Blaise Robert Alexander
- Post by: mcalibrary
- January 12, 2024
- Comments off
Most of us hope to make significant accomplishments in our lifetime. Blaise Alexander achieved greatness during a short time with us, and will continue to “give back” for another life to come because of what happened to him. Alexander began his stock car career at the age of 12 in the World Karting Association and was the champion of the East series in Pennsylvania in 1992. After that, he moved on to the Micro-Sprint racing series at tracks in many states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, porting a total of 48 wins in the series. In 1995, Alexander moved from Montoursville to Mooresville, North Carolina to pursue a professional racing career. He competed in 15 ARCA Re-Max Series and then expanded into the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he raced at Watkins Glen and Bristol Oval. He would post a top-ten finish in only his second race of the Busch Series at the North Carolina Speedway. His best career finish, however, did not come intil the year 2000 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, racing for Team SABCO.
Blaise initially won Rookie of the Year honors in the ARCA Re-Max Series in 1996 and finished 5th in points. He pulled off a second-place finish at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and two second-place finishes in 1997. He won his first ARCA race in 1998 at Toledo and added a second place finish at Pocono Raceway that same year. He would lead in 18 ARCA races for a grand total of 490 laps with his final win coming July 2001 at Michigan International Speedway.
On October 4, 2001, Blaise participated in the Easy Care 100 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and had been fighting for the lead position with Kerry Earnhardt for most of the race. On lap 63, their cars touched, sending Earnhardt flipping upside-down through the infield while Alexander crashed into the outside retaining wall. His traumatic death, at the age of 25, was the sixth stock car race fatality in two years, and convinced NASCAR to mandate the HANS device for all drivers – head and neck restraint devices to keep drivers safe. Other high profile drivers killed in this period included Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, Jr, Tony Roper and Dale Earnhardt Sr.
When he arrived in North Carolina, Blaise enjoyed a close relationship with fellow rookie driver and eventual NASCAR superstar, Jimmie Johnson. Although they competed against each other on the track, they totally supported each other off of it. Alexander’s memory has been honored by Johnson in many ways, including dedicating his first Cup win to Alexander during a nationally viewed Victory Lane interview. Johnson continues to support various charity causes and events that Alexander initiated in his hometown in Central Pennsylvania.
After the incident, and at the insistence of the Alexander family, NASCAR also stepped up the testing of soft wall technology, eventually leading to the installation of the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barrier on all NASCAR oval tracks. This has lead to the saving of many lives on the NASCAR racing circuit.
Blaise is the son of Blaise and the late Ann Sebastian Alexander. He will join his grandfather Aubrey Alexander and Uncle Tom Alexander as inductees into the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.