When NASCAR started to loose some of its shine promoters were looking for a way to attrack those older racing fans who were leaving the sport. The love for the early heros of the sport was stronger than ever. There was a lot of interest in creating an “old racers event”. This would bring past heros out of retirement to race old race cars dressed as their most memorable liveries.
The first such attempt was held at the historic Nashville Music City Speedway at the Nashville Fairgrounds. They were unable to recreate the old NASCAR race cars for the entrants but they were able to “borrow” some respectable race cars from local reacers for the senior heros to drive.
It was a warm summer night under the lights with some notable NASCAR veterans at the wheel. Practice, qualifying, racing, main event, autographs, and hanging out after the race in the pit; it was all there. It was three hours of the best fun an old racer and race fan could have. Who was there? Check this list out:
D. K. Ulrich
David Sokol, Jr.
It was terrific fun but did come with some obvious limitations! The cars were not equal and the driver were also not the fast kids they used to be. However, at least for one night, in July 2008 at the Nashville Music Speedway the old days were back. Unfortunatley, the stars were never able to align correctly and the racing Gods failed to create a racing series. There was at least one more attempt, I believe it was at Charrolet Speedway. It was not pretty. The track was too fast, and there was an incident. Charlie Glotzbach and another driver were badly injured. Reality was clearly made aware to all that this was not a safe or wise thing to do.
As the old saying goes, “you can’t go home again.” As much as we might like to see our old heros on the track in their most famous race cars it just is not safe or wise.
The evening lasted three hours or more and included practice, qualifying, an autograph session, the race and an
After the race fans and drivers gathered on the front stretch for an autograph session. We got to talk with Joe Ruttman who used to live just a few blocks from us in Upland, CA; we also talked with Charlie Glotzbach about the old days when he drove the awesome winged Dodge Daytona.
All of the drivers were very receptive and congenial. They would rather be racing but they still knew how much the fans wanted to see them and they tolerated us.
There were not a lot of drivers at the track in Nashville. Just 11 made the race but they all had spirit, history, talent and personality and they were loved by every fan in the stands.
The video here contains a little of qualifying, racing and awards. One of the highlights of the evening is when Geoff Bodine in the 02 Monte Carlo is trying to pass Sterling Marlin in the 66 Monte Carlo. Geoff finally passes Sterling and goes on for the win. The door to door racing, lap after lap, on a short track is what it used to be like.
What was the best part of the night? There was no part better than the others but we really enjoyed going onto the track after the race and mixing with the drivers and touching the cars. It was just like a regular Friday night race but the stars were out and it was a full moon. Long live the racers!
This is a 55 Chevy show car that was at the event.
Click above to view Nashville Racers’ Reunion Highlights.
Sterling is sitting on the wall next to his car waiting to start the race.
Randy Lajoie’s car.
Dave Marcis was in a Richard Petty look alike car.
D. K. Ulrich car.
Jack Ingram’s car for the night.
Joe Ruttman’s ride.
Charlie Glotzbach’s car. No MOPAR!
Everyone in the pits working and sharing, never see that in NASCAR today.
Larry Pollard car, looks like an old Wrangler car!
Harry Gant without a 33 on the side.
Geoff’s car after the race on the front stretch.
Katrina and Charlie Glotzbach
Larry Pollard by his ride.
DK and his ride for the night.
Geoff’s winning ride.
Randy Lajoie car.
Katrina and I took this helmet to the autograph session and got every driver and every car owner at the Inagural Racers Reunion to sign it! This went into our trophy case and is proudly displayed to this day!
Thank you drivers and owners.