Former NASCAR team owner Ed Whitaker dies

Former NASCAR team owner Ed Whitaker died Friday morning at his home in Bristol, Va., according to multiple published reports.

Whitaker only fielded cars in six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, all between 1978-80 for John Utsman, but in the NASCAR Nationwide Series his cars were among the ones to beat.

From 1982-2002, Whitaker fielded cars in 246 Nationwide races, posting an impressive 28 victories, 80 top fives and 107 top 10s. Three of his victories came at Bristol Motor Speedway, his home track, and site of this weekend’s NASCAR races.

Even more impressive was the list of drivers who ran Whitaker’s cars. Dale Earnhardt and Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Tim Richmond, Harry Gant, Davey Allison and Alan Kulwicki are among the legends of NASCAR who drove for Whitaker at one time of another.

Gant won 20 races driving Whitaker-owned cars, while Morgan Shepherd won the other eight.

Whitaker was well-liked and respected by the competitors.

"Just heard owner Ed Whitaker passed away this morning," Tweeted Dale Earnhardt Jr. "I drove for him twice in 1997. Amazing man. Will be missed."