Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame
History KY Motorsports
                                              
          Remember the 'Smiling Irishman',  Bob Ryan's Used Car Lot
               at 7th and York in Downtown Louisville? It has been
                                   re-created cicra 1955.
 
                                                        Thanks Patrick Knight




NSRA Representives through the years
*NSRA was founded in 1970
*Representives started in 1973   
*Kentucky State Reps: 1st Al Cooper, 2nd Randy Osborne, 3rd Joe Keller, 4th Charlie Myers (1990 to present)  
*Kentucky NSRA Safety Reps: 1st Randy Osborne, 2nd Joe Keller, 3rd Warren Skinnemoen, 4th Charlie Myers, 5th Gary Eldrige (1990), 6th Dave Huber (1991 to present)
*NSRA Street Machine Reps: John Volbrink   
*NSRA Advisor: Bob Wells

NSRA events held in Kentucky

*1st NSRA MINI Nationals were held 3 years in Louisville 1979, 1980 & 1981 at Louisville Fairgrounds
*1st Street Rod Nationals was held in Louisville, KY in 1988       

Kentucky Safety Team
*Kentucky Safety Team has finished in the Top 10 in the nation or Honorable Mention every year since records have been kept 
*Kentucky Team Finished Number 1 in the Nation in 1986 

Kentucky Drag Racing World Champs

*Joe Willamson AHRA World Champ Modifed  
*Austin Meyers NHRA Top Gas World Champ   
*Kenny Cook NHRA Pro Comp World Champ 
*Don Woosley NHRA TAD World Champ  
*Darrell Alderman NHRA Pro Stock World Champ 
*Ricky Decker NHRA Super Stock World Champ
*Dale Funk IHRA Top Fuel World Champ
*Billy Huff IHRA World Champ/Pro Stock World Champ
*Noel Davis IHRA Super Stock World Champ
*Brian Decker Pro Top Outlaw World Champ 2 years in a row
*Ken Lowe UDRA World Champion 2 years in a row
*Jeremy Mudd IHRA Super Stock Champ
*Rusty Cook IHRA Super Rod World Champ, IHRA Division 3 champ

NHRA DIVISION CHAMPIONS
*Dale Funk Division 3 Champ T/G                    
*Joe Willamson Division 3 Comp                                                             
*Bill McCornack Division 2 Champ        
*John Baines Division 2 Comp                                
*Collings Downes Division 3 Comp          
*Ricky Decker Division 3 S/S      
*Don Woosley Division 3 TAD            
*Charlie Bohannon Division 3 S/S                      
*Jackie Price Division 3 F/C                 
*Greg Hill Division 3 Stock                                       
*Tommy Mattingly Division 3 stock
*Dan Carter Super Street
*Nicholas Morris Super Stock
*Ken Lowe Division 3 TAD
*Rusty Cook Division 3

TNT TRACTOR PULL CHAMPS
*Jim Lyons TNT Points Champ
Ky NASCAR Cup Champion 
*Darrell Waltrip 3 Time Cup Champ        
Ky Nationwise Series Season Champion 
*David Green             
ARCA Season Champion 
*Bill Baird                      
NASCAR  Dash Season Champion  
*Mike Waltrip                 
NASCAR CUP Season Crew Chief Champion 
*Harry Hyde      
ARCA Season Champion Crew Chief  
*Bill Kimmel Jr.
World Championship track team
*Bluegrass Dragway 1979 & 1980

KENTUCKY & SOUTHERN INDIANA ARCA (& MARC) FEATURE WINS
(Through 2009 Season)
        
        Frank Kimmel    74
        Andy Hampton    20
        Bobby Watson    20
        Charlie Glotzbach    8
        A. Arnold    6
        Bill Baird      6       
        Earl Balmer    6
        Jesse Baird    4
        Bill Green      4
        Lamarr Marshall    4
        Bill Kimmel Sr.    3
        Bill Clemons    2
        Bill Lutz    2
        Jack Purcell    2
        John Sommerville    2
        Darrell Waltrip    2
        Roy Wathen    2
        Chuck Barnes Jr.    1
        Leonard Blanchard    1
        Elmer Davis    1
        David Green   1       
        Ferrel Harris    1
        Ralph Jones    1
        Jeremy Mayfield    1
        Jerry Norris    1
        Michael Waltrip    1
        Buddy Ward    1


 



History of the Old Owensboro Regata in KY


The first Owensboro race was in 1969 and was won by Dean Chenoweth in the Miss Budweiser. The last race was in 1978 and was won by Bill Muncey in the Atlas Van Lines.



 


Kentucky Drag Strips

Open

Beech Bend Raceway Park, Bowling Green
Bluegrass Raceway Park, Owingsville
Lake Cumberland Dragway, Jamestown
London Motorplex, London
Mountain Park Dragway, Clay City
Ohio Valley Dragway, West Point

Thorn Hill Dragway, Crittenden
U.S. 60 Raceway, Hardinsburg
Windy Hollow Raceway Park, Owensboro

Closed

Bluegrass Dragway, Lexington
Campbellsville Dragway, Campbellsville
Cedar Creek Drag Strips, Mt. Washington
McCracken Co Drag Strip
River City, Ashland
Richmond Dragway, Richmond
Somerset Dragway, Somerset
Sturgis Dragway, Sturgis
Tompkinsville Drag Strip
Otter Lake Drag Strip, Madisonville

Kentucky Oval Tracks

Open

Beech Bend Raceway Park, Bowling Green
201 Speedway, East Point
Barren County Speedway, Glasgow
Bluegrass Speedway, Bardstown
Clinton County Speedway, Monticello
Cool Springs Motor Speedway, Milltown
Corbin Motor Speedway, Corbin
Fleming County Raceway, Goddard
Florence Speedway, Union
Half Mountain Speedway, Salerville
I-75 Speedway, Mt. Vernon
Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway, Calvert City
Kentucky Motor Speedway, Owensboro
Kentucky Speedway, Ft. Mitchell
Lake Cumberland Speedway, Bumsiel
Lightning Valley Speedway, Junction City
Mudlick Valley Speedway, Maysville
Paducah International Raceway, Paducah
Perry County Speedway, Bulan
Ponderosa Speedway, Liberty
Richmond Raceway, Nicholasville
Soggy Bottom Speedway, Morgantown
Thunder Mountain Speedway, Wurtland
TK Raceway, Benton
Wayne County Raceway Park, Monticello
Western Kentucky Speedway, Madisonville
Willard Speedway, Willard
Windy Hollow Raceway Park, Owensboro

Closed

Louisville Motor Speedway, Louisville
Fairgrounds Motor Speedway, Louisville
Dixie Speedway, Valley Station
Central Park Raceway, McHenry

 

Early History

Ohio Valley Raceway

1965-1970 

 

     Ohio Valley Raceway was built and opened in the spring of 1965 by my brother, Jim, and me, Wayne Williams.  Jim passed away in 2003 which leaves me to try to recall how it all got started, forty-five years ago.  Jim and I always shared a love of fast cars, but in order to watch, or participate in drag racing we had to travel to Hardinsburg, Sturgis or Seymour.  From our teenage years of cruising the parking lots of drive-in restaurants, we knew there were as many fans of hot cars in the Louisville area as anywhere else, but who had nowhere to legally drag race.  We heard opportunity at the door but until we opened the gates to our track that first night, we could not have imagined how loud it was knocking.

     Jim was twenty years old at the time and I was twenty-six.  Together, we could not have scratched up enough money to build a go-cart track, let alone a drag strip.  So we approached our father who was certainly no fan of fast cars.  Over the years, any time my '57 Chevy or Jim's 409 powered Corvette pulled into the parking lot of his hardware store in Orell, KY, he merely shook his head.  It took many grueling sessions with our dad to convince him that this was a viable venture, but in the end, he conceded but with strict provisions on a pay-back schedule.

     The grass airport off Dixie Highway on Katherine Station Road was owned by a man named Huff.  We knew him as a customer at Dad's hardware store.  To us it seemed an ideal place to build a race track and after several weeks of negotiations, we agreed on a price.  Around Christmas of 1964, we put shovels to the ground.

      Everything we were spending was borrowed so it was low-budget all the way.  We painted the old aircraft hanger and house.  Excavating and paving of the main strip, return strip, and a few other small areas was finished as soon as weather permitted.  We built a 16'x16' wooden two-story tower near the starting line.  The windows were simply plywood flaps that opened to the inside and left the operations crew exposed to the elements.  We used farm fencing to separate the spectator areas from the track.  The Christmas tree and timer was a home-grown monster and the source of many headaches later.  In mid-April of 1965 we opened on a wing and a prayer.

       Absolute pandemonium would probably best describe opening night - total chaos.  Katherine Station Road was the only access to the track and it was at a total standstill by 6:30 - cars with nowhere to go, double-parked all the way back to Dixie Highway, the south lane of which was at a standstill all the way back to Al's Bait Shop, a distance of over two miles.  So, with nowhere else to turn -we went to racing.

       The farm fencing we installed to keep the spectators safe, was about 15 feet from the track. By the time we started a match race between two wheel-standing "A" gassers, "spectators" had broken off every T post at grass level, flattened the fence and were standing with their toes on the edge of the pavement.

       From the git-go, this opening night was a family affair - our wives running the concession stand and friends selling tickets and directing traffic.  Needless to say, we were sorely understaffed.

       The next Monday morning brought the need for some changes - in a hurry.  A new 7-foot chain-link fence was installed from the start line to the finish, keeping the fans off the track.  We opened more entry gates for the pits and increased the waiting area.  Security was a big problem so we hired two of the hardest-nosed security people we could find, solving, forever, that glitch.  A tribute here to Emmet Crane and J.T.S. Brown.  They kept me in beer. In the weeks, months and years to follow, other problems were solved by updating everything, it seemed.  A new timing system solved the Christmas Tree snafu.  More paving improved the staging area.  A more powerful PA system allowed everyone to hear.  A professional announcer kept things running smoothly.  The competition procedures were enhanced.  We improved everything to the point where we thought we might get the nod for a NHRA sanction.  With the help and guidance of Bob and Eileen Daniels, Ohio Valley Raceway became the first sanctioned 1/8th mile track - anywhere.

         I would like to list some of the high points over the years in no particular order:  The concession stand developed the best chili dog I have ever had, to this day.  When the floods came, so did the snakes:  Big Daddy Don was there and so was Grump. There were many more national heroes who passed through the Valley, too many to mention.  I especially remember with fondness, the deer that crossed the track during eliminations, and Jim Cusic's big left turn at the finish line at 100 mph.  And who could forget the night we searched in the weeds for 15 minutes, for Bill English after his brakes failed. We got to see Frakes & Funks' twin-engine Chrysler-powered front engine car, John Carter's Willys eating up the first third of the track on rear wheels only.  We were the origins of "Honest" in John's Carter's name.  The Valley went to National Trails and impressed everyone at the first 1/8th mile Championship.  Many national record holders came from the Valley because fierce competition breeds champions.

        There were some low points, most, better forgotten, but the name Ed Payne always comes to mind.

        In 1970 we sold the track to a great racer and good friend, Jesse Ballew.

 

                                                                                                      Story by Wayne Williams

                                                                                              1/27/2010






                                                        Ohio Valley Raceway
                                                          The Ballew Years
                                                              1970-1985
 
I purchased Ohio Valley Raceway from Jim and Wayne Williams in 1970 on a five year contract with two years extra if weather was really bad and prevented a lot of racing. I was able to pay it off in the five year window.
Wayne stayed on to help run the track. Mom and Dad worked there, also my wife Jenny and brother Eugene. I think they all enjoyed it. Juanita Baker ran the concession stand and kept everything top quality, and she was a great friend of the Ballew family.
We had a very good crew including Travis Miller, Huey Darnell, Charlie Meyer, and many others.  Always tried to improve the track and operations. We built the new tower and tore down the old house then built the new garage and restrooms.  Added bleachers bought in Terre Haute, In. Later we added an extension to the track for the shutdown area.
We usually started the program with the competition and modified eliminations then on to stock and super stock.  Always kept the action moving with no delays when possible, giving spectators the best show.
We tried to book in many top racers for match races, etc.  Such as Don Garlits, Bill Jenkins, John Lingenfelter, Blue Max, Dick Lahaie, Bob Glidden, Don Prudomme, Raymond Godman, Tenn Bo Wevil, Shirley Muldowney and the Frakes and Funk AA/FD.  The Louisville and Southern Indiana area has many top racers, some of the best in the country still come from right here, along with a lot of National Record Holders.
We had 15 years of very good racing at first as an NHRA track and then as a IHRA track.  I was always in attendance for the first 12-13 years.
Racers didn't always agree with everything we did, but we always tried to be as fair as possible and would have reruns when needed.
We started the Door Slammer Nationals in 1975, it became the largest Sportsman Event if the time and still continues today with the 36th annual in October, 2010.
When the floods would come and cover the track, we would bring hoses and pumps and stay there 24/7 to keep the track washed off as the water went down. 
I always enjoyed fast and nice appearing cars, and raced a lot of cars, including Corvettes, 57 Chevy's, Kellison and one old Studebaker.
Frank Spencer and I became close  friends and we raced together a long time. We held the SS/I record for a long time with a 68 Corvette.  Frank worked very hard on the race car, and became a very talented engine builder.
I have very many good memories of the track and racing in general and still have many friends from those days. I may do a little racing again this year myself.
I have always remained friends with Jim & Wayne Williams and in 1985, I sold the track to other friends, Mike Kayrouz and Fred Everitt.
                                                                       Story by Jessie Ballew and Charlie Meyer



 


                                                                               US 60 Raceway

     US 60 Raceway was opened on July 31, 1964 by Hardinsburg resident and future Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame member, Keenan O' Connell. O'Connell stated that he was invited by a friend to attend the drag races at the old Owensboro Dragstrip. As he sat on top of the hill watching the cars and the people pour in to the racetrack, he saw the possibility of a good financial opportunity along with bringing the sport of drag racing to the Breckinridge County area.
     At that time O'Connell owned a go kart track that he had purchased from the Ditto family and decided that the location would be a good place for the dragstrip. Although he did not know at the time where the financing for the track come from, plans were made to build US 60 Raceway.
     On opening day, O'Connell stood at the gate and looked up and down US Highway 60. As far as he could see in both directions, cars were lined up to enter the racetrack. He knew then that US 60 Raceway was going to be a success.
     Farm fencing had been installed to keep race fans from getting to close to the dragstrip. Before the racing had started, fans had pushed the fences down and where lined up right next to the racing surface as cars blasted down the track. Chainlink fencing was installed in short order.
     Many of the sports top drivers of the day appeared at US 60. Some of the more notable were, Pro Stock superstar Bob Glidden, Super Stock ace Herb McCandless, Top Fuel driver Dale Funk, Top Gas star Gordon Collett, Modified and Comp eliminator driver Joe Williamson, Funny stars Randy Walls, Bruce Larsen and Kelly Chadwick, Bill "Maverick" Golden, driver of the famed wheelstander, "The Little Red Wagon" and scores of others.
     The first 1/8 mile Nationals were held at US 60 Raceway with cars appearing from 37 states.
     O'Connell recalled some of the more memorable events that occurred at US 60 such as the night the lights went out as two dragsters crossed the finish line. The two cars bumped together in the dark but were bought to safe stop by their drivers.
     Another time two dead heats occurred between the A Street Roadster driven by Jerry Basham and the A Gas Henry J driven by Doug Greenfield. A third runoff was held with Greenfield taking the win.
     Match racing was big at the time and the fans at US 60 Raceway enjoyed some of the best in the country. 
     Match races between the Golden Angel owned by Ed Payne and driven by Henry Putman and the Roadrunner Henry J   owned and driven by Doug Greenfield were crowd favorites.
     O'Connell operated US 60 Raceway from 1964 until 1974 when it was then leased to Dallas Jones who now owns and operates Beech Bend Raceway.
     The track was leased to several different operators over the years including Noel Davis, Kevin Brown, Harvey Davis, Eddie and Bruce Lampton and J.D. and Judy Snead. The track was sold to the Sneads who continue to operate it to this day.
     O'Connell stated that there was a lot of joy and a lot of heartaches to running US 60 but it was a great experience and he still loves racing and drove a race car until he was 73 years old.

                                                                              Story by Eddy Kannapel 

 

 

Driven to the Past: A Little History, Here...

John Potts · Thursday April 1, 2010

We’re driving back more than 40 years this week.

One of my favorite sayings is attributed to Harry S. Truman – “The only
thing you don’t know is the history you haven’t read yet.” Whether the late
President said that or not, it’s pretty profound.

This was brought to mind by all the comments about Jimmie Johnson’s
“domination” leading up to Martinsville. Yes, the guy’s won four straight
championships and won three of the first five races, but it’s not like nobody
ever dominated before.

I can recall David Pearson and the Wood Brothers No. 21 being the car to beat
almost every time they came to the track. On my first trip to Michigan, about
halfway through the race I commented that they hadn’t impressed me. Somebody
said, “We haven’t seen that Mercury run yet. Wait until the last pit stop.”

Sure enough, they ended up in Victory Lane.

Also, you could make a case for the days when Steve Kinser had everybody
competing for second place in the World of Outlaws. (Now that he’s driving for
Tony Stewart, he’s acting like he’s 30 years old again, so who knows? Maybe
he’ll do it again.)

Anyway, the memory that stands out with me is the 1967 NASCAR season.

Harry Hyde and the K&K Insurance team were getting ready to make their first
real drive for the championship in 1968. Standing in Harry’s transmission shop
in Louisville and watching them work on the Dodge, I asked him how tough it was
going to be. After all, Harry still stands out in my memory as the most
inventive and talented racing mechanic I ever knew.

Harry said, “Potts, do you have any idea what you’re up against down there?
That old man who is a friend of yours knows every one of those tracks like the
back of his hand, and he’s got a kid driving that he brought up in his seat.”

There was no better example of that than the previous year.

NASCAR’s then Grand National division ran 49 races, 14 of them on dirt. There were 13 on superspeedways, 21 on short tracks. Bear in mind this is when anything a mile or more was considered a superspeedway. Actually, once somebody asked Big Bill France what qualified as a superspeedway, and he said, “Any place with flush toilets.”

Richard Petty started 48 of those 49 races and won 27, including a string of
ten straight near the end of the season. He had 38 top five finishes, and 18
poles.

Only four of those 27 checkered flags came on what were considered
superspeedways. He got both Darlington races, and won also at Rockingham and
Trenton.

His short track wins came with two wins each at Columbia, Hickory,
Martinsville, and Richmond (when it was still a half-mile), and single victories
at Augusta, Asheville-Weaverville, Hampton, Macon, Maryville, Greenville-Pickens, Fonda, Islip, Bristol, Nashville, Winston-Salem, Savannah, Beltsville, Hillsboro, and North Wilkesboro.

He won on everything from a fifth of a mile (Islip) to what was then 1.375 miles at Darlington.

You also have to keep in mind that this was in the days when a team didn’t have
a stable of cars set up in a pristine shop built for each track. Most teams, even the Pettys, had two cars, three at most. Much of the time, the same car was used on dirt and pavement.

That 1967 campaign resulted in Richard’s second championship, equaling his
father’s pair of titles in 1958 and 1959.

Records show that Pearson won the title the next two years, driving the
Holman-Moody No. 17, and that the K&K team succeeded in 1970.

Going to the track and thinking you know who has the best shot to win isn’t
new. All of us can recall that kind of spell at our favorite short tracks.

A couple of years ago, we had a guy at Corbin Speedway named Russell Smith
who was running away with practically every feature in our Sportsman series.

Another Sportsman driver told me, “I know I’m getting faster, because now I
can still see Russell at the end of the race.”

In fact, one of those periods of domination involved Harry Hyde and his
drivers, Jesse Baird and Andy Hampton, and a couple of Pontiacs at the old
Fairgrounds Motor Speedway in Louisville.

General Motors ostensibly getting out of NASCAR racing after the 1962 season
didn’t slow those Indians down. Harry made several trips with a truck down to
North Carolina, picking up race parts from former factory teams who couldn’t use
that stuff because most of them had switched to Fords. They weren’t running
cookie-cutter race cars in those days – there was more involved than switching
engines and decals.

Baird won the championship in 1963, and Hampton the next two years, with
Baird second both times.

They were so dominating that some competitors were saying that STP stood for
“Stop Those Pontiacs.”

Like the Prez said, “The only thing you don’t know is the history you haven’t read yet.”

                                     
Much like Jimmie Johnson today, 40 years ago it was Harry Hyde's Pontiacs that had everyone wishing that anybody else would take the checkered flag.




 
Porter Shrader has attended all 40 of the Street Rod Nationals
Very neat that he has all 40 of the dash plaques



     
               



                                   

                                       Beech Bend



Situated 2 1/2 miles northeast of Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a gently rolling section of land covered with beech trees in a big "U" shaped bend in the Barren River.  Its proximity to Bowling Green, combined with the cool shade of the beech trees and the quiet solitude of the slow-moving river, have made the area a haven from the long, hot days of summer since the 1880's. Locals have always called the place "beech bend," and the name itself denotes peace and serenity.
About 1941 Charles Garvin purchased the property, changed the name to Beech Bend Park, charged 10 cents admission, and began the gradual development of an amusement park. The first addition to the camping, picnic, and swimming activities was a live pony ride.  In 1946-47 Garvin added a swimming pool and a large ferris wheel that he purchased at the Chicago World's Fair. Eventually, the park became the largest amusement center in this part Kentucky.
On a summer day in the mid-1940's, three teenage boys from Bowling Green, Elmo and Wayne Guy, who were brothers, and Billy Hudson, a friend, headed their motorcycles toward Beech Bend. At the gate, Garvin collected his usual 10 cent fee, and the motorcycles roared through the dirt roadways of the park. Entering a big meadow, the boys ripped through the grass and weeds, racing each other in a large oval. As they left the meadow, they already had a plan.
At the gate, Elmo, Wayne, and Billy presented Charley with a proposition. If Billy Hudson, who worked for the Warren County Roads Dept., could get a road grader, would it be okay to make a flat track on which to race motorcycles? Garvin agreed, but the boys had to do the work. Charley Garvin was a natural promoter, and soon he had a racetrack. He promoted his first motorcycle race in 1946.
NASCAR was born in 1948. This was also the year that Charley Garvin promoted his first stock car race. Beech Bend was changing; it was no longer the serene, peaceful, summer haven as it had been in the past, at least, not on Sundays.  Sunday was race day, and the deep throated bellow of high powered engines permeated the park all afternoon.
The first stock car racers at Beech Bend were mostly young men, drawn from the likes of Elmo and Wayne Guy, and Billy Hudson. Often, the car owners were older, businessmen actually, with the financial means to build a stock car. Ernie Wright, owner of Wright's Machine Shop, decided to build a car, but he had no interest in driving it. He approached Raymond McClard, the owner of a local motorcycle dealership, for the names of a few motorcycle riders who might be interested in stock car racing. He assumed that you had to be a little foolhardy to race a stock car, and motorcycle riders probably were in the same category. Elmo Guy was one of several men who were invited to test drive Wright's 1932 Chevrolet powered by a 239 cubic inch Ford flathead V8, bored and stroked, with a roller cam, and fired by alcohol.
Elmo Guy didn't even drive a car. He was strictly a motorcycle man. But he was intrigued when Ernie Wright approached him. They met at the Beech Bend track along with several others, and Wright put each of them through a few test laps. When Elmo got the car going, his first reaction was the feeling of stability of having four wheels under him. He felt no fear, to him fear was sitting astride a two-wheel powerhouse with the kick of a wild mule. Now he was strapped in a seat over four wheels inside a roll cage. It felt good! It felt safe! So he opened it up! Wright had a driver for his 7-11 modified stock car.
Wayne Guy was Parts Manager for the local Ford dealer. An older co-worker, Ray Mercer, who was the Ford Service Manager, decided to build a stock car. It was a 1934 Ford with a modified Ford flat head V8. Mercer put it on the track at Beech Bend, but his driver was a little afraid of the car.. A "hot" car sliding through the turns of ta dirt track with 20 other cars chasing you can make you feel that way. he was definitely not the kind of man Mercer was looking for. So he approached Wayne, who was the right kind of man, and they made a deal. Mercer would supply the car, but all the winnings would go into a fund to keep the car going. If anything was left over at the end of the season, they would split it 50/50. That sounded good to Wayne, about 23 years old at the time. All he wanted to do was go fast.
Larry Graham, 22 years old in 1951, began his driving career for Raymond McClard, the motorcycle dealer, who was also the city jailer and flagman at the track. McClard has an old Ford Coupe with absolutely no chance to win as it had a strictly stock 85 horsepower motor. He refused to make the car competitive, even lock the rear-end. Larry finally told him that they would never "run with the big dogs," so they parted company.
Graham heard that Lattney Upton, owner of Upton's Garage, had stock car and was looking for a driver. Upton's car was an old Dodge body with a straight8 Cadillac motor, kind of a Rube Goldberg setup, certainly out of the mainstream when it came to the regulars at Beech Bend. They thought the car was a little crazy; that's why Upton named it Krazy Kat, after the crazy comic strip cat. When Larry approached Upton at his home early on a Sunday morning, they hit it off. Latt was tired of having the car wrecked, and the approach that Larry offered seemed a good one. Larry wanted to learn to drive the car before he opened it up. He already suspected that the previous driver had been trying to drive the Dodge like it was a Ford, and Upton's car would never work that way. It was too heavy and too powerful with the Cadillac motor.
Larry and Latt's ultimate strategy was based on Larry's experience with the car. The heavy Dodge car could be used to advantage due to the brute power of the Cadillac motor. The key was to find a groove on the track that would accommodate them. Larry learned that he had to let off the gas a little early going into a turn, drop down out of the high groove and go low in the turn, then accelerating hard on the way out. He could almost always pick up a car length over the cars racing in the outside or high groove. Larry Graham began to win races, culminating in a victory in the Regional Championship race on October 21, 1951.
Other drivers in those early days at Beech Bend were Wayne Norris, Ralph Martin Jr., Randall Bales, A.W. Nolan, Bill Burkle, Sluggo Warden, Paul Stratton, and Bill Manning, among many others. These men were pioneers in a sense. In the beginning there were no rules: you drove what you brought, and raced with respect for your fellow drivers.There were no women in the cars or the pits; racing was a man's game. Ladies were invited to race occasionally in "powder-puff derbys" driving the cars of sometimes reluctant, nervous men who were afraid of seeing their cars crashed to satisfy the whim of the promoter, Charley Garvin.
Rules developed gradually as needed for safety or as desired for whatever reason. Early on the Nashville boys began to show up with their "hot" cars and too frequently took home the prize money. Aggravated, the Beech Bend boys finally went to Charley Garvin, who was the law, and suggested some rules to balance the scales. So one rule was imposed: only one carburetor per motor!
Racing equipment for the driver was non-existent. There were no shoulder harness, fire-proof uniforms, helmets with face shields, etc. Car owners scavenged lap belts from airplanes and army surplus stores. They welded huge pipes into the cars as roll cages, but the cages often broke apart if a car rolled. The drivers scrounged up football helmets, and the lucky ones found goggles. everyone wore a handkerchief over nose and mouth to help fight a losing battle against dust. Most drivers were still spitting up dirt days after the race. Elmo Guy was on of the few with a real racing helmet. Elmo traveled to Nashville and purchases a Berlin helmet from a speed shop. It was a hard shell down to ear level with canvas flaps that covered the ears and snapped under the chin. The helmet was white with a short bill. Wayne wore the traditional uniform, a football helmet, handkerchief over nose and mouth, levi's and a t-shirt.
Charley Garvin operated the 1/3 mile dirt track, built courtesy of Elmo and Wayne Guy, and Billy Hudson. Garvin added an area for the pits, grandstands, concession stands, and a flagman and officials' booth in the infield.Garvin charged his usual 10 cent fee to enter the park and a $1 entry fee to the pits. Racing began at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoons from April through October. Racing consisted of time trails to determine starting line-ups followed by 6 lap heat races and 15 lap feature races. Heat races lined up with the slow cars in front. The featured races lined up with the fastest cars in front. Prize money was $20 for a heat win and $50-$100 for a feature win.
Except for the prize money, dirt track racing has changed considerably.

                                                                                                                from Elmo Guy scrapbook

The Beech Bend Dragstrip was first opened in 1951. The drag strip starting line was located at the start, finish line of the Dirt Oval . (The Oval track is in the same original location as it is now).  In 1962 the Drag Strip and the Oval track were paved. In 1971 the Drag Strip starting line was moved to its current location.   Thanks to Morris Smith for this information


                                                





                            Harrison County Drag Strip

History of the opening of Harrison Co. Drag Strip in Elizabeth, In.   The track opened in June of 1966. Sunday was race day.  Rodger Brown and Vance Fink were the first operators of the track. Jim Troutman owned the property.  The first day they opened the track was a 1/8 drag strip. They raced on 1/8 of paved track and the shut down was gravel.  There was no  tree, Flag only.  King Speed Shop 4 door Prefect was track record holder for the first year.  Later on they had a hand made Christmas tree, they hand screwed the bulbs for the start, and there was a flagman at the finish line to determine the winner.  In 1967 they paved all of the track.
    

                                                                                                                    Info by Rodger Brown & Dave Huber
History of Windy Hollow Raceway Park 1958-current
1958 – Owensboro Dragstrip opens. The track was built by Hal Miller on Veach Road in Owensboro. As the story was told to me by Hal Miller - A group of hot-rodders including Dr. John Oldham and several other men from Owensboro asked Hal if he had a place to build a dragstrip. Being a good friend he said of course! He put it on a piece of property that was a great location, near Owensboro. Hal built the track and the group ran the track while Hal ran the concession stand as a lease payment. The original track was a two- lane track with a chip and seal type surface with dirt shutdown area. The start system was not the state-of-the-art computers used today but handicapped start by using lines drawn on the track and a flagman to start the races. Later a stoplight was used to start the races. Many famous and infamous racers of the day, including Gene Snow, raced at the Owensboro Dragstrip.
1968 – Windy Hollow Fairgrounds. At Windy Hollow, a set of grandstands were built the Professional Rodeo Association events scheduled and produced in 1968 and then again in 1969. Around that time, Owensboro racer, Delmar Shown approached Hal Miller about building a ½ mile to 1-mile d-shaped speedway at Windy Hollow. A group tried to sell shares of the proposed blacktop d-shape speedway but the project never to shape. In 1970, Hal Miller built and opened a 1/4-mile d-shaped dirt track. Late models and coupes raced at the track for many years.
1971- Owensboro Drag Strip moves. In 1970, Hal Miller decided to move the track to Windy Hollow, next to the dirt track and near his other businesses near the Windy Hollow Recreation Area. There was also pressure from city leaders says the track was too close to Owensboro which was growing. The W.H. Ford Expressway was under construction when the track moved. Mike Libs managed the track for several years. A Chrondek timing system was installed.
1973- Dallas Jones era starts. In 1973, Dallas Jones leased the dragstrip and continued to operate the track through 1987 season. During that time he also ran the dirt track for several race seasons. Dallas changed the name of the dragstrip to Owensboro Raceway Park. It was also during this time the track joined the National Hot Rod Association, bracket racing replaced class racing. The track record 5.23 on the 1/8th mile track in 1986.
1983-1985 Windy Hollow Speedway was closed.
1986 the Speedway re-opened under the management of Phillip Edge and Richard Hill who operated the track through 1989.
1988 was the first year the dragstrip was operated by Hal Miller’s daughter, Evelyn Miller McCarty. Evelyn, along with her parents, Hal & Deanna Miller celebrated the 30th anniversary of drag racing by offering a free entry fee race that drew a record car count that still stands today at 323 first round entries. In 1989, as special 1/8 mile NHRA Super Quick Series held its first ever event at Owensboro Raceway Park. The track record was shattered by Chuck Baird of Assumption, Illinois at 4.542 at 151.49, the first 150 mph pass at the track. The following year he broke his own record with a 4.465 pass at 156.81 mph. The record still stands as an E.T bracket record, NHRA changed the ET limit for bracket cars to 4.50 the following year.
1989 Evelyn took the reins of the dirt rack and then switched the traditional Friday night track to Sunday nights in 1991.
1990, the Owensboro Raceway Park name was changed to Windy Hollow Raceway Park.
1992 the dirt track was operated as the GLV Raceway by Gail Lamb, Wendell Griffin and Bill Vaught until 1994.
1994 and 1995, longtime racer and track official Francis Libs operated the dragstrip.
1995 to1996 the dirt track was operated by racer Scott Greer and family.
1996 - return of Evelyn Miller McCarty as the operator. The track record for Top Alcohol was set at 3.89 and 186 mph by Marty Thacker. The first 200 mph pass was set by jet powered dragster driven by Billy Bartkus at 218 mph.
1997 and 1998, Evelyn Miller McCarty again operated the dirt track.
1999 Jack Vick took over the dirt track and had a successful run through 2005.
2005 the dragstrip had new promoters, Randy and Kim Booker.
2006 the dirt track was operated by Randy and Kim Booker.
2006 longtime racer Phillip Oakley took over the dragstrip. He ran the track through 2011.
2007 the dirt track had another new promoter, Scott Slaten. Scott successfully ran the track through the 2012 season.
2012 Johnathan Jones was promoter of the dragstrip.
2013 longtime stock car racer, Clint Cauley and his wife, Carmen take the helm of the dirt track.
2013 – dragstrip held one street car race. No track operator could be found so the track sat closed most of the season.
2014-present WHS operated by Curtis Howard Events of all types have been held at Windy Hollow Speedway & Dragway including concerts (Hank Williams, Jr. August 1983), Carson & Barnes circus under the bigtop in 1970, funny cars, alcohol dragsters, motorcycles, late models, open wheels, sprint cars, hare scramble motorcycle events, dune buggy, 3 & 4-wheelers, 4-wheel drives, truck pulls, monster trucks, dare devil events, demo derbies, chain races, rodeos, jet cars. NASCAR drivers Jeremy Mayfield, Mark Green and others have raced here. The Hayden brothers raced motorcycle events at Windy Hollow when they were very young. Jeff Purvis held the dirt track record for UMP late models for many years with at 16.01. CJ Rayburn has the outlaw late model record with 13.85.
Speedway: 1971-1976 – operated by Hal Miller 1977-1978 – operated by George Engel 1979 – Operated by several different people did one or two race events 1980-1983 – operated by Dallas Jones 1984-1985 – speedway closed 1986- 1988 – re-open August 1986 by Phillip Edge and Richard Hill 1989-1992 – operated by Evelyn Miller McCarty 1993-1994 – operated by Gail Lamb, Wendell Griffin, Bill Vaught changed name to GLV Raceway 1995-1996 – operated by Scott Greer – name changed back to Windy Hollow Speedway 1997-1998 – operated by Evelyn Miller McCarty 1999-2006 – operated by Jack Vick, he started late 1999. 2007-2012 – Operated by Scott Slaten 2013 - operated by Clint and Carman Cauley 2014- to be announced
Dragstrip 1958-1972 built by Hal Miller – both tracks. 1973- 1987 Dallas Jones 1988- 1993 Evelyn Miller 1994-1995 Francis Libs 1996-2004 Evelyn Miller 2005-2007 Randy Booker 2008-2011 Phillip Oakley 2012 Jonathan Jones 2013 One race only 2014- Curtis Howard
 
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