83 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #83 car has started 611 races and has 2 wins, 9 poles, 22 top 5s, 92 top 10s, and 158 DNFs

 

  • Brian Vickers has the most starts in the #83 car with 141 from 2007-2011. For the 2007 season, the newly founded Team Red bull hired 23 year old Vickers to be the lead driver for their race team, along with AJ Allmendinger in the #84 car. 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.
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Brian Vickers, 2007

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. The team’s luck continued to decline as Vickers soon blew a tire and slid into the turn four wall. Immediately as Vickers entered pit road, the caution flew for debris on the track; supposedly from his car. This was a saving grace, as it allowed the #83 car to stay on the lead lap; albeit off the pace and out of contention for the win. Richert managed to salvage the race through pit strategy; enabling Vickers to score a fifth-place finish.

2007 was a year of transition between the “current car” and the “Car of Tomorrow,” with the CoT being run in several races in preparation for the 2008 season. Team Red Bull chose to focus almost exclusively on developing the Car of Tomorrow, which hurt the current car performance of both drivers.  It was another problem in a long line for the entire Red Bull organization, as Vickers finished 38th in points and failed to qualify for 13 races while his teammate, A.J. Allmendinger, missed 19 races and finished 43rd. One of Vickers’ failures to make the race was due to a disqualification from the lineup of the 2007 Lenox Industrial Tools 301, after his car failed post-qualifying inspection 3 times.

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Vickers in the Car of Tomorrow, 2008

In 2008, Vickers, with new crew chief Kevin Hamlin, qualified for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 after racing himself in the field with an 11th-place finish in the Gatorade Duel. He went on to make the next 4 races with an average finish of 21st including a 9th-place finish at Atlanta.

Vickers’ pit crew won the 2008 Pit Crew Challenge during the All-Star weekend. Vickers went on the next weekend and led 61 laps in theCoca-Cola 600 before he lost his left rear wheel and crashed about halfway through the race

 

In 2009, Vickers and Red bull Racing had a breakout year after a controversial start. 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.

 

 

The team earned 6 poles throughout the year, including the Carfax 400 at Michigan.  Vickers and his team would gamble by not pitting late in the race. Vickers stayed behind Jimmie Johnson for most of the final 40 laps, saving fuel. Johnson ran out of fuel with 3 laps to go and Vickers went on to win. Two days after the win, Vickers signed a multi-year contract extension with Red Bull.

 

After 11 races and 3 top 10s in the 2010 season, Vickers would be sidelined due to blood clots and health issues. Reed Sorenson (13 starts) replaced Vickers in most races, though Casey Mears (4 starts), Boris Said (1 start), and Mattias Ekstrom (2 starts) also made starts in the car. Kasey Kahne was signed to drive the #4 car for Red Bull in the 2011 season, and drove the last 5 races of the season in #83 in preparation.

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Brian Vickers, 2011

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 whenMatt Kenseth got into the back of him; triggering a 13 car pileup. Vickers was involved in two other notable run-ins with Kenseth in the fall races at Martinsville and Phoenix as well as run-ins with Tony Stewart at Sonoma, Marcos Ambrose at Richmond, and Jamie McMurray at Martinsville. 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.

 

 

  • In 2012 the defunct Red Bull Racing became BK Racing and the 83 car continued to operate with Landon Cassill behind the wheel for 36 races. Cassill struggled, along with most of the BK Racing team. His best finish was 18th which he did 3 times. Cassill also had several on-track run ins with Danica Patrick during this time. After contract disputes and failure to receive his wages, Cassill left the team for the 2013 season.
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Cassill, 2012
  • For the 2013 season BK Racing moved David Reutimann into the #83 car. Reutimann qualified for all 36 races, but finished 36th in points- the lowest driver to run the full season. Reutimann and the team mutually parted ways after the season.
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Reutimann, 2013
  • Ryan Truex was signed to drive the #83 for the 2014 season, but after 23 races and several disputes with the team Truex was dismissed in favor of Travis Kvapil (2 starts) and JJ Yeley (9 starts).
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Ryan Truex, 2014

 

  • Johnny Sauter drove the #83 for BK Racing in the 2015 Daytona 500. It would ultimately be Sauter’s only start of the year in #83. Matt DiBenedetto began driving the #83 the following week at Atlanta. He failed to qualify for the first 2 races he attempted, but ran the following 33 races finishing 2nd in the Rookie of the Year challenge.
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DiBenedetto, 2015

In 2016, DiBenedetto would return to the #83 car for 30 starts. His most notable race came in the Spring race at Bristol where he placed 6th.  The respectable finish and emotional response quickly turned “DiBurritto” into a crowd favorite.

 

Though DiBenedetto started all 36 Sprint Cup event in 2016, he was bumped from his usual #83 car for 6 races in favor of guest drivers. When Matt was driving #93 or #49, his #83 BK Racing machine was piloted by Michael Waltrip for the Daytona 500, Dylan Lupton for 2 races, and Jefferey Earnhardt for 3 races.

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Michael Waltrip, 2016 Daytona 500
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Dylan Lupton, Martinsville, October 2016
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Jefferey Earnhardt, 2016

 

 

 

  • From 1987-1993 Lake Speed drove the #83 car in 92 races. With sponsorship from Wynn’s Car Care Products, Kmart and Delco Battery, Speed built an entirely new race team with himself as the owner and veteran crew chief Darrell Bryant helping him build the operation. The purple and white Oldsmobile donned the number 83, in honor of the year Lake became a born-again Christian. Speed was able to put up some impressive race runs in just thirteen starts. Speed finished ninth in the first Talladega race and backed that up with a third-place finish in the World 600. Speed’s other two top ten finishes were at the same tracks, seventh places at both Talladega and Charlotte.
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Lake Speed, 1987

The team’s strong 1987 performances proved to not be a fluke in 1988. With strong support from the Hoosier tire company, Speed ran strong in the Daytona 500 before dropping out due to an engine failure. The next race at Richmond, Speed ran up front leading sixty-seven laps but finishing sixth. The following race at Rockingham, Speed again showed power leading fifty-one laps finishing second to Neil Bonnett. Speed’s day in the sun would come March 27 at Darlington in the TranSouth 500. After starting the race eighth, Speed methodically moved his way to the front before eventually taking the lead and running away with the show. Leading 178 of the 367 laps, Speed beat Alan Kulwicki by half a straightaway to secure his first and only NASCAR Winston Cup win. One of the factors in Speed’s victory was that he was the only driver who tested the Hoosier tires at Darlington. Where most of his competitors thought that the Hoosiers would blister, Lake and his team knew that they would not. The win would be the only one of Speed’s career.

 

  • Worth McMillion started the #83 car in 49 of his 62 career races from 1962-1968.

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  • Other notable names in #83
    • Curtis Crider, 19 starts
    • Lennie Page, 16 starts
    • Red Byron, 3 starts
    • Joe Ruttman, 3 starts
    • Phil Parsons, 1 start
    • Tim Flock, 1 start
    • Bobby Isaac, 1 start

84 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #84 car has started 223 races and has 0 wins, 0 poles, 11 top 5s, 35 top 10s, and 81 DNFs

 

  • AJ Allmendinger has the most starts in #84 with 38 for Red Bull Racing. AJ first piloted the #84 in 2006 at Atlanta motor Speedway driving a Dodge Charger for the new Red Bull Team, but he failed to qualify due to rain.
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Allmendinger, 2006

 

AJ and the Red Bull team would field Toyotas full time in 2007. After a crash in his Duel Qualifying race, AJ failed to make the 2007 Daytona 500 and thus struggled to acquire enough owners points to be locked into races. AJ found the most success in the races with the “Car of Tomorrow” which was being phased in during the 2007 season. Allmendinger started 17 races that year.

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AJ Allmendinger, 2007

In 2008 Allmendinger again failed to qualify for the Daytona 500. He would be replaced by Mike Skinner for 5 races to help the team gain qualifying consistency. After returning to the team, AJ and the team were able to win the “Sprint Showdown” and qualify for the 2008 All Star Race.

 

AJ started 21 races for the team in 2008, but just 2 days after his best finish of 9th at Kansas he was released from the team. Mike Skinner (7 total starts)  and Scott Speed (4 starts) would drive the car for the remainder of the season.  Brian Vickers made 1 start in the car at Homestead in 2008. He and Scott Speed switched cars in an effort to qualify both for the race. For the 2009 season the team would renumber the car to #82.

  • Cole Whitt had a long-standing partnership with Red Bull, and drove the #84 car for Red Bull Racing in his days in the K&N Pro Series. In the final 2 races of 2011, Team Red Bull revived their #84 car for Whitt to drive in the Sprint Cup Series. Following the 2011 season Team Red Bull sold all their assets to the team now known as BK Racing.
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Cole Whitt at Phoenix, 2011
  • During the 1989 season Dick Trickle started the #84 car 28 times. This would be Trickle’s first full time year in the Cup Series, after many successful years in the now defunct American Speed Association. Trickle was named Rookie of the Year for the 1989 season.
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Trickle’s Stavola Bros. Buick, 1989

 

  • Jody Ridley started the #84 in 25 races- one in 1977 and the rest between 1983-1984. In these starts Ridley earned 6 top-10 finishes, but also 11 DNFs.
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Ridley, 1983
  • Kyle Busch started 6 of 9 attemped races in #84 in the 2004 season. Busch was driving for Hendrick in the Busch (XFINITY) Series at the time, and started #84 (reverse of Jimmie Johnson’s #48) in preparation to take over for Terry Labonte in the Hendrick #5 the next season. His best finish in the number was 24th at California Speedway.
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Kyle Busch, 2004
  • Other notable names in #84
    • Banjo Matthews, 5 starts
    • Morgan Shepherd, 5 starts
    • Elmo Langley, 4 starts
    • Shawna Robinson, 1 start

 

 

85 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #85 car has started 137 races and has 2 wins, 3 poles, 22 top 5s, 44 top 10s, and 57 DNFs.

 

  • Emanuel Zervakis has the most starts in #85 with 52 from 1960-1961. Zervakis drove #85 during the most successful years of his career. He began driving in NASCAR in 1956, but he did not score a single top ten finish until 1960. After that, he was in the top ten more than he was out. In 1961 he won the only 2 races of his career at Greenville-Pickens and Norwood Arena Speedway and finished third in the point standings, only behind Ned Jarrett and Rex White.

 

He ran his last race in 1963. He also made 6 starts in the now-defunct Convertible Series.  Zervakis was also a team owner. He might be remembered most for fielding a car for Dale Jarrett’s first Winston Cup race. his Cup team competed in 39 events total, with a best finish was a second-place finish by Butch Lindley at Martinsville. He also had five wins in the Nationwide series, including Ricky Rudd’s only XFINITY win in his first start, and four wins by Butch Lindley in 1982, where he finished ninth in points despite running a partial schedule.

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Emanuel Zervakis (85), 1961

 

  • ARCA Series star Bobby Gerhart has only started 24 Sprint Cup Series races in his career, but 13 of those came in the #85 between 1986-1992. Gerhart and his team Gerhart racing fielded the #85 in a handful of races each year, particuarly at Pocono, Michigan, Daytona, and Talladega.

More recently, Gerhart has driven his #85 in the XFINITY Series at restrictor plate races.

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Gerhart in his XFINITY Series #85 at Daytona, 2013

 

  • Other notable names in #85
    • Carl Tyler, 10 starts
    • Tommy Irwin, 9 starts
    • Carl Long, 6 starts
    • Ken Bouchard, 4 starts
    • Tim Flock, 1 start
    • Mike Skinner, 1 start
    • Darrell Waltrip, 1 start
    • Tim Flock, 1 start
    • Fireball Roberts, 1 start

FUN FACT: The #85 has not been started in a Sprint Cup Series race since 2002.

86 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #86 car has started 320 races and has 1 win, 6 poles, 31 top 5s, 76 top 10s, and 173 DNFs (that’s 54% of its starts!)

 

  • Neil “Soapy” Castles has the most starts in #86 with 95 between 1958-1966. Neil Castles was an “also-ran” of the old days who once once found himself having an uncharacteristically good day. According to “American Zoom” by Peter Golenbock,  he had lapped Curtis Turner, but the flagman apparently did not believe it, for he kept giving Castles the move-over flag to let Turner around him. As Castles told the story: “The starter kept doing this, and I was getting real mad, so I just picked up my gun and when I come by the stand the next time I took aim and shot that flag out of his hand.”

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  • Both Buck Baker and Buddy Baker started #86 multiple times in their careers. Buck Baker started 38 races between 1959-1966 including 30 starts in the 1961 season with 1 win. His son Buddy Baker made 38 starts in the number from 1961-1970.
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Buck Baker, 1961
  • Other notable names in #86
    • Don Oldenberg, 12 starts
    • Jimmy Helms, 12 starts
    • Bobby Mausgrover, 11 starts
    • Cotten Owens, 6 starts
    • Tim Flock, 4 starts
    • Junior Johnson, 2 starts
    • Bill Davis, 1 start
    • Tiny Lund, 1 start
    •  Curtis Crider, 1 start
    • Joe Weatherly, 1 start

 

FUN FACT: The #86 has not started a race in the Sprint Cup Series since 1993.

87 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #87 car has started 746 races and has 27 wins, 26 poles, 285 top 5s, 385 top 10s, and 319 DNFs

 

  • Buck Baker has the most starts in the #87 with 417 from 1949-1971. Beginning with the first ever NASCAR Strictly Stock (Sprint Cup Series) event at Charlotte in 1949, Buck quickly became on of the most recognizable starts of NASCAR, despite running part time schedules for nearly his entire career. Baker did, however, win the 1956 and 1957 Grand National (Sprint Cup) Championship, making him the first driver to win back-to-back titles.
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Buck Baker, after his 1957 Championship

Buck was also the 1952 Champion of the short lived NASCAR Speedway Series, a series which raced open-wheel cars with stock engines. During the 1953 seasons, the Speedway series ran events in conjunction with the Sportsman Division, the forerunner to the modern XFINITY Series, before being dissolved.

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Buck Baker in his NASCAR Speedway Series car, 1952.

 

26 of Buck’s 46 career Cup Series wins would come in #87.  Baker would be inducted into the 2013 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame on February 8, 2013.

 

  • Joe Nemechek fielded his NEMCO #87 in 2 different eras of his Sprint Cup career, in addition to his #87 entries in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

 

After leaving Larry Hedrick Motorsports, Nemechek brought his NEMCO Busch (XFINITY) Series team to the Cup series in 1995 with Burger King as the sponsor.  Nemechek finished 4th at Dover in 1995, but after struggling in 1996 he relegated the team back to the Busch Series and signed with SABCO racing.

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Nemechek, 1995

In 2009, following his departure from Furniture Row Racing, Nemechek re-promoted his NEMCO Team to the Cup series From 2009-2012  Nemechel and his #87 frequently qualified for races, though they mostly start-and-parked. In 2013 he attempted 3 races in #87, but DNQ’d for all of them, while driving #66 for Identity Ventures Racing in many other races.

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Joe Nemechek in #87 at Sonoma, 2012

All the while, from 1990-2015, Joe Nemechek and NEMCO Motorsports put together a fairly successful XFINITY Series team. Over this time the NEMCO team earned 16 wins with “Front Row Joe” behind the wheel. His last win came in Kansas in 2004. In 2015, The NEMCO team attempted only 1 XFINITY Series race at Daytona, but DNQ’d.

 

 

 

  • Driving his father’s car, young Buddy Baker made 38 starts in #87, and Buddy’s brother Randy Baker  made 13 starts in the car.

 

  •  Other notable names in #87
    • Neil Castles, 7 starts
    • Jim Paschal, 5 starts, 1 win
    • Speedy Thompson, 5 starts
    • Ron Fellows, 5 starts
    • Scott Speed, 2 starts
    • Wendell Scott, 1 start
    • Cale Yarborough, 1 start
    • Morgan Shepherd, 1 start
    • Kenny Wallace, 1 start

88 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #88 car has started 1,598 races and has 74 wins, 60 poles, 387 top 5s, 655 top 10s, and 425 DNFs

 

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the current driver of the #88 for Hendrick Motorsports. To date, he has started 304 races and has 9 wins in the number.
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Dale Earnhardt Jr, 2015

Earnhardt announced on May 10, 2007, that he would leave Dale Earnhardt Inc., the company founded by his father, to drive for another team in 2008. Earnhardt expressed that his decision was based entirely on his desires to achieve his career goal of a Sprint Cup Championship, and his apparent belief that he would not be able to attain that objective while driving for DEI. He said that unless he could gain majority ownership, and therefore control, of DEI, that he was not confident in the organization’s ability to field the elite level equipment that would yield the elusive title.

Just a month earlier in April 2007, Junior was approached by Rick Hendrick for a favor in Texas. After both cars had crashed, Kyle Busch left the speedway without telling anyone. The #5 team worked to repair the car, but there was no driver to drive in once work was complete. Since Junior had also crashed out, he piloted the #5 car for the rest of the day.

 

On June 13, 2007, he announced at a press conference that he had signed a five-year contract with Hendrick Motorsports, replacing Kyle Busch. However, Dale was not allowed to bring his iconic #8 with him from DEI, reportedly because of Teresa Earnhardt.  Earnhardt Jr. chose #88 which, according to NASCAR archives, was also driven by Ralph Earnhardt, his paternal grandfather, in 1957.

Earnhardt Jr. found victory lane in his first year with HMS at Michigan.

 

Earnhardt was finding moderate success at Hendrick Motsports, but would not find victory lane again for 4 years until the 2012 Quicken Loans 500, again at Michigan. However, concussion effects from a hard crashes at Talladega and a Kansas test would sideline Junior for 2 race in October. During this time Regan Smith drove the #88 at Charlotte and Kansas.

2013 proved to be another mediocre season for Junior, who failed to acheive the same level of dominance as his Hendrick teammates, but that all turned around in 2014. Junior began the year capturing his 2nd win in the Daytona 500 and would sweep both races at Pocono. He entered the Chase for the Sprint Cup as a fan favorite, but would be knocked out after a crash at Talladega. He rebounded the following week with a win at Martinsville.

For 2015 the #88 welcomed their new sponsor Nationwide with wins at Talladega and the Daytona summer race. Junior again entered the chase with high hopes, but a tough start to the 2nd round put the team in a ‘win or go home’ situation. After a controversial finish, Junior was barely beaten by Joey Logano to be knocked out of The Chase. Junior would again win after being eliminated at the rain-shortened race in Pheonix.

Dale Jr. began the 2016 season behind the wheel of the #88, but after only 18 races Junior removed himself from the car to recover from concussion-like symptoms. Alex Bowman  was tapped to replace Junior for the next race at New Hampshire, and would make a total of 10 starts in the car once it was annouced that Junior would be sidelined for the remainder of the 2016 season. Jeff Gordon also piloted the #88 car in Junior’s absence, coming out of retirement to start 8 races. These are the only starts in Jeff Gordon’s Cup career in a car number other than #24.

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Alex Bowman, 2016
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Jeff Gordon, 2016

 

 

  • Dale Jarrett has the most starts in the #88 with 380 from 1996-2006. In 1995 Robert Yates started a second team to ease his driver Ernie Irvan back into the sport after life-threatening injuries. Irvan made 3 starts in 1995 before returning to his #28 car for 1996. Dale Jarrett had been hired to drive the #28 in Irvan’s absence, but had proven to be very successful. This encouraged RYR to expand to a 2 car team full time, with Jarrett taking the wheel of the #88 for 1996.
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Ernie Irvan’s #88, 1995

Jarrett found success immediately in 1996, winning 4 races including the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400,  & the Coca-Cola 600.

 

The following season, he won a career-best seven races but lost the championship to Jeff Gordon by fourteen points. In 1998, Jarrett won three races, and finished second in the last two races of the year, ending up third in the final point standings to Jeff Gordon, despite suffering gallbladder problems, which made him miss the exhibition race in Japan.

Jarrett returned in 1999 and took the points lead after his first win of the season at the Pontiac Excitement 400, and held it for the rest of the season, when he won his first and only career Winston (Sprint) Cup title by 201 points over Bobby Labonte with four wins – Richmond, Michigan, Daytona, and Indianapolis.

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Dale Jarrett hoisting his 1999 Winston Cup.

Following his title in 1999, Jarrett won the Daytona 500 for the third time in 2000, but after only winning one other race and dropping to fourth in the standings, Ford elected to withdraw as a primary sponsor. United Parcel Service was signed as the primary sponsor for Jarrett’s car, and shortly thereafter UPS began a multi-year promotional campaign involving the company trying to convince him to drive their trademark “Big Brown Truck” in a race.

 

Jarrett won 4 races in 2001, but finished a disappointing 5th in the standings after leading for much of the early season.  Jarrett won at Pocono and Michigan in 2002 and Rockingham in 2003. An accident involving DJ at New Hampshire would cause NASCAR to change it’s policy on racing back to caution flags.

 

 

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DJ, 2004

2004 would be Jarrett’s first winless season since 1992. 2005 would see the last of Jarrett’s  28 career wins with a victory at Talladega. After struggling in 2006, Jarrett and sponsor UPS would leave RYR for Michael Waltrip Racing’s #44 car.

 

  • Ron Keselowski, uncle of current NASCAR drivers Brad and Brian Keselowski, drove the #88 car in 43 races from 1971-1973.
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Ron Keselowski, 1970
  • The DiGard Racing Team first fielded car #88 for Donnie Allison in 1973. Allison would start a total of 43 races in the car with no wins, mostly from 1973-1975 with 2 starts in 1983.
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Donnie Allison, 1984
  • Midway through the 1975 season, DiGard would release Donnie Allison in favor of Darrell Waltrip and new sponsor Gatorade for the #88 car. The team moved to a new Charlotte shop before the 1977 season and surged to the fore of NASCAR, winning theRebel 500 and the Winston 500 in dramatic fashion. Waltrip posted six wins in 1977, four of them on superspeedways. He posted six more wins in 1978, but this time four of his wins came on short tracks.  Waltrip often fueded with the team ownership, and threatened to leave the team for Lennie Pond’s team for 1979. Ultimately, Waltrip stayed with the team and signed a long-term contract extension.

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Waltrip nearly won the 1979 championship after leading the point standings for most of the year, coming second and losing by 11 points to Richard Petty.  The impact of the loss angered Waltrip and his contract situation with the team became an issue again. Crew chief Buddy Parrott was fired at the end of 1979 but then rehired in 1980. Waltrip and Parrott won four of the 1980 season’s first sixteen races but was fired in June; Parrott finished the season with the Ranier team.

Looking to get out, Waltrip set up his own contract buyout out of his own pocket to leave DiGard, landing at Junior Johnson Racing. Waltrip started the #88 in 161 races winning 26 times.

  • Ricky Rudd would replace Waltrip for the 1981 season, as Waltrip went on to win the championship with his new team. In 31 starts, Rudd did not reach victory lane. In 2007, after a year of retirment, Rudd would return to the #88 for Robert Yates Racings. In all, Rudd made 62 starts in #88 without a win.

 

  • Bobby Allison, who had been recruited by the team years before, joined the team in 1982. He exploded to eight victories in 1982 and finished second to Darrell Waltrip in the points championship. During this season Allison encountered the same money problems in the team that Waltrip had witnessed; he signed a new contract with DiGard in large part thinking it would get him back payments the team had withheld during the season. For 1983 the Gatorade colors were to adorn a new Chevrolet Monte Carlo, but just before the season Miller High Life beer sponsorship joined the team and the car number was changed to #22. Allsion started 30 races in #88 with 8 wins.

 

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Bobby Allison in the #88, 1982

 

  • When DiGard moved to the #22 car in 1983, Geoff Bodine and Cliff Stewart Racing took the Gatorade sponsorship and #88 to their team. Bodine made 28 starts that year.
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Geoff Bodine’s Pontiac, 1983
  • When Bodine left to drive for Rick Hendrick in 1984, Cliff Stewart hired ASA star Rusty Wallace to drive in his first full-time NASCAR season. Wallace made 30 starts that year, winning Rookie of the Year honors. The next year, Wallace and Stewart would switch the car to the #2 ALUGARD Pontiac.
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Rusty Wallace, 1984.

 

  • In 1985 Buddy Baker founded a race team using the #88. From 1985-1988 Baker would make 54 starts in the car, but also fielded the car with other drivers during this time. Al Unser Sr., Greg Sacks, Morgan Shepher, Rick Mast, and Joe Ruttman would all make a handful of starts over the years. Jimmy Spencer, Buddy Baker’s protege, would have the most starts in the car besides Baker with 17 in the 1989 season.

Today, Dale Earnhardt Jr. pays tribute to Baker by using the same font for the #88 on the side of his car.

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Buddy Baker, 1986

 

  • Buddy’s father Buck Baker is best remembered for his success in the #87 car, but he did start car #88 a total of 54 times from 1954-1968 including 3 wins.

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  • Other notable names in #88
    • Ralph Earnhardt, 8 starts
    • Tiny Lund, 7 starts
    • Benny Parsons, 4 starts
    • Kenny Wallace, 4 starts
    • Mike Wallace, 3 starts
    • Charlie Glotzbach, 2 starts
    • Fireball Roberts, 2 starts
    • Joe Weatherly, 1 start
    • PJ Jones, 1 start

89 Days until the Daytona 500

In Sprint Cup Series competition the #89 car has started 262 races and has 4 win, 3 poles, 60 top 5s, 135 top 10s, and 138 DNFs

 

  • Morgan Shepherd has the most starts in car #89 with 32 from 2002-2006. In 2002, at the age of 62, the longtime NASCAR driver decided to found his own raceteam. Morgan Shepherd Motorsports fielded the #89 car in select races during these years, attempting to qualify for 32 races in 2004. The team frequently failed to qualify for races, and lack of sponsorship money caused the team to start and park frequently. In 2004, Shepherd ran the entire races at Martinsville and Daytona, finishing 32nd and 33rd respectively. After the 2006 season Shepherd shut down his Cup team to focus on the XFINITY series, where he drove his #89 until 2014. At age 74, Shepherd has still not retired from racing. In 2015 he started 1 Camping World Truck Series Race and most XFINITY Series races.
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Morgan Shepherd, 2004
  • Neil “Soapy” Castles started the #89 car 27 times, running the full 1965 season and 1 race in 1966.

 

  • Buck Baker started #87 a total of 25 times between 1952, 1955, 1959 & 1962. He earned 2 wins in the number, in 1952 & 1955.
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    Buck Baker, 1952

     

     

  • Buck’s son Buddy Baker would also make 10 career start in #89- 9 starts in 1959 & 1 start in 1964.
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Buddy Baker, 1959
  • Jim Sauter drove the #89 car in 23 sporadic starts from 1985-1993, never starting more than 6 races per year.
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Jim Sauter, 1989

 

  • Joe Lee Johnson drove the #89 in 14 career races- 8 in 1960 and 6 in 1961. Joe Lee won the inaugural World 600 (now Coca Cola 600) at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1960.

 

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Joe Lee Johnson, 1960
  • Other notable name in #89
    • Rodney Combs, 10 starts
    • Buddy Shuman, 8 starts, 1 win
    • Wendell Scott, 6 starts
    • Tiny Lund, 5 starts
    • Ned Jarrett, 3 starts
    • Tim Flock, 2 starts
    • Dennis Setzer, 1 start
    • Michael Waltrip, 1 start
    • Patty Moise, 1 start