Friday, August 22, 2014

Former NASCAR team owner Ed Whitaker dies

   Former NASCAR team owner Ed Whitaker, who won 20 races in what is now the Nationwide Series with Harry Gant, died Friday in Bristol, Va. He was 76.

   Despite never fielding a team for a full-season schedule, Whitaker-built cars won 28 times in 246 career Nationwide Series races, a ratio of more than one in every 10 races they entered.

   The list of drivers who drove for Whitaker includes Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Harry Gant, Jimmy Hensley, Alan Kulwicki, Butch Lindley, Mark Martin, Tim Richmond, Hermie Sadler, Morgan Shepherd, Mike Wallace and two drivers in Friday night's Food City 300, Brendan Gaughan and Regan Smith.

   “Ed Whitaker proved you can have big success with a small operation,” said Jerry Caldwell, Bristol Motor Speedway General Manager. “The term ‘throwback' gets used a lot but Ed was a true definition of it. We are proud of the achievements he had in a sport we all love. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
   Whitaker's greatest success came with Gant behind the wheel for 20 of the team's 28 wins. Shepherd collected the remaining eight. Three of those victories, Shepherd in 1983 and 1986 and Gant in 1992 came at Bristol Motor Speedway.

   Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Roush Fenway adds new sponsor for driver Greg Biffle

   Roush Fenway Racing announced Friday that Ortho and its line of home, lawn and garden pest control products will serve as the anchor partner on the No. 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry driven by Greg Biffle in a multi-year deal.

   Ortho will make its debut on Biffle's car next weekend at Atlanta and will appear on the car for two more races this season before debuting next season as an anchor partner, where it will appear on the car for approximately half the season.

   3M has been Biffle's primary sponsor but they are leaving Roush to move to Jeff Gordon's  No. 24 car at Hendrick Motorsports next season.

    “In this sport, I think everybody is familiar with this, but you’re always looking for more partners and to try to build that program," said team president Steve Newmark. "We had engaged in discussions with Scotts because of that history even before some of those things unfolded, so this, like a lot of other things, was in process and it stood alone based on the marketing potential I think both partners see.”

   Ortho’s parent company, Scotts Miracle-Gro teamed with Roush Fenway from 2005 until 2011, teaming for 12 wins and 14 poles across all three of NASCAR’s major series.