FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES COCA-COLA 600 May 30, 1999 Lowe's Motor Speedway, Charlotte, N.C. Harry Melling, owner of the No. 9 Cartoon Network Taurus, passed away Saturday after suffering a heart attack.
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES COCA-COLA 600 May 30, 1999 Lowe's Motor Speedway, Charlotte, N.C.
Harry Melling, owner of the No. 9 Cartoon Network Taurus, passed away Saturday after suffering a heart attack. Ford driver Bill Elliott won 34 races for Melling from 1982-91, including a career-high 11 in 1985. Elliott also won the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup championship with Melling, which represented Ford's first driver title in the modern era (1972-present). Jerry Nadeau joined the Cartoon Network team during the middle of 1998 and posted his first career top-10 finish just a few weeks ago at Talladega. Both drivers spoke about Melling's influence on their careers.
BILL ELLIOTT -94- McDonald's Taurus -- "Harry did a lot for me, not just a little. Harry believed in us. I'll never forget Ernie (Elliott) and I driving up to his office and sitting down to talk to him about possible sponsorship for the 1981 season and him believing in us enough to do it. Then at the end of that season he turned around and bought into the team and ended up buying the whole thing and starting from there. I grew up with his kids -- Mark, Matt, Michelle -- and his wife, Chris. My sympathy goes out to the whole family and the whole Melling crew. I was a part of their deal from 1980 through '92-93 and I've always been friends with Harry, even to this day, although I haven't seen him a lot here the last several years. For us, we won him a championship and we won a lot of races for him. He'll definitely be missed in this sport."
WHERE WOULD YOU BE WITHOUT MEETING HARRY MELLING? "That's probably a question nobody can answer. Harry gave me the opportunity because he believed in us and we were able to go that next step. We started out where we just wanted to run better and then run good, and then the goal became to win races. He always kept believing through that entire process. Harry tried to kind of be a tough guy, but he had a heart as big as Michigan, and I think from the standpoint of what he did we really changed NASCAR and this sport totally. Nobody saw him the way I did in the years I saw him, growing up with his family and going out to his house and having the fun we had through the years.."
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU SAY ABOUT HARRY? "Harry was a great guy. Like I said, Harry had a big heart. He always took care of people and I can't say enough about what he did for me. I couldn't put it in to words and can't express the gratitude I have for him and his whole family."
JERRY NADEAU -9- Cartoon Network Taurus -- "This is really tragic. The last time I was with Harry was at Talladega where we had our best finish. The night before we had a great dinner together and that's the way I want to remember Harry. He's been a great father figure to all of us and it's gonna be sad for all of us for awhile. I'm sure today he's looking down on us telling us to keep going and have a good day. We're honoring Harry today on our race car, and I'm sure a lot of other race fans and race people are doing the same thing. We're all gonna miss Harry. He's been here for the last 20 years in NASCAR and he's been a great supporter of the sport. I'm sure he wouldn't want us to quit because of this, so we're gonna keep going in his memory and just have a good day. All of our sympathy goes out to his family."