Hometown victory for Busch

March 4, 2009 by  
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Born in the city of Las Vegas on 2 May 1985, Kyle Thomas Busch was destined to become a household name in the NASCAR industry, following in the footsteps of his brother Kurt. With supportive parents, Kyle was given the opportunity to explore his passion for driving from the early age of thirteen. Now, aged 23, Kyle Busch took his NASCAR career to a new high, by winning on his home turf in Las Vegas on Sunday.

In his first Cup racing event at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Busch has to settle for a very disappointing 41st place finish. But on Sunday, he was ready to change past failures into tough, action packed and breathtaking victory. Before the race Kyle Busch, also referred to as the “Wild Thing”, prepared his fans for the race. He told the crowd that he would fall to the back and fight his way to first position, and he did not let his fans down.

The Las Vegas Motor Speedway was packed with spectators as Kyle Busch pulled into pole position with his brother behind him, waiting for the race to begin. It was not an easy 285 lap race, as Busch began to fight his way through the pack, forced to drop back due to changes made to his engine. The excitement built as Busch took the lead and lost it again with 57 laps remaining. Between late pit stops, caution laps and restarts, Busch clawed his way into the lead and held off the rest of the field by widening his gap between them. Passing the checkered flag was one of the proudest moments in his racing career. Not being able to contain his joy he commented to the press: “I didn’t know exactly what it would mean, but coming to the checkered flag, there were knots in my stomach. It’s bigger than winning the Daytona 500. I said it wasn’t going to be, but it is.”

Being able to overcome difficulties, realize dreams and achieve goals at such a young age, makes Kyle Busch a deserving winner and a phenomenal driver. No doubt that his racing career will only grow stronger in the future and that he will return to Las Vegas to try and recapture Sunday’s glory.

Cale Yarborough

February 9, 2009 by  
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William Caleb Yarborough, was born in South Carolina on 27 March 1939. This legendary figure is a former NASCAR driver and owner in the Winston Cup Series and a businessman. Cale Yarborough is one of the only two NASCAR drivers to win three championships consecutively. His face has also been seen on the cover of the popular magazine, Sports Illustrated.

On NASCAR’s all winner’s list, the name Cale Yarborough appears at number five, due to his 83 wins. But his achievements do not end there. Yarborough won the Daytona 500 in the years 1968, 1977, 1983 and again in 1984. He also became the first NASCAR driver, in 1984, to qualify with a top speed of over 200 miles per hour, for the Daytona 500.

Many mistakenly believed that Cale Yarborough was related to LeeRoy Yarbrough, another NASCAR veteran driver. The truth is, that Cale Yarborough was the son of a tobacco farmer. He attended his first race, without a ticket, as a young boy. It was the Southern 500, and the year was 1950. He was so desperate to drive, that he even lied about his age, which NASCAR picked up and promptly disqualified him. Yarborough returned to the Southern 500 in 1957, and made his debut driving for Bob Weatherly. He was behind the wheel of the #30 Pontiac, and after suffering complications with the car’s hubs, he worked himself two places up from his 44th starting position, to finish 42nd. The Southern States Fairground in 1960, was the race in which he secured his first top fifteen place and at the Daytona 500 Qualifying Race, in 1962, he finished in the top ten.

Cale Yarborough signed on with Herman Beam in 1963, to drive his #19 Ford, and at Savannah and Myrtle Beach, he finished both races in fifth place. He started the following season with Herman Beam, but finished the season with Holman Moody. Yarborough drove for a few owners, and ended up with Banjo Matthews in the beginning of the 1966 season. He finished in second place, twice, consecutively but left the team to join the Wood Brothers, driving their #21 Ford. Due to Yarborough only driving in 17 races, he was placed 20th in the standings, even though he won the Firecracker 400 and the Atlanta 500. He also went on to win the Daytona 500 for the Wood Brothers and the Firecracker 400. He ended the season with a total of six wins. This moved him up in the standings, to 17th position. In 1980, Yarborough secured fourteen pole positions, winning six races and lost, by nineteen points, to Dale Earnhardt, who took the championship. Darrell Waltrip replaced Cale Yarborough at the end of the racing season. Yarborough then announced that he would only run part time, which he did for the rest of his career.

He won many more races, and brought home the win for various teams, ending his career while racing for Harry Ranier. Hardee’s had offered to sponsor Yarborough as a driver and owner of #29. He raced his final season in 1988, after which he retired. To add to his interesting career, Cale played himself in two TV episodes of The Dukes of Hazard. The episodes were called “Cale Yarborough comes to Hazard” in 1984 and “The Dukes meet Cale Yarborough” which aired in 1979. He also starred in the movie Stoker Ace, with Burt Reynolds, in 1983. Cale Yarborough is a legendary driver that has had a wonderful career, and made colorful memories to remember him by. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993.

Dale Jarrett

February 9, 2009 by  
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Born in 1956 in North Carolina, Dale Arnold Jarrett is a former NASCAR driver and champion. After years of tenacity and persistence, he had built up both his career and reputation in the NASCAR community, making him one of the sport’s more esteemed drivers. Dale Jarrett is the son of Ned Jarrett, a two-time NASCAR Grand National champion and the brother of Jason Jarrett who raced the Busch Series – clearly, racing is in his blood. He is also talented at other sports and was offered a full golf scholarship upon graduating from high school in 1974 – an offer which he declined. Instead he made his way to the racetrack three years later and he officially started racing at his father’s Hickory Motor Speedway. He continued to compete at Hickory in the Limited Sportsman Division before moving up to the NASCAR Busch Series in 1982.

Just two years after his shift to NASCAR, he secured his first Nextel Cup Series at the Martinsville Speedway. One of the biggest breaks of his racing career came in 1990 when he was offered the chance to fill in for Neil Bonnett by the Wood Brothers. A year later at Michigan International Speedway he enjoyed his first win in NASCAR’s top series. In 1992, car owner Joe Gibbs chose Jarrett to drive for his new team ‘Joe Gibbs Racing’. As part of a team with brother-in-law Jimmy Makar, Jarrett won the Daytona 500 with Dale Earnhardt coming in a nail-biting second. Jarrett continued to drive for Gibbs until about 1995 when he was given the opportunity to fill the seat of Ernie Irvan by Robert Yates. At the time he was considering starting his own team and the deal was for one-year only, but when both Jarrett and Yates realised the potential they had if they chose to work together, the two immediately reconsidered. Yates expanded to a two-car operation and Jarrett become the driver of the #88 team. The move was enormously successful and the team went on to win the Bud Shootout at Daytona in 1996, as well as coming second in the Daytona 500. The #88 team also took the Brickyard 400 and finished the year with 17 top-five finishes.

At the end of the 2006 season Dale Jarrett switched his #88 for #44 to drive the UPS Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing. Starting off the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup with pole position for the Budweiser Shootout, he finished 18th out of 21 cars. He was forced to use all five of his provisionals right at the start of the season, resulting in him missing out on eleven races in 2007. Following the 2008 Food City 500 held at Bristol Motor Speedway, Jarrett retired from points racing. His career totals included 668 starts, one championship, 32 wins, 163 places in the top-five, and 260 in the top-ten. He was the second NASCAR driver to win the Brickyard 400 twice, as well as being one of only two drivers to have won the Daytona 500 three times.

Lee Petty

February 9, 2009 by  
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Lee Petty, father of the well-known race driver and NASCAR’s all-time race winner, Richard Petty, was born on March the 14th, 1914 near Randleman, North Carolina. Lee was one of the founders of NASCAR and was also one of NASCAR’s first American stock car superstars in the 1950s and 1960s. Stock car racing is found mainly in Great Britain and the United States and takes place on large oval rings and sometimes on road courses. A stock car differs from a race car in that its an automobile that has come off the production floor and has been used for racing rather then being custom-built for racing purposes only.

It was only at the age of thirty-five years that Petty began racing. His NASCAR career began at NASCAR’S official first race on June 19, 1949, at Charlotte Speedway, a three-quarter mile long dirt track. Lee Petty finished in the Top 5 in season points for all of NASCAR’s first eleven seasons. Lee, on three occasions, won the NASCAR Championships and the initial Daytona 500 in 1959. The Daytona 500 is 805 km NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race and requires the driver to complete 200-laps. This race was held every year at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida on Daytona Beach.

At the inaugural Daytona 500, Petty and Johnny Beauchamp fought every round near the final laps of the race. The finish was inconclusive because both drivers had finished so close to one another. Unofficially Johnny Beauchamp was declared the winner until further notice, it took a total of three days to make the final decision on who had won. With the assistance of the national newsreel a decision could be made and it was found that Petty was the official winner. From that day Lee Petty had cemented his place as one of the all time greats in stock-car racing.

Lee Petty founded Petty Enterprises, and along with both his sons Richard and Maurice, it became NASCAR’s most victorious racing team. He is the grandfather of Kyle Eugene Petty who is an American NASCAR driver and great grandfather of Adam Petty who started a promising career in racing but tragically died in 2000 at the age of 19 years.

Michael Waltrip

February 9, 2009 by  
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Born on 30 April 1963, Michael Curtis Waltrip showed enthusiasm for racing from a young age. His older brother Darrel Waltrip became a three-time NASCAR champion and it didn’t take long for Michael to start following in his big brother’s footsteps. He got involved in kart racing in his teens and switched to stockcars by the time he was eighteen years of age. In 1981, he won a division of the track championship at the Kentucky Speedway. In 1983 he won the Goody’s Dash Series and he also took the prize for Goody’s most popular driver in 1983 and 1984. These early successes were certainly indicative of greater things to come.

In 1985 the Kentucky-born racer made his Cup debut at the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte. Though his success at the race was minimal, it was the just the start of his climb to cup success. In 1988, he won at Dover in his fourth start at the Busch Series. At the time he was racing for his brother’s team and his win made quite an impact. Unfortunately, it took quite some time before Waltrip actually enjoyed a Cup race victory. Eventually, at his 464th race he took the chequered flag at the 2001 Daytona 500. He also came in second at the Pepsi 400 that same season. He won the Daytona 500 again in 2003 and his last win was the EA Sports 500 in Talladega in 2003.

During the course of his career, Michael Waltrip has driven his #55 car with great skill. He is known, amongst other things, for his loyalty and skill in the driver’s seat. Today he spends much of his time with his family in North Caronlina where he is an ardent supporter of the Dallas Cowboys. He is still involved with a number of different aspects of racing and he also enjoys participating in numerous marathons. Both he and his brother are often called on to appear in advertisements and he currently serves on the SPEED Channel’s NASCAR Inside Nextel Cup panel of experts. Waltrip has enjoyed four wins, 122 top tens and three pole positions. He continues to be involved in racing and will likely continue to enjoy a long and successful racing-related career.

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