Wednesday, September 24, 2014

9/15/85: Maurice Randall Scores Chrysler’s Final NASCAR Last-Place Finish

SOURCE: Howie Hodge -
On September 15, 1985, during the Delaware 500 at the Dover Downs International Speedway, Maurice Randall picked up the 3rd last-place finish of his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career when his #93 MRE Racing Chrysler fell out with overheating problems after he completed 1 of the race’s 500 laps.

The finish was Randall’s second of the 1985 season and his first since Michigan, eight races ago.

Randall, a 32-year-old owner-driver from Charlotte, Michigan, made his fourth Cup Series start at Dover.  Just like in the other three, he ran a long-bodied Chrysler Imperial, a car that by 1985 was fielded only by him and fellow independent drivers Buddy Arrington (#67) and Phil Good (#76).  Randall’s best Cup finish was a 30th-place finish in his Cup debut at Nashville - ironically, it was also his first last-place finish.  The only race where Randall did not finish last was at Rockingham in early 1985, when he came home 35th in a field of 40.

Randall, Good, and Arrington all made the field for the Delaware 500, though Arrington did so in a Ford Thunderbird, a change he made after the season’s fifth race at Bristol (save for one last run in the Chrysler at Riverside).  Arrington timed in 27th, Good in 34th, and Randall trailed the field in the 39th spot.

After just one lap, Randall slowed in Turns 3 and 4 and was passed by polesitter Bill Elliott.  He pulled behind the wall, ending his race.  Phil Good, now the only Chrysler in the field, finished under power in 18th while Arrington’s Ford finished 11th.  Both were laps down to Harry Gant, who led 216 laps on his way to a dominating victory in the Hal Needham-owned #33 Skoal Bandit Chevrolet.

Behind Randall in the Bottom Five was 38th-place Chuck Walton, who made his first and only Cup Series start driving an unsponsored black #63 Chevrolet fielded by his own team.  In 37th was Roanoke, Virginia driver Tommie Crozier, whose fourth of eight career Cup starts ended when his Pontiac also overheated.  36th-place Earle Canavan had been racing in Cup since 1969, but the Dover race was to be the next-to-last of his 68 starts - the 46-year-old from Fort Johnson, New York was the 1977 LASTCAR Cup Series Champion.

Rounding out the Bottom Five was 44-year-old Buddy Baker, who was in the closing stages of his first season as both owner and driver.  Partnered with Danny Schiff, Baker was still searching for his first Cup victory since 1983.  His #88 Bull Frog Knits Oldsmobile slammed the Turn 4 wall after 85 laps, ending his race.  Although Baker did not win another race by his retirement in 1994, he became a well-known broadcaster for CBS in the years that followed.

Neither Maurice Randall nor Chrysler competed in another Cup Series race after Dover, but it was not the end of the line for both driver and car.  With the ARCA Racing Series accepting entries from Cup underdogs, Randall made 46 starts from 1986 through 1993.  Surprisingly, Randall drove a Chrysler in all but three of those events, using not only the Imperial, but also a Cordoba and a LeBaron coupe.  In fact, Randall’s Chryslers carried him to his best career finishes in the series - a pair of 14th-place runs at Owosso Speedway in 1986 and Perry County Speedway in 1988.

In the spring of 2012, Randall participated in this thread at Randy Ayers’ NASCAR Modeling Forum, providing details on the Mopar products he ran.  Among them are some excellent pictures of his old stock cars sitting in his garage - including his Imperial.

*This was the first last-place finish for the #93 in a Cup race at Dover since September 14, 1975, when Dick May quit after 8 laps while driving his 1973 Ford, a second Truxmore-sponsored entry fielded by the late Junie Donlavey.  Dick Brooks, driving Donlavey’s primary #90, finished 2nd that day to race winner Richard Petty after Petty passed Brooks for the lead with nine laps to go.
*This was the 29th and final last-place finish for Chrysler in NASCAR competition and its first last-place run at Dover.  Chrysler’s first last-place finish in Cup competition took place on at North Wilkesboro Speedway on March 30, 1952 when Harold Mays’ 1951 Chrysler was involved in a crash after the opening lap of the Wilkes County 200.

39) #93-Maurice Randall / 1 lap / overheating
38) #63-Chuck Walton / 5 laps / handling
37) #85-Tommie Crozier / 30 laps / overheating
36) #01-Earle Canavan / 53 laps / brakes
35) #88-Buddy Baker / 83 laps / crash

1st) J.D. McDuffie, Maurice Randall, Tim Richmond, Ronnie Thomas (2)
2nd) Buddy Baker, Eddie Bierschwale, Trevor Boys, Delma Cowart, Cecil Gordon, Jeff Hooker, Jimmy Means, Benny Parsons, Phil Parsons, David Pearson, Mike Potter, Ken Schrader, Morgan Shepherd, Rusty Wallace (1)

1st) #27-Blue Max Racing, #41-Thomas Racing, #70-McDuffie Racing, #93-Randall Racing (2)
2nd) #0-H.L. Waters, #2-Cliff Stewart, #6-U.S. Racing, #21-David Pearson, #51-Arnie Sacks, #52-Means Racing, #53-Jeff Hooker, #55-Jackson Brothers, #66-Jackson Brothers, #68-Jimmy Walker, #88-Baker-Schiff Racing, #90-Donlavey Racing, #98-McCaig Racing, #00-Helen Rae Smith (1)

1st) Chevrolet (9)
2nd) Pontiac (6)
3rd) Ford (3)
4th) Chrysler, Oldsmobile (2)


Unknown said...

Hey Brock, I think you did Throwback Thursday a tad early.

Jed Keselowski said...

LASTCAR history! Would love to read more like this, big fan of the history of the sport.

Brock Beard said...

Glad you enjoyed it. I may do more of these retro LASTCAR articles in the future.

In the meantime, for more LASTCAR history, check out my eBooks!