I bid you welcome gentle readers, to another in our series, Introduction to a Saturday Night Hero… or more properly in this instance, Heroine. This one is told by a racer’s wife, the lovely Barbara Scott, wife of Billy Scott and my sister from another Mother, as the guys say. (Just check the pictures with the article and try to tell me we’re not somehow related. It might go back to Eve, but when I look at Barbara, it’s almost the same as looking into my mirror. Uncanny, for two friends that grew up hundreds of miles apart. I have to get a clearer picture of Barbara though. That one was taken with my phone in 2011; the lighting was poor and obviously, so was the phone)
It is told (mostly) about Nina Cox, wife of Marion “Preacher” Cox, with a contribution from Pete Keller, a NASCAR official at the time.
Many of these are the little “behind the scenes” tales told by racers about racers… the things we fans love to hear about because we never got to live them. At least, that was the case when this fan was growing up. I went to the track because I loved to watch the racing. The men in those cars were my heroes, though I knew none of them and would not for many years to come. Funny… now that I’m really too old to go racing anymore, I know hundreds of drivers, crew men, car owners, car builders and all manner of racing folks, including some like me that write about their passion, racing.
I have RacersReunion to thank for that. When I came, folks here accepted me as though I’d been a part of their circle all my life. They readily opened both arms and hearts to a newcomer among them and made me a part of the racing family that NASCAR has bragged about for so many years. Now, most everyone here and in many other places knows me as “Mama”, a name I have answered to in various forms for most of my life. How much more could an old lady want than to be Mama to a huge and loving racing family?
…And just like an old lady, would you listen to me ramble on! Without further ado, I shall turn this over to Barbara for the telling. Again, as in her last tale, Barbara writes of herself in the third person as if she were merely an observer of her own life and that of others. Nothing could be further from the truth, as Barbara remains to this day one of the busiest and most involved people on planet earth.
As told by Pete Keller (deceased) Former Chief Steward of Late Model Division of NASCAR
Posted: April 22, 2010
“Back in the Day”, drivers had jobs (most of them) and would leave home right after a day’s hard work, and make their way to Columbia Speedway every Thursday night. There was no such thing as stopping to eat, as it took all the time one could get, in order to reach the track in time for a few “hot laps”. Many did as the Scott family and ate on the road after making a banana sandwich for each one. Kool-Aid was the drink (not of choice but of need) taken to the track back then.
Pete Keller, NASCAR’s chief Steward of the Late Model Division, knew what the Scotts had to eat and made the kids feel good by telling them to include him in the banana sandwich menu. This made the children like them better, and every week Pete would be on the gate and ask for his sandwich.
Marion and Nina Cox, along with their five children would come to the track with almost a “five course” meal, which Nina had cooked and had all packed to go. One night Pete asked Nina what they were having to eat and was shown a big baked “turkey”. Not having the time to stop at that point to eat, he asked Nina to save him a sandwich. Not only Pete, but it seems a lot of people waited for Nina to get to the track. Soon after parking the truck, it looked like a swarm of bees on honey, converging on the Cox meal.
In the meantime, a very hungry Pete was in the pits all during the night, checking all the cars to make sure they were legal, prior to the race. Just as soon as the last flag of the night fell, Pete made his way (almost in a run) to the Cox truck to get his sandwich. When he got there, he saw the turkey platter with only the skin from the turkey on it. Nina got busy making a sandwich for Pete. At the end of the story, Pete asked, “Have any of you ever eaten a turkey skin sandwich? I did, but don’t intend to add it to my list of foods”.
While talking about Nina we must also tell this story. The great Tiny Lund was superstitious about the color green. He was a terror at Columbia, and if starting on the pole, one could almost forget a win for the night. The Cox family were very close friends with Tiny and would kid around with each other. The Scotts, driving for Marion and Nina, didn’t know all these stories. On one occasion, Barbara saw Nina chasing Tiny through the infield (a restroom visit) and trying to brush up against him. After inquiring why she was doing this, we were told Nina wears green pants and /or shirt everywhere Tiny runs with them. When he draws the pole, as he had done that night, Nina would make sure she was going to make him touch green and would mess up during the race, giving car # 50 a chance to win. Just picture a giant such as Tiny Lund running through the infield trying to miss Nina’s touch. She would tell him ” you may be superstitious of something boy but not green, cause I ain’t never seen you turn down any green stuff called money”.
If you like, you can pull up Nina Cox on RacersReunion and see an almost angelic person, never once thinking she kept the infield in laughter every night for four nights each week.
God bless you Nina for all your contributions to the racing families of “back in the day.”
A million thanks to you my darling Barbara, for actually spinning two tales into one and bringing smiles all the way with both. I have to tell you, my “almost” sister, I’ve eaten more than my share of banana sandwiches in my lifetime, and do you know what? I actually still like them. The bananas should be a bit overripe and need just a tiny touch of sugar to make them sweet and delicious. Some folks like mayonnaise, but I prefer mine plain… and hey! Elvis loved a banana “sammich” with peanut butter. We’re in good company, and a good banana sandwich beats out turkey skin any ol’ day of the week.
Gentle readers, please remember that Barbara’s husband, Billy Scott, will be receiving the “Saturday Night Hero” award from Living Legends of Auto Racing at their 21st annual banquet, to be held January 20, 2013 at The Shores Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach. Please click here to read about all of the festivities planned that week by the Living Legends of Auto Racing.
We here at RacersReunion are mighty proud to have Billy and Barbara as well as Nina Cox as Featured Members of our site. They are truly bona fide Saturday Night Heroes and Billy will soon have an award to prove it. Congratulations once again to the Scotts!
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!
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