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Bobby Isaac takes different path to NASCAR Hall
RELATED: See the rings, jackets for the Class of 2016 Of the five newest members inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the career of the late Bobby Isaac was perhaps the most unusual. Isaac was inducted Saturday, along with fellow drivers Terry Labonte , Jerry Cook, Curtis Turner and track owner Bruton Smith. Isaac , who died in 1977 after suffering a heart attack, won the NASCAR premier series championship in 1970, driving for team owner Nord Krauskopf and with the help of noted crew chief Harry Hyde. It was a perfect combination of talent and ingenuity -- the team won 31 races during a three-year span from 1968-70. Isaac wound up with 37 victories in a career that spanned just 15 years at the top level. He won 49 poles, a mark that today remains 10th best for the series. WATCH THE SPEECHES: Isaac's family " Jerry Cook " Curtis Turner's daughter " Bruton Smith " Labonte's speech According to reports, he also abruptly quit racing for a time when, in the middle of an event, he heard a voice tell him to get out of the car. It's an often-told story, particularly when NASCAR's top series prepares to head to Talladega Superspeedway , site of Isaac's early departure. "Well, obviously I wasn't there with him in the car when that happened," Patsy Isaac , who was married to the driver at the time, said Saturday following his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "But I will tell you that as soon as he got out of the car and was able to get to a telephone, because we didn't have cell phones then, he called me and he repeated to me exactly what happened to him in the car. "And he said, a voice told him that he needed to get out of the car, and so he radioed to (owner) Bud Moore. He said, 'find somebody to fill in the car. I've got to get out.'" The race was the Talladega 500, the 20th stop of the '73 season and the second of two annual races at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Isaac was three years removed from his championship, and had been hired to drive owner Moore's No. 15 Ford. He had finished second to Richard Petty in that year's Daytona 500 , and placed in the top 10 in five other races. The race seemed cursed from the outset -- fellow Catawba County native Larry Smith was killed when his Mercury struck the wall barely 15 laps into the event. With the race nearly halfway complete, Isaac pulled into the pits during a caution period and unexpectedly climbed out of the car. Coo Coo Marlin, father of two-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin, relieved Isaac and eventually finished 13th. Dick Brooks won the race. It was the only premier series victory of Brooks’ career. "I don't know what that experience was," Patsy Isaac said of her husband's incident. "I don't know if he felt it, it was an intuition or if it was actually a verbal voice. I don't know that, but I know that it impacted him enough that he was not going to stay in the race car." What she does know, though, is what she told Isaac when he called. "I said, 'come home.' That was fine with me," she said. "He had always said that it was not because someone had gotten killed earlier in the race, and that person was from Catawba County, and he knew them. That's all I can tell you is what he told me." Isaac attempted to resume his racing career the following year although he made just 19 premier series starts during the next three seasons. Eventually, he turned his attention to the local short tracks where he had begun his racing career. On August 13, 1977, he was competing in a Late Model Sportsman event at Hickory Speedway when he pulled into the pits, climbed from his car and collapsed. Transported to a local hospital, Isaac , 45, died the following morning.
Bobby Isaac joins NASCAR Hall of Fame Class 2016
RELATED: Learn more about the NASCAR Hall of Fame In a different era, in which stock cars driven to and past their limits didn't break with frequency, there's no telling how many races or championships Bobby Isaac might have won. Isaac , the 1970 NASCAR premier series champion, won 37 of his 309 starts. But he was a DNF -- did not finish -- 129 times. His 49 poles rank 10th all-time, with 19 -- a still-standing, single-season mark -- coming in 1969. Only 38 drivers have won 19 or more poles in a career. Nobody ever had to tell Isaac to "stand on it." " Bobby was a never-give-up kind of guy," said Buddy Parrott, a member of Isaac's No. 71 K&K Insurance Dodge crew and a 49-time winner as a premier series crew chief for NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip among others. " Bobby had no fear." Isaac's accomplishments are such that he'll join the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Class of 2016 along with Jerry Cook, Terry Labonte , O. Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner. Their induction will take place Jan. 22 in Charlotte, N.C. The ceremonies will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET by NBCSN. Isaac , born on a farm near Catawba, North Carolina in 1932, saw his first stock car race at nearby Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and at age 17 bought a 1937 Ford and put roll bars in it. He flipped the car on the race's second lap but that didn’t dampen his desire. Working at a variety of low-paying jobs, Isaac began racing the NASCAR late model sportsman circuit. He survived but sometimes just barely. "One time I drove 200 miles to drive a fellow's modified car with $4 in my pocket," he once said. "I figured that I'd have enough to buy gas and get down there and eat a hot dog before the race. The gas was $3 but I had to put two quarts of oil in my car so I was broke when I left town. When the feature started my stomach was not only growling but I didn’t have enough gas to get back home. "I drove that car as hard as I could and won. I had to win." Isaac , described by some as "mercurial," went sportsman racing fulltime in 1958, driving for Ralph Earnhardt. He won 28 feature events, competing against the likes of NASCAR Hall of Famers Ned Jarrett and David Pearson. Isaac , at age 28, competed in his first premier series event in 1961. Driving a Dodge for Ray Nichels, he won his first race in 1964 -- a 50-lap Daytona 500 qualifier in which he edged Jimmy Pardue in a photo finish after Richard Petty ran out of fuel. With factory-supported teams jumping in and out of the sport in the mid-1960s, Isaac went from top ride to no seat at all. His fortunes changed in 1968 when he was hired by Indiana insurance magnate Nord Krauskopf and paired with legendary crew chief Harry Hyde, whose larger than life persona was captured as Harry Hogg in the film "Days of Thunder." Over the course of five seasons, 1968 to 1972, the trio's "Poppy Red" Dodges won 36 times -- 17 alone in 1969 when Isaac won 17 times in 50 starts. Bedeviled by 19 failures to finish, Isaac wound up sixth in the championship standings. Isaac "only" won 11 times in his championship season, but the DNFs were reduced to just nine. The K&K team is remembered best for its winged Dodge Charger Daytona, the needle-nosed, high rear-wing version of the standard Charger. Remarkably, Isaac visited Victory Lane only once in that model, at Texas World Speedway in 1969, his 20th career win and first on a superspeedway. "We won a lot of short-races, but we couldn't pull it all together on the big tracks until the last race of the season," said Isaac in Greg Fielden's book "NASCAR: The Complete History." "Winning the championship gave me personal satisfaction, but I'd rank it second to the Texas win. "The way I look at it, it took me seven years to win a superspeedway race and only three years to win the championship." In September 1971 the team took its winged car to the Bonneville Salt Flats in western Utah where Isaac set 28 speed records, including a 217.368 mph "flying kilometer" mark. "That car weighed 3,900 pounds and it had 650 horses in the motor," Hyde told Car and Driver's Bob Zeller in May 2002. "And when Bobby set it sideways, it looked like a hydroplane on water. He came by at 200 mph broadside with a big rooster tail of salt comin' out the back." Driving part-time schedules for a number of owners, Isaac ran his last premier series race in 1976. He returned to Hickory Motor Speedway the following year where, on Aug. 14, he pulled out of a sportsman race feeling ill and was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to heart failure at age 45. Isaac was inducted into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1979 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1996. In 1998, NASCAR honored him as one of its 50 Greatest Drivers of all time. Tickets are available for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Ceremony (limited quantities available). Individual ticket and ticket packages are available at ticketmaster.com, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Box Office or by calling 800.745.3000.
Isaac ’s family inducts him into the Hall of Fame
Bobby Isaac's wife and son help induct the 1970 premier series champion into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
NASCAR Hall of Fame, Class of 2016
Car number revealed for Buescher's JTG ride in 2017
JTG Daugherty Racing revealed the car number Monday for its new team and incoming driver Chris Buescher -- No. 37. The expanding operation -- owned by Jodi and Tad Geschickter with former NBA star Brad Daugherty -- tweeted out an image of the numerals Monday afternoon. The team had previously announced its two-car effort in NASCAR's premier series for 2017, with Buescher named as the second driver Nov. 29 through an arrangement with Roush Fenway Racing . The combination of numbers borrows from a pair of sources. The number 3 features the same typeface as the stylized numeral made famous by Richard Childress Racing , which shares a technical alliance with JTG Daugherty. The number 7 carries over from JTG Daugherty's founding team, the No. 47 Chevrolet driven by AJ Allmendinger . The BIG Reveal... You have been asking and guessing what car # @Chris_Buescher will be driving in 2017, it will be the #37. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/WcLl3JWIv8 — JTG Daugherty Racing (@JTGRacing) December 12, 2016 The No. 37 has not been used in NASCAR's top division since the 2014 season, when multiple drivers campaigned a part-time entry for Tommy Baldwin Racing . The car number is credited with just one victory in 486 premier-series efforts -- a win by NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Isaac on Columbia Speedway's half-mile dirt track on April 18, 1968. &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;
NASCAR Hall of Fame: Bobby Isaac
His uncanny skill at qualifying a race car proves that. His 49 career poles ranks tied for eighth all time.
FOX Sports, NASCAR return for 'Beyond the Wheel'
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. and CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- FS1 and NASCAR Productions will present the second season of the acclaimed documentary series Beyond the Wheel as part of FS1's NASCAR RACE HUB . Created to depict the sport's most pivotal moments and compelling narratives, the short films focus on influential characters -- both past and present -- and the unique stories that have shaped NASCAR as a sport since its inception. The first film premieres on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. ET during NASCAR RACE HUB on FS1. The second season of the documentary short film series is comprised of the following: · Bonneville 71 details how NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bobby Isaac set 28 land speed records with a banned Dodge Charger Daytona on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1971, accompanied only by his crew members, a USAC official and a Chrysler engineer. Using the authentic No. 71 K&K Charger and featuring interviews with original crew members Buddy Parrott and Ken Troutt, the documentary pays homage to Isaac's historical runs by revisiting the Salt Flats to shoot all-new footage down a 10-mile straightaway. A remarkable story of innovation, the short film depicts Isaac's desire and dedication to always test the limits of speed, no matter the barriers. · Sueños de NASCAR follows NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Daniel Suárez from his roots in Monterrey, Mexico, to his rise in one of the sport's top series through the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. As Suárez returns home to visit family and friends, the film explores his place in Mexican racing culture, how the country has embraced stock car racing, and the impact of Mexican drivers on the future of the sport. Illustrating the young driver as a source of inspiration, the documentary also examines Suárez's success as the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race and his current pursuit of the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship. · Miracle at Daytona -- The Tiny Lund Story recounts how DeWayne "Tiny" Lund risked his life to rescue fellow driver, Marvin Panch, from his burning Maserati at Daytona International Speedway before going on to win the 1963 Daytona 500 just days later. The true story of a journeyman driver who was one of the most likeable characters of his era, Lund was also awarded the Carnegie Hero's Medal for his selfless bravery in what became one of the greatest Daytona 500 stories of all time. The second film in the series featuring Daniel Suárez will premiere on Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. ET, while the original special on Tiny Lund will air in early 2017. Each documentary will also be available on FOX Sports GO and FOXSports.com following its premiere.
Hall of Fame induction ceremony postponed due to weather
RELATED: Official NASCAR release on postponement Wintry weather postponed Friday night's NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony, pushing the Class of 2016's enshrinement to Saturday afternoon. The Hall's seventh class -- Jerry Cook, Bobby Isaac , Terry Labonte , Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner -- will be inducted at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday. The event will be broadcast live on NBCSN and NBC Live Extra, with radio coverage from MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Plans to hold the induction as scheduled were in place until Friday morning, but accumulations of snow and ice that made travel around the Charlotte, North Carolina area treacherous forced the postponement. The NASCAR Hall of Fame planned an early closing Friday at 2 p.m. ET with Hall of Famer autograph sessions canceled. Saturday's altered schedule will kick off with a 1 p.m. ET luncheon. With winter precipitation expected to continue overnight Friday and into the morning hours, the NASCAR Hall of Fame also canceled Saturday's Fan Appreciation Day. Autograph sessions and driver meet-and-greets were canceled. According to a release provided by the venue, the Hall is exploring options to accommodate fans who obtained autograph session tickets, with a decision to be announced later next week. The Hall announced reduced hours Saturday from noon-5 p.m. ET with free admission. The postponement means a mere one-day delay for five stock-car legends. Modified stalwart Cook, early star Isaac , two-time premier series champ Labonte, speedway mogul Smith and the hard-charging Turner will have their names called Saturday, bringing the NASCAR Hall of Fame's list of inductees to a total of 35. RELATED: For more updates see Official NASCAR release
Bruce: Weighing racing careers is serious business
RELATED: Class of 2017 announced " See all the nominees NASCAR's latest group of Hall of Fame inductees has been determined, but as is often the case, there are questions that remain unanswered. The selection of car owners Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Raymond Parks, along with driver Benny Parsons, as four of the five inductees for the Class of 2017 means that 24 of the 25 names on the inaugural list of nominees are now members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The only nominee from that list who has not been chosen for induction is Red Byron, NASCAR's first Modified and Strictly Stock (the forerunner of today's premier series) champion. Eight classes in and Byron, who won two races in just 15 career starts, appears no closer to selection than he did when the original list of nominees was released in July of 2009. Byron, who passed away in 1960, has obviously been seen as worthy of consideration by the Nominating Committee, which meets annually to compile each year's list for consideration by the Voting Panel. While it is not a requirement that those not chosen for induction remain on the list of nominees for the following year, it has often been the case. Should there be a limit to how long a nominee can remain on the Hall of Fame ballot? If a nominee hasn't been selected for induction after, say, 10 years, should his or her name come off the ballot? It doesn't appear likely that there will become an increasingly long list of nominees who continue to be passed over, but the possibility exists. The formation of the Landmark Award, now in it's third year, has eased some of the concern there, although one can be on the ballot for Hall of Fame consideration as well as the Landmark Award. RELATED: Ty said grandfather is 'hero' " Childress, Hendrick, Parks chosen A second concern often voiced involves inducting those who remain active in the sport, particularly car owners. Childress, Hendrick and Jack Roush remain at the helm of their respective organizations. Their careers are not complete. Eligibility guidelines for drivers stipulate that he or she have competed in NASCAR for a minimum of 10 years and have been retired for two years. Additionally, any driver who has competed for 10 years and is 55 years old on or before Dec. 31 of the previous nominating year is eligible for consideration. Any driver competing for 30 or more years is automatically eligible, regardless of age. For non-drivers, the only requirement is that they have worked in the NASCAR industry for at least 10 years. Anyone who has made significant achievements in NASCAR, regardless of occupation, but did not meet the previously mentioned minimum requirements may also be considered. Should those still involved, in whatever fashion and to whatever extent, be considered when many others who are no longer active have yet to be nominated and/or inducted? Well, would that person be chosen if he or she was no longer active? In most cases, the answer has been yes. What then would be the purpose of delaying the inevitable? Childress, Hendrick or Roush may decide to step aside at some point and turn their organization over to someone else. But what if they don't? What if they remain at the helm until they are physically no longer able to do so? Should they, or anyone else, not be considered simply because they're still living? Fortunately, that is not the case. Should each year's group of nominees be categorized, with at least one driver, one owner, and one crew chief among those going into the Hall? Drivers have been the overwhelming choices in recent years -- nine of the last 10 members inducted have been selected for their accomplishments behind the wheel. The 2017 class favors car owners. RELATED: Martin calls selection 'crown jewel' of his career A crew chief hasn't been inducted since Leonard Wood's selection in 2013. And there are several worthy candidates on the list of nominees, led by Ray Evernham, a three-time champion with driver Jeff Gordon . Waddell Wilson was not only a successful crew chief, but was equally successful as an engine builder. Harry Hyde worked with some of the sport's most talented drivers, including Hall of Fame member Bobby Isaac , Buddy Baker and Tim Richmond and is credited with 55 victories as a crew chief. Yes he was a colorful character. But he was also extremely successful. The most obvious drawback is that such a plan could penalize a deserving candidate or candidates based on nothing more than the number of nominees in a particular category during a given year. The current process is fair and it is deliberate. It is not easy. Spending several hours with many of NASCAR's legends and powerbrokers is a tremendous way to spend an afternoon. But at the end of the day, everyone understands the importance of the process. Each of us is being asked to rate the value of a particular person's career accomplishments. That's a pretty heavy undertaking. And it's something that none of us take lightly. MORE: Cain, Bruce reveal Hall of Fame ballots
Bruton Smith follows fate into a legendary career
RELATED: Best photos from 2016 Hall of Fame induction CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Bruton Smith didn't make good on the opportunity to become a legendary race car driver. So he did the next best thing. He became a promoter. He ran race tracks. And then he built and bought speedways. And then he improved those speedways. And then he improved them some more. Folks noticed. And pretty soon, everyone else was scrambling to catch up. Smith, along with drivers Curtis Turner, Bobby Isaac , Terry Labonte and Jerry Cook, was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Saturday. It was fitting – Smith had dealings of some sort with each of his fellow inductees through the years. Higher powers got him out from behind the wheel. A savvy business sense put him on the road to success operating race tracks. "I wanted to be a race driver," Smith, 88, said during his induction speech inside the Crown Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center. "I had a real strong desire to do that so I bought a race car for $700 ... that's a lot of money then. ... "So I started driving, and I learned how to drive, and it was not as difficult as I thought it was. I thought, 'OK, now I've got my career going.' His father, he said, didn't have an issue with his career choice at the time. His mother felt differently. "He just said, 'Be careful, boy.' I was, but my mom had a problem with it," Smith said, "And she said, 'I wish you wouldn't do that,' and I heard that a dozen times, I guess, and my mother was a very religious person, and my mom started praying I would quit. "Well, I knew then when she did that it was time for me to quit because I was not going to compete with that. That's when I quit, and I went over on the other side, and I started promoting races." Today Speedway Motorsports, Inc., owns and operates eight tracks that host 12 of the 36 annual premier series points races on the NASCAR schedule. Charlotte Motor Speedway , built by Smith and Turner in 1959, also hosts the series' annual all-star (non-points) event. MORE: NASCAR Hall of Fame inducts Class of 2016 CMS was the first facility to offer condominiums overlooking the track, and was the first intermediate track to feature lights, allowing races to be run at night. Atlanta and Texas Motor Speedway , both SMI properties, also feature condominiums; there's "Big Hoss," the world's largest HDTV screen along the backstretch at TMS and a 16,000-square-foot HD screen at CMS. Among the many features at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the Neon Garage to get fans close to the action, while Bristol Motor Speedway officials are constructing the world's largest outdoor, permanent, center-hung digital display. RELATED: Bristol to get 'Colossus' for 2016 "I've told people before that he doesn't do things to get awards," son Marcus Smith said. "He doesn't really relish a victory as much as he does a challenge, and that's probably something in common with a lot of Hall of Famers, I would guess. "He's certainly someone who just relishes the challenge, loves the climb and when he achieves a goal, he quickly moves to the next opportunity and the next challenge." Saturday's induction ceremony, delayed one day by Winter Storm Jonas, was the seventh since the Hall opened in 2010. Smith, who grew up east of Charlotte in tiny Oakboro, North Carolina is the third non-competitor (driver, owner, crew chief or engine builder) to be inducted. NASCAR founder William H.G. France and son Bill France Jr., were among those in the inaugural class. "Bruton should have been in the Hall before now," NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick said earlier this week. "I remember him calling me one day, wanting me to buy a condo at the track. I said 'Bruton if I buy a condo it's going to be overlooking the ocean somewhere and not at a race track.' About two years later, I paid more to get one. "His mind is racing all the time; he's done so much for the sport. He's so brave to step out and try things that have never been tried before. It's past time for him to go in the Hall. "He's a sharp guy. He helped build this sport and it's well deserved." Fellow team owner Roger Penske called Smith "special," and "someone who has brought so much to NASCAR." "When you think about the Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bristol, and tracks like New Hampshire and Sonoma and Atlanta, he's been the best," Penske said. "There's no question. He set the bar."