Team Tabasco is a former NASCAR Winston Cup team owned by Bob Hancher. McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco brand products, sponsored the car. The company announced in 1997 that it would sponsor the #35 Pontiac driven by Todd Bodine. The car would be owned by Bob Hancher. The team debuted on the weekend of the announcement at Lowe's Motor Speedway, with Bodine finishing 26th.

After a rumor that Tabasco had ended his its sponsorship[1], the team failed to qualify for the first three races of the season. Surprisingly, McIlhenny Company voiced no concerns, despite the high-pressure stakes of NASCAR racing.

After a tenth-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Team Tobasco missed the next race at Darlington Raceway, as well as three of the next four races, ranking 39th place in the one race in which it did appear.

A practice accident took Bodine out of the California 500, where Wally Dallenbach Jr. filled in as driver. Bodine would be back on board for the Coca-Cola 600 in late May, finishing 28th.

June 6th saw Bodine's last ride in the Tabasco Pontiac at Richmond International Raceway. In his brief tenure, Team Tabasco only managed to qualify in five of the first thirteen races (including the race during which Dallenbach drove). Without the sponsor's knowledge, ISM released Bodine after the race in an attempt to turn things around.

ISM replaced Bodine with Loy Allen Jr., and it scheduled Gary Bradberry and Jimmy Horton to drive for the team at future races. After running only one of the next three races, however, Hancher sold the operation to Tim Beverly and his driver Darrell Waltrip. The Beverly-Waltrip team drove Chevrolet Monte Carlos and intended to continue using the model. In their first race, the Brickyard 400, Waltrip started dead-last but climbed through the field to finish 13th. But the team's use of Chevrolets sparked outrage at McIlhenny Company because it had invested heavily in Pontiacs as part of its marketing program. Lawsuits ensued between Tabasco and Hancher, and McIlhenny Company forced the team to run Pontiacs. Waltrip's best finish that year was 18th at Richmond; otherwise, the team performed poorly and Tabasco left the sport at the end of the year.

Reference Edit


One of the #35 Tabasco cars is now owned by a local Louisiana favorite named Stanley Cosper. At present the car will be road raced at a Louisiana track (No Problem Raceway). There is some talk of a new 1/4 mile circle track being built in the near future close to New Orleans. The car will then be converted back over to a circle track car. We wish the best for the new owner and driver.

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