NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Tag Archives: Curtis Turner

Driven To The Past: Knock The Fence Down, Pops

I had occasion to meet ol’ Pops (and if he didn’t know your name, he’d call you that, as well as expect you to call him by the same handle) in the late 1960s when he ran a couple of ARCA races when I was flagging. As I recall, both of them were 500-lappers; the first at the old Dayton Speedway. Curtis couldn’t be there on Saturday to qualify, and somebody else qualified the car for him. When it came to a big-name driver whose name had been used heavily in pre-race advertising, John Marcum didn’t stand on ceremony. I suspect that there were parts of the ARCA rulebook back in those days that were deliberately vague to give John some wiggle room.

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Thompson in Turn 5: Drivers’ Union Probably Not A Good Idea

After Tony Stewart's verbal assault on Goodyear gained support amongst a number of high-profile fellow drivers (albeit not quite as aggressively as Stewart), some journalists suggested that the time just may be ripe for the formation of a drivers' union. Unions are great! I come from a long-line of union guys that have walked the lines in hopes of gaining a livable wage, safer work conditions or medical insurance. There's no bigger supporter of labor unions than me. However, the odds of NASCAR drivers answering the call of solidarity and organizing themselves in unity to defend themselves against the "man," under the union banner are next to none; and for any number of reasons.

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That’s History Profile: Joe Weatherly

Joe Weatherly's driving career almost ended before it even began. He nearly died while out with a group of friends one night, losing control while driving through an S-curve; he had bumped into a curb and broke a tie rod. With no steering or time to react, he ran headlong into a tree. Weatherly was nearly ejected from the vehicle, his head and neck breaking through the windshield. As Weatherly was trapped and bleeding to death, one passenger was dead, and others badly injured. Weatherly recovered then, but in other instances, he wasn't so lucky. He was left badly scarred about the face; rumors arose that it was the result of a Nazi sniper in WWII. Unfortunately, it would not be the last time he had an encounter with a parts failure in the middle of an S-curve turn.

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That’s History Profile: Curtis Turner

Curtis Turner started out driving well before he was old enough to get a driver's license. He hailed from the area of Bent Mountain, Va., and as with many who lived in remote regions of the South during this era, Turner worked to export the local product: moonshine. He became as big of a legend running illegal liquor as he did on the track. His ability to outrun Federal agents as well as local law enforcement earned Turner respect for his skill behind the wheel and unlike his counterpart Junior Johnson, Turner was never apprehended by the police. He ran his first race in 1946 in Mt. Airy, N.C. He finished last in a field of 18. In his next start, he won, beginning a legend as the best driver ever to race on dirt.

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