Hillen "Hilly" Rife
BORN: September 1, 1927 -
Age: 83 Home: Ormond Beach, FL &
NASCAR pioneer Hilly Rife passes away
–who celebrated his 83rd birthday on
Sept. 1, was born in New Oxford, PA and
succumbed to this life on Sept. 17,
A 5:00 PM
gathering followed by a 7:00 service
will be held on Tuesday, September 21,
at the Ormond Chapel of the Lohman
New Oxford, PA Services will be under
the direction of Fred Feiser’s Funeral
Home, 302 Lincoln Way West. Visitation
will be Thursday from 6-8 and funeral
service Friday at 11:00 AM with
interment to follow at the New Oxford
Cemetery. Hilly shared most of his life
with his wife of 65 years, Becky, on
their family farm in New Oxford, but
moved to Ormond Beach in 1991; they
periodically returned to their family
farm, which has been in their family for
nine generations. He was the son of
Vernon Rife and Edith Griffin Rife, who
along with his siblings, Harold Rife and
Dorothy Deardorff preceded him in death.
Hilly was a very colorful individual who
lived more than nine lives. He survived
three airplane accidents, three serious
racecar accidents, a mugging at
gunpoint, among other close visits with
death, but it was the ravaging disease
of cancer that he finally submitted to.
Anyone who knew Hilly knew many of the
stories in his life; there was never any
need to exaggerate because his life was
unbelievable enough. He was a member of
the First Lutheran Church, past
president of the New Oxford Lions Club,
a Rotarian, a member of the New Oxford
Chamber of Commerce, an Honorary member
of the Elks and Moose Lodge of Hanover,
PA and Ormond Beach, FL. He was on the
Board of Directors of the Conklin Center
for the Blind, the past Northeastern
Regional Director for NASCAR in the
early 70’s, Vice President of Motor
Racing Heritage, and instrumental in the
founding of the Living Legends of Auto
Racing in Daytona and Ormond Beach, FL,
for which he was recently honored and
awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hilly built Lincoln Speedway in
Abbottstown, PA and strongly promoted
the “Outlaw” Sprint Car Racing in its
infancy. He also promoted racetracks in
Bedford, Dorsey and Susquehanna
Speedway. He was a racetrack owner,
driver, promoter, but most of all a fan
of the sport of racing, and did all he
could to promote the sport his entire
life. In his earlier years he had a Used
Car Lot in New Oxford, and then later
sold airplanes before retiring to Ormond
Beach. He loved flying almost as much as
racing, but even more than racing he
loved his wife, family, and dogs. He was
remembered by people in PA always with
his cigar; in Ormond there was the
cigar, his Stetson hat and bolo. Mr.
Rife is survived in death by his
Elizabeth Rebecca “Becky” Wenschhof Rife,
who he always thought was the most
beautiful woman he’d ever seen, his
of Ormond Beach, two sons
Hillen “Hilly” Rife Jr.
of New Oxford, PA, and
of Hanover, PA, nine grandchildren, 14
great-grandchildren, and numerous
extended family and friends that he
would have considered close family as
Donations can be made in his honor to
the Conklin Center for the Blind or
Motor Racing Heritage / Living Legends
of Auto Racing. Arrangements are under
the careful direction of Lohman Funeral
83, one of
friend of NASCAR
France Sr., died
after a long
made one NASCAR
Series start in
1954, moved here
1990 so he could
Frances when the
was slowed by
primary duty was
to drive France
around town to
"He was a
great man," Rife
once said of
saved my life
That was in
1957, after Rife
crashed in a
a highly skilled
take care of his
followed by 28
Rife woke from
state. Nine days
later, he walked
out of the
never got a bill
-- France picked
up the entire
Rife was one
always had a
cigar in hand,
wore a stylish
cowboy hat and
"He was one
of the last
NASCAR Hall of
Buz McKim said
in a telephone
"He was one
of the great
showmen of the
Rife was in
his mid-20s when
he built Lincoln
oval in New
He not only
built the track
races, but was
himself a race
his skull, he
drove a Plymouth
stock car more
than 122 mph on
the beach in
never short on
One of Rife's
was his promise
to pay Daytona
to run at
won the race in
a car prepped by
legend Ray Fox,
then asked for
said. "You won
Marvin saw him,
he would say,
Hilly with my
deal money!' "
"Hilly was a
Fox said Friday.
"I knew him for
there was the
seemed to know
He was one of
promoters in the
"It was Hilly
who started the
for the Grand
Series in the
Fleck said by
would run them
on his track and
helped set them
up on other
little tracks up
hosted seven Cup
races over the
career. For a
make extra money
He had many a
close call in
a thumb and
a few years ago,
he was inside
when his heart
and never had
And there was
one more aspect
to Rife's life
-- his culinary
chili was the
best," Fox said.
"He made the
McKim said. "He
sold more fries
at his racetrack
else in country.
Of course, that
was according to
Ormond Beach, is
In a sport Rife with colorful characters,
Hilly stands out
By GODWIN KELLY, Motorsports editor DB
of the benefits of covering motorsports on a
regular basis is meeting some of the sport's
many characters along the way, guys with
names like "Cigar" Joe and "Chocolate" Myers
or the many Pee Wees and Cannonballs.
You might not see their names in the
newspaper a bunch, but, believe me, they
help make stock-car racing a fascinating
study in human behavior.
And that brings me to one Hillen Rife. Folks
that know Rife would ask, "Who the heck is
Hillen?" because the racing legend has been
called Hilly most of his life.
Hilly looks like the typical Florida
retiree, living the good life in a
comfortable house in a nice neighborhood.
You never would guess that at one time in
his career he made a living by repossessing
airplanes or that he led a one-man campaign
to get drugs out of professional racing.
"There were drivers who taped these pills
called 'bennies' to their dashboards so they
would not lose their focus during a race,"
Hilly said. "They would tape four or five of
them and take them as the race went along."
The term "bennies" is a slang for the drug
Benzedrine, an amphetamine that according to
medicine journals produces a euphoric
Hilly didn't think drugs and racing mixed,
so he worked with the FBI for some 30 years
on various cases involving folks who pushed
this type of poison into the sport.
As an aviator, Hilly said he "only crashed
three times," and acknowledged several other
close calls with the yoke in his hands.
"I'm still here, right?" he said with a
racing circles, Hilly Rife was known as a
track operator and master promoter.
He helped engineer, finance and build the
three-eighths mile racetrack known as
Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, Pa., in
1952. It was on that track where he suffered
his worst racing injury, a gash to the head.
Rife survived a nip-and-tuck operation,
which was paid in full by William Henry
Getty France, also known as Bill France Sr.,
Big Bill or just Bill, the guy who founded
Rife helped France save racing from
legislative extinction and Big Bill returned
the favor by saving his friend's life.
I got to know Hilly Rife way back when after
writing an opinion piece on why races at
Dover International Speedway should be
shortened from 500 to 400 miles.
He sat me down and talked sense -- promoter
sense -- for a good 30 minutes until I found
the escape hatch.
"Racetrack owners make a lot of their money
on concessions," he explained to me,
pointing the ever-present cigar in my face.
"The longer the race, the better. Why on
Earth would we want to shorten the racing
everyone 50 or older in the racing business
has a story or two or three about Hilly
Rife, the only man in America (other than
Ray Kroc) to make a fortune selling french
"You just cut them up and fry 'em," said
Rife, revealing his long-held secret recipe.
"Potatoes cost practically nothing. Sold a
lot of 'em during rain delays."
Of course, that goes back to the longer the
race, the better for the promoter.
Rife was the consummate promoter. Anybody
calling Lincoln Speedway for a weather
report -- "Is it raining at the track?" --
would get the same answer from the guy
running the show.
"It's bright and clear," he would say, even
in street-flooding conditions.
It wasn't a fib at all, because that is the
way this racing man, Hillen "Hilly" Rife has
always looked at life, sunny-side up.
An interview with
Hilly Rife and Patty Teague about Marshall Teague
Big Bill's friend fights
By AUDREY PARENTE, Staff writer DB
Spinning tires spit dirt at Pennsylvania's
Lincoln Speedway during a Saturday night
race in 1957.
Track owner/driver Hilly Rife had just taken
the lead in the No. 999, a
burgundy-and-ivory painted Ford modified,
when he was bumped hard enough by Johnny
Mackison Sr. to launch Rife's car over a
As his car crumpled, Rife's skull fractured.
He remembers nothing about what happened for
a month after that, but a swirling drama
followed. It's the kind of stuff that
followed Rife his whole life.
Among NASCAR insiders, Rife is well known.
He retired to Ormond Beach in 1992 to drive
Bill France Sr. around for a year before the
Daytona International Speedway founder died.
Since then, Rife has been an unheralded
figure behind Speed Weeks fundraisers and
racing legends groups activities that honor
race heroes -- never himself.
Now, at 82, he's fighting for his life
again, this time against cancer. Rife is
undergoing chemotherapy to fight small cell
lung cancer, which has spread to his liver
More than 50 years ago, Rife showed he's a
In a recent interview he told how, in 1957,
he was in a coma, not expected to live the
morning after the Lincoln Speedway crash
when France Sr., who owed Rife more than a
few favors, made a call.
"Bill France called Dr. John Chambers of
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, one
of the best neurosurgeons in the country,"
Rife said. "Chambers lived on (what once
was) Hitler's yacht, but a storm was coming
up, so he was in Pennsylvania. He drove 80
miles to operate on me."
After a six-hour surgery and 28 days
unconscious, Rife awoke. Nine days later he
walked out of the hospital. France paid the
bills, Rife said.
Seven months later Rife scorched the sands
of Daytona Beach at more than 122 mph in a
Plymouth Golden Commando.
Rife's list of calamities is long, as his is
penchant for being involved in interesting
He lost a thumb in a wreck while outlaw
racing, suffered broken legs in a trackside
accident and as a pilot survived three plane
crashes. Rife also worked secretly for the
FBI to clean out drugs from racing, his
"largest-ever track insurance" policy made
headlines and his speedway sold what he said
were the country's best french fries.
"It's amazing when you think about it --
Hilly was still a relatively young man in
his mid-20s when he built Lincoln Speedway
and absolutely made it work," said Buz
McKim, historian at the NASCAR Hall of Fame
in Charlotte, N.C.
"He was a pioneer in the art of promoting
and realized early that it was show business
as opposed to sport," McKim said. "His
overall appearance tickles me -- with his
bolo tie, cowboy hat and cigar and a booming
voice with the quintessential gift of
McKim said Rife was great at lining up fans,
but his driving experience let him know what
drivers needed. "He tried to make it work
for both sides, treating his people right."
Rife's relationship with France Sr. is "a
little-known story," McKim said.
One incident that cemented Rife with France
happened in the mid-1950s, when an Oregon
senator proposed a national race ban after a
series of deadly crashes at Watkins Glen,
N.Y., Langhorne (Pa.) Speedway and
Indianapolis. AAA stopped sanctioning races
as anti-racing sentiment mounted.
France worried, so Rife, who owned a farm
adjacent to President Eisenhower's farm,
arranged for NASCAR representative Ed Otto
to meet in Washington, D.C., with Ike and
Pennsylvania State House Rep. Francis
Worley, in the hopes of heading off a ban.
Eddie Roche, archivist at Motorsports Images
and Archives, said Rife always does for
"He helped Bobby Allen become the No. 1
World of Outlaws sprint car driver," Roche
said. "Here (in Daytona Beach) he's been
very big in the community and gives his all
Former Conklin Center for the Blind employee
Jill McConville said Rife serves on the
Conklin Board and is "the best volunteer."
He has provided fundraising ideas, business
contacts, memorabilia and countless
volunteer manpower hours.
would sell tables to the annual Race Week
Celebrity Auction and provide racing related
auction items," McConville said. "He would
show up with such racing greats as Tim Flock
or Bobby Allison."
Roland Via, former host of "Totally Racing"
on local radio, said Rife was a "kingpin" in
starting Living Legends of Auto Racing and
Motor Racing Heritage.
"He also was pivotal in putting together
some of the initial people for the
Birthplace of Speed events (in Ormond Beach)
and brought beach racing back," Via said.
For the first few years Rife worked as a
flagman, arranged for entertainment and paid
for trophies and T-shirts.
"He didn't like cheap trophies and knew, as
a promoter, that people liked trophies that
represented something," Via said.
Rife said he plans to conquer cancer and is
inspired by a Bill France photo on his wall.
"I thank him every night as I go to bed,"
Rife said. "If it wasn't for him I wouldn't
Old Story by Bob MaGinley, Illustrated Speedway News -
Hilly is “crazy,” a spendthrift and fool, Others state
that he is a “Promoter’s” promoter always working to
further the reputation of his already famous “Fabulous”
race driver, auto dealer and track owner, Hilly Rife at
38 years has parlayed a love for auto racing, sharp
business mind and an effervescent personality into a
three-track stock car circuit promotion.
Dorsey Speedway, Elkridge, Ms., the “Fabulous” Lincoln
Speedway and the Susquehanna Speedway, Newberrytown, Pa.
to go make up the operation.
Born Sept. 1,
1927 on a dairy farm in New Oxford, Pa., Hilly spent his
youth as a farm boy doing chores and dreaming of his
ambition to become an aircraft pilot.
New Oxford, Pa. High School and in 1945 married Beckey
E. Wenschhof. They now have three children, Vickie
Diana, 20; Hillen G, 18, and Larry E., 18.
interest in auto racing dates back to the resumption of
the sport in the Penna. Area, following World War II,
Ted Horn, Bill Holland, Bill Schindler and Tommy
Hinnershitz became his idols.
In 1949 Hilly
Rife started his racing career. He purchased a ’37 Ford
coupe from Bob Mundorf of York, Pa. and competed in his
first even at the Mason Dixon Spdwy., Oxford, Pa.
From 1950 to
1953 the Lancaster, Pa. Speedway and Mason Dixon
provided the experience he needed to become a winning
President of the newly formed Lincoln Speedway Corp. in
1953 on the strength of his racing knowledge.
competition in 1953 with the Penn-Mar Racing Assn., in
addition to his Sports-Modified activities, led to
NASCAR Grand National rides in 1954.
Kuhn Auto Sales 1954 Dodge Coronet, the late and great
Joe Weatherly paid the then handsome sum of $85.00 for
Hilly to appear at his Virginia Beach, Va., Speedway
with his fast and sharp appearing Dodge.
Hilly copped 17 features. A nasty spill at Lancaster
cost him his right thumb. Four weeks later, he won his
first feature race at the Lincoln Speedway.
1956 saw the
driver-promoter finish 2nd in points at Lincoln and
Lancaster without a feature win.
end of what could have been a brilliant driving career
came in a near-fatal flip over the first turn bank of
the Lincoln Speedway on June 29, 1957. Prior to the
accident Hilly copped seven features in the famous #999
weeks of convalescence, it was confirmed that Hilly was
sidelined from oval competition and relegated to the
role of full time promoter.
driving a “showroom” Plymouth Golden Commando, on the
sands at Daytona Beach, Fla. During “Speed Weeks” Hilly
out scored the “factory” Plymouths with a blistering
122.256 through the measured mile traps.
In 1959 the
ambitious New Oxford promoter became sole owner of the
Lincoln Speedway and a new era of race promoting came to
light in the Central Penna. Area.
advertising, diversified competition, introduction of
split shows, added attractions, and the Institution of
Modified racing at Lincoln headed a long line of
“firsts” that appealed to the race fans and packed the
Lincoln Speedway for every race meet.
To show his
appreciation to the fans for their loyalty, Hilly
presented a full show of racing, paying $3,100.00 in
purses while allowing all spectators into the Speedway
co-promoter Irv Fried, witnessing a regular weekly
Modified race program dubbed the action “Fabulous.”
Hilly quick on the uptake incorporated it into the track
Hilly Rife promotional methods have earned him the
reputation of a “Free Swinger.” Close studies of the
operations reveal a definite purpose behind every move
that pays of at the box office.
In 1964 the
Lincoln Speedway and Hilly Rife attracted National
attention after Hilly negotiated the “impossible”
insurance coverage, the broadest in THE WORLD for ANY
speedway. Today the entire racing industry has broadened
its coverage of competitors and spectators alike as the
formula for his success, Hilly states, “A love for
racing. You have to be aware of the problems of drivers
and owners, try to please the spectators at all times.
Present new and interesting shows that will keep the
fans coming back.”
food at sensible prices at the concussion stands in
another must. His record of 5300lbs of French Fries for
one race meet is proof that fans like their food.
questioned about his promotions, Hilly said, “I feel
that cleanliness and safety are the two most important
factors where the race plant is concerned. We have a
doctor in attendance at Lincoln with our own hospital.
Two ambulances assure the show continuing the case of an
the racetrack is in reflects itself in the type of show
that results. We work on all of our dirt surfaces all
week long in an attempt to have the best surface
Some say I’m
a nut and a “show-off” with some of the ideas I get. As
a promoter I do my best to attract attention to the
sport, and my operations are as it should be, at least
that’s my feelings.
to my family, is my life. I try to make it a success,
and will continue to improve the sport in any small way
that I can.”
A big cigar,
horned rimmed glasses and cheerful smile are the
trademark of this hustling impresario of speed, that is
in the thick of things at all of his race meets. Some
say he’s “way out,” others respect him for what he is, a
it all in stride with a chuckle and sly smile, doing
what he loves best, promoting. Along the way he has
acquired a “multi-engine” pilot license logging 2,100
hours in the air, “as a hobby.”
Source: Illustrated Speedway News, Year: Unknown
From: Rife's Racing by Austin Rife
I spoke with Hilly Rife on March 7, 2009. What a fun guy
to talk with! Here’s some things Hilly thought would be
interesting to share with the race fans.
sprint car that raced at Lincoln Speedway in 1968
was Gus Linderman in the #69 sprinter.
received $1,000.00 for the first feature win at
Lincoln Speedway (a LOT of $ in those days).
admission for the first race at Lincoln Speedway was
$1.50 per person.
A cigar-chewing race-promoter sidekick of
Bill France Sr. sat down with President
Dwight D. Eisenhower at a Gettysburg, Pa.,
restaurant to save auto racing from
During the mid-1950s, an Oregon senator
proposed a national ban on the activity,
after deadly racing accidents at Watkins
Glen, N.Y., Langhorne Speedway in Langhorne,
Pa., and Indianapolis.
Efforts to curb racing also were under way
in Italy, Switzerland and France after a
disastrous accident at a LeMans race in
France in 1955. A Mercedes plunged into the
spectators, killing the driver and at least
80 people and injuring more than 100 men,
women and children.
"People alive today have no idea about how
many people used to be killed in and around
auto racing -- not only race drivers but
cars regularly went into the grandstands,"
said Edgar Otto of Boca Raton. His father
was the fast-talking promoter, Ed Otto, who
met with the 34th president on behalf of
this time, AAA also sanctioned auto races
but pulled out as anti-race press and public
sentiment mounted. France was getting
worried, Otto said in an interview in Ormond
Beach, where he recently promoted his book,
"Ed Otto, NASCAR's Silent Partner."
"France said to my dad: 'You are a Yankee.
Why don't you go on up to Washington and see
what you can do about this?,' " Otto said.
Otto's father called Pennsylvania race
promoter Hilly Rife, who owned a farm
adjacent to President Eisenhower's farm,
used for weekend retreats.
Rife, now of Ormond Beach, said he called
Pennsylvania state Rep. Francis Worley.
"He was a friend of my family and would do
everything for me," Rife said. "I said, 'Can
you get me in touch with Ike?' And in two
weeks he had it worked out."
A meeting was arranged at a downtown
restaurant. Rife drove Otto into Gettysburg
and met Worley.
"I waited across the street. Francis Worley
took Ed into the restaurant," Rife said. "Ed
came out first, and Francis came out later
"Ed said Ike told him: 'Don't worry about a
thing; it won't go any further, and if it
does, I will stop it. You can go back to
Daytona and tell them they don't have to
worry about it,' " Rife said.
Otto said NASCAR followed up by making
racing safer, "not only for the drivers but
for the spectators."
With Barry Skelly, Bryan
Householder, and Doug Rothenbach
This Lincoln, PA, history,
published on the track’s
50th anniversary in 2002, is
in glossy program format.
It covers Hilly
world-class speedway from
the early modified shows,
through the invasion of the
“bugs,” to the sprinters in
the current era.
Soft cover, 80 pages, over
250 photos, some color, and
yearly stats. S-957
was an innovator and instigator. He did
create controversy at times. He once
said "If you ain't creatin' controversy
so they're talkin 'bout you, you ain't
Guilfoy: Interviewed by Dave Zortman Okay... Hilly Rife (controversial
Lincoln Speedway promoter)? Buck: Well... I know this is
gonna be a sore spot in some people's
sides, but I'm sorry... Hilly Rife, as
far as I'm concerned, was a good guy. He
done things for me for five... for more than five years. He sponsored
my race car. For the whole five years I
ran the car that I have now, he
sponsored it. In fact, Hilly Rife
painted it, had it lettered and
everything, when we built it. It's got
"The Fabulous Lincoln Speedway" on top
of it. If I needed anything, I went and
talked to Hilly and I got it.
One time, at Lincoln Speedway, and the
back of the quick change rear broke off.
He comes walking over and says, "Why are
you loaded up? Why are you going home?"
I showed him. Dick Tobias had the parts
truck at the race track. He walked down
to Dick Tobias and here he come back
with a rear in a box. At that time, you
got the ring and pinion, jack shaft and
everything. He threw it on the tailgate
of the truck and said, "Here, now go
home and get it fixed." An, he said, "By
the way... you gotta go down and get a
set of gears because I didn't know what
gears you needed." They gave you a set
of gears with a rear back then.
But, Hilly Rife, he's living in Florida
now. I see him every time I go down
there. As far as I'm concerned, and this
is my opinion and not a lot of other's
people's opinion, but he's a great guy.
He done everything for me that he could
do. And, he went past that at times for
me. So, you know, I can't say nothing
bad about Hilly. He never did nothing
bad to me. That's it. I just will not
say nothing bad about him. I mean, I had
people really jump on me about that, but
I'm sorry. That's the way it is.
White, Walt Keller, Ron Piasecki, Debbie, Hilly in
Holly Hill, Florida
Otto, son of Ed Otto and Hilly Rife
Hilly Spins in
Turn 4 at Marlboro in 1953
Timmy Rivers, Roland Via, Hilly (Flagman) Birthplace of Speed Event
Yes, It's TRUE!
HILLY RIFE: NASCAR
Racer (as told to Roland Via by Hilly Rife) Hilly
always spoke of THE Nascar race he ran..... ONCE.
September 17, 2010
was June 27th, 1954 in race number 21 of 37 on the
NASCAR Grand National schedule being held at
Williams Grove Speedway in his home state at
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. It's unknown what his
starting position was in the 41 car field for the
200 lap event on the half mile dirt oval, but Hilly
claims it was next to Lee Petty, in 16th place in
the 8th row. Petty was also racing a new '54 Dodge
just like Hilly's and would go on the become the
1954 Grand National Champion in his dependable
finishing Dodge finishing with 7 victories.
lack of horsepower and minor mechanical maladies
relegated Hilly to a 23rd place finish but Hilly
bragged about how wide he made the car when the
likes of Herb Thomas, Dick Rathman, Hershel McGriff,
Buck Baker, Lee Petty and other hot shoes of the day
had a hard time passing him initially. He knew they
wouldn't bump him out of the way as he was a track
owner and promoter and they knew not to "bump the
hand that feeds them". He did it just "too aggravate
them" and then gave way to them the rest of the
race. He knew that with 21,600 people in the stands
that the Lincoln Speedway sponsored and lettered car
was getting attention. "Hey," he said, "it's free
Rathman earned the pole in his Pure Oil sponsored
'54 Hudson owned by John Ditz with a speed of 54.945
mph and was the only car to finish on the lead lap,
four car lengths back of eventual winner Herb Thomas
in his famous '54 Hudson number 92. Thomas, who was
in his heyday of racing winning 12 of the 37 races
and the reigning Grand National Champion, averaged
51.085 mph with no caution flags (on a DIRT
track!?). Thomas led 150 laps in the one hour and 57
minute race and earned a whopping $1,000 for his
victory. Hilly earned.....nothing! $0!
participated in Daytona Beach Measured Mile Speed
Trials, but not in the beach races themselves. From
the Hilly Rife Story article above, it reports that
in 1958 Hilly drove a “showroom” Plymouth Golden
Commando and out scored the “factory” Plymouths with
a blistering 122.256 through the measured mile
Birthplace of Speed event in Ormond Beach we would
hear the story over and over again on how he
"conquered the sand". He said he would light his
cigar before the run and he would run so fast that
the wind would burn his cigar quickly down to a
stub. "Damn near burned my lips!" he would
exaggerate. And every time we would laugh and revel
at his story.
very instrumental in forming the Motor Racing
Heritage Association which eventually because the
organization to bring the Centennial of the
Birthplace of Speed. He approached me as I was doing
a radio show at the time and he knew that he could
get some free publicity if he got the radio guy to
do the announcing for the event at the beach. How
could you say no to Hilly? His enthusiasm was
contagious. Come to think of it, I don't think he
ever asked the question, he just assumed you would
do it if he wanted to do it.
We had some
outstanding committee people promoting the races,
but he always brought up that it was me through the
radio promotion who "brought out the most people,
from 500 one year to over 5,000 the next year to the
Hilly," I would remind him, "it was YOU."
to this day the only person who could repeat all his
stories over and over again, but you would never
tire hearing them. They were polished and finely
honed over the years and this story of his one and
only Nascar race was one of them.
just imagine what kind of races that Hilly, Big Bill
and Junior are cooking up at the big track in the
sky? And I know they have been missing his stories
too and they are smiling ear to ear with Hilly
telling them once again.