Larry Phillips

From Wikipedia

Larry Phillips (July 3, 1942 – September 21, 2004) was an American racing driver and race car builder with a driving career starting in 1960 and running until 2001, the only person to win the NASCAR Weekly Series national championship five times. He won that title in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1995, and 1996. As a driver, he won seven NASCAR Weekly Series regional championships and thirteen track championships.

Early life

Phillips was born in Springfield, Missouri, son of Jim and Margie Phillips. He attended Bois D’Arc grade school in a suburb of Springfield, Missouri and Parkview High School in Springfield, Missouri.

NASCAR touring series

Phillips competed in one NASCAR touring series race in 1976.[3] The race was a combined Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup Series) / Winston West Series (now NASCAR K&N Pro Series West) event at Ontario Motor Speedway.[3] He started 24th and finished 13th overall.[3] Since he was the highest finisher in a Winston West car, he was credited with a win in the class.

Racing career

After years as a star in Midwestern dirt Late Model racing, Phillips switched to asphalt tracks in 1989 when two tracks near him: I-44 Speedway, Lebanon MO and Speedway USA, Bolivar MO were paved. That year, driving an asphalt Late Model that he owned, Phillips won 23 of the 27 NASCAR-sanctioned races that he entered, and won the track championship at Bolivar Speedway in Missouri.

In 1990, Phillips added James Ince (later a winning Winston Cup crew chief) to his team, and won 32 races in 40 starts in 1991 at race tracks in Kansas and Missouri.

The team’s success continued in 1992 at the same race tracks, winning 38 times in 40 starts despite a trailer fire en route to the only double-feature event on their schedule. The team had more than 70 wins for the season including some late season dirt races.

In 1995, Phillips once again won 32 out of 40 races, winning the national championship over Greg Biffle by a tiebreaker.

In his final national championship season, 1996, Phillips earned 14 wins in 20 starts.

He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2000, but continued to race until the first race of the 2001 season. With his energy fading, he retired rather than race without confidence in being ready to win.

Honors

  • As part of the 25th anniversary of the NASCAR Weekly Series in 2006, Phillips was named one of the series’ All Time Top 25 drivers.

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