NASCAR: Engine builder, car owner Ray Fox dead at 98

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Former engine builder and car owner Ray Fox, who helped several of the sport’s legendary drivers win some of its most important races, has passed away at the age of 98 according to a report from the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

The N-J’s Godwin Kelly relays word from a family spokesperson that Fox had been hospitalized a few days ago and that he’d been suffering from pneumonia. Two of his daughters were at his side when he died.

Fox was a key figure in stock car racing during the 1950s and 1960s. He built the winning engine for Fireball Roberts in the 1955 Daytona Road & Beach Course race.

However, Roberts was disqualified after the sanctioning body determined that the pushrods had been illegally modified by the car’s mechanic.

Nonetheless, Fox was brought on to work for Carl Kiekhaefer the following year. With Fox’s help, Kiekhaefer’s cars dusted the competition to the tune of 22 wins in 26 races and Fox himself earned the Chief Mechanic of the Year award.

A few years later, Junior Johnson took a Fox-built car to the win in the 1960 Daytona 500. Future NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson also won three races that year in a Fox-built car and captured Rookie of the Year honors.

Two years later, Fox tried his hand at team ownership and had a good amount of success. He won 14 races, with Johnson chipping in nine of them and Buck Baker earning two, including the 1964 Southern 500 at Darlington.

Other drivers that suited up for Fox included Cale Yarborough, Fred Lorenzen, and Buddy Baker.

Fox retired from the sport in the early 1970s, but in 1990, he came back to help NASCAR on its technical side as an engine inspector. He stayed in that role until 1996, when he retired again.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Fox’s family and friends at this time.

Reaction to INDYCAR/NBC Sports Group announcement: Mario Andretti, Roger Penske, Bobby Rahal and social media

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Like countless others on the East Coast, Mario Andretti was fighting through a snowstorm Wednesday morning.

But emotionally and personally, it was a very bright and sunny day for the legendary Indy car driver.

In an exclusive interview with, Andretti spoke in glowing terms about this morning’s announcement of a multi-year media rights partnership between INDYCAR and NBC Sports Group beginning next year.

“I think this is awesome,” Andretti said. “It’s music to my ears and all of us. NBC has been very familiar with IndyCar racing, so they’re a great partner. I’m elated that it’s all nailed down, secured and I’m looking forward to the future.

“It’s also great for the young lads in Indy Lights coming on, and it’s great for all the sponsors to have that kind of exposure. It’s a good day for INDYCAR today.”

Andretti lauded the fact that all elements of INDYCAR coverage – TV, digital and streaming – will now be under one corporate roof, so to speak.

“Personally, I think it’s huge,” Andretti said. “Everybody is going to be very familiar with everything, the storylines are going to flow perfectly from event to event. There’s nothing like continuity.

“It’s okay sometimes if you have two networks, but to me, the best possible solution is this. That’s why I think this is really a great day for INDYCAR racing to have NBC involved and the continuity is huge for us.”

MORE: NBC Sports Group, INDYCAR partner on new TV and digital rights agreement starting in 2019

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Several other high-profile individuals within the IndyCar community also gave their take on Wednesday’s announcement, including statements from team owners Roger Penske and Bobby Rahal.

Roger Penske: “As an industry, we are very fortunate to have the NBC Sports Group grow their presence and coverage of INDYCAR racing and really invest in the future of the sport. We believe there is a great deal of positive momentum in the Verizon IndyCar Series right now, from the development of the new race car, to the very talented group of young drivers and new teams coming into the sport this season.

“With the announcement of the enhanced broadcast partnership with NBC, it certainly adds to the excitement for the future. We know that the ways our fans are watching races and viewing INDYCAR content is rapidly changing, so staying ahead of the curve and the developing technology with our partners is important to the growth of our sport. We look forward to working with the NBC team to continue to build INDYCAR and take the sport in new directions.

“We also need to thank ABC and ESPN for all their terrific coverage over the years. The ABC network helped bring some of the most memorable moments in racing to life – including many of our team’s Indianapolis 500 victories – and we appreciate all of their hard work and passion for INDYCAR racing.”

Bobby Rahal: “It’s great news. I think the fact that the IndyCar Series will be under one roof, so to speak, network-wise can do nothing but great things for our sport. To increase to having eight races on network TV is also great news of course.

“The quality of the NBC broadcasts have gotten better and better over the last several years. They do a great job of providing interesting and entertaining content for the viewers and I think that will only continue to grow with the relationship going forward. That type of storytelling is also what helps bring new fans to the sport.”



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