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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"~


                                                      
   



   

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Rick Wilson #44 STP Pontiac

    Hello again, and welcome back to the NASCAR Racing Champions blog, the fastest growing NASCAR diecast blog in the world!~ With last weeks post, we now have over 75,000 views and counting!~ Many thanks goes out to everyone who stops by the blog, and shares the posts on social media with their friends!~ We couldn't have grown so fast without the support of each and every one of you, and I'm extremely thankful for all of the support you've shown!~

    In today's post, we're going back to the start of the 1993 NASCAR Winston Cup season, where we'll take a look back on Rick Wilson's time in the famed STP Pontiac, formerly driven for so many years by the King of NASCAR himself, Mr. Richard Petty~ As most of us know, at this point in his career, Petty was running in the back of the pack during most races.. some of that may have been his age, but another large part of it was due to the outdated equipment Petty's team had~ Wilson's time in the car was dubbed a bust, but in my opinion, a large part of the lack of success in the car wasn't due to him, but mainly the car itself~ Anyway, let's get into this one, shall we?~

                             Wilson and Petty with the newly numbered car, at a... rhino farm?~
Rick Wilson #44 STP Pontiac 1993 NASCAR Racing Champions diecast 1/64 blog Petty Who

    After his retirement from the sport following the end of the 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup season, many in the sports world wondered who was going to be replacing the King of NASCAR in the famous STP Pontiac~ I don't think there was a single one of them who thought he'd pick Rick Wilson, from Bartow, Florida... but to the shock of well, pretty much everyone.. that's exactly what he did~ And being the self praising guy he always will be, he also stated that the #43 would not be on the track anymore, and the car would be renumbered 44~

    Petty was wanting the number retired, but NASCAR said no way~ That's why following this season, he was forced to mark the return of the 43 to the track~ NASCAR stated that teams can hang on to a number for one season, but must use it the following season, or surrender it to NASCAR~ The whole Rick Wilson in the STP thing was weird enough, but the number thing was the icing on the weirdo cake~

    With the driver announcement out of the way, the team headed to Florida for the Daytona 500~ After starting from 14th, Wilson finished 8th in his Gatorade 125 Qualifier, netting him a 15th place starting spot for the 500~ He never was a factor during the race, although he did lead a lap while the leaders were making green flag pit stops~ He eventually was involved in a crash with Bobby Hamilton, who was driving the pink #68 Country Time car.. Racing Champions made a diecast of this car as well, which was in a PVC case~ I believe it was limited to 5,000 pieces~

    With his car totally trashed, Wilson ended up finishing the race in 34th place~ This race was famous for its "Dale & Dale Show" ending, with Dale Jarrett beating out Dale Earnhardt for the victory~ Ned Jarrett was there being annoying, and I didn't like it.. because I was an Earnhardt fan~ I didn't like this 500 at all, because after Wilson went out, I was pulling for Cope, who led 30 laps, but faded at the end, finishing 29th.. then I was pulling for Earnhardt, and boring ol' Dale Jarrett won~ Blah~ One cool thing that happened was that Hut Stricklin finished 4th, driving the #27 McDonald's Ford, for Junior Johnson~

                                                 Wilson on track in the #44 STP Pontiac~
Rick Wilson #44 STP Pontiac 1993 NASCAR Racing Champions diecast 1/64 blog Petty Who

    The series next rolled into Rockingham, North Carolina, for the "GM Goodwrench 500", where Wilson qualified 15th, and Mark Martin won the pole in the #6 Valvoline Ford~ Wilson struggled to make up ground in the race, and ended up finishing in 17th place, three laps off the pace of race winner Rusty Wallace, and the famed #2 Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac~ Dale Earnhardt was 3rd, followed by Ernie Irvan in the #4 Kodak Film Chevrolet, Alan Kulwicki, and Mark Martin finished out the top 5~




    Following the Rockingham race, Wilson went on a streak of five races (Richmond, Atlanta, Darlington, Bristol, and North Wilkesboro) without cracking the top 20~ His best qualifying effort during that span was an 18th at Richmond, for the "Pontiac Excitement 400"~ After seven races, the team found themselves 30th in the points standings~ The next race on the schedule was the Hanes 500, at Martinsville, Virginia, and Wilson qualified 20th, and finished 17th, tying his season high at the time~

    Rick qualified a season high of 4th for the "Winston 500" @ Talladega, while Dale Earnhardt claimed the pole position~ Wilson never was a factor in the race, and finished 16th, one lap off the pace of race winner, Ernie Irvan, who was driving the #4 Kodak Film Chevrolet, for Wilson's former team, Morgan-McClure Motorsports~ Jimmy Spencer had a heck of a run in the #12 Meineke Mufflers Ford, with a second place finish, followed by Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt, and Joe Ruttman finished out the top 5, driving the #20 Fina Lube Ford for Dick Moroso~

                                             Wilson poses in front of the #44 STP Pontiac~
Rick Wilson #44 STP Pontiac 1993 NASCAR Racing Champions diecast 1/64 blog Petty Who

    Rick qualified 20th for the "Save Mart Supermarkets 300K" @ Sonoma, and ended up having his best race of the season, finishing in 8th place, in what would be his only top 10 finish for the team~ The race was won by Geoff Bodine, driving the #15 Motorcraft Ford, followed by Ernie Irvan, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, and Kyle Petty~ The next race on the schedule was the "Coca-Cola 600" @ Charlotte~   

    Wilson used his momentum from the Sonoma race to qualify the car in 9th place for the race, but he blew the engine seventy laps shy of the checkers, resulting in a 32nd place finish~ He qualified 5th for the "Budweiser 500" @ Dover, a track he had won at in the BGN series~ Although he finished the race 5 laps down, he still managed to post an 11th place finish~ Dale Earnhardt won the race, in the #3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet~

    The #44 STP team picked up a 12th place finish in the "Champions Spark Plug 500" @ Pocono, then finished 34th in the "Miller Genuine Draft 400" @ Michigan, due to an oil leak~ Wilson qualified 9th for the "Pepsi 400" @ Daytona, and finished in 11th place~ This race marked the final time that Wilson finished a race on the lead lap for the remainder of the season~

                                               Rick Wilson #44 STP Photograph - Signed~

    Rick qualified 10th for the "Die Hard 500" @ Talladega, but faded away to 23rd by the drop of the checkered flag~ In the final 14 races of the season, he would only crack into the top 20 one time, with a 20th place finish in the "Slick 50 500" @ Phoenix~ A lot of these struggles had to do with the pit crew, and the equipment.. but people were starting to wonder if perhaps Richard Petty made a mistake in his choice of predecessor~

    Wilson had a strong car for the "Bud 500" @ Bristol, qualifying in the 6th position, but was involved in a crash midway through the race, and had to settle for a 28th place finish, in what was easily a top 10, maybe even top 5 car~ Mark Martin went on to win the race, followed by Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt, Harry Gant, and Rick Mast, who picked up a rare, and well deserved top 5 finish~

    Moving on to the "SplitFire Spark Plug 500" @ Dover, Wilson qualified in the 6th position, and was looking strong early on, but was involved in a crash, when he lost control of the vehicle, and slammed into the wall on the driver's side~ Wilson was injured in the wreck, and would be replace by Jimmy Hensley for the Goody's 500" @ Martinsville~ Hensley finished dead last in the car, following a crash, and Wilson was back the following week to finish out the season~

                                                 Wilson in the cockpit of the #44 STP Pontiac~
Rick Wilson #44 STP Pontiac 1993 NASCAR Racing Champions diecast 1/64 blog Petty Who

    Wilson finished out the season with the lone top 10 finish @ Sonoma, and 1 lap led in the Daytona 500~ He finished the season 28th in the championship points standings, and had an average start of 20.3, and an average finish of 24.0~ He ran three races during the 1997, as well as posting a DNQ @ Texas, and attempted to make two races (Talladega, Daytona) in 1998 for Larry Hedrick, but was unsuccessful in both attempts~ 1998 was also the final time Wilson made an appearance in any of the top 3 NASCAR ranks~

    At the end of the season, Petty replaced Wilson with Wally Dallenbach, who was canned mid-season in favor of John Andretti~ It wouldn't be until Bobby Hamilton drove the car during the 1996 that Petty would get his first win since his retirement as a driver~ Wilson bought up some orange groves, and a farm, and lived in Florida to this day~

    He won the 2010 "Scotts EZ Seed Shootout" @ Bristol, driving the #75 Food Country Chevrolet~
This was the race that Larry Pearson and Charlie Glotzbach got injured in when Person's car collided with Glotzbach's, causing severe injury to both drivers, and ending this type of race for good~ Wilson then drove in a X-1R Pro Cup race, driving the #18 Food Country Chevrolet for Charlie Henderson in the "American Freedom Spectacular 200" @ Bristol, where he started 20th, and finished 19th~ This proved to be the final race of his career, to this point~



    I would have liked to see what would have happened to Rick's career if he had stayed with the Kodak team a few more seasons~ That team was smokin' hot with Ernie Irvan, and Sterling Marlin, and I think they would have been just as hot with Rick in the car, if he wouldn't have left them~ I really liked him when he drove for Food Country, so I always pulled for him throughout his career, and I'm proud to call myself a Rick Wilson fan~

                                             Rick Wilson #44 STP Pontiac - Standard Issue~
Rick Wilson #44 STP Pontiac 1993 NASCAR Racing Champions diecast 1/64 blog Petty Who
                                                                 Click pics to enlarge~
Rick Wilson #44 STP Pontiac 1993 NASCAR Racing Champions diecast 1/64 blog Petty Who
                                     Rick Wilson #44 STP Pontiac - PVC Issue~ 1 of 5,000~
Rick Wilson #44 STP Pontiac 1993 NASCAR Racing Champions diecast 1/64 blog Petty Who
                                                                Click pics to enlarge~
Rick Wilson #44 STP Pontiac 1993 NASCAR Racing Champions diecast 1/64 blog Petty Who









    Since I have both versions, I went ahead and posted both the standard, and PVC versions of this car~ I also have the 1/24 in both standard, and bank versions, but didn't include them in the post~ As you may have noticed, there are a few differences between the two versions~ The PVC version is lacking the darker red inside the circle around the numbers on the roof, as is also a darker blue than the standard version, as well as having a lighter color of orange~

    The PVC version also has different contingencies when compared to the standard issue~ My version of the standard issue has a misprint on the driver's side front tire, as it was stamped twice, so that's a little added bonus~ The card features Wilson, along with Petty, and the #44 STP Pontiac, at what appears to be a rhino farm~ I'm actually a pretty big fan of this card, because it seems like such an odd place to do a photo shoot~

    I'm giving the Standard version of this car an A- on the Racing Champions quality scale, while the PVC version gets a B+~ I like the darker blue of the PVC version, and the extra contingencies, but the standard issue just looks more like what the car did in real life, so it gets extra bonus points over its PVC counterpart~ I love both versions, and Rick Wilson is awesome in my book!~ Now, let's get on to the bonus car~

                               Butch Miller #75 Roddenbery's Peanut Butter Oldsmobile~
Butch Miller #75 Roddenbery's Peanut Butter Pickles Oldsmobile 1992 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Charlie Henderson Don

    This is a fantasy car that could have been a reality for the 1992 BGN season, had it not been for a major flub by Food Country USA/Henderson Motorsports owner, Charlie Henderson~ Henderson had a meeting with Roddenbery's about a sponsorship deal with the team, and little did Henderson know, but Mr. Roddenbery himself was the man who showed up for the meeting~

    Charlie rattled off "Roddenbery's?~ What kind of name is that for a food company?~ It sounds like Rottenbery's~ It should be called Rottenbery's"~ It was at that time that Mr. Roddenbery introduced himself, and walked out of the meeting, eventually giving his sponsorship dollars to Steve Grissom's team, and Henderson was forced to continue sponsoring the car out of his own pocket~

    Thank you all for stopping in for this 104th edition of the NASCAR Racing Champions blog!~ Please click the "Follow" button up at the top of the page, on the right hand side, and share this blog post on any social media sites you're a part of~ Each share is greatly appreciated!~ Below are some Rick Wilson clips, enjoy them, and I'll see ya' next time, here on the NASCAR Racing Champions Blog!~ :)

                                    Rick Wilson wins the 2010 Saturday Night Showdown - Bristol~

                                              Wilson/Hamilton crash - 1993 Daytona 500~

                                            Wilson crash - 1993 SplitFire Spark Plug 500~


                                         1989 Pepsi 400 - Multi car crash~ Wilson involved~

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Johnny Benson Jr. #18 Hella Lights / Performance Friction Chevrolet

    Hello, and welcome back to the NASCAR Racing Champions blog!~ I've had a busy schedule the past couple weeks, so I missed last weeks post, but I'm still ahead of schedule, so I hope you'll forgive me~ :P Today's post is on Johnny Benson Jr.'s #18 Hella Lights/Performance Friction Chevrolet, which he drove a total of 7 races in during the inaugural season of the Truck Series~

    He technically only drove this Hella Lights version of the truck in the "1995 Skoal Bandit Copper World Classic", which was the first race of the season, held at Phoenix International Raceway, but ran a similar looking truck during the remaining 6 races he ran throughout the year~ He also failed to qualify for the Lowe's 150 @ North Wilkesboro, which would have brought his total to 8 races ran during the season~ Anyway, let's look back at Benson's time in the #18 Kurt Roehrig Racing Chevrolet~

                                      Benson's only time in the Hella Truck - Phoenix 1995~
Johnny Benson #18 Truck 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Kurt Roehrig Truck Series

    As I stated above, Benson's only race with this specific sponsor came in the 1995 Skoal Bandit Copper World Classic, @ Phoenix~ He qualified 4th for the event, and Ron Hornaday Jr. won the first official pole award in the series, driving the #16 RCCA Products Chevrolet, owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc.~

    After leading the first 23 laps of the race, Hornaday faded back, while Terry Labonte and Mike Skinner put on a show for the fans, battling back and forth for the lead for the remainder of the race~ Lobonte was driving the #5 DuPont Chevrolet, which was painted up like Gordon's old Rainbow Warrior car, while Skinner's truck resembled Earnhardt's famous GM Goodwrench machine~

    In the end, Skinner came home victorious over Labonte, with Ken Schrader finishing 3rd, followed by Joe Bessey, and Geoff Bodine, who finished out the top 5~ Benson was near the front all day long, but faded away near the end of the race, settling for a 10th place finish~


                                            Benson awaits the start of the race @ IRP 1995~


Johnny Benson #18 Truck 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Kurt Roehrig Truck Series

    Due to Benson also running the full BGN Series schedule during 1995, a season in which he ultimately won the Series Championship, he didn't run another Truck Series event until the 10th race of the season, the "Sears Auto Center 125" @ Milwaukee~ He qualified 12th for the race, while Mike Skinner won the pole, and eventually the race, in the famous #3 Chevrolet~

    The race was a three way battle between Skinner, Dennis Setzer, and Ron Hornaday Jr., with the trio combining to lead all but seven laps of the event~ Setzer finished second, followed by Hornaday, Rick Carelli, and Bill Sedgwick~ Benson was able to hold out for a 7th place finish, but never was much of a factor during the race~ He would race in the series again three races later, and would have his best run of the year at IRP~

    Benson qualified on the outside of row number one for the "Action Packed Racing Cards 150" @ IRP, with "Mean" Mike Skinner sitting on the pole~ Skinner led from flag to flag, and never looked back on his way to a dominating victory~ Benson finished in second place, right where he started, and was followed by Rich Carelli, Rodney Combs, and Scott Lagasse~

                                             Benson battles hard with Skinner - 1995 IRP~
Johnny Benson #18 Truck 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Kurt Roehrig Truck Series

    Johnny qualified 5th in the "Fas Mart Supertruck Shootout" @ Richmond, and the pole was won by Terry Labonte in the #5 DuPont Chevrolet~ Though Benson qualified well, he never was a factor in the race, and finished in 11th place~ The race was won by pole sitter, Terry Labonte, with Geoff Bodine coming in second, Mike Skinner third, Joe Ruttman fourth, and Ken Schrader finishing in fifth~ Derrike Cope finished in seventh place, in one of only 15 career appearances in the Truck series~

   Benson had his poorest qualifying effort of the season in the Goody's 150 @ Martinsville, with a 22nd place effort, due to qualifying being rained out~ The pole award was given to points leader, Mike Skinner~ Though he didn't lead any laps, Benson proved to have a strong truck by plowing through the field on his way to a third place finish~ Mike Skinner led a race high 134 of the 150 laps, but in the end, he was outsmarted by a Truck Series legend~

    Joe Ruttman was able to get by Skinner with two laps remaining in the race, and drove the 1-800-COLLECT Ford to victory lane~ Mike Skinner finished in second, followed by Benson, Kenny Wallace, and Hermie Sadler~ I must also not that Kenny's Red Dog truck was super awesome, and one of the best looking trucks of all time~ Also, Ernie Irvan attempted to make his comeback from the crash at Michigan, but failed to make the race, due to qualifying being rained out~

                                                        Benson on track at IRP - 1995~
Johnny Benson #18 Truck 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Kurt Roehrig Truck Series

    Benson made his next to last start of the season in the "Spears Manufacturing 200" @ Mesa Marin, where he qualified in the 11th position~ The pole award went to Bill Sedgwick, driving the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevrolet~ Benson didn't improve much in the race, only moving up one position, to finish in 10th place~ The race was won by Mike Skinner, followed by Mike Bliss, Ernie Irvan, Jack Sprague, and Joe Ruttman~

  Johnny's final race of the 1995 Truck Series came in the "GM Goodwrench/Delco Battery 200" @ Phoenix, where he qualified 15th~ The pole was won by Jack Sprague, driving the #25 Budweiser Chevrolet~ The race was again dominated by Mike Skinner, who led 89 of the 124 laps, on his way to victory, and eventually the series championship~ Skinner was followed by Ernie Irvan, Geoff Bodine, Ted Musgrave, and Ron Hornaday Jr.~

 Benson finished the season with 7 races, 2 top 5's, and 5 top 10's, with an average start of 10.1, and an average finish of 8.6~ He eventually went on to become the 2008 Truck Series Champion, and hasn't raced in the series since 2010, following a bad crash in 2009, that pretty much ended his career~

                          Johnny Benson Jr. #18 Hella Lights/Performance Friction Chevrolet~
Johnny Benson #18 Truck 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Kurt Roehrig Truck Series
                                                                Click pics to enlarge~
Johnny Benson #18 Truck 1995 Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Kurt Roehrig Truck Series

    As I've said in previous posts, I'm a big fan of the Truck Series, and consider it to be the finest of the NASCAR series'~ I like this truck, but it really isn't anything special~ The card is kind of boring, and the truck is basically the same.. just a little boring~

    I was a fan of Johnny Benson, especially during his tenure in the #74 BGN car~ I feel like he should have had more success in the Cup series, but was always on a second hand team, as with Roush~ All of the good Roush cars were given to Mark Martin back then, but drivers like Benson, and Ted Musgrave still managed mild success with their cars~

    On the Racing Champions quality scale, this truck is getting a C+, because it lacks any stand out logos, and doesn't really have a good paint scheme~ The card is also very boring, so it can't get any higher than a C+~ With this truck out of the way, let's move on to the bonus car, shall we?~

                                         Mark Martin #6 Folgers prototype.. never released?~
Mark Martin #6 Folgers Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Custom Prototype Never Released

    This car was sent to me in photo form from a friend of mine that I met through the blog~ As far as he knows, it is a prototype of Mark Martin's #6 Folgers Ford, that was never released by Racing Champions, but a few were made as test samples~ I asked Fred Wagenhals, and he never heard of the car during his time with the company, but did mention that the car was made by his other company, RCCA, which I have in my collection~

    I can't say one way or the other on this one for sure, but my guess is that it is a custom made diecast, and not a true Racing Champions version~ It does have real tampos, and not decals, so that kind of puts me on the fence about my decision~ The color is definitely off for one thing, and I don't recall Martin using chrome rims, though perhaps he did at some point~

    I still like the car, and would certainly enjoy it in my collection, regardless of how it came to be~ I'm gonna give it a C- on the Racing Champions quality scale, since it's the wrong color, wrong rims, doesn't come with a card, or any kind of verification of its authenticity~ If it came with a story of its existence, it would easily be a B+ car, even with its flaws~

    Thank you all for stopping by the blog again~ I'm now an affiliate with the NASCAR Superstore, so along with the videos below, I'm also going to be offering links to special deals on NASCAR merchandise soon~ I tried to do it this post, but it kept saying error when I clicked on it~ :P     
                                       
                                          Johnny Benson/Kyle Busch Incident Martinsville~

                                                     1993 Detroit Gasket 200 - Benson flip~

                                               Benson's 2008 Truck Series Championship~

                                       1995 Red Dog 300 - Huge wreck - Benson involved~