Billy and Bobby Myers both passed away in the late 1950s - both on the track but under much different circumstances. Beginning in 1961, Bowman Gray Stadium honored the memory of the two brothers by naming the Grand National race the Myers Brothers Memorial. The second annual Myers Brothers Memorial 200 was held on Saturday night, June 16, 1962.
Race preview from The Dispatch
Before the race, 1960 Indy 500 winner Jim Rathman and astronaut Gus Grissom met the sons of Billy and Bobby.
Rex White - who had a sustained streak of success at Bowman Gray from 59-62 - won the pole to no one's surprise. Johnny Allen qualified 2nd. Jimmy Pardue, Richard Petty and Jack Smith rounded out the top 5 starters.
White beat Allen to the first corner on lap 1 and led the first 22 laps. From there, Allen took over. Though Allen recalls an epic battle with multiple lead changes between he and Rex for the remainder of the 200-lap race, Allen apparently was the official lap leader the rest of the way.
Perry Allen Wood wrote about the race in the chapter about Johnny Allen in his book Declarations of Stock Car Independents :
The Myers Brothers 200 on June 16, 1962, at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem counted the same as Daytona...Johnny raced Fred Lovette's 58.
"That was a '61 Pontiac Junior had been runnin' the year before. Rex was on the pole, and I was outside. Rex won the last three or four at the track. We ran side by side. Rex led a while, then I led. I was in the lead at the end, and Rex was right on me. Two abreast is really crowded at Bowman Gray. Rex was right on my bumper tryin' to get by. Comin' through three and four we come up on a lapped car. I dropped down. I knew Rex couldn't run the outside with that car there. 'I got him! No way he can beat me to the finish line.' Out of the corner of my eye, he's comin' on the inside. He had two wheels on the grass and was comin'! The finish line is almost down to the first turn. You back off about two car lengths before you get there. He was up to my door and gainin'. If I'da backed off to make the corner, he could have won. Inside, he could beat on me. Well, I've wrecked a lot faster. I didn't lift until I got across the line, and Rex was right beside me. Morris Metcalf saw how close we were and down to the line. Otherwise, they'd have probably called it a dead heat."
The win had to have been a much celebrated one for Allen, his crew and family and friends - especially since his other notable events were indeed exciting but for the wrong reasons such as:
1962 Darlington - Getty
Allen still kept his form a bit even after taking the win. From Winston-Salem Journal :
White remembers a race he didnt win, the Myers Brothers 200 in 1962.
I lost that race to Johnny Allen, White said. The only race he ever won was there.
Allen crashed and flew over the guardrail just seconds after beating White to the checkered flag.
After they crossed the line, White said: I backed off where I normally would and Johnny just stayed on it. He went clear over the guardrail. But he won the race.
And again from Perry's book:
"Ended up winning, hittin' the fence, tearing the right side off. Had to walk to victory lane. I wasn't going to lose. He leaned on me, and I don't know what he did but he didn't wreck. Rex was a tough drive, a great guy. I had good car too."
When Allen's career was completed, it turned out that the Bowman Gray victory would be his only career GN win. Allen in victory lane (after walking there apparently) - from Randy Gilbert
|Fin||Driver||Sponsor / Owner||Car|
|1||Johnny Allen||Fred Lovette||'61 Pontiac|
|2||Rex White||Louis Clements||'62 Chevrolet|
|3||Richard Petty||Petty Enterprises||'62 Plymouth|
|4||Larry Thomas||Wade Younts||'62 Dodge|
|5||Joe Weatherly||Bud Moore||'61 Pontiac|
|6||Wendell Scott||Wendell Scott||'61 Chevrolet|
|7||Fred Harb||Fred Harb||'61 Ford|
|8||Jimmy Pardue||Jimmy Pardue||'62 Pontiac|
|9||Harry Leake||Lewis Osborne||'60 Chevrolet|
|10||Jack Smith||Jack Smith||'61 Pontiac|
|11||Ned Jarrett||B.G. Holloway||'62 Chevrolet|
|12||Curtis Crider||Curtis Crider||'60 Ford|
|13||Herman Beam||Herman Beam||'60 Ford|
|14||G.C. Spencer||G.C. Spencer||'60 Chevrolet|
|15||Jim Paschal||Cliff Stewart||'62 Pontiac|
|16||George Green||Jess Potter||'60 Chevrolet|
|17||Stick Elliott||Toy Bolton||'60 Ford|
|18||Buck Baker||Buck Baker||'61 Chrysler|
|19||Tom Cox||Ray Herlocker||'60 Plymouth|
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
updated by @tmc-chase: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM