Fond Hopes and Fun Numbers

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Clinton, S.C., Friday, March 7, 2014, 1:54 p.m.

What I wish for the NASCAR weekend:

At Las Vegas Motor Speedway, I want to see as many lead changes as sugar cookies offered by Tony Stewart to Jensen Button.

A driver interviewed with neither sunglasses on nor a Coca-Cola in hand.

Michael Waltrip, silent for ten consecutive seconds.

A race matching the spectacle of the Air Force Thunderbirds practicing above the track.

A qualifying session less exciting than the race.

Jeff Gordon looking as impressive in a race car as on a test drive or in a taxicab.

Okay, now that’s out of the way.

2:47 p.m.

I’ve been watching stock car racing all my life, and I’ve got the kind of memory that apparently facilitates the recollection of numbers. I just got back from running an errand and started thinking about NASCAR numbers that come to mind first, or at least second, when I think of numbers other than the ones being worn now.

Alan Kulwicki, listed at both "7" and "35."

Alan Kulwicki, listed at both “7” and “35.”

1–Donnie Allison, 2-Rusty Wallace, 3-Dale Earnhardt, 4-Big John Sears, 5-Geoff Bodine, 6-David Pearson (for Cotton Owens), 7-Alan Kulwicki, 8-Joe Weatherly, 9-Bill Elliott, 10-Bill Champion, 11-Ned Jarrett, 12-Bobby Allison, 13-Curtis Turner (for Smokey Yunick), 14-Jim Paschal, 15-Buddy Baker (for Bud Moore), 16-Darel Dieringer, 17-Pearson (for Holman-Moody), 18-Joe Frasson, 19-Henley Gray, 20-Rob Moroso.

21-Pearson (for the Wood Brothers), 22-Fireball Roberts, 23-Eddie Bierschwale, 24-Cecil Gordon, 25-Jabe Thomas, 26-Junior Johnson, 27-Tim Richmond, 28-Fred Lorenzen, 29-Dick Hutcherson, 30-Walter Ballard, 31-Jim Vandiver, 32-Richard Brooks, 33-Harry Gant, 34-Wendell Scott, 35-Kulwicki, 36-H.B. Bailey, 37-Dr. Don Tarr, 38-Elliott Sadler, 39-Friday Hassler, 40-Pete Hamilton.

41-Turner (for the Wood Brothers), 42-Lee Petty, 43-Richard Petty, 44-Terry Labonte, 45-Bill Seifert, 46-G.C. Spencer, 47-Morgan Shepherd, 48-James Hylton, 49-Bob Welborn, 50-Ricky Craven; 51-A.J. Foyt, 52-Jimmy Means, 53-Bob Burdick, 54-Lennie Pond, 55-Tiny Lund, 56-Jim Hurtubise, 57-Johnny Halford, 58-Johnny Allen, 59-Robert Pressley, 60-Bill Rexford.

The legendary Richie Evans

The legendary Richie Evans

61-Richie Evans, 62-Frankie Schneider, 63-Jocko Maggiacomo, 64-Elmo Langley, 65-Carl Adams, 66-Jim Clark, 67-Buddy Arrington, 68-Janet Guthrie, 69-Johnny Allen, 70-J.D. McDuffie, 71-Bobby Isaac, 72-Benny Parsons, 73-Johnny Beauchamp, 74-Bobby Wawak, 75-Butch Hartman, 76-Larry Frank, 77-Joe Lee Johnson, 78-Regan Smith, 79-Frank Warren, 80-E.J. Trivette

81-Kenny Wallace, 82-Bunkie Blackburn, 83-Lake Speed, 84-Dick Trickle, 85-Emanuel Zervakis, 86-Elliott Forbes-Robinson, 87-Buck Baker, 88—Dale Jarrett, 89-Joe Lee Johnson, 90-Bill Dennis, 91-Tim Flock, 92-Herb Thomas, 93-Bobby Johns, 94-Sterling Marlin, 95-Darrell Waltrip, 96-Ray Elder, 97-Chad Little, 98-Lee Roy Yarbrough, 99-Charlie Glotzbach.

Miscellaneous: 115-Parnelli Jones, 121-Dan Gurney, 0-Ward Burton, 00-Buckshot Jones, 01-Joe Nemechek, 02-Mark Martin, 03-Tommy Gale, 04-Hershel McGriff, 05-David Sisco, 06-Neil Castles, 07-Dave Blaney, 08-Butch Miller, 09-Larry Manning.

Okay, yes, I had to look up a few, but only because I came so close to a full set that I decided to fill in the whole grid. Note that I didn’t see all these cars. For instance, I always think of “92” for Herb Thomas because of old photos of “the Fabulous Hudson Hornet.”

If your cable fails, you feel like a number. If you feel like a number, you get distracted. If you get distracted, the numbers become irrelevant. If the numbers become irrelevant, you wander, aimless and dejected. If you wander aimless and dejected, you get kidnapped. Don’t get kidnapped. Get DirecTV.

[cb_profit_poster Peace]

About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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4 Responses to Fond Hopes and Fun Numbers

  1. Al Torney says:

    Like Bob Hope sang “thanks for the memories”. I really enjoyed reading the list. I am really impressed.

    You have #62-Frankie Schneider. A little info about him. He won the first race I ever attended in 1952. He was the NASCAR National Modified Champion in I think in 1951. He taught took Rex White under his wing when Rex started his racing career in Maryland in the ’50’s. He started racing professionally around 1948 and stopped in the ’70’s. He was going to be a Chevy factory driver in 1957 when they withdrew from racing. Frankie and NASCAR didn’t get along. Frankie said they tried to control him. He could very well be the best stock car driver of all time. He is referred to as “the old master” for his ability to set up a car and win with cars with less hp then his competitors. Heis 87 years old and just suffered kidney failure but is on dialysis and recovering.

  2. Andy D says:

    That’s a mighty impressive run of numbers. If I had not read your list I would probably struggle on fifty percent of them. I recognize all of the names and agree with all but two or three.

    Most of us can agree that these are memorable drivers; I think we should retire all of their numbers. At least a quarter of them. How about just the ones that championships have been won under? OK, never mind, you’re right. We shouldn’t retire any of ’em. Ever.

    PS: You can cut this pie a hunnerd different ways, but Walter Ballard over Dave Marcis?

  3. Monte says:

    They were just the first ones I thought of, mostly.
    Walter Ballard wasn’t bad.
    I hated leaving out Marcis, but if I’d included him, it would’ve been at “71,” and that will always be Bobby Isaac to me.

  4. Steve S. says:

    “Michael Waltrip, silent for ten consecutive seconds.”

    I’m so glad someone else is saying this. Monte, what is FOX thinking? All Waltrip all the time?? I can’t take it.

Comments are closed.