NBS 24/7: Where Are They Now?

No true "post race" today because I'm at my friends' wedding--congrats Meg & Daron!

In 2004 Speed Channel (now FS1) premiered a novel concept for a TV show: a weekly reality series about three semi-independent Busch (now Xfinity) Series teams that occupied what could be described as the “middle tier” of performance.  NBS 24/7 (Nascar Busch Series 24 Hours / 7 Days) became something of a cult hit with hardcore Nascar fans, shining a light on a part of the sport that was little-known to the outside world.  The show would last three years before cancellation, but what happened to the drivers who were featured on the series?  Let’s take a look:

Tim Fedewa: Timmy made virtually his entire racing career in what is now known as the Xfinity Series, posting four wins relatively early in his 333 race career.  Featured on the show as the driver of the FitzBradshaw 14 car, he would later transition back to a role as a spotter, and currently works as Kevin Harvick’s spotter in the Cup Series.

Casey Atwood: Best-known as one of a number of “the next Jeff Gordon”s the sport saw around the turn of the millennium, Atwood had a brief Cup Series run with Dodge before moving back to the then-Busch Series with FitzBradshaw.  Atwood would controversially be removed from the FitzBradshaw Navy-sponsored 14 car prior to the end of the 2004 season in favor of David Stremme (see below), who was under contract to the Ganassi Cup team that was co-owned by team owner Armando Fitz’s father-in-law, Felix Sabates.  After a few years as a journeyman Atwood has retired from national-series driving and occasionally races late models in the Nashville area today.

David Stremme: The longtime Ganassi development driver Stremme had a star-crossed first run in the then-Busch Series, running with numerous teams and posting inconsistent results.  He appeared to find at a home at Braun Racing driving the TrimSpa-sponsored car (usually #32) before a string of mediocre runs saw him released from the ride late in the year.  Ironically he would find a new ride with another NBS 24/7-affiliated team, FitzBradshaw Racing (see above).  After another year with FitzBradshaw in 2005, he would ascend to the Cup Series, posting disappointing results for two years with Ganassi and nearly a full year with Team Penske.  After retiring from national series driving without a single Nascar win, he now operates a racecar building company.

Kasey Kahne: The former Ford developmental driver was the somewhat surprising choice to take over for Bill Elliott in the Cup Series for Evernham Motorsports in 2004.  Akins Motorsports followed suit and Kahne ran nearly the entire then-Busch Series schedule for them that year, returning for a partial schedule in 2005.  After 18 Cup Series wins primarily with Evernham Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports, health issues forced Kahne into retirement from Nascar near the end of the 2018 season, although he has continued to race sprint cars.

Shane Hmiel: The son of longtime crew chief and executive Steve Hmiel, the fiery Shane drew attention early-on for his aggressive racing style and sometimes explosive temper.  After a drug suspension early on he returned to Nascar in 2004, making cameo appearances with NBS 24/7 teams Akins Motorsports and Braun Racing, signing full-time with the latter by the end of the season.  For 2005 (season two of the show) a major marketing campaign revolved around TrimSpa’s WINfuel product line, featuring extensive advertising with Hmiel and real-life friend Dale Earnhardt Jr.  However, Hmiel’s racing career—and Braun Racing’s involvement with the show—ended suddenly when Hmiel failed another drug test, leading to a lifetime ban from the sport.  Hmiel used the suspension as a wake-up call, turning his life around and restarting his racing career in sprint cars.  Sadly, a vicious wreck would leave him paralyzed in a wheel chair, although he has maintained his involvement in racing, fielding USAC sprint cars, to this day.

Tyler Walker: Coming from a long line of sprint car racing Walkers, Tyler first impressed in sprint car racing, catching the eye of Kasey Kahne.  Kahne would field Walker for his sprint car team and use him as a driver for Akins Motorsports in 2005, running races Kahne couldn’t due to his full-time Cup career.  Due to his wild racing style he was let go from Akins and would embark on a journey that would see him succeed in sprint cars but fail to impress in stock cars.  Later, he would make headlines for a number of incidents—a profanity-laced tirade at a sprint car track, a fight at a Los Angeles night club, and leading police on a three-state chase on Interstate 15.  He has raced intermittently in sprint cars in the past few years.

Joel Kauffman: Kauffman, with experience in such varied racing styles as mini-sprints, late models, and USAR, was given a seven-race tryout with FitzBradshaw Racing in 2005.  Slated to go close to full-time in 2006 as part of NBS 24/7’s “The Rookies” rebrand, he failed to post a top-20 in 11 starts (plus failing to qualify for two other races) and was released from the team.  He has not raced in Nascar since and was most-recently working for a boating company in Mooresville, North Carolina.

AJ Foyt IV: The grandson of the legendary AJ Foyt, the younger Foyt failed to make an impression running IndyCars and signed a developmental deal with Evernham Motorsports to come to Nascar.  Debuting with Akins Motorsports late in the 2005 season, he was also part of the NBS 24:7 “The Rookies” rebrand for 2006.  However, after failing to post a single top-20 in seven starts he lost his ride, making a single run with FitzBradshaw Racing (failing to qualify) later that year before returning to IndyCar.  After infamously quitting his family-owned team during 2010 Indy 500 time trials, he has since gone to work for the Indianapolis Colts NFL franchise, which his father-in-law owns.

Spade Racing Picks: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Chicagoland

Annnnd I’m back!  It was a great two weeks off down at the beautiful shore (beach for those who aren’t local).  I filled my days with grilling, drinking, and relaxing—and STILL had time to get in a few games of pickup basketball.  Granted, there’s not much use for a 5’5’’ white guy with the build of Tony Stewart, but I made myself useful as a “defensive specialist” (read: boxing guys out down low).
While I’m glad I got some time off from work, now I’m in the thick of the worst part of the year—the return from vacation.  Tons of paperwork, plenty of merchandise put in the wrong places, AND new rumors that they might be shutting down our store again.  I’m not TOO worried, but I am keeping my resume updated just in case.

CUP SERIES Camping World 400: Mystery Picker picks Joey Logano.  Favorite (4 wins): Kyle Busch—yeah, I’m staying on this Kyle Busch train as long as I can.  Next Favorite (1 win): Brad Keselowski—glad to see Mystery Picker finally coming to their senses, but I think I got the right Penske driver.  Dark Horse: Ryan Newman—can you say “fuel mileage”?

XFINITY SERIES Camping World 300 (6 wins): Christopher Bell—I wanted to pick Justin Allgaier, then I remembered he drives a Chevy.

TRUCK SERIES Camping World 225 (7 wins): Johnny Sauter—maybe he’ll actually talk to people after this race.

Opening a Sealed Box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards PACK 13

Recently I got a sealed box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards—24 packs, 8 cards per pack.  Join me as I go through the entire case, pack-by-pack, to see what awaited me. (Click any picture to enlarge)

PACK 13 OF 24: Austin, Mark’s Pen, and JHN

OVERVIEW: Well, it had to happen sooner-or-later—the first really bad picture I took from this set.  Please note that cards are not actually this blurry in real life.  I guess I just got distracted by the greatness of Corey LaJoie.

SPECIAL SPECIAL: The back of Rusty Wallace’s ICONS card details his exploits in the Blue Max car, conveniently leaving out how he wasn’t being paid on time and how he took sponsor Miller with him, essentially shutting the team down when he left.

IN FOCUS: “Epic Swag”.  I never heard about this, but its a pretty cool story.

SPOTLIGHT: And here’s an autograph!  Mark Martin’s John Hancock appears on the front, while a story about his near-miss in the championship points appears on the back.  No, not that one, the other one.  No—the other OTHER one.

SCORE: 9 better photographers out of 10

Brick by Brick—The Career of Darrell Waltrip as told in Mega Bloks

Darrell Waltrip is about to ease into retirement from the Fox Sports booth.  And while his broadcast career, like his driving career, likely went on a bit too long, its impossible to underestimate his impact on the sport of Nascar as a driver, commentator, and overall personality.  But I’ll try to capture the essence of Jaws…through a cheaply made Lego knockoff project!
You gotta start somewhere, and DW started
racing local tracks, earning attention both
good and bad for his braggadocios trash-talking.
Along those lines, trying to put this together
had ME trash talking my own meagre motor skills.

Progress!  DW ran his first Nascar race in 1972
in a car formerly driven by Mario Andretti.
I wound up yelling at this set with the fervor of
Marco Andretti.

DW's DiGard years were successful on the track,
but fractious off the track due to the team's
notorious difficulty in paying people on time.
Thankfully my eBay purchase of this...thing went
smoothly and I didn't have to buy my way out of
the purchase agreement.

1975 was a big year for DW as he notched his first
Cup Series win AND signed to drive with his first
major team in DiGard.  2019's been a big year for me
as my girlfriend broke up with me and I decided to devote
four hours to THIS project.  Connected?  You be the judge.

The underside of the partially-completed car shows the
importance of having a solid foundation.  DW had that
at Junior Johnson & Associates with team owner
Junior Johnson and Associates Jeff Hammond and
solid sponsorship.  I have no associates, so there's that.
As this, uh, collectable starts to change, so
was DW in the mid-80's, as being born-again
into the Christian faith changed his priorities
drastically.  I went to Sunday School briefly
and earned the nickname "motor mouth".

Despite winning three championships it took DW's
famous 1989 Daytona 500 win for his career to be
"complete", just like this car is starting to look.
I think my life became complete when my dad
and I booed DW for pimping Toyota.

Adding these decals is a slow, steady process--
just like the slide at the end of DW's career and
my continuing journey into irrelevance.

Much like DW in 2001, seeing this finished is a breath of fresh air.
Much like DW in 2019, looking at it now makes me think it might have
been a waste of time.  But then again, you can't change the past,
and you can't change Darrell Waltrip's impact on the sport.

Spade Racing Picks: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Sonoma/Gateway

Editor’s note: Uncle Max is currently wrapping up his vacation (said he comes back Sunday)—here’s the picks he texted to me:

CUP SERIES Toyota SaveMart 350: Mystery Picker picks Paul Menard.  Favorite (4 wins): Kyle Busch—what happened to Mystery—did (s)he suffer a head injury while I’ve been getting sunburnt?  Next Favorite (1 win): Joey Logano—bracketing the off-week.  Dark Horse: Chase Elliott—from the road-racing hotbed of Northern Georgia.

TRUCK SERIES CarShield 200 (7 wins): Austin Hill—comeback after a week of controversy.

Opening a Sealed Box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards PACK 12

Recently I got a sealed box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards—24 packs, 8 cards per pack.  Join me as I go through the entire case, pack-by-pack, to see what awaited me. (Click any picture to enlarge)

PACK 12 OF 24: A Driver Who’s Happy, some Timing that’s Crappy, and Junior Looks Snappy

OVERVIEW: Ryan Reed gets a card here, this despite the fact that his career appears to be over (as is his sponsor’s involvement in Nascar).  Ryan Blaney, meanwhile, gets a card that’s limited to 199 for…some reason, it isn’t really made clear.

SPECIAL SPECIAL: So they call Kevin Harvick “Happy” on a card where he looks depressed as anything.  Then on the back they talk about his smiley-face pltboard.  But that’s not pictured on the front.  Maybe you discontinue the nicknames in 2020, Donruss.

IN FOCUS: So Chase Elliott likes “Wedding Crashers”, that’s cool.  But why does he get a “Binge-Watch” logo on a 1980’s TV?  How do you binge-watch a movie?  Is Chase like John Hinckley and “Taxi Driver”?

SPOTLIGHT: Dale Jr. looks dapper in his RACE KINGS card, although his posture leaves a little bit to be desired.

SCORE: 5 hero cards out of 10

Spade Racing Picks: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Iowa

Editor’s note: Uncle Max is on vacation—he texted me his picks a few hours ago (Thursday afternoon):

XFINITY SERIES Circuit City 250 (6 wins): Justin Allgaier—surprise!  No, not that Allgaier is my pick over the “young three”, but that Circuit City is still a thing.

TRUCK SERIES M&M’s 200 (6 wins): Brett Moffitt—hey, does Iowa still have that weird Pizza Ranch victory lane?

Race Shop Reviews: Updated and Relaunched TODAY!

Bored with the rain delay?

Not interested in F1?

Afraid that the Women’s World Cup will make you drowsy?

Well then—check out my OTHER website—Race Shop Reviews, the world’s #1 source for Nascar race shop information!  Last week I took my annual tour of the race shops of Nascar and compiled the latest information to share with you, the fan.

But that’s not all!

For the first time ever, I’m NOW ON YOUTUBE!  That’s right, catch short, informative videos of the best race shops on my YouTube channel.  Click here for the whole playlist, or click on each individual video on each individual page.

Check it out today, and subscribe to my YouTube channel please!

Spade Racing Picks: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Michigan/Texas

Editor’s note: Uncle Max is on vacation—he texted me his picks a few minutes ago (Friday afternoon):

CUP SERIES FireKeepers Casino 400: Mystery Picker picks Ryan Blaney.  Favorite (4 wins): Kyle Busch—Mystery has his train, I have mine.  Next Favorite (1 win): Kevin Harvick—snaps the winless streak in Ford’s backyard.  Dark Horse: Kyle Larson—snaps the winless streak in Chevy’s backyard.

XFINITY SERIES LTi Printing 250 (6 wins): Christopher Bell—heats up as we enter the “meat” of the schedule.

TRUCK SERIES SpeedyCash 400(k) (6 wins): Johnny Sauter—still money on the 1.5-milers.

Opening a Sealed Box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards PACK 11

Recently I got a sealed box of 2019 Donruss Racing Cards—24 packs, 8 cards per pack.  Join me as I go through the entire case, pack-by-pack, to see what awaited me. (Click any picture to enlarge)

PACK 11 OF 24: Awesome Bill, a Way to Shill, and the Little Blue Pill

OVERVIEW: We split things almost down the middle here with five retired drivers and three relatively young racers.  Its only fitting that Danica and DW wind up in the same pack, isn’t it?

SPECIAL SPECIAL: Let’s take Mark martin’s OPTIC card to consider how good of a way these cards are to promote sponsors—even those no longer involved in the sport.  So this way kids everywhere will want to ask their parents what Viagra is.

IN FOCUS: John Hunter Nemechek’s back-of-the-card story shows that he was as interested in racing as a child as most kids are in trigonometry.

SPOTLIGHT: Here we see DW when he was actually someone who was respected—respected, I tells ya!—by race fans.  Selling your soul to Toyota and using more hair dye than 1980’s Bob Barker will change the public’s perception of you.

SCORE: 4 grandstands out of 10

Spade Racing Movie Previews

Summer is here, and the favorite place to get out of the heat is in your local air-conditioned movie theater.  Hollywood’s putting out plenty of big-budget blockbusters—here’s some with a Nascar-flavor to them:

Dark Phoenix: ISC buys thousands of gallons of black paint to cover up all the DC Solar signs.

Late Night: Nascar’s genius idea to push back the start time of the Coca-Cola 600 on a day when many race fans have been watching racing since 9am.

This One’s for the Ladies—Derrike Cope’s driving comeback gets the documentary treatment.

Ghost Fleet: The spirits of all the former Roush Racing development drivers come to life to haunt Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Shaft: A study at what Ty Majeski got when Roush Fenway shut down its Xfinity program.

Being Frank: A feature-length interview with longtime Nascar figure Frankie Stoddard.  Subtitles will be provided.