Tommy Ellis

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Tommy Ellis
Born (1947-08-08) August 8, 1947 (age 66)
Richmond, Virginia

1981 National Late Model champion

1988 Busch Series champion
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
78 race(s) run over 12 year(s)
Best finish 8th - 1986
First race 1976 Delaware 500 (Dover)
Last race 1991 Budweiser 500 (Dover)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 6 0
NASCAR Nationwide Series career
235 race(s) run over 14 year(s)
Best finish 1st - 1988
First race 1982 Goody's 300 (Daytona)
Last race 1995 Detroit Gasket 200 (Michigan)
First win 1982 Gene Lovelace 200 (Langley Field)
Last win 1990 Budweiser 300 (Loudon)
Wins Top tens Poles
22 108 28
Statistics current as of March 4, 2012.

Tommy Ellis was a NASCAR Short track ace of the 1970s and 1980s. Often referred to as "Terrible" Tommy Ellis for his rough tactics, he won the National Late Model Sportsman championship in 1981 and was one of six drivers enrolled in the Winner's Circle plan at the formation of the Busch Series in 1982.

Racing career[edit]

His success (12 poles and 8 wins) in the first two seasons of the Busch Series earned him a shot at a Winston Cup ride. Driving for most of three seasons in the Chevrolet camp, his best finish was an 8th at Dover in 1986. He was also considered an ace sub-driver in Cup, filling in for Neil Bonnett in 1989 and replacing a suspended Geoff Bodine at Junior Johnson Motorsports two years later.

After his release from Freedlander Racing in 1986, Ellis returned to the Busch Series with J&J Racing. Between 1988 and 1990 Ellis won an additional 9 poles and 7 races. He was the Busch Series champion in 1988 in an unsponsored Buick. In 1991, he competed in The Winston in Charlotte Motor Speedway, replacing Geoff Bodine.

His Busch Series career totals are 28 poles (2nd all-time behind Mark Martin) and 22 wins (tied for 5th all-time with Sam Ard).

Ellis' last Busch Series start was in 1995.

Ellis was a stunt driver for the film Days of Thunder along with Bobby Hamilton and drove race cars numbered 51 and 18 in selected races.

Legal troubles[edit]

In 2010, Ellis and his wife Brenda were sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to federal tax-evasion charges. The Ellis' had underreported the income generated by their car-wash business by over $300,000 between 2003 and 2007.[1]


Preceded by
Larry Pearson
NASCAR Busch Series Champion
Succeeded by
Rob Moroso