GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Typical of most cars used in auto racing, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride belonging to A.J. Allmendinger is covered in logos of sponsors. But the No. 47 car had room for one special decal.Located above the right-side rear fender is a Cincinnati Reds wishbone "C" that
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Typical of most cars used in auto racing, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride belonging to A.J. Allmendinger is covered in logos of sponsors. But the No. 47 car had room for one special decal.
Located above the right-side rear fender is a Cincinnati Reds wishbone "C" that read, "In loving memory of Bernie Stowe."
"How cool is that?" said Reds clubhouse manager Rick Stowe, one of Bernie's sons.
Bernie Stowe died on Feb. 9 at the age of 80, following an illness. The longtime clubhouse manager worked for the Reds for 66 years, beginning his tenure as a clubhouse boy for the team in 1947.
On Thursday at the Reds' player development complex, the 47 Fry's Chevrolet owned by the JTG Daugherty Racing team was brought over for the club to see. The racing team is in town for the Good Sam 500 NASCAR Weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Fry's, an Arizona supermarket chain, is owned by Cincinnati-based Kroger.
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Allmendinger also carried the Stowe tribute on what was the 47 Kroger car while racing during the Daytona 500 earlier this month.
Another of Bernie Stowe's sons, visiting clubhouse manager Mark Stowe, joined Rick Stowe and several players and coaches to take a look at the car. They were touched by the gesture.
"It's incredible, it really is," said Rick Stowe, who became an assistant to his father in 1981 and is entering his 20th season as the home clubhouse manager. "Words can't describe the feeling, the outpouring of love we've been shown. Stuff like this is beyond words. I never would've dreamed it."
Throughout Spring Training, there have been tributes to Bernie Stowe. Players and staff have worn T-shirts that simply say "Bernie" on the front. There is a memorial decal on the Reds dugout at Goodyear Ballpark. Outside the big league camp clubhouse at the team complex is a plaque commemorating Stowe's years of service. The team plans to wear a memorial patch on its uniforms during the regular season.
"He would've been embarrassed right now, that's for sure," Rick Stowe said.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.