Tim Wilson, comedian/singer who wrote several NASCAR-themed parody songs, dies at 52

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Comedian and singer Tim Wilson, who recorded several NASCAR-themed parody songs that proved to be big hits with the sport’s fans, has died.

Wilson, 52, died Wednesday night of an apparent heart attack in Nashville, according to numerous media reports. The website TheComicsComic.com first broke the news.

A Georgia native, Wilson shot to fame in the 1990s with a freewheeling style that poked fun at numerous topics including politics, rednecks (he co-wrote Jeff Foxworthy’s hit song “Redneck 12 Days of Christmas”) and sports.

It was with NASCAR fans that Wilson made a resounding impression and connection with songs including the aptly-named “The NASCAR Song” (video below), an ode to a driver born in the Talladega SuperSpeedway grandstands and which featured a tongue-twisting chorus that went, “She named me Dale Darrell Waltrip Richard Petty Rusty Awesome Bill Irvin Gordon Earnhardt Smith Johnson, Jr.”

Wilson also wrote another famous parody that characterized Jeff Gordon’s epic battle’s with Wilson’s beloved Dale Earnhardt.

Fellow comedian Larry the Cable Guy, who spent last weekend at Daytona International Speedway, tweeted his shock and sadness at Wilson’s passing:

“Horrible news. Comedian Tim Wilson passed away tonight. I hope you were one of the lucky ones that got to see him preform. One of the best. Tim was a mentor and friend to a lot of us comedians that started in the south, Him, Foxworthy and James Gregory. One of the big 3. Hat off. My heart goes out to his wife and kids. You’ll be missed Tim and thank you for all the memories.”

Wilson’s last show was Saturday in Bay City, Mich. He was scheduled to headline this weekend at The Comedy Club Stardome near Birmingham, Ala.

“I am very sorry to report that my dear friend Tim Wilson passed away this evening,” Stardome owner Bruce Ayers said on the club’s Facebook page. “I like the entire comedy community am shocked and saddened by this tragic news. Tim was old school, he was on our second show (when the club opened in 1983). I just can’t tell you how much he will be missed.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

Follow @KyleMLavigne