|Richard K. "The Snake" Mast|
March 4, 1957 |
Rockbridge Baths, Virginia
|NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career|
|364 races run over 15 years|
|Best finish||18th - 1994, 1996 (Winston Cup)|
|First race||1988 Busch 500 (Bristol)|
|Last race||2002 Pontiac Excitement 400 (Richmond)|
|NASCAR Xfinity Series career|
|First race||1982 Eastern 150 (Richmond)|
|Last race||1998 Pepsi 200 Presented by DeVilbiss (Michigan)|
|First win||1987 Grand National 200 (Dover)|
|Last win||1990 NE Chevy 250 (New Hampshire)|
Rick Mast (born March 4, 1957, in Rockbridge Baths, Virginia) is a former NASCAR driver. He competed in both the Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup Series) and Busch Series (now Nationwide Series) before retiring in 2002. He holds a business administration degree from Blue Ridge Community College.
Early and Busch career
Mast grew up in racing as his father and uncle were both race team owners. He began racing at age 16 at Natural Bridge Speedway and Eastside Speedway, after he traded an Angus cattle for his first car. After racing at the local track level for the decade, Mast began running the Busch Series in 1982, and had four top-ten finishes in 11 eleven starts in his #22. Mast's first full-time season came in 1985, where he had fifteen top-ten finishes and seventh in the season points. Two years later, he would win his first NASCAR race at the Grand National 200, then followed it up with another win the next week. He finished 11th in points that year. He improved to eighth positions in 1988 the same year he made his Winston Cup debut for Buddy Baker at the Busch 500, finishing 28th at that race. Mast won five Busch races while running full-time the next two years, before focusing his efforts on Cup.
Car #1 years
Mast ran 13 races for Mach 1 Racing in 1989, finishing sixth at the Daytona 500 in an unsponsored car, which Mast called his proudest achievement in racing. He still believes he would have won had his team been willing to gamble on fuel mileage. Mast ran selected races in 1990 for D.K. Ulrich before finishing the year with Travis Carter Motorsports. In 1991, Mast signed to drive the #1 Skoal Classic Oldsmobile for Richard Jackson's Precision Products Racing. He started out the season by leading 14 laps in the Daytona 500 and finished fourth. He had three top-tens and finished 21st in points. That year, the Talladega Superspeedway produced a couple of highlights for Mast. In the Winston 500, he pushed a fuel-deficient Harry Gant (driving for Leo Jackson, Richard's brother) during the final lap of the race, helping Gant win (Mast was one lap down in 10th). This action is prohibited after the white flag by NASCAR rules, regardless of who the individual drivers are, but he was not fined money or points. With less than 25 laps to go in the DieHard 500, Mast was tapped by Buddy Baker entering the tri-oval and flipped over. He slid to a stop a few hundred feet beyond the start-finish line and soon climbed out of the car, much to the delight of the crowd. He was not injured, but half-jokingly said afterwards, "I'm okay but I need another pair of underwear". The next year, Mast won his first career Cup pole at the final race of the 1992 season, the 1992 Hooters 500, which was Richard Petty's final race, Jeff Gordon's first race, and the day that Alan Kulwicki won the championship by one race position over Bill Elliott. Mast's race ended on the first lap in a crash. The team switched to Ford in 1993. Mast had a career year in 1994, with ten top-ten finishes and a career-high-tying eighteenth, finishing a career-best second at Rockingham Speedway, a race where he slide sideways while racing side-by-side with winner Dale Earnhardt coming out of the final corner. In August of that season, he won the pole position at the inaugural Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (a race for which 90 cars were entered), finishing eighteenth in points. 1995 was disappointing in comparison, with only three top-tens. Skoal left at the end of the season, and Hooters replaced them, as the team switched to Pontiac. He had three top-tens late in the year, but when the season came to a close, he and Hooters left PPR.
Mast signed to drive the #75 Remington Arms Ford for Butch Mock Motorsports in 1997. An omen of what was to come appeared early as Mast failed to qualify for the Daytona 500, and rumors started about Mock firing Mast after the race. Those rumors were later proved to be unfounded, but the season was a struggle, and Mast finished 32nd in points that year. 1998, started off better as Mast won the pole at the GM Goodwrench Service Plus 400, but the struggles continued, and he left the team when the season came to a close.
After rumors spread that Mast would return to Travis Carter to drive a car sponsored by Kmart, he joined the #98 Cale Yarborough-owned team, despite the fact that the team did not have sponsorship. Midway through the season, the team got sponsorship from Universal Studios, and Mast posted two top-tens and became the first driver since Yarborough to go the whole season without failing to finish a race. Unfortunately, Universal did not renew their contract, and with questions surrounding Yarborough's plans on continuing to own the team, Mast was out of work again.
During the early part of 2000, Mast climbed on board to drive the #41 Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Larry Hedrick Motorsports. But after the Food City 500, Mast departed for A.J. Foyt Racing, and had two top-ten finishes.
Mast began 2001 with Midwest Transit Racing, but due to sponsorship issues, they only ran part-time, and Mast soon left to drive the #27 Sauer Pontiac Grand Prix for Eel River Racing, but late in the season, the team closed down, and Mast was out of work once again. He made a deal with Donlavey Racing for the final races of the season.
In May 2002, Mast began feeling ill suddenly. He had lost weight and was forced to miss races to take medical tests to find out what was wrong. It turned out that he had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and Mast was forced to retire. He officially retired on January 22, 2003 at age 45. At retirement, he spoke with NASCAR President Mike Helton about having teams redesign their air intake systems to get less exhaust fumes into driver's helmets. When NASCAR completely redesigned its race vehicle with the Car of Tomorrow, it changed the exhaust exit location to be away from the driver and it cited carbon monoxide poisoning cases like Mast's as a reason for the change.
After retirement from racing
As of 2007, he currently resides in his hometown of Rockbridge Baths, Virginia. He owns and operates RKM EnviroClean, Inc. (www.RKMenviroclean.com) which specializes in environmental clean-up services, underground utilities contracting, and site demolition. Additionally, Rick also remains actively involved with his charitable organization, the Rick Mast Foundation www.RickMastFoundation.com.
In the movie Days of Thunder, Mast drove as a stunt double in Rowdy Burns' car for scenes shot at the Daytona International Speedway. The footage was shot during qualifying and during the Duel qualifying races.
Mast and his wife Sharon have three children: Ricky, Kaitie, and Sarah. He did some announcing after he retired from racing, but decided that he wanted to stay home to help raise his daughters after missing out on most too much of Ricky's upbringing.
When I got sick, I spent six or eight months forced to stay at home. I didn't have no choice in the matter. I laid in the bed the biggest part of the time, laying there ready to die. Those six or eight months ... I started seeing a different lifestyle, a life that I had never had. I started getting acclimated to that. As time went on, less and less did I want to have to travel.
* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
|Year||Starts||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||Poles||Avg. Start||Avg. Finish||Winnings||Position||Team(s)|
|1988||2||0||0||0||0||23.5||30.0||$9,190||92nd1||#88 Baker-Schiff Racing|
|1989||13||0||0||1||0||21.1||21.0||$128,102||35th||#66 Mach 1 Racing|
|1990||20||0||0||1||0||24.2||25.8||$112,875||31st||#2/#22 U.S. Racing
#98 Travis Carter Enterprises
|1991||29||0||1||3||0||17.1||21.1||$344,020||21st||#1 Precision Products Racing|
|1992||29||0||0||1||1||20.3||21.8||$350,740||22nd||#1 Precision Products Racing|
|1993||30||0||1||5||0||15.5||21.4||$568,095||21st||#1 Precision Products Racing|
|1994||31||0||4||10||1||19.9||20.6||$722,361||18th||#1 Precision Products Racing|
|1995||31||0||0||3||1||20.9||22.5||$749,550||21st||#1 Precision Products Racing|
|1996||31||0||1||5||0||21.7||20.3||$924,559||18th||#1 Precision Products Racing|
|1997||29||0||0||2||0||24.4||24.9||$829,339||32nd||#75 Butch Mock Motorsports|
|1998||30||0||0||1||1||24.1||29.0||$894,327||33rd||#75 Butch Mock Motorsports|
|1999||34||0||0||2||0||21.9||26.6||$1,290,143||32nd||#98 Cale Yarborough Motorsports|
|2000||29||0||0||2||0||23.5||27.2||$1,156,427||33rd||#41 Larry Hedrick Motorsports
#14 A.J. Foyt Racing
|2001||17||0||0||0||0||31.8||31.1||$680,321||45th||#50 Midwest Transit Racing
#27 Eel River Racing
#90 Donlavey Racing
|2002||9||0||0||0||0||37.7||33.0||$469,843||47th||#90 Donlavey Racing|
NASCAR Nationwide Series
|Year||Starts||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||Poles||Avg. Start||Avg. Finish||Winnings||Position||Team(s)|
|1982||11||0||2||4||0||20.0||14.2||$10,101||18th||#22 A.G. Dillard Motorsports|
|1983||20||0||3||7||0||13.6||15.0||$13,581||20th||#22 A.G. Dillard Motorsports|
|1984||20||0||1||4||0||15.5||15.6||$21,724||15th||#99 A.G. Dillard Motorsports|
|1985||27||0||5||15||0||12.3||11.2||$61,978||7th||#22/#44 A.G. Dillard Motorsports|
|1986||31||0||2||13||0||11.5||15.5||$58,508||11th||#22 A.G. Dillard Motorsports|
|1987||27||2||4||9||1||10.6||15.4||$77,547||11th||#22 A.G. Dillard Motorsports|
|1988||30||2||5||13||0||13.7||13.4||$116,557||8th||#22 A.G. Dillard Motorsports|
|1989||29||2||9||13||2||11.4||14.8||$127,028||7th||#22 A.G. Dillard Motorsports|
|1990||31||3||8||10||1||13.2||16.6||$127,965||10th||#22 A.G. Dillard Motorsports|
|1992||11||0||0||3||0||13.8||18.9||$29,399||35th||#0 Precision Products Racing|
|1993||5||0||0||3||1||21.4||19.0||$17,643||49th||#0 Precision Products Racing|
|1998||1||0||0||1||0||9.0||10.0||$8,175||88th||#12 Spencer Motor Ventures|
- "Driving statistics". Racing Reference. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
- Houston, Rick (November 1, 2007). "Where is ... Rick Mast?". NASCAR. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- Rodman, Dave (October 23, 2001). "Stricklin stunned by release". NASCAR. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- Caraviello, David (March 30, 2007). "Exhaust, ride height top NASCAR's worry with COT". Retrieved 10 February 2010.