Born: June 27, 1927
Died: September 2, 1957
Home: Winston-Salem, NC
Danny "Chocolate" Myers
Bobby Myers (June 27, 1927
- September 2, 1957) was a NASCAR driver from Winston-Salem, NC. He
competed in fifteen Grand National Series events in his career, racing
part-time between 1951 and 1957. Though his part-time schedule prevented
him from placing high in points, Myers earned three top-tens in his
career (20% of starts). His best effort was a 7th at Wilson in 1956.
In 1957, Myers was driving a solid race for Petty
Enterprises in the Southern 500 at Darlington. Starting 2nd, Myers even
led his first career lap. But tragedy struck, as Myers was killed in an
early race accident and thus ending the career of a promising driver.
By John Clayton
Clan Still Racing Strong After Nearly 60 Years
ASHEBORO, N.C. — Burt
Myers is checking
his tire temperatures and staring down an electronic
thermometer the way you would imagine Sherlock Holmes
peering through a magnifying glass in search of a clue.
Myers had just
completed hot laps during an open test at Caraway Speedway,
a paved short track hidden amidst rolling hills and
evergreens two hours north of Charlotte.
There, he was looking for the same thing two other
generations of Myers
have sought over the years — speed.
“We think we found something this week, but we’ve struggled
here this year,” said
Myers with a glance around the .455-mile oval. “We
had to find something.”
In nearby Winston-Salem, the
Myers clan has
reached legendary status with 110 combined victories at
Bowman Gray Stadium, most of those coming in the modified
division that has helped give Bowman Gray, the unique home
of both Friday night racing and Winston-Salem State
University football, its identity since
series left for bigger venues in 1971.
Those victories, which started to accumulate in 1949, are
split among family patriarch Gary
Myers, who drove
in Winston Cup from 1977-79, and his sons, Burt and Jason,
along with the elder
Myers’s father, the late
and uncle, the late
the former gasman on Dale Earnhardt’s “Flying Aces” pit
crew, is the eldest son of
“Bowman Gray is something else,” said Jason.
“It may not always be a great race, but it’s always a good
Burt won the track title at Bowman Gray this past season,
but both brothers have now branched out as regular
competitors on the
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, which takes
them away from the obvious comfort of their home track, but
to familiar places such as Caraway, Ace and Martinsville
“A lot of people look at racing as a hobby, but with us,
it’s a lifestyle,” Burt said. “It’s something we plan
vacations around. It’s always taken priority over just about
The Myers story
is not unlike those of many families who have spent more
than a half-century in the sport, though there are few
without the surname Petty who have been in it for as long.
It has had its share of celebrations over the years, but it
began with more than its share of tragedy.
Sportsman Division National championship in 1955. On April
12, 1958, while racing in a modified event at Bowman Gray,
he suffered a heart attack and died. His son, Gary, was
eight years old.
While racing in the 1957 Southern 500 at Darlington,
was involved in a crash on lap 27 after Fonty Flock spun on
the backstretch and stopped sideways in turn three, where he
was hit by Myers
and Paul Goldsmith. Goldsmith and Flock suffered serious
In their honor, the national Motorsports Press Ass’n awards
Brothers Memorial Award each year to the person or
company deemed to have contributed the most to racing during
Still, the sport had its hold on the
Myers family and
would be passed down, now to a third generation.
“I encouraged them and tried to help them all I could,” Gary
Myers said. “I’d
rather have them at the race track than at the bar.
“A lot of people
look at racing as a hobby, but with us, it’s a lifestyle.
It’s something we plan vacations around. It’s always taken
priority over just about everything.” — Burt
“I always worry about them, but, you know, I
feel like they’re just as safe out there as they are driving
out there on the highway sometimes. If you let stuff like
that worry you, it’ll worry you to death.”
Jason echoed his father’s sentiments.
“If it’s your time, it’s your time,” he said prior to
competing in the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Made In America 300 in September at
Martinsville Speedway. “It doesn’t matter if you’re out here
on the race track or sitting in church on Sunday morning.”
family tradition had begun long ago. in a Stroppe Mercury
and a Hubert Westmoreland Chevrolet. It gained enough
momentum to carry it through three generations and into
“The fact that Daddy raced is probably the
reason why I race and my brother races,” Burt said. “The
fact that my grandpa and his daddy raced was probably why my
daddy raced. It wasn’t a question of ‘if’ I was going to
drive a race car, but ‘when’ I was going to drive a race
car. I never doubted for one second that I’d be in a race
Jason, 26, seems more quiet, perhaps a bit shyer at first
glance than Burt, 29. But like his older brother, racing was
in his blood. He is driving on the Whelen Southern Modified
Tour and at Bowman Gray Stadium alongside his brother. But
he’s also looking at a part-time late-model ride that will
race this year as the season winds down and potentially next
“We want to get our schedule so that we’re going to bigger
races — it’s what we need to do — but, of course, our
sponsors want us at Bowman Gray,” said Jason, alluding to
crowds of 10,000 or more that routinely show up for the
track’s regular race programs and the desires of locally
based sponsors to be in front of them.
Jason made those sponsors happy with his 2006 Whelen
Modified Tour victory at its stop at Bowman Gray — his only
tour victory to date, amidst a slew of second-place
“With all the history we’ve had at Bowman Gray, that was big
for me,” he said. “They’ve had that race at Bowman Gray
three times, and Burt’s won it twice and I won it the other
At 29, Burt is still hoping to climb the
though he realizes the propensity of the sport’s owners to
court the next teen phenom rather than look at a body of
work that includes track titles and significant victories on
For several years, he has been rumored for potential seats
in both the Craftsman Truck and Busch Series, including
Rusty Wallace’s Busch team in 2003, but those rides have yet
to come through.
“Ultimately, I want to try to move up through the
NASCAR ranks to
trucks, Busch and ultimately to Cup,” he said. “It’s a shame
now that owners brainwash drivers into thinking that when
they get over 30 years old, they can’t drive race cars
anymore or they’re not wanted anymore… Dale Earnhardt was 30
years old when Richard Childress signed him, so you tell me
who’s right and who’s wrong about that.”
While the dream of the highest level of racing remains alive
in this generation, a fourth generation of
Myerses is at the
race track and hanging out in the garage, just like their
fathers before them.
Jason’s daughter, Emma, is four years old. Burt’s daughter,
Jade, is eight.
“She tells me that if she’s too short to be a super model,
she wants to drive a race car,” said Burt, shaking his head.
Jason is none too sure about Emma being a fourth-generation
“If she wants to be a car owner or be involved in the sport
in another way, I’m for it,” he said.
But Grandpa, on the other hand, had a typical grandfatherly
“You know, if I’m still around to see it, and they wanted to
do it, I guess I’d do all I could to help them with it.”
Feuds raged regularly in the early 1950s when there sometimes
were several races per week on short tracks, where sheet
metal was beaten and banged almost constantly. Among the
bitterest rivals were
Curtis Turner and Bobby Myers as they
didn't like each other.
Flock told this story about the feud.
One night they clashed
repeatedly at a dirt track. After the race, Turner was
washing the grit from his face near his car on pit road when
Myers approached from behind, wielding a 2-by-4 board.
Turner, sensing trouble, pulled a .38 pistol from his pocket
and turned around with the barrel pointed at Myers' belly.
"What do you think you're going to do with that board?"
"I'm just looking to find a
place to put it down," answered a surprised, but discreet,
And he did.
After that, according to Flock, Turner and Myers got along
Final, Fateful Dance with the
Lady in Black
the eighth annual Southern 500 coming up on Labor Day 1957,
Herb Thomas asked
Fonty Flock to drive his Pontiac in the race. Having won
the event in 1952, Flock jumped at the chance, but
Darlington's fickle blacktop held a trump card.
Flock wrestled with the ill-handling car for the first few
laps. On the 28th lap, the car escaped his control and spun
at the entrance of turn three. Split seconds later, Bobby
Paul Goldsmith smashed full-bore into the idle Flock.
Flock and Goldsmith were seriously hurt. Bobby Myers
was killed instantly.
It was the final NASCAR start for
He announced his retirement from a hospital bed.
Bobby Myers Grand National DRIVER Statistics
Nascar Nextel Cup Series Tickets
Copyright © 2003
by Roland Via. All rights reserved. Revised:
06/08/12 08:11:21 -0400.
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