Rowdy Harrell, a NASCAR pit crew member and former Alabama linebacker, died in a car crash with his wife Blakely on Tuesday. He was 30 years old. The crash happened in Florida as the two were celebrating their honeymoon. They just got married this past Saturday.
Harrell worked for Hendrick Motorsports for the last eight seasons as a tire carrier, most recently with the No. 88 NASCAR Cup Series team with Alex Bowman. He was also a pit crew member with JR Motorsports and was a two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion.
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
"Our entire team is absolutely devastated at the loss of Rowdy and Blakley," No. 88 crew chief Greg Ives said in a statement via NASCAR.com. "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."
The Florida Highway Patrol reported that Harrell was driving a 2020 Toyota Corolla that collided with a Ford pick-up truck on U.S. Highway 1. The truck's driver was treated for minor injuries while two of the passengers were seriously hurt. Before making the transition to NASCAR, Harrell was a walk-on for the Alabama Crimson Tide from 2009-12 and a member of three national championship teams. When Alabama coach Nick Saban heard the news, he shared his condolences.
"Rowdy was the epitome of what (walk-ons) stand for — he's a hard worker, he had great character," Saban said on his weekly call-in radio show as reported by 247Sports. "He actually stayed because we wanted to make him a part of the organization. He stayed and worked in the weight room with Scott Cochran for a little while when he got finished playing. "But man, our thoughts and prayers are out to him and his family and friends. We just absolutely hate it when anybody that's been a part of our family here has such a tragedy."