Irwin Jr. Was Fast On The Track & Kind Away From It

“He’s one of the best I ever ran against,” Tony Stewart said about his friend, competitor and sometimes antagonist Kenny Irwin Jr. “If Kenny would’ve lived, he would’ve at least won a NASCAR championship, if not several. Irwin died on July 7, 2000, during a NASCAR Cup Series practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. By the time he was a senior at Indianapolis’ Lawrence North High School, where he played varsity soccer, he’d earned an SCCA competition license. In the USAC national midget division, Irwin won eight main events and claimed the 1996 national championship. Irwin entered NASCAR through the Craftsman Truck Series at Phoenix Raceway in 1996. It was a solid beginning for the NASCAR newcomer, but for 2000 Irwin separated from Yates Racing and pinned his future with a new manufacturer and team, driving the No. By the time the New Hampshire race came about in July, the team’s future appeared positive. But it wasn’t in the cards as a crash during practice ended Irwin’s life.

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