Memorial's for Those Who Will be Missed

Matt Hawkins
We at FinishLine Racing School were very proud to have Matt as one of our students. We watched as he climbed the ladder of success. We are very sad that the racing world will not be able to experience the talents that this young man possessed. Our condolences to the Hawkins Family.  It is sad that the brightest stars shine for a very short time! 
Matt, Will Be Missed.

(2-14-09) - It is with great shock and sadness that Motorsports Management International confirms that Matt Hawkins, a young stock car racer from Canton, Georgia, died this morning (Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009) from a tragic accident at his home, according to the Cherokee Sheriff's Office in Canton.

"Matt was a great kid and racing talent," said MMI President Cary Agajanian. "We have extended our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Hawkins family. Matt will be greatly missed on and off the race track."

Hawkins, 21, was a rising young stock car talent who won his series debuts on the Pro Cup Series in 2007 and at Iowa Speedway on the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2008. Hawkins started racing go-karts at the age of four that later led to a World Karting Association national championship in 2003. Hawkins then switched to late models to win the Southern All Star Series Super Late Model Championship in 2005 before moving up to stock cars in 2007. Hawkins planned to race select events in the ARCA RE/MAX series in 2009. (read more...)

600 Racing
On Friday, February 13, 2009, 600 Racing was sad to hear that former Legends car racer, Matt Hawkins lost his life. Hawkins passed away on Friday night at the age of 21 after an incident of accidental gun discharge in Georgia. He was well known by everyone in the short track community. Matt was known for being an especially kind, polite and personable young man. He might have seemed quiet at first glance, but Matt was one of those people who you couldnt help but to become quick friends with. We offer our thoughts and prayers to all of his family and friends.
(read more...)

Saturday, February 14, 2009
Concord, NC - USARacing has learned that Matt Hawkins, series driver of the # 2 car in the Southern Division, passed away Friday evening. "Matt was a very talented driver and always a pleasure to be around at our events" said Jimmy Wilson, Vice President/Series Director. "This is a very sad day for the entire USARacing family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Fred and the entire Hawkins family."
(read more...)

John Russell "Rusty" Harpe
July 16, 1978 - January 9, 2007

The racing community mourns the death of Rusty Harpe.  Rusty was fatally injured Tuesday evening  in a farm accident while helping his father-in-law with a piece of equipment. He is survived by his wife, Stacy and three year-old daughter, Natalie, his parents, "Chip" and Lynne.

When the checkered flag fell on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007, Rusty had run and won his final race. It was his greatest victory and he left us to be with his Savior Jesus Christ. John Russell "Rusty" Harpe was born July 16, 1978, in Winston-Salem to Chip and Lynne Harpe. He graduated from Mount Tabor High School and attended Forsyth Technical Institute during their first year of the Racing Technology Program. He was an avid stock-car racer and loved racing and the many friends he made during his career. (read more...)

Rusty  - you will  be missed!

(click on any thumbnail for a larger image)

Ricky Hendrick
April 2, 1980 - October 24, 2004

Ricky Hendrick, 24, was killed Sunday, October 24th along with seven other passengers and two pilots when a Hendrick Motorsports plane crashed 10 miles west of Martinsville Speedway.

Ricky Hendrick's racing dreams began much like his father's — behind the wheel.

Ricky began his racing career turning laps at short tracks around central North Carolina.  Ricky attended the FinishLine Racing School in 1995.  By 2000, Hendrick had cracked the ranks of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Many quietly wondered if he had made the big leagues simply because of his last name. At the Kansas Speedway on July 7, 2001, Hendrick hushed the skeptics the only way he knew how.   By winning.

Ricky finished the 2001 season sixth in Truck Series points. It was time to take the next step - a move to the NASCAR Busch Series.

He earned two top-10 finishes behind the wheel of his No. 5 Chevy, but ran only a partial schedule due to serious shoulder injuries suffered at Las Vegas. Surgery forced him to the sidelines for two months, and when he came back, he never felt quite the same in the cockpit. That led to the hardest decision of his young life - he announced his retirement from driving in October 2002.

Ricky decided it was time to focus on other things - like being a team owner. At the age of 22, Ricky followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Papa Joe Hendrick. He put his good friend and former rival Brian Vickers behind the wheel of the No. 5 Chevy, despite early protests from his father. But Ricky stood his ground, declaring that if this was truly his team, then he should pick the driver. Dad was skeptical, but impressed with his son's stand.

He soon proved that the legendary Hendrick family eye for talent had entered a new generation as Vickers became the youngest NASCAR national champion.   And when Hendrick Motorsports began a driver development program, they turned to Ricky as the primary scout for young talent.  He signed FinishLine Racing School students, Blake Feese and Boston Reid.

Godspeed Ricky - you will  be missed!

Racers, Family Team Up to Honor Mike Brousseau
By David Corriveau
Valley News Staff Writer
September 1963 - April 200

Claremont -- Try as they might, Josh Brousseau and his pit crew couldn't make the engine of Pro Stock car No. 81 turn over.

There they were, trying to prepare the late Mike Brousseau's chariot for a preliminary heat before it would lead a field of 20 Pro Stocks around the asphalt of Twin State Speedway as the pace car for the start of last night's inaugural Mike Brousseau Memorial 125, and it just wouldn't … well, it just wouldn’t start.

Enter Swanzey, N.H., driver Russ Hersey and four members of his crew, from Pro Stock No. 88 next door. With longtime Brousseau crewman Steve Kimel, they pushed the stock car, idle since last year, backward into pit row, then hustled to the rear and sides to push it forward toward the ramp to the track.

And finally, No. 81 roared to life, ready for its close-up at Twin State's special night of racing to raise money for scholarships for the four children -- sons Josh and Andrew, daughters Brittany and Nicole -- whom Mike Brousseau left behind, along with his wife Karen, in late April, when he died of complications following an operation to remove a brain tumor at age 40.

“The support from these guys has really been great,” Karen Brousseau said of her husband's fellow drivers between the final practice runs and the opening heats. “Russ and some others had their people do stickers in memory of Mike, and were selling them for $5 apiece. They gave me all the money to put in the kids' trust fund. The support has come from the racers, from their families. Even guys like Punky Caron and Roger Raymond, who aren't racing as much. (read more...)

Tony Renna
November 23, 1976 - October 22, 2003

IRL driver Tony Renna was killed in a wreck Wednesday, October 22, 2003 during testing at Indianapoli Motor Speedway. Renna was on his fouth lap when his G Force-Toyota crashed as he came out of the third turn on the 2 1/2-mile oval. Team owner Ganassi said the car did not hit anything before Renna lost control, went airborne, cleared the wall and crashed into the catch fence.

Renna signed earlier this month with Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, one of the elite IRL teams, and he was making his first track appearance for Ganassi.

This year, he finished seventh as a rookie at Indianapolis and was one of ony nine drivers on the lead lap, taking the checkered flag about 7.5 seconds behind winner Gil de Ferran. But he spent the rest of the season as a test driver for the Kelley team.

Renna began his racing career at age 6 in mini-sprints, karts, microsprints and quarter midgets, amassing 252 wins and two national quarter midget championships. He was the series champion in 1994 in the Skip Barber Formula Ford Series, rookie of the year in 1996 in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, where he also raced in 1997, then spent all or part of three seasons in Indy Lights, then CART's developmental series. Renna won a Lights race at Michigan from the pole in 1998 and finished fifth in the series points in 2001.

Tony had signed up to enroll in the FinishLine Racing School in 2002, but unfortunately broke his wrist. He was scheduled to attend in the winter of 2003.

Godspeed Tony - You will be missed!

Dennis Dee

Dennis Dee of Poland, Maine died Sunday June 15, 2003 after he was         injured when his car struck the pit wall with full force during a race at Oxford Plains Speedway.  Dee was on the sixth lap of a 10-lap qualifying heat race when the crash on the backstretch of the 3/8th mile oval happened.  Dee who was 38 had raced at Oxford weekly since the mid 1990s.

Dennis, you will be missed.

Michael Roberts

Michael Roberts died March 24, 2001 at I-44 Speedway near Lebanon, Mo.  Michael Roberts was a 50-year-old single parent who left behind a heartbroken daughter, Taylor (age 10). 

Roberts was the fifth NASCAR driver in 11 months to die of injuries caused by violent head movement and the fourth to die of basilar skull fracture. But he was different. He was one of the little guys, the weekend racers on America's grass-roots tracks. Thousands of them, like Roberts, hold NASCAR-issued licenses and drive at NASCAR-member tracks.

Roberts died in a car built to NASCAR technical specifications for the Re/Max Touring Series. These cars are designed for speeds of more than 150 mph. Roberts' car was built with the best available parts and no expense spared.

Roberts would have driven his first race, in NASCAR's Re/Max Touring Series, April 8, 2001 at Rockford Speedway in Illinois.

To prepare Roberts for the race, Crew Chief, Ed Holmes and engineer Eldon Zacek Jr. accompanied him to I-44 Speedway in southern Missouri, where the weather promised to be better, for a day of test driving.

They also suggested he receive the best instruction available, and Roberts agreed to fly in Michael Loescher from Daytona Beach, Fla., for one-on-one instruction.

Roberts apparently locked up his brakes. No one knows why. He was being taught "left-foot braking" and had to make sure his right foot was off the accelerator pedal during sudden stopping. This is an oval-racing technique and calls for a radical change in the reflexes of a middle-aged adult used to braking with the right foot in passenger cars.

Careful examination of the car by Zacek and Holmes indicated the throttle did not stick. They and Loescher have not been able to come up with a likely scenario--they simply don't know what happened.

Roberts' car started to slide, then slammed into a concrete wall. The car hit, three witnesses said, on its right front, at almost precisely the same angle at which Earnhardt's car hit the wall at Daytona.

On Friday, in a church in Fort Atkinson, Wis., Taylor Roberts sat silently as her father was remembered. She will now be cared for by her mother and her paternal grandmother.

A Lutheran minister, the Rev. Bryan Engfer, read a letter Taylor had written to her departed father:

"You are the best daddy in the world. . . . No one could ever replace you."

Godspeed Mike - You will be missed.

Picture: FLRS School at Hickory Motor Speedway August 1996 - Adam Petty 

Adam Petty
1980 - 2000

We at FinishLine Racing School were very proud to have Adam as one of our students when he first started his racing career.  We watched as he climbed the ladder of success - we shared in his victories.

We are very sad that the racing world will not be able to experience the talents that this young man possessed. Our condolences to the Petty Family - we too felt like Adam was a part of our racing family.

Although it's not clear to us - sometimes the brightest stars shine for a very short time!

Adam, You Will Be Missed.

Dave Schultz

During his life, Dave was a role model. Quiet and modest, despite his fame. Always the brilliant thinker and the tenacious competitor. The kind of handsome and charming champion that draws the admiration from all that knew him. He was also a champion of living with a terrible disease, ever fulfilling Hemingway's definition of courage, "Grace in the face of deadly peril".

Perhaps the greatest lesson of Dave Schultz's life is that he not only sought and lived excellence, but also evoked it in those around him. We will not see the likes of Dave Schultz again, for those heroes of this stature are rare. Thanks, Dave, for showing us how to do it.


FinishLine Racing was proud to have both Dave and his son attend the School.

CLICK HERE for class pricing

Contact us for more info