Motorsports

Bill Blair Jr. oral history interview, 2007 October 11
Bill Blair Jr. was a 69-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at his home in Thomasville, North Carolina. He was born in Guilford County, North Carolina in 1938. He was educated at AIB College of Business and was employed as a truck driver., Bill Blair Jr. recalls the stock car racing career of his father during the late 1940s and 1950s. He describes Bill Sr.'s experiences growing up on a farm with his brothers near High Point, North Carolina. Bill Sr. dabbled in moonshine running and managed the Tri-City Speedway in High Point for several years. Bill Jr. explains how his father supported Bill France with the creation of NASCAR and how Bill Sr. approached driving. Other topics discussed include the first Strictly Stock race in Charlotte, North Carolina and the technological and safety changes in stock car racing.
Ervin Brooks oral history interview, 2007 November 24
Ervin Brooks was a 50-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at his home in Evington, Virginia. He was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1956. He was educated at high school in Lynchburg and was employed as an assembly technician., Ervin Brooks recounts the experiences of his father Earl's thirty-year career as a stock car driver. Earl developed a close friendship with fellow driver Wendell Scott racing on the short tracks of Virginia. Ervin describes his father's skill as a driver and mechanic, explaining how he approached racing in NASCAR and which tracks he liked best. Other topics include the struggles of women and minorities in auto racing and interdependence between drivers and their families to help them succeed.
Bill Brown oral history interview 1, 2007 April 25
Bill Brown was a 72-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place in his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was born in Yadkin County, North Carolina in 1935. He was educated at Hanes High School and was employed as a master mechanic and crew chief., Bill Brown recalls his career as a stock car racing mechanic during the 1950s and 1960s. He describes his experiences growing up near Winston-Salem, North Carolina and building cars for races at Bowman Gray Stadium. Mr. Brown often prepared cars for drivers Bobby and Billy Myers, who competed and won many races in the Carolinas and Virginia with Mr. Brown's cars. Other topics discussed include car modifications for safety and for moonshine running, as well as Mr. Brown's memories of other drivers., Bill Brown oral history interview 2, 2007 June 25, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Eb Clifton oral history interview, 2008 March 11
Eb Clifton was a 81-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place in Rural Hall, North Carolina. He was born in Mt. Airy, North Carolina in 1927. He completed eighth grade at the Ford Motor Company school in Charlotte, North Carolina, and built race cars for sixty years., Eb Clifton recalls his 60-year career as a stock car racing mechanic and driver. After serving in the military during World War II, he opened a garage in King, North Carolina in 1949. Mr. Clifton describes how he learned to build race cars and fielded cars for many NASCAR drivers. Other topics discussed include technological innovation and safety improvements in NASCAR, Mr. Clifton\u2019s relationship with other drivers and NASCAR officials, and the racing career of his brother, Donald Ray "Fuzzy" Clifton.
Howard DeHart oral history interview, 2008 March 20
Howard DeHart reflects on his life, the early days of NASCAR, and his career with the Holman Moody racing shop in Charlotte. Growing up on his family's farm in rural Virginia during the Great Depression, Mr. DeHart explains how his interest in mechanics and automobile engineering began at an early age, leading him to help out at famed engine builder L.O. Stanley's garage while he was still in high school. He explains that he originally intended to make a short visit to Charlotte to see Stanley at the Holman Moody shop, and ended up working there for the next forty-five years. Mr. DeHart talks about working in Holman Moody's engine shop and describes the sort of technical work they did, from creating new safety innovations to designing engines that would give their cars the best advantage over the competition. He explains that competition was intense, to the point that they even had a 'mole' in the shop who would leak Holman Moody engineering secrets to rival teams. Mr. DeHart also worked as the pit crew chief for some of Holman Moody's most famous drivers, and he recounts stories related to these drivers and their relationships with the mechanics and pit crews. The driver he worked most closely with was Nelson Stacy. Mr. DeHart explains how he organized Stacy's team and discusses the importance of training and rehearsing the pit stops prior to the races to ensure that every member of the team could trust each other to fulfill their role. Mr. DeHart discusses the future of NASCAR, including the computerization of racecars and the changing economics of the sport due to the increased role of sponsorship. Noting the difficulties female and minority drivers have historically faced, Mr. DeHart is optimistic that NASCAR will have a more diverse roster of drivers in the future. Explaining that the decision regarding who drives is now made by the sponsors, Mr. DeHart suggests that female and minority drivers will be sought out as drivers in the future when sponsors seek to change spectator demographics, and that this will also lift financial barriers that have prevented these drivers from competing in the past.
Frances Flock oral history interview, 2008 January 30
Frances Flock, the wife of stock car driver Tim Flock, reminisces about her early life, Mr. Flock's career, and her involvement in the motorsports community. She talks about growing up in rural Atlanta, Georgia in the 1930s and 1940s, her courtship with Tim Flock, and how they married young at a justice of the peace in the middle of the night. Mrs. Flock discusses her husband's racing career, which peaked in the 1950s, including his improved fortunes while racing for Carl Kiekhaefer, how NASCAR's frequently-changing rules caused him to lose some races on technicalities, and how he was blacklisted after trying to start a union with fellow driver Curtis Turner. She also recounts her experiences as a NASCAR wife, including her friendships with other racing families, and how the racing community was very much a boys' club at the time. She describes how she and the other wives were not allowed to attend many of the racing functions and celebrations along with their husbands, but beauty queens and models were invited to the parties. The Flock family moved to the Charlotte region in 1959, and Mrs. Flock recalls how her husband worked for Bruton Smith to help raise capital for, build, and manage Charlotte Motor Speedway after his retirement from racing in 1962. Mrs. Flock concludes the interview by describing how Mr. Flock received recognition from NASCAR for his achievements by the 1990s, and how she continued to attend and speak at racing-related events after he died in 1998., Frances Flock was a 79-year-old woman at the time of interview, which took place in Fort Mill, South Carolina. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1928. She graduated from high school and was employed as a manager in the jewelry department at Kmart., Digitization made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.
Ned Jarrett oral history interview 2, 2007 July 5
Ned Jarrett was a 74-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at his home in Newton, North Carolina. He was born in Newton, North Carolina in 1932. He was educated at Blackburn School and was employed as a race car driver and broadcaster., In this second of two interviews, Ned Jarrett recalls his career in NASCAR as a driver and broadcaster. Mr. Jarrett was very successful as a racer during the 1960s but decided to stop driving after the 1966 season. He discusses his experiences dealing with injuries in the final years of his career, as well as his decision to retire from racing. Mr. Jarrett would go on to be the manager of Hickory Motor Speedway and transition into a career in broadcasting in the late 1970s. He reflects on the memories of his twenty-year broadcasting career, including watching his son win races and getting to interview the president. Other topics discussed include Mr. Jarrett's relationship with driver Wendell Scott and his ideas on opportunities for African Americans and women to get more involved with NASCAR in the future., Bryant McMurray motorsports photographs, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (https://goldmine.uncc.edu/islandora/object/motorsports%3A1), Ned Jarrett oral history interview 1, 2007 June 6, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Pee Wee Jones oral history interview, 2007 April 19
Pee Wee Jones was a 78-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at his home in Clemmons, North Carolina. He was born in Clemmons in 1928. He graduated from Clemmons High School and was employed as a race car driver and in auto sales., Pee Wee Jones describes his career as a stock car driver, racing in NASCAR for over twenty years. Mr. Jones was a regular competitor at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina during the 1950s and 1960s. He discusses his motivations for pursuing a racing career and explains his driving techniques. Mr. Jones also talks about the memories of his fellow racers and their relationships with each other, as well as some of the severe accidents that he witnessed. Shirley Jones, Mr. Jones's wife, also shares her memories of being at the track with her husband and watching him race.
Bill Mangum and Clyde Mangum oral history interview 1, 2007 April 4
Bill Mangum was a 69-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at the J. Murrey Atkins Library at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He was born in Spray, North Carolina in 1937. He was employed as a truck driver and service technician for Goodyear., In this first of two interviews, brothers Bill and Clyde Mangum describe the racing career of their father, Gordon Mangum, in the 1940s and 1950s. Gordon Mangum raced primarily on Virginia short tracks several times a week during a four month racing season. His sons recall assisting him as mechanics, but note that their father discouraged them from driving. The brothers explain how their father was involved in moonshine running and what motivated him to leave the business. Other topics discussed include memories of Gordon Mangum's competitors, including his friendship with Glen Wood, and the establishment of the Early Dirt Racers group in the 1980s., Bill and Clyde Magnum oral history interview 2, 2009 April 8, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Bill Mangum and Clyde Mangum oral history interview 2, 2009 April 8
Bill Mangum was a 71-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at J. Murrey Atkins Library at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He was born in Spray, North Carolina in 1937. He was employed as a truck driver and as a service technician with Goodyear., In this second of two interviews, brothers Bill and Clyde Mangum recount the experiences of their father, Gordon, who was a race car driver in the 1940s and 1950s. The Mangum brothers recall their father\u2019s love of short track racing in Virginia and the Carolinas. They discuss how he competed in NASCAR Modified Series races and in the rival Dixie Circuit. Mr. Mangum was particularly successful racing cars built by Glen Wood. Mr. Mangum's sons provide additional background on their family's history and share stories from when they worked for the same trucking company with their father. Other topics include changes in racing to improve driver safety, how drivers interact with fans, and how the Mangum brothers founded the Early Dirt Racers group in the late 1980s., Bill Mangum and Clyde Mangum oral history interview 1, 2007 April 4, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Dick May oral history interview, 2008 January 15
Dick May was a 77-year-old man at the time of the interview, which took place at J. Murrey Atkins Library at UNC Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was born in the borough of Queens, New York City, New York in 1930. He was employed as a race car driver and truck driver., Dick May recounts his thirty-year career as a race car driver, competing in NASCAR and locally in New York State. Mr. May discusses growing up on a farm, his military service in the late 1940s, and how early incidences of speeding contributed to his later driving career. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he became best known as a relief driver, aiding in qualifying and racing other drivers' cars. Mr. May reflects on the role of independents in NASCAR and the many team owners with whom he raced. He also recalls memories of his competitors, moving from New York to Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife, and side advertising jobs he held during his driving career., Bryant McMurray motorsports photographs, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (https://goldmine.uncc.edu/islandora/object/motorsports%3A1)
Bryant McMurray oral history interview 1, 2016 August 10
Bryant McMurray was a 69-year-old man at the time of the interview, which took place in his office in Fretwell Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He was born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, in 1947. He was educated at the University of South Carolina and Appalachian State University, and was employed as a photojournalist, sports photographer, entrepreneur, and college teacher., Bryant McMurray describes his career as a photojournalist and sports photographer and his lifelong involvement with the motorsports industry. He recalls his upbringing in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and early interest in photography and stock car racing; his first assignments photographing news stories for South Carolina newspapers; and his fledgling efforts to establish a name for himself as a photographer of NASCAR and other racing events. Delineating the pioneering techniques he developed to market his photographs to news outlets, he tells of his rise from a struggling freelancer to a successful professional who served as the track photographer for the Charlotte Motor Speedway and photographed events as diverse as the 1974 Eastern Airlines crash in Charlotte and the visits to Charlotte of Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. McMurray also describes his overseas stint as general manager of the Thunderdome Speedway in Melbourne, Australia, and the new directions his career has recently taken into television production and teaching courses on NASCAR history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Bryant McMurray oral history interview 2, 2016 December 14
In this second part of a series of interviews, Bryant McMurray discusses the photographic equipment, camera models, and film types he employed throughout his career as a successful sports photojournalist as well as the techniques he used to capture both portrait and action shots. He describes the mental acuity and discipline needed to operate as a photographer in situations of considerable risk, the methods he used to establish rapport with photographic subjects, and the heightened state of awareness and focus—“the zone”—that professional photographers strive to achieve when on assignment. He also expands on the entrepreneurial methods he has developed to market and sell his work and describes the strategies he has used to organize his large photographic archive.
Bryant McMurray oral history interview 3, 2017 January 18
Bryant McMurray was a 69-year-old man at the time of the interview, which took place in his office in Fretwell Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He was born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, in 1947. He was educated at the University of South Carolina and Appalachian State University, and was employed as a photojournalist, sports photographer, entrepreneur, and college teacher., In this third installment of a series of interviews, Bryant McMurray discusses the evolution of stock car racing from a hardscrabble, do-it-yourself sport to a multimillion dollar industry with highly paid celebrity drivers and lucrative corporate sponsorships. He describes his professional and personal relationships with drivers like Richard Petty and Bobby Allison, the tragic fates of Tim Richmond and other hard-living motorsports luminaries who met untimely ends both on and off the track, and the lively culture of parties and carousing that surrounded the sport. McMurray also touches on the role of women in stock car racing as drivers and as beauty queens, the experience of African-American drivers in NASCAR, and his own long and fruitful relationships with fellow sports photojournalists like Pal Parker.
Bryant McMurray oral history interview 4, 2017 April 26
Bryant McMurray was a 69-year-old man at the time of the interview, which took place in his office in Fretwell Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He was born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, in 1947. He was educated at the University of South Carolina and Appalachian State University, and was employed as a photojournalist, sports photographer, entrepreneur, and college teacher., In this fourth installment of a series of interviews, Bryant McMurray describes his work in public relations and marketing campaigns for companies heavily involved with the motorsports industry such as STP Corporation, Hardee’s, and R.J. Reynolds. He tells of the highs and lows of the marketing campaign cycle and the strategies he used to maintain his financial and psychological equilibrium as profits peaked and then waned. McMurray also provides more details about his experience serving as North American general manager for the Thunderdome Speedway in Melbourne, Australia, and about his forays into television production and direction work. The interview concludes with a discussion of the courses on NASCAR and the history of the Catawba River he has developed at UNC Charlotte and his recent donation of his vast archive of motorsports photographs to Special Collections and University Archives at UNC Charlotte's J. Murrey Atkins Library.
William "Whitey" Norman oral history interview, 2007 September 18
William "Whitey" Norman was an 81-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was born in Yadkin County, North Carolina in 1926. He was employed as a race car driver and used car salesman., Whitey Norman recalls his career as a race car driver during the 1950s. Growing up on a tobacco farm in Yadkin County, North Carolina, he remembers how he was interested in driving from a young age. After serving as a tank driver in the Second World War, Mr. Norman began his career racing at Bowman Gray Stadium. He describes the different race tracks he visited during his career and explains which ones he liked best. Mr. Norman also discusses some of the worst accidents in which he was involved. Away from the track, Mr. Norman enjoyed partying with other drivers and shares some memories of those events. Other topics include Mr. Norman's approach to driving and his relationship with the mechanics on his team.
Everett "Cotton" Owens oral history interview, 2007 November 19
Cotton Owens was an 83-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at his home in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He was born in Union, South Carolina in 1924. He served in the United States Navy during the Second World War and was employed as a mechanic, race car driver, and team owner., Everett "Cotton" Owens recalls his thirty-year career as a stock car racing driver, team owner, and mechanic. Mr. Owens got his start in racing during the 1940s by working on cars with friends and family members. He began driving with more regularity in the 1950s. He found success in NASCAR's Modified Series racing with team owner Joe Rump, and later in the Grand National division. Mr. Owens also describes his years as a team owner and his relationship with driver David Pearson. Other topics include the accident that left Mr. Owens with double vision, his memories of racing on the Daytona Beach course and in the first Southern 500 at Darlington, and the other drivers Mr. Owens mentored and advised during his career., Charles "Slick" Owens oral history interview 1, 2009 May 6, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (http://goldmine.uncc.edu/islandora/object/uncc%3A1890); Charles "Slick" Owens oral history interview 2, 2009 September 3, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (http://goldmine.uncc.edu/islandora/object/uncc%3A1889)
Charles "Slick" Owens oral history interview 1, 2009 May 6
Slick Owens was a 76-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was born in Clinton, South Carolina in 1933. He was educated at Spartanburg High School and was employed as a mechanic and parts manager for several race car drivers and teams, including Rex White, Bill Stroppe, and Holman-Moody., In this first of two interviews, Charles "Slick" Owens recalls his career in stock car racing as a mechanic and parts distributor during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Growing up in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Mr. Owens first became involved in racing while working at the garage of his relative, Cotton Owens, and later went to work for driver Rex White. Mr. Owens describes his duties working on Mr. White's cars and as part of his pit crew. Other topics discussed include the occupations of his father and grandfather, his military service, his promotional trip for Ford Motor Company, and mechanical modifications used on Mr. White's cars., Charles "Slick" Owens oral history interview 2, 2009 September 3, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Everett "Cotton" Owens oral history interview, 2007 November 19, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Charles "Slick" Owens oral history interview 2, 2009 September 3
In this second of two interviews, Charles "Slick" Owens continues to discuss his career as a mechanic and parts distributor in stock car racing from the 1960s into the 1990s. Mr. Owens describes the operations of the Holman-Moody racing team. His main duty was to oversee the selling of racing parts to other teams. Mr. Owens recalls the vast expanse of Holman-Moody's involvement in motorsports, as well as the relationship between team owners John Holman and Ralph Moody. Following his ten-year career with Holman-Moody, Mr. Owens held similar roles with Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough as a parts salesperson. Other topics discussed include the drivers who raced with Holman-Moody, the opening of Mr. Owens' own parts business, and the increasing costs of running a race team.
Sybil Lynne Scott oral history interview, 2007 November 24
Sybil Lynne Scott was the daughter of stock car driver Wendell Scott. This interview was conducted at the Hampton Inn in Danville, Virginia., Sybil Scott discusses the 30-year stock car racing career of her father, Wendell Scott. Mr. Scott is, to date, the only African American driver to win at NASCAR's highest level. Ms. Scott recalls how she and her siblings helped their father during races by scoring for him and working on the car. She also describes how her father dealt with the prejudice that he encountered and how he viewed himself competing in a predominately white sport. Other topics discussed include Mr. Scott's relationships with other drivers, his bad crash at Talladega in 1973, and the circumstances of his victory at Jacksonville.
Harold Smith oral history interview 2, 2008 March 19
Harold Smith was a 76-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place in his home in Bassett, Virginia. He was born in Davie County, North Carolina, on August 12, 1932. He completed seventh grade, and was employed as a maintenance manager and stock car mechanic., In this second interview, modified stock car mechanic, pit crew member, and motorsports enthusiast Harold Smith reflects on his experiences in the racing community from the 1950s through the time of interview. Mr. Smith describes how he began working part-time in the evenings for William Mason in his garage in the 1950s, then full-time in 1962. He also talks about how he co-owned a drag racing strip called the Lakeview Drag Strip until it closed in 1962. Mr. Smith describes differences between modified races and Grand National races noting that involvement in the former didn't require a full-time commitment. He then compares drag racing and track racing in terms of wear on the cars. Mr. Smith reminisces about the drivers of Mr. Mason's cars, including Carl Burris and Perk Brown, whose driving style he characterizes as cool and collected. He describes what it was like to work for Mr. Mason, who was known best for engine building, explains why he quit working for him, and shares stories about rowdy fans. Mr. Smith then talks about his own mechanical strengths, and in particular, his innovativeness and skill in working within the margins of the rules to gain advantage. Mr. Smith was able to capitalize on this skill for his son Randy Smith, whose racing career began in 1980, and for whom he worked as crew chief until 1989. Mr. Smith concludes the interview by sharing his thoughts on how racing has changed over the years in four phases, and his belief that he and Mr. Mason had the talent to be successful in more prestigious races such as the Grand National with the right kind of financial backing., Digitization made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.
Mike Sykes oral history interview, 2007 October 7
Mike Sykes was a 55-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at his home in Archdale, North Carolina. He was born in High Point, North Carolina in 1952. He was employed as a NASCAR safety inspector and truck driver., Mike Sykes discusses his experiences working as a NASCAR safety inspector during the 1970s. Mr. Sykes attended many races growing up with his father, who worked with several of the independent racers. Taking after his father, Wade Sykes, who had a strong interest in automobile racing and was a volunteer pit crew member, Mr. Sykes worked in drag racing before accepting the NASCAR inspector job. He recalls what his typical duties were in the inspection of cars, race track facilities, and in monitoring pit stops. After quitting the inspector job in 1977, Mr. Sykes' involvement with NASCAR resumed in the 1990s when he spearheaded the creation of the Old Timers Racing Club. He explains that the purpose of the club was to honor the racers of the past and raise funds for their medical expenses. Mr. Sykes had difficulty with getting support from NASCAR, which did not want to be officially affiliated with the club. Other topics discussed include NASCAR's technological changes and the impact of R.J. Reynolds's involvement in racing.
Hank Thomas oral history interview, 2009 April 30
Hank Thomas was a 72-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place at his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was born in Statesville, North Carolina in 1936. He was educated at Griffith High School and was employed as a race car driver, mechanic, and racing parts distributor., Hank Thomas discusses his career in auto racing, which has spanned over fifty years. Mr. Thomas grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and began driving race cars at the age of twenty in 1956. He primarily raced stock cars and modifieds, travelling extensively throughout Virginia and the Carolinas. Mr. Thomas also earned a living as a mechanic for other racers and owners of high-performance vehicles. He explains how his mechanical expertise served as the foundation for Hank Thomas Performance, his racing parts distribution company. Mr. Thomas slowly built up his business while racing through the 1960s and 1970s, which included the acquisition of a contract to distribute Sunoco racing fuel that made up a large percentage of his firm's income. Other topics discussed include Mr. Thomas's relationships with some of his competitors and the technological changes in stock car racing during his career.
T. Taylor Warren oral history interview 1, 2005 December 7
T. Taylor Warren reflects on his life, his photography career, and the early days of photographing NASCAR racing. He recalls his budding interest in photography as a boy and describes his education at Rochester Institute of Technology and the teachers he met there. Mr. Warren explains how he began photographing stock car races and describes how his career developed over the years alongside the sport of stock car racing. He discusses in detail the craft of stock car photography from the techniques and procedures he developed to the different kinds of cameras he used in his work, most notably a Hasselblad medium format camera. He also speaks at length about the differences between sports photography and photography for advertising and publicity. From 1957 to 1971, Mr. Warren was the official photographer for Bill France Racing and he recounts his experiences working for the founder of NASCAR. Throughout the interview Mr. Warren also talks of the various companies he has worked for, including DuPont, Kodak, Alderman Studios, NASCAR; and his own photography business, Pictures Incorporated. Mr. Warren concludes by discussing how photography and the business of stock car racing photography in particular, has changed due to the Internet, digital cameras, and improvements in technology. He shares his opinions on how today's photographers can capture higher-resolution images but may not create particularly compelling photographs due in part to the negligible cost of creating many images at a time with digital photography.
T. Taylor Warren oral history interview 2, 2006 January 12
Motorsports photographer T. Taylor Warren reflects in this second interview on the culture of NASCAR during the 1950s-1980s and on how the stock car industry has changed through the time of the interview in 2006. He begins by discussing the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) and preseason motorsports promotional activities, which generate interest among fans and include photo opportunities for professional photographers. Mr. Warren describes different drivers and their approaches to driving, noting that some drivers, including "Herman the Turtle" (Herman Beam), aimed not to finish first but to avoid damage while placing well enough to win money and earn a living. He shares his thoughts on the role of women and African Americans in stock car racing and why the sport is largely dominated by white men from the South. Mr. Warren then discusses the founder of NASCAR Bill France Sr., whom he worked for as a photographer, and how he feels that Mr. France was an effective businessman and strong leader who could lack compassion at times. He shares his recollections of Charlotte Motor Speedway, its notable personalities including Howard "Humpy" Wheeler Jr. and Bruton Smith, and of the track's place in NASCAR. He concludes the interview by describing recent changes in motorsports that he views as negative, including extreme stock car engineering for speed, which can increase the risk of injury for drivers; decreased camaraderie between drivers; and the emergence of the International Race of Champions (IROC), where all drivers race the same car.
Rex White oral history interview, 2008 May 15
In this interview, Rex White recounts his early life and his career as a stock car driver from the 1950s to 1965. He begins by describing his life growing up in rural Taylorsville, North Carolina, including experience working on his father's Ford Model T as a boy. Mr. White recalls how he left home at an early age, married, and began working at a service station where he developed an interest in stock car racing. He began spending time in Frankie Schneider's pit, which gave him the opportunity to work on race cars in Brownie Brown's welding shop before officially starting his racing career in 1954. He recalls how he learned racing strategy and gained an understanding of the importance of the chassis from Mr. Schneider. White attributes some of his success as a driver to his understanding of a car's mechanics, which gave him an advantage over other drivers. Reflecting on his racing circuits, Mr. White talks about various tracks including Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, and about the excitement and difficulty of racing at Daytona where visibility was poor due to sand. He recounts how he retired from racing in 1965 and then went to work as a service manager for a Chrysler dealership, where he earned more money than he ever did as a driver. Mr. White then shares additional stories and thoughts about his stock car racing days, including times when he and other drivers bent the rules during inspections, a minor collision with Tiny Lund, and how stock car racing was physically demanding. He reflects that his driving style was consistent throughout his career and that even in 1960 when he won the Grand National championship he drove conservatively and avoided wearing out his tires or engine too early in a race. Mr. White concludes by discussing how he lost interest in NASCAR by the end of his racing career and withdrew from the racing community entirely until the 2000s.
Dink Widenhouse oral history interview, 2007 January 25
Stock car driver and Concord, North Carolina native David "Dink" Widenhouse discusses his racing career from the late 1940s-1960s and his experiences with members of the racing community. Mr. Widenhouse describes how he began racing at the age of fifteen and won his first NASCAR race at the age of eighteen, even though the rules required that drivers be at least twenty-one. He describes how he primarily drove in modified stock car races on dirt tracks in the Charlotte region, including the now-defunct track at the Southern States Fairgrounds and Charlotte Speedway off Wilkinson Boulevard. Other topics include details about racing and the mechanics of race cars, race car accidents, and the connection between the bootleg liquor industry and stock car racing.