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Blaise Robert Alexander, Jr. (March 26, 1976 – October 4, 2001) was an American professional stock car racer from Montoursville, Pennsylvania. He began racing at the age of 12 in go-karts, winning the coveted World Karting Association East Regional championship in 1992. In 1995, he moved south to Mooresville, North Carolina and drove in the ARCA Racing Series. Named ARCA's rookie of the year in 1996, Alexander was a regular driver in that series while also driving in both the NASCAR Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series.

Blaise Alexander
Born(1976-03-26)March 26, 1976
Montoursville, Pennsylvania
DiedOctober 4, 2001(2001-10-04) (aged 25)
Lowe's Motor Speedway
Concord, North Carolina
Cause of deathBasilar skull fracture from crash during 2001 ARCA EasyCare 100
Awards1996 ARCA Rookie of the Year
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
65 races run over 5 years
Best finish25th (2000)
First race1997 Kenwood Home & Car Audio 300 (California)
Last race2001 MBNA.com 200 (Dover)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 2 0
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series career
2 races run over 1 year
Best finish53rd (1997)
First race1997 Loadhandler 200 (Bristol)
Last race1997 Parts America 150 (Watkins Glen)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 1 0

On October 4, 2001, during the ARCA EasyCare 100 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Alexander's car crashed into the outside retaining wall nearly head-on. He died from a basilar skull fracture, the fifth driver death from rapid-deceleration head-and-neck movements in 17 months, convincing NASCAR to mandate the HANS or Hutchens devices for all drivers, despite the accident happening in ARCA.

Early lifeEdit

Alexander was born on March 26, 1976 in Montoursville, Pennsylvania. He began his stock car career at age 12 in the World Karting Association and was the champion of the East Series in 1992. From that point, Alexander moved onto the Micro-Sprint racing series at tracks in different states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, posting a total of 48 wins in the series. In 1995, Alexander moved from Montoursville to Mooresville, North Carolina to pursue a racing career.

Racing careerEdit

ARCAEdit

Alexander drove a few races in the ARCA Re-Max Series in 1995. With a full season in 1996, Alexander won ARCA's Rookie of the Year Award. During his 1996 rookie season, Alexander pulled off a second-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Alexander achieved two more second-place finishes in 1997. Alexander won his first ARCA race in 1998 at Toledo Speedway and won a second race the same year at Pocono Raceway. He led in 18 ARCA races for a total of 490 laps led. Alexander's final win came in July 2001, at Michigan International Speedway. Alexander earned a total of four career pole awards, in races at Michigan, Watkins Glen, Toledo and Winchester.

NASCAREdit

In 1997, still running fifteen races in ARCA, Alexander began driving in NASCAR in the Busch Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. He only raced twice in the truck series, and had modest success in Busch. Alexander signed to run for Team SABCO during the 2000 Busch season, posting two top-ten finishes and finishing 25th in points. After that year, he decided to return to the ARCA series in 2001.

DeathEdit

At the EasyCare 100 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 4, 2001, Alexander was involved in a 2-car accident during lap 63 of the race. He was fighting for the lead position with Kerry Earnhardt for most of the race.[1] During the lap, Earnhardt had to dodge a lapped car by hitting his brakes, which caused Alexander's No. 75 to catch up to Earnhardt's No. 2. Alexander began to inch into the lead when Earnhardt's car made contact with Alexander's, sending Alexander's car head-on into the wall and then back into Earnhardt's car causing Earnhardt to flip over onto his roof and slide into the grass. After the wreck, Earnhardt got away unharmed, while Alexander was knocked unconscious.[1] The ARCA race officials quickly threw out the red flag to send rescue workers onto the track to check on Alexander. Earnhardt had already gotten out of his car and wanted to go check on Alexander, a friend of his. Officials would not allow Earnhardt to see him and was taken to the infield care center. Alexander was pronounced dead at the infield care center at 10:20 PM. He was 25 years old.[1][2] Alexander was interred at the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, his hometown.[3]

AftermathEdit

Alexander's death, caused by a basilar skull fracture sustained in the impact, was the sixth in two years. Other high-profile drivers killed in this period included Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin Jr., Tony Roper and Dale Earnhardt (Father of Kerry Earnhardt, and who was killed in February that same year). As a result of Alexander's crash, NASCAR announced that the use of head and neck restraint devices would be required to keep drivers safe from these types of injuries, caused by rapid deceleration in wrecks. The use of such devices had been optional up until Alexander's death, though 41 out of 43 drivers in NASCAR's top series were already using them. Only Tony Stewart and Jimmy Spencer had not worn them yet.

In response to these deaths, NASCAR eventually installed SAFER barriers on all NASCAR oval tracks. As of 2015, most tracks have the exterior walls covered with the barriers.

After his 1995 move to North Carolina, Alexander enjoyed a close friendship with fellow Busch rookie driver and eventual NASCAR superstar, Jimmie Johnson, as they competed against each other on the track, while supporting each other off it.[4] Alexander and his family had also known Jimmy Spencer for a number of years and Jimmy was his mentor. Alexander's memory has been honored by Johnson in several public and private ways, including dedicating his first Cup win to Alexander during a televised interview in victory lane, sending condolences in a victory lane interview after the passing of Blaise's mother, and supporting various charity causes and events that Alexander initiated in his hometown area of Central Pennsylvania. Additionally, on every one of Johnson's race cars is a small decal commemorating Alexander.[5]

Motorsports career resultsEdit

NASCAREdit

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

Winston Cup SeriesEdit

NASCAR Winston Cup Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 NWCC Pts Ref
2000 LJ Racing 91 Chevy DAY CAR LVS ATL DAR BRI TEX MAR TAL CAL RCH CLT DOV MCH POC SON DAY NHA POC IND GLN MCH BRI DAR RCH NHA DOV MAR CLT TAL
DNQ
CAR PHO HOM ATL
DNQ
NA - [6]

Busch SeriesEdit

NASCAR Busch Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 NBSC Pts Ref
1997 Keystone Motorsports 20 Chevy DAY CAR RCH ATL LVS DAR HCY TEX BRI NSV TAL NHA NZH CLT DOV SBO GLN MLW MYB GTY IRP MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV CLT CAL
20
CAR
24
77th 194 [7]
Key Motorsports 11 Chevy HOM
DNQ
1998 Keystone Motorsports 20 Chevy DAY
DNQ
CAR
23
LVS
25
NSV
21
DAR
12
BRI
35
TEX
33
HCY
DNQ
TAL
14
NHA
26
NZH
38
CLT
DNQ
DOV
38
RCH
DNQ
PPR
27
GLN
43
MLW
27
MYB
DNQ
CAL
35
SBO IRP MCH
20
BRI
41
DAR
37
RCH
42
DOV
26
CLT
40
GTY
33
CAR
31
ATL
39
HOM
23
32nd 1730 [8]
1999 Blaise Alexander Racing DAY
DNQ
CAR LVS ATL DAR TEX NSV BRI TAL CAL NHA RCH NZH CLT
24
DOV SBO GLN MLW MYB PPR GTY IRP MCH BRI DAR RCH DOV 91st 158 [9]
Sterling Marlin Racing 14 Chevy CLT
32
CAR MEM PHO HOM
2000 SABCO Racing 81 Chevy DAY
DNQ
CAR
30
LVS
21
ATL
7
DAR
28
BRI
23
TEX
18
NSV
28
TAL
30
CAL
38
RCH
31
NHA
40
CLT
10
DOV
31
SBO
27
MYB
34
GLN
13
MLW
18
NZH
26
PPR
22
GTY
35
IRP
16
MCH
39
BRI
41
DAR
35
RCH
18
DOV
21
CLT
30
CAR
34
MEM
31
PHO
38
HOM
28
25th 2540 [10]
2001 HighLine Performance Group 8 Chevy DAY
30
CAR
16
LVS
43
ATL
12
DAR BRI TEX NSH TAL CAL RCH NHA NZH CLT DOV KEN MLW GLN CHI GTY PPR IRP 54th 558 [11]
Carroll Racing 08 Chevy MCH
11
BRI DAR RCH DOV
28
KAN CLT MEM PHO CAR HOM

Craftsman Truck SeriesEdit

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 NCTC Pts Ref
1997 Blaise Alexander Racing 62 Chevy WDW TUS HOM
DNQ
PHO POR EVG I70 NHA TEX BRI
14
NZH MLW LVL CNS HPT IRP FLM NSV
DNQ
GLN
9
RCH MAR
DNQ
SON MMR CAL PHO LVS 53rd 373 [12]

ARCA Re/Max SeriesEdit

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

ARCA Re/Max Series results
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 ARMC Pts Ref
1995 Blaise Alexander Racing 26 Chevy DAY
12
ATL TAL
13
FIF KIL FRS MCH I80 OWO FRS POC
5
POC
33
KIL FRS SBS LVL ISF DSF SLM WIN ATL
8
33rd 1045 [13]
1996 DAY
27
ATL
7
SLM
9
TAL
15
FIF
7
LVL
15
CLT
2
CLT
25
KIL
3
FRS
5
POC
23
MCH
6
FRS
20
TOL
11
POC
4
MCH
20
INF
17
SBS
3
ISF
28
DSF
27
KIL
18
SLM
3
WIN
8
CLT
35
ATL
33
5th 5325 [14]
1997 DAY
37
ATL
17
SLM
22
CLT
39
CLT
24
POC
30
MCH
6
SBS TOL
2
KIL
2
FRS MIN
2
POC
3
MCH
7
DSF GTW
6
SLM
6
WIN CLT
34
TAL ISF ATL 9th 2655 [15]
1998 Keystone Motorsports 20 Chevy DAY
35
ATL SLM CLT MEM MCH NA 0 [16]
Mike Brandt 66 Ford POC
9
SBS TOL PPR POC KIL FRS ISF ATL DSF SLM TEX WIN CLT TAL ATL
1999 Baltes Racing 18 Chevy DAY ATL
3
SLM 16th 2330 [17]
Blaise Alexander Racing 97 Chevy AND
3
CLT
14
MCH
2
POC
11
TOL
1
SBS
25
BLN POC
1*
KIL FRS FLM
9
ISF WIN
2
DSF SLM CLT
4
TAL ATL
26
2001 LJ Racing 91 Chevy DAY
8
NSH 23rd 1820 [18]
Gerhart Racing 7 Pontiac WIN
28
LJ Racing 91 Pontiac SLM
6
GTY KEN CLT KAN MCH
6
POC
9
MEM GLN
2
KEN POC
2
NSH ISF CHI DSF SLM TOL BLN
Bob Schacht Motorsports 75 Pontiac MCH
1
CLT
2
TAL ATL

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c 2001: A year to forget for Kerry Earnhardt. Nascar.com (2001-10-11). Retrieved on 2011-12-05.
  2. ^ "BLAISE ALEXANDER (1976–2001) – ARCA Racing.com". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-10-08.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "BLAISE ALEXANDER – ARCA Racing.com". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-10-08.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  4. ^ A year later, Johnson still affected by Alexander. NASCAR.com (2002-10-11). Retrieved on 2011-12-05.
  5. ^ http://bleacherreport.com/articles/508136-nascar-sprint-cup-series-champion-jimmie-johnson-never-races-alone
  6. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  7. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 1997 NASCAR Busch Grand National Series Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  8. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 1998 NASCAR Busch Grand National Series Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  9. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 1999 NASCAR Busch Grand National Series Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  10. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 2000 NASCAR Busch Grand National Series Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  11. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 2001 NASCAR Busch Grand National Series Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  12. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 1997 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  13. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 1995 ARCA Hooters SuperCar Series Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  14. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 1996 ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  15. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 1997 ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  16. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 1998 ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  17. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 1999 ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  18. ^ "Blaise Alexander – 2001 ARCA Re/Max Series Results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved October 23, 2018.

External linksEdit