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Monday, June 5, 2017

Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet

    Hello again fellow NASCAR diecast fans, and welcome back to the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog!~ I hope you've all been having a great start to the summer season, and though it's been pretty wet down here where I live, I've still been enjoying the warmer weather quite a bit~

    Today's post is going to be on Dale Fischlein, and his time in the #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet~ Now, he only drove the diecast version of this car in one ARCA race during the 1993 season, but he also drove the same car in the BGN series for a few events during the 1994 campaign~ Even so, he didn't race a lot - so I'm just gonna give a brief history spanning his entire racing career, since this will be the only post I ever do on him~ Though I'll be talking about his entire career, the pictures used in this post are all from his time in the Safelite car that the post is originally about~

                                     Fischlein sits in his car following a crash while leading~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

     Dale Fischlein (pronounced "Fish-Line") was born on January 2nd, 1960 in Davenport, Iowa - and began his racing career nine years later, racing go-karts~ By 1976, he had won two national championships, and in 1978 he moved up to racing stock cars in the Winston Racing Series~

    In 1988, Fischlein won the Central Region championship for the Winston Racing Series divison, and soon after began racing for Phil Barkdoll~ He and his wife Kari relocated to Arden, North Carolina to be closer to the Barkdoll team, and Dale competed mainly @ Tri-Country Speedway in Hudson, North Carolina, and Hickory Speedway~

    In his championship winning season in 1988, Fischlein's stats were stacked like a big' ol' pile of pancakes drenched in butter and maple syrup~ In 46 starts, he had 26 wins, 38 top 5's, and 41 top 10's~ That's pretty awesome, but in 1985, Fischlein had 44 starts @ Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway, and finished in the top 10 every single time~

                                                   Fischlein's car getting tinkered~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    Following his success in the 1988 season, Fichlein tried to jump straight up to the Cup series, where he made a failed qualifying attempt for the "Holly Farms 400" @ North Wilkesboro~ I tried to find a picture of that car, but I couldn't even find out what number it was, the color/make of the car, or if it had a sponsor or not~

    Fischlein would make one final Cup Series attempt in 1991, for the "Miller Genuine Draft 400" @ Richmond, driving Phil Barkdoll's #73 Oldsmobile, but he failed to make the 36 car field, and was also the slowest of the "go or go home" drivers~ James Hylton and Jerry Hill also failed to make the field for the event~

    The following year, Fischlein became the new crew chief for Dave Marcis, and the #71 Winston Cup team~ Though he had a lot less free time, he was still able to run 4 ARCA races, all in cars owned by Marcis~ In fact, the cars Fischlein was running was the same cars Marcis ran in the Cup Series~

                                Fischlein battles with Dick Trickle in the ARCA series - 1993~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    Fischlein's first time in an ARCA car came in the 1993 season opening "ARCA 200" @ Daytona, where he started 23rd in the 42 car field~ Tim Fedewa got out of shape in the middle of turns 3 and 4, causing a massive 24 car pile-up only two laps into the event~ This crash took 17 drivers out of the race, so only 25 cars remained, and the race had just begun~

    Following the crash, the remainder of the race was mild mannered to say the least~ Jeff Purvis led 71 of the 80 laps to take the checkered flag first~ He was followed by Loy Allen Jr., Kirk Shelmerdine, Jeremy Mayfield, and Bobby Bowsher~ Fischlein was credited with a 39th place effort, a zillion laps down~

    Dale was back in the car three races later for the "Poulan Pro 500K" @ Talladega, where he qualified 11th (season high) for the event~ Loy Allen Jr. won the pole for the event, driving the #2 Hooters/Jasper Ford~ Allen swapped the lead back and forth with Tim Steele and Kirk Shelmerdine for the majority of the day, and Fischlein stayed right up there with the pack, learning all he could and just having a clean race~

    In the end, Tim Steele held off Loy Allen Jr. for the win~ They were followed by Bob Brevak, Kenny Allen, and Mark Thompson~ Bob Keselowski finished 6th, and Jeremy Mayfield came home in the 10th position in the #95 Shoney's Inn/Mac Tools/Texaco Ford~ Fischlein finished the race in 13th (season high), and I guess I forgot to mention, but during these races, his car was being sponsored by "Dynamic Motorsports"~

                                           Fischlein comes down pit road in the Safelite car~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    Fischlein wasn't back in the car until six races later, for the "GM Goodwrench 200" @ Michigan, where he qualified 25th (season low)~ The pole was won by Jimmy Horton, driving the #32 Active Trucking Chevrolet~

    Tim Steele led more than half of the race, but faded late to finish in third~ Jeff Purvis beat out Frank Kimmel for the win, followed by Steele, Bill Venturini, and Jeremy Mayfield~ Purvis punted Bob Schacht out of the lead with three laps to go to take the win~

    Fischlein was involved in a crash on lap 46 that also involved Laura Lane~ Both drivers dropped out of the race, with Fischlein finishing 31st, and Lane 32nd~ Following this race, Fischlein would run one more ARCA event during the 1993 season, and for the first time his car was sponsored by Safelite Auto Glass~

                                         Safelite fixes your glass, Fischlein - not your @$$~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    Fischlein's sole ARCA start with the Safelite sponsorship came in the "Jiffy Lube 500K" @ Atlanta, where he qualified 22nd~ Kirk Shelmerdine won the pole in the #98 Action Rent-to-Own Oldsmobile~ A total of 69 cars attempted to make the 43 car field, so just making the show was a pretty big accomplishment~

    The race was filled with crashes and blown engines~ By the end of the race, only 17 cars remained to take the checkered flag~ Sadly, Fischlein wouldn't be one of them~ He was involved in a crash on lap 169, which also took out Jeff Davis, and finished the race in 19th place~ Jeff Purvis would again win the race, followed by Dick Trickle, who should have won but got penalized late in the race, Kerry Teague, Bob Hill, and Kirk Shelmerdine~

    The real bad thing about the crash, was this was going to the the Cup car for Marcis in just two days~ Since it was totaled, Marcis was forced to use a back-up car, and had to start from the rear of the field~ He still managed to finish 18th in the event, so it wasn't a total loss~ Fischlein finished out his ARCA career with an average start of 20.2, and an average finish of 25.5, in a total of four races~

                                             Close-up of the damage from the Atlanta race~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    Fischlein next drove the Safelite colors in the BGN Series during the 1994 season, though the car was now #70, and the car owner was Ivan Murphy~  Their first attempt to make a BGN race ended with a DNQ in the season opening "Goody's 300" @ Daytona~ Their second attempt didn't go any better, with another DNQ for the "Busch Light 300" @ Atlanta~ He followed that up with another DNQ  for the "Champion 300" @ Charlotte~ The fourth time was a charm however, and Fischlein would make his first career BGN start in the 18th event of the season~

    Fischlein's debut in the series came in the "Fram Filter 500K" @ Talladega, where he rolled off from the 31st starting position~ Jeff Purvis won the pole for the event in the #51 Country Time Chevrolet, owned by James Finch~ Sterling Marlin led a majority of the event in the #4 Kodak Funsaver Chevrolet, but he was passed by Ken Schrader with two laps remaining, as Schrader went on to win the race~ Schrader was followed by Terry Labonte, Dale Earnhardt, Marlin, and Jeff Purvis~

    Dale Fischlein managed to run a clean race throughout the day, and held on to finish in 14th place, in what must have felt like a victory for Fischlein, a rookie in the series~ The racing bug must have bit him pretty hard too, because he was at the very next BGN event the following week @ Hickory~

                                                 Fischlein awaiting the restart @ Atlanta~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    Dale qualified 26th for the "Pantry 300" @ Hickory, while David Green won the pole in the #44 Slim Jim Chevrolet~ Fourteen drivers failed to qualify for the event, including Rodney Combs, Stevie Reeves, Kevin Lepage, and Tommy Houston~ Fischlein's car was a Buick for this race, though I'm not sure what the reason behind that was~

    The race was a battle between pole sitter David Green, Dennis Setzer, and Kenny Wallace~ Green led a total of 92 laps before fading away to finish in 3rd, while Kenny Wallace took the lead~ Wallace held the lead until the final three laps of the race, when he was passed by Setzer, who went on to win the event~

    Kenny Wallace finished in second, followed by David Green, Doug Heveron, and Larry Pearson finished out the top 5~ Fischlein must not have been very fond of the Buick, because he never was a factor during the race at all, and finished the event seven laps down, in the 21st position~ After starting 36th, he came home 30th in his final event of the season, for the "Detroit Gasket 200" @ Michigan, driving the #70 EZ Go Chevrolet, an event won by the #33 Dentyne Chevrolet, driven by Bobby Labonte~

                                          Fischlein makes laps in the #71 Safelite Chevrolet~

    Fischlein ran an extremely limited schedule in the BGN series until the end of the 1998 season, appearing in a total of 18 races during a five year career, with an average start of 23.3, and an average finish of 27.4~ Along with his 18 career starts, he also DNQ'd for another 12 events, and was a lead lap finisher in just one event~

    The best finish of his BGN career came in the 1995 "Humminbird Fishfinder 500K" @ Talladega, where he qualified 8th, led a lap (the only one of his BGN career), and finished in 13th place~ The final race he ran was the "DieHard 250" @ the Milwaukee Mile, where he qualified 32nd in the #70 Adrian Carriers Chevrolet, and finished 28th after rear end problems~ (hopefully with the car)~

    The final race he attempted to make came in the "Pepsi 200 Presented by: Devilbiss" @ Michigan, where he was one of seven drivers who failed to make the field~ Among the others who DNQ'd were Dave Blaney, J.D. Gibbs (Joe's son), Lyndon Amick, and Casey Atwood~ A sad way to end a unique racing career, but at least he got to have his shot at it, and he'll have those memories forever~

                                           Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC
                                                                Click pics to enlarge~
Dale Fischlein #71 Safelite Auto Glass Chevrolet Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Dave Marcis 1993 PVC

    This car had a limited production, and only 2,000 were made~ It was packaged in the clear PVC Racing Champions box, and didn't come with a card or stand~ I made the card from Dale's Maxx card, since there isn't many pictures of him on the internet~ This car is in high demand amongst NASCAR Racing Champions fans, and the last one that was offered on Ebay sold for over 40 dollars~

    Racing Champions did a fine job on this diecast, as the blue color is very appealing, and the white is nice and crisp~ Though Fischlein only raced this specific car in one event (Jiffy Lube 500K - Atlanta 1993), the cars primary paint scheme was based off of Dave Marcis' Cup car at the time~ I feel as if Racing Champions did a splendid job on this car, and only wish a few thousand more were produced.. why so many Jay Fogleman #5 Innkeeper cars instead?~

    On the Racing Champions quality scale, I'm gonna give this one a solid A.. I'll leave off the + for the simple fact that there is no card with this one~ Fischlein is all but forgotten by NASCAR fans, be them old or new.. but his legacy (albeit small) lives on in his Racing Champions diecast, and now here on the NASCAR Racing Champions diecast blog - his story has been told, and his past has been brought back to present day once more~ May his racing history live on with this post, but for now - let's get to the bonus car~

                                            Dick Johnson #38 RedKote Steel Tubing Ford~
Dick Johnson #38 Redkote Ford Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Red Kote 1989 1990 Winston Cup

    With a name that is pretty much the equivalent of calling someone "Penis Penis", Dick Johnson has to rival Dick Trickle for the "Most Absurd NASCAR Driver Name" award~ Dickie boy Johnson was a heck of a driver in the Australian Supercar Series, with 30 wins, and 5 championships to his credit... but he was in another galaxy in a NASCAR Winston Cup car~                                                               
    
    The Dickster ran a total of seven races during the 1989 and 1990 seasons, with a best finish of 22nd in the 1989 running of the "AC Spark Plug 500" @ Pocono, and never finished a race on the lead lap~ He is best remembered for his crash in the "Budweiser at the Glen" in 1989, where he slammed hard into tire barrier, getting his car stuck on top of the barrier~ The guys in the booth interviewed him, and he was a pretty funny character~ He eventually got back on the ground, and continued on his way~

    Thanks to everyone who stops by and reads the blog here!~ Please share this post with your friends on social media, and click the "follow" button at the top right hand side of this page~ I hope you all enjoyed this installment of the NASCAR Racing Champions blog.. below I have posted some videos on featuring Fischlein and ol' "Penis Penis" - enjoy them, and with that... let's roll that beautiful bean footage!~

                                         Fischlein's #71 Safelite car in action~ Atlanta 1993~

                           Crashing the #71 Dynamic Motorsports car~ Daytona ARCA 1993~

                                                    Dick Johnson being funny after crash~

                         Awesome NASCAR Stop Motion by Campbell N. Add him on YouTube~


   


   

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