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Famed Owner Ed Whitaker Passes Away

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, August 23 2014

Team owner Ed Whitaker helped a lot of famous driver find Victory Lane.

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Ed Whitaker, one of the most successful Busch Series [now Nationwide] team owners for two decades, died Friday morning. He was 76.

“Ed Whitaker proved you can have big success with a small operation,” said Bristol Motor Speedway General Manager Jerry Caldwell. “The term ‘throwback’ gets used a lot, but Ed was a true definition of it. We are proud of the achievements he had in a sport we all love. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Even though Whitaker’s team always ran a limited schedule, his drivers visited victory lane 28 times in 246 Busch Series races. His greatest success came with Harry Gant, who was responsible for 20 of the team’s victories. Morgan Shepherd collected the remaining eight. Three of those victories came at Bristol Motor Speedway. They were with Shepherd in 1983 and 1986 and with Gant in 1992.

In addition to Gant and Shepherd, the list of distinguished drivers who piloted the Bristol resident’s cars included Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Davey Allison, Jimmy Hensley, Alan Kulwicki, Butch Lindley, Mark Martin, Tim Richmond, Hermie Sadler, Mike Wallace, Brendan Gaughan and Regan Smith.

Whitaker also fielded a car for John Utsman in six Winston Cup [now Sprint Cup] races 1978-80. Utsman’s best finish was 16th in the 1978 World 600.

– Deb Williams can be reached at dwilliams@racintoday.com

Deb Williams | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, August 23 2014
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