Twilight sparkling over Crenshaw's career
Although Lakeland's George Crenshaw will not bring himself to say that he is completely retiring from driving a racecar, this weekend's Discount Auto Parts presents the Pennzoil 150 NASCAR Goody's Dash event might well be the last race for the 9 ...
Although Lakeland's George Crenshaw will not bring himself to say that he is completely retiring from driving a racecar, this weekend's Discount Auto Parts presents the Pennzoil 150 NASCAR Goody's Dash event might well be the last race for the 9 year Dash veteran. With over 15 years of auto racing under his belt his plan for the immediate future is to take a step back and concentrate on fulfilling the role of a car owner. His 9 year history in the series includes 7 trips to Victory Lane as a driver and an additional 4 more wins with teammate Ed Howell driving for the team. Every victory is important to a racer but perhaps the most memorable win for the now 40 year old Crenshaw was his first Goody's Dash win dating back to 1991 when he won at Lanier Speedway in Georgia. That same rookie season rewarded the upstart team with second in the season point standings and cemented their long-term commitment to the series. Not unlike other Lakeland raised racers, motorcycle racing supplied the infrastructure to George's racing career. Switching to Mini Stocks in the early to mid 80's and racing on a track situated on the very property now home to the USA International Speedway, George honed his skills as a capable driver and eventually shifted his focus towards NASCAR's sub-compact touring division. The mid-90's brought yet another advancement in his career as he attempted to run several NASCAR Busch Grand National races. It was during this time that George experienced his fondest memory in racing. "We were in Charlotte and had to run the qualifying race to get into the Busch race that weekend", explains Crenshaw with a drawl which is unmistakably George's, " I was sitting there on the pit wall kind of dejected with my head hanging down and Earnhardt walks by me and says, Come on Soup boy (with reference to George's sponsorship from Campbell's Soup) - Let's go get 'em." To take an advertising slogan from that same sponsor, George's racing career has not been all "MMMME MMMME Good" as two of his most horrifying crashes have come in recent years at Daytona. Following his best Daytona finish of second in 1995, the tables turned and so did Crenshaw's Pontiac - over and over and over in 1997. With the memories of how unforgiving Daytona's high speeds could be, another savage crash sidelined George for most of the 1999 season after his leg was broken in a multi-car mishap exiting the tri-oval of the big track. George returned to the Dash series here at USA International Speedway last October as his teammate Ed Howell led the field to green from the pole position. George himself missed tying the USA qualifying record for the Dash cars in 1998 by only .001 of a second and given the recent efforts of the team here at USA a Crenshaw Motorsports front row is a distinct possibility. George moves over now to hopefully bring along a young driver needing the seat time and opportunity to draw upon his invaluable experience and although it's unlikely we will see him strap on a helmet again in competition it's exciting just to know that he still could.
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