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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 basically ignored him.. later confessing 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 little Ned~

    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"~




  1. The top 5 by Ruttman at Dega was the best finish for the Moroso Race Team. Dick had 15 different drivers for a total of 68 Cup and BGN races.

  2. I think you meant to say that the team ran a total of 68 Cup races~ They ran way more than that in BGN, and won several races, including the points championship in 1989~

  3. Diggity Dave-You are correct! My mistake! THANKS for correcting my error!

    1. Thanks for checking out the blog, Allan~ :)

  4. Diggity Dave - I spoke to Joe this morning. I will be seeing him next week and we will look at your blog then. Thanks for posting his racing experience.

    1. That's awesome!~ I was always a fan of his, and had a ton of respect for him~ Joe Ruttman never winning a Cup race is to me, a bigger shocker than Mark Martin never winning the championship~ He was a wheel man for sure!~