Before joining NASCAR, Harrell was a middle linebacker for the University of Alabama’s football team, where he won three national championships, according to Hendrick Motorsports.
“Today, Hendrick Motorsports learned that team member William ‘Rowdy’ Harrell and his wife, Blakley, were tragically killed in an automobile accident in Florida last night,” the group said on Wednesday. “The newlyweds were traveling to celebrate their honeymoon after being married on Saturday.”
Harrell worked for Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 88 team for the past eight seasons, most recently for driver Alex Bowman. Harrell was a two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion pit crew member with JR Motorsports, according to Hendrick Motorsports.
Harrell’s team mourns
Harrell’s teammates took to social media to express grief and share memories of him.
Greg Ives, Harrell’s crew chief for the past six seasons, shared kind words in memory of his teammate in Hendrick Motorsports’ news release.
“Our entire team is absolutely devastated at the loss of Rowdy and Blakley,” Ives said. “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.”
Kevin Hamlin, who worked with Harrell on Bowman’s team, also took to Twitter to mourn the team’s loss.
His alma mater Alabama also shared their condolences.