Richard Petty Motorsports

March 26, 2010 by  
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Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) is a popular NASCAR team owned by Richard Petty and George Gillett Jr. The team was previously known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports, but was merged with Petty Enterprises in January 2009 to form Richard Petty Motorsports.

The team’s #9 Ford Fusion is driven by Kasey Kahne, who has done very well for the team, taking 10th position in the 2009 Sprint Cup standings. AJ Allmendinger is behind the wheel of the #43 Ford Fusion Best Buy Ford. Driving the #19 Ford is Elliott Sadler, a great addition to RPM. Taking to the driver’s seat in the #98 Ford Fusion is Paul Menard, a talented NASCAR driver.

Richard Petty, or “The King”, is an extremely accomplished NASCAR racing driver. During his career he racked up 200 career victories, along with seven Nextel Cup championships. His winning streak didn’t end when he stopped racing, as a car owner he has gone on to enjoy many triumphs, the first being in 1996 with driver Bobby Hamilton. Petty has certainly played a vital role in the sport of NASCAR and has always been active in giving back to his fans and the community. Currently he serves as the Chairman of the North Carolina Motorsports Association. Richard Petty has also been recognized by induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame, North Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame and North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. Now co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, you can be sure he will continue to exert his influence on the world of NASCAR for many more years.

A successful business owner, George Gillett Jr. is an integral part of Richard Petty Motorsports. He is also the owner of Liverpool Football Club and the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. He is sure to bring his outside the box perspective to the team, which will likely see it gaining many victories. After forming Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2007, it has been Gillett’s goal to form a championship team. And that is what he has been doing, with 3 wins, 6 top-tens and 3 poles scored by his team during the 2008 season.

Be sure to keep your eye on Richard Petty Motorsports in the years to come!

Nelson Piquet

February 9, 2009 by  
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Nelson Piquet Souto Maior or as most people know him, Nelson Piquet, was born on August 17, 1952 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nelson’s father was a Brazilian government minister and did not approve of his son’s racing career, and so forced his son to use his mother’s maiden name Piquet instead.

Nelson Piquet is a Brazillian racing driver who was a successful Formula One world champion in 1981, 1983 and 1987. There are very few other racing drivers who have been able to win at least three world championships in all of Formula One’s history. Other then Nelson there was Juan Manuel Fangio (5), Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham, Alain Prost (4), Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher (7).

Nelson was Brazilian go-karting national champion in 1971 and 1972 as well as local super-V 1976 champion. After succeeding there he took British Formula 3 on and was considered a prodigy during the 1978 season when he broke Jackie Stewart‘s record of wins in one season. From there he was promoted to Formula One. Piquet was indeed talented.

In 1986 Piquet saw himself in direct and intense competition with his rival, Nigel Mansell. Both had similar characters, highly-strung and delicate temperaments. As top drivers in the same team there was indeed intense competition for the title to the point that they would deprive each other of points rather than working together. This led to Alain Prost winning the most ferociously disputed championships Formula One had ever had.

Since 2000 Nelson Piquet has helped and supported his son Nelson Piquet Jr. in his racing career. The racing star was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in the year 2000.

Al Holbert

February 9, 2009 by  
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Al Holbert was born, Alvah Robert Holbert, on 11 November 1946 at Abington in Pennsylvania. This legendary American NASCAR driver, won the IMSA Camel GT series five times. Al Holbert’s father, Bob Holbert, was a racing car driver himself, and he ran a Volkswagen-Porsche dealership, out of Warrington, which is close to Philadelphia.

Al Holbert, during his studies as Lehigh University, worked for Roger Penske, where Mark Donohue started to influence him to drive. His very first victory was behind the wheel of a Porsche, in 1971. Holbert turned professional racing driver in 1974, and walked away with the IMSA title in 1976 and again in 1977, whilst driving a Chevrolet Monza. Holberts’ 19 career races, in the NASCAR series, was raced between the years of 1976 to 1979. He primarily drove for James Hylton during the nineteen races, in which Al Holbert had finished in the top ten, four times.

In 1983, Holbert took the Cam-Am championship title, together with the IMSA GTP title, whilst driving a March83G, powered by Porsche, as Porsche were not able to get the 956 ready for that year’s competition. In the 1984 Indianapolis 500, Holbert took fourth place. During the years 1987 to 1988, he led the Porsche Indy Car initiative. Holbert also took the 24 Hours of Le Mans title in the years 1983, in 1986, and again in 1987. He secured the 24 Hours of Daytona in the years 1986 and in 1987, and also won the 12 Hours of Sebring title in 1976 and again in the year 1981.

By this time, and with so many successes under his belt, Al Holbert headed up the Porsche North America’s Motorsports Division, and was also the racing team owner of Holbert Racing. Holbert had realized, in 1988, that the Porsche 962 had carried him through his early years of racing, and that they had become outdated with the new generation racing cars, like the Electramotive’s Nissan GTP racer and the Jaguar XJR-9. This inspired Holbert’s idea to produce an open top Porsche powered racing car, for the customer teams.

Al Holbert had visited the IMSA Columbus Ford Dealers 500 in Ohio, on 30 September 1988. Just after takeoff, Holberts’ plane started to develop engine problems. He was heading towards residential houses, but managed to steer his plane away, just before he crashed. Holbert did not survive the crash. His team was to be disbanded at the end of the racing season, and his race number, number 14, was to be retired by IMSA. Kevin Doran was recruited as the chief mechanic for Holbert Racing, an later became the team owner.

In 1993, tribute was paid to this brilliant driver, and competitor, who’s death left a gaping hole in the racing community, but also left behind a racing career that is still spoken about today. Alvah Robert “Al” Holbert was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, in 1993.

Dale Earnhardt Sr.

February 9, 2009 by  
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Dale Earnhardt Snr was one of the greatest NASCAR drivers, known for his aggressive style of driving. Known by numerous nicknames such as “The Intimidator”, “The Dominator”, “Big E” and “Ironhead”, Dale Earnhardt was one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR. Aside from his distinctive personality and driving ability, Earnhardt earned his place in autoracing history with his Winston Cup Series victories and as the winner of 7 championships.

Ralph Dale Earnhardt was born on 29 April 1951 in Kannapolis of North Carolina. Born into a family where his father, Ralph, was a top NASCAR short-track driver, it is little wonder that Dale became interested in the sport. Dale Earnhardt, Sr. debuted in the Winston Cup in the year 1975, and in his first race driving an Ed Negre, he passed the finish line in 22nd place. In 1979 Earnhardt joined Rod Osterlund Racing, and during his rookie season, he won Rookie of the Year after gaining four poles and several great finishes. 1980 was filled with success for Earnhardt and he clinched the Winston Cup championship. Earnhardt moved to Richard Childress Racing in 1981, and although he had a bad season in 1982, he came back with remarkable strength in 1983. He gained his second Winston Cup Championship in 1986. Earnhardt saw a grand victory in 1986, once again winning, by 288 points.

The 1990s were off to a good start when Earnhardt won the Winston Cup for the 4th time in his career. He repeated this victory again in 1991, 1993 and 1994 – a total of 7 Winston Cup championship wins. He suffered a grave accident in 1996 which led the NASCAR officials to mandate the “Earnhardt Bar”. Fortunately Dale Earnhardt survived, although he had several broken bones. In 1998 Earnhardt finally gained victory at the Daytona 500, a win he had been aiming for for some 20 years. Earnhardt excited the crowds in 2000 with two thrilling wins, neck-in-neck with Bobby Labonte.

Sadly Dale Earnhardt Sr. was involved in a terrible accident in the 2001 Daytona 500 and lost his life. The death of Dale Earnhardt led to much media speculation, extensive coverage and great public concern. Following his death, NASCAR placed greater emphasis on safety with better restraints, safer barriers, strict rules for vehicle inspection and the development of a roof escape system.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. received many awards in his lifetime for his exceptional role in NASCAR, and in 1998 was placed second in NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. Earnhardt was named Most Popular NASCAR Driver of 2001 and was an inductee of the Motorsports Hall of Fame Of America in 2002. Recently, in 2006 he was also inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. His son Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues in his father’s footsteps as a successful driver. Earnhardt also left behind three other children, namely, Kelley King, Taylor and Kerry. Dale Earnhardt Snr was certainly a force to be reckoned with on the race track and will always be remembered for his grand achievements.

David Pearson

February 9, 2009 by  
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Born in 1934 in Whitney, South Carolina, David Gene Pearson was rated as one of the top two stock car drivers in the world. He competed for the title against Richard Petty – himself a notable and excellent driver. During the course of his career David Pearson came to be called the ‘Silver Fox’ – a glint of light pulsing on the raceway. He made his racing debut on the Grand National racing circuit in 1960, where he took the Rookie of the Year award that year. Right from the start it was obvious that he was at the top of his game and he won the 1966, 1968 and the 1969 NASCAR Championships. His stiffest competition came from Richard Petty and their continual duels for first place are most memorable.

David Pearson’s NASCAR Winston Cup driving career started in 1960 and ended in 1986. During those twenty-six years he managed to achieve every accomplishment possible. In the majority of his races he constantly fought Richard Petty for first place and the two had a number of firsts and seconds to their names. Pearson won the national championships three times in the short four year period that he ran for it. He raced a staggering total of 574 events and he won 105 of them. He also enjoyed 113 pole positions during his racing career. The most memorable battle between Pearson and Petty occurred at the 1976 Daytona 500 when the two collided into the wall after slamming against each other’s front fender. Petty’s car spun off the track and he was left to watch helplessly as Pearson’s car limped across the finish line to claim first place.

In additiona to his numerous victories, Pearson also managed to receive a number of awards. He took the ‘Most Popular Driver’ Award in 1979 and 1980. In 1990 he was inducted in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and in 1998 he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. He was also made a part of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1993. Pearson is one of only eight drivers to have won a Career Grand Slam in the history of NASCAR racing. Before retiring in 1986, Pearson built a family-run garage which incorporated his three sons in various roles and which won the Busch Grand National championship in 1986 and 1987. Unfortunately the team was disbanded in 1990 but most of his sons are still actively racing.

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