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.”

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Max Verstappen shows speed in Austria; Lewis Hamilton lacking pace

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen posted the fastest time Friday, and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton lacked pace in the second practice session for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was 0.043 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas – Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes – and 0.217 ahead of Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.

“The car already feels better than last week, the balance is a lot nicer and we have made a good step,” said Verstappen, who did not finish last Sunday’s season-opening Austrian GP after starting from second.

“It is too early to say how we are looking against Mercedes, but we are quite happy. We have tried a few different directions to understand the car a bit more and we are heading the right way.”

Hamilton was only sixth fastest, about 0.7 seconds slower than Verstappen. Hamilton spent a chunk of time in the garage while his team worked on his car.

“It was quite far off, so there’s a lot of work to do in the background to figure it out,” he said. “Others out there are quick and Valtteri’s obviously got good pace.”

Despite adding a new front wing to its car, struggling Ferrari had a dismal afternoon.

Charles Leclerc was only ninth quickest and 1 second slower than Verstappen, while teammate Sebastian Vettel lagged about 2 seconds behind Verstappen in 16th.

Daniel Ricciardo lost control of his Renault car early into the second session, swerving left off the track and thudding backward into a protective tire wall. He climbed out unharmed, other than a slight limp, but the left rear tire was mangled and the car was lifted off the track by a crane.

Alexander Albon spun twice, the Red Bull driver’s second spin taking him right off the track and into gravel.

Earlier, Perez was fastest in the first practice ahead of Verstappen and Bottas, with Hamilton fourth quickest and Vettel only 10th in sunny conditions.

That session was briefly interrupted when Nicholas Latifi’s Williams car pulled over to the side with a gearbox issue.

The incident brought out yellow flags, forcing drivers to slow down. But McLaren driver Lando Norris overtook Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri and got a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

Norris, 20, finished third at the Austrian GP last weekend, becoming the youngest British driver in F1 history to get on the podium and third youngest in F1.

The upcoming race is changing names from last week but is at the same track. It is surrounded by the Styrian mountains.

A third and final practice will be held on Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon, with heavy rain and storms in the forecast.

If third practice and qualifying are washed out, drivers take their grid positions from where they placed in second practice.

“It would definitely suck if we didn’t get to qualify,” said Hamilton, who started fifth and finished fourth last weekend. “It would make it challenging.”

However, qualifying also could be moved to Sunday morning.

“I don’t expect to be on pole position with this (practice) lap,” Verstappen said.