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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Jeremy Mayfield #98 Fingerhut Ford

    Hello again to all of you NASCAR Racing Champions diecast fans, and welcome to another installment of the blog~ In this post, I'm going to be looking back on the career of former NASCAR star, Jeremy Mayfield - more specifically his time in the #98 Fingerhut Ford, which consisted of the final half of the 1994 Winston Cup season~

    Mayfield started driving the car midway through the season, after Derrike Cope was fired by team owner, Cale Yarborough~ He started the season driving for the Sadler Brothers, in the #95 Shoney's Ford~ In seven attempts with the team, Mayfield failed to qualify for three races, and his best finish was a 27th showing in the "Pontiac Excitement 400" @ Richmond~ He then ran four races in T.W. Taylor's #02 Children's Miracle Network Ford, with a best finish of 21st, in the "Coca-Cola 600" @ Charlotte~

                                            Mayfield had one heck of a bad rookie season~
Jeremy Mayfield #98 Fingerhut Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 Cale Yarborough 2017

    Mayfield's first race in the Fingerhut car came in the "Miller Genuine Draft 500" @ Pocono, where he qualified 23rd, and Geoff Bodine won the pole in the #7 Exide Batteries Ford~ Bodine crushed the field all day long, leading 156 of 200 laps, and leaving only six other cars on the lead lap~ Ward Burton finished second in the #31 Hardee's Chevrolet, followed by Joe Nemechek, Jeff Burton, and Morgan Shepherd~ Jeremy finished in 21st place, three laps down to the dominant Bodine~

    Next up was the "DieHard 500" @ Talladega, and Mayfield qualified 25th for the event, with Dale Earnhardt taking the pole position~ After his near win at Pocono the week before, Ward Burton failed to make the field for this one, along with nine others who failed to qualify~

    This race was a real nail biter, with Jimmy Spencer winning his season race of the year (as well as his final Cup win) in exciting fashion~ Bill Elliott beat out Ernie Irvan for the runner up spot, with Ken Schrader coming home in fourth, and Sterling Marlin finishing out the top 5~ Mayfield dropped out of the race on lap 140 with wheel bearing issues, and finished in 32nd place~

                                   Mayfield passes Jeff Burton in the Goody's 500 @ Bristol~
Jeremy Mayfield #98 Fingerhut Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 Cale Yarborough 2017

    I would consider this next race Mayfield's crowning accomplishment in 1994~ This was the inaugural running of the "Brickyard 400"  @ Indianapolis, and 87 drivers attempted to make the field, partially due to the large purse~ Despite running sub-par equipment, Mayfield was able to qualify the car in 31st place, and is one of only 43 drivers to have the honor of saying they raced in the first Brickyard 400~

    Now, me personally, I'm not a fan of Indy for NASCAR, but at the time, it was new and exciting.. it was talked about for months, and hyped in the newspapers, and on television~ It was a very big deal at the time, and so just making the race meant a big deal to these guys.. just making the field was like a victory to guys like Mayfield, and even Independent veterans like Dave Marcis~

    As you may already know, Jeff Gordon went on to win the race, followed surprisingly by Brett Bodine, Bill Elliott, Rusty Wallace, and Dale Earnhardt~ Mayfield finished two laps down, in 26th place~ To this day, Brett Bodine finishing runner up in this race surprises me as much as his only Cup win surprised me back in 1990~ It just doesn't seem real, and the 1990 win really isn't real.. but there they are, cemented in history.. it really happened~

                                                 Mayfield battling with Darrell Waltrip~
Jeremy Mayfield #98 Fingerhut Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 Cale Yarborough 2017

     The team then failed to qualify for the "Bud at the Glen" @ Watkins Glen, and moved on to the "GM Goodwrench Dealer 400" @ Michigan, where they rolled off from the 39th spot~ This is the race that Ernie Irvan had his bad practice crash in, and he was hospitalized for several weeks, so the team withdrew from competition for the event~ Geoff Bodine went on to win in the #7 Exide Ford, followed by Mark Martin, Rick Mast, Rusty Wallace, and Bobby Labonte~ Props to Mast on his third place finish by the way.. I was always a fan of his, so it's great when he would have a good day~ Mayfield finished in 23rd place, four laps off of Bodine's pace~

    Mayfield qualified 25th for the "Goody's 500" @ Bristol, and I'm here to tell you, he banged around on everything that night~ He really got his workout that night for sure, and ended up having a fairly decent finish to top it all off~ Harry Gant won the pole for the event, and led 88 laps before fading away at the end~ Rusty Wallace ended up winning the race, followed by Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, and Bill Elliott~ Although he finished fourteen laps of the pace of the race winner, Mayfield was still able to squeak out a 21st place finish~

    The team had a rough time in the "Mountain Dew Southern 500" @ Darlington, where after qualifying 25th, the car suffered a blown engine just shy of 100 to go, and as a result, Mayfield finished in 33rd place~ Bill Elliott passed Dale Earnhardt with thirteen laps remaining, and held on to win the race, followed by Earnhardt, Morgan Shepherd, Ricky Rudd, and Sterling Marlin~ Geoff Bodine won the pole for the event, but also suffered a blown engine, and finished in 27th place~

                                  Jeremy Mayfield and Cale Yarborough Fingerhut postcard~
Jeremy Mayfield #98 Fingerhut Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 Cale Yarborough 2017
    Mayfield qualified 37th in the "Miller Genuine Draft 400" @ Richmond, in a field of only 38 cars~ He didn't have enough time to move up any during the race, as he backed the car into the wall on lap 29, ending his day prematurely with a 37th place finish~ Terry Labonte led nearly half of the race on his way to the checkered flag, and he was followed by Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, and Ricky Rudd~ Brett Bodine, who must have been taking NASCAR brand steroids at the time, finished in 8th place~

    The team rolled off from the 33rd starting spot for the "SplitFire Spark Plug 500" @ Dover, while fellow NASCAR roider Geoff Bodine won the pole again with the #7 Exide Ford~ Bodine and Martin battled all race long, and in the end.. well, let's just say the NASCAR roids kicked in, and ol' Mark Martin's day was done, and Rusty Wallace prevailed over both of them, taking the checkered flag in his famed #2 Miller Genuine Draft Ford~ Earnhardt was second, followed by Darrell Waltrip, Ken Schrader, and that dirty little rat, Geoff Bodine~ Mayfield silently putted his way to a 24th place finish~

    Jeremy and the team failed to qualify for the "Goody's 500" @ Martinsville, and moved on to the "Tyson Holly Farms 400" @ North Wilkesboro, where Mayfield squeaked in by the skin of his teeth, qualifying 34th in the 36 car field~ Geoff Bodine borrowed some more of Brett's NASCAR roids, and led 334 of 400 laps, on his way to another victory~ He was followed by Terry Labonte, Rick Mast (How bout that?~), Rusty Wallace, and Mark Martin~ Mayfield finished in 27th place, a million billion laps down~

                                            Mayfield with Kenny (#28) and Mike Wallace~
Jeremy Mayfield #98 Fingerhut Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 Cale Yarborough 2017

    Mayfield qualified 32nd for the "Mello Yello 500" @ Charlotte, with Ward Burton winning his first Cup career pole~ Geoff Bodine was stomping the field, but gave his car too many NASCAR roids, and blew it up~ The most boring person in the history of NASCAR, Dale Jarrett passed the legendary Morgan Shepherd with four laps remaining to win the race~ Dale Earnhardt was third, followed by Ken Schrader, and Lake "Where'd he come from?~" Speed finished out the top 5~ Mayfield held on to finish in 20th place, for his first top 20 of his NASCAR career~

    Next up was the "AC-Delco 500", where Mayfield would roll off from the 39th position~ Ricky Rudd won the pole in the #10 Tide Ford, and was passed by Geoff Bodine and his NASCAR roids~ The roids got the best of the car again, as Bodine blew yet another engine~ Dale Earnhardt held of Rick Mast for the win, followed by Morgan Shepherd, Ricky Rudd, and Terry Labonte~ I cried when Mast finished second in this race, and wanted so bad for him to get the win~ Mayfield picked up his best finish of the year, with a 19th place showing~

    The team barely made the field for the "Slick 50 500" @ Phoenix, qualifying 41st in the 43 car field, with Sterling Marlin on the pole in the #4 Kodak Chevrolet~ Ricky Rudd was strong early on, leading nearly 100 laps, but faded as the race went on, and Terry Labonte ended up winning the race in the #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet~ He was followed by Mark Martin, Sterling Marlin, Jeff Gordon, and Ted Musgrave~ Mayfield came home in 20th, and would fail to qualify for the final race of the season~ He would start the 1995 season out with newly acquired sponsorship from RCA~

                                               Mayfield getting interviewed @ Richmond~
Jeremy Mayfield #98 Fingerhut Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 Cale Yarborough 2017

    It's sad that when you bring up Mayfield's name these days, everyone just makes fun of him, and calls him a meth head~ I'm not saying he did or didn't do what he's been accused of, but what I am saying is that I'm not gonna be the one to judge him for what he did or didn't do~ From what I've seen of him, he sure doesn't look like any meth head that I've ever seen~ He's always looked healthy, and very fit, and continues to look that way to this day~

    People read things on the internet, or hear things on the "news", and just act like it's the gospel truth, like they were there when Michael Jackson molested little boys, or when OJ killed Nicole~ Guilty or not, we're not worthy of judging them, or anybody else~ I don't know what Jeremy did or didn't do, but I know he was a pretty good race car driver, and the couple of times I got to meet him, he was a nice guy, who totally didn't seem like he was on ANY type of drug whatsoever~

    I still like Jeremy Mayfield, and I don't care if he did use meth, to be honest with you~ We've all done stupid stuff in our lives, and people who act like they never have are the ones you've got to worry about~ I think it sucks that Jeremy never got the chance to get his Cup team up to par before he was banished from the sport~ I never saw him do anything on the track that would warrant a permanent banishment~

                                                   Jeremy Mayfield #98 Fingerhut Ford~
Jeremy Mayfield #98 Fingerhut Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 Cale Yarborough 2017
                                                               Click pics to enlarge~
Jeremy Mayfield #98 Fingerhut Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 Cale Yarborough 2017

    This continues to be one of the greatest looking cars of all time, in my opinion~ The bad news?~ The Racing Champions version of this car tends to crack all over the place where the pink paint is~ It's nearly impossible to find a decent version of this one, and it took me almost two years to find one that I liked enough to buy~ The Derrike Cope version must have been made from a different shade of pink, because it doesn't appear to have the same problem, from the ones I've encountered~

    Nevertheless, this car looked amazing on the track, and it looks amazing in diecast form as well, as long as you can get a good one~ When I was younger, I didn't know what Fingerhut was, and it sounded kinda pervy, plus the car had pink on it, so I figured it was something sexual, so I liked it~ Turns out Fingerhut was just a boring company, and nothing like what I'd imagined with my youthful, dirty mind~

    I give this version of the car an A- on the Racing Champions quality scale, with points taken off for the blandness of the card~ Also, this was a 1995 Preview version of the car, and Mayfield never ran it in 1995, as the team picked up sponsorship from RCA before the start of the year~ I think the car looks amazing in the pictures here, and I really enjoyed doing this post~ Now let's move on to the bonus car for this post, which sadly doesn't look as good as this one, but it's still cool~

                           **BONUS CAR** Patty Moise #37 Crisco Butter-Flavored Buick~
Patty Moise #37 Crisco Butter Flavored Buick Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog custom 1988 BGN Busch

    Behold, Patty Moise's #37 Crisco Butter Flavored Buick~ This was one of the very first cars that I ever Photoshopped, so it's not the best quality, but it was lying around here in the customs folder for a while now, so I figured I'd show it the light~

    Patty drove this car in 11 events during the 1988 BGN season, with a best finish of 15th in the "Commonwealth 200" @ Richmond~ Patty was also the owner of the team, and worked on the cars a lot herself~ She was way better than Danica Patrick ever thought about being, in my opinion, and was a trailblazer for other women drivers, though none have had much success to this date~

    I give this car a D- on the Racing Champions quality scale~ It's barely good enough to even be called a custom car~ Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but I doubt it~ Thank you all for checking out this blog post, I appreciate each and every one of you who enjoy these post, the drivers, their cars, and their history in the cars~ Please share this post with your friends on social media~ Below are some Jeremy Mayfield videos, enjoy them, and I'll be back when I can for another installment of the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog!~

                                                The Mayfield Story~ Part 1~ 16 minutes~

                                               The Mayfield Story~ Part 2~ 16 minutes~

                                                  All of Mayfield's Cup wins~ 7 minutes~

                                                             Top 5 Mayfield crashes~

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