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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~

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