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Dick Brooks
Born:
April 14, 1942      Died: February 1, 2006
Home: Porterville, CA

Dick Brooks was an American NASCAR driver born in Porterville, California. He was the 1969 NASCAR Rookie of the Year, and went on to win the 1973 Talladega 500. After he retired, he served as a NASCAR sportscaster for a brief period of time.

His Grand National Statistics include the win at Talladega Superspeedway, 57 top fives, 150 top tens, 4 top ten point finishes (1975 through 1978), and 358 career races.

Although Brooks only won one NASCAR race, he was a popular figure in that particular league of motorsports. Driving for the underfunded Junie Donlavey team, Brooks finished 10th in points in 1975 & 1976. A sixth place point finish in 1977 was the highest Brooks would finish. After finishing 8th in the points in 1978, Brooks left the Donlavey team and drove for others in 1979 & 1980.

Brooks only drove five races each season in 1981 and 1982 before reuniting with Donlavey for 1983. After finishing fifth in the Daytona 500, he had several other solid runs. After four races, Dick Brooks led the point standings for the only time in his NASCAR career. The rest of the season was not as good though and Brooks faded to 14th at season end. 1984 was more of the same as the Donlavey team struggled to keep up with the higher financed teams and Brooks finished 15th. After driving three races for the Petty Enterprises team in 1985, Brooks left the ride. His final NASCAR race was behind the wheel of a Rick Hendrick owned car in the 1985 World 600 where he finished in tenth place.

After complications from a plane crash in late 2004, Dick Brooks died of pneumonia on February 1, 2006.

Plymouth's Last Win In Nascar     by William Corley         October 4, 2009

Everyone knows that Richard Petty won more races for Plymouth in the famous car #43 painted Petty blue than any other driver.

What most Nascar fan's don't know is that Petty did NOT get Plymouth's last Nascar win.

Dick Brooks, crew member, Elmo LangleySurprisingly, in what some say is the biggest upset in Nascar history, the win came on August 12, 1973 at the then named "Alabama International Motor Speedway".

Dick Brooks arrived at Talladega and the ride he was supposed to have evaporated. Luckily the Crawford Bros. race team owned by Jimmy and Peter Crawford out of College Park, GA. needed a driver and Brooks won the race driving for them.

Nascar didn't think that Jimmy had enough experience to handle the 200 plus miles per hour speeds being run at Alabama International Motor Speedway, so Jimmy hired Brooks to drive the Yunick like Black and Gold #22 in the 1973 Winston 500.

The Winston 500 had an UNHEARD of starting field of FIFTY cars in a race that included what is now known as "THE BIG ONE", that eliminated over 20 cars in a wreck on the backstretch (see STATS below).

Helmet help with mysteriously missing Mario RossiWeird things began happening even before the Talladega 500 held at the "SPOOKY" track in Alabama race started as Dick could not get the #22 Plymouth engine started. It was eventually fired up and Brooks regained his starting spot in the field.

On "lucky" lap number 13, Larry Smith, who was the reining Nascar Rookie of The Year, spun and crashed into the guard rail. In a crash similar to the late Great Dale Earnhardt, Smith's crew was running back to the garage area to repair the car when word came that Smith had died in the wreck. Word is that Smith had removed some of the padding in his helmet to accommodate his long hair. Smith's death was the first ever at Alabama International Motor Speedway.

Dick Brooks went on to win this "Wild and Crazy" 1973 Talladega 500 which turned out to be his only Nascar win and sadly, Jimmy Crawford passed away in 2007 of heart failure.

(Edited with corrections)


 

Dick Brooks dies at 63

Lone career win brought tears of joy for former racer, announcer

By Dave Rodman, NASCAR.COM    February 3, 2006

Californian Dick Brooks, who created a legacy as a popular Winston Cup driver who went on to parlay that notoriety into a successful career as a radio broadcaster, businessman and humanitarian, died Wednesday at his home near Spartanburg, S.C.

Inside the Numbers
Dick Brooks' career
Starts 358
Wins 1
Top-5s 57
Top-10s 150
Poles 0
Laps Led 665
Avg. Start 15.0
Avg. Finish 17.3
Earnings $1,250,299

Brooks, 63, of Porterville, Calif., scored his only Cup victory in the 1973 Talladega 500, the second race of the season at the track now known as Talladega Superspeedway.

Talladega Superspeedway president Grant Lynch, formerly an executive with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company's public relations and marketing division, Sports Marketing Enterprises, offered condolences on behalf of the track to Brooks' family and his fans.

"Not only was Dick Brooks a great race car driver, but he was a close personal friend of many of us who worked at R.J. Reynolds," Lynch said. "My fondest memories of Dick are the times we used to fly to and from races with him and [MRN Radio anchor] Barney Hall.

"We had a lot of fun times in those days, and without a doubt he will be missed by all who knew him."

Brooks' NASCAR career began in 1969 at Daytona International Speedway, and he competed later that season in the first NASCAR-sanctioned event at the former Alabama International Motor Speedway, finishing fifth.

During a career that spanned 17 years and 358 starts, Brooks posted 150 top-10 and 57 top-five finishes. His Talladega victory on Aug. 12, 1973, marked his only visit to Victory Lane in NASCAR's top series.

According to the book 25 Years of Talladega Superspeedway by Clyde Bolton, former motorsports writer for the Birmingham News newspaper in Alabama, Brooks was so moved by the win that he literally cried tears of joy.

"All of a sudden I started snubbing," Brooks recalled to Bolton. "I was crying, and I couldn't even see the turn. That's the reason I went around an extra lap when it was over.

"I didn't want to come to Victory Lane and have everybody see me like that. I've wanted it so long."

According to the history book, Brooks arrived at the track that week only to find that the car he was supposed to drive was not ready. However it turned out on Friday that Georgia natives Pete and Jimmy Crawford needed a driver.

Although that particular car had never finished better than 16th and Brooks had not had a regular ride in two years, he surprised everyone that race weekend when everything went his way.

At the time, Brooks was in the process of financing his own team as he had done few years prior. The winnings from the Talladega victory gave him the extra push he needed, and in the last six races he ran that year, the last two were as a driver/owner.

In addition, he went on to run 16 races for his own team in 1974 before rejoining forces with veteran owner W.C. "Junie" Donlavey in 1975.

Brooks worked for a number of years in the 1990s as an announcer on MRN Radio broadcasts, where he often wore a pair of signature blue jean overalls.

In recent years, Brooks survived a couple accidents, including a motorcycle crash and an incident in a small aircraft while he taxied on a runway landing strip on his South Carolina property when a wheel caught in the grass and turned the plane over.

 


DICK BROOKS HONDA   -   14100 E Wade Hampton Blvd, Greer, SC 29651

Dick Brooks was born in Porterville, California, in 1942, and always wanted to race. He began with go-carts and motorcycles, but quickly moved to dirt track. However, California at that time was no place to be if you wanted a serious career in racing, so in 1969 – the very first time he had ever been present at a NASCAR event – he came to Daytona International Speedway and competed in the Speedweek”s activities. He did well enough to earn a ride. He started 33rd and finished 32nd in the 500, which featured a 50 car field.

Dick, his wife, and two year old daughter then moved to the hub of racing at that time, Spartanburg, SC - home of championship team owners Bud Moore and Cotton Owens, and NASCAR driver David Pearson.

Mr. Brooks quickly established himself as a plenty capable driver, scoring three top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 28 races en route to the 1969 rookie title. In addition to his winning the 1973 Talladega 500, Mr. Brooks had 57 top fives, 150 top tens, 4 top ten point finishes, and 358 career races. His final race was the 1985 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he finished 10th. After retiring from racing, he served as a NASCAR sportscaster on MRN radio for a period of time, always wearing his signature blue jean overalls.

In addition to racing and helping broadcast races, Mr. Brooks became a successful businessman. He bought his first Honda dealership in Albemarle, NC, in 1978, and quickly found an affinity for business. Over the next two decades, Mr. Brooks acquired 11 dealerships and 15 franchises, several hotels, convenience stores, and other ventures. Dick Brooks Honda of Greer, which he built in 1985, would be the only dealership he decided to hold onto while downsizing in the last few years of his life.

Mr. Brooks was more than a local racing celebrity and businessman; he was also lauded for his charity work with such groups as The Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, The Red Cross, and The American Cancer Society.

After complications from a plane crash in late 2004, Dick Brooks passed away of pneumonia on February 1, 2006. He left behind Stacey and Bill, a daughter and son-in-law who have continued running the dealership he held so close to his heart, his granddaughters Alex, Addie Grace and grandson Cooper, and many loyal employees who work tirelessly to carry on his vision of what a great Honda dealership is supposed to be.

The Plane Crash   Former driver/owner injured in plane crash

Former NASCAR driver and owner Dick Brooks was piloting a plane on his private airstrip in Woodruff, SC. The plane never left the ground, but went off the runway and overturned. Brooks is in the intensive care unit at Spartanburg Regional. The NTSB will be investigating.

Greenville News: Brooks, the 1969 NASCAR rookie of the year, was cleaning out a hangar for a New Year's Eve party when he decided to run one of his antique planes, according to Flash Millwood, a member of Brooks' pit crew and a friend for 35 years. Brooks wasn't planning on flying and didn't have his seat belt on, Millwood said. He was being treated at Spartanburg Regional Hospital, a spokeswoman said. Brooks, who owns several automobile dealerships in the Carolinas and Florida, started racing NASCAR in 1969, driving in the first race he ever saw: a road-course event at Riverside, Calif. He won his only Winston Cup race at Talladega, Ala., in 1973. Brooks hung up his racing gear in 1985 then worked as a pit reporter for Motor Racing Network. It's not the first time his passion for fast cars, motorcycles and airplanes has put Brooks in the hospital. He suffered severe injuries in July 1999 after he wrecked his motorcycle in a field near his home. Brooks has been involved in the fund-raising for the Motorsports Museum of the South, which is scheduled to be finished in Spartanburg next year.
(12-30-2003)

UPDATE: Former NASCAR Rookie of the Year Dick Brooks recovers in a local hospital from injuries after being  hurt in a plane crash near his farm, authorities say. Brooks, 61, was taxiing his favorite plane down his personal runway on his Woodruff property Sunday afternoon. As he made his way back toward the hangar going about 10 mph along an asphalt runway, the plane wheel got caught in the grass and turned the plane over, longtime friend Joe Whisenant said,  throwing Brooks out of the pilot's seat. He was taken to the intensive care unit of the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center after the crash, but his daughter Stacy Jackson said doctors expect him to recover. "They are wanting to keep him here a couple of days for observation," Jackson said.
(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(12-31-2003)

1984 Talladega 500 - Dick Brooks Crash

Dick Brooks Flips @ Talladega 1975

Dick Brooks 1979

For 1979, Brooks joined the Nelson Malloch 05 team but good finishes were sparse. The team came back with a new sponsor and number for 1980, but the continued lack of success found Brooks leaving the team after 19 races.


Dick Brooks in Cotton Owens #6


Simoniz car in 1974


Donlavey Truxmore car at Michigan Intl Spdwy


1983


1985


Outstanding Model Car

 


 

Dick Brooks Grand National & Winston Cup DRIVER Statistics
 

 
Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1969 27 28 of 54 0 3 12 0 6041 2 28,187 21 14.0 17.6
1970 28 34 of 48 0 15 18 0 6821 194 53,754 13 9.1 15.4
1971 29 20 of 48 0 9 12 0 4495 16 32,936 36 12.9 12.7
1972 30 14 of 31 0 0 1 0 1156 3 14,146 49 19.6 32.5
1973 31 14 of 28 1 3 9 0 3448 25 55,369 27 21.2 13.2
1974 32 16 of 30 0 0 3 0 2951 1 22,760 27 17.8 21.8
1975 33 25 of 30 0 6 15 0 7344 60 93,001 10 9.2 13.5
1976 34 28 of 30 0 3 18 0 7542 16 111,880 10 11.8 14.5
1977 35 29 of 30 0 7 20 0 8191 8 151,374 6 13.7 12.7
1978 36 30 of 30 0 5 17 0 8689 24 137,590 8 12.4 13.4
1979 37 27 of 31 0 1 8 0 6307 16 61,985 22 19.0 19.6
1980 38 19 of 31 0 2 5 0 3978 6 60,700 27 19.1 21.4
1981 39 5 of 31 0 0 0 0 1397 1 14,845 61 22.0 20.2
1982 40 5 of 30 0 0 0 0 517 0 9,470 48 14.4 31.2
1983 41 30 of 30 0 2 6 0 7866 108 180,555 14 15.5 19.1
1984 42 30 of 30 0 1 5 0 8157 185 192,407 15 19.6 18.5
1985 43 4 of 28 0 0 1 0 1076 0 29,340 53 25.0 22.5
17 years 358 1 57 150 0 85976 665 1,250,299   15.0 17.3
 
NASCAR Winston Cup race number 20 of 28
August 12, 1973 at Alabama International Motor Speedway, Talladega, AL
188 laps on a 2.660 mile paved track (500.1 miles)
Time of race: 3:26:17
Average Speed: 145.454 mph
Pole Speed: 187.064 mph
Cautions: 7 for 52 laps
Margin of Victory: 7.2 sec
Attendance: 56,000
 

Race Site Cars St Fin # Sponsor / Owner Car Laps Money Status Led
1973-20 Talladega 50 24 1 22 Eastern Airlines   (Crawford Brothers) Plymouth 188/188 20,815 running 19

 

Dick Brooks NASCAR Owner Statistics
Year Driver Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1969 Dick Brooks 28 0 3 12 0 6041 2 28,187 21 14.0 17.6
1970 Dick Brooks 32 0 15 18 0 6787 194 53,754 13 8.1 14.2
1970 Pete Hamilton 1 0 1 1 0 299 0 131,406 21 17.0 3.0
1971 Marv Acton 11 0 0 0 0 1421 0 8,620 44 23.4 21.0
1971 Dick Brooks 1 0 0 0 0 279 0 32,936 36 5.0 20.0
1971 Bill Dennis 1 0 0 0 0 328 0 29,420 18 13.0 15.0
1971 Kevin Terris 1 0 0 0 0 150 0 1,600   46.0 26.0
1972 Johnny Halford 5 0 0 1 0 1032 0 4,955 47 23.0 19.0
1973 Dick Brooks 2 0 0 1 0 532 1 55,369 27 19.5 20.5
1974 Dick Brooks 16 0 0 3 0 2951 1 22,760 27 17.8 21.8
1994 Bobby Hamilton 7 0 0 0 0 2550 0 514,520 23 26.7 20.4
1995 Rich Bickle 8 0 0 0 0 1995 2 153,250 45 28.8 32.1
1995 Shane Hall 1 0 0 0 0 205 0 13,975 65 40.0 36.0
1995 Andy Hillenburg 1 0 0 0 0 157 0 17,320 65 42.0 36.0
1995 Randy LaJoie 1 0 0 0 0 96 0 281,945 40 18.0 40.0
1995 Butch Leitzinger 1 0 0 0 0 90 0 17,060 54 21.0 12.0
1995 Greg Sacks 10 0 0 0 0 2795 0 323,720 39 25.2 30.0
8 years 127 0 19 36 0 27708 200 1,690,797   17.4 20.1

 

 







 

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