Harry Gant developed his driving skills in the 1950s through street racing on the country roads of Alexander County, North Carolina. He began his career driving a 1957 Chevrolet – that he’d built with his friends – on a dirt track in Hickory. Once a full-time driver, Gant used his skills to win the Hobby Class championship and then went on to win over 300 races, including the NASCAR Sportsman Series championship in 1972, 1973 and 1974….
Ralph Earnhardt’s racing career was sparked by the conditions in the farming community where his family lived. After school, Ralph worked in a cotton mill where the wages were poor. In his late teens, Earnhardt began building cars in the garage. His aim was to race on the local dirt track which happened for the first time in 1949. In 1953, Earnhardt began his professional career and quickly made an impression….
Jerry Cook started his NASCAR racing in New York at the age of 13. He moved his racing schedule to the original paved Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, New York and won his first track championship there in 1969.
Jerry Cook went on to become one of the best drivers of all time in the modified division, winning the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series six times in 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1975 and 1977. Over his career, Cook took part in 1474 starts and achieved 342 victories which gave him an average of winning every four times he got into his car. An amazing 64.5% of his starts secured him a top-five position and an impressive 85% of his starts landed him in the top-ten….
Darrel Waltrip’s successful career began in 1959 at the age of 12 and continued for 40 years. Initially driving go-karts, he spent the following 4 years building a 1936 Chevrolet Coupe with his Father. He raced the Chevy in a stock car race on a local dirt track near his home in Owensboro, Kentucky.
After an unsuccessful start – the first race ending when he crashed the Chevy – Waltrip migrated to asphalt tracks where his history in go-karting put his skills to good use. P.B. Crowell noticed the young Waltrip in the late 1960s and suggested a move to Nashville where Crowell was an owner and driver. Waltrip took Crowell’s advice and drove at the Music City Motorplex at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, winning two track championships in 1970 and 1973 which kick-started his career as a professional driver….
Kenny Francis, like so many of the drivers and crew members within the NASCAR circle, Kenny began his racing career at the age of eight whilst driving go-karts. He was born on the 1st of December 1969 in Jacksonville, Florida and it was here that he conquered the local tracks, gaining a state championship before moving up to the regional and national circuits. In the late 1980’s he studied for a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Florida and it was during this time he started to compete in the late model stock races at the local race tracks before finding himself traveling further afield to tracks in places like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and South Boston, Virginia. He was very successful, gaining many wins and poles but eventually it all became too much and in 1996 he decided to leave the driving to others and concentrate on the mechanical side of the sport.
He started working as a crew member with a local team who competed in the NASCAR Busch Series, learning everything from fabrication to setting up the cars. This was the beginning of his professional career. Wanting to further his career in NASCAR racing he moved to North Carolina in 1998 where he joined the crew team with Butch Mock Motorsports with driver, Rick Mast. The following year he was offered a job with Robert Yates Racing, working with Dale Jarrett for the season. Kenny was well set up; he gained invaluable experience and a sound working knowledge while the team led Dale Jarrett to four wins, twenty four Top 5’s and the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now the Sprint Cup Series) championship. Kenny stayed with the team the following year and in 2001 he was offered an amazing opportunity to become the team engineer for the newly formed race team for the #9 Dodge, driven by Bill Elliott and owned by champion crew chief-turned-car owner Ray Evernham. It wasn’t long before Ray Evernham became aware of Kenny’s qualities, both in the garage and at the track and Ray promoted Kenny to crew chief/team director of the #9, driven by Jeremy Mayfield for the 2002 season. Kenny followed through on the justification of the promotion by leading Jeremy Mayfield to winning and racing his way to an appearance in the inaugural Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2004 and repeated the performance in the 2005 season.
At the start of the 2006 season Ray decided to reorganise the teams giving Kenny the job of crew chief to Kasey Kahne and the #9 Dodge team. This was a move that was to prove successful as Kenny and Kasey started the season with two consecutive fourth place finishes in California and Las Vegas and gained their first Cup victory at Atlanta Motor speedway on the 19th of March, 2006. From there the pair went from strength to strength, together they had a series-high of six victories, twelve Top 5’s, nineteen Top 10s, six poles and 744 laps led, earning a place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and giving Kasey an eighth place finish in the final points standings. Kenny became one of four crew chiefs/team directors to compete in every chase for the Nextel Cup since its inception in 2004 and he became the only one to do so with more than one driver, the other being Jeremy Mayfield. Kenny won the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award four times and finished 2nd in the Crew Chief of the Year 2006 final standings. In 2007 Kenny and Kasey were winless and the team underwent a change when George Gillett became part-owner but came back again in 2008 with two victories, one was the Sprint All-Star Race and the other the Coca-Cola 600. More changes came to the team in 2009 when Richard Petty Motorsports became partial owner, renaming the team to Richard Petty Motorsports.
Kenny and Kasey had their most successful season since 2006 when they recorded two wins, seven Top 5’s and the most lead-lap finishes (27) of Kasey’s career, taking them into the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the second time, finishing 10th overall. In 2010 they won the second Gatorade Duel race and Kasey decided, part way through the season to leave Richard Petty Motorsports to drive the ’83 Red Bull Toyota for the final five races of the season. Kenny stayed at Richard Petty Motorsports until the end of the season before once again joining forces with Kasey in the Red Bull Racing team. Kenny and Kasey have been together for six seasons in 2011 and are one of the longest standing driver-crew line-up in the Sprint Cup Series. Working well together they have accrued ten victories, thirty Top 5’s and twelve poles. They have also gained non-points victories in the 2008 All-Star event and 2010 Duels at Daytona. These results make them a fearsome team in the Sprint Cup Series, Florida Residence: Mooresville, North Carolina
Joseph Thomas Logano was born in Middletown, Connecticut on the 24th of May, 1990, the second and youngest child of Tom and Debbie Logano. Although there were no racing connections in the family it became evident at a very early age that Joey, as he is called, was interested in cars and speed when he was allowed to drive his father’s slow moving water-spraying truck. His father bought Joey an 8hp go-kart, adjusting the pedals so that Joey could reach them and added a roll bar for extra safety. Joey was enthralled with the kart and drove it all day. In 1996, at the age of six, Joey entered his first quarter midget race. He had a natural talent, demonstrated when he won his first Eastern Grand National Championship in the Junior Stock Car Division in 1997, gained another championship in 1998 in a Junior Honda Division and a further three championships in the Senior Stock, Lt. Mod. And the Lt. B. divisions, in 1998, in the New England Regional Championships before the family moved to Georgia the following year.
In 1999 Joey won a Bandolero Bandit Series championship and was delighted to find that the state of Georgia did not have the same restrictions for racing that Connecticut had so he was able to take part in races against teenage competitors including, at the age of nine, a victory in a 2000 Legends Series event. He set a record of fourteen consecutive wins at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. In 2001, Joey won the Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway Bandolero Bandits division and at the age of 12, he became the youngest driver to compete at the Pro Legends level where he went on to win a national championship. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Mark Martin, noticed Joey and was later to call him “the real deal”, saying about Joey,” I am high on Joey Logano because I am absolutely, 100 per-cent positive, without a doubt that he can be one of the greatest that ever raced in NASCAR. I’m positive. There’s no doubt in mind”. In 2005 Joey competed in one FASCAR (Florida Association of Stock Car Automobile Racing) Pro Truck Series race at the New Smyrna Speedway where he started in first position and finished 2nd and still only fourteen years of age he competed in, and won, in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series. The following season he continued in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, competing in twelve Southern Division events, winning twice at South Georgia Motorsports Park and at USA International Speedway. He also ran in one race the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, Northern Division and six Championship Series races. NASCAR relaxed their age ruling in 2007 and allowed drivers to race from the age of sixteen up in the Grand National Division and Joey took part with thirteen starts in the Camping World East Series and won five races, three poles, ten Top 5’s and ten Top 10’s and won the series championship and the “Rookie of the Year Honours.
May 2008, after reaching his eighteenth birthday, saw Joey make his debut in the Nationwide Series, the Heluva Good 200 at Dover International Speedway when he finished a solid 6th, driving for the Joe Gibbs Racing team. On June the 14th Joey won the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway, making him the youngest driver to win a Nationwide Series race. He won again on June the 14th and drove to victory four more times in the 2008 Nationwide Series. In January 2009 Joey was defending his title in the Toyota All-Star Showdown in Irwindale, California, running second after Peyton Sellers when on the last lap he ran the leaser into the wall, he crossed the line first but was disqualified by NASCAR for driving in an unsportsmanlike manner. Tony Stewart left the Joe Gibbs Racing team in 2008 to drive for his own team and it was announced that Joey would race in the #20 Home Depot Toyota Camry in the 2009 Sprint Cup Series, starting the season at Richmond International Raceway. In June 2009 Joey was leading the Lenox Tools 301 at Loudon, New Hampshire in front of Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon when the race was called off because of heavy rain, giving him the victory and making him, at nineteen, the official youngest driver ever to win at NASCAR’s top level. On the 22nd of November 2009 Joey received the official “Rookie of the Year honours”. From 2007 to 2011 Joey has taken part in 164 NASCAR’s top three Series races, gaining 9 victories, 48 Top5’s and 85 Top 10 positions showing that Joey has proved that he is more than capable of holding his own in the company of older, more experienced drivers. He is mature but young and impulsive and his fans love him saying he is “sliced bread” (as in the greatest thing since sliced bread). He is learning, not only on the tracks but also with his fellow drivers, he has to earn their respect and in most cases he has. He is still not trusted by all and needs to accept that he can make mistakes and to say sorry to those affected. Only when he does this will he be accepted fully and become one of the boys.
Jimmy Fennig is a NASCAR crew chief for the #17 Crown Royal Black Ford that is driven by Matt Kenseth. In April 2011 Jimmy was named NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crew Chief of the Race after Matt won the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Jimmy was praised for the way he and his team made constant adjustments to maintain Matt’s position throughout the race. Jimmy has many years of experience in the motor racing sport, born on the 15th of September 1953 he started racing on dirt and asphalt tracks in 1970 in the Midwestern Dirt and Asphalt Series in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He first moved into the NASCAR Winston Cup Series (now the Sprint Cup Series) in 1984 when he worked for the DiGard Racing team. The following year, 1985, he joined Mark Martin as his crew chief in the American Speed Association Series The affinity they had showed throughout the two seasons that they worked together, accumulating nine victories, thirteen pole positions and the 1986 championship. Jimmy returned to the Winston Cup Series for the 1987 season working with Bobby Allison and Stavola Brothers Racing and over the next two years Bobby won two races including Bobby’s final victory, the 1988 Daytona 500.
1989 saw Jimmy working with fellow Wisconsin driver, Dick Trickle who, with Jimmy’s help won the 189 “Rookie of the Year” honours. In 1990 he joined the Bobby Alison Motorsports team and remained there for the next six years before joining Roush Racing in October 1996 to team up with Mark Martin once again. The chemistry showed once again when the pair had four victories in 1997, with twenty four Top 10’s and three poles and finished third in the final point standings. This year saw Jimmy accepting a share in the 1997 Busch Pole Award as well as the Plasti-Kote quality finish Award and the RCA Pit Strategy Award for helping to keep Mark Martin in front of the competition in his Valvoline Ford. Together Mark and Jimmy recorded a record seven victories in 1998, the most either had ever won in one year, they finished runners up in the final point standing and two victories and one pole in 1999, giving them finish of third in the final point standings.
Jimmy and Mark continued to work together, gaining three more victories and several pole positions until Jack Roush moved Jimmy in 2001 to the #97 team to join up with Kurt Busch. He took over as crew chief in 2002 to Kurt and Jimmy’s vast knowledge and experience helped Kurt to win at Bristol Motor Speedway before finishing the season with four wins, twelve Top 5’s, twenty one Top 10 finishes and finishing third in the final point standings. Their second year together produced another four wins (including a sweep at Bristol Motor Speedway), nine top-five and 14 top-10 finishes on the way to 11th place in the final championship standings. Their third season, 2004, together proved to be magic, it was the first year of the NASCAR Chase the cup and Jimmy earned his first Cup title by leading his driver to first in the standings following the inaugural Chase for the Nextel Cup, where together they beat nine of NASCAR’s best in the seasons’ final 10 Chase races. They recorded one victory and eight finishes of sixth-place or better during The Chase, three victories (including a third consecutive win at Bristol and a sweep of both races at Loudon), one pole, 10 top-10 and 21 top-10 finishes, 746 laps led during 21 events, and only three Did Not Finishes. Kurt dedicated his title to Jimmy and Jimmy was named the Sporting News crew chief of the year. Jimmy took over the role of crew chief for David Ragan and the #6 car in 2007 and remained there until the end of the 2009 season.
In 2010 he moved to head up a research and development team for Roush Racing but it wasn’t long before he was called to crew chief for Matt Kenseth, driving the #17 Ford Fusion for the remainder of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Matt had had a long streak without winning so Jack Roush decided to shake up the team, bringing back Jimmy. “When we went through a number of crew chiefs trying to find a combination that would be best for Matt through the dark days when it seemed we couldn’t get it right, Jimmy was sort of burrowed into the R&D thing,” Roush said. “Jimmy has done it all,” said Roush. “He’s one of the guys I look to give me advice behind — and around and above — the engineers on what’s right and what’s wrong with our deal. He was having a good time. He was taking the race team without fans and without TV and without the sanctioning body. He was going out and running his program to find out how to make his race car fast. You don’t have the freedoms at the race track that you have in R&D, when you can organize your tests and all your components. But Jimmy stepped back up and jumped in front. And he’s done a better job than I think anybody could with Matt.” Jimmy is married to Connie and they have two children together, a daughter, Alexandria and a son, Joseph. The family currently reside in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Jimmy Elledge was born on the 14th of July, 1970 in Redding, California. Like so many who work in the racing industry he was brought up in the world of motor racing as his father, Terry, was a well respected NASCAR Winston Cup Series engine builder for top teams such as Richard Childress Racing and Bill Davis Racing. As a youngster Jimmy built and raced family owned go-karts and late models, taking direction from his father to hone his mechanical and technical skills. In the early 1990’s Jimmy left his home town to go to North Carolina to work briefly as a mechanic at Roush Racing before going to work with his father in the garage of Richard Childress Racing and to pursue a career of driving race cars. It was unfortunate for him that he didn’t have the money needed to make the full commitment and also it was preventing him from doing his job properly at Richard Childress Racing and he had to ask himself the question – am I going to be a race driver? and to be completely honest with himself that it wasn’t going to happen so he made up his mind to concentrate on the mechanical side of his racing.
Between the years of 1992 and 1997 Jimmy worked on the #3 Chevrolet cars of the late Dale Earnhardt and when Mike Skinner joined the team as a driver in 1997 Jimmy worked on his car. His work-load involved at-track brake and suspension duties, fabricator as well as tyre changer on race days. During this period the team enjoyed two consecutive Winston Cup championships (1993 and 1994) with fifteen victories. In early 1997 Jimmy was promoted to car chief, working beside crew chief, Larry Reynolds, he left the team at the end of the season to pursue a crew chief job with a NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division team. Dale Earnhardt finished the season at 5th in the final point standings. Jimmy started the new season of 1998 as crew chief for Jeff Krogh but after just six months in the position he left the Ingle Hollow based team. The team qualified in 20th at Daytona International Speedway at the season’s opening race and had a fifth place finish at Texas Motor Speedway but Jimmy was unhappy that he couldn’t get the result that he wanted. “It tore me up that I couldn’t get the results that I wanted to,” said Elledge. “But it prepared me for a lot of things that I wouldn’t have been ready for as a crew chief at Andy Petree Racing. It was an extremely valuable learning experience.” From Krogh’s team he went to Roush Racing where he worked as the shop foreman for the #6 team with driver, Mark Martin and was the front tyre changer for the team on race days.
Later in the 1998 season he was approached by Andy Petree of Andy Petree Racing, giving him the opportunity to work with his former boss at Richard Childress Racing as crew chief for Kenny Wallace and Bobby Hamilton. He had his first victory on the 22nd of April 2001 at Talladega Superspeedway with Bobby Hamilton driving the #55 car. He stayed with the team from 1998 to 2002 before leaving to work with Chip Ganassi Racing and the #41 team and during the five seasons with them he was instrumental in guiding Casey Mears in his rookie year in 2003. He was crew chief for Casey for a further two years before taking Reed Sorenson through his inaugural Sprint Cup year in 2006. For the first part of 2008 he was the crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya before leaving to join the Red Bull Racing #84 Team to take up the position of crew chief. Jimmy worked with driver, Scott Speed at the beginning of the 2010 season, finishing the second half of the season with various drivers but was later released as crew chief when new driver, Kasey Kahne brought his own crew chief, Kenny Francis for the start of the 2011 season. Jimmy took up position as crew chief for driver, Justin Allgaier, who finished fourth in the Final point standings in the Nationwide Series for 2010, with Turner Motorsports for the 2011 Nationwide Series.
Jimmy is a keen classic car collector with a fleet which includes a 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, an original 1962 Chevrolet Impala, 1962 convertible that he is rebuilding, an old style Camaro and his prized possession – a 1966 Chevrolet Nova. He was once married to the late Dale Earnhardt’s daughter, Kelly and he has two daughters, Karsyn and Kennedy.
Jennifer Jo Cobb was born on the 12th of June 1973 in KANSAS City, Kansas. She is the daughter of Joe Cobb, NASCAR race driver in the Modified Division who races at Lakeside Speedway. She started racing in the Modified Division at around eighteen at the same Speedway, Lakeside, as her father. She has competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) Remax Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. She has made nine starts in the ARCA Series since 2002 that includes three Top 10s in three starts in 2004. She made her debut in NASCAR, driving in the Busch Series at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2004. She finished in 43rd place after crashing her car on lap two. Needing more money to fund her racing Jennifer decided to design clothing for the female race fans; this was launched in 2006 and is called Drivers Boutique. She tried to qualify for various Busch and ARCA events under this sponsorship. She competed in the Camping World Truck series event in 2008 at the Build Ford Tough 225, Kansas Speedway where she started in 35th position but later experienced engine problems and she finished 26th out of 35 drivers. She bought the assets of the #10 team from Rick Crawford in 2010 and announced that she would compete on a full-time basis in the Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series. She also became the highest finisher in the point standings in any of the three NASCAR Series giving her 17th place. She intended to drive five races for the 2nd Chance Motorsports team in 2011 but things did not go as expected. She drove the #41 GreetingExpress.com/Koma Unwind Ford Mustang in the Nationwide Series at Bristol Speedway for Ray Ware after quitting 2nd Chance Motorsports because she refused to “start and park” in the #79 for Rick Russell. Early this year, 2011, Jennifer partnered with the U.S. Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command to launch the Driven 2 Honor promotion, to create the opportunity for female service members to win a NASCAR VIP Weekend as a salute to women in the military. She will play host to two female Soldiers and their guests at each of the next four events on the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series circuits in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Bristol and California. The Family and MWR Command will provide a $600 gift card for each winner to help cover travel and lodging expenses. Jennifer has her own unique way of signing autographs for fans. Instead of the traditional way of signing and adding the car number under the signature she prefers to sign her favourite verse from the bible, this being 2 Timothy 1:7 WHICH READS (paraphrased) “God did not create us with a spirit of fear or timidity, but one of power, love, and a sound mind.” Her favourite quote is: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” She has featured on Anderson Cooper 360 in December 2010 and featured in a chapter on confidence in “America’s Next Top Model” judge and accomplished fashion photographer, Nigel Barker’s first book, Beauty Equation. She appears in “NASCAR The Game 2011” by Activision & Eutechnyx, offering players the option of choosing a female driver for the first time in NASCAR gaming history and will appear in a book, Women of True Grit, by Edie Hand, a best-selling author and television personality that will be published later.
Jay Guy is the crew chief for the #38 Long John Silver’s Ford and driver Travis Kvapil. Jay was born on the 22nd of May, 1973 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and his interest in the motor sports started when he was a young boy aged just seven years after meeting NASCAR driver, Dave Marcis. Dave told Jay many stories about racing and this fuelled his interest even more so much so that Dave started to teach him all aspects of racing, leading, eventually, to a job with Dave during the summer months helping with the cars, particularly the #71 Chevrolet driven by Dave. This was the beginning of almost thirty years experience in the garage trade. When Jay graduated from Manheim Township High School he took a job at Richard Jackson’s Precision Products Racing as a mechanic in the #1 Skoal Classic Oldsmobile, driven by Rick Mast. Although he was young he was more experienced than most in the garage because of his time spent learning and working with Dave Marcis and this gave him the opportunity at the age of twenty three, to become car chief for the #16 Family Channel/Ford Thunderbird car driven by Ted Musgrave and owned by Roush Racing. In 1997 Jay was appointed to the position of crew chief at Diamond Ridge Motorsports for the #1 Chevrolet driven by Hermie Sadler in the Nationwide Series.
Over the next few years he worked with various drivers including Jamie McMurray at Brewco Motorsports in 2003, Johnny Benson at MBV Motorsports with the #10 car, Casey Atwood, Dave Blaney and David Stremme at FitzBradshaw Racing in 2004 and from January 2005 he worked with Jon Wood and Stacy Compton at ST Motorsports with the #47 Ford, building an impressive portfolio as crew chief in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series. In 2007 Jay joined Furniture Row Racing working as crew chief for Kenny Wallace, Regan Smith and Joe Nemechek. He stayed there for the next three years before being offered the opportunity to work as a crew chief full-time and to guide the rising Brad Keselowski through his Sprint Cup campaign for the great Penske Racing in the #12 Dodge. Jay started the 2011 season as crew chief for the #71 Interstate Moving Services Ford Fusion car, owned by TRG (The Racer’s Group owned by Kevin Buckler and his wife, Debra and driven by Andy Lally. Also taking the role of crew chief for the #38 Long John Silver’s Ford, owned by the Front Row Motorsports team with drivers Travis Kvapil, Terry Labonte and Sam Hornish, Jr. “It’s good to have Jay Guy on board with us,” Kvapil said. “He’s got a ton of experience with Penske and some other teams, which I know will help us. And he’s going to get the chance to jump right in this weekend.
Jay lives in Davidson, North Carolina with his wife Carrie and his daughter, Ansley