Ed Negre, gave Dale Earnhardt first break in NASCAR, dies

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Ed Negre, who owned the first car that the late Dale Earnhardt ever raced in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, passed away Wednesday in a hospice in Longview, Wash., according to a report in the Charlotte Observer.

Negre was 86.

Competing primarily on a part-time basis, Negre raced in 338 events in NASCAR’s Grand National and Winston Cup series from 1955 through 1979. While he never won a race in the series, he had four top-five and 26 top-10 finishes.

His best season was 1971, when he competed in 43 of 48 races, earned two top-10 finishes and wound up 12th in the final Grand National Series standings.

His career-best finish was fourth at Portland Speedway (Oregon) in 1956.

According to Tom Higgins, retired NASCAR writer at The Observer,

Negre is perhaps best known for providing a car to a young, shy, long-haired driver from Kannapolis named Earnhardt for his first Cup Series start, at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 25, 1975, in the World 600.

Earnhardt finished 22nd that day, Negre was 32nd.

Earnhardt continued on to a storied career, winning seven championships to tie Richard Petty’s record before he was killed in a last-lap crash during the 2001 Daytona 500.

Negre always took pride in what he called a ‘small part’ in helping Earnhardt get started, saying he sensed Earnhardt had what it took to make it big.”

Negre moved from North Carolina to Washington state after the 1979 racing season and opened a trucking firm.

He is survived by wife Faye. The couple were married 59 years. Also surviving are four daughters and a son, Norman, who is head of fabrication for Stewart-Haas Racing, while Norman’s son Scott (Ed’s grandson) is a team engineer at SHR.

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Weather prompts INDYCAR to move up start time of today’s race in Alabama

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The scheduled starting time for today’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park has been moved up due to inclement weather in the Birmingham, Alabama area.

The command to start engines is now scheduled for 3:01 p.m. ET, rather than the previous scheduled start of 3:35 p.m. ET. The race, which is expected to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET,  will be carried live on NBCSN.

In addition, the INDY LIGHTS race, previously scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET, saw its starting time moved up to 11:45 a.m. ET.

According to several different weather forecasts, thunderstorms are predicted for the afternoon, with some forecasts calling for up to 100 percent chance of storms.

The rain is expected to continue into the evening and on into Monday.

INDYCAR officials are monitoring the very fluid situation and further schedule adjustments could be made.

We’ll keep readers up to date on further changes here on MotorSportsTalk.