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O'le Days: Rick Newsom- Top 11* -1977 Southeastern' 500'

 
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JEEIII



Joined: 04 Apr 2012
Posts: 628
Location: Stratford, CT.

PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2013 3:25 pm    Post subject: O'le Days: Rick Newsom- Top 11* -1977 Southeastern' 500' Reply with quote

(RIS Photography-1977 Pocono)
(After a request for a Rick Newsom O'le Days, decided to add a "Just Miss'd" Top 10 O'le Days that will include some of those talented drivers that never had a Top 10 but came sooo close!)
For fan favorite and hard luck driver Rick Newsom, there would be (2) career 11th place finishes. It would be his relief drive* at Bristol in 1977 that was to be his best chance at a Top 10 (had improved the #68 from 15th to 9th) but he was denied his chance by a controversial very late driver change back to Janet Guthrie!
Ricky Lyle "Rick" Newsom was born and raised in Lake Wylie, South Carolina. His father, Oliver, had a local garage (behind his house), so it's not surprising that Rick began racing at 16 yrs-old in 1966, at Gastonia's Carolina Speedway.
By 1969, Rick was racing a '57 Ford in the Semi-Modified (6 cylinder) division, (Jim Reeper Jr. Photo-Concord 1969) built by Bill Funderburk.
In 1972, Rick began racing in the GN East series in a Mercury Cougar (reportedly purchased from Junior Johnson). Rick's (2) Top 10's were enough to give him confidence to try Winston Cup and an ex-James Hylton '71 Torino would be his car. His first start (as #98) in 1972 was at Texas in preparation for the upcoming season as the #20 Torino with his local sponsor "Holbrook Waterproofing" of Charlotte.('Hondo' Coll.)
Rick would have (12) starts in 1973, his first impressive race was in April, at the 'Virginia 500'-Q28/12. His best streak for '73 would be (4) in-a-row starts; Q27/12-Bristol ("Volunteer 500"), Q40/12-Atlanta ("Dixie 500"), Q28/11-Nashville ("Nashville 420) & Q28/13 at Richmond!(? Race-'Tom M.' Coll.)
The Nashville race was probably Rick's best race of '73, finishing (3) laps from the 10th place Bill Champion. With only (4) DNF's , the ex-Hylton Torino was to be Rick's best car of his career. (Mark Windecker-MIS 1973)
Sadly for Rick, who was quickly becoming a fan favorite, it was to be nearly a decade until he had a another decent car. For 1974, it was to be a 'junkyard' find, with which he would try his best with over the next (6) years!
(Darlington-Jim Reep Jr. Coll.)
Though the '74 Torino was a 'junkyard ' car, it was put together by Tom Pistone and Bill Fundrbuck and given a Pete Wilson Cleveland engine. The new #20 was painted in a VW 'Duck Egg Blue' and finished (1) out of it's (2) starts-14th -'Delaware 500'. For 1975, the #20 finished ONLY (1) of it's (9) starts! Rick did have a good start at the fall 'Delaware 500', finishing 12th in Baxter Price's #45 (Rick always ran well at Pocono.)
Late in the '76 season ([7]) Starts-[6] DNF's), the Torino was reskinned and had a decent race at Charlotte, finishing it's only race of the season in 18th.(Race Photo-Randy Murphy) The 1973 style of number was brought back but by 1978, the Torino was back to Yellow with the '75 style numbers.
('Hondo' Coll.) For Rick Newsom fans, no matter how much talent he had, without a competitive car, the outlook was bleak for 1977 but in April, at Bristol, Rick would show what he could do in a top flight car!
Rick's Torino was a early DNF with a broken water pump, when Ralph Moody approached Rick to relieve Janet Guthrie ([5] drivers need relief in the race). Ralph told Rick to take a few laps to get used to the car and then 'let your conscience be your guide". Though the car was set up too stiff and kept bottoming out, Rick improved from 15th to 9th place, as he made the last pit stop. It was then that Rick was told that Janet was taking back over! Janet finished 11th.(1977 Photo) Ralph Moody told Rick that he'd driven a great race and Rick never forgot those comments and it was a validation for Rick that he had "got the job done!"
In a 1980 SCR article, Rick said that Janet was more interested in getting HIM out of that car than she was having her team get a Top 10 finish!
In 1978, Rick opened a garage & tackle shop back home, while recuperating from (2) accidents, at the 1977 'World 600' and during a practice session in 1978 at Nashville, when his car was struck by Bruce Jacobi. Rick had sold a car on his lot and when the man returned, he introduced Rick to Mike McGuiness, who owned (M)ichigan (A)utomotive (R)epair (S)ervices. MARS wanted to get into NASCAR and agreed to reskin the Torino to an Olds and sponsor his car but after (4) races, MARS decided NASCAR was too expensive and Rick was back to little money for his #20 Oldsmobile. Rick did get some sponsorship from the 'First Lady Of NASCAR', Louise Smith in '79. The #20 was painted Blue with "Louise Smith Special' on the rear quarter. Louise and her husband had sponsored Ronnie Thomas during his ROTY 1978 season.(SCR-'Hondo' Coll.) A 19th was his best finish in 1980 at Richmond but the new downsize cars would bring Rick back to a better chance of getting a Top 10...(1981-Bristol 'Hondo')
With some of the young new drivers, like Ronnie Thomas and 'Slick' Johnson (both upcoming O'le Days) having some issues with the downsized cars, Rick would have a window of opportunity, as he and Jimmy Reep, built a Monte Carlo that was stored at Ronnie Bolin's Auto & Wrecker Service in Clover, S.C. Though in 1981, there would be no finishes in the Top 20, there was hope and $, as Rick Hendrick's Charlotte City Chevrolet was to come onboard!
(SCR-'Hondo' Coll.)
With Rick Hendrick onboard, a new paint scheme was created in Black with Blue striping edged in White.('Hondo'-Richmond '81)
The #20 MC would have it's BEST 1982 streak for the now 31yr-old, with (3) in-a-row good finishes, sponsored by "City Chevrolet" and "Superior Piping"; Q36/14th at Darlington (April), and the (2) Pocono races-Q36/17 (June) and Q32/13 (July-[5] laps from the 10th place James Hylton!) This MC was destroyed in a late season crash ([8] Starts-[4] DNF's) and a new '83 was built but never again did Rick Newsom have a 13th or better finish in his remaining (3) seasons.
Rick began planning for life after NASCAR for he and his wife Wendy. Rick got his Pilot's license and started an air charter service that had contracts to deliver checks/documents overnight for corporations. Rick also used his Beechcraft Duke 60 (Beechcraft Ad) for corporate charters. On August 18, 1988, Rick Newsom , along with (2) executives from Clover, S.C.'s Klear Knit Clothing, were killed as the A/C was attempting to land at airstrip in Pageland. Rick Newsom had just become a father again, with the birth of their 2nd daughter.............John (Thanks to 'Hondo' & 'Tom M.')


Last edited by JEEIII on Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:24 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Hondo



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
Posts: 1688
Location: Olive Branch, kinda Memphis

PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very well done, John. thumbsup thumbsup
Thanks for taking time to remember Ricky.
A fitting note was that they used his "reskinned" old Buick as one of Tom Cruise's (Cole Trickle) cars in "Days of Thunder."
I think that one is at the Hendrick museum.

Nice tribute.
_________________
Jim
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JEEIII



Joined: 04 Apr 2012
Posts: 628
Location: Stratford, CT.

PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Hondo':

Thanks for ALL the help! Finding 'new' racecar photos to post is getting tougher to do but thanks to your collection, definitely have a few 1st timers..........Really like the Rick Hendrick-"City Chevrolet" #20 MC. Would make a GREAT tribute model!!!



John
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