History ~ How We Honor It and Why

Note: My articles are based solely on my thoughts, observations and sometimes experiences. Normally I do not offer statistics, although at times I may reference what different broadcasters, among others, have said or alluded to.

From a dictionary, the definition of history is a story or tale of what has happened or may have happened in the past. Please take note of the fact that it also said “may have happened” in the definition.

I feel that it should be defined as past events considered together, and developments of a particular period on a subject that is worthy of keeping accurate records about. To me, this is real history and it should be passed down to future generations.

Others may say that it is an account of events that have happened in the past, which means you can refer to those events of the past as history. One can also refer to the past events concerning a particular topic or place as its history.

Here at Pure Thunder Racing , those of us who write most of the articles are an older group of fans who have been stock car racing fans for more years than some of readers have even been alive. That being said, we are very fortunate to have a base that is comprised of all ages. For us older fans, we feel it is very important to pass down an accurate history of racing events as we remember them happening. Personally, I believe true fans of racing and its real history are very concerned about the fact that the sport has turned more into a show, rather than staying a sport. Too many times we hear incorrect accounts or descriptions and remarks about how it was in the beginning. At times, it even seems that some people want to erase and forget how it came to be and who started it all those years ago.

It must of been Ford day at Richmond on June 21, 1959. A young lady in halter top and short-shorts checks the action from the infield standing on the hood of a 1958 Ford Station Wagon, sandwiched by two other Fords. Fords also ran 1-2 in the 1959 Richmond 200 NASCAR Grand National, with “Tiger” Tom Pistone’s ’59 Thunderbird nipping Glen Wood’s ’58 Ford.
Racing One/ISC/Getty Images Photo

As time passes, we have seen the sport transform into something that is, at times, hardly recognizable. It no longer seems to be the sport we fell in love with so very many years ago. The one consistent thing most of us have in common is that through it all, we have and still refer to it as “our sport.” Although we complain about the state of the sport these days, we have stuck with it through the years. Some of us have been fans for close to 60 years and have seen many changes during that time. The technology has surpassed all expectations we have had and even though we miss what we once had, we have not deserted the sport we love.

We have listened to others, who call themselves fans, and also heard how many broadcasters describe some of the history very inaccurately at times. We are very disappointed and sad when this happens, because we know the younger generations are being misled into believing what they hear or read from these people. As I mentioned earlier in this article, it is almost as if they want the newer and casual fan to never know or understand what really happened, and how it happened, when the sport first started.

Unfortunately, too many times there is too much incorrect information being printed on the internet. What I find sad about that, is the fact that one never knows which articles or reports to believe. We can only hope that what we pass on from our own experiences and memories will somehow survive and be read enough to then be used as true and accurate accounts of our sport.

Stock car racing has an amazing history, and an even more amazing group which originally turned it into a full blown Southern sport that then became a National sport. Some of the drivers are even known worldwide. All we can do is pass down our memories and hope that future generations will understand the real sport of NASCAR racing. It is very important that all history should be preserved accurately.

Thank you for reading and commenting here. Your thoughts, ideas on the subject and opinions are very welcome. I remind you to keep them clean and no bashing, please.

Vivian Simons

(Editor’s note: This story is publish with the permission from the author! It was originally published on Race Fans Forever. More of Vivian’s articles; ( Here)

Photo Credit (cover); http://www.floridastockcars.com/


  1. I too am a long term fan. My first race was in 1962 at Ona Wv. Richmond Va for 30 yrs & other tracks. The racing today with the new car is best racing parity I have seen. The safety & quality of the tracks is fantastic. The history is riddled with racism & favoritism. The sport has progressed tremendously in these areas. The old days were geared to the average fan who felt the drivers were working class just like them & felt they could achieve this dream also. In today world this is much harder to envision. The history of the will always be seen in the eyes & memory of individuals as visualized in their experience. The new fans cannot experience what we experienced or remembered as time & society moves forward……

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. So much has changed and you are right when you said “the new fans cannot experience what we experienced or remembered as time & society moves forward….” That is sad to me. Didn’t we live through some great times?
      The first picture is the “li Pogo” car of my dear friend Dick. He raced at the beach before I met him and he also ran the first Dodge at Talladega. He retired from NASCAR after his dear friend, Fireball died. He then became the promoter at the local short track in Orlando, FL and I worked with him at the Pontiac dealership and also for him at his track.

  2. All of what you say is so true, Vivian. I began following stock car racing on the radio in 1962 and attended my first event in 1964. That puts me iin that 60 year time frame you mention. It will never be as it was, but like you, I hope the stories of how it was are passed down and passed down accurately without changing or cleaning up what really happened.

  3. Oh, Dave. Our times in the beginning and the prime of NASCAR hold many happy and many sad memories, don’t they. But time keeps passing and things keep changing. They are no longer “stock” cars, but racing is good most of the time. I truly believe they are into attracting the casual fan and putting on a show for them more than they want to preserve. BTW, I think they are getting better Anthem performers.
    Thank you for your kind comments. Glad we have found a home here…

  4. “Well said,” from another old-timer, Vivian. Clearly, there are lots of ways that the sport has gotten better, especially safety, but the micro-managing by NASCAR has helped move things in the wrong direction, too. That’ll never come back, but we can look back and still see it in all its glory.

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