Newman’s car crashed in front of LaJoie’s on the last lap of Monday’s Daytona 500. LaJoie had no chance to avoid hitting Newman’s upside down car on the driver side. The contact catapulted Newman’s car before it landed on its roof and slid down the frontstretch, coming to rest beyond the exit of pit road. Newman was extricated after the roof was cut off his No. 6 Ford. He was immediately taken to Halifax Health Medical Center and was in serious condition that evening with injuries that were not life threatening.
LaJoie spoke Thursday with Danielle Trotta and Larry McReynolds on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “On Track’ show.
“It truly is a miracle the condition that Ryan Newman is in today vs. what we all assumed on Monday night,” said LaJoie, who finished eighth in the Daytona 500 for his career-best result in that race. “It goes to show how nasty of a wreck and how good of a job that NASCAR has done to make these cars safer and just the power of prayer, really.
“It’s been a very emotional week for everybody. I wanted to thank everybody for reaching out and supporting all three of us (Ryan) Blaney, myself and (Newman). It seems like all three of us are doing well for the circumstances.”
LaJoie noted that two extra bars, referred to as a Newman bar, to reinforce the window could have been pivotal in this crash.
“I kind of thanked him for flipping at Talladega over (in 2009) because if it wasn’t for that visor bar, that second roof bar that they put in after that crash that Ryan had, I told him, I said, we would have been able to split the ambulance fare because I would have been right there next to him … there was no telling how bad it could have been,” LaJoie said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio of what he told Newman.
“I think the previous crashes and the advancements that the R&D Center and the guys at NASCAR have made to make the car safer through that wreck is what really kept him and I both safe.”
LaJoie said the crash happened so fast, he had no chance to avoid Newman’s car.
“It was crazy how fast it happened,” LaJoie said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “People don’t realize how much it hurts when you hit something that hard that fast.”
LaJoie also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he doesn’t think changes need to be made to the type of racing seen at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
“I’m comfortable,” he said. “It’s what you sign up for. There’s an element of danger. Like I was explaining to someone the other day, you’re trying to make a 3,600-pound piece of metal go 200 miles an hour, sometimes you’re going to have bad crashes.
“I think it’s a testament to what NASCAR is learning and trying to keep these cars safe because that was the worst, the worst, angle of a crash, the worst area of a car to get hit on Monday night the way Ryan was and for him to be literally to be walking out 36 hours later, why would we change what many would consider the best form of racing that we have in the superspeedways?
“My opinion, we don’t change a thing. We just keep learning from these wild crashes, especially with this new Next Gen car coming in, the cars are even 30-40% safer than this. I’m excited to get into that car and continue to put on a great show for the fans.”
Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Danielle Trotta to host weekly show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
SiriusXM announced Thursday a new weekly show on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio hosted by JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller and veteran NASCAR reporter Danielle Trotta.
The show, “Beyond Racing,” will air on Thursdays from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET and will debut on Feb. 7.
Trotta, who works for NBC Boston, will also be the regular host of the 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. ET block starting Feb. 4. She will be joined by co-host Larry McReynolds for “On-Track” on Monday – Wednesday and Friday.
“I couldn’t be more excited to work with Kelley,” said Trotta. “She is someone I admire both as a person and an executive and it is an honor to call her a friend. Her pedigree, experience and success in the sport make her an authoritative voice that NASCAR fans will enjoy hearing from, and will certainly learn from.”
Earnhardt Miller will offer her perspective as a front office executive.
“I have always enjoyed being on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio as a guest, and I’m very excited to now join the SiriusXM team as a host,” Earnhardt Miller said in a press release. “I look forward to sharing my perspective on life as a team owner, talk about the Earnhardt family and legacy, and much more. It’ll be a thrill to be able to talk with NASCAR fans across the country each week, and to work alongside a respected NASCAR reporter and friend like Danielle.”
Brad Daugherty, co-owner of JTG Daugherty, will co-host “The Late Shift” on Monday nights, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio announced Friday. Daugherty will begin Feb. 19, the day after the Daytona 500.
Daugherty will join co-host Brad Gillie.
Larry McReynolds will co-host the show on Tuesday nights. Former co-host Kenny Wallace will remain as a part-time host.
During an appearance Friday morning on “The Morning Drive,” Daugherty discussed his new opportunity and more, including a spending cap and escalating costs in the sport.
On costs and a spending cap in the sport, Daugherty said:
“The biggest challenge for me would be if that happened, the first thing that would have to happen would be a collective bargaining process, which could happen, but then there would have to be a tremendous revenue sharing in all the resources that are available to NASCAR and to the sport because then you’re cutting out equal chunks of the pie like baseball, like basketball and like football,” he said. “Now these race teams, which we have our charters, they could become true commodities. I don’t think you can do it in racing simply because the are so many moving pieces and parts. The other sports are pretty much straight forward and simple.
“When you have so many vendors that participate on a weekly basis in this sport like they do now, it makes it almost impossible to control those costs unless you have just one supplier for everything throughout the sport and then that doesn’t make sense because then you don’t know if you’re getting the best equipment available throughout the sport.
“When you are talking about mechanical things, pieces and parts and vendors, it’s almost impossible to put that all under thumb and to create some kind of cap. It would be unfair. I think if you have your revenue stream and you’re able to take your revenue stream to produce opportunities for your company, based upon the rulebook and based upon the rules that are legislated through the sport, I think that’s as fair as it gets. Now, one guy can outspend another. I just think that is the way it is. It has always been that way. I really don’t have a problem with that.
“The spending, though, we need to find better ways to control costs … just the weekly stuff. Goodyear does a great job with trying to control costs for us. Our brake packages and stuff like that are creeping up on price. Probably 12 years ago, a brake package at Daytona probably costs us about $4,500. Last year, we ran the same speed 12-13 years ago, that brake package was $45,000. Those types of costs within the sport need to be monitored a little bit better, I do believe that will help us.
“Even with that, the guy who can put his dollars in the right position and run his race team, these businesses are not like any other businesses on the face of the planet. They’re not like other sports business, the compression chart when you look at how these things are put together with executives and individuals and aeronautical engineers and crew people. It’s not the same. It’s just a unique sport that I don’t think you can actually get a tremendous grasp on fiscally just because of all the moving pieces and parts available. I like having all the pieces and parts available to my race team. It’s up to me or (co-owner) Tad (Geschickter) or Jodi (Geschickter) to go out and find the money to implement them.”
We're THRILLED that @Kenny_Wallace agreed to stay w/ @SiriusXMNASCAR as a part-time host while he focuses more on family & his beloved dirt racing (in between TV gigs). We love Herm & hope he'll still be on plenty! When his schedule allows, there's always a micrphone for him!
CONCORD, N.C. – Roughly 40 minutes after the 1992 Winston ended in smoke, sparks and battered sheet metal, at least 1,000 fans still occupied the stands.
They were still trying to wrap their minds around it all.
TNN pit reporter Glenn Jarrett was tasked with talking to Richard Petty after his final start in the All-Star Race.
When Jarrett found him, Petty was looking out at the fans, still drenched in the brand-new lights surrounding Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Petty turned to Jarrett and pointed.
“These people think we’re going to go back out there and do this again?” The King asked in disbelief.
In those stands was Kyle Petty. The SABCO Racing driver, along with unofficial bodyguard Eddie Gossage, was walking through enemy territory.
Without an elevator available, they had to walk all the way to the press box. They ascended the steps through verbal and physical projectiles, all so Petty could tell his side of the story that was the last lap.
Petty appeared to touch Dale Earnhardt in Turn 3 (he didn’t), turning him sideways. Then his contact with Davey Allison at the finish line caused the first night race on a 1.5-mile speedway to end in a “shower of sparks” and with Allison in the hospital.
“Every freaking fan in the grandstands is teed off,” Kyle Petty says. “According to every fan, I wrecked Earnhardt going into Turn 3 and I wrecked Davey (at the start-finish line). That’s a fact. … I’m telling you, they were going to kill my butt. It was ugly. ”
In the garage, Larry McReynolds sat on a cooler next to the hauler for Allison’s No. 28 Ford.
The 33-year-old crew chief had just left the infield care center. Allison, after being taken there by ambulance, had left the track via helicopter to a hospital.
McReynolds just sat there, “trying to figure out what the hell just all happened.”
THE FORCES OF DARKNESS
When McReynolds watched the leaders of The Winston enter Turn 1 for the final time on May 16, 1992, he thought his car was going to finish third behind Earnhardt and Kyle Petty.
Had he been right, those gathered around a long table in Charlotte’s Speedway Club on a Tuesday night 25 years later might have had other plans.
Among the attendees are Petty, McReynolds, Michael Waltrip, announcer Mike Joy and former crew chief Robin Pemberton.
On a plasma TV at the far end of the table, the broadcast of the 1992 Winston, also known as “One Hot Night,” silently runs in all its standard definition glory.
The sounds of a Camping World Truck Series test session dominate the air outside the club’s windows.
Over the course of the evening, the familiar images shown every May play out in their natural context. At one point or another, everyone’s past peers out from the TV.
Joy, the lead announcer for TNN’s broadcast, doesn’t speak too much this night. But when he does, he makes it count.
“Being a full moon Saturday night, this race was completely unkind to white cars,” Joy says. “This is going to come down to three black cars in the end. The forces of darkness, whatever you want to call it.”
After an hour of conversation and jokes, everyone’s attention turns to the TV for the last segment and then the final lap. The final lap by which all final laps have been judged since.
For half of it, McReynolds lived vicariously through a crew member named Roman. The crew member had flipped a 55-gallon barrel over and stood atop it to watch the race’s conclusion.
“All of a sudden the crowd is going crazy,” says McReynolds, wearing a vintage Texaco/Havoline blazer. “Then I saw Roman, his eyes were as big as saucers. I was like, ‘What the f— are they doing back there?’”
When the leaders reappeared exiting Turn 4, Allison and Petty were door-to-door with Earnhardt nowhere in sight.
“When they came off (Turn) 4 like that, I said ‘I know who’s going to win that drag race, Robert Yates,’ ” McReynolds says proudly of his former car owner and engine builder.
What happened next was depicted on a painting sitting near the other end of the table. Allison’s car pointing backwards, about to impact the outside wall after taking the checkered flag and making contact with Petty. A spinning Earnhardt is shown in the background.
“It’s like two runners running for the (finish) line and you didn’t think about what was beyond that line,” McReynolds says.
“You just saw the line,” Petty says. “It’s like when you break that tape, you fall.”
The crash put Allison in the hospital until Monday, sent fans into frenzy and resulted in a rival’s car sitting in Allison’s hauler.
As McReynolds sat on his cooler processing the night’s events, he thought about the near future.
“Our team had been through so much,” McReynolds says. “We had an unbelievable start. We won the Daytona 500 … we won North Wilkesboro (and Talladega). But were kind of going through a pattern. Winning one week and wrecking one week. … Here we figured out how to do both in the same night. But we were out of cars.”
From the garage appeared Tim Brewer, crew chief for Bill Elliott’s Junior Johnson-owned car.
“I don’t even know what to say to you, I guess I want to say I’m sorry, but then I also need to say congratulations,” Brewer said.
“This is not good, Tim,” McReynolds responded. “We’re out of frickin’ race cars.”
McReynolds told Brewer he had a brand new intermediate car for the Coke 600, a road course car and two speedway cars. He needed a backup car.
“I’ll give you guys a car,” Brewer said. “You keep it as long as you want, use it if you want to.”
The whole month of June, Robert Yates Racing hauled a Budweiser car with Texaco/Havoline decals stuck in the window, just in case.
NO HARSH WORDS
Even as Petty walked through the angry grandstands, he was concerned for his friend, Allison. Petty would call Allison two days later.
“I talked to Davey on Monday, I think he was still at the hospital when I talked to him,” Petty says. “He had a Busch (Xfinity) car and I was going to drive it over here the next week just to shut everybody up. But we couldn’t work it out with Ford and Pontiac.”
While fans may have wanted or expected there to be bad feelings between Allison and Petty, they were disappointed.
“I can say by the time I got to the hospital, there was never a negative word toward Kyle, between the 42 and the 28, it never even crossed our minds,” McReynolds says. “Two months later at Pocono with (Darrell Waltrip), that’s a whole ‘nother story.”
Anyone wanting bad blood between the drivers wasn’t aware of the nature of the relationship between the men who came of age in NASCAR’s garages.
“Davey and I were competitors, but there was never a rivalry,” Petty says. “We grew up together. We grew up in the garage area when we were 10 years old and (NASCAR official) Bill Gazaway trying to throw us out and running him through the garage area.
“We grew up at the swimming pool at the Sea Dip in Daytona Beach, Florida, swimming together and playing together. … Then he started racing and I was working with my dad, we didn’t see each other in those years. Then all of a sudden you’re back at the race track racing against each other. We never had harsh words. I never in my whole life, in my whole career racing against Davey in any way shape or form ever remember having anything but respect and a good relationship. There was no base for that, even after that wreck, there was nothing there.”
What about Earnhardt?
“Earnhardt’s OK, he’s not mad,” Petty says. “He’s mad, but not mad at anybody.”
‘TIME HAS REALLY GOTTEN MESSED UP’
The passage of time has a weird way of reminding you it’s relative.
Just ask NASCAR drivers.
“You know what’s crazy to me? ’92 seems like a thousand years ago,” Waltrip says. “And nine years later was ‘01 when Dale died and that seems like yesterday.”
“I know, it does,” Petty agrees.
“Time had really gotten messed up for me,” says Waltrip, who won the Winston Open that preceded “One Hot Night” and later won the 1996 All-Star Race.
“I know … the same thing with Adam,” says Petty of his son who was killed in an accident during Busch Series practice in 2000 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “Everything before Adam’s accident sounds like it was history. A million years ago.”
“It’s a blur?” someone asks.
“No, it’s just a long time ago,” Petty answers. ‘You know what I mean? … It feels like it was yesterday. It really does. Everything’s happened, like we were talking about how this years’ gone so fast, it’s like everything’s just sped up.”
Whether they’ve sped along or crept by, the 25 years since “One Hot Night” are punctuated by those who are not cutting it up with everyone in the Speedway Club.
Fourteen months after winning the race the helped define the sport for a generation, Allison died at 32 from injuries sustained in a helicopter accident at Talladega Superspeedway. He would have turned 56 in February.
A week after “One Hot Night,” Earnhardt won the Coke 600 for the third time. Earnhardt raced eight more seasons and won two more championships before being killed on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 at 49.
“By Davey not being here and Dale not being here now, that adds to it,” Petty says, now 56 and a NBC Sports analyst nine years after leaving the cockpit. “That’s a moment for (them). That changes how you perceive this race as you look back at it. If we were all three sitting here laughing about it and complaining about it, you may view it different. You wouldn’t view it in that nostalgic tone as much as you do now.”
The weight of the race and its impact on the trajectory of NASCAR didn’t hit McReynolds until the race’s 20th anniversary. In 2012, he, Pemberton and Joy sat on an infield stage at Charlotte to discuss the race with fans. Instead of his blazer, McReynolds wore his old team uniform.
“Honestly, that’s when it really sunk in me that was something pretty big and special,” McReynolds says.
“One Hot Night” was an exhibition. The eighth of 31 times the All-Star Race has been run.
Petty admits in its immediate wake, he considered it “just another race.”
“It lived up to every bit of the hype, like few things in sports do,” Petty says. “Rarely do things ever live up to the hype that you throw at them. The funny part in this sport … We’ve witnessed … some really great races. Some incredible races. Everywhere. But they don’t stick with you the way this race sticks with you. For some reason this race sticks with fans different than other races stick with you.”
CHARLOTTE — The four of them sat on a makeshift stage at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and were ready, if not appearing a bit apprehensive, to turn around.
There was the son who lost his father before the age of 2, Robbie Allison. Next to him sat his grandfather, 1983 Cup champion Bobby Allison. Then came a former crew chief and a close friend of both Allisons, Larry McReynolds. Finally, another friend, and son of a famous car owner, Lorin Ranier.
But the group did turn and watch as a car cover was removed. With it went the butterflies, replaced by broad smiles and a rush of memories at the sight of the No. 28 Ford Thunderbird driven by Davey Allison in his rookie Cup Series season for Ranier-Lundy Racing. The car proudly taking its place with the rest of those deemed iconic enough to be on Glory Road.
“It was just such a great feeling,” Bobby Allison said of seeing the car. “I was really bonded with the car all the way through. I had driven for that team (Ranier Racing) earlier and then (Davey) got in the car, and it was the black-and-white deal and evolved from that into the black Havoline special, the Texaco star. Just so many good things about it. The good wins that he had. Just made me feel great.”
Pride emanated from all four individuals throughout the event. Especially Bobby, who not only raised Davey with his late wife, Judy, but raced against him from 1985-88. Bobby took a few trips up Glory Road to get a good look at the car and shared his favorite memories of Davey with those who asked. Or at least the ones he can remember.
Bobby carries around a picture in his pocket of the 1988 Daytona 500 that he won with Davey finishing second to remind himself that, “Yeah, that did happen.” (Bobby lost his memory of the win in a crash at Pocono Raceway a few months later.)
Robbie Allison has his own brief memories of his father, who won 19 Cup races in 191 starts, including the 1992 Daytona 500, before his untimely passing in a July 1993 helicopter crash. Robbie, like many others, also repeatedly has heard how his father was destined to become a champion.
Davey, Robbie said, “definitely was as good a father as he was a racer.”
With his car now displayed in the Hall of Fame, it provides Robbie and the others a chance to explain why Davey was as good as many say.
“You have to think about how he grew up,” said Ranier, who shared a picture of the two from when they were teenagers. “His father was an iconic driver, and Davey took advantage of his position, meaning he wasn’t just floating around saying, ‘Hey, Bobby Allison’s my dad, and I can do whatever I want.’ He went and worked his ass off and learned and understood why his dad won races.
“He knew why (Bobby) won and then he just kind of adopted that to himself. Also, too, (Davey) kind of saw the mistakes that his dad made, and he tried not to do that. He had a really cool upbringing to become a great driver, and he was talented. So you mix all that together.”
McReynolds knew Davey as well as anyone.
The two were friendly long before McReynolds became his crew chief and their relationship went far beyond the NASCAR garage. Davey and his wife, Liz, were close friends with McReynolds and his wife, Linda. Robbie Allison and Larry’s son Brandon were born a few months apart and later baptized together. The Allisons were named Brandon’s godparents and the McReynolds the same for Robbie.
Friday, Larry showed up at the Hall of Fame proudly wearing a leather jacket that had been given to Davey’s team many years ago. McReynolds shared the sentiment that Davey was not only talented but a student of the sport.
“He lived, ate and slept racing,” McReynolds said. “I said it at his funeral that we miss him, we’re grieving, but if there’s anybody that’s left this earth that had his priorities in order, Davey Allison was that guy. He enjoyed getting away and doing a little bit of hunting and fishing, but for the most part, especially during the racing season, he would live, sleep, and eat these race cars pretty much from the beginning of February to the middle of November and even during the offseason. It was never good enough, and that’s rubbed off on me.”
The allure of Davey Allison also came in how he was described as a genuinely kind-hearted person off the track.
“It’s funny because when people think about Bobby back in the day, Bobby was a very popular driver, he won like Most Popular Driver (six) times,” Ranier said. “People liked Bobby, but they loved Davey. You know what I mean? They just loved him.”
As did all those in attendance. The group of four along with those who accompanied them were the last ones to leave the Hall of Fame after taking one last look at the car. They did so sharing a common hope for the future.
To McReynolds, Davey Allison’s car being in the Hall of Fame is hopefully just another rung in the ladder. He deserves Ranier said, to climb that ladder to induction into the Hall of Fame. It would give him a permanent place in the Hall alongside his father Bobby, who continues to wait for that day.
“Oh yes,” Bobby said of wanting Davey in the Hall of Fame. “Yes. There’s so many good guys out there, but Davey accomplished so much in that short period of time. Including the Daytona win, the wins around the other big tracks around the country. I’d love to see him in there.”