Really sad news on Wednesday, as Hendrick Motorsports issued a statement confirming the death of their tire carrier William “Rowdy” Harrell and Harrell’s wife Blakley, who were en route to their honeymoon. The newlywed couple passed away in a traffic accident in Florida, according to the statement from HMS.
Rowdy and Blakely were wed on Saturday, November 21st.
Rowdy Harrell was just 30-years old, while Blakley was 23 — according to a report on the accident from the Miami Herald. The Miami Herald report also explains that a 62-year old driver of a pickup truck, who also had two passengers were involved in the incident as well.
The pickup truck driver sustained minor injuries, while his two passengers had injuries which are deemed serious in the report from the Miami Herald.
Here is a statement from Greg Ives, who is the crew chief for the No. 88 team that Harrell served for over the last six seasons:
“Our entire team is absolutely devastated at the loss of Rowdy and Blakely,” said Ives. “They were such positive, giving and passionate people who could not have been a more perfect match. Rowdy had an energetic and infectious personality. He was the heart and soul of our team and always kept us motivated, no matter the circumstance. Rowdy shared his love with the people around him and was loved in return. Although he will be greatly missed, his memory will continue to inspire us always. Our prayers are with Rowdy, Blakely and their wonderful family.”
According to the release from HMS, Harrell was a three-time National Champion linebacker at University of Alabama before becoming a NASCAR team member. He also won two NASCAR Xfinity Series championships with JR Motorsports.
Alex Bowman, the driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports car in 2020, says that Harrell will be missed every single day.
Rowdy was everything that made the 88 team, the 88 team. The biggest personality and the best person. He was the happiest person you’d ever meet, and that was only reenforced by his wife Blakley. Rip to an absolute legend. You’ll be missed every single day brother. pic.twitter.com/ouvflY1M7h
— Alex Bowman (@AlexBowman88) November 25, 2020
The spotter of the No. 88 team, Kevin Hamlin, shared a photo and remembered his friend with a Tweet on Wednesday.
Got a really terrible phone call from Greg this morning. Rowdy was one of the most happy, kindest souls I’d ever met and one of the greatest on pit road. I feel so terrible for his and Blakley’s families, and this team won’t be the same without them. pic.twitter.com/Ez97eMKTab
— Kevin Hamlin (@KevinHamlin) November 25, 2020
TobyChristie.com extends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of William “Rowdy” Harrell and Blakely.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.