Back, way back, when Jeff hung the title on me, or more specifically his computer did, I was hesitant to accept the mantle as “The Legend”. After consideration that it could possibly be a good thing for the website, I agreed and, in my limited and reserved opinion I think most of what has been accomplished has been a good thing. What I am most proud of about the title is that I am allowed the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and be engaged in so many wonderful and pleasurable events. What is even better is that everyone listening tonight, or who will read this later, has the opportunity to experience the same thing I do every time I venture out to be together with other members and other race fans. As is so often quoted, and especially once more after the events of this past weekend, it seems the mass of race fans are a family, in some respect, who join together to experience the triumphs in the sport and the sadness in the sport. When it is all said and done, race fans join together to present a strong and common front to those who would degrade our sport. We may disagree at times but in the end, don’t let the outsiders come in a bad mouth OUR sport. I hope everyone understands the essence of what I just said.
Now, back to the perks of being The Legend. Hanging out with other members and fans of the sport is the biggest perk of all. Since this site came along and especially since I became The Legend, I have met some of the finest people I’ve ever encountered and now call those people friends. Too many to name here but some are very special and they know who they are. What I really want to relay here is a schedule of events that will allow others of you who may not have ventured into the real life world of RacersReunion® to leave the cyber world behind for a bit and step out and meet some others. So, here goes.
This coming Saturday, August 16th, we will be making another RacersReunion® “unofficial” visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. This will be our fourth trip and the other three have really been fantastic! I have no definite count on how many will come, and no definite advertisable names of expected attendees, but I can tell you that some who have said they are coming, who have not been with us before, will be impressive, and some of the really impressive ones who have been with us before who will try to come is also an impressive list. Come to think of it, everyone who has ever attended this event with us is impressive. Can’t wait to see if some of those surprises show up. Regardless, it will be a great day, as it always is, as we hang around other race fans and enjoy the displays at the Hall of Fame. NASCAR advertises it as “Our House” and it truly is. It is about much more than the names of the five inducted each year, it is about the past, present and future of the sport. So anyone who can, please meet at the main entrance to the Hall of Fame at 10:15 a.m. this Saturday, August 16, 2014.
Next up on The Legend’s Calendar is the annual Augusta International Raceway Preservation Society’s Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Friday night, September 12th, at The Diamond Lake Community Center in Hephzibah (Augusta) Georgia. The event starts at 6:00 p.m. and will be concluded by 9:00 p.m. This year’s inductees will be Robert Hoffman, Richard Luther, James Bozeman, Fred Lorenzen and Jimmy Martin. The Lifetime Achievement Award will go to Bill Oswald. I have attended this event the past five years and it is always a special treat to see new inductees from grass root racing at the Augusta tracks being inducted along with such notable stars as Fred Lorenzen this year. Tickets are $20.00 each and the food has always been fantastic to say the least. I have the special honor to have been chosen to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the Banquet. Check the events schedule on the Stock Car Page for additional information. You can also e-mail me if you have questions or need to reserve banquet tickets but these tickets usually go fast so don’t wait if you’re planning to go.
The very next day, Saturday, September 13th is the Racing Reunion which will also be held at Diamond Lakes. This event begins at 10:00 a.m. and goes through 2:00 although some are known to hang around for a while afterwards. In past years, there have been many racecars, both stock cars and drag cars, on display as well as some show cars. Not sure how many to expect this year but there always seems to be a good turnout for the event. This event is entirely free and there will be race drivers in attendance for autographs and photos starting at noon. Not sure who all will be on the list at this time, but there is every indication one of the new inductees to the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be there to sign autographs and interact with fans. In any event, it is always a great time with a bunch of really great race fans.
Next up for The Legend, is a trip to Occoneechee for the annual Celebration of the Automobile put on by the Historic Speedway Group. This will be my fifth trip up for that event and, as Jeff always says, the celebration there in Hillsboro, NC is the “gold standard” of gatherings for race fans. I was talking with one of the guys from up there Monday morning and they are expecting at least 100 cars. The event this year honors The Wood Brothers who will be in attendance. It is like a trip back through time in the annals of the best of NASCAR history to see the cars that show up each year. Even more, the drivers and other celebrities that come represent some of the best of the pioneers of the sport and some so deeply involved in the history and heritage of the sport that it offers the new fan the chance to see what we old fans talk about and allows us older fans to revisit the days of our youth. For me, these days, that is important because the old wicked witch with the voodoo doll keeps poking those pins in my back, shoulders, arms and legs. I have it on good authority that Peanut Turman may have the antidote for the voodoo pins so I will seek him out.
Friday Night, September 26, there will be the “Cruise-In with a Twist” at the Big Barn Convention Center in Hillsborough. Huge car show and a dance band. It is all free and the place opens at 5:00 p.m. Friday and the show will go until 9:30 p.m. Every year this is a gathering place where you can run into folks from the racing world. It is a great event. The music is loud, the dancing is great (although I don’t dance) and the racing talk gets revved up early.
Saturday the 27th, everything moves to the historic 1 mile dirt track and the area surrounding it. A parade of race cars circles the old track but believe me it gets more like a race than a parade. Quite a spectacle. The track is located at 320 Elizabeth Brady Road, Hillsborough, NC, which is exit 165 off of Interstate 85.
So, there you have my schedule for August and September, not to mention a local car show here in Columbia I expect to attend on August 23rd by special invitation. I don’t travel like I used to back in the days when I was making most of the races, but these days when I do travel it is for very special reasons, and to hang around very special people. Being The Legend, it turns out, is not a bad thing in spite of the efforts of some to make me think it is. It is a fun adventure and I hope it represents RacersReunion® in a very positive light as it is intended to.
Thank you all for indulging me tonight. When it is all said and done, what appears to be about ME, is, in fact, about all of us who treasure the sport of stock car racing and the historic accomplishments by so many who are now forgotten by the mainstream but who remain special and dear in our hearts. As I enjoy saying “Honor the past, embrace the present, and dream for the future”. Hope to see a bunch of you this coming Saturday at the Hall of Fame. Oh, and did I mention I would be singing a special “Happy Birthday” to Bill McPeek? That should be a hoot.