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Kenny Irwin Jr.

kenny irwin jr. s fatal crash, kenny irwin jr. images
Kenneth Dale Irwin Jr August 5, 1969 – July 7, 2000 was an American stock car racing driver He had driven in all three NASCAR national touring series, and had two total victories, both in the Craftsman Truck Series Before that, he raced in the United States Auto Club against Tony Stewart, who was one of his fiercest rivals He died as a result of injuries suffered in a crash during a practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 NASCAR
  • 3 Death
  • 4 Motorsports career results
    • 41 NASCAR
      • 411 Winston Cup Series
      • 412 Busch Series
      • 413 Craftsman Truck Series
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Early lifeedit

Irwin grew up in Indianapolis and was the third youngest of four children He began racing quarter-midgets before he was in the second grade He graduated from Lawrence North High School in 1988 where he played varsity soccer, while continuing his career as a driver Between 1988 and 1991, he raced for his father in the IMSA American Challenge stock car series, all while he was still a teenager

Irwin then went on to race in USAC He began open wheel racing in 1991 He had 7 career USAC Sprint Car Series wins, and was the series Rookie of the Year in 1993 In 1994 he was the USAC Silver Crown Series Rookie of the Year and finished second in the 1995 USAC standings In 1996 he was the USAC National Midget Series champ After his successful run in USAC, many open-wheel enthusiasts began comparing him to NASCAR's Jeff Gordoncitation needed


Irwin's 1997 truck Irwin's 1997 Winston Cup car Irwin No 28 racing Matt Kenseth at Dover, 1998 Irwin's Project Impact car, May 2000

Irwin began his major-league NASCAR career in the Craftsman Truck Series He made his debut in that series in 1996 at Phoenix International Raceway, driving the No 26 Ford F-150 for MB Motorsports He started and finished 32nd after an engine failure In his second start at Richmond International Raceway, he won the pole in the No 62 Raybestos Ford for Liberty Racing, finishing fifth in the event

He moved up to drive full-time in 1997, driving the No 98 Ford for Liberty Racing He had 2 wins, 7 Top 5, and 10 Top 10 finishes that season, on his way to a 10th-place finish in the final point standings He also won Rookie of the Year honors that season Irwin also made his debut in the Winston Cup Series in 1997 with David Blair Motorsports at Richmond He qualified on the outside pole and led for twelve laps, finishing in eighth place He ran three more races with Blair that season, qualifying no worse than eleventh

"Everyone has been hoping to find the next Jeff Gordon, I think we found him"

— David Blair, after the 1997 season-ending race at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Irwin won the 1998 Rookie of the Year award in the Cup Series driving the Robert Yates Racing No 28 car, replacing Ernie Irvan Irwin started the 1998 season by winning the Automobile Racing Club of America race in Daytona in February in a car owned by Yates During that season, he had one pole, 1 Top 5, and 4 Top 10 finishes on his way to a disappointing 28th-place finish in the final points standings In 1999 he had 2 poles, 2 Top 5 and 6 Top 10 finishes and finished 19th-place finish in the final points standings

Irwin made his debut in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1999, driving the No 11 Ford Taurus owned by his teammate, Dale Jarrett, and NFL quarterback Brett Favre He had two fifth-place finishes in five starts in the series during the 1999 season, at Texas Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway, respectively

He is also known for one incident where he bumped the car of Tony Stewart, a former rival of his in USAC open-wheel competition, into the wall in the Goody's 500 at Martinsville Speedway Stewart exited his wrecked car and tried to enter Irwin's car as it was driving under the caution flag in a show of displeasure

For the 2000 season Irwin was tabbed by Felix Sabates to replace Joe Nemechek in Team SABCO's No 42 Chevrolet He had a single Top 10 finish, 4th at Talladega Superspeedway, in his first 17 races with the team He made nine starts in the Busch Series for SABCO as well, posting a best finish of ninth at Talladega His final race for the team was at Daytona International Speedway in the Pepsi 400, finishing 22nd; he was seen as having a bright future with the team, which had just had a majority interest purchased by Chip Ganassi1


During practice for the thatlookcom 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 7, 2000, Irwin slammed head on into the wall, causing his car to flip onto its side According to fellow driver Brett Bodine speaking to CNN, the car slid along its side for a long time before rolling on its roof Irwin likely died instantly of a basilar skull fracture He was 30 years old He died less than a month before his 31st birthday Fellow Indiana native and rival Tony Stewart would win the race that Sunday, and donate the trophy to Irwin's parents2 Irwin's accident was blamed on a stuck throttle, which was the same cause of the accident that had killed Adam Petty at nearly that exact spot on the track just two months prior Ted Musgrave drove the renumbered No 01 car for the remainder of the 2000 season The car was renumbered to 41 in 2002 and Sabates brought back the 42 number in 2003 with driver Jamie McMurray

Irwin's parents founded the Kenny Irwin Jr Foundation and the Dare to Dream Camp for underprivileged children located in New Castle, Indiana in his honor

The 2000 Brickyard 400 was dedicated in his memory

Motorsports career resultsedit


key Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time  – Most laps led

Winston Cup Seriesedit


Busch Seriesedit


Craftsman Truck Seriesedit



  1. ^ Smith, Marty July 6, 2000 "Dial it up, Irwin a contender at NHIS" NASCARcom ESPN Archived from the original on August 23, 2000 Retrieved 2012-06-12 
  2. ^ CNN report on YouTube

External linksedit

  • Kenny Irwin Jr Foundation
  • Kenny Irwin Jr driver statistics at Racing-Reference
  • Remembering Kenny Irwin at NASCARcom
  • Dare to Dream Camp - Link
Preceded by
Rodney Orr
NASCAR Cup Series fatal accidents
Succeeded by
Dale Earnhardt
Preceded by
Mike Skinner
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Tony Stewart
Preceded by
Bryan Reffner
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Greg Biffle

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