Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WCW and Nascar—A (Usually) Non-Winning Combination

In the 1990’s pro-wrestling was hot.  And one of the top-two pro-wrestling organizations in the 1990’s was World Championship Wrestling, aka WCW.  As part of Ted Turner’s entertainment empire, WCW was given ample opportunities to promote itself via Nascar.  Inspired by the fantastic WCW Worldwide website, here’s a look back at when rasslin’ met racin’.
(Listed in rough chronological order by driver--click each drivers' name for a pic)

Billy Standridge—Cup, 1994-5.  The journeyman of journeymen ran a pair of races in each season, occasionally with Dura Lube co-sponsorship, thus launching hundreds of “lubed-up wrestler” jokes.
Rodney Combs—Busch, 1995.  Strangely, Combs ran the early part of the 95 Busch Series schedule with Petty Enterprises.  I guess once Kyle Petty got a taste of the old NWA at Starrcade 1984, he was hooked.
Steve Grissom, Bill Ingle, Greg Sacks*, and Elliott Sadler—Busch, 1996.  The Gary Bechtel-owned team delivered WCW its only Nascar wins in 1996, with Grissom at Daytona and Sacks at Talladega.  Jason Keller also ran a Slim Jim Halloween Havoc car at Rockingham—OOH YEEEAH!!!
Kyle goes to the dark side, brother
*—Sacks also ran three Busch Series races with WCW sponsorship in 1997.
Kyle Petty—Busch, 1996-7.  Honorary New World Order member Kyle Petty (there’s that name again) ran a part-time NWO Racing car for a handful of races.  Yes, the NWO was really a part of WCW.
Lance Hooper—Busch, 1998.  In 1998 Lance Hooper drives a WCW car.  In 2001, he rejects an empty juice box that my dad tries to throw away at Dover.  Coincidence?  Well, yeah, probably.
Nadeau's one-race
Goldberg scheme
Jerry Nadeau—Cup, 1999.  Promoting WCW on a part-time basis, this scheme was the last before WCW introduced its new logo, for which opinions ranged from “stupid” to “hideous”.
Steve Grissom & Stacy Compton—Cup, 1999.  After Jerry Nadeau left Melling Racing for MB2, Grissom and Compton each ran one race each with WCW livery, making them the Jerry Flynn and El Dandy of the Nascar scene.
Wally Dallenbach Jr.—Cup, 2000.  Driving for Galaxy Motorsports (which wasn’t made-up by Wally), the team rotated a number of Turner properties on the hood.  Today, such a marketing idea is commonplace, but at the time made no sense—compared to sponsoring Wally Dallenbach, which has NEVER made any sense.
Blaise Alexander—Busch, 2000.  After a single race with the nearly anonymous Matt Hutter, the late Blaise Alexander runs the full schedule in a Tracfone/WCW copsonsored car.  WCW uses the opportunity to run a number of wrestler-based special paint schemes, allowing Tracfone to co-brand itself with such legends as Vampiro and Jeff Jarrett.