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NickHolt

Texas stock car racing icon Neil Upchurch has passed on

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Learned from Neil''s nephew, Sergio Hexsel, that Texas Stock Car Racing icon Neil Upchurch passed away this afternoon, Dec 22, 2020. 

Very few people have impacted stock car racing in Texas like Neil Upchurch.  I had the honor of working side by side with him for several years.  His middle name should have  been "Integrity." 

Rest in Peace, Neil and prayers for Terri. 

Nick

 

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From Sergio: 
 
"I saw him Friday, sat and we talked for a couple hours and he was okay. Early Monday he wasn't feeling good, by the time he agreed to get EMS his blood pressure had plummeted to 54 for the high number. He stayed in the ER till last night then ICU till he passed around 2pm. Total kidney failure It was very quick. We went to LaFonda for his birthday last Tuesday (89), services will be in the future date at Fort Sam."
 
By the way, today was Neil and Terri's 66th wedding anniversary... 
 
Nick
 
 
 

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This is very sad news indeed. Texas racing community will not see another like Neil Upchurch any time soon. I first met Neil in 1974 and most of my racing experiences since then have been influenced by this great man. I spoke to him on the phone last week and I’m glad I did. Thank you Neil Upchurch for all you contributed to racing in Texas. 

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That is very sad news.  Rest in peace my friend until we see each other again. 

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This mans contribution to racing in Texas during his involvement is second to none. Rest in peace and thank you for all the memories his Series provided.

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SECOND TO NONE i agree arob ... the man had grit toughness  and knew just what he wanted and won those battles i know i lost a few battles with him fact most of them .ok all of them  ..   the first time i met him in 1988 he had his show at cc speedway .he looked over at me when the field was coming to  the green and said now ill show you how a show is run ..i did not know how to take that at first ..seeing we were running our own class at that time .. so i wrote it off as learn something ..  2005 WORKING on our second car jesse was on the sas track in practice i wasn't paying attention and neil walks over to me a first time and said what did  yah do to the 7 car  this week .. i said nothing why i asked , he said that car is flying around here jesse looks fast , i looked up as jesse went passed us  neil was right .i  said when it runs like that  its ready to blow up  he said hope not good luck .. well we did have an issue with the oil gauge going nuts in the line up and decided what the heck its only a few thousand dollars to replace the motor ...  the motor stayed with us and we pulled off what was at the time the closet finish ever at the line in tps at that track at least, starting from  mid field  . that moment with him showed me he did have a heart and did pay attention to his drivers on the track . i came off with a different outlook about him .. a greater respect ..  CHANGING THE OLD SONGS WORDING  ..NEIL DID IT HIS WAY ..RIP .

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As Hi-Tech said..Neil was Second to None. From the early days of the Late Models to ALL he did for racing, Neil Upchurch was an amazing, giving man. I used my voting rights for the TMS Hall of Fame to nominate Neil via a write-in vote for 5 straight years. He deserves that- he should be in any Texas motor sports hall of fame. 

Neil and I shared being PA announcers and media members as well. We always had a great conversation no matter where we met. 

You may have never agreed with him 100%, but his heart was always in the right place. Texas racing, and the world overall, lost a good man.

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Neil's services will be held on January 4, 2021 at 10:45 am at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery (Shelter #5), 1520 Harry Wurzbach, San Antonio, TX.

https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/san-antonio-tx/neil-upchurch-9965748?utm_source=share_obit&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=obit_detail&utm_content=view_obit_button

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1 minute ago, ChuckLicata said:

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This is my Christmas card to you …a former high school football associate, co-worker, and a friend

 Season’s Greeting – Neil Upchurch

 

I GOT THIS CHRISTMAS CARD VIA E-MAIL ON SAT 12/19 AT 5:38PM. THAT'S NEIL, ALWAYS A GIVING & CARING MAN! 

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God Bless this man who meant so much to all of us. So many stories of how Neil helped Texas Racing. He will be missed. I will miss those very well written and structured emails from him just to check in on me and the pulse of racing around here.

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One of those true great heroes of Texas racing.    I would hope sometime it would be where Chuck isn't the only one, or one of the few, voting for Neil's true place in the TMS Hall of Fame.

Anyone who was in the grandstands down at CC Speedway when the first meeting was held with Neil about putting together the TIDA LM series knows he wasn't in for a quick buck or the notoriety, just as one example.   He was going to undertake putting together a Late Model series to save the livelihood and passion for each of the LM drivers sitting there that afternoon.    He wanted to save a big part of Texas racing.

Prayers to all the Upchurch family, and all the racing family who is missing a great friend these days.

Billy

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