The Frontstretch: Potts' Shots: NASCAR Fan Q&A Returns For 2012 With A Trip Down Memory Lane by John Potts -- Thursday February 16, 2012

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Howdy, folks. We’re back, for better or for worse, and we’ll do our best to keep you informed and entertained through the coming season of this crazy sport we all love so much.

We had a couple of comments in the “down” months, the latest one during testing at Daytona…

The first one is from Dave Martin in California, who says, “Hello again after many years. I heard DW mention you and immediately said to myself, ‘Flagman at Louisville back in the (promoter) Milt Hartlauf days!’ What memories. I remember the then-young DW showed up for one of the races and everyone saying he was headed to NASCAR… I can remember you jumping out of the flagstand there in Louisville to go after some errant driver like it was yesterday.”

Dave moved to California from the Kentuckiana area in 1976 and raced at Saugus, Mesa Marin, etc., he tells us. I love hearing from these people.

Yes, I can recall asking two teams from the Owensboro area to come up and race in the first Bluegrass 300 at the Fairgrounds Motor Speedway. Darrell came with his ’55 Ford and Charlie Greenwell brought a ’56 Chevy, if my memory is right.

Milt asked me if I thought their equipment would handle at our place, and I said I thought so. DW led some laps but had car trouble, and Greenwell ended up winning the overall title.

Darrell’s mention was in response to our mutual friend Larry McReynolds mentioning that, in addition to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, DW was going into the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame with the 2012 class, and that I was also included. Got some phone calls about that one. I’m deeply humbled and truly honored, especially to be going in with DW and so many other guys I know or knew. Like Allan and Don Barker from Louisville, who won something like five SCCA championships, Joey Ray, the African-American sprint car driver who left us a couple of years back, the Collings Downes boat racing team, and the Woosley-Sharp-Reynolds Top Alcohol Dragster team.

I have been blessed to be active in so many facets of our sport, and I enjoyed them all. How many people can say they’ve started races on ovals, road courses, drag strips, and motocross courses?
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Bill Piper in Cullman, Alabama is sure that our paths may have crossed in the ’60s when he was just a kid. “My father, William (Bill) Piper was a race driver from southern Kentucky,” he writes, “Who later moved to Louisville after he quit racing. He and Harry Hyde were good friends. Dad took me to Harry’s shop a few times when I was probably still a preschooler. Dad stayed in touch with Harry after we moved to Alabama in 1966. He’d go to Talladega and Atlanta, and Harry would come to the gate and take him into the pits. Sometimes he’d hold the stick that had the water cup on it… just seeing your writing brought back a lot of memories, and I was just wondering if you knew him.”

The No. 71 K&K Dodge team, a successful Cup Series operation in the 1960s and 1970s is just one of many teams John Potts was connected to through the years.

Bill, I remember the name, and I’m sure we met at one time or another when I was helping Harry in the first year or so of the K&K team. As I’m sure you know, the memories and wanting to share them are what got me hooked up with Tom Bowles and Frontstretch – and I’m eternally grateful.

Again this season, when we don’t have any questions, I might revert to my “Driven to the Past” persona and trot out a memory or two. I thought they were all dried up after the 2010 season, and after writing the book, but a year away from it paid off. I’ve got all sorts of notes written down about “new” old memories.

So roll in those questions, folks, and we’ll try to keep this interesting. If somebody remembers something funny, or just curious about something I was involved in, go ahead and ask about it. It might jog my memory even further. I don’t even care if it’s mildly embarrassing.

Like the day at an ARCA race at Salem when I came back to the flagstand after a break, and was talking to somebody in the front row and heard a ripple of laughter building up in the crowd. Every man’s nightmare – my fly was open in front of about three thousand people. Got a real ovation when I turned around and zipped up; the tower asked me on the radio what happened, and I told them we’d talk later.

Hey, my Daddy always told me that if you can’t laugh at yourself, you have no business laughing at anybody else.

Ask John Potts A Question

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johnboy60
02/16/2012 09:27 AM
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Great to have you back John! You are the only connection us oldtimers have to the good old days of racing before it became so “politically” correct! Can’t wait to read some of those “flash backs”.

Jim
02/16/2012 04:27 PM
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It’s that time of year again! Time for tire smoke and exhaust fumes to waft through the air. Too bad that doesn’t happen around Saugus Speedway anymore though. I used to be a regular there, watching the likes of Ron Hornaday Jr, Rick Carelli, Bill Spears, Jim Thirkettle, Dan Press… The list goes on. Before those days, when I was younger, it was Corona raceway, where my Step Dad raced for a little while.

I’ve been a fan of the big boys ever since I saw that one race on Wide World of Sports back in ’79, I think it was. I’ll be a fan til the day I die, no matter how much the clown in the Ivory Towers continues to do it his way; the tunnel vision way.