My Dad and I have our birthdays on the 11th of different months. Today is Dad's birthday. I called my parents in Florida and wished him a very happy day. This is his eighty first birthday. One of many things I remember about my father is that for a number of years he raced cars.
Here Dad, with Mom on his left, is surrounded by friends after he won the main event in the summer of 1953. I do not know where the trophy is but I did find a newspaper write up about the event. (Take a look a the flowery draperies and green lamp.)
That is me perched on top of a wrecked car.
There is no date on an article from the news paper but Pit Passes on the same page are for 1952. The writeup reads in part: "The climax came in the fender bender when Gene started to spin, then was hit by the car driven by Bud Slater. Gene made five complete rolls, bouncing high in the air with each turn. He started to flip in the first turn and by the time the car came to rest he was in the backstretch.
Police, ambulance and spectators converged on the scene expecting serious injury but Gene climbed from the car unhurt. The car, however was a complete loss."
Dad raced on a team with his brother in law. The cars were 11 and 711. My Uncle Carroll raced long after Dad quit. Carroll drove 3/4 midgets after he stopped racing stock cars. Growing up Dad had relatives in the automotive and collision business. As a kid he hung around them learning the repair and mechanic trades. I suspect Dad and Carroll did most of the work on the cars. Hook's Radiator was their sponsor.
At the raceway we always sat in the same spot. I recall the stands were white painted boards and rather high. Usually we sat about a fourth of the way up but when I was older I was allowed to sit at the top once or twice. The summer before I started school, I wore a white and red striped dress with a narrow black patent belt that was bought new for Kindergarten round up to the races. I think the thing I liked best was the concession stand and the fireworks on the 4th of July.