Robert Smawley - Don Gray -The NDRA

Jeff Gilder
5 months ago
1,777 posts

I've recently reconnected with an old friend whose place in racing history needs to be told. As we look back at local short track racing....specifically dirt racing, the sport was forever changed by a man named Robert Smawley from my hometown of Kingsport, TN. Smawley created the NDRA, (National Dirt Racing Association) attracted national sponsors and regularly paid $5,000 to $10,000 to winners in the late 70s & 80s. Smawley involved national and local sponsors and produced some special event purses of $30,000 to $250,000. Smawley was on of, if not the first, promoter to pay tow money as far back as 24th place. Don Gray was involved in the beginning and assisted Smawley in writing the rules for the NDRA and worked closely with Smawley during the rise and fall of the NDRA. Mr. Gray was a car owner and track owner during the run of the NDRA. There's an awesome book that chronicles this series called "The Rock-em, Sock-em Travelin' Sideways Dirt Show" by Gary L. Parker. This book is still available on Amazon.

We're going to be interviewing Mr. Gray on July 10th at 7 PM.

Founder/Creator - RacersReunion®

updated by @jeff-gilder: 07/08/18 09:38:43AM