Author Archive
Stories written by Don_Smyle

Jacky Ickx: The Forgotten Race

The crashed Ford of driver Jacky Ickx being towed back to the garage following a practice crash at Daytona Int'l Speedway in February 1969. (Smyle Media Photo)

The men and machines associated with speed take many forms, cross many oceans and come in numerous nationalities. Dan Gurney, Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Jim Clark, all champion drivers who excelled in various forms of motorsport. They tested themselves against the best in the world and won.

Ralph Earnhardt’s First Grand National Start

Ralph Earnhardt is seen taking the checkered flag to finish second at Hickory Motor Speedway in 1956 during his first NACAR Grand National start. (Don Hunter/Smyle Media Photo)

Ralph Earnhardt’s aggressive but smooth driving style made him a crowd favorite throughout the Southeast during his career. His natural ability to master the treacherous and dusty dirt tracks which dotted the farmland and empty pastures around Kannapolis, N.C., would make him a hometown favorite and a two-time NASCAR modified champion.

Speed Record Attempt Nearly Killed Panch

Marvin Panch is seen sitting inside the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford at Daytona Int'l Speedway in 1963. (Marvin Panch Collection Photo)

With a light rain falling NASCAR icon Marvin Panch invites us inside his temporary home away from home. Parked across the street from Charlotte Motor Speedway, Panch has driven his motorhome from Florida to visit with old friends and spend time with fans prior to the Bank of America 500.

1969 Daytona 500, Ford Versus NASCAR

It was Ford versus Dodge in the 1969 Daytona 500. Here, eventual race winner LeeRoy Yarbrough (98) races his Ford against Buddy Baker. (Don Hunter/Smyle Media Photo)

As NASCAR teams rolled into Daytona Int’l Speedway for the unofficial start to the 1969 season one thing was certain, change was the only constant.

Recalling The 1969 Florida Citrus 250

Led by polesitter Don Yenko and second-place starter Parnelli Jones, the field for the 1969 Florida Citrus 250 rolls off pit road at Daytona Int'l Speedway. (Smyle Media Photo)

As the 1969 edition of Speedweeks at Daytona Int’l Speedway got under way several changes were introduced that altered a couple of the more traditional racing formats.

Howard Cosell – Eyewitness To Tragedy

Howard Cosell is seen between WMJX station owner Paul Benson (right) and an unidentified man after landing at the Florence Airport in 1960 (Smyle Media Photo)

The inaugural Southern 500 was held in 1950 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and both local and national media were on hand to cover the event.

Racing Happened To LeeRoy

LeeRoy Yarbrough was an imposing figure on the track in 1969. (Don Hunter/Smyle Media Photo)

Born at a time when hard work and determination was a man’s currency, LeeRoy Yarbrough earned it. Like many youngsters who dreamed of driving fast cars for a living, he sharpened his skills on the short tracks in and around his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla.

Jim Clark’s Stock Car Experiment

Jim Clark (Don Hunter/ Smyle Media)

With two Formula One World Championships to his name, one would hardly consider Scottish driver Jim Clark a rookie. However, there he was racing around North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham with the traditional yellow rookie stripe on his bumper. Despite his world class credentials this was his first foray into NASCAR stock car racing and rules were rules, even for Jim Clark.

Janet & Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

Janet Guthrie is seen practicing the No. 17 Vollstedt Offy prior to her first USAC start at Trenton Speedway in May 1976. (John DeGarmo/Smyle Media Photo)

On Friday, April 30, 1976 Janet Guthrie arrived at New Jersey’s Trenton Speedway for her first USAC sanctioned race, the Trentonian 200.

The King Vs. Gentleman Ned

After an on track battle at New Asheville Speedway in 1963 Ned Jarrett is seen trying to prevent Richard Petty from punching him in the nose. (Smyle Media Archives)

With a nickname like “Gentlemen Ned” one would never expect to see another driver so angry at him that he would want to resort to violence. But that’s exactly what happened at New Asheville Speedway in July of 1963.

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