MARSHALL TEAGUE – 2/22/1921 – 2/11/1959 - was an American race car driver. He was nicknamed by NASCAR fans as the "King of the Beach" for his performances at the Daytona Beach Road Course. He walked into fellow Daytona Beach resident Smokey Yunick's "Best Damned Garage in Town", and launched Yunick's legendary NASCAR mechanic career. Teague competed in 23 Sprint Cup Series from 1949 to 1952, winning seven of them. Teague approached the Hudson Motor Car Company by traveling to Michigan and visiting the automaker's factory without an appointment. By the end of his visit, Hudson virtually assured Teague of corporate support and cars, with the relationship formalized shortly after his visit. This "is generally regarded as the first stock car racing team backed by a Detroit auto manufacturer." During the 1951 and 1952 racing seasons, Teague was a member of the Hudson Motors team and driving what were called the "Fabulous Hudson Hornet" stock cars. The Hornet allowed Teague and the other Hudson drivers to dominate stock car racing from 1951 through 1954, consistently beating out other drivers in cars powered by larger, more modern engines. Smokey Yunick and Teague won 27 of 34 events in major stock car events. In 1953, Teague dropped out of NASCAR following a dispute with NASCAR
founder William France Sr. and went to the AAA and USAC racing circuits. Teage attempted to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 on five occasions; and made the field twice (1953 and 1957). In 1953 he made the event starting 25th. He fell out on lap 169 with an oil leak. 1957 would prove to be better as he started 28th; working his way through the field and finished in seventh place on the lead lap. NASCAR driver Dick Rathman also qualified for this race; but due to being mugged the night before; he had to withdraw and Johnny Parson drove the car in his place. Rathman's was injured when the muggers threw a rock and hit him in the eye. Teague, Parsons and Pat O'Conner all drove a "Sumar
Special" in the 500. Teague died while attempting to break the closed course speed record, which had been established by Tony Bettenhausen. He was driving a reconfigured Indy car at the newly opened Daytona International Speedway. He was conducting test sessions in preparation for the April debut of the United States Auto Club championship with Indy-style roadsters. He was piloting a "Sumar Special" streamliner, a Kurtis-Kraft chassis with a Meyer-Drake Offenhauser 270 engine, streamlined fenders, and a canopy enclosing the driver, thus being classified as Formula Libre. On February 9, 1959, Teague set an unofficial closed course speed record of 171.821 On February 10, the left rear tire was cut as a result of running over a foreign object, which forced Teague to pit. Teague was attempting to go even faster on February 11, 1959, eleven days before the first Daytona 500. "Teague pushed the speed envelope in the high-
powered Sumar Special streamliner. His car spun and flipped through the third turn and Teague was thrown, seat and all, from his car; ending up 150 feet from the crashed race car. He died nearly instantly. For his CUP career (1949-1952) Teague started 23 events, only the first four started did not come in the Hornet. His first win came on the Beach Course at Daytona in 1951, and his final came in 1952 at Jacksonville, Fl. In all he won seven times in the Cup Series. Teague was the first driver to get killed at Daytona Speedway. He was only 37. The photos below show his 1957 Indy car, and also the Sumar Special he crashed at Daytona. The arrow on the crash picture indicates how far way from the car the seat from Teague's car ended up.
HERB THOMAS – 4/6/1923 - 8/9/2000 - was a NASCAR pioneer who was one of the series' most successful drivers in the 1950s. In 1949, Thomas took part in NASCAR's first Strictly Stock (the forerunner to the modern Sprint Cup) race, and made four starts in the series' first year. The following year, he made thirteen appearances in the series. He started the 1951 season with moderate success before switching to a Hudson Hornet, at the suggestion of fellow driver Marshall Teague. Thomas won the Southern 500 rather handily in what was famously dubbed "The Fabulous Hudson Hornet", which would be the first of six wins in a two month span. His late charge helped him narrowly defeat Fonty Flock to win the CUP championship. With help from crew chief Smokey Yunick, Thomas subsequently became the first owner/driver to take the championship in the process. In 1952, Thomas and his Hornet were involved in a close championship race with another Flock, Fonty's younger brother Tim. The two drivers won 8 races in their respective Hudsons, but Flock came out on top at the end. He returned with a vengeance in 1953 and dominated the entire season, winning a series best twelve races en route to becoming the first two-time series champion. Thomas won twelve races again in 1954, including a second Southern 500 win, but he was beaten by a more consistent Lee Petty in the championship standings. In 1955 he crashed heavily behind the wheel of a Buick at a race in Charlotte,
forcing him to miss six months of the season. He returned to score his third Southern 500 win in his Motoramic Chevy, one of three wins during the season. In 1956, Thomas briefly abandoned being an owner/driver and, after winning a race for himself early in the season, he drove for two other owners. He won once for Yunick, and later won three consecutive races while driving for Carl Kiekhaefer, then dominating NASCAR with the first professional team. He was severely injured at a race in Shelby, North Carolina. The wreck effectively ended his NASCAR career, though he had two starts in 1957 and one in 1962 without success. For his career Thomas ran 228 CUP events, claiming 48 wins. He had a 21% winning percentage. He won the Southern 500 three times, also getting three wins at Langhorne, and West
Palm Beach. He won starting from the pole 19 times. On August 9, 2000, Herb Thomas suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 77. Herb's younger brother Donald made 79 starts in the Grand National division between 1950 and 1956, winning at Atlanta's Lakewood Speedway in 1952. Donald was the youngest driver to ever win a race in series history until Kyle Busch broke the record in 2005.
SPEEDY THOMPSON – 4/3/1926 - 4/2/1972 - was a NASCAR pioneer and driver in the Grand National series from 1950 to 1971. He made his debut in 1950 and won two of the seven races he competed in 1953 in the #46 Buckshot Morris Oldsmobile. Thompson made 15 starts in 1955 and made a serious attack on the Championship the next year, competing in 42 races in Carl Kiekhaefer's factory-backed Chryslers and Dodges, winning eight times. From 1956-1959 he finished each year third in the CUP standings. 1959 would be his last full-time effort in the series and he left the CUP series after the 1962 season, choosing to race at late models at local North Carolina short tracks. He returned to NASCAR's top series, in 1971 for the World 600 where he finished 16th. During a late model race on April 2, 1972 at Metrolina Fairgrounds in Charlotte, where he started the race despite reporting he was not feeling well, Thompson suffered a suspected heart attack, during the race and crashed his car, breaking his neck as well. He died on the way
to the hospital, one day before his 46th birthday. For his career he ran 197 CUP events, posting 20 wins and 105 top 10's. Thompson won the Southern 500 in 1957.
JOHN WES TOWNLEY - 12/31/1989 - an American stock car racing driver. He started out racing in the NASCAR truck series driving the #09 Zaxby's Ford. Townley is the son of Tony Townley, the co-founder of Zaxby's. Townley drove in the American Speed Association prior to joining NASCAR. He began racing in the Nationwide Series in 2008 when he drove in three races for RAB Racing. He returned to the Nationwide Series with RAB in 2009 and qualified for 26 races. He finished 16 races and finished 23rd in points. Townley's driving style proved controversial, resulting in numerous accidents; he received the nickname John 'Wrecks' Townley from his detractors. Townley joined Richard Childress Racing for 2010, but was released at the sixth race of the year at Phoenix International Raceway after a crash in practice; resulting in his replacement at RCR by Clint Bowyer. He rejoined RAB Racing for
a few races later in the 2010 season. Townley returned to RAB Racing for the 2012 Camping World Truck Series season, competing for Rookie of the Year honors. On February 7, 2012 Townley was arrested and charged with DUI following an auto accident in rural Oconee County, Georgia. He was subsequently suspended by RAB Racing until an "appropriate" amount of time had passed, and was placed on probation by NASCAR through the end of the year. Townley would return to driving for the team in the Camping World Truck Series at the end of March at Martinsville Speedway, where he finished 23rd. He would finish in the top 20 in the following three races. In August he scored his first career top-10 finish in NASCAR, finishing
8th in the Craftsman Truck Series at Pocono. After the 2012 season, Townley signed with Red Horse Racing to drive the team's No. 7 Toyota in the Camping World Truck Series for 2013. In addition, Townley drove for Bill Venturini (himself a former ARCA Champion - BIO below on this page) and owner of Venturini Motorsports in the season-opening race for the ARCA Racing Series at Daytona International Speedway; starting from the pole, he went on to win the event. Venturini was so excited about the win he kissed John Wes in victory lane. Townley seemed to have shaken off the nickname of "John Wrecks" by only having wrecks in three races in all of 2013, with two not of his own making. His
performance improved more during the second part of 2013. In the last 18 races he finished in the top 15 on fourteen occasions. Five of the last seven races he finished no worse than 7th, posting a career best of 6th at the season ending event in Homestead. Townley moved to Richie Wauters Motorsports in 2014, and ran well. He also ran part time in the NASCAR Xfinity series with decent success. He was injured in a wreck at Pocono and missed three events pushing him back to 15th in the season ending points. In 2015 Townley grabbed his first NASCAR win. It came in the Truck series event at Las Vegas. He
qualified second and he ran strong all night; most always inside the top three. The whole race he had been pressuring Matt Crafton but as the laps would down it looked like it might become a fuel mileage race. The team decided to back off Crafton and see if they could stretch their fuel. Crafton took the other strategy preferring to run hard and make a late pit stop. Crafton run out of fuel with six laps to go, and Townley cruised home to the win. John Wes also raced part time in the Xfinity series in 2015, but concentrated solely on the Trucks in 2016. He started the season well; but had an accident and was diagnosed with a concussion and missed several races. He
also suffered an off track injury to his ankle and missed several races at season's end. In all he missed five of the 23 events so that cost him a shot of having a good points finish. In a surprise move just before the 2017 season was set to start; John Wes announced he had decided to retire from racing and get married to his long time girlfriend Laura Bird later later in 2017. Both have "GQ" type looks. For his career he ran in 110 NASCAR Truck Series races claiming the one win at Las Vegas. He also posted five top 5 finishes. He also competited in 76 Xfinity Series races posting best finishes of 13th at Iowa, Talladega and Chicago. John Wes is self-taught to play the piano and guitar; and he's very good at both.
DICK TRICKLE – 10/27/1941 - 5/16/2013 - was an American NASCAR CUP series driver. He raced for decades around the short tracks of Wisconsin, winning many championships along the way. Trickle competed in the ASA, ARTGO, ARCA, All Pro, IMCA, NASCAR, and USAC. In more than an estimated 2,200 races, Trickle logged one million laps and is believed to have won over 1,200 feature races. He was billed as the winningest short track driver in history. Trickle's career highlights include racing to 67 wins in 1972. In 1968 he won the USAC Stock Car rookie of the year, and winning the 1989 NASCAR Rookie of the Year award in the Sprint Cup series (at age 48). Trickle was nicknamed the "White Knight" as referenced by his sponsored SuperAmerica paint scheme, when he raced in Wisconsin. In 1989 Trickle made his full schedule debut driving the #84 Miller High Life Buick for Stavola Brothers Racing. He had raced an occasional race during the 1970s and 1980s. After being given the Rookie of the Year trophy at the NASCAR Awards banquet, he quipped "I guess I’d just like to thank everyone who gave a young guy like me a chance". His best career Winston Cup finish was third (5 times). He started 303 races, with 15 Top 5 and 36 Top 10 finishes. In 1990, he won the Winston Open (now the NASCAR Sprint Showdown.) in the #66 TropArtic Pontiac. It was a non-points All-Star event for drivers who did not win in the previous year. He beat Rob Moroso by 8 inches, the smallest margin of victory at the event. He also won his
only career Cup pole atDover Downs International Speedway. Part of his popularity stemmed from his unusual, double-entendre name. ESPN's Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann often made it a point to mention where he finished whenever NASCAR highlights were featured on Sportscenter. He was either referred as Mr. Trickle or "The Man". He was also widely noted for having drilled a hole in his safety helmet so that he could smoke while racing, and for installing cigarette lighters in his race cars. Trickle had an infamous wreck. Once while under yellow in the 1995 Daytona 500, he ran into Robert Pressley while lighting a cigarette. Drivers were allowed by NASCAR to smoke in the
race car during yellow flag periods, and in the 1990 Winston 500 (now the Aaron's 499), Trickle was seen on live television by the in-car camera lighting up and smoking a cigarette. Dick's nephew Chris was shot on February 9, 1997. Trickle left his home in Las Vegas around 9 p.m. to play tennis with a friend. As he drove over the freeway a car drove alongside and fired shots into his car hitting him in the head. Trickle died from complications of his wounds on March 25, 1998, 409 days after the shooting. His murder remains unsolved. Dick also raced in the Busch Series, where he won two races. He had 158 career starts, with 24
Top 5 and 42 Top 10 finishes. He made his Busch Series debut in 1984. Trickle died May 16, 2013, from an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound The incident occurred at 12:02 p.m. at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, North Carolina. The Lincoln County Communications Center received a call, apparently from the victim, saying that "there's going to be a dead body. Suicide." When the 911 operator asked who was about to commit suicide, Trickle responded: "I'm the one". Trickle was found dead beside his pickup truck. His granddaughter, who died in a car accident, was buried in the same cemetery.
MARTIN TRUEX JR– 6/29/1980 - is an American stock car racing driver. As of 2014 he drives the No. 78 Chevrolet SS for Furniture Row Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Truex is a two-time Nationwide Series champion; having won the title in 2004 and 2005. His younger brother, Ryan is a champion in the K&N Pro Series East division. In 2006, Truex moved to the #1 Bass Pro/DEI Chevy full-time in the Sprint Cup Series. He had two top-five finishes but finished nineteenth in points. Truex got his first win of the 2007 at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Open, securing a spot in the 2007 Sprint All-Star Challenge, where he finished 10th. A few weeks later, he won the Autism Speaks 400, scoring his first Sprint Cup Series win with an interval of seven seconds between himself and pole sitter Ryan Newman. He did not win in 2008, but had eleven top-tens and finished 15th in points. At the beginning of the 2009 season, his team, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. merged with Chip Ganassi
Racing with Felix Sabates and be renamed Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Truex began the year by winning the pole for the Daytona 500. Overall in the season, Truex had acclaimed 3 pole positions (Daytona, Atlanta, and Phoenix), following his first pole in 2007 at Texas. 2009 would be his final season with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. At the conclusion of the 2009 season, Truex left Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to drive the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing, receiving owner points from the #55 car formerly driven by Waltrip. The #56 was the number Martin's father drove in during his time in the CUP Division and is considered the "family number". In his first race for Michael Waltrip Racing, Truex finished sixth in the Daytona 500. Truex started 2012 well, winning a $100,000 bonus and finishing 7th in the Daytona 500. He finally hit his stride in Texas, winning the pole and leading 69 laps. He ended up in 11th in the points, with 0 wins, 7 top 5s
and 19 top 10s. Truex had high and low notes in 2013. He had a few top five finishes in the early races. His first best run of 2013 was Texas, when he led during the final 55 laps of the race but came up short losing to Kyle Busch, who passed him to win with 19 laps left in the race. At Sonoma, Truex broke a 218 race win-less streak, starting 14th on the starting grid and working his way up to win by over eight seconds over Jeff Gordon at Sonoma. It is only the second time a car numbered 56 won in NASCAR's highest division, the first being Jim Hurtubise in a 1966 Atlanta race. In the final race at Richmond, he was in the midst of a fierce battle for the final Wildcard spot, eventually coming out over Ryan Newman by a tiebreaker. As Newman and Truex each had one win, the
Wildcard spot went to Truex, for having a better number of top-five finishes than Newman; however on Monday evening, it was announced that due to MWR having attempted to manipulate the results of the race, points penalties were assessed - 50 points for Truex, Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers each - that resulted in Truex being bumped from the Chase and Newman and Jeff Gordon being added to the Chase field. In the final 10 races of the season, he had 4 top 10 finishes, which included a top 5 run at Homestead-Miami Speedway. On October 14, 2013, it was announced that Michael Waltrip Racing's No. 56 would become a research and development team in 2014. This in part was due to NAPA Auto Parts deciding to withdraw their sponsorship in the fallout from the
Richmond controversy. Truex was told he could offer his services as a driver to other teams, and on October 17 it was confirmed that for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season Truex and his pit crew would move to Furniture Row Racing and drive the #78 Chevrolet SS being vacated by Kurt Busch. Truex's first season with owner Barney Visser and the Furniture Row team was a dismal failure. He only led one lap all season and posted a best finish of fourth; and only five top ten finishes. 2015 saw a significant up-tick in performance and Truex posted his first win since 2013 and only the third of his career. Truex won at Pocono in convincing style leading almost half the laps. Truex
eventually advanced to the Championship part of the Chase with a shot at winning the CUP title; ending up fourth in the points. 2016 was a banner year for Truex and his Furniture Row Race team. He grabbed four wins, including the Southern 500; and had several other races that slipped away. The second half of the season every race they seemed to be one of the cars to beat. When the elimination part of the Chase started he won the first event guaranteeing himself advancement into round two. Round two went well until the final race at Talladega. He blew a motor early and finished last. This knocked him out of moving further forward in the hunt for the Championship. He ended up 11th in
points. For 2017 it looks like the Barny Visser owned team of Furniture Row will be purchasing another Charter and add young driver Erik Jones to their stable to join Truex.
RYAN TRUEX - 3/18/1992 – an American stock car driver - A native of Mayetta, New Jersey, Truex won the 2009 NASCAR Camping World East Series Championship as a 17-year-old high school student at Southern Regional High School. He is the younger brother of Sprint Cup Series driver and two-time Xfinity Series champion Martin Truex Jr., and the son of former Busch Series driver Martin Truex Sr. Truex won the 2009 NASCAR Camping World East Series Championship as a 17-year-old high school student at Southern Regional High School. Truex competed in six NASCAR Nationwide Series events, beginning at Gateway International Raceway on July 17, 2010 driving the #00 NAPA Toyota. Truex was intended to run for Rookie of the Year in
2011 with MWR. However, motocross stunt performer Travis Pastrana ran the #99 for 7 races. Truex's plan was to skip ROTY and run 10 consecutive races in the Xfinity Series, then 20 races in 2012, though surgery forced him out of the 99 at Texas and was replaced by David Reutimann and team owner Waltrip, who drove at the restrictor plate tracks. Waltrip and Ryan's brother Martin also split time in the ride. Due to a lack of sponsorship in the 00 team, Truex was released from Pastrana Waltrip Racing after the STP 300. Truex returned to
the Xfinity Series with Joe Gibbs Racing, running several races late in the 2011 season. In 2012, he drove for Tommy Baldwin Racing in the season-opening DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway, finishing 31st. He ran a limited schedule for JGR, while he also drove for RAB Racing at Texas Motor Speedway in April. On June 2, 2012, Truex got a career best finish of second at Dover International Speedway driving for JGR. Racing shortly after an emergency appendectomy, he started the race first after winning his first career Xfinity Series pole, and led late before being caught in lapped traffic by Joey Logano. In February 2013, Truex announced that he would compete in the Camping World Truck Series for Turner Scott Motorsports at Daytona International Speedway in the #30 Bass Pro Chevy; he
hoped to compete in further races during the year, and registered to compete for the series' Rookie of the Year title. In addition, he signed with Phoenix Racing to compete in the Sprint Cup Series, competing races at Richmond; as well as at run some Xfinity series races; his debut in the Sprint Cup Series and his Xfinity Series race were later delayed due to Truex suffering a broken collarbone. On June 2, 2013, it was announced that Truex had signed with Richard Petty Motorsports as a development driver; in mid-July it was announced that he would make his Sprint Cup debut with Phoenix Racing in the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway driving James Finch's No. 51. After Harry Scott, Jr.'s takeover of the No. 51 team two weeks later, Truex
drove for Scott in his first race as team owner at Richmond International Raceway. He drove for Scott again at his home track of Dover International Speedway, finishing 32nd. In January 2014, Truex drove for BK Racing during testing prior to the 2014 Daytona 500 in the No. 93. He was later assigned to the team's No. 83 for the full season. Truex also drove the No. 32 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for Turner Scott Motorsports in the season-opening Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway. In August he suffered a sprained wrist and concussion in a practice crash at Michigan International Speedway; he was forced to sit out that weekend's race, being replaced by J. J.
Yeley. In September, Truex was replaced in the No. 83 car by Travis Kvapil in races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway; discussions about his position with the team for the remainder of the season were said to be "ongoing". During the race weekend at Dover, Truex confirmed that he was no longer with BK Racing. After receiving no rides in 2015, Truex was picked up by Biagi-DenBeste Racing to drive three races starting at Richmond in the Xfinity Series. After not finding a ride
in 2015, in 2016, Truex returned to the Truck Series for the season opener at Daytona, driving the No. 81 for Hattori Racing Enterprises. Truex ran in the top ten for a portion of the race, and was in the lead on the last lap when he lost support from Parker Kligerman. After finishing 2nd, he announced he was running Atlanta, Martinsville, Kansas and will hope to run the whole season. Unfortunately not, sponsorship has been an issue for the team, and was replaced by Jesse Little for Texas. As 2017 rolls around Truex finds himself without a full time ride - At this point all he has is "possibly" running some Xfinity series in the #22 Brad Keselowski owned car.
CURTIS TURNER – 4/12/1924 - 10/4/1970 - was an early NASCAR driver. In addition to his success in racing, he made a fortune, lost it, and remade it buying and selling timberlands. Throughout his life he developed a reputation for drinking and partying. During his career, he won 360 races in several different racing series, including 22 in the NASCAR Convertible Division in 1956, and 17 wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup. From 1950 to 1954, he drove for Oldsmobile being billed as the Blond Blizzard of Virginia. He switched to driving Fords in 1954. Being able to see the racing industry from the business end, he developed a feeling that drivers deserved a better deal for their role in the sport. Together with Fireball Roberts and Tim Flock, he attempted to organize a union for them, the Federation of Professional Athletes, in 1961. "His aims are for better purses, a share in broadcasting rights and retirement benefits for the drivers." Unfortunately for him, NASCAR has never looked favorably on an organized union for the drivers, and Turner was banned for life. However, the ban was lifted after four years in 1965, and Turner returned to NASCAR racing. Bill France was in a bind and needed to mend some fences. 1962 and 1963 NASCAR-points champion Joe Weatherly was
killed driving a Mercury at Riverside, California on January 19, 1964 and his star driver Fireball Roberts had died following a fiery crash on May 24, 1964, at the World 600 in Charlotte. The track owners wanted Turner back. France was also short of cars. The Chrysler factory were boycotting NASCAR over the organizing body's ban of the Hemi engine, and Richard Petty went drag racing in the first half of the 1965 season. The Ford factory were also in dispute with NASCAR over the SOHC engine, which faced a joint NASCAR-USAC ban on December 17, 1965. Turner, then 41, soon notched the first victory of his comeback in a Ford at the inaugural
American 500, at the North Carolina Motor Speedway, Rockingham, North Carolina, on October 31, 1965, winning a purse of $13,090. Turner lost his Ford ride in 1966 when: "Ford withdrew its factory backed racing teams from competition when the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing and the United States Auto Club ruled April 6 that Fords equipped with an overhead cam engine must carry 427 additional pounds. Turner started the 1966 season in a Ford, but with the Ford-factory withdrawal, he signed to drive a Chevrolet for Smokey Yunick out of Daytona Beach, Florida. The race win in 1965 would also
be his final win. He did post six other top five finishes prior to when hequit racing in 1968. For his career, Turner ran in 184 CUP events winning 17 times. including the 1956 Southern 500. He also ran 79 convertible series races, and won a whopping 38 times. He won 22 of 42 events he ran in 1956; but still finished second in the points chase as he did not run in five races. He won twice at the Convertible Beach Course and at Darlington among his 22 wins. He died in an airplane crash near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on October 4, 1970. "Police said the aero-commander 500 piloted by Turner crashed shortly after taking off from the Dubois-Jefferson Airport en route to Roanoke."
AL UNSER – 5/29/1939 - is a former American automobile racing driver, the younger brother of fellow racing drivers Jerry and Bobby Unser, and father of Al Unser, Jr.. He is the second of three men to have won the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race four times, the fourth of five to have won the race in consecutive years. He began racing in 1957, at age 18, initially competing primarily in modified roadsters, sprint cars and midgets. In 1965 he raced in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time and finished ninth. He won the Indy 500 in 1970, two years after his brother, Bobby. During the race, he led for all but 10 of the 200 laps and averaged 155.749 mph. Unser wheeled the car fondly called "Johnny Lightning" In 1971 he won the Indy 500 again, starting from the fifth position with an average speed of 157.735 mph. Unser's bid to become the first three-time consecutive Indy 500 champion was thwarted when he finished second to Mark Donohue in the 1972 Indianapolis 500. Despite starting the 1978 Indianapolis 500 from the fifth position in an FNCTC Chaparral Lola, Unser's car was considered before the race to be a second-tier entry at best, if not an outright long shot to win. Moving to the front of the field for the first time on lap 75, he and opponent Danny Ongais engaged in an on-again off-again duel for 75 more laps, before an engine failure on Ongais' car on lap 150. In
the 1983 season, Unser joined Team Penske and drove for 4 years in a Penske-owned car. Unser controlled the late stages of the 1983 Indianapolis 500, leading 61 laps. With less than 20 laps to go, Unser got challenges from Tom Sneva who led the most laps. With help from his son - who was several laps down - Unser began pulling away from Sneva. However Sneva got by Al Jr., and set sail for Unser Sr.. Sneva caught up to Unser within 1 lap of passing Al Jr., and passed him to retake the lead with 9 laps to go. Sneva then easily pulled away to win the race by 11 seconds, avenging his firing from the team in 1978. After the race, Unser Jr. was penalized 2 laps for his actions as well as having passed 2 cars under caution on lap 170. In 1987, Penske's slate of drivers included Mears, Ongais and Danny
Sullivan. Unser was dropped. Ongais crashed into the wall during the first week of practice, suffering a serious concussion, and was declared unfit to drive. Penske then turned to Unser to fill in. Both the new Penske PC16 race car and its new Chevrolet-Ilmor engine had been unreliable throughout testing, practice and qualifying. Penske elected to race the backup car, a 1986 March-Cosworth, the same combination of chassis and engine that had won the previous four Indy 500s. The year-old March was removed from a Penske Racing display at a Sheraton hotel in the team's hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania, and hurriedly prepared for a return to active competition. At start Unser was in the 20th position. On a day when heavy attrition felled most of the field's front-runners, including the overwhelmingly dominant Newman-Haas entry of Mario Andretti,
Unser worked his way steadily forward and took the lead on the 183rd lap, after Roberto Guerrero's car stalled on his final pit stop. Unser bested a charging Guerrero by 4.5 seconds to win his fourth Indy 500, only five days before his 48th birthday. In doing so he tied Foyt as the winningest Indy 500 driver and broke brother Bobby's record as the oldest Indy winner. The #25 car here is the one Unser drove to his fourth Indy win. In 1988 and 1989, Unser returned to Penske to secure a ride at the three 500-miles races (Indianapolis, Michigan, Pocono). After reorganization at Team Penske in 1990, Unser was finally crowded out of his part-time ride. With competitive rides filling up, and his career dwindling down, he joined the sub-par Patrick Racing Alfa Romeo team for 1990. After dropping out at Indy,
Unser crashed in practice at Michigan and broke his leg. He quit the team after the crash. He went to Indy in 1991 shopping for a ride; but none were to be found. In 1992, Unser entered the month of May for the second year in a row without a ride. During the first week of practice, Nelson Piquet was involved in a serious crash, and was unable to drive. Unser was hired by Team Menard to drive the #27 Menard's sponsored car to fill the position vacated by Piquet. Unser drove to a 3rd-place finish, while his son Al Unser, Jr. won the race. It was Team Menard's best Indy 500 finish, the best finish ever for the Buick Indy engine, and the first time the Buick engine had gone the entire 500 miles. Later in the year, Unser was selected to drive as a substitute for the injured Rick Mears at Nazareth. It was Unser's first start for Penske since
1989, and his final start in a CART series event. He finished 12th. In 1993, driving for King Racing, he led 15 laps at the Indianapolis 500 to extend his career laps-led record. He finished 12th, one lap down. A month shy of his 55th birthday, Unser entered the 1994 race with Arizona Motorsports, hoping to qualify for what would be his 28th Indy 500. The team was very underfunded, and Unser had considerable trouble getting the car up to speed. On the first weekend of qualifying, he waved off after a poor qualifying lap. After some minimal practice the following day, he quit the team. He announced his retirement on
May 17, 1994. From 1982-1993 Unser only raced in one Indy car event: The Indy 500. Unser ran five times in his career in the Sprint CUP series; and like most of the other Indy cra competitors who ran some races in the Sprint Cup series was always competitive. IN his first CUP race at Riverside he finished third Three times at Riverside CA, once at Watkins Glen, and once in the Daytona 500. He posted a finish of 6th in 1968 at Riverside, and followed that up with a 4th in 1969. He also drove a Cotton Owens owned Dodge to a 4th place finish in the 1968 Daytona 500. Unser would start eighth and lead at once point as in the end Cale Yarborough edged Lee Roy Yarbrough by one second for the win. In addition to his four Indy 500 victories, Unser also claimed 36 other Indy car wins.
BOBBY UNSER – 2/20/1934 - is a retired U.S. automobile racer. He is the brother of Al Unser, Jerry Unser and Louie Unser, the father of Robby Unser, and the uncle of Al Unser, Jr. He is one of ten drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 three or more times, and one of only two to have won the 500 in three different decades (1968, 75, 81). His first Indy 500 win in 1968 saw Joe Leonard and Graham Hill start first and second in their STP sponsored turbine powered Lotus'. Unser would start third on the outside of row number one. As with the previous year the Granatelli turbine cars were the class of the field. Andy teamed up with Colin Chapman and with a three-car team of new, improved wedge-shaped and all-wheel drive "Whooshmobile" turbines it looked like this would finally be his year with the cars of Joe Leonard and Graham Hill qualifying 1-2. Bobby Unser
proved he had a stout machine also when he passed Leonard for the lead early as Hill fell back out of contention. Unser shocked the crowd as the red-and-white #3 began to pull away. Unser seemingly had the car to beat but problems with his Eagle/Offy's lower gears starting to fail would put him well back after ever pit stop and force him to have to charge back. As Unser had his issues both Leonard and Lloyd Ruby battled for the lead. With nine laps to go Leonard was leading when he fell out with a broken fuel shaft, paving the way for Unser to get his first Indy win. Dan Gurney finishing second it was a 1-2 finish for Dan Gurney's Eagle chassis. Much of the movie "Winning" was shot during this race with the movie makers going out of their way to paint the car of main character "Frank Capua"
identical to Bobby Unser's winning one. The movie is best remembered for who played Capua, Academy Award-winner Paul Newman who caught the motor sports bug making the film and would go on to be a very successful race car driver in his own right. 1975 saw Bobby Unser again start third in the 500. The pole sitter of AJ Foyt, and second place Gordon Johncock to his inside. Johnny Rutherford also had a strong car, along with Wally Dallenbach Sr. Bobby Allison started this race, and became the first full time NASCAR driver to lead a lap at Indy. Unser didn't lead a lap until Foyt's crew errored and run him out of gas on lap 123.
Unser led only one lap before Dallenbach took the lead away. Weather was closing in, and Unser moved to take the lead away from Rutherford on lap on lap 165. Shortly afterward the skies opened up the rain came hard and fast, flooding the track and making it a virtual ice rink trying to drive on it with slick tires. Even after the yellow came out there were several crashes. Rutherford finished second, and Foyt recovered to finish third even after running out of gas. If the race had ran the full distance Foyt was a good bet to have won. Bobby Allison broke a gearbox and finished 25th. Bobby Unser was part of one of the most controversial finishes in Indy 500 history at the 1981 Indianapolis 500.
This time Unser won the pole, and was joined on the front row by Mike Mosely and AJ Foyt. Future NASCAR star Tim Richmond would start 33rd, and work his way up to a 14th place finish. On lap 149, during a caution period, Bobby and Mario Andretti made their pit stop and headed back to the race. Bobby passed eight cars during the caution, while Mario passed two cars. Unser won the race. The next day Andretti's Patrick team filed a protest and Unser was penalized one position for passing cars under yellow in violation of the blend rule. He as had Andretti (but not past as many cars for the latter). Andretti became the new winner of the race when the official results were posted. Roger Penske appealed the penalty and eventually, 138 days after the race in October, The penalty was overturned for a
$40,000 fine and Unser once again became the official winner of the race. the controversy and financial impact (Unser once estimated that the commercial endorsements he lost because of the delayed result cost him $1 million) caused him to retire from racing at the end of the year. Much like his brother Al, Bobby ran a hand full of CUP races. Two starts at Daytona, one at Charlotte, and one at Riverside. In the Daytona 500 Unser would start 8th, but crash out on lap 56. His best CUP finish came in 1973 at Riverside. He started 7th, and would bring home his
Holman-Moody Pepsi sponsored Ford in fourth place. For his career Bobby ran 263 Indy car events claiming 37 wins. He also ran in one Formula1 race, and was the IROC Champion in 1975.
BILL VENTURINI – 2/14/1953 - is a former NASCAR driver and a two-time ARCA Champion. Venturini's daughter, Wendy Venturini is a pit road reporter for Speed Channel and his son Billy Venturini is an ARCA driver who once attempted a NASCAR race. While Venturini competed in the ARCA series he often had an all girl pit crew. The elder Venturini competed in seven Nextel Cup, four Busch Series, and two Craftsman Truck Series events in his own right. Venturini first entered NASCAR in 1982, competing in the series' inaugural event at Daytona. Starting 24th in the field of thirty-four, Venturini completed all but five laps in route to a solid 15th place finish. Venturini's first NASCAR race outside of Daytona came in 1984, when he took his Busch car to the Milwaukee Mile. Starting 12th in the field of twenty-six, Venturini kept his car near the front all day and was rewarded with a NASCAR-best 11th place finish. Venturini's Cup debut came in 1989, when the journeyman driver competed at Michigan. Starting 38th in the field of forty, Venturini crashed early in the event and finished 37th. Venturini's busiest year on the NASCAR circuit was in 1990, when the driver managed to pull together a four-race schedule. It started off well enough for Venturini, driving to a series-best 18th place finish at Talladega. He then struggled to a 30th place (camshaft problems) finish at Michigan, but rebounded nicely by running at the finish of the summer races at Talladega (25th)
and Michigan (28th). Venturini wound out his Cup career in 1991, competing in just two events. Both went poorly for Venturini, as early mechanical issues left him near the tail. Venturini also wound up giving the Truck Series a try, making his debut in 1995 by racing at Phoenix. Starting 30th in the field of forty, Venturini crashed out of the race early and struggled to a 34th place finish as a result. Venturini is currently a car owner in the ARCA; often fielding 3 or more full time cars. His driver John Wes Townley won the ARCA race at Daytona in 2013.
BRIAN VICKERS - 10/24/1983 - is an American stock car and sports car racing driver. He is the driver of the No. 55 Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as well as the No. 20 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series. He was the 2003 Busch Series champion, and at age 20, became the youngest champion in any of NASCAR's three top-tier series. Vickers made his Nationwide Series debut in the 2001 GNC Live Well 250 at Milwaukee in the No. 29 car; owned by his father Clyde Vickers' BLV Motorsports team. He qualified 30th and finished 37th after a crash. Vickers ran three more races that season; his best finish being 25th at North Carolina. Due to a lack of funding for his family-owned team, Vickers was hired to replace Ricky Hendrick in the No. 5 GMAC Chevrolet owned by Hendrick Motorsports. In 2003, Vickers won three races and the championship by 14 points over David Green. Vickers was driving a car owned by Ricky Hendrick; son of Rick Hendrick. Vickers drove the same car number Ricky had dove: #5. Vickers made his Cup debut in the 2003 UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte; qualifying 20th and finishing 33rd in the #60 Haas Automation Chevy. He ran four more races that season in Hendrick's #25 UAW/Delphi Chevy; qualifying in the top 5 each time, but posting only one top 20 finish. In 2004, Vickers ran
the #25 in the Cup series full-time; carrying sponsorship from Ditech and GMAC. He won two poles, had four top tens, and finished third behind Kasey Kahne and Brendan Gaughan for Rookie of the Year. Vickers started out the 2006 season with a 7th place finish in the Daytona 500. He went on to finish 15th in points with nine top 10s, including a win at Talladega. However, the season was marred by conflicts within Hendrick Motorsports. On June 25, Vickers announced that he would leave Hendrick and drive for the new Red Bull Team team in 2007. In the UAW-Ford 500, Vickers was running third when he bumped teammate Jimmie Johnson on the last lap; causing both Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the leader, to spin out. Vickers went on to score his first victory. Johnson was livid
with Vickers, and both he and his crew chief Chad Knaus questioned Vickers' motives with the bump leading Knaus to state that Vickers had "run out of talent" prior to wrecking his teammate. In 2007, Vickers drove the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry for the new Red Bull team, with crew chief Doug Richert, as a teammate to A. J. Allmendinger. This season started out poorly when Vickers suffered a blown tire during his qualifying race for the Daytona 500; causing him to fail to qualify. The next week, the team regrouped, however, and scored a tenth place finish in their first outing, the Auto Club 500 at California, which was coincidentally Toyota's first top 10 in the Cup series. Two weeks later, Vickers led Toyota's first lap in the Cup series at Atlanta. On May 27, 2007, Vickers gave Toyota its first top 5 ever in the Coca-Cola 600. Toyota
brought a new engine to Charlotte, and Vickers showed its potential and surprised many by leading more than 70 laps of the race and having the dominant car. However, towards the end of the race, the power steering of the vehicle began to fail, and eventually ceased operation completely. Crew chief Doug Richert managed to salvage the race through pit strategy; enabling Vickers to score a fifth place finish. In 2009 Vickers' season began with controversy in the Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. got a run on the backstretch to the inside of Vickers, but Vickers blocked. Earnhardt, Jr. clipped the left rear fender; getting Vickers loose sending him into the field. Vickers said after the race that Earnhardt should have been black-flagged. Earnhardt later stated that he was unaware that Vickers was a lap down, and that both were
fighting for the Lucky Dog position. Earnhardt later apologized. In August of that season Vickers won the Carfax 400 from the pole for his second career Sprint Cup victory, Red Bull's first victory, and Toyota's first victory. With a little over 40 laps to go, Vickers stayed behind Johnson most of the time; trying to save fuel. With just over 3 laps to go, Johnson ran out of fuel, while Vickers barely had enough to claim the win and do a few burnouts before his car ran out of fuel in the infield. Two days after the win, Vickers resigned a multi-year extension with Red Bull. On May 13, 2010, it was announced that Vickers, who had earned three top 10s in the first 11 races, would not
be participating in the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway due to an undisclosed medical condition, later revealed to be blood clots in his legs and around his lungs. On May 21, 2010, six days after being released from a hospital for the aforementioned blood clot issue, it was announced that Vickers would miss the remainder of the season. Vickers was clear to race in 2011. His season started out in the big one at Daytona, where he would finish 31st. A week later at Phoenix, he was involved in the big one again when Matt Kenseth got into the back of him; triggering a 13 car pileup. He would finish the year 25th in points with seven top 10's. After season's end, Red Bull shut down its Cup Series team, leaving Vickers without
a ride for 2012. Vickers started the 2012 season without a ride, but it was announced in early March that he would drive the No. 55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at both races at Bristol, Martinsville, and Loudon, sharing the ride with Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip. Vickers announced at the fall Martinsville race that he renewed his contract with MWR and will race 9 more times in the #55 car next year sharing the ride with Mark Martin (24) and Michael Waltrip (3). Additionally, Vickers will return to the Nationwide Series full-time, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. For his 2013 season, Vickers performed well at Bristol. Vickers led 63 laps in the Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway but finished second to Kyle Busch. Ironically, the next day, Vickers held off Busch to win his third career Sprint Cup Series race during the 2013 Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire after making a late race pass on Tony Stewart. On August 13, 2013, Vickers was announced as the full-time driver of the No. 55 for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. on August 19, it was announced that following the release of Mark Martin to substitute for the injured Tony Stewart, Vickers would drive the No. 55 in twelve of the season's final 13 races. On October 14, 2013, it was announced that Vickers would be forced to sit out the rest of the season due to the discovery of a blood clot in his right calf, a similar issue to the one that that caused him to sit out much of 2010. Doctors released Vickers to return to racing full time in 2014. He ran all 36 races driving Michael Waltrip Racings Toyota, had six top 10 finishes, and posted a best finish of 2nd in the July race at Daytona. During the off season before the 2015 season; Vickers once again encountered health issues. He is scheduled to sit out the early part of the 2015 season due to having to repair a hole in his heart. He ended up out for all of 2015 as he again has problems with blood clots. It's not known if he'd be able to race again. Then is a surprising move in 2016 Vickers was called on to drive the #14 Bass Pro car normally driven by Tony Stewart. Stewart had an accident in a dune buddy during the off season and needed someone to fill in for him the early part of the season. Vickers health issues had cleared up and he was cleared to drive. He drove five races for Stewart in 2016 with a best finish of seventh at Martinsville. He also finished 13th at Fontana. As 2017 rolls around it appears Vickers is healthy enough to drive, but no seats are available at this time. To date he has 148 Xfinity series starts with the three wins and a Championship. He also has 323 CUP series starts and three wins; the last coming in 2013 at Loudon NH when he was driving the #55 Aaron's car winning the Camping World 301 event.