LJ Racing

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LJ Racing
Owner(s)Joe Falk, Ron Neal
SeriesWinston Cup Series
Race driversMike Wallace, Kevin Lepage, Todd Bodine, Dick Trickle, Morgan Shepherd
SponsorsSpam, First Union Bank, Pionite, KMC Telecom
ManufacturerChevrolet
Opened1997
Closed2000
Career
Races competed53

LJ Racing was a stock car racing team that competed in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series between 1997 and 2000. Owned by Joe Falk, the team posted a best finish of fifth with driver Todd Bodine, and a best Winston West Series finish of second with Mike Wallace driving. LJ Racing has since been revived as Circle Sport Racing.

Winston Cup Series[edit]

Car No. 91 history[edit]

The LJ Racing car at Pocono Raceway in 1997

Virginia businessman Joe Falk entered NASCAR team ownership in the Winston Cup Series in 1997, fielding the No. 91 Chevrolet in a partnership with Ron Neal under the LJ Racing banner. When the team began, Mike Wallace was the driver and Spam was the sponsor. Neal had been running the team as the No. 81 in the Busch Series as ProTech Motorsports.[1]

That year, Wallace posted the team's best finish in any series, in the only Winston West Series race they ever entered, the 1997 Auto Club 200 at California Speedway. Having failed to qualify for the weekend's Winston Cup Series event, they posted a late entry to the West Series race, and Mike Wallace drove from the back of the field to finish second.[2]

In the Winston Cup Series, the team struggled to make races,[3] and Wallace was released midway through the season.[4] Spam left the team shortly thereafter, and several other drivers drove the car later in the year, with little success. Towards the end of the year, Kevin Lepage joined the team. Lepage would drive the No. 91 through the first half of 1998 before leaving to join Roush Racing.[5] He was replaced by Morgan Shepherd, and then Todd Bodine, who would score the team's best finish in the Cup Series, fifth, in the final race of the 1998 season, at Atlanta Motor Speedway.[6]

LJ Racing began the 1999 season with driver Steve Grissom,[7] but after Grissom failed to qualify for two of the first four races,[8] he was replaced by Dick Trickle.[9] For the rest of the season, the team attempted the majority of the races, but only made it into eight: seven with Trickle, and the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway with Andy Hillenburg.

In 2000, the team would qualify for two races (at Atlanta and Richmond) with Todd Bodine driving, before closing down.[10] Later that same year, the team's shop was used by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates to house their three NASCAR Busch Series teams. The two teams also entered a No. 91 Chevrolet for Blaise Alexander in two races near the end of the season, but Alexander failed to qualify for both of them.[11]

Drivers[edit]

Driver[12] Races Wins Poles
Todd Bodine 9 0 0
Steve Grissom 2 0 0
Andy Hillenburg 4 0 0
Tommy Kendall 4 0 0
Kevin Lepage 16 0 0
Greg Sacks 1 0 0
Morgan Shepherd 6 0 0
Dick Trickle 7 0 0
Mike Wallace 7 0 0

Car No. 91 results[edit]

NASCAR Winston Cup Series results
Year Driver No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 Owners Pts
1997 Mike Wallace 91 Chevy DAY
DNQ
CAR
DNQ
RCH
DNQ
ATL
26
DAR
43
TEX
17
BRI
DNQ
MAR
39
SON
22
TAL
DNQ
CLT
DNQ
DOV
23
POC
30
MCH
DNQ
CAL
DNQ
45th 1182
Loy Allen Jr. DAY
DNQ
NHA
Greg Sacks POC
DNQ
IND
31
GLN MCH BRI DAR
DNQ
Ron Hornaday Jr. RCH
DNQ
Kevin Lepage NHA
DNQ
DOV MAR CLT
40
TAL
17
CAR PHO ATL
29
1998 DAY
43
CAR
DNQ
LVS
28
ATL
14
DAR
34
BRI
27
TEX
37
MAR
42
TAL
14
CAL
40
CLT
36
DOV
28
RCH
DNQ
MCH
40
POC
19
35th 2516
Tommy Kendall SON
16
Andy Hillenburg NHA
31
TAL
22
DAY
24
Morgan Shepherd POC
40
IND
15
GLN
43
MCH
42
BRI
29
NHA
26
DAR
DNQ
Todd Bodine RCH
32
DOV
37
MAR
12
CLT
15
PHO
15
CAR
20
ATL
5
1999 Steve Grissom DAY
DNQ
CAR
36
LVS
42
ATL
DNQ
45th 965
Dick Trickle DAR
26
TEX
DNQ
BRI
31
MAR
31
TAL
DNQ
CAL RCH
32
CLT
DNQ
DOV
43
MCH POC
40
SON NHA
29
IND
DNQ
BRI
DNQ
DAR
Hut Stricklin DAY
DNQ
Morgan Shepherd POC
DNQ
Jack Baldwin GLN
DNQ
MCH
Tom Baldwin RCH
DNQ
Derrike Cope NHA
DNQ
DOV
DNQ
Tim Fedewa MAR
DNQ
Andy Hillenburg CLT
DNQ
TAL
43
Rich Bickle CAR
DNQ
PHO HOM ATL
2000 Andy Hillenburg DAY
DNQ
CAR LVS 52nd 281
Todd Bodine ATL
7
DAR BRI TEX
DNQ
MAR TAL CAL RCH
43
CLT DOV MCH POC SON DAY NHA POC IND GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH NHA DOV MAR
Larry Gunselman CLT
DNQ
Blaise Alexander TAL
DNQ
CAR PHO HOM ATL
DNQ

Busch Series[edit]

ProTech Motorsports was founded by Ron Neal and began competition in the NASCAR Busch Series during the 1996 season, with driver Todd Bodine. Running the No. 81 for most of the season, Bodine finished third in series points, scoring one win at South Boston Speedway.[13] In the final race of the year, at Metro-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, he ran the No. 82, while Ron Neal's son Jeff Neal ran the team's regular No. 81.

The team was in financial trouble throughout the season, and was partially bought out by Joe Falk to run Winston Cup in 1997.[14] The team ran the first four races of the 1997 NASCAR Busch Series season with Stanton Barrett before switching fully to Winston Cup.

Drivers[edit]

Driver[15] Races Wins Poles
Stanton Barrett 4 0 0
Todd Bodine 26 1 0
Jeff Neal 1 0 0

ARCA Racing Series[edit]

For the 2001 season, LJ Racing closed their Winston Cup Series team and moved to the ARCA RE/MAX Series, competing in 21 of the 25 races held that season. The team's main drivers were Blaise Alexander and Joe Falk's son Jeff Falk, with Brent Glastetter and Roger Blackstock each driving in two races, Josh Richeson driving at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Casey Mears making his ARCA debut in the team's final race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Drivers[edit]

Driver[15] Races Wins Poles
Blaise Alexander 6 0 1
Roger Blackstock 2 0 0
Jeff Falk 9 0 0
Brent Glastetter 2 0 0
Casey Mears 1 0 0
Josh Richeson 1 0 0

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kallmann, Dave (February 13, 1997). "New NASCAR teams reach ultimate crossroad". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Milwaukee, WI. p. 4C. Retrieved 2014-08-12. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Hodges, Jim (June 22, 1997). "It's No Way to Break In a New Track". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, CA.
  3. ^ "Trying to make sirloin out of Spam: Joe Falk determined to succeed in Winston Cup racing". Roanoke Times. Roanoke, Virginia. May 25, 1997. pp. B2. Retrieved 2013-09-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Pearce, Al (June 26, 1997). "Shifting gears not easy for new owner". Daily Press. Newport News, Virginia. p. B1. Retrieved 2013-09-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Zeller, Bob (June 27, 1998). "Lepage to leave Falk for Roush". Virginian-Pilot. Norfolk, Virginia. Archived from the original on September 21, 2014. Retrieved 2013-09-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Bodine happy with 5th place". Charlotte Observer. Charlotte, North Carolina. November 9, 1998. p. 4B. Retrieved 2013-09-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Shacklette, Buddy (February 6, 1999). "Grissom happy at LJ Racing". Daytona Beach News-Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. p. 09B. Retrieved 2013-09-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Steve Grissom, Joe Falk Part Company". Motorsport.com. March 15, 1999. Retrieved 2013-09-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Trickle takes over for fired Grissom". Washington Times. Washington, D.C. March 19, 1999. Retrieved 2013-09-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Cavin, Curt (August 3, 2000). "NASCAR squeezes out small teams". Indianapolis Star. Indianapolis, Indiana. p. I5. Retrieved 2013-09-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Gastonia Gaston Gazette Archives, Oct 11, 2000, p. 17". NewspaperArchive.com. 2000-10-11. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  12. ^ "Joe Falk Owner Statistics". Racing-Reference. 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Todd Bodine - 1996 NASCAR Busch Grand National Series Results". Racing-Reference. USA Today Sports Media Group. Retrieved 2014-08-12. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Skinner grabs pole". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Spartanburg, SC. September 8, 1996. p. D9. Retrieved 2014-08-12. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ a b "Ron Neal Owner Statistics". Racing-Reference. 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]