Saturday, August 5, 2017

Kenny Irwin Jr Born In Indianapolis, Indiana - August 5, 1969

August 5, 1969 - July 7, 2000
Kenny Irwin Jr
(Photo; "Kenny Irwin Jr" by Darryl Moran) 
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
He had driven in all three NASCAR national touring series, and had two total victories, both in the Craftsman Truck Series. He was the 1998 Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year and the 1997 Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year. Irwin raced in USAC Sprint Cars, where Tony Stewart would be one of his fiercest rivals. 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 Gordon.

Irwin died as a result of injuries suffered in a crash during practice for the "thatlook.com 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. Fellow Indiana native and rival Tony Stewart would win the race that Sunday, and donate the trophy to Irwin's parents. 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.

Irwin's parents founded the Kenny Irwin Jr Foundation and the Dare to Dream Camp for underprivileged children located in New Castle, IN in his honor. The 2000 Brickyard 400 was dedicated in his memory.

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