RICO ABREU - 1/30/1992 - An american professional stock car race driver. Abreu first began racing dirt bikes, but later switched to go karts. When he turned 15, he was given his first Outlaw kart. To support his career, his father built a 1⁄8th-mile asphalt oval in his backyard. On January 24, 2009, Abreu made his Outlaw kart debut at Lakeport Indoor Speedway, finishing fourth, and scored his first Outlaw win at Cycleland Speedway. During the year, local driver Kyle Larson met Abreu at a charity karting event held at Abreu's backyard oval, and in 2011, introduced him to sprint cars. During the year, he made his Chili Bowl Nationals debut, along with running his first World of Outlaws sprint car race. He would eventually win the 2011 360 Winged Sprint Car Series Rookie of the Year Award. In 2012, Abreu raced in the USAC National Midget Series, clinching Rookie of the Year, while qualifying for the A-Main at the Chili Bowl. The next year he won the
Belleville Midget Nationals, the Johnny Key Classic at Ocean Speedway, the 4 Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway and the USAC Gold Crown at Tri City Speedway. In 2014, he won his first WoO race at the Thunderbowl Raceway, and later won the USAC Honda Midget Series national title. On January 17, 2015, Abreu returned to the Chili Bowl. On lap 26, he passed the previous year's winner Bryan Clauson, and held off four-time Chili Bowl winner Kevin Swindell to win. The win was Toyota's first Chili Bowl victory, and the first for owner Keith Kunz since 2002. The following year, Abreu repeated his Chili Bowl win after again defeating Clauson. On January 20, 2015, Abreu was hired by HScott Motorsports to run full-time in the K&N Pro Series East. He made his stock car debut in the Pete Orr Memorial Super
Late Model 100 at New Smyrna Speedway later in the week. On July 4, 2015, Abreu won his first ever race in the K&N Pro Series East at Columbus Motor Speedway after starting from the pole position, setting a new track record. During the 2015 season, Abreu made his Camping World Truck Series debut in the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway, driving the No. 31 Chevrolet Silverado for NTS Motorsports. In 2016, he signed a full-time drive for ThorSport Racing, replacing Johnny Sauter who left for GMS Racing. Abreu almost won his first career NCWTS race at Texas on June 10. He was within a car length of race leader William Byron with 2 laps to go, but scraped the wall, and ended up cutting a tire, all but riding the wall for the last lap and a half. He still ended up finishing in 9th place. He drove the #98 Toyota for record producer Mike Curb. Also in 2016 Abreu returned to his roots, and had
a good showing on the dirt track of Eldora where the NASCAR Camping World truck series races once a year. He has issues in his qualifying race and had to start a disappointing 27th. But he drove his way through the field and ended up with a third place finish in the race won by fellow dirt track ace Kyle Larson. Abreu would go on to place another top 5 finish this season coming home fourth at Talladega. He had a rough start to the 2016 season posting five finishes of 18th or worse in the first eight races; but as the season wore on he continued to improve and learn how to drive the heavy race vehicle, and ended up with five top 5 finishes for the season. Plans are to have Abreu run another full season in the truck series in 2017 still with owner Mick Curb wheeling the #98 Toyota. Abreu is 4 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 95 pounds. He was born with achondroplasia, a genetic disorder that is the most common cause of dwarfism. Due to his short stature, he needs special modifications to the cockpit area of his race cars, such as foot blocks to help him reach the throttle. The car is also modified for Abreu, such as the pedals and the steering column being lengthened.
GRANT ADCOX - 1/2/1950 - 11/19/1989 - Adcox's Winston Cup career started in 1974, running a handful of races for father Herb Adcox with sponsorship backing from the family's Chevrolet dealership in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Adcox continued to run sporadic Winston Cup races among the years. Adcox qualified for the 1975 Talladega 500, but his crew chief Gene Lovell suffered a heart attack and died in their garage. The car was withdrawn. the race was delayed a week by heavy rains. The first alternate, Tiny Lund, was given their spot on the grid. Lund would be killed in a violent lap seven crash. In the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Adcox crashed heavily on lap 198 of the event and died of major chest and head injuries, also suffering a heart attack as result of the crash. Upon investigation, it was determined that the severe impact had torn his improperly mounted racing seat away from its mount entirely, and this led to Adcox's death. It also led to new safety regulations on the way seats were mounted for the 1990 season. For is career Adcox competed in 60 CUP races. He had a best finish of 5th in his Krystal sponsored Chevrolet At Talladega Speedway on May 14th. 1978. Info from Wikipedia Video on YouTube
BLAISE ALEXANDER - 3/26/1979 - 10/4/2001 - During the EasyCare 100 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Alexander was battling Kerry Earnhardt for the lead when their cars touched, sending Earnhardt flipping upside-down through the infield while Alexander crashed into the outside retaining wall nearly head-on. Earnhardt made it out unscathed, but Alexander was taken to the hospital unconscious and showing no pulse. Within 25 minutes, he was pronounced dead. His death, the sixth stock car racing fatality in two years, helped convinced NASCAR to mandate the HANS device for all drivers. Alexander had competed off and on for 5 years in the Xfinity series. He competed in 65 races total and had two top 10 finishes . He finished 7th at Atlanta in2000 in his Felex Sabates owned TracPhone sponsored Chevy. Info from Wikipedia Photo from FreeBase
Robert Arthur "Bobby" Allison - 12/3/1937 - is a former American professional stock car racing driver and owner. Named one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers, he was the 1983 Winston Cup champion and won the Daytona 500 three times in 1978, 1982, and 1988. His two sons, Clifford and Davey Allison, followed him into racing, and both died within a year of each other. Allison was born December 3, 1937 in Miami, Florida. He entered his first race as a senior at Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High School in Miami. Since he was only 17, he had to have his parents' permission so he thought when his mother said "OK", it was forever, but she thought it was for only one race. After graduating high school in 1955, Allison's mother thought she would derail his racing interest by sending him to Wisconsin to work for Mercury Outboard Motors, where her brother-in-law, Jimmy Hallett, was the national sales manager. Unbeknownst to her, Carl Kiekhaefer was the owner of Mercury Outboard Motors, where Allison ended up working as a mechanic and an engine tester. Carl Kiekhaefer also owned race cars. While employed at Mercury Outboard Motors, Allison worked in the boat division for 10 months, then was transferred to the racecar division. During the 2 months he worked in the racecar division for Carl Kiekhaefer, he went to 19 races—mostly Grand National (today known as the
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series), and a few Convertible races. Every one of those races was won by a Carl Kiekhaefer car from the shop in which he worked. Kiekhaefer was a hard person to work for and several people got fired, so Allison decided to go back to Miami only after a little over 2 months. In 1956,having returned to Miami, Allison started his own racing again. His parents said he couldn't race and live at home, so Allison came up with a fictitious name (Bob Sunderman) which was used only once as he finished well enough to make the Sunday paper and his Dad saw it and knew who it was and told him that if he was going to race to do it with honor and use his own name. In 1959, Allison took
his brother, Donnie, Kenny Andrews—who owned a car (whose Dad owned Andy Racing Wheels) and Gil Hearne went along as Kenny's driver on a quest for more lucrative racing than was available in South Florida. Their searching led them to Montgomery Motor Speedway in Montgomery, Alabama, where he was told of a race that very night in Midfield, Alabama near Birmingham. Allison entered and finished 5th in that race, which paid more than finishing 2nd in any big race in South Florida. He went to Montgomery the next night, won the preliminary races, and finished 2nd in the
feature, winning $400, having found his lucrative racing. The brothers returned home and Bobby talked his friend Red Farmer into coming back to Alabama with him. They had immediate success and soon they began answering to the name The Alabama Gang. Allison became a known driver and won the national championship in the modified special division in 1962. Allison moved full-time to the Grand National circuit in 1965 and got his first victory at Oxford Plains Speedway on July 12, 1966. He alos got two other wins in 1966 (Islep, NY; Beltsville, MD). He would also finish 10th in the points running just 33 of the 49 races. 1967 saw Allison run the Daytona 500 in the Bud Moore owned #16 Mercury. He ran 45 of 49 races that season and claimed six wins. He closed out the season winning the final two races of 1967. Then he won the first race of 1968; but would only win one other race the rest of the season. He would drive the 329 Long Lewis sponsored Dodge. He did post 18 top 5
finishes in the 37 races he ran. 1969 saw NASCAR run an amazing 54 races; but Allison would only run 27 of them. Even though Bobby only ran 1/2 of the races, he did manage to win five times. 1970 saw the aero-wars and the introduction of the Plymouth Super Bird with it's big tall wing and wide supports. Competition was keen and Allison was only able to post three wins; but consistent finishes left him second in the points chase to Bobby Isaac. Allison would have a great season in 1971 and visit victory lane 11 times. Allison showed his verstility as he won five races in a row. From the 1 1/2 mile speedway at Charlotte; and the road
course at Riverside, down to the 1/2 mile bull ring at Houston TX. Later in the season he would go on another tear and win five out of eight races; with the three races he didn't win he finished second twice and fourth. He claimed a win in the Southern 500 in the process. He also won his first road course race (Riverside). He turned out to be a good road course racer as he would win on the road courses five times. Even with all this success the best he could muster in the points was a fourth as Richard Petty claimed the title. Allison had another great season in 1972 claiming ten wins in his #12 Coca Cola car. He ran all 31 races this season and of all the 31 events he only had four finished worse than sixth; but Petty would win the Championship for the second year in a row. 1973 and 1974 would only see Allison win twice each year; and not contend for the Championship. He did make
a start in the Indy 500, but finished 32nd after he broke a connecting rod. He did win at Riverside both of those years; and kicked off 1975 winning at Riverside again driving his AMC Matador. for Roger Penske. Bobby returned to Indy to race in the 500 again in 1975 but finished 25th after gear box issues just past 1/2 way. He also ran four other Indy Car series events in 1975 posting a best finish of sixth at Ontario, CA; again driving for Roger Penske. Allison would only run part of the
NASCAR season this year; but posted three wins. 1976 and 1977 were lean years as Allison went win-less driving the #2 Cam 2 car for Roger Penske. In 1977 Allison had his own team and was an owner/driver; but in 1978 he went to work driving for Bud Moore in the #15 Norris Industries Ford. 1978 once again saw Allison finish second in the NASCAR points championship. Cale Yarborough would run away with theChampionship beating Allison by over 450 points. It wasn't
a terrible year for Allison however as he visited victory lane five times; including a win in the Daytona 500. Allison won five times again in 1979; including another Riverside win; as he finished third in points. Allison started off 1980 with high expectations of a Championship; and he had four wins. But inconsistent finished would relegate him to a sixth place finish in the points. At the end of the 1980 season Allison would announce that he would wheel the #28 Hardee's Buick. He announced that he would wheel the #28 Hardee's Buick. He would start and finish the season winning at Riverside and
added a win at Talladega and one in the World 600 also. Once again Allison would finish second in the points chase as this year as Darrell Waltrip would edge him out by about 50 points. Even though he finished second he left Harry Ranier Racing to go drive for the DiGard team in 1982 in the Gatorade machine. 1982 would be a mirror if 1981. Once again Waltrip would win the Championship and once again Allison would finish second. This would be the fifth time Allison had finished second in the points. The season did have it's high points however as Allison once again won the Daytona 500, among his seasons eight wins. Finally in 1983 Allison would break through and win the Championship. He won six times; including the Southern 500; and out distanced Darrell Waltrip by 47 points to claim the title. Allison had back luck the following year; winning only twice and finishing sixth in the points
wheeling his #22 Miller High Life Buick. Allison would drive a Miller Beer sponsored car for the rest of his career. Allison went win-less in 1985 and moved to the Stavola Brothers Race team for 1986. He won one race at Talladega but could only finish seventh in points. 1987 was more of the same - One win (Daytona Fire Cracker 400) and finished ninth in the points chase. 1987 was also the season that saw his car cut down a tire, turn sideways and go airborne into the protective catch fence that separates the speedway from the grandstands. The impact with the fence with the rear of the car at over 200 miles per hour tore down nearly 100 yards of fencing. Parts and
pieces of the car went flying into the grandstand injuring several spectators. The following year, NASCAR mandated restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega to keep speeds under 200 miles per hour. 1988 started with a bang. Allison was able to claim his third Daytona 500 win; outracing his son Davey Allison to the checkers. But at Talladega, Allison career would come to a crashing end. Allison crashed on lap 1 of the Miller High Life 500 at Pocono. Initially he survived a head-on hit into the outside barrier but then suddenly Jocko Maggiacomo t-boned Allison in the driver's side of the car. Allison nearly died. When he reached a local hospital he was initially declared dead. Medical assistance saved his life. Because he had to go through a rehab program from his vegetative state, he retired from driving in NASCAR. In 1992, his younger son, Clifford Allison, was fatally injured in a practice crash for the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Michigan International Speedway. In 1993, his son Davey was killed in a helicopter accident at Talladega Superspeedway. Three years after these major tragedies, he and his wife Judy divorced. Four years after their divorce, while attending
their daughter-in-law's wedding, they reconnected. They were remarried in July 2000 and remained together until her death in 2015. He is the oldest driver (50 years) ever to win the Daytona 500 and he and Davey are the first one-two father/son finish in the Daytona 500. Ironically, Bobby now has no memory of the final win of his career or of celebrating together with his son in Victory Lane. For his career, Allison competed in 718 races, with 84 victories. He also posted 336 top 5 finishes. Allison was the Winston Cup champion in 1983, but finished in the points five other times (1970, '72, '78, '81, '82. Info from WikiPedia.
DAVID CARL "DAVEY" ALLISON - 2/25/1961 - 7/13/1993 - was a NASCAR race car driver, best known as the driver of the Robert Yates Racing #28 Texaco-Havoline Ford. He was the eldest of four children born to NASCAR driver Bobby Allison and wife Judy. Bobby's brother Donnie Allison, family friend Red Farmer, and Neil Bonnett, became known in racing circles as the Alabama Gang. Car owner Hoss Ellington gave Davey his first chance to drive a Winston Cup car in the Talladega 500. Davey qualified Ellington's Chevrolet 22nd and finished 10th in his first Winston Cup start. This impressive showing earned Davey more Winston Cup opportunities in 1986 where he would sub for injured friend and fellow Alabama Gang member Neil Bonnett in Junior Johnson's #12 Budweiser Chevy. He would also drive several races for Sadler Racing in the unsponsored #95 crar. Davey signaled that he was in Winston Cup to stay when he qualified an unmarked, but Texaco-Havoline painted #28 Thunderbird second for the 1987 Daytona 500, becoming the first rookie ever to start on the front row for NASCAR's most prestigious event. A pit miscue which allowed a rear tire to fall off on the track ended his hopes of a good finish in the race, but success for Davey Allison would be just around the corner. May 3, 1987 would become an infamous day in NASCAR history. On lap 22 of the event, Bobby Allison ran over a piece of debris, cutting his right-rear tire. The car turned sideways, lifted into the air, became airborne, and crashed vertically into the
sideways, lifted into the air, became airborne, and crashed vertically into the frontstretch spectator fence near the start finish line. Running second on the final restart of the race, Davey passed leader Dale Earnhardt on the backstretch and pulled away for his first Winston Cup win. In winning the race, Davey became the first rookie since Ron Bouchard in 1981 to win a Winston Cup event. Davey would better that feat just 28 days later by winning the Budweiser 500 at Dover International Speedway (then the Dover Downs International Speedway), becoming, at the time, the only rookie to win two Winston Cup events. The 1988 season started with much promise. Davey again started outside the front row for the Daytona 500, the first modern day race utilizing the
NASCAR mandated carburetor restrictor plate. As the race came to a conclusion, Davey found himself running second, just behind his legendary father. Bobby Allison would go on to hold off his son and win his third Daytona 500. Father and son would celebrate their one-and-two finish in victory lane. Both would consider this the greatest moment of their lives. In 1989 Allison would win a race at Talladega; and also the July race at Daytona. In 1990 Allison would again post two wins; and in 1991 he seemed to be reaching his stride as he would win five times; including the Coke 600. He would also finish third in the Cup points. In 1992 Davey would lead 127 laps to join his father as a Daytona 500 winner. He added four additional win this season and once again finished third in the points. Heading into the season ending Atlanta 500 Allison and several others drivers had a good shot to claim the Championship; but a crash mid-race eliminated eliminated everyone but Bill Elliott and Alan Kulwicki. Kulwicki would go on to claim the title. On Monday, July 12, 1993, Davey Allison boarded his newly acquired Hughes 369HS helicopter to fly to Talladega Super speedway to watch family friend Neil Bonnett and his son David Bonnet test a car for David's Xfinity Series debut. He picked up another family friend, legendary racer Red Farmer
en route to the track. Allison was attempting to land the helicopter inside a fenced-in area of the track infield when the craft nosed up suddenly, then crashed. Neil Bonnett was able to free a semi-conscious Red Farmer from the wreckage, but could not reach Allison. Paramedics arrived and freed Allison, who was alive but had suffered serious head injuries. He died the next morning, July 13, 1993. Davey competed full time in the CUP series for 7 years. He had 19 wins, He accumulated 66 top 5 finishes. He was also Rookie of the Year in 1987. All of his wins came driving the #28 Ford. 1993 would be a bad year for NASCAR; as along with Allison's death; 1992 NASCAR Cup Champion Alan Kulwicki would also be killed in a plane crash. Info via WikiPedia
DONNIE ALLISON - 9/7/1939 - is a former driver on the NASCAR Grand National/Winston Cup circuit, who won ten times during his racing career, which spanned the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. He was part of the "Alabama Gang," and is the brother of 1983 champion Bobby Allison and uncle of Davey Allison. Allison started is first Cup race in 1966 at Charlotte. He would start 39th and have an engine expire after 186 laps relegating him to a 27th place finish. He only raced part time for all his career; but in his 29th career start he would capture his first win at Rockingham in the Carolina 500. Allison would start seventh and lead 154 laps; including the last 129 cruising to a two lap win. His next win would come in 1969 in the National 500 at Charlotte. He'd drive his Sunny King Ford #27 Torino beating his brother Bobby for the win. In 1970 Allison would claim three wins including the World 600 at Charlotte, and the Fire Crackers 400 at Daytona. Like his brother Bobby; Donnie would attempt a couple Indy 500 starts. In 1970 he drove for the team of Greer-Foyt driving the #83 Ford power Eagle. He would start 20th and run a steady race. He finished on the lead lap in fourth place and won Rookie of the Race. A very good run for a first time Indy car start. In 1971 he returned to Indy with the same team; This time he had Purolator as a sponsor and drove the #84. He would once again start 20th and bring the car home in sixth
place. I have posted pictures of both cars here - check out the major design differences between 1970 and 1971. In 1971 Allison would drive the #21 Wood brothers car to his only win of the season. He would start on the pole and again beat his brother to get the win. Allison wouldn't win again until 1976 driving once again for the owner who game him his first start: Hoss Ellington. Once again Allison would get a win at Charlotte; coming in the National 500. Twice in 1997 he would wheel his Hawaiian Tropic Monte Carlo to victory lane. He'd win at Talladega in a competitive race that saw 49 lead changes. It was an extremely hot day as the heat took it's toll on man and machine. Allison was over come by heat; and after Darrell
Waltrip's motor blew up on lap 106; Waltrip was called on to fill in for Allison. With Waltrip running second the leader Skip Manning broke an oil line; Waltrip would move to the lead and take the Checkered flag. Donnie's final Cup win would come at Atlanta in the Dixie 500 in 1978. The race was full of controversy because of a NASCAR scoring error. With 37 laps to go Richard Childress blew a motor putting the race under caution; with Donnie Allison two laps down; Donnie raced the leaders back to the line and made up one lap. No one noticed that Donnie passed Dave and Petty on the restart and was running just ahead of them on the tail end of the lead lap when there was a crash with about 10 laps to go. The final restart was with three laps to go. Donnie restarted behind them and immediately passed both Dave and Petty to take the lead, but everyone in the place thought he was still a lap down. But when the drivers went to the cool down lap, the public address announcer announced Donnie Allison as the winner. Everyone in the press box was stunned. After that came the announcement that agreement came from the official scorers, that Petty was the winner. Everyone was confused. Petty was doing his winner interview when he got a phone call in the press box. After he hung up, Petty said "Guys. that's it. They say Allison is the winner." and he left the press box. Brian France, who was 16 years old at the time, was working in the scoring booth at the time, insisted that Allison was the winner. He was so convinced that he mentioned it to Hoss Ellington, Donnie
Allison's car owner. Allison said that Brian France had told him that Allison's scorer was pulling for Petty and not paying attention to the race. Another re-check of the scoring card proved France was right. NASCAR President Bill France Jr (Brian's dad) came in and announced that yes NASCAR had made an embarrassing mistake and that Allison was officially the winner. Donnie is possibly most remembered for his involvement in a final-lap crash and subsequent fight with Cale Yarborough at the 1979 Daytona 500. Allison was leading the race on the final lap with Yarborough drafting him tightly. As Yarborough attempted his signature slingshot pass at the end of the backstretch, Allison attempted to block him. Yarborough refused to give ground and as he pulled alongside Allison, his left side tires left the pavement and went into the wet and
muddy infield grass. As a result, Yarborough began to lose control of his car and contacted Allison's car halfway down the backstretch. As both drivers tried to regain control, their cars made contact several more times before finally locking together and crashing into the outside wall in turn three. After the cars settled in the grass, Allison and Yarborough began to argue. After they had talked it out, Bobby Allison, who was lapped at that point, pulled over and began defending his brother, and a fight broke out. The fight was actually between Bobby Allison and Yarborough. It all happened on the first nationally televised NASCAR race. Richard Petty, who was over half a lap behind at the time of the crash, went on to win the race. The fight made headlines all across America. The publicity was instrumental in
the growth of NASCAR. Donnie was the 1967 Cup Rookie of the Year. Donnie never ran a full Cup season. He won 10 races in his career and finished in the top 5 in almost 35% of the races.
AJ ALLMENDINGER - 12/16/1981 - an American race car driver. He is best known for his accomplishments in the Champ Car World Series (Indy car). In 2004, Allmendinger and RuSport entered the Champ Car World Series, with Michel Jourdain Jr. joining Allmendinger. He scored a run of 6 top-6 finishes towards the end of the season and won the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year award. On June 9, 2006, Forsythe Championship Racing announced Allmendinger as their new driver, replacing Mario Dominguez. In his first race with Forsythe, Allmendinger won the Grand Prix of Portland. Allmendinger became the first American to win a Champ Car World Series event since Ryan Hunter-Reay won at The Milwaukee Mile in 2004. This began a three-race winning streak that included wins at the Grand Prix of Cleveland and the Grand Prix of Toronto. This victory moved Allmendinger into second place in the CCWS championship standings, behind leader Sebastian Bourdais. He chalked up his fourth and fifth wins of the season at Denver and Road America. He left Champ Car to accept a lucrative offer from the NASCAR operation Team Red Bull. Red Bull officially announced Allmendinger as part of its driver lineup October 25, 2006. He made his NASCAR debut in the Craftsman Truck Series driving for Bill
Davis Racing at New Hampshire International Speedway on September 16, 2006, in the No. 24 Toyota Tundra. He crashed his primary truck in qualifying but started the race 32nd in a backup truck from teammate Bill Lester and finished on the lead lap in 13th. Allmendinger attempted his first Nextel Cup Series event at Atlanta in October 2006 driving the No. 84 Red Bull Dodge Charger; however, due to qualifying being rained out, a lack of owner's points prevented Allmendinger from making the race. Allmendinger and Brian Vickers were named Red Bull's drivers for 2007, with Allmendinger piloting the team's No. 84 Toyota Camry with Vickers in the team's No. 83. Allmendinger failed to qualify for the 2007 Daytona 500 after a crash in the first Gatorade Duel race. He also failed to qualify for the next four races before making his
first Cup start at the Food City 500 at Bristol. As the season progressed, Allmendinger made a handful of races, predominantly in the "Car of Tomorrow". To assist him in the transition to stock cars, he participated in selected Craftsman Truck Series races in a Toyota for the Darrell Waltrip Motorsports organization in the #00 Red Bull Toyota, and in the No. 42 Memorex/Chip Ganassi Dodge in the Xfinity Series. Allmendinger again failed to qualify for the 2008 Daytona 500. After three failures to qualify in two attempts (qualifying for the second race of the season, Fontana, was rained out and set by 2007 owner's points), he was replaced by veteran driver Mike Skinner on a temporary basis. Allmendinger returned to the Cup Series at Talladega. On May 17, he won the Sprint Showdown at Lowe's Motor Speedway during NASCAR's annual
All-Star weekend. The win qualified Allmendinger for the Sprint All-Star Race later that evening, where he finished 17th. Allmendinger's team ended the 2008 season 36th in owner's points, meaning it did not have exemptions for the first five races of 2009. The retro-styled Valvoline 44 raced its way into the Daytona 500, and third in his Daytona 500 debut, also his personal best, and is the best Daytona 500 debut except for Lee Petty in the 1959 Daytona 500 and Scott Wimmer in the 2004 Daytona 500. During the offseason, Allmendinger replaced Reed Sorenson in the team's famous No. 43 car. He collected two top-fives, eight top-10s and a pole position in 2010, and finished 19th in the final standings. On April 9, 2010, Allmendinger collected his very first NASCAR Cup pole for the Subway Fresh Fit 600 He finished 15th.
He announced that he signed a multi year deal with Richard Petty Motorsports through 2012. After finishing 11th in the 2011 Daytona 500, Allmendinger started the season 10th in points driving the No. 43 Ford sponsored by Best Buy. Allmendinger continued to have a career best year in 2011 with 10 top-10 finishes and an average finish of 16th. He finished the 2011 regular season contending for a wild card spot in the Chase for the Cup but came up just short. Three races prior to setting the field for the Chase, RPM put former Roush Fenway Racing crew chief Greg Erwin on the pit box starting at the 2011 Brickyard 400. Allmendinger and Erwin recorded six top-10 finishes after their pairing. Allmendinger finished the 2011 season a career best 15th in the points. At the end of the 2011 season, Allmendinger left Richard Petty Motorsports when the driving spot for Penske Racing's #22 shell/Pennzoil Dodge became
open after the parting ways of Kurt Busch and Penske. After failing a random drug test on July 7, 2012, Allmendinger was suspended from participation in the Coke Zero 400. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior vice president for racing operations, said that Allmendinger had up to 72 hours to request a B test sample. The next day, Penske said before the Honda Indy Toronto race that Allmendinger's B sample would be tested on Monday. Allmendinger requested a B sample test on July 9. On July 11, 2012, Allmendinger's camp said a stimulant caused the positive drug test. The B sample test had not yet been scheduled at that time. On July 24, it was announced by NASCAR that Allmendinger was suspended indefinitely after the B sample tested positive for a banned stimulant, which was revealed to be amphetamines. He chose to participate in the Road to Recovery program. On August 1
he was released from his contract by Penske Racing. Allmendinger was replaced in the No. 22 by Sam Hornish, Jr.; he later stated that the cause of the positive test was Adderall that he had unknowingly taken, being told it was an "energy pill". Allmendinger was reinstated by NASCAR on September 18 after completing the Road to Recovery program. 2013 saw Allmendinger lose his ride with Petty and only raced part-time that season. He raced part time in the Indy car series. He ran in six events, the best finish of seventh would come in the Indy 500. He started seventh; ran a clean race; led 37 laps and finished on the lead lap. 2014 again saw him behind the wheel full time for JTG Daugherty Racing. That season saw him claim his first win. It
came at the road course of Watkins Glen driving the #47 Chevy. Allmenginer was always a successful road course driver while racing in the Indy car series; and it carried over to NASCAR. Allmendinger took the lead with less than 30 laps to go after a side-by-side battle with former teammate Marcos Ambrose and kept the lead until the checkered flag, earning his first Cup Series win after 213 Cup starts. Allmendinger continued to improve his oval track skills and posted top ten finishes at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Pocono in 2015. On May 9, 2015, Allmendinger announced plans to
sign a five-year contract extension with JTG Daugherty, allowing him to remain with the team through the 2020 season. Allmendinger nearly pulled off an upset at the 2016 STP 500 at Martinsville. He charged hard from 13th place with less than 20 laps to go, to finish second to Kyle Busch by 1.547 seconds. He had the best car in the closing laps; but was reluctant to put the bumper to leader Kyle Busch and move him out of the way. It tied 2012 as his career-best finish at Martinsville. Allmendinger ended the season on a high note earning four top tens on the final 6 races and finishing 19th in the standings. As of the end of the 2016 season; Allmendinger has ran 299 Cup races; posted one win, nine top fives and 47 top ten finishes. He is set to go Cup racing with JTG Daugherty Racing in 2017. Some info from WikiPedia
ARIC ALMIROLA - 3/14/1984 - Almirola was born on Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, of Cuban descent. He began racing when he was eight years old, racing go-karts. In 2002, Almirola moved to the NASCAR Sun Belt Weekly Racing Division and finished second in the Rookie of the Year standings. He followed that up with five pole positions in 2003. In 2004, he became one of the first drivers to participate in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program. He also signed with Joe Gibbs Racing as a development driver under a partnership with former NFL player Reggie White. Almirola ran the season at Ace Speedway, and won two races before finishing 11th in the points standings. He won five more races at the track in 2005, and made his Truck Series debut with Morgan-Dollar Motorsports and had two top-tens in four races. For 2006, Almirola drove the No. 75 Spears Manufacturing Chevy for Spears Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series, as part of the JGR development program. He started every race and had three top-ten finishes, including a best finish of ninth, ending the season 18th. That season, he also drove nine races in the
Xfinity Series for Gibbs in the No. 18 Husqvarna/Banquet Foods Chevrolet Monte Carlo. His best finish was an eleventh at Dover International Speedway. Almirola moved up to the Xfinity series on a regular basis in 2007, driving the No. 18 and No. 20 Chevy's for Joe Gibbs, driving each car in ten races apiece. He won his second career pole award for the Orbitz 300 at Daytona. He won the pole again, for the second straight year, at the Milwaukee Mile, but thought he was going to give up driving duties to Hamlin again; Hamlin's helicopter was unable to land in time for Hamlin to make it to the track, so Almirola started the race, leading the first 43 laps of the race. On lap 59, during a caution period, because of sponsor commitments, Hamlin took over for Almirola while he was
running in the third place. Hamlin went on to win the race, but Almirola was credited with his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win because he was the driver who started the race. Almirola did not participate in team victory celebrations after the race as he had already left the track. He asked for, and was granted his release from Joe Gibbs Racing a month later. He soon joined Dale Earnhardt, Inc. following the sale of Ginn Racing. He drove the #80 Chevrolet in his first CUP start in 2007, and finished 41st. Almirola was named co-driver of the No. 8 United States Army
Chevrolet for the 2008 Cup Series, sharing the ride with Mark Martin. His best finish during the season was an 8th-place finish in the 2008 Food City 500 at Bristol, and his best start in Cup was a 3rd place start at the 2008 Goody's Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville. Almirola was named the full-time driver of the No. 8 for the 2009 season. Seven races into the 2009 season, Almirola lost his ride to a lack of sponsorship and horrendous performance. He later signed a five-race deal with Key Motorsports to drive their No. 40 Chevrolet Impala SS in the Xfinity Series. In October 2009, he filed paperwork in
North Carolina Superior Court indicating that he had a breach-of-contract dispute with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Almirola, competed in seven Sprint Cup races in 2009 for the team before his No. 8 Chevy car was parked because of a lack of sponsorship. The lawsuit was dropped a month later after being settled out of court. For 2010, he was to drive full-time for Phoenix Racing's No. 09 Cup series Chevrolet Impala. However, he was not eligible to drive the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, even in the car Brad Keselowski won at Talladega with in 2009. Almirola drove the No. 51 Graceway Pharmecuticals/ AK Awareness Toyota Tundra for
Billy Ballew in the Truck Series. In April, Almirola parted ways with Phoenix Racing to focus on his Truck Series ride. Almirola won his first race in the Truck Series at Dover International Speedway and won again at Michigan International Speedway, holding off Todd Bodine and Kyle Busch. Almirola would finish second in points to Bodine. In October at the truck race the Mountain Dew 250 he ended up in the closest finish in truck series history by ending up second to Kyle Busch in 0.002 of a second, who passed underneath Almirola below the yellow line. The 1-2 finish was the same as the previous race in 2009 but the finish was controversial because of the yellow line rules (as NASCAR rules state that a driver must not advance his position by going below the yellow line even if he is
forced down there). But officials determined that Busch had the lead before going below the yellow line thus making Busch's winning move legal. In 2011, Almirola drove the No. 88 Xfinity Series car for JR Motorsports. He won two poles and had 18 top-10s to finish fourth in points. He was released from his contract after the season when he accepted a full-time Cup ride, driving for Richard Petty Motorsports in the No. 43 Ford Sponsored by the Air Force. After only running one year's worth of Cup Series races in his career, Richard Petty Motorsports signed Almirola to a one-year contract, replacing the departing A.J. Allmendinger in the legendary 43 car. Almirola earned a Pole start at Charlotte in May, and collected one top 5 and 4 top 10's en route to a 20th-place finish in points. Aric's best run of the year may have been at Kansas in October, where he
qualified fifth and lead 69 laps after taking the top spot on lap 6. But on lap 121, Almirola blew a tire, sending his Farmland Ford into the wall. He spun on lap 172 racing for the lead and lost a lap on pit road. After getting his lap back and working his way up to 13th, Almirola hit the wall once again, setting the front of the car ablaze and ending the promising run. In 2013 Almirola returned to Richard Petty Motorsports' No. 43 in the Sprint Cup Series; at Martinsville Speedway in October, the team ran the No. 41 to honor Maurice Petty's induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. During the 2013 season from Martinsville to Darlington, he had the most consecutive Top 10s in the 43 car since Bobby Hamilton in 1996. In January 2014, RPM announced a three-year contract extension with Almirola after working on one year deals the previous two seasons. This coincided with sponsor Smithfield Foods stepping up to fund 29 races in each the next three seasons with brands Smithfield, Farmland, Eckrich, and Gwaltney. Almirola had a rather slow start to 2014, being involved in a 12 car wreck in the 2014 Daytona 500. At Bristol, Almirola posted his best career finish to date of 3rd, only behind winner Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. At the 2014 Coke Zero 400, Almirola would earn his first career win in the Cup Series after avoiding two major wrecks, and leading the field when the race was called off after 112 laps due to rain. His win also marked the first victory by the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 since 1999, and 30 years to the day Richard Petty won his 200th race. Despite only scoring better than 20th only four times in the next few races, Almirola's win clinched a berth in the 2014 Chase for the Cup, his first Chase appearance and the first for a Cuban driver. Almirola drove Richard Petty's old Dodge paint scheme (show here) at Darlington when they did the series of "throwback" paint schemes in 2015. Almirola was eliminated from the championship chase after round 1 of the Chase. Almirola had a more successful year in 2015 despite missing the Chase barely. He had only 6 Top 10's but he was mainly in the Top 15 and was consistent all year long. He barely missed the Chase by almost winning the Fall Richmond race with a strategy call and finished 4th. He finished 17th in the standings, the highest for a non-chaser. He returned to the No. 43 in 2016 with ironically Brian Scott as his new teammate. It turned out to be an off season as Almirola posted a season best finish of eighth at Talladega; his only top ten of the year. Once again most finishes were within the top 20 as he finished 20th or better 15 times. His team mate almost pulled an upset at Talladega finishing a career best second behind Joey Logano. His next best finish was the season ending race at Homestead. This would also be Scott's final race as late in the season he announced he was retiring at the end of the season to concentrate more on his family. For 2017, Almirola will return to Richard Petty Motorsports but it has been announced they will contract back to a single car operation. To this point Almirola has one win and eight top five finishes in 215 starts.
MARCOS AMBROSE - 9/1/1976 - is an Australian race car driver. He mostly drove the #9 Stanley Tools/DeWalt Ford Fusion for Richard Petty Motorsports in the NASCAR Cup Series. He was the Australian V8 Supercar champion in 2003 and 2004. In 2006, he raced in the NASCAR Truck Series, piloting the #20 Team Australia/Aussie Vineyards Ford for Team Australia. His best finish would be third on two occasions (Kansas and Nashville). He moved up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2007, driving the #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion for JTG Daugherty Racing. He would spend the next two seasons full time in the Xfinity series. In the first two races of the 2007 season, he finished on the lead lap, in 16th and 25th, on tracks he had never previously raced on. In the third race of the season, the Telcel-Motorola México 200, Ambrose finished eighth, his career best at the time. He followed up his 8th place finish in Mexico City with another top 10, finishing 10th in the Sam's Town 300 in Las Vegas. Ambrose got his first Xfinity Series win on August 9, 2008 in the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen. The next day, he finished 3rd in the Cup, (after starting in 43rd position), behind winner Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart. He ran 11 Cup races in 2008 to prepare to race full time there in 2009. Ambrose drove the #47 Toyota in the 2009 NASCAR Cup series, after forming a technical alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota Racing Development.
Ambrose got his second straight Xfinity Series win at Watkins Glen, his second in two years as he held off Kyle Busch to claim the victory. He followed up with a 2nd place in the Cup race at the Glen and a 3rd in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol. He posted four top five finishes that season; two on the road courses and one each at Talladega and Bristol. In the 2010 Zippo 200 at The Glen; Marcos won his third straight Xfinity series Watkins Glen race, as he held off Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick to win. Since this, he's started to gain some form and be competitive on all types of tracks, recording a top 10 at Atlanta and a top 5 at Richmond. Ambrose announced on August 17, 2010 that he signed a multi year deal with Richard Petty Motorsports. In 2011 Ambrose got his first Cup win. It came at the road course of Watkins Glen. He passed Kyle Busch with
two laps to go and held on for the victory. He also posed four other top 5 results. In 2012 Ambrose would again pass Busch for the win; this time on the final lap. 2013 was a rough season as he failed to post a single top five finish. His best was sixth at Miichigan. Amrose almost got another win at Watkins Glen in 2014; just getting beat by AJ Allmendinger. He also posted top five finishes at Martinsville and Bristol. Near the end of 2014 Ambrose that he would retire from NASCAR and move back home to his native Tasmania and race in the V-8 Super car series again. He ran one season there and then retired from racing altogether. For his Cup career; Marcus ran 227 cup events and garnered two wins. He had 18 top five finishes, and 46 top tens, and made over 30 million dollars in his eight year career. He made 77 starts in the Xfinity series winning on five occasions; all on road courses. Some info from Wikipedia.
JOHN ANDRETTI - 3/12/1963 - was an American race car driver. He has won in CART, NHRA Top Fuel Dragsters, endurance racing and NASCAR stock car racing. Andretti's father, Aldo Andretti, had his racing career cut short due to a near fatal racing accident. Aldo is the brother of Indy Car legend Mario Andretti. Andretti is the godson of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A. J. Foyt. The Andretti family became the first family to have four relatives (Michael, Mario, Jeff, and John) compete in the same series (CART). In 1990, 1991 and 1992, they had four family members competing in the Indy 500. John joined the PPG Indy Car World Series (CART) in 1987, winning the Rookie of the Year award. In his debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1988, Andretti reached as high as seventh place before mechanical problems forced him to finish 21st. In 1991 he won the only race of his CART career, winning the Gold Coast Grand Prix in Surfer's Paradise, Australia. That same year he finished a career-best fifth in the Indianapolis 500. A week later at the Milwaukee Mile, Michael, John and Mario became the only known family in motorsports history to finish first, second and third respectively in a major auto race. In 1994, he became the first driver to attempt the "double," racing in the
Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C., on the same day. A little history about this date. First; it was the first time in history it had ever been attempted. Andretti would qualify 10th in his #33 AJ Foyt owned Lola. He would go on to finish tenth; and then jet off to Charlotte to race in the Coca Cola 600. He would be administered I.V. fluids on the way to try and rehydrate him. He would qualify ninth and he would run strong. He would break a crank shaft just after half way and finish 36th. Andretti would not return to race again in the Indy 500 until 2007. He would race full time in the Cup series from 1994-2003. In 1989, Andretti drove the Miller High
Life/BFGoodrich Porsche 962 to victory in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona along with co-drivers Bob Wollek and Derek Bell. In 1993, John Andretti drove the Taco Bell Express Top Fuel Dragster. In his first national event at Atlanta during the FRAM Southern Nationals and John clocked a career best speed of 299 mph. Also in that race he beat 1992 T/F Champion Joe Amato in Round 1 and Mopar Express Lube driver Tommy Johnson Jr. in Round 2; only to lose to Mike Dunn in Darrell Gwynn's La Victoria Salsa Car in the semi-finals. Andretti made his NASCAR Cup debut in 1993 driving the #72 Tex Racing Chevy for Tex Powell at North Wilkesboro Speedway. In 1995, he began driving for Michael Kranefuss in #37 Kmart/Little Caesars Ford Thunderbird. He won his first career pole at the Southern 500. In 1997, he scored his first career win at the Pepsi 400.
Andretti dominated the race all day leading 113 of the 160 laps. This would also be Cale Yarborough's only win as a car owner. 1998 saw Andretti leave Yarborough and go race for Petty Enterprises. Andretti posted a season's best thid on two occasions. 1999 would still have Andretti driving the STP sponsored car for Richard Petty Enterprises; John would claim his second (and last) Cup win. Andretti was able to pull off the surprise victory by running the entire second half of the race on the same set of left side tires. As the teams that had run up front all day pitted for tires / fuel,... Andretti stayed out and skipped the final pit stop. Leading only the last four laps to claim the win. He would stay with Petty until he was released mid way through the 2003 season. Apearently there was no
hard feelings, as Andretti would again hook up with Petty in 2011 for a deal in the Indy 500. He ran a couple of races for Haas CNC Racing and Richard Childress Racing before finishing the season in the No. 1 Pennzoil-sponsored Chevy for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. His best finish that year was 12th at New Hampshire International Speedway. Andretti started the 2004 season driving the No. 1 part-time for DEI, but departed midway through the season. He ended the year driving the No. 14 Victory Brand-sponsored Ford Taurus for ppc Racing and finished 22nd at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Andretti started
2005 still driving with ppc, but the team was forced to dissolve due to a lack of funding after 2003. Andretti only raced whenever he could get a ride - until 2009, when he hooked up with owner Bob Jenkins and sponsor Window world. They had a dismal season, finishing 35th in points. John's last Cup start would come in the Daytona 500. He would start 38th; but get caught up in a crash and finish 33rd. Andretti never got very far away frm his Indy car roots; and would run the Indy 500 every year from 2007-2011. For his final Indy 500 start he partner with his old owner Richard Petty; and long time Sponsor Window World to run at the brick yard. Check out the Petty blue and red colors and the #43. He would qualify 17th and complete the race in 22nd running three laps down. For his career Andretti ran 393 Cup races; had two wins, and racked up 13 top five finishes. Some info from WikiPedia
MARIO GABRIELE ANDRETTI - 2/28/1940 - is a retired Italian American world champion racing driver, one of the most successful Americans in the history of the sport. He is one of only two drivers to win races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR (the other being Dan Gurney). He also won races in midget cars, sprint cars, and drag racing. During his career, Andretti won four Indy Car titles (three under USAC-sanctioning, one under CART), the 1978 Formula One World Championship, and IROC VI. To date, he remains the only driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969), Daytona 500 (1967) and the Formula One World Championship, and, along with Juan Pablo Montoya, the only driver to have won a race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Formula One, and an Indianapolis 500. No American has won a Formula One race since Andretti's victory at the 1978 Dutch Grand Prix. Andretti had a long career in racing. He was the only person to be named United States Driver of the Year in three decades (1967, 1978, and 1984). Andretti competed in fourteen NASCAR Cup Series events in his career. He competed in Holman-Moody cars for his final ten events.
Holman-Moody was one of NASCAR's most successful teams at that time, as the team won NASCAR championships in 1968 and 1969 with driver David Pearson. Andretti won the 1967 Daytona 500 for Holman Moody. Andretti was invited to race in six International Race of Champions (IROC) series in his career. He won the IROC VI (1978–1979) points championship with finishes of third, first, and second. He won three races in twenty events. Andretti won the 1964 Joe James-Pat O'Connor Memorial USAC sprint car race at Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana. Andretti continued to race in USAC sprint cars after moving into champ (Indy) cars. In 1965 he won once at Ascot Park and in 1966 he won five times, and his second win at the Joe James-Pat O'Connor Memorial. Andretti made his Champ Car (Indy car) debut on
April 19, 1964 at the New Jersey State fairgrounds in Trenton, New Jersey. He would start 16th and finish in 11th place. Andretti won his first championship car race at the Hoosier Grand Prix on a road course at Indianapolis Raceway Park in 1965. He would out run Bobby Unser to get the win. His third place finish at the 1965 Indianapolis 500 in the Brawner Hawk earned him the race's Rookie of the Year award. Andretti won the points Championship in 1965 even though he only claimed the one win. He was the youngest national champion in series history at age 25. He repeated
as series champion in 1966; this time winning eight times. He again posted eight wins in 196; but only finished second in the points; He was second again in points in 1968. Andretti won nine races in 1969, the 1969 Indianapolis 500, and the season championship. STP was the Sponsor and andy Granitelli was the owner. Granitelli was always a showman; and for this race his teams wore white uniforms with STP logos scattered throughout. He evn had s uit made up of the same design. Andretti won once at the Indianapolis 500 in 29 attempts. Andretti has had so many incidents and near victories at the track that critics have dubbed the family's performance after Mario's 1969 Indianapolis 500 victory the "Andretti Curse". Formula One is the highest form
of open wheel racing sanctioned by the (FIA), motorsport's international governing body. Andretti drove sporadically in Formula One over the next four years for Lotus, March, and Ferrari, while continuing to focus on his racing career in America. At the 1971 South African Grand Prix, on his debut for Ferrari, he won his first Grand Prix. In 1977, at Long Beach, he became the only American to win the United States Grand Prix West, and the last American as of 2017 to win any US Grand Prix. The following year, Andretti took the Formula1 title with six wins. He clinched the championship at the Italian Grand Prix. There was no championship celebration because his teammate and close friend Ronnie Peterson crashed heavily at the start of the race; he was hospitalized and died that night from complications resulting from his injuries. Andretti won
three 12 Hours of Sebring endurance races (1967, 1970, 1972), and the 24 Hours of Daytona (Rolex 24) in 1972 (car below). The legendary Mario Andretti achieved it all in his storied career, except for a win in the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. As far as Mario's Cup career, he competed in 14 Cup events with his lone win being the Daytona 500 in 1967. He drove for such legendary car owners as Smokey Yunick, Cotton Owens and Holman-Moody. The Daytona 500 was a race Mario could of easily not of won. It seems Holman-Moody was hoping their other driver (Fred Lorenzen) would be able to win; so they with-held the best motors from Andretti. After practice Andretti knew his team mates had better equipment than he; so he approached the owners. He was told all the motors were
the same. He asked to see the dyno spec sheet and they refused. So he then suggested since "all the motors were the same" he'd take someone elses motor and they could have his. This was also refused. Seems Homan-Moody didn't want this interloper from the Indy car ranks to come and run well. Andretti went to Ford Motor Company; who had went to considerable time and effort to get Mario into a competitive ride; both Ford and he discovered his suspecions were correct and he was supplied with a power plant equal to Lorenzens; and soon turning laps in practice faster that the pole winning speed. During the race Andretti still contends the
team tried to sabatoge him. Andretti and Lorenzen were running 1-2 when they came in together to pit late in the race. "I came in first," Andretti sais sometime afterward. "He was behind me. And they kept my car jacked up until he went by. He was way out of pit lane before they released me, and I was just burning up. I knew what they were doing. They just wanted him to have some advantage because they obviously would rather have him win than me, which is fair enough. I can understand it now; I didn't understand it then. But I had the faster car and I proved it." He caught and passed Lorenzen within six laps, passed him and built a big lead and won handily. Info from WikiPedia Photos from here Daytona Win on YouTube
SAM ARD - 2/14/1939 - is a former NASCAR race car driver. Ard was the champion of NASCAR's Late Model Sportsman Series (the series that is now called the Xfinity series) in 1983 and 1984. Sadly, Sam Ard was involved in a career-ending crash in the final race of the 1984 season at Rockingham. Ard had simply clenched the championship by starting the race, so as he drove he had to know he was a back-to-back winner. Racing is not always a fair sport. Wayne Patterson blew an engine, there was moisture on the track and Sam Ard slid into it, slamming into the wall. Ard suffered head trauma from this accident. With his 1984 championship, Sam Ard became the first driver in history to win back-to-back championships and also was the first multiple champion in the series. Ard was the runner-up in 1982 Xfinity points chase, winning four times. Sam drove in 92 Xfinity series events, winning 22 times in his short three year career. He posted 67 top five, and 79 top ten finishes in his 92 events. 79 top 10 finishes in 92 starts - THAT is some accomplishment. Ard retired after being seriously injured in a the at the North Carolina Motor Speedway on October 20, 1984. He made his first and only NASCAR Cup series start on September 23, 1984 at Martinsville. He started 27th in the 31-car field, but lasted just one lap before a steering failure ended his
day. Sam taught himself to walk again on a sawdust pile outside the family home, because it helped to cushion him when he fell. To date, Ard and his wife Jo face Sam's battle with Alzheimer's disease; and are in dire financial straits due to past and current circumstances. It has even gotten so bad that Ard has had to sell off his race trophies, and championship rings to help pay the bills. In 2007, Kevin and Delana Harvick donated a Chevy van to the Ard's to help with the families transportations woes. In 2008, when Kyle Busch tied
Ard's mark for most Xfinity wins in a season, he announced in victory lane that he was donating $100,000 to the Ard's to help with their plight. Info from WikiPedia.
BUDDY ARRINGTON - 7/26/1938 - Arrington is a noted figure in NASCAR and Mopar history. He began professional NASCAR racing in December 1963 behind the wheel of his Dodge hardtop, and for the next twenty-five years, he never missed a season; finally retiring from the sport in 1988. What made Arrington unique in the history of the sport was his absolute dedication and loyalty to Chrysler, and his positive attitude in spite of what often seemed like insurmountable odds. Buddy; from day one, almost always ran his own car, and his operation was a very money conscious effort. His pit crew were almost always unpaid volunteers, and he relied on used equipment; at first Dodge Magnums that he bought from Richard Petty team, and also Harry Hyde's defunct team. These cars were later re-skinned and re-wheelbased to Dodge Miradas and Chrysler Imperial/Cordobas to meet the new NASCAR 110" wheel-base rule in 1981. Arrington's two Chrysler Imperials were the last Chrysler products to run in the NASCAR Winston Cup series Buddy Arrington never abandoned the Mopar banner until Mopar completely abandoned him, and pulling all parts sponsorships in 1985. He has the second most starts without a win, and managed to finished in the top 10 of NASCAR points twice; in 1979 (ninth)
and 1982 (seventh). He was known as a stubborn Mopar (Chrysler vehicles) loyalist until 1985 (long after almost every other team moved to other makes, and when the cars became ineligible to compete) and finished his career driving a few FORD Thunderbirds. His best career race and finish was at Talledega in 1979, where he had a powerful enough car to lead a few laps towards the end, and finished third. Buddy was always a much liked man on the NASCAR circuit,
and other teams, and a small, but loyal fan club pitched in to help keep him racing. In 1985 the generosity of rising NASCAR star driver Bill Elliott (who sold Buddy his slightly used Ford Thunderbird race cars and parts on the cheap) kept Buddy driving until 1988. Buddy's son Joey, now runs Arrington Manufacturing in Martinsville VA. The company builds racing engines (mostly Dodges) for the Craftsman Truck Series, and test engines for NASCAR Xfinity series. Tragedy struck Arrington's team in 1986. Rick Baldwin substituted for Arrington, who had been injured the previous week at Pocono International Raceway, for the Miller 400 at
the Michigan International Speedway. During his qualifying run in Arrington's Thunderbird, Baldwin spun in turn 1 and pancaked the wall with the drivers side of the car, and his head struck the wall. Baldwin remained in a coma for over 11 years, succumbing to his brain injuries in 1997. Arrington ran in 560 races in his career. He recorded 103 top 10 finishes. His last race was the 1988 FireCracker 400 at Daytona. Info from WikiPedia