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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~

   

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