||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2010)|
February 15, 1957 |
|Achievements||1982 and 1983 Shangri-La Speedway NASCAR Modified Division track championships
1986 and 1987 NASCAR National Modified Champion
|Awards||Named ninth on NASCAR's all-time Top 10 Modified Drivers
1979 Shangri-La Speedway (Owego, New York) NASCAR Modified Division Rookie of the Year
|NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career|
|Best finish||12th – 1993 (Winston Cup)|
|First race||1989 Budweiser 500 (Dover)|
|Last race||2006 Pennsylvania 500 (Pocono)|
|First win||1994 Pepsi 400 (Daytona)|
|Last win||1994 DieHard 500 (Talladega)|
|NASCAR Xfinity Series career|
|Best finish||7th – 1988 (Busch Series)|
|First race||1985 Sandhills 200 (Rockingham)|
|Last race||2005 Aaron's 312 (Atlanta)|
|First win||1989 Mountain Dew 400 (Hickory)|
|Last win||2002 Food City 250 (Bristol)|
|NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career|
|Best finish||12th – 2005 (Craftsman Truck Series)|
|First race||2003 Virginia Is For Lovers 200 (Richmond)|
|Last race||2005 Ford 200 (Homestead)|
|First win||2003 New Hampshire 200 (New Hampshire)|
|Last win||2003 New Hampshire 200 (New Hampshire)|
Jimmy Spencer (born February 15, 1957) is a current television commentator, and a former NASCAR driver. He formerly hosted the NASCAR inspired talk show, “What’s the Deal?”, on SPEED. He is the former co-host, with John Roberts and Kenny Wallace, of the SPEED's pre-race and post-race NASCAR shows NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane. Spencer now has a segment on SPEED's NASCAR Race Hub offering commentary and answering viewer questions (Tuesdays & Thursdays). During his days racing modifieds, he was nicknamed "Mr. Excitement" for his aggressive racing style. Spencer is one of the few drivers to have won a race in all three of NASCAR's top series: Sprint Cup, the Nationwide Series, and the Camping World Truck Series.
Jimmy Spencer followed his father, Ed Spencer, Sr. (Fast Eddie), in racing. Spencer started in Late Models in Pennsylvania. He captured his first racing win in the Late Model division at Port Royal Speedway in 1976. He moved to NASCAR Modifieds at Shangri-La Speedway (Owego, New York), then branched out to bigger events throughout the Northeast.
In 1984, Spencer was one of the top contenders for NASCAR's National Modified Championship, at a time when all sanctioned races counted toward that title; after running over sixty races, he was second to Richie Evans in the final standings. When NASCAR changed the National Modified Championship into the smaller-schedule Winston Modified Tour (now Whelen Modified Tour) in 1985, Spencer continued to run, and won the title in 1986 and 1987.
Spencer debuted in the Busch Series in 1985, finishing 19th at North Carolina Motor Speedway in the #67 Pontiac for Frank Cicci Racing, which was also his Modified team. The team ran twice in 1987 with a best finish 36th, then ran the full season in 1988, finishing seventh in the point standings in the #34. In 1989, Spencer won his first career Busch race at Hickory Motor Speedway, then won two more races over the course of the season, finishing fifteenth in the final standings.
In 1989, he moved to the Winston Cup Series, driving the #88 Crisco Pontiac for Buddy Baker's team in 17 of the 29 races. He posted three top-tens and finished 34th in points. He then ran full-time in 1990, finishing in the top-ten twice for Rod Osterlund Racing. During the season, he posted two top-tens in the #57 Heinz Pontiac and finished 24th in points. In 1991, Spencer moved to the #98 Banquet Frozen Foods Chevrolet for Travis Carter Motorsports. Despite six top-ten finishes, Spencer dropped one position in the standings due to twelve DNFs. He began 1992 with Carter, but moved down to the Busch Series to drive the #20 Daily's 1st Ade Oldsmobile for Dick Moroso after Carter's team folded early in the season. He responded with wins at Myrtle Beach Speedway and Orange County Speedway.
Late in the 1992 season, Spencer joined Bobby Allison Motorsports' Cup team and posted three top-fives in the last four races of the season. He signed to drive Allison's #12 Meineke Ford Thunderbird full-time in 1993, and finished in the top-five five times, resulting in a career-best fifteenth-place in the final standings. In 1994, he drove the #27 McDonald's Ford for Junior Johnson and won his first two and so far only career Cup races, at Daytona and Talladega. In the 1994 Pepsi 400, Spencer won his first career Cup race despite leading only one lap. He also won his first career pole at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
After finishing 29th in the standings in 1994, Spencer left to reunite with Travis Carter, who was now fielding the #23 Smokin' Joe's Ford. He finished in the top-ten four times in 1995 and in 1996, Spencer had two top-fives en route to a fifteenth-place finish in points. He fell to twentieth in 1997.
In 1998, Winston/No Bull became his team's new primary sponsor and he was eleventh in points when he suffered injuries at the Brickyard 400, forcing him to sit out the next two races to recover and fall to fourteenth in points. During the season, Spencer formed his own NASCAR team, Spencer Motor Ventures, which fielded the #12 Zippo Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the Busch Series for himself and several other drivers. The team expanded to two cars in 1999, fielding the #12 and the #5 Schneider National Chevy for Dick Trickle. In 2000, he moved his team up to Cup to run the road course races with Boris Said in the #23 Federated Auto Parts Ford Taurus. The team ceased operations at the end of the season.
After a 20th-place finish in 1999, Winston left the team, and Kmart became the team's new sponsor, causing Spencer to switch to the #26 to accommodate the new sponsor, who was already backing the #66 car driven by Spencer's teammate, Darrell Waltrip. Spencer had two top-fives and in 2001 won the pole positions at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Lowe's Motor Speedway and advanced to sixteenth in points. He departed the team at the end of the season.
For the 2002 season, Spencer would join Chip Ganassi Racing and drive the #41 Target Dodge Intrepid. He began the season by failing to qualify for the Daytona 500, then had a streak of four top-five qualifying efforts, including at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he started fourth and was leading the race when he was bumped by Kurt Busch to win, starting a long rivalry between the two. After another DNQ at Watkins Glen International, Spencer was released from the ride at the end of the season, causing him to file a lawsuit against the Ganassi organization, saying his dismissal was a violation of his contract. During the season, he also won his most recent Busch Series race to date at Bristol driving for James Finch.
Spencer joined Ultra Motorsports in 2003, piloting the #7 Sirius Satellite Radio Dodge. After some on-track incidents with Kurt Busch, Spencer confronted Busch after the GFS Marketplace 400 while Busch was still in his car. He was suspended for the next week's race, the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway while Busch was placed on probation. Despite the events that took place at Michigan, he had four top-tens and ended the season 29th in points. He was also hired to drive three races for in the #2 Team ASE Racing Dodge Ram for Ultra's Truck Series team, winning the pole and the race in his second start at New Hampshire International Speedway. He became a part-owner of the Cicci organization that season, when he put Stuart Kirby in Cicci's #34 United States Air Force Chevy, but that partnership soon dissolved. He continued to remain involved as a part-owner, when he leased his shop to Bang! Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2004.
He began 2004 with Ultra's Cup team at the Daytona 500, but when the team closed down due to a lack of sponsorship, he replaced Kevin Lepage at Morgan-McClure Motorsports, which had also been running unsponsored. Spencer's best finish that season had been 13th, when on October 25, he was arrested after trying to interfere with the police, who had a warrant to arrest his son for vandalism. The incident cost Spencer his job at Morgan-McClure, and he sat out the rest of 2004.
Spencer returned to the #2 Ultra truck in 2005. While he failed to win a race, he had nine top-ten finishes and finished twelfth in points. He did come close to a victory, however, in the season opener at Daytona. He held the lead late in the race and held off 2004 series champion Bobby Hamilton until just before the caution came out on the last lap. Assuming he was in the lead when NASCAR froze the field, he completed the caution lap then pulled into victory lane, only to be told by an official that, in fact, he had finished second. He also ran part-time in Cup, running nine races in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge, and one race apiece for Peak Fitness Racing and R&J Racing.
When Arnold was unable to locate a sponsor and Ultra closed its doors following a fallout with the Ford Motor Company, Spencer began working full-time on SPEED. He had run both Cup races at Pocono Raceway for Furniture Row Racing in 2006, finishing 32nd and 36th, respectively. Spencer then worked full-time as an analyst for SPEED TV and was the host of his own show What's The Deal?, along with Ray Dunlap in 2010. The show was cancelled the same year. His segments on the Tuesday and Thursday editions of NASCAR Race Hub are done from the studio of that show.
In 2010, 2011, 2012, and present, Spencer talks about the NASCAR highlights while he often feigns sobs with his gag called "The Crying Towel" for which driver gets the crying towel and the fake cigar if they complain about something that cannot be punishable. In 2012 Spencer named his "Crying Towel" segment as (Driver) Radio Sweetheart."
On November 21, 2013 on NASCAR Race Hub, Spencer said he was still not ready to announce his retirement yet, even though he hasn't raced in years.
Motorsports career results
(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)
Sprint Cup Series
|Year||Starts||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||Poles||Avg. Start||Avg. Finish||Winnings||Position||Team(s)|
|1989||17||0||0||3||0||26.5||23.6||$121,065||34th||#88 Baker-Schiff Racing|
|1990||26||0||0||2||0||26.3||21.7||$219,775||24th||#57 Osterlund Motorsports|
|1991||29||0||1||6||0||24.5||23.0||$283,620||25th||#98 Travis Carter Enterprises|
|1992||12||0||3||3||0||22.8||19.5||$183,585||33rd||#98 Travis Carter Enterprises
#20 Moroso Racing
#12 Bobby Allison Motorsports
|1993||30||0||5||10||0||19.8||16.5||$686,026||12th||#12 Bobby Allison Motorsports|
|1994||29||2||3||4||1||21.5||25.1||$479,235||29th||#27 Junior Johnson & Associates|
|1995||29||0||0||4||0||27.3||22.3||$507,210||26th||#23 Travis Carter Motorsports|
|1996||31||0||2||9||0||26.0||17.7||$1,090,876||15th||#23 Travis Carter Motorsports|
|1997||32||0||1||4||0||20.9||22.9||$1,073,779||20th||#23 Travis Carter Motorsports|
|1998||31||0||3||8||0||25.2||18.2||$1,741,012||14th||#23 Haas-Carter Motorsports|
|1999||34||0||2||4||0||26.4||22.4||$1,752,299||20th||#23 Haas-Carter Motorsports|
|2000||34||0||2||5||0||24.0||23.7||$1,936,762||22nd||#26 Haas-Carter Motorsports|
|2001||36||0||3||8||2||19.7||20.2||$2,669,638||16th||#26 Haas-Carter Motorsports|
|2002||34||0||2||6||0||21.5||23.5||$2,136,792||27th||#41 Chip Ganassi Racing|
|2003||35||0||1||4||0||24.0||24.6||$2,565,803||29th||#7 Ultra Motorsports|
|2004||26||0||0||0||0||35.1||29.5||$1,985,121||35th||#7 Ultra Motorsports
#4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports
|2005||11||0||0||0||0||31.3||34.3||$808,985||46th||#50 Arnold Motorsports
#66 Peak Fitness Racing
#37 RJ Motorsports
|2006||2||0||0||0||0||38.5||34.0||$122,175||61st||#78 Furniture Row Racing|
|Year||Starts||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||Poles||Avg. Start||Avg. Finish||Winnings||Position||Team(s)|
|1985||1||0||0||0||0||30.0||19.0||$550||75th||#67 Frank Cicci Racing|
|1987||2||0||0||0||0||23.5||38.5||$2,373||72nd||#4/#24 Frank Cicci Racing|
|1988||30||0||5||13||0||16.5||12.9||$64,112||7th||#34 Frank Cicci Racing|
|1989||22||3||4||11||1||18.7||14.7||$103,726||15th||#34/#87 Frank Cicci Racing|
|1990||6||0||1||2||0||24.0||14.8||$10,112||46th||#77 Huffman Racing
#75 Henderson Motorsports
|1991||6||0||1||2||0||19.8||19.7||$21,297||42nd||#45/#98 Laughlin Racing|
|1992||25||2||6||10||0||12.7||16.4||$125,102||17th||#45 Laughlin Racing
#77 Huffman Racing
#20 Moroso Racing
#28 Allison Racing
|1993||9||0||0||2||0||23.1||23.6||$28,080||42nd||#10 Ingram Racing
#64 Shoemaker Racing
#22 Three Star Motorsports
|1994||3||0||1||1||0||13.7||16.7||$12,670||63rd||#64 Shoemaker Racing|
|1995||12||0||1||5||0||14.2||22.3||$58,535||34th||#20 Moroso Racing|
|1996||14||0||1||6||0||21.9||19.7||$83,362||32nd||#20 Keystone Motorsports
#51 Bown Racing
#77 Mark III Racing
#45 Laughlin Racing
|1997||12||2||7||7||0||17.2||13.1||$222,470||30th||#20 Keystone Motorsports|
|1998||8||1||5||6||0||18.8||9.6||$225,412||43rd||#12 Spencer Motor Ventures|
|1999||9||0||5||6||0||15.1||12.7||$182,705||43rd||#12 Spencer Motor Ventures|
|2000||6||0||0||1||0||24.2||32.2||$62,670||65th||#12 Spencer Motor Ventures|
|2001||18||3||5||10||2||13.5||13.9||$363,446||26th||#1 Phoenix Racing|
|2002||23||1||2||10||0||14.6||20.1||$403,870||26th||#1 Phoenix Racing|
|2003||2||0||0||1||0||13.0||15.0||$39,190||86th||#6 Tommy Baldwin Racing
#82 FitzBradshaw Racing
|2004||3||0||0||0||0||28.3||29.7||$54,035||92nd||#74 BACE Motorsports|
|2005||1||0||0||0||0||23.0||27.0||$12,700||120th||#98 Michael Waltrip Racing|
Craftsman Truck Series
|NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series results|
* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points
- Caraviello, David (2014-03-08). "TOP 10 DRIVERS TOO TOUGH TO TAME". NASCAR. Retrieved 2014-03-09.
- "Coke Zero 400 facts & figures". Orlando Sentinel. 2008-07-07. Retrieved 2013-01-31.
- NASCAR.com Biography
- Jimmy Spencer driver statistics at Racing-Reference
- Jimmy Spencer owner statistics at Racing-Reference
- 2008 Interview by NASCAR.com
- 2006 Interview by NASCAR.com