Morty Buckles

American racing driver

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Morty Buckles
Nationality  American
Born 1971 or 1972 (age 52–53)
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Years active 1995–2006
Last updated on: September 1, 2014.

Morty Buckles is an American racing driver. An African American, Buckles was a member of NASCAR‘s first Drive for Diversity class after cutting his teeth at the regional racing level. In 2006, Buckles planned to race in the ARCA Racing Series and Sprint Cup Series with a team owned by former NFL wide receiver Terance Mathis, but the deal ultimately fell through.[1] Buckles has a degree in mechanical engineering from Southern Polytechnic State University,[2] and has served as an instructor at the Richard Petty Driving Experience.[3]

History[edit]

Early career[edit]

Buckles began racing go-karts at age six. Driving in the World Karting Association, he won 22 races in his first year and 161 out of 252 total starts. For much of his career, he had to race out of his own pocket, getting the most out of second class equipment and holding his own with local legends. Buckles calls the son of Wendell Scott, Wendell Scott Jr. his mentor. From 1995 to 1998, Buckles drove in the Sportsman and Late model divisions at Lanier Raceplex. In 1999, he competed in seven PARTS Pro Truck events at Concord Speedway, earning several top 5s and the “Hard Charger” award for passing the most trucks in a race. In 2000, he attended the Skip Barber Racing School and was the fastest in his class.[1][3][4]

In 2001, Buckles drove a Pontiac Late model in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series for the Miller Racing Group, run by black owners Leonard W. Miller and his son Leonard T. Miller. According to the junior Miller, Buckles possessed the talent “to be the next Dale Earnhardt,” but that he needed “5,000 practice laps” to be ready for the Cup Series. In January, the team signed a one-year contract with Dr. Pepper, with the sponsorship rumored to be as high as $100,000. The deal involved the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow/PUSH initiative.[3][4][5][6] Buckles reached victory lane in July at Coastal Plains Speedway, the first black driver to win a NASCAR sanctioned event since Wendell Scott’s legendary win (though Darrell Wallace Jr. would go on to get the first series win in one of the three national series since Scott in 2013). After his victory, Morty was sent “straight to the podium…as other competitors ‘waved rebel flags at [him] in defiance.’”[3][6] Overall, Buckles finished in the top ten in 80 percent of his races.[3]

Buckles participated in an ARCA Racing Series test session at Daytona International Speedway in December 2001 for Bobby Gerhart in a number 7 Chevrolet. He clocked in at 50.356 seconds (178.727 mph), 19th fastest.[7] Rich Woodland Jr. would ultimately drive the car at the Daytona season-opener for 2002.

Drive for Diversity[edit]

In 2004, Buckles was selected to be part of NASCAR‘s first Drive for Diversity class for that season, driving the No. 54 National Guard Ford in the Late model division of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, splitting the year between Southampton Motor Speedway and Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia. Buckles drove for Belnavis Racing, owned by Roush Racing‘s chief diversity officer Sam Belnavis (Roush ran the National Guard sponsorship in the Cup Series). The team was also supported by Travis Carter Motorsports (which ran the No. 54 National Guard Ford in the Cup Series the previous season in a partnership with Belnavis).[6][8][9] Buckles posted 15 top 10s in 19 races.[3][10][11] Later in the year, Buckles participated in a recruitment combine for Roush Racing (now Roush Fenway Racing), frequently referred to as The Gong Show, at North Wilkesboro Speedway.[12]

Buckles returned to the program and the 54 car in 2005, but was one of several drivers to depart from the D4D program due to feeling limited by the equipment and resources provided to them.[4][13]

Victory Motorsports[edit]

In July 2005, Buckles left the Diversity program to join former NFL wide receiver Terance Mathis and his new race team Victory Motorsports, planning to race in the Nextel Cup Series and ARCA Racing Series. Established Cup team Morgan-McClure Motorsports (which received support and engines from Hendrick Motorsports) would provide technical support for the new No. 04 Chevrolet. In a 2005 test session at Kentucky Speedway, Roush Racing Cup driver Carl Edwards noticed Morty’s performance, saying “Where has this guy been hiding?” Mathis and the 34-year-old Buckles ambitiously planned 20 Cup races and a dozen ARCA races for 2006, but the deal never fully materialized. Buckles attempted one ARCA race at Nashville Speedway with ST2 Motorsports, failing to qualify in their No. 67 Dodge.[2][3][11][14][15] Mathis would later attempt to purchase RJ Racing and their No. 37 Dodge team, but that deal would also fall through.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Buckles has a wife Maria, also an engineer, and three children (Jada, Jordan, and Justin).

Buckles and his father are family friends of former driver Ken Ragan and current Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan, both of whom are also Georgia natives. The Buckles relationship with the Ragans goes back to the 1940s, when Morty Buckles’ grandfather worked as a mechanic on the race team owned by Ken Ragan’s father (David Ragan’s grandfather).[4]

References[edit]

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  1. ^ a b .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free.id-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Lock-green.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited.id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration.id-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription.id-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error,html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error,html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}McCall, David D. (July 10, 2012). “MORTY BUCKLES AND TERANCE MATHIS HAVE A DREAM TO COMPETE AGAINST NASCAR’S BEST. BUT FIRST THEY HAVE TO SELL IT”. ESPN Mobile Web. ESPN. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b “NASCAR Newest Minority Owned Cup Series Team Announces Drivers”. The Auto Channel. Atlanta, Georgia: The Auto Channel. June 27, 2005. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Senator Gloria S. Butler (2005). “Senate Resolution 1258” (PDF). legis.ga.gov. Georgia General Assembly. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Hinton, Ed (March 4, 2009). “Drive for Diversity stuck in neutral”. espn.go.com. ESPN. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  5. ^ Sandomir, Richard (January 27, 2001). “AUTO RACING; Black Nascar Driver Gets Major Sponsor”. nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Wilson, Kevin A. (January 9, 2005). “Minority Report: Where Did All The Progress Go?”. Autoweek.com. AutoWeek. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  7. ^ ARCA (December 12, 2001). “Daytona test speeds”. motorsport.com. motorsport.com. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  8. ^ Alleyne, Sonia (April 1, 2004). “The New Face of NASCAR: Race, money, and politics in motor sports’ fast lane”. Black Enterprise. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  9. ^ “Southampton 2004 preview, schedule”. motorsport.com. Capron, Virginia: motorsport.com. March 24, 2004. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  10. ^ Riverside Motorsports Park (February 19, 2005). “Riverside Motorsports Park to host special event”. motorsport.com. Atwater, California: motorsport.com. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  11. ^ a b PR Newswire (July 1, 2005). “Buckles Advances Out Of Drive For Diversity(SM) Program”. Blackathlete.net. Charlotte, North Carolina: Blackathlete.net, PRNMedia.com. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  12. ^ Zeller, Bob (April 2005). “The Gong Show: In which Jack Roush conducts the most democratic driver selection in American racing”. Car and Driver. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  13. ^ Livingstone, Seth (April 27, 2007). “NASCAR seeks diversity but finds the going slow”. USA Today. USA Today. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  14. ^ Performance Racing Network (July 6, 2005). “Buckles Advances Out Of Drive For Diversity(SM) Program”. Blackathlete.net. Charlotte, North Carolina: Black Athlete Sports Network. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  15. ^ Mccall, David D. (February 27, 2006). “Door To Door”. ESPN. ESPN. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  16. ^ “#37 Team News Archive: Past 2006 News”. Jayski.com. Jayski’s Silly Season Site, Victory Motorsports. June 15, 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2014.

External links[edit]



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