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Monday, May 29, 2017

Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet

    Hello once again diecast fans, and welcome to the NASCAR Racing Champions blog~ I hope you're all having a wonderful Memorial day today, and I'd like to start this post by thanking all of the soldiers who died for our freedom~ They may not be around to see my gratitude, but we should never forget those who lost their lives for our country~

    In today's post, I'm going to be delving into the history of Tom Peck's time in the #31 Channellock Chevrolet, which was owned by BGN champion Steve Grissom, and his father Wayne~ Grissom had won the championship with the car during the 1993 season, and was moving up to the Cup series full time for the 94 season, and the team pegged Peck as their driver of the future~ The marriage was short lived, as Peck was outed from the car just eight races into the 1994 BGN season, all but ending his NASCAR career~

                                                           Tom Peck #31 Promo card~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    Peck qualified 35th for the season opening "Goody's 300" @ Daytona, while Michael Waltrip won the pole in the #30 Pennzoil Pontiac~ A total of 21 drivers failed to make the field for the event, including Jimmy Spencer, Hut Stricklin, Patty Moise, and Jason Keller, among others~ A slew of Cup drivers were in the field for this one, including Dale Earnhardt, Dale "Boring" Jarrett, Terry Labonte, Ernie Irvan, Sterling Marlin, Bill Elliott, Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip, and Ken Schrader~

    With the exception of the conclusion of the race, the event was moderately boring, with the Cup guys leading all but four laps of the thing~ In the end, Dale Earnhardt passed Terry Labonte on the final lap in dramatic fashion to win his fifth consecutive Goody's 300~ He was followed to the line by Dale Boring, Chad Little, Terry Labonte, and Ernie Irvan, in what sounded more like the conclusion of a Cup race, minus the fact that Little was third~

    Although the spot light wasn't shown on him hardly at all during the event, Tom Peck was able to claw his way to a 10th place finish, picking up his first top 10 with his new team in his very first start~ It looked like Peck was in for a heck of an awesome season, and he was more than eager to drive his car into victory lane for the first time in his career~ It looked as though he wouldn't have to wait long before his dream became a reality~ But the greedy ol' Grissoms were already plotting his demise~

                                    Peck's car receives medical attention~ Richmond - 1994~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    Next up on the schedule was the "Goodwrench 200" @ Rockingham, and Peck and the #31 team qualified 24th for the event~ Robert Pressley grabbed the pole in the #99 Papke Racing Chevrolet~ This was to be the final consecutive start for legendary BGN driver, Tommy Houston, as he failed to make the field for the upcoming Richmond race~ Up until then, he had started every single BGN race since the inception of the series in 1982~

    I have to admit, this was a very pleasurable race to watch, with the exception of the race winner, who I find to be almost as boring as Dale Jarrett, but a little more genuine, so that makes up for it~ Dennis Setzer led a majority of the race in the #59 Alliance Training Centers Chevrolet, but faded in the end to finish 9th~ Terry Labonte led the final 29 laps of the event to take the checkered flag~

    Labonte was followed to the line by "Handsome" Harry Gant, Hermie Sadler, Randy LaJoie, and Robert Pressley~ Our ol' pal Tom Peck silently fought his way to a 6th place finish, narrowly missing out on his first top 5 with the team~ His record so far was pretty good however, and following the race, he was 4th in the BGN championship points standings~ But don't get too excited about his success... them sneaky ol' Grissoms are hot on his tail, and they're mighty hungry - and the only thing that'll satisfy their hunger is Tom Peck's NASCAR career~

                                          Custom Tom Peck poster made from an old shirt~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    The #31 car wasn't up to speed @ Richmond for the "Hardee's Frisco 250", qualifying 36th in the 39 car field~ He did however beat out several Cup drivers to make the field, including Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Michael Waltrip, Kyle Petty, Dale Boring, and Bobby Labonte, among others~

    The Peckster was collected in a lap 28 crash when Mike Stefanik lost control of his #1 Luxaire Ford~ Peck slid into the wall - ripping the back bumper off of his car, before heading to the pits~ He was able to get back out on the track, but was caught by the leaders and put a lap down~ Peck was able to get his lap back, and stayed out following a lap 111 caution to take the lead~ Confusion ensued, and it took NASCAR 16 laps of caution to figure out the starting order of the field~

    When the field was set, the green flag waved - and Peck made one lap around the track before coming in for four tires~ Back then, the only way you could take on four tires in one stop was under green flag conditions~ As a result of his lengthy pit stop, he came out two laps down, and wound up four laps down by the end of the race, finishing in 20th place~ The race was won by Joe Nemechek, who led 147 of the 250 laps on his way to victory~ He was followed by Kenny Wallace, Harry Gant, Elton Sawyer, and Hermie Sadler~

                                            Side shot of the Peckmobile~ Richmond - 1994~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    Tom qualified 29th for the "Busch Light 300" @ Atlanta, while Shawna Robinson became the first female in the history of NASCAR to win the pole position~ She would be taken out on the first lap of the race by that nasty little weasel Mike Wallace, who in my opinion deserves another punch in the mouth~

    Mark Martin had the car to beat early on, but a blown engine put him out of contention on lap 155~ Harry Gant led the final 42 laps of the event on his way to the final victory of his BGN career~ He was followed by Larry Pearson, Randy Porter (the only top 5 of his career), Terry Labonte, and Tracy Leslie~ Peck never found speed throughout the race, and was regulated to a 26th place finish~

    Moving on to Martinsville, Peck qualified 20th for the "Miller 500", while David Green won the pole position in the #44 Slim Jim Chevrolet~ Hermie Sadler had the car to beat for a while, but he was collected in a lap 71 crash involving six other drivers~ Kenny Wallace took the lead from there, and gave it up to Terry Labonte 25 laps later~

    Labonte dominated the rest of the day, leading a total of 205 of 300 laps in the #14 MW Windows Chevrolet~ He was followed by David Green, Kenny Wallace, Randy LaJoie, and Doug Heveron, who picked up his first career BGN top 5, driving the #75 Food Country Oldsmobile for long time BGN car owner, Charlie Henderson~ Peck finished 25th after having another ill handling race car~ Could this be a sabotage job by those greedy, sneaky little snakes, the Grissoms?~

                                                           Front shot of the Peckmobile~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    Peck again was without power for the "Mark III Vans 200" @ Darlington, qualifying 34th in the 42 car field~ The 1990's version of Kyle Busch (Mark Martin) was on the pole in the #60 Winn-Dixie Ford, and that was never good for BGN regulars~ Shawna Robinson (who had won the pole for Atlanta two races earlier) failed to make the field~

    Mark Martin dominated the race, leading 138 of 147 laps on his way to his first BGN victory of the season~ He was followed by Larry Pearson, Randy LaJoie, Kenny Wallace, and Harry Gant~ Peck rode around the track like a little ol' snail, finishing two laps off the pace of race winner - in the 27th position~

   As the team was putting the car back in the hauler to head home, the Grissoms were already there - plotting their next move~ Following four straight finishes of 20th or worse, they figured they had to be getting close to pulling off their evil scheme - destroying the NASCAR career of Tom Peck~
                                      Peck is interviewed after finishing 6th @ Rockingham~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    With the short track of Hickory, North Carolina next up on the schedule, Peck qualified 10th (season high) for the "Sundrop 400", while David Green captured the pole position in the #44 Slim Jim Chevrolet~ Fifteen drivers failed to make the 30 car field, including short track ace Junior Miller, Rodney Combs, Shawna Robinson (again), and former Atlanta Falcons football coach, Jerry Glanville~

    Ricky Craven passed Green at the drop of the green flag, and led for the first 174 laps~ Kenny Wallace led a handful of laps, along with David Green, and Hermie Sadler, but in the end - Craven led 206, including the final one on his way to the checkered flag in the #2 DuPont Refinishes Chevrolet~ Craven was followed by Randy LaJoie, David Green, Johnny Benson Jr., and Tommy Houston, who had been having a horrible time finding sponsorship money during the start of the season~

    The Peck-O-Matic was strong all night long, and he came home quietly in the 6th position, for what would be the final top 10 of his career~ The Grissoms were completely furious with the strong run Peck had, and knew they had to make sure it never happened again~ They needed one final nail in the coffin to assure Peck's career would finally be put to rest - Permanently!~

                                     Peck drives by the #05 car, driven by Randy MacDonald~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    Tom's final race in the #31 Channellock car came in the "Goody's 250" @ Bristol, where he barely made the 36 car field, with a 35th place qualifying effort, while Mark Marin won the pole for the event~ Before the start of the race, Peck found himself 9th in the BGN championship points battle, and was confident a win was coming his way real soon~ The Grissoms however were going to make sure that didn't happen, giving Peck one of the worst Grissom cars in the history of Grissom's career at Bristol~

    Mark Martin led 195 laps, but did that thing he did... and handed the win over to David Green, in what was his only win during the season - a season in which he went on to win the BGN championship~ Tommy Houston finished 2nd in a Piggly Wiggly car (You know that pissed off Food Country and the Henderson team), followed by Jeff Green, Dale Jarrett, and Jim Bown, who had a great run in the #63 Lysol Chevrolet~

    Peck was left to die in a rotted ol' turd of a car the Grissoms had rigged up~ He finished the event 112 laps off the pace of the race winner, in 29th place~ Following this event, the Grissoms had convinced Channellock that a change had to be made - and thus Steve Grissom took over for the remainder of the year~ The team shuttered down following the end of the season, never to return again~

                                The sad end of Tom Peck's NASCAR career~ Click to enlarge~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

      Tom was interviewed the following week in the broadcast booth during the "Pantry Stores 300" @ Rougemont, where he told the announcers that the team was sold to Cup owner Gary Bechtel, whom Grissom was driving for at the time, and that Bechtel wanted extra seat time for his young driver - thus leaving Peck as the odd man out~ The problem with that story is that Bechtel didn't assume ownership of the team until the start of the 1995 BGN season~ Wayne Grissom was still the owner of the team, along with his son, Evil Steve~

    When compared side by side, Peck's stats blow Grissom's away hands down~ In his 8 starts with the team, Peck had three top 10's, with a best of 6th twice, along with leading 16 laps~ He had an average start of 27.9, and an average finish of 18.6~ Compare that to Grissom's 11 starts in the car, where he had one fifth place finish, an 18th, and a 19th place finish, and the remaining eight races - he finished no higher than 22nd, he led a total of 0 laps, and had an average start of 27.5, and an average finish of 26.6~ Peck was running at the end of each of his races with the team, while Grissom only finished four out of eleven races he ran in the same car~ It's called finesse, Grissom - and you never had it~

    Although the Grissoms didn't really "kill" Tom Peck, the deal they made with him pretty much did him in as far as being a driver~ He had sold his old team to Kirk Shelmerdine to drive for the Grissoms, so after that deal fell through, he didn't have anything to fall back on~ He ran a one off race for Mike Greci @ Watkins Glen, and two races for Curtis Key, where both resulted in blown engines (Key's cars were notoriously terrible)~

    He finished out his career the following season, driving two races for "Group III Racing" in the #18 Unifirst Uniforms Ford, with a best finish of 19th in the "Gatorade 200" @ Darlington, before running his final race in Michael Peck's #67 Spartan Motors Chevrolet~ That race was the "All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300" @ Charlotte, where he qualified 40th, and held on for a 24th place finish in an extremely low budget car~ His final attempt in a NASCAR race came in the "Jiffy Lube Miami 300" @ Homestead, where he failed to make the field~ The final nail was in the coffin, and the Grissoms finally lowered the NASCAR career of Tom Peck into the ground - Forever!~

                                                    Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom
 Click pics to enlarge~
Tom Peck #31 Channellock Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1994 BGN Busch Grissom

    I was a huge fan of this paint scheme (and of this team in general) back then, and it still holds up well today~ As I've said in previous post, I have a love for these light blue race cars, so I was a fan of Peck driving this car from the start~ Now when I see a Channellock car, I get sad and think about the Grissoms killing Peck's career the way they did, and I just want to spit on some ol' dirty rags~ 

   This is your typical Channellock car, nothing really special about it, and it had this same paint scheme when Grissom drove the rest of the races in 1994~ Of the cars that Racing Champions produced for 1994, this Peck one is perhaps somewhat harder to come across than some of the other cars~ This car's value is around 7 dollars currently, which I feel is a fair price~

   Though there wasn't anything special about Peck's Channellock scheme, it's still a beautiful paint scheme, as well as a great card~ Peck is just gleaming with confidence as he stands in front of his first truly competitive ride in the series, with sponsors backing him well - He had no clue what the future had in store for him at this point, and he looks totally stoked~ This one has to get an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~ Super awesome car, and a great job on the card - it doesn't get any better than that for Racing Champions diecasts~ Now let's dive into the bonus car for this post, shall we?~ 

                                   Rich Vogler #50 Coors Light Chevrolet~ Pocono - 1990~
Rich Vogler #50 Coors Light Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Winston Cup Pocono 1990

    A fellow NASCAR fan named Rob emailed me recently, and requested amongst others - a custom of Rich Vogler's #50 Coors Light Chevrolet, from the 1990 Winston Cup season~ Vogler (a five time USAC Midget, and two time USAC Sprint Car champion) was attempting to break into the Cup series after noticing its growing popularity~ He had ran a BGN race back in 1988 @ Rockingham, where he finished 17th in the "Goodwrench 200", driving the #31 B.A. Lawmaster Ford~

    His first attempt in the #50 Coors Light car cam in the "Miller Genuine Draft 400" @ Michigan, where he failed to make the field by one position~ Two races later, Vogler made the field for what would be his first Winston Cup series start, in the "AC Spark Plug 500" @ Pocono, where he qualified 32nd in the 40 car field~ 

    The night before the Cup race, Vogler competed in a sprint car event at Salem Speedway, in Salem Indiana~ He was there to do one thing... beat the heck out of up and coming star, Jeff Gordon~ He was doing just that when his car smacked the wall with one lap remaining, killing him instantly~ Because of USAC rules on red flags, Vogler was awarded the victory posthumously, his 170th~ His qualifying spot was left open for the start of the Cup race, and he was awarded the 40th finishing position~ 

   Now I've gotta say, I never found a single photo to go off of for this car, and so this isn't what his car looked like 100%, but I feel like it was something like this~ I know the car was driven by Ted Musgrave that season a little, and his car was white with red numbers, so I'm guessing Vogler's was the same~ I used Ken Schrader's #25 as the "donor" car for this one, and I think it turned out pretty good~ It's not the best, but heck.. I didn't have anything to go by~ If anyone has a picture of his car, and could email it to me, I can make a more accurate version, but for now, this will have to do~ 

    As usual, thank you all for stopping by the blog again!~ We're keeping the old NASCAR scene alive, one post at a time, and I couldn't do it without the support of others like myself, who still crave the old glory days of NASCAR, and Racing Champions diecasts~ Please share this post with your friends on social media, and remember to click the "Follow" button at the top right hand side of this page~ Below are some videos featuring Peck's career, along with some of Vogler's, enjoy them, and until next time - keep my skillet good and greasy while I'm gone!~ 

                                           Tom Peck explains his absence @ Rougemont~
                            David Bonnett hits Tom Peck in the rear~ Volusia County 1992~

                                                       Hidden Heroes: Rich Vogler~

  Rich Vogler segment from ESPN~

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