Thursday, November 2, 2017

9/18/05: Second-generation racer Wayne Anderson finishes last in lone Cup start

PHOTO: Rubbin's Racin' Forums
On September 18, 2005, Wayne Anderson picked up the 1st last-place finish of his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series career in the Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway when his #75 Rinaldi Air Conditioning Dodge lost an engine after 16 of 300 laps. The finish came in Anderson’s series debut.

Born July 16, 1968, Wayne Anderson grew up following the footsteps of his father, Dick Anderson, a top Super Late Model driver in the family’s native Florida. In 1987, one year after graduating high school, Anderson was already Rookie of the Year at two different tracks. By 1993, he was a track champion at both the Orlando Speedworld and New Smyrna Speedway.

This success paved the way to the Slim Jim All-Pro Series, the same division where Carl Long transitioned into stock car racing. On October 15, 1995, Anderson finished 5th in his All-Pro debut at the Nashville Fairgrounds. Among those who finished behind him were short track legend Jody Ridley (6th), 1994 XFINITY Series Champion David Green (8th), and 2003 Cup Series Champion Matt Kenseth (15th). Anderson’s first win came at the same track the following year. Another three wins followed in 1997.

In 1999, Anderson claimed his first All-Pro championship, racking up five wins out of sixteen races. A second title came two years later, this time on the heels of six victories, including a streak of three in a row. At season’s end, he’d racked-up twenty-one All-Pro wins, the most by any one driver in series history.

While Anderson’s name might not immediately come to mind for today’s NASCAR fans, his All-Pro career was just one part of a much busier stock car racing calendar. He’d attempted his XFINITY Series debut back in 1996 at the Nashville Fairgrounds, but wasn’t fast enough. The same track saw his Truck Series debut the following year, and he drove in twenty-one of twenty-seven races in 1998, scoring a series-best 9th-place finish at the I-70 Speedway. In 1997, he made a one-off start in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour, finishing 13th, and three Busch North Series starts at Loudon with a best of 12th. He finished 7th in his lone RE/MAX Challenge Series race at the old Chicago Motor Speedway in 2000, then ran two partial seasons in the American Speed Association (ASA) with a career-best 3rd at the Concord Speedway. In 2003, he even branched out into the ARCA Racing Series, where he finished 8th in his debut race at Kansas driving for C.E. Clower’s new team.

Like Anderson, team owners Robert Rinaldi (of HVAC company Rinaldi Heating & Air) and Randall Haefele (who the following season served as crew chief) were looking to make names for themselves in NASCAR. In late 2004, the duo formed Zero Four Motorsports, one of a number of start-up teams to spring up that season. The team was built around 41-year-old driver Mike Garvey, whose career mirrored Anderson’s. He was one of the biggest names in ASA, scoring five of his twenty wins the two years Anderson raced there. He also raced in the Hooters Pro Cup Series, the RE/MAX Challenge Series, and by 2004 had made a handful of starts in both the XFINITY Series and Truck Series. 2004 had been Garvey’s best season yet on the ASA circuit, picking up five wins on the fourteen-race schedule and finishing third in the standings behind champion Kevin Cywinski and runner-up Bryan Reffner. Jani-King, which sponsored Garvey’s ride in ASA (as well as Anderson in both ASA and All-Pro), would move to Cup to sponsor Zero Four’s #75 Dodge.

Zero Four looked to make Garvey’s debut in August 2004 for the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan, but withdrew their entry. The team’s debut was delayed again following a withdrawal from the inaugural Chase cutoff race at Richmond the following month. It wasn’t until Dover in September that Garvey first took a Cup Series lap, but the transmission gave out in qualifying, resulting in his first DNQ. Driver and team entered five more races that year, including the season finale at Homestead, but failed to qualify in four of them and withdrew from the Southern 500.

Garvey remained with Zero Four in 2005, where according to Jayski, the team now planned a seventeen-race schedule starting with the fourth round in Atlanta. It was there that the #75 Jani-King / KGB Swim Wear Dodge finally made the cut, besting seven other teams to make the race that saw Carl Edwards claim his first Cup Series victory. Unfortunately, the team appeared to be on “start-and-park” status, citing a vibration after only fifteen laps for a 41st-place finish. Over the next two months, Garvey made two more starts at Martinsville and Richmond, both of them yielding last-place finishes due to early brake issues.

In June 2005, Garvey picked up a new ride with SCORE Motorsports, Hermie Sadler’s single-car operation, which was enduring a difficult season of its own. Sadler had failed to qualify for four of the first eight races and finished no better than 29th. When Garvey arrived at Pocono, he promptly gave the team a 25th-place finish, just one lap down to continuing storyline Carl Edwards. Now with an open seat, Robert Rinaldi looked to give another short-tracker a chance. By July, he had selected Wayne Anderson.

On July 1, Anderson announced on his website that he would be making his first Cup attempt at Chicagoland, and also make a run at Loudon the following week. Driving an old 2004 Intrepid (which was likely a cost-saving measure, rather than other Dodge teams at the time who ran Intrepids because they weren’t satisfied with the new nose of that year’s Charger model), Anderson joined Garvey in the #66 among those who failed to qualify. Although he missed the show again at Loudon, Anderson stayed with the team, only to miss the field at both Bristol and Richmond, each time by just one spot. Next came September’s return to Loudon, where he would this time have to best six other drivers to make his elusive debut.

This time, Anderson finally broke through, qualifying 35th in the field of 43. It was sweet vindication from the disappointment of his previous run at Loudon July, where he ran 27th in Happy Hour, only to miss the cut in time trials. Among those Anderson edged was Garvey, his fifth DNQ since he moved to SCORE Motorsports. Joining him for the early ride home were Carl Long in Raynard McGlynn’s #00 Royal Administration Dodge, Morgan Shepherd in his #89 Victory In Jesus / Dutch Quality Stone Dodge, Stanton Barrett in his own #95 Chevrolet, John Carter’s entry with Tony Raines behind the wheel of the #37 Dodge, and owner-driver Kirk Shelmerdine in the #27 Freddie B’s Ford. While those teams went home, Anderson would make his first Loudon start since his Busch North races, eight years earlier.

Also making his only Cup start that day was Mendham, New Jersey driver Joey McCarthy, a series regular in Busch North, driving the #92 TrimSpa Chevrolet for Front Row Motorsports. Three days earlier, during the Sylvania 125 at the New Hampshire track, McCarthy finished 8th in a race won by the late Ted Christopher. Christopher joined McCarthy in Sunday’s race as unofficial teammates. Christopher’s car, the #34 Mach One Inc. Chevrolet, was fielded by William Edwards, whose team, Mach One Motorsports, was in the process of merging with Front Row, laying the foundation for the two-car operation Bob Jenkins’ team is today.

Starting 43rd was Jimmy Spencer, who drove Arnold Motorsports’ #50 Allied Steel Structures Dodge. He was joined at the back by fellow Cup veteran Kyle Petty, who had handed the wheel to Mark Green in practice and qualifying the #45 Georgia-Pacific / Brawny Dodge. According to an article by USA Today’s Chris Jenkins, five years after the tragic passing of Petty’s son in a practice crash, Kyle still wasn’t comfortable with driving the track, and was also fighting an illness.

At the start of the race, Petty lost touch with the pack, and had just caught up with the field when the first caution fell on Lap 3. Kurt Busch, then the defending series champion, was near the front, racing on the outside of Scott Riggs through Turns 1 and 2. Coming off the corner, Riggs’ #10 Valvoline Chevrolet broke loose, then clipped the left-rear of Busch’s #97 Sharpie Ford, sending Busch hard into the outside wall with the left-front. Busch managed to drive to the garage area, where he climbed out and headed to pit road to confront Riggs’ crew chief Rodney Childers.

Not restricted by today’s “Crash Clock,” the Roush Racing team set to work repairing Busch’s car, and had a new nose attached by the time the race restarted on Lap 16. The next time by, Anderson, running 36th at the time, pulled the #75 into the garage, done for the day. Seconds later, the second caution flew for J.J. Yeley, who backed Joe Gibbs Racing’s new #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet into the wall in Turn 1. Yeley managed to recover and finished 34th, one spot ahead of Busch, whose crew salvaged a 35th-place run, 67 laps down to race winner Ryan Newman. Busch returned to the track on Lap 69, following nearly 45 minutes of repairs. He dropped Anderson to last by the halfway point.

Finishing 42nd was Ted Christopher, who had transmission issues on Mach One’s #34 following Yeley’s caution. 41st went to Travis Kvapil, who smacked the Turn 3 wall in Doug Bawel’s #77 Kodak / Jasper Engines Dodge. Ken Schrader had a crash of his own on Lap 73, then finished off BAM Racing’s #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge with a second wreck on Lap 137, leaving him 40th. Rounding out the Bottom Five was last-place starter Jimmy Spencer, who was caught-up in a three-car wreck with Joe Nemechek and Jamie McMurray.

Anderson made just one more Cup attempt for Zero Four at Dover, but after failing to qualify, was again replaced by Mike Garvey. His final two Cup attempts came at Kansas and Martinsville, both in Buddy Sisco’s #61 Air Frame International Dodge, and both also unsuccessful. On October 29, Anderson made his 103rd and final All-Pro Series start (then known as the NASCAR Autozone Southeast Series), finishing 10th at the Montgomery Motor Speedway. Zero Four Motorsports would also close its doors at season’s end.

As of 2012, Anderson has remained active in racing at the Florida short tracks of his youth. He’s also competed in the Snowball Derby, most recently in 2008, when he led 27 laps before a late crash.

*Anderson was the first driver to finish last in his only career Cup Series start since October 13, 2002, when Jason Hedlesky (now Matt Kenseth’s spotter) made his single effort for Junie Donlavey in the #90 Lucas Oil Ford during the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte. It wouldn’t happen again until Brandon Whitt’s single start at Phoenix on November 12, 2006. As of this writing, the most recent example is Ray Black, Jr.'s Cup debut at Chicagoland this past September, but that will change this Sunday, when he is expected to rejoin Rick Ware Racing at Texas.
*This remains the only last-place finish for car #75 in a Cup Series race at Loudon.

43) #75-Wayne Anderson / 16 laps / engine
42) #34-Ted Christopher / 29 laps / transmission
41) #77-Travis Kvapil / 105 laps / crash
40) #49-Ken Schrader / 111 laps / crash
39) #50-Jimmy Spencer / 144 laps / crash

*2005 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire, NBC
*Jayski’s Silly Season Site
*Jenkins, Chris. “Petty will sit out practice, qualifying at Loudon,” USA Today, September 16, 2005.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the writeup Brock. One correction: that #66 team from 2005 was rebranded as Peak Fitness Racing for the start of the season with their new sponsorship.

Unknown said...

Wasn’t sure as to when Hermie’s old SCORE team (#02) merged with the Peak Fitness Team... Then isn't this the team that would eventually move to Front Row as the #61 with guys like Kevin Lepage and Chad Chaffin?

UnderdogFan89 said...

As a matter of fact, it is. The #66 became the #61 the following year (just a number change really).

Brock Beard said...

I think it's fair to say the arrangement was tangled. The other factor to consider is Jeff Stec as the listed owner, which if I recall was the owner of the Peak Fitness chain.