The Story Behind Tim Richmond’s NASCAR Pontiac LeMans And How It Was Found And Restored

The Story Behind Tim Richmond’s NASCAR Pontiac LeMans And How It Was Found And Restored

Tim Richmond isn’t a name that immediately springs to mind when NASCAR is involved, but the story behind him and this NASCAR Pontiac LeMans car is a unique one. Richmond, a playboy and in some ways a gentleman racer, had been messing around with open-wheel cars since 1976 with little luck and had made friends with drag racer Raymond Beadle when, in 1980, Pocono Raceway president Joseph Mattioli suggested that he give NASCAR a shot. Between 1980-1982, Richmond drove with small, incremental successes, but in 1983 Beadle bought a NASCAR team and hired Richmond on as a driver. Wins and pole positions started to rack up before Richmond jumped ship to Hendrick Motorsports in 1985. His best season was in 1986, and unfortunately it was also his last. He fell ill after the 1986 NASCAR banquet, and though he tried to make a comeback in 1987, winning at Pocono even, by September 1987 he had resigned from Hendrick and had shut himself up inside his Florida condo. Richmond passed on August 13th, 1989 from complications as a result of AIDS.

In this video, former Richmond crew member John Dodson shares stories about his time working with Richmond and the crew during the Beadle era. His memories of working on the Pontiac during the times where NASCAR was more of a Southern sport than the big deal it is now are priceless, and you get a small insight to some of the politics of the day, including Pontiac’s interference with the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix 2+2 body shells over the well-loved LeMans.

 Click play below and enjoy a look into the stories of a small NASCAR team!

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7 thoughts on “The Story Behind Tim Richmond’s NASCAR Pontiac LeMans And How It Was Found And Restored

  1. orange65

    Awesome video. Those cars looked so good back then. I know I am tired of hearing it, but it is true- part of NASCAR’s problem is the cookie cutter cars. I wish they would go back to more of a stock body than what they have now. Something you can identify without looking for stickers on the front of the car.

  2. tigeraid

    NASCAR at its finest. Tube-frame yes, as it should be, big snorting v8 under the hood that wasn’t available at the time yes, but a basically STOCK body. Beautiful cars.

  3. Turbo Regal

    I remember Bobby Allison racing a similar Lemans at Daytona in the “Tuf Lon” livery in 81. Slick body among the boxy G Bodies and pre aero T birds.

    One of the best eras in Nascar. Big personalities, stock looking cars of all types and small teams were still able to compete. Nothing like the snore fest of now.

  4. BeaverMartin

    As a North Carolinian who was born in the 70s I miss the way NASCAR used to be. A great video and beautiful car. Man I want to turn my Matador into a Penskee replica now. Damn you Bang Shift!

  5. Patrick

    Great car, great personality, lifestyle got the better of him. That being said, NASCAR should be ashamed of how they treated him.

  6. rc75

    Awesome video wasn’t real old back in those days but I remember watching them years later lots of great drivers and bad ass cars that you could identify what they were.

  7. Someone who lived it

    You said…Messed around with open wheel cars…
    Tim was Top ten finisher and rookie of the year in the 1980 Indy 500 !!!
    He was introduced to Beadle from Fred Miller…they were long time friends growing up in Ohio.

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