WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2011 - This Sunday is November 14th and if any of you don't know the story behind our team and our number then here is short history lesson for you.
Herd Racing is named for the Thundering Herd of Marshall University. The university's campus is about 10 miles from our race shops and each year on November 14 they have a memorial service that commemorates the anniversary of what is probably America's most devastating sports tragedy.
During a thunderstorm on the night of November 14, 1970 a chartered jet carrying the Marshall University football team home from a game at East Carolina University crashed while on approach to the Huntington airport. All 75 people on board the plane were killed instantly and that one moment changed the whole complexion of Huntington, Marshall and the surrounding area forever.
That is why our race cars and boats carry the number 75 and why the number almost always appears in black on our haulers, uniforms, cars and boats. It serves as a memorial to the 75 people who were killed on that tragic night.
On Sunday afternoon, as is the case on November 14 of each year, several hundred people will gather at the memorial fountain on the university campus to turn off the fountain's water flow for the winter. It is a very tearful moment for this town and everyone affiliated with Marshall University. It is just one of those dates that you remember like your own birthday or like Christmas and is a topic that draws up emotion every time you think of it.
Pretty much everyone in this area knows someone who was impacted directly by the crash. My wife is friends with a fellow teacher who lost both parents in the crash. I am friends with a few guys who lost a parent or sibling on the plane. My brother-in-law was at the crash site that evening as hundreds of residents gathered in hopes of at least news of a single survivor.
Here is a link to a video clip of the annual ceremony. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1Sz3cyUX9Q&feature=related) If you notice the water is turned off as soon as the memorial wreath is laid and, yes, there are 75 pipes atop the fountain's structure. If you want to learn more about the whole Marshall story you can click on the black wreath on the www.herdracing.com website homepage to go to the Marshall crash history page or email us here at Herd Racing with your mailing address and we will gladly send you a copy of the movie "We are Marshall" which brought the tragedy to America's attention in 2007.
In other news, Herd Racing's Nationwide Series driver Brett Rowe will be the driver of the Faith Motorsports Chevrolet this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway in the second to last Nationwide Series race of the 2010 season. Morgan Shepherd will be in the #21 this weekend and Brett was asked to fill in with the #89 team.
As for Herd Racing's direct Nationwide efforts, they are done for 2010 and all of the cars have either been sold or are up for sale. There is just one intermediate car left which is owned by Brett himself. Everything else has found new homes as 2011 will see the Car of Tomorrow chassis introduced full time in the Nationwide Series and all of the current chassis cars will be retired.
We will announce our 2011 Nationwide plans in a few months. You will see the #75 on the track again next year, but how often will depend on a lot of questions that we are still looking for answers to.