North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame

2012 Jeff Byrd Lifetime Achievement Award

  I had already given up the hope I would ever be recognized for my achievements in drag racing. So, imagine my surprise when I got a call from Danny Dunn telling me I WAS going to recognized! That call came on September 10. My speech will NOT be long, however there ARE some people I have to thank because without them, Quick Times Racing News would NEVER have been a reality. The first and most important is Jeff Byrd. Without Jeff’s guidance, his advice, his help and most importantly…his friendship, I would NEVER have made it. He never failed to answer a question, do a favor, share his knowledge, boost me up when I was in the depths of despair and he was ALWAYS a friend! With Larry Carrier trying to keep me out of IHRA races and the powers that be trying to keep me out of NHRA races, I would NEVER have gotten to go a national event if it hadn’t been for Jeff…also for Bill Taylor of TCI! All I had to do was call and tickets would be waiting for me when I got to any event I wanted to attend!

  To me, the best two men we have been lucky enough to ever have in drag racing are Jeff Byrd and Bill Bader…thank you Bill, for everything. When I heard Jeff was the NEW president of the NEW Bristol Motor Speedway, my estimation of Bruton Smith went up about a million points! I knew then Bristol Dragway would be saved! And that’s exactly what Jeff did. He saved that track from being a parking area and campsite. When you went in Jeff’s first office at Bristol, there was NO photo of Richard, Dale, Buddy, Ned, Junior, Jeff, Terry, Tim, Adam or other NASCAR racers hanging on his wall. Oh, no…there was a wall sized poster of John Force doing a burnout! Jeff LOVED drag racing. He, too, has left us for greener pastures but, Jeff…thank you for everything, but most importantly, thanks for your legacy…it will NEVER be surpassed! If the rest of us would be try to be more like Jeff, the world would definitely be a better place.

  Next, I have to thank Jerry Joyce and Norman Drouillard of Farmington Dragway…without them, there would have never been a place to start. They are both gone now, but Thanks, Guys! They gave me a chance and they BOTH taught me a lot. It was through them, I met Jeff Byrd. Next I have to thank Barry Jenkins. The paper AND the name was his idea, he just brought me along to do the dirty work. BUT…without him (believe it or not) I would NEVER have had the nerve to start a project like this. This was a dream of Barry’s and when he learned it was a dream of mine as well, HE is the one who made it happen. After four months, he wanted out and somehow or another, I decided I would try to keep it going…I NEVER expected to even succeed, much less for the paper to become what it did. I only wanted to do a ‘little’ publication for our local tracks and racers, but when most of them would not support it, I had to go farther afield to get that support. That is how and why it grew the way it did.

  Next are Woody Hatten of Super Stock & DI magazine and Dave Wallace of Drag Racing magazine. You know, it’s really funny, the men whose names I’ve mentioned welcomed me into the sport more than most track operators and racers!!! Woody and Dave both helped me in ways I cannot even begin to explain. The closest I had ever come to doing anything like this was watching the girls at the Davie Enterprise lay out ads!!! My entire background had been in farming and automotive and being a mother and homemaker! They taught me things about writing, about people, about publishing…Dave told me one time, “I wish we could get as many letters as you do!” I was shocked.

 I said, “I always thought you got so many letters, you had to leave most of them out!” He said, “No…we print every letter we receive! And never forget, every time someone writes you a letter, The next person was running River Cities Raceway Park when I met him. Marshal Oldham has been my mentor, my friend and supporter for many, MANY years. Whenever I was unsure of myself or something I had written, especially if it was controversial, I would call Marshal and read it to him. Now you know who to blame! He taught me so much about public relations and how to get things done and I appreciate him so much. Marshall and I still discuss drag racing every chance we get! 

  I have to thank Warren and Arlene Johnson for their support in MANY ways over these many years along with Ronnie Sox, Harold Denton and several more of those wonderful Pro Stock racers. Even Don Carlton, although he was gone before the paper was started, the kind of man he was was always instrumental in the way I wrote and the things I did in my fight for grass roots drag racers.

  The only thing I want to thank Larry Carrier for is the NASTY, hateful, lying letter he wrote about me but not to me which made me mad enough to NOT quit. I was ready to quit…in March, 1982, until I read that letter. I thought, “I’ll show you! You just don’t know how stubborn I really am!” Larry also passed away a few years ago…he had Alzheimers and didn’t even know his own family members. A racer told me one time, “I would NEVER write a letter to that paper. And if I was a track operator, I wouldn’t advertise in it either. It’s just a bunch of propaganda!” Remember that, Bob?

  Most importantly, thanks to my family…even Teresa. She was actually going to the printer to pick up the October, 1985 issue of Quick Times when she was in the accident which took her life. Without their help and support, I absolutely could NOT have done this. Thanks to Mendy and Candace who both worked for me and went racing with me and supported me for many, many years…until after I got hurt. I guess everyone forgets.

    There are people in this world whose foresight rises above all obstacles, they just know there’s a greater good with some things when other people just cannot see that good. Thank God I was lucky enough to have a few people in my life like the ones I’ve mentioned here who supported ALL my efforts. There WERE a lot MORE people than I have mentioned who made this publication a success and I could not have done this without every single one of them. Thanks to each person who ever bought a subscription, ran an ad, let me stay with them when I was out of town, fed me when I didn’t have enough money for a meal, paid for my gas when I couldn’t have even gotten home without it and said a prayer for my well being. Thanks to all the photographers who sent photos and never got any pay…just their name in print. I know I’ve left out someone important, but I hope not. Thank you.