom n Pops Goorwrench Western Steer Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1993 Talladega Atlanta
 
    Neil's final Cup race was ran as a favor to his ol' buddy Dale Earnhardt, to help him secure his sixth Winston Cup championship~ Ten drivers would fail to qualify for the 42 car field, but Neil wouldn't be one of them, as he had secured a 35th place starting spot with his qualifying run~ A few notable drivers who failed to make the show include Jeremy Mayfield, Jimmy Means, Bob Schacht, John Andretti, Norm Benning, and P.J. Jones~

    Earnhardt qualified 19th, and had to finish 34th or better to win the championship, and Rusty Wallace pretty much had to win the race to have a chance~ When the race went green, Bonnett did as he had been told, and pulled in after three laps  with "engine" issues~ Earnhardt held on for a 10th place finish, and even though Rusty Wallace won the race, still had enough points to secure his sixth Winston Cup Championship~

    Rusty was followed to the checkered flag by Ricky Rudd, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott, and Dick Trickle~ Neil's three lap run was good enough for last place, in what would be the final race of his career~ But not before he gave it another go at the start of the 1994 season, driving the #51 Country Time Chevrolet~

                                                   Neil with Donnie and Bobby Allison~
Neil Bonnett #31 Mom n Pops Goorwrench Western Steer Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1993 Talladega Atlanta

    Neil never got to make a start in the #51 Country Time Chevrolet, as he passed away after being involved in a practice crash just nine days before the start of the 1994 "Daytona 500"~ I could have written quite a bit more about Bonnett, and the 1993 "DieHard 500", but it's all been written about much better than I could do.. and I just wanted to go over the basics with everyone again with this post~

    Bonnett's career was full of highs and lows, just the same as all the other drivers, but he had a unique personality.. a very likeable personality that current drivers lack~ I miss that the most about Neil, and drivers like him~ They were genuinely nice guys... smart guys, who had wonderful personalities~ I could sit and listen to Neil talk for hours about racing, and never get tired of it~ He just had a way of talking that regular guys like me admired, and could relate to~

   I find myself watching old episodes of "Winners" all the time~ That show can't be replicated because Neil made it what it was... he was that show~ You could duplicate the show, but you just can't duplicate Neil Bonnett's personality that we all admired and enjoyed over the years~ Neil's memory will live on as long as I'm alive, and hopefully for many years after that~

                                                 Neil Bonnett #31 Mom 'n' Pops Chevrolet~
Neil Bonnett #31 Mom n Pops Goorwrench Western Steer Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1993 Talladega Atlanta
                                                               Click pics to enlarge~
Neil Bonnett #31 Mom n Pops Goorwrench Western Steer Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1993 Talladega Atlanta

    This car was released in the 1993 Premier set, and had a limited release of 10,000 pieces~ As with all Premier cars, I'm not a fan of the gold stand, and gold trim on the card~ I'm also not a fan of the fat tires the Premiers had, or the clear windows~ Some people prefer the clear windows to the standard black ones, but they started out with the blacked windows, so that's what I prefer~

    Other than that, Racing Champions captured the beauty of Neil's real car pretty flawlessly~ Every little detail is there in 1/64 scale form, just the way his car was back in 1993 @ Talladega~ The card features Neil grinning from ear to ear in front of the car, and you sure can tell how happy he was to be back at the track as a driver~

    I give this car a B+ on the Racing Champions quality scale, with points taken off for being a Premier car instead of a standard issue~ The current price of this one isn't much cheaper than its 1/24 scale counterpart, with the cheapest 1/64 version currently on Ebay going for 33 bucks, whereas the 1/24 version can be found for $39.00 after shipping~ The main problem with these Bonnett #31 cars is that people aren't offering them for sale, thus the high price point when they do~

   I'm not saying that's an issue all the time.. I lucked up and found mine at the flea market for a couple bucks, but that's not normal.. so be happy if it happens to you~ Usually you find a bunch of commons, but moments like finding a Bonnett Mom 'n' Pops car for a couple bucks are what the hunt is all about!~ I have nearly 1,400 diecasts now, and I'd guess that less than 50 of them were bought on Ebay~

  Ebay takes the fun out of going and finding them on your own, and I personally only use it for cars that I know I don't have a chance of finding locally, or whenever I see one going for so cheap that I just can't pass it up~ I recently bought a Sterling Marlin #40 Prilosec OTC Dodge Action 1/64 from Ebay, but only because I got it for $1.75 free shipping~ I would never have found such an odd promo for that price, so I picked it up~ You can overspend on these little hunks of metal and memories... and that doesn't have to be the case~ Before I ramble your eyes out of your head.. let's just move on to the bonus car for this post~

                                                    Diggity Dave #14 Dekalb Corn Ford~
Diggity Dave #14 Dekalb Corn Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog trucker hat fantasy car custom

    Well, here's this ol' thang~ I've got a hat that has the Dekalb corn logo on it, and so I made this car out of boredom one day~ As with the previous post, I have other cars that I'd like to post now, but I've got several requested cars I've still got to post, and a lot of these "Diggity Dave" fantasy cars that I've got done up already... so I'm trying to get that stuff out of the way a little bit first~

    Obviously I never raced this car, but if I did... I don't think I would have won any races~ Dekalb Corn sounds like a sponsorship Derrike Cope would have, and I don't think his sponsorship deals are worth too much, so best case scenario.. let's just say for pretend that I got a danged top 5 somehow at Bristol, let's just blame it on Danica crashing a bunch of people, knocking them out of the race.. and I survived through it to finish 3rd, behind Morgan Shepherd in the #21 Citgo Ford, and Derrike Cope in the #12 Mane n' Tail Shampoo Ford~ See.. in fantasy world, anything is possible~ So congratulations on your 3rd Winston Cup victory, Derrike!~ :)

    Ok, back into reality world... as of this post, the blog now has over 100,000 views, so I want to thank everyone that has visited during these past couple of years for that accomplishment~ I've enjoyed doing these posts, and hope you've enjoyed reading them~ Please share this post on social media, and click the follow button at the top of the page here~ Below I've included some clips from throughout Bonnett's career, and until next time, always remember... You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd!~ :P

                                                               1983 Daytona 125 win~

                                            Neil wins the 1980 Talladega 500~ Amazing!~

                                                           1993 Die Hard 400 crash~

                                               Inside Winston Cup Racing tribute to Neil~
                                                                               

Friday, July 28, 2017

Davey Allison #1 Lancaster Tobacco Chevrolet

    Welcome once more to the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog~ In today's post, I'm gonna be taking you back to the 1985 Winston Cup series, where we'll be look back on Davey Allison's time in the #1 Lancaster Tobacco Chevrolet~ Davey made his Winston Cup debut in this car, which was owned by long time Cup series owner, Hoss Ellington~

    Allison attempted to make the field for the 1985 running of the "Daytona 500", as well as the "Coca-Cola 500" @ Atlanta, driving the #77 McCord Gaskets Chevrolet owned by Marvin Ragan (David Ragan's uncle), but failed to make the field for either event~ Allison continued to race in the ARCA series throughout the year, but finally got another chance at the Cup series with a call from Ellington~ The rest is history, and we're gonna relive that history right now~

                                              Allison's first Cup race at Talladega - 1985~
Davey Allison #1 Lancaster Tobacco Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1985 Hoss Ellington Debut Rookie

    You'd think it would be fitting that Allison made his debut at Talladega, being a member of the "Alabama Gang", but in all actuality it would have been more fitting had he made the field for the "Daytona 500"~ Many fans aren't aware that Davey was born in Hollywood, Florida, and that he started his racing career in gator country~

    Though he wasn't a native of Alabama, Davey was a master at Talladega, pretty much from the start of his career~ Heading into the "Talladega 500", Bill Elliott was the talk of the town, as he had been for basically the entire 1985 season~ His bright red #9 Coors Ford was a dominate force at the time, especially at the superspeedway tracks~ As was expected, Elliott put the #9 Ford on the pole for the event, beating out an aging Cale Yarborough for the honor~

    Davey qualified 22nd in what would be his Winston Cup debut, and though that's not great, it must have felt like he won the pole~ After two failed attempts earlier in the season, he was finally going to be in a Winston Cup race, racing against his heroes, as well as his father~ Two drivers failed to make the field for the event, Eldon Dotson, and Dick Skillen~

                                        Davey shared row 11 with Harry Gant in his debut~
Davey Allison #1 Lancaster Tobacco Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1985 Hoss Ellington Debut Rookie

    At the start of the race, Elliott's car was clearly the car to beat, and it looked like the race was gonna be for second place, because nobody was gonna catch Awesome Bill~ Following the first caution of the day, Elliott's team struggled on pit road, putting him way back in traffic~ He was able to zip right through them and get right back to the lead, and his happened several times throughout the day~ The only person who could even come close to Elliott was Cale Yarborough, driving the #28 Hardee's Ford~

    Davey got as high as 2nd place under caution, but was never able to take the lead, and faded once the race restarted~ Midway through the event, the driveshaft on the Trevor Boys car malfunctioned, and it flew into Dale Earnhardt's car, and shattered the windshield~ Pieces of the windshield cut Earnhardt's face, and he could be seen blood covered in his car as repairs were made~ He made it back out and finished the race, though he was a bloody mess~ With around 20 laps remaining, Elliott's car lost a cylinder, which ended his chance at victory, and sent Cale Yarborough into first place~

    Cale led the remaining 22 laps with relative ease, and went on to win the event, in what turned out to be the next to last win in NASCAR~ Neil Bonnett came home in second, followed by Ron Bouchard, Bill Elliott, and A.J. Foyt, who picked up the final top 5 of his NASCAR career~ It would also be the final top 10 of his career as well~ Davey Allison finished the race in 10th place, picking up his first top 10 in his first career start in the Cup series~ 

                                    Davey ran the final two races in this black Lancaster car~
Davey Allison #1 Lancaster Tobacco Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1985 Hoss Ellington Debut Rookie

    Allison wasn't back in the Cup series until 8 races later, for the "Miller High Life 500" @ Charlotte, and when he showed up to the track, the car was sporting a new black paint scheme~ He qualified 17th for the event, with "Handsome" Harry Gant taking the pole position in the #33 Skoal Bandit Chevrolet~ Tim Richmond was on the outside of row number one in the #27 Old Milwaukee Pontiac~ Glenn Sears was the only driver who failed to make the show~

    Harry Gant led the majority of the race, but blew an engine with less than 100 laps remaining, handing the lead over to Bill Elliott, who had the second most dominate car of the day~ Elliott then led 35 laps before being passed by Cale Yarborough, who led the remaining 46 laps on the way to the final victory of his NASCAR career~ The first two Cup starts of Davey's career were won by Yarborough~

    Elliott finished runner-up (though he gave Cale one heck of a race), and was followed by Geoff Bodine, Darrell Waltrip, and Joe Ruttman~ Davey's engine gave out on lap 307, relegating him to a 19th place finish, which was still better than Dale Earnhardt, who finished in 20th~ In his first two Cup races, Davey finished higher than Earnhardt on both occasions~ Not too shabby for a youngster making his debut in the Cup series~

                                                Davey's car on pit road at Charlotte - 1985~
Davey Allison #1 Lancaster Tobacco Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1985 Hoss Ellington Debut Rookie

    Davey's final race of the 1985 Winston Cup season came in the "Atlanta Journal 500" @ the old Atlanta International Raceway~ He qualified 32nd, running the black paint scheme again, while his teammate Rick Wilson, who was filling in for David Pearson in the #21 Chattanooga Chew Chevrolet qualified 31st~ "Handsome" Harry Gant was on the pole again, alongside Geoff Bodine on the front row~ Ten drivers failed to make the field for the event, including Doug Heveron, Jim Sauter, and Blackie Wangerin~

    The race was a fierce, and very vicious battle between Bill Elliott and Cale Yarborough all afternoon~ During the middle of the race, Cale's car was exceptionally strong, but he faded a bit near the end.. not enough to fade out of competition for the win, but enough for Elliott to catch up to him and make it an exciting race~ In the last 50 laps of the event, Cale's car fell off even more, allowing Elliott to ease his way into victory lane one more time~

    Yarborough finished second, and was followed by Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, and Morgan Shepherd~ Davey was the first driver to fall out of the event following a blown engine on lap 52, so he picked up his first career last place finish in 42nd~ His teammate Rick Wilson was able to finish the race in 18th, seven laps off the pace of the race winning car of Elliott~ 

                      Davey keeping an eye on Harry Gant in his Cup debut~ Talladega - 1985~
Davey Allison #1 Lancaster Tobacco Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1985 Hoss Ellington Debut Rookie

    Davey finished out his unofficial rookie campaign with 3 starts, and 1 top 10 finish~ He ran a total of 539 laps, and had an average start of 23.7, with an average finish of 23.7~ He finished 70th in the final points standings for the1985 Winston Cup championship, which was won by Darrell Waltrip and the #11 Budweiser team, owned by Junior Johnson~

    Allison would compete in another partial season in 1986, running 4 races with the Sadler Brothers (while also failing to qualify for an additional two races) in the #95 Chevrolet, with a best finish of 12th in the "Miller High Life 400" @ Richmond~ He also filled in for the injured Neil Bonnett for the "Talladega 500", driving the #12 Budweiser Chevrolet to a 7th place finish~

    He made his official run for "Rookie of the Year" in 1987, winning two races, with 5 poles, 9 top 5's, and 10 top 10's~ He easily won "Rookie of the Year" honors, with an average start of 9th, and an average finish of 14.2~ He finished 21st in the final championship points standings~ Throughout his entire Winston Cup career, Allison averaged one win for every ten races he entered, with 19 career victories in 191 starts~

                                           Davey Allison #1 Lancaster Tobacco Chevrolet~
Davey Allison #1 Lancaster Tobacco Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1985 Hoss Ellington Debut Rookie
                                                                Click pics to enlarge~
Davey Allison #1 Lancaster Tobacco Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1985 Hoss Ellington Debut Rookie

    This car was produced for the 1994 Premier set, and was limited to 10,000 pieces~ Racing Champions didn't make many of these 85-88 Monte Carlos, and the only ones that come to my mind are Darrell Waltrip's #17 Tide, Dale Earnhardt's #3 Goodwrench, and Kirk Shelmerdine's #3 Goodwrench car~

    Racing Champions did a mighty fine job on this diecast, and I'm also very happy with the card for this one~ Sterling Marlin drove this car for 10 races in the 1986 season, with sponsorship from Bull's Eye Barbecue Sauce, and the number 1 looked the same on that car~ I'm a big fan of the way they did that number~ This car is pretty awesome all the way around~ It's clean, crisp, and void of any major flaws~ You can't ask for more from a Racing Champions diecast~

    I'm giving this car an A+ all the way on the Racing Champions quality scale, even though I'm not a fan of the gold stand and gold trim on the Premier cards~ This is probably my favorite Premier car of all time, and the only one I would like better is the black version of this car~ I don't think that one was ever produced, but I've learned to never say never with Racing Champions~ I personally would value this car in the 17-20 dollar range, though you can sometimes find it cheaper if you're not impatient~ And now, without any further adieu.. I give you the bonus car for this post~

                                              Rick Wilson #27 Indianapolis Colts Ford~
Rick Wilson #27 Indianapolis Colts Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1997 Brickyard 400 Indy NFL

    I had another car picked out for this bonus car post, but after I found out that Wilson was Allison's teammate for a race, I had to change my plans~ This car was driven by Wilson in the 1997 Brickyard 400, and the Colts sponsorship literally came together at the last minute~ Wilson was trying to revive his career following a four year absence from the Cup series, and had teamed up with David Blair to drive the #27 Blair Motorsports Ford~

    His first race back was in the "Miller 400" @ Michigan, where he qualified 31st, and finished 21st~ He next raced the car five races later for the "Brickyard 400" @ Indy~ Even in the qualifying session, Wilson's car was sponsored only by Blair Motorsports, with their logo on the hood of the car~ Once it was known that Wilson wasn't going to be one of the ten drivers who would DNQ for the event, the Indianapolis Colts came on board just in time for the race~ Wilson would start the race from the 34th position~

                                                       What the actual car looked like~
Rick Wilson #27 Indianapolis Colts Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1997 Brickyard 400 Indy NFL

    Wilson wasn't really even shown during the race, and had a forgettable 21st place finish~ Ricky Rudd went on to win the race, and Wilson ran one more race for Blair Motorsports, finishing 19th in the "UAW-GM Quality 500" @ Charlotte~ He attempted to run two races (Talladega, Daytona) in 1998 in Larry Herdick's #41 Kodiak Chevrolet, but failed to make either event~ Following these two DNQ's, his Cup career was officially over~

    This car doesn't truly represent Rick's Brickyard car 100%, because I couldn't find many shots of the car to get it 100% correct~ This is my interpretation of what the car looked like, and I feel like it's close to what the real thing looked like~ I just couldn't get a clear shot of the hood to tell what the logo above "COLTS" was~ Thank you all for visiting the blog~ I hope you enjoyed this post, and share it with your friend on social media~ Below are some videos from Davey's career, though I can't find much from his 1985 season without having to post full races, and I'm just not doing that~ If you enjoy this blog, please click the "follow" button at the top right hand side of this page~ And until next time, eat a cow for your tomorrow... eat a cow for us, and all the world to share~ :)

                                               Davey's first Cup win - 1987 Winston 500~

                                                        Remembering Davey Allison~
 
                                                   Davey is furious with Geoff Bodine~

                                       First Turn: Best Rookie Seasons - #8: Davey Allison~

    
     

   
       

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Max Dumesny #5 Crane Cams / Landrigan's Earthmoving Pontiac

    Hello again, and welcome back to the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog~ Today's post is going to be a special "Australian" post, where we'll be looking back on Max Dumesny's time in the #5 Crane Cams/Landrigan's Earthmoving Pontiac, which he drove his rookie season in the Australian NASCAR series~

    Now, I must start off by saying that I am very upset with the Australians for their extremely poor record keeping of the Australian NASCAR series~ I researched until my eyes started bleeding, and still came up with pretty much nothing informational about the stats of the series~ So in the famous words of Dave Marcis, I'll have to do the best with what I got on this one~

                                                            Dumesny heads for the pits~
Max Dumesny #5 Crane Cams Landrigan's Earthmoving Pizza Hut Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1991 1992 1993

    The idea of bringing NASCAR to Australia was first brought up by four time Australian Touring Car champion, Bob Jane~ He personally invested $54,000,000 to build the Calder Park Thunderdome, which he modeled after Charlotte Motor Speedway~ They broke ground for the track in 1986, with hopes of running the first race in 1987~

    With the completion of the Calder Park Thunderdome extensions in 1987, the much delayed debut NASCAR race finally happened near the end of the year, with the first major event, the "Goodyear NASCAR 500" running on February 28, 1988~

    Initially Cup drivers such as Neil Bonnett, Bobby Allison, Michael Waltrip, Dave Marcis and Kyle Petty visited the Thunderdome but they lost interest over time, so big name "guest" drivers were lured from circuit racing to help sweeten the pot~ Star touring car drivers Allan Grice and Dick Johnson were both early supporters of the concept, with both traveling to America to race in the Cup Series, although they had little success~

                              Dumesny also had brief sponsorship from Pizza Hut, shown here~
Max Dumesny #5 Crane Cams Landrigan's Earthmoving Pizza Hut Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1991 1992 1993

    I forgot to mention this before I got started, so I guess now is a good time to mention that his last name is pronounced "dumbs-knee" for those who didn't know~ For the longest time, I was calling him "Max Doom-ez-knee"~ As with many American drivers, Max got his start on dirt tracks, and is a muli-time champion spanning all sorts of racing divisions, though Sprintcars were his specialty, with 7 championships~

    Dumesny married his wife Melinda (who is also a Sprintcar driver) in 1986, and they have four children, all of whom are now racers themselves~ Max just turned 58 on July 12th, and is still winning races and track titles, in a career that has spanned more than 35 years~ In 2015, the Speedway Racing Association of Victoria granted "Life Membership" to Dumesny, and allocated his racing number "V5" to only be used by a Dumesny~

    Max finished runner up in the Championship standings in his rookie campaign in the Australian NASCAR series~ I don't know if he won any races, because I couldn't find any stats for that season~ I did find where he was runner up, and that he drove this Pontiac~ The following season, the team switched to Oldsmobiles, and Dumesny won the championship~

                                                           Dumesny blows an engine~
Max Dumesny #5 Crane Cams Landrigan's Earthmoving Pizza Hut Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1991 1992 1993

    Dumesny won 3 races during the 1992-93 Australian NASCAR season, as well as winning his only championship in the series~ Two years later, he again finished runner up in the points battle, before focusing more on his Sprintcar career~ The series folded in 2001, due to the growing popularity of the V8 Supercar series~

    I really don't know what else to say about Dumesny's time in the Australian NASCAR series~ Records weren't properly kept, and if they were, they're not anywhere on the internet~ I guess Australian's just didn't really care for NASCAR, so no one cared to save any records, or preserve them on the internet for others to view~

    I was able to find a couple of races, and took some nice screenshots of his cars, but I have nothing to write about other than what I've already written, so there's no point in adding the other pictures~ If anyone is interested in them, just email me @ buttermilkjug@yahoo.com, and I'll send them to you~ I feel kind of horrible about this post, but it's out of my control.. it's the Australians fault~ I tried everything I could think of to find those stats, but kept coming up empty~ Shame on you, the Australians.. shame right on you~

                             Max Dumesny #5 Crane Cams/Landrigan's Earthmoving Pontiac~
Max Dumesny #5 Crane Cams Landrigan's Earthmoving Pizza Hut Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1991 1992 1993
                                                              Click pics to enlarge~
Max Dumesny #5 Crane Cams Landrigan's Earthmoving Pizza Hut Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1991 1992 1993

    It's a shame I couldn't find those stats to do a proper post on Dumesny, because I really like this car~ Yeah, it's a little basic... but it's pretty noticeable on the track (from the races I saw), and it's also pretty noticeable in your Racing Champions collection~ It stands out a lot since many people in America have never even heard of Max Dumesny, let alone seen his Racing Champions diecast~

    If you enlarge the pictures, you can see the "Thunderdome" contingency on the car~ Racing Champions also made a Thunderdome car for their 1992 Track/Event car set, which is one of the harder ones to obtain, along with the pink/blue Dover Downs car~ You pretty much just have to order it from Ebay, because it's basically impossible to find, at least where I'm from~ I did luck out and find this Dumesny car at my local flea market~ It was in the dollar bin, and I grabbed it out as fast as I could~

   The card for this one isn't the best, but it's better than some~ I would have preferred a shot of Dumesny standing in a field with the car~ I'd give this car a B+ on the Racing Champions quality scale for that very reason~ I enjoy having this car in my collection even if I couldn't find all the information I wanted to find for it~ It's a little piece of NASCAR history, albeit a totally forgotten piece thanks to the greedy butt Australians~ Let's just move on to the bonus car for this post~

                                            Robbie Stanley #62 Linville Racing Chevrolet~
Robbie Stanley #62 Linville Racing Chevrolet 1992 1993 1994 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Robbie Stanley was an extremely talented USAC Sprint Car driver who dominated the series during the early 1990's, winning three straight titles from 1991-1993~  He was a native of Indiana, born on November 16th, 1967~

    After failing to obtain sponsorship for his BGN car, Stanley decided to try for a fourth USAC championship~ It was a decision that sadly cost him his life, as he was killed during an accident at Winchester Speedway on May 26th, 1994~

    This isn't the best job I've done on a custom~ I'm not very pleased with the numbers, but it was the best I could do with what I had to work with~ This car was requested by a member of a diecast forum that I am for some reason no longer allowed to reply on~ Hopefully he sees that it finally made it onto the blog~ Below are some videos on Dumesny and Stanley, enjoy them.. and please share this post with your friends on social media~ :)

                                                      Very short Dumesny interview~

                           Dumesny wins the 1989-90 World Series Sprintcar Championship~

                                                  Very short Melinda Dumesny interview~
             
                                                Robbie Stanley tribute from Dave Despain~
   

    

   
   

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra

    Hello again, and welcome back to the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog~ In today's post, I'm going to be looking back on the career of one of NASCAR's greatest independent drivers in the history of the sport, Mr. James Harvey Hylton~ Hylton's NASCAR career started back in 1964, when he ran three races in Bondy Long's #71 Ford at the age of 29~ He last raced in the Cup series in the 1993 running of the "TranSouth 500" @ Darlington, but made his final Cup attempt for the 2009 Daytona 500, where he was forced to withdraw due to engine woes~

    Though Hylton hasn't raced in the Cup series since 1993, he was a regular in the ARCA series for 23 years, running his final ARCA race in 2013 @ Kansas, for the rain shortened "Kansas Lottery 98.9", where he finished in 18th place at the age of 78~ In this post, I'm going to be focusing specifically on Hylton's 1970 season, which was the main season that he drove the #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra~ Though he ran other Ford makes during the season, I'm just going to discuss the season as a whole, and not focus on which races he specifically drove the Talladega in~

                                         Colorized photo from 1972 "Talladega 500" win~
James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra 1970 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Hylton's first race driving a Ford as an owner came in the 1970 "Richmond 500", and man did he start things off on the right foot~ After falling seven laps down due to problems in the pits, Hylton soared back to the front of the pack following battery issues with Richard Petty's Plymouth~ James led the final 160 laps of the race on the way to his first career victory~ Richard Petty came in second, followed by Elmo Langley, Bobby Isaac, and Neil "Soapy" Castles~

    James started and finished 3rd in the "Savannah 200" @ Savannah Speedway in Georgia, and followed that up with a 6th place finish in the "Atlanta 500", and a 4th place run in the "Southeastern 500" @ Bristol~ The following week @ Talladega, James finished in 8th place in the "Alabama 500" after starting from 22nd~

    Hylton qualified 4th for the "Gwyn Staley 400" @ North Wilkesboro, and though he finished the race four laps off the pace of race winner Richard Petty, he still came home in the 4th position, earning $1,500 for the day~ North Wilkesboro paid much better than a lot of tracks back then, as Hylton's 5th place finish in the "Columbia 200" a few days later only paid $325~ Though that sounds like a very small amount of money, it was enough to keep the team going back then, albeit barely~

                                                           Side shot of Hylton's car~
James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra 1970 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Moving on to the "Rebel 400" @ Darlington, Hylton qualified 13th in the 36 car field, and was able to work his way up to a 4th place finish behind race winner David Pearson, Dick Brooks, and Bobby Isaac~ The following week saw the series in Beltsville, Maryland for the "Beltsville 300", where James picked up his only pole of the season~ He led a total of 19 laps, but was beat out by Bobby Isaac for the win~ Hylton finished runner up, followed by Bobby Allison, Neil Castles, and Dave Marcis~

    The next stop on the schedule was in Hampton, Georgia for the "Tidewater 300", where Hylton qualified 3rd, and came home in the 4th spot~ He then finished 5th in the "World 600" @ Charlotte, picking up race winnings of $6,200~ Donnie Allison won the race, followed by Cale Yarborough, Benny Parsons, Tiny Lund, and Hylton~

     Hylton qualified 6th for the "Maryville 200" @ Smokey Mountain Raceway in Maryville, Tennessee, and worked his way up to a runner up finish, behind Bobby Isaac~ Neil Castles finished 3rd, followed by Dick Brooks and Dave Marcis~ The 1/2 mile track didn't pay that well, with Hylton earning 900 dollars for his runner up finish, and race winner Bobby Isaac picking up 1,500 dollars~ Isaac led every lap of the event on his way to victory~

                                                    Colorized close-up of James Hylton~
James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra 1970 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Up next on the schedule was the "Virginia 500" @ Martinsville, where James qualified in the 10th position~ 39 drivers started the race, and only 1/2 of them made it to see the checkered flag~ Richard Petty won the pole for the event, but the race was rain delayed, and Petty was injured at Darlington before they could return to run the Martinville race, so the pole was given to LeeRoy Yarbrough instead, and Petty would miss the race due to his injuries~

    Hylton wound up finishing the race in 7th place, and he may have finished a little bit better, but the race was ended early due to rain~ Bobby Isaac took the win, followed by Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, and Dick Brooks~ Hylton finished 8th the following week at Michigan for the running of the "Motor State 400"~ Cale Yarborough won the event, followed by the late Pete Hamilton, David Pearson, LeeRoy Yarbrough, and Bobby Isaac~

    The series next raced at one of my favorite discontinued tracks on the circuit, Riverside International Raceway, in Riverside, California~ James qualified 5th, and came home in 3rd place, and I feel like this race in particular shows just how good of a racer Hylton really was~ Though he didn't win, Riverside was a fiercely tough track on equipment, as well on the drivers themselves.. so to come out of there with a 3rd place finish as an independent driver.. it must have felt like a victory for the underfunded Hylton team~ Richard Petty won the event, followed by Bobby Allison, Hylton, John Soares, Jr., and Dick Guldstrand~

                                    Hylton battles with Bobby Isaac during the 1970 season~
James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra 1970 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Next up was Hickory, North Carolina for the "Hickory 276", where Hylton qualified in the 5th position~ Bobby Isaac was on the pole, and led all 276 laps of the event on his way to victory~ He was followed by Dick Brooks, Dave Marcis, G.C. Spencer, and Bill Seifert, who picked up the final top 5 finish of his career~ James ran well in the race, staying in the top 5 all day long, but his throttle hung up on him late in the race, putting him out of contention, and resulting in a 13th place finish in the 22 car field~

   The following week the series headed to Kingsport, Tennessee for the "Kingsport 100"~ This track still exists today, and is a local favorite of mine since I live about 20 minutes away~ James qualified 7th for the event, with Richard Petty on the pole in his 1970 Plymouth~ NASCAR ran a total of three races here, with the last one being held in 1971, and Richard Petty won two of them, with Bobby Isaac winning the final event held at the track~

    Petty dominated this race, leading 263 of the 297 laps on his way to one of his record 200 victories~ James finished runner up, albeit 2 laps down, and he was followed by Dave Marcis, Bobby Allison, and Neil Castles~ I should also mention about Kingsport that it started out as a dirt track, then was converted to asphalt for the 1969 season before being converted back to dirt in 1984, and eventually being converted back to asphalt as it is currently~

Hylton withdrew from the 1970 Daytona 500 in his #48, driving instead the #23 Star City Plymouth~
James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra 1970 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Hylton started 8th for the "Greenville 200" @ Greenville-Pickens Speedway, with Bobby Isaac on the pole~ Isaac led all but 10 laps of the 200 lap event on his way to victory, and Hylton finished in 4th place, three laps down~ In the return to Daytona, Hylton qualified 13th in the 40 car field, and held on for a 7th place finish~ The race was won by Donnie Allison, followed by Buddy Baker, Bobby Allison, Charlie Glotzbach, and Dick Brooks~    

    Next up was the tiny .362 mile paved track known as Albany-Saratoga Speedway, in Malta New York, where Hylton qualified 5th, with Isaac again claiming the pole position~ Richard Petty went on to win the race, while James fell one position to finish in 6th place~ Hylton's winnings for the race.. 300 bucks.. for a 6th place finish!~ He would then finish 8th in the "Thompson 200" @ Thompson Speedway, followed up with a 5th place effort in the "Schaefer 300" @ Trenton Speedway~

    The series next raced at Bristol, for the "Volunteer 500", where Hylton had his worst finish (not counting crashes or mechanical issues) while in his own equipment, with an 11th place finish~ Bobby Allison was credited with the win in the #22 Coca-Cola Dodge, followed by LeeRoy Yarbrough, Bobby Isaac, G.C. Spencer, and Richard Petty~ When I said Allison was "credited with the win", it's because Donnie Allison was actually behind the wheel due to Bobby being under the weather~ The same goes for LeeRoy Yarbrough, as Dave Marcis was finished the race in Yarbrough's car~ Donnie and Marcis had both fell out of the race earlier due to mechanical problems~

                           Hylton celebrates his first career win at Richmond - 1970~ Colorized~
James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra 1970 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    After all you've read so far, I still have 20 races to go to finish out Hylton's 1970 season, so forgive me, but I'm gonna speed through the remaining 20, because I only have three more pictures and this has been an extremely long post~ Hylton finished 4th in the "East Tennessee 200" @ Maryville~ That was followed up by a lap 17 crash in the "Nashville 420" @ the Nashville Fairgounds, which resulted in a 28th place finish~ He rebounded the following week with a 10th place finish in the "Dixie 500" @ Atlanta~

    The next stop on the circuit was in Hylton's home state of South Carolina for the "Sandlapper 200" @ Columbia Speedway, where he scored a 9th place finish~ He then finished 2nd in the "West Virginia 300" @ Ona Speedway, which still exists today if you're ever up that way, it's worth checking out~ Hylton followed his runner up finish with a 9th place effort @ Michigan for the "Yankee 400"~

    The following week the series was back in Talladega for the "Talladega 500"~ James qualified 10th in the 50 car field, and came home in the same position~ Pete Hamilton won the race in the #40 7-Up Plymouth, in what would be his final victory for Petty Enterprises~ James then went on to finish 4th in the "Myers Brothers 250" @ Winston-Salem's Bowman Gray Stadium, in a race won by Richard Petty~ This was follwed up with a 5th place run @ South Boston, where Richard Petty was again the victor~

                                      Hylton's car awaits the start of the 1970 "Citrus 250"~
James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra 1970 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    James had a 7th place finish in the "Southern 500" @ Darlington, in one of the most grueling races of the season~ He followed this up with a 5th place finish in the "Buddy Shuman 276" @ Hickory, in a race won by Bobby Isaac~ Richard Petty was second, followed by Bobby Allison, Dick Brooks, and Hylton~ This was Isaac's final race at the legendary track, as he didn't attempt to run the 1971 races, and they quit running there following that season~

    After qualifying 5th for the "Capital City 500" @ Richmond, Hylton slid back a bit to finish in 8th place~ Would it surprise you to know that Richard Petty won this race?~ I didn't think so~ After qualifying 25th for the "Mason-Dixon 300" @ Dover (his worst qualifying effort of the season), Hylton clawed his way up to the front and was able to salvage a 7th place finish at the Monster Mile~ I'm gonna surprise you now and let you know that Richard Petty also won that race~ It must have been miserable back then to NOT be a Petty fan~ The guy won on a CONSTANT basis, and it must have angered a lot of fans, though I wouldn't have been one of them~ I love watching footage of vintage Petty in action~

    Hylton qualified 8th for the "Home State 200" @ Raleigh, and held on for a 4th place finish~ Wouldn't you just know that the race winner was Bobby Isaac... I'm lying, it was Richard Petty again~ :P Moving on to North Wilkesboro for the "Wilkes 400", James qualified 8th, and moved up a few positions to finish in 5th place~ Bobby Isaac won the race, and I'm not lying this time.. he really did~ The King had to settle for runner-up, followed by Donnie Allison, Bobby Allison, and Hylton~

                                        Another shot from victory lane @ Talladega - 1972~
James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra 1970 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    After qualifying 16th for the "National 500" @ Charlotte, Hylton was involved in a lap 126 crash involving Don Tarr, resulting in a 29th place finish~ He would fair better in the "Old Dominion 500" @ Martinsville the following week, where he rolled of 14th, and came home in the 8th spot~ He next finish 6th in the "Georgia 500" @ Macon, followed up by an 8th place effort in the "American 500" @ Rockingham, and ended the season with a 5th place finish in the "Tidewater 300" @ Hampton~

    Hylton's 1970 season ended with 47 races ran, notching 1 win (Richmond), 1 pole ( Beltsville), 22 top 5's, and a whopping 39 top 10's~ He led a total of 199 laps, and had an average start of 10.1, and an average finish of 8.1, and earned $78,201 in race winnings~ Bobby Isaac went on to win the 1970 championship, his first and final time doing so in his illustrious career~

    James finished 3rd in the 1970 championship points battle~ He would finish 2nd the following season, driving a mix of Fords and Mercurys, but went winless, and for the most part sponsorless throughout the season~ He would pick up sponsorship from Pop Kola for most of the 1972 season, and would win his second and final race of his Cup career that year as well~

                                         The final ride of James Hylton~ Kansas - 2013~
James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra 1970 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Hylton made his final start as a driver in the 2013  "Kansas Lottery 98.9" @ Kansas, in the ARCA series at the age of 78~ He finished 18th in the rain shortened event, ending a career that spanned 49 years~ In his 32 year NASCAR career, Hylton ran a total of 602 races, with 2 wins, 4 poles, 140 top 5's, and 301 top 10's~ It's jawdropping to think that half of the races he ever entered resulted in a top 10 finish~

    For his entire Cup career, Hylton had an average start of 17.0, with an average finish of 13.5~ As an independent driver with stats like that, it's easy for me to say that Hylton would have won multiple championships if funded the way that Petty was at the time~ The guy did this in his own equipment, with no backing from the manufacturers whatsoever~ I mean, Dave Marcis was a pretty dang good independent driver, but Hylton is just in a class all by himself as far as I'm concerned~ He's a true NASCAR hero and legend, and I feel like he should be recognized by NASCAR as a Hall of Fame driver, as he should be~

    It makes me so mad that drivers like boring Dale Jarrett are in the Hall of Fame, while a driver of Hylton's caliber will be forever snubbed~ He finished runner up for the championship three times in his career driving extremely overused, worn out, cheap equipment.. and he made it work~ He's a true testament to the sport, and a legend in my eyes eternally~ God bless you, James Hylton!~ And thank you for being a respectable, honest, hard working man your entire life!~ :)

                                          James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra~
James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra 1970 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog
                                                                Click pics to enlarge~
James Hylton #48 Ford Talladega Torino Cobra 1970 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    Although they're collectable now, and somewhat expensive compared to standard Racing Champions issues, people didn't really buy these "Collector's Series" cars that much back when they were new~ That would explain their higher price currently~ These were always on the discount racks back in the day, and I'm sure tons of them were bought cheaply and given to children, who tore them open and destroyed most of them~

    These days the "Collector's Series" cars are sought after by collectors, and some of them are pretty hard to track down~ I still don't own a complete set of any of them, though I am close to having them all~ I think Racing Champions did a fine job on these, with the exception of the cards which I never cared for~ The pictures they used are hideous, and extremely grainy, and I hate that they used black and white photos for all of them, even though there are plenty of color photos of each driver~

    I give this car a B+ on the Racing Champions quality scale, with points taken off due to the boring card~ The car itself is pretty awesome, and I especially love the gold color on the car~ I'm glad that Racing Champions included a couple of Hylton cars in these sets~ My favorite is his winged car, and I'll eventually be doing a post on that one as well, though it may be a year or so before I get to it~ I've got a ton of others to do first~ Well, I've rambled on about Hylton for long enough.. so let's get into the bonus car for this post, which is one of my favorites that I've made so far~

                                                Butch Leitzinger #03 Bobcat Chevrolet~
Butch Leitzinger #03 Bobcat Mcintosh Equipment Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 Winston Cup debut Watkins Glen


    Butch Leitzinger is a champion in all kinds of levels of racing, including IMSA (ALMS) WSC (twice), IMSA (ALMS) GTU (once),  USRRC Can-Am (once), and a three time overall winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona~ He is a test driver for Bugatti, and is considered a master of road course racing, but his time in this #03 Bobcat Chevrolet ended in doom, despair, and plenty of agony for Butch~

    Leitzinger made his Cup Series debut in this car for the 1994 running of the "Bud at the Glen" @ Watkins Glen, where he qualified 38th~ An oil leak ended his day nine laps shy of the checkered flag, which resulted in a 38th place finish for Butch~ Mark Martin boringly dominated and eventually won the event to the dismay of myself and many others, I'm sure~ I was hoping Ernie Irvan would be able to get the win, but he came home in the runner-up spot, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Ken Schrader, and Ricky Rudd~  

    Butch ran a total of three more Cup races in his career, with a best finish of 12th in the 1995 "Bud at the Glen", driving the #40 Kendall Pontiac for the Dick Brooks team~ He dang near won the 2000 running of the "Lysol 200" @ Watkins Glen in the BGN series, but Ron Fellows narrowly beat him out~ Butch was driving the #30 Little Trees Chevrolet that day, while fellows was driving the #87 Bully Hill Vinyards Chevrolet, owned by Joe Nemechek~  His finish was overshadowed by Jimmie Johnson's death defying crash that happened going into turn 1~ 

    I think this is one of my favorite Photoshop customs that I've made~ I messed up a little bit on the checkerboarding, but oh well.. I still think it looks pretty appealing~ Thank you all for visiting the blog again, or for the first time!~ Please share this post with your friends on social media, and click the follow button at the top of this page~ I've added some videos below from throughout Hylton's career.. enjoy them, and I'll be back soon with another installment of the NASCAR Racing Champions blog~

                                            James Hylton destroys Dodge in an interview~
                                   
           Hylton speaks about bonus money for qualifying @ Martinsville & championship battle~

                                                      Hylton segment for Daytona 500~

                                      James Hylton sings "All American Stock Car Racing Fan"~