PRESS PAST: Old Timers, Good Deeds
OLD TIMERS, GOOD DEEDS – Wayne Hawley – PRINTED: NRVS Official Program, September 18, 1999
Motor Mile Speedway is celebrating its twenty-fifth season as a NASCAR-sanctioned facility in 2013. As part of its commemorative program, motormilespeedway.com will be reprinting a selection of stories from our archives that highlight the rich history and heritage of the New River Valley short track.
The old time boys that ran at Pulaski County 40 years ago were more known for their fighting and brawling than good deeds for each other. But let it be known that all of them had a big heart and when they could, they would help each other in many ways. I can remember one Sunday afternoon here in the ‘60’s when two drivers were already beating on each other in practice. Words, not too pleasant, were being exchanged by the drivers and fans. Just before the race, these two drivers took to the track and again started banging fenders. Tempers were beginning to flare, but no one dared say a word to either driver. Then, as the two cars pulled into the infield, one caught on fire. The only fire equipment in those days was whatever the crews brought to the track. On this day, the only fire-fighting equipment was owned by Mac Whitlock. He picked up the huge tank and ran to the car and put out the fire. End of story? No- the car that this car had been beating on happened to belong to Mac. Even though he was pretty upset with the ‘ole boy, Mac was the first and only person to offer help.
Another time, I saw a young driver who had broken a tie rod end and hit the post that marked the entrance to the track. The car was pretty much torn up, but the driver put the car back together except for the tie rod end. He didn’t have an extra one with him, and didn’t know how he was going to get one. Then, out of the blue, a driver by the name of Bobby Smith walked up and handed the driver a tie rod end so that he could race. The man he gave it to- Wendell Scott from Danville, Virginia. Wendell went on to win the race that day and he and Bobby became close friends after that.
Not all the good deeds were between drivers- sometimes they involved fans. I remember a day here in the ‘60’s when a driver’s truck broke down on his way from Christiansburg to the track. A fan stopped, hooked the old car to his car, and pulled it to the track. That driver too, went on to win that day. He was the late Irvin Hall. Irvin offered the fan the winner’s purse, but the guy was happy to say that he had pulled a winner to the track and wouldn’t take a dime.
Now for the “good ‘ole boys” of today…. I have to mention something that happened as we waited for the rain to stop a couple of weeks ago. The pace car and many of the other cars and trucks were on the track drying it out. Riding in the pace car was Tink Reedy. After a while, Tink had the pace car stop in turn four and as he got out, a young fan yelled at him to come over to the fence. The young man asked him for one of his hats and Tink just pulled off the hat on his head, pitched it over the fence with a big smile, and asked if “this would do.” Boy, would it ever! This young man not only got a Tink Reedy cap- he got one right off the man’s head. You just can’t imagine the bragging that has gone on in school and at home this past two weeks…that little man that got the hat was my son, Ralph. Thanks, Tink.
Well, folks, I hope to see you all next year with all of your friends and neighbors at the best Saturday nights of NASCAR* anywhere. Have a safe and happy off-season!