"The Flying Indian," Red Springs, North Carolina's Roy Tyner
started 311 races from 1957 - 1970, racking up 14 top fives and 71 top
tens. Tyner is known as being one of the few drivers who competed in
General Motors cars throughout the 60's. Tyner raced as an independent
during the days of
Curtis "Crawfish" Crider
and African-American driver
Wendell Scott. His best points finish was tenth in 1968.
Astonishingly, in 13 seasons of racing, Roy never led a lap of
competition, never had a pole, and never scored a victory on the Nascar circuit as a driver
or car owner. Roy's best finish was second at Greenville-Pickens
Speedway in 1959. Local short tracks were a different story.
Roy was also a car owner with drivers such as
Owens, Darel Dieringer,
Wendell Scott and others driving
Tyner died in mystery in 1989 after being shot in his truck. The
truck was then set afire.
Rare Photo Portrait of Roy Tyner (from the
Roland Via Collection)
was the first (or one of the first) Native American drivers in the Grand
National series. SCR Magazine reports in 1969: Roy Tyner was born in
Lumberton, N.C. "...with half the blood that pulsed through him
carrying the heritage of the Lumbee Indians. One suspects that the other
half might be found to consist of gasoline, grease, and a trace of
Wynn's Friction Proofing. Roy is proud of his Indian blood. The boyish
humility and half-embarrassed grin that prevail when he is talking about
himself, fade and are replaced by an air of authority when he speaks of
his ancestry. The Lumbees were composed of bands of Indians who broke
away from their own tribes. There were Cherokee, Comanches....The names
of his children, India Dawn and Forrest Truitt, reflect his
After his career as a
race car driver, Roy made a living as a product rep,
show car driver and just plain good guy, as all generally described Roy.
Short track fans still remember the little coupe he drove to eleven wins
in eleven starts to close down his local track due to low ticket sales.
Everybody knew who was gonna win and just quit coming.
Truitt has a Pontiac race patch that was almost the only thing left of
his dad's racing days because an ex, or soon to be ex-wife, had piled
everything else out back and burned it while he was gone.
Tyner was so proud that the high priced marketing types came up with
what they considered the best color scheme for the new Budweiser team
cars and it was exactly the same one he came up with for his Pepsi car
many years before.
Roy Tyner and the # 9
Tyner began a long association
with the numeral in 1959. Through the 1970 season, Tyner drove 226 races
in the No. 9, but failed to win a race.
Tyner had 14 top-10s in 24 races
in 1959, including a fourth at Weaverville. The next season, he was
fourth at Charlotte in 15 starts.
in 1959, he had a number 8 team car to his car 9, a pair of '57 Chevy's
with journeyman driver
Johnny Allen, who had finally parted company with
non-competitive Plymouth cars.
1960 wasn't a good year when
mechanics Charles Sweatland and
Paul McDuffie along with NASCAR official
Joe Taylor were killed when
Bobby Johns crashed into a pit wall at
Darlington after tangling with Roy Tyner during the Southern 500.
In nine 1961 events, Tyner's best
was a 10th at Hillsboro. Bunkie Blackburn also drove five times in the
No. 9, including a 39th-place finish in the Southern 500.
Tyner missed the entire 1962
season, then returned for eight races in 1963, all of which he failed to
finish for a variety of reasons. Other #9 drivers were Art Brady who was
21st in the 1962 Southern 500, while Cale Yarborough finished 25th at
Charlotte and T.C. Hunt was 19th at Chattanooga.
Things improved for Tyner in 1964,
as he posted 17 top-10s in 46 races, finishing 16th in the final
standings. Bill Amick drove a No. 9W out west, finishing fourth at
Riverside. Later in '64, it seems Roy wound up
crashed on a short track at a much reduced speed, but that didn't help
much. He said he got hit in the drivers side door and when all the
expensive noises were over that he and his seat and the door bars in the
roll cage were all the way over on top on the transmission tunnel.
had six more top-10s in 1965, including a fourth at Greenville, then was
seventh at Columbia in 26 starts in 1966.
Paul Goldsmith used the No. 9
once that season, finishing 21st at Bristol, while Larry Frank was 10th
in the 1966 Daytona 500.
Tyner made 27 more starts in 1967,
posting a 10th-place finish at Richmond. Ken Spikes was 21st in the
Southern 500 that season.
Tyner's best season came in 1968,
when he had 14 top-10 finishes in 48 races, 21 of those in the No. 9.
Ben Arnold also drove a Tyner- owned car at Darlington, while Bill Vanderhoff
ran three races, including a 16th at Montgomery.
was 10th at Bristol in 1969 and eighth at Richmond in 1970 as he began
running a limited schedule.
The numeral went unused until
1973, when Pete Hamilton drove a No. 9 Plymouth at Daytona, finishing
40th in the 500.
Roy Tyner is proof of Nascar's
diversity, long before modern day standards dictate such.
Mr Via: You may find this interesting and
something you may want to add to your site, Roy Tyner's '69 Pontiac
Grand Prix, restored. Picture courtesy of Robbie Solesbee, taken at
Darlington last year. Keith Vrabec
(Editor: Thanks Keith for the great picture of a FANTASTIC restored car.
A true piece of history.)
During the running of the 1960 Southern 500 at Darlington,
Bobby Johns and Roy Tyner
on the backstretch. Johns in the #5 Cotton Owens Pontiac slammed into the
pit wall. Johnís was fine, but
unfortunately three pit members were fatally injured. They were
McDuffie, Charles Sweatlund, and
There is a public AP Wirephoto newspaper article on the
fatal crash of Bobby Johns and
Because of the historic significance we will list the
publicly available article.
HOWEVER, WE WARN YOU THAT THE PICTURE IS GRAPHIC.
We apologize if there is a family member or other person
that objects to the photo. Here is the Link.
Wendell Scott and Roy Tyner go at it in
the Dirt . . . (believe it or not these are models by Jerry Sims!
Tyner was the first to
try to integrate a Pontiac GTO into Nascar - Above is a
an original Tyner 1966 GTO in a later changed version
Stock Car Racing Magazine
Rare Race Sequence Photos
Where was this track? Email
According to emails I have received, this track is
apparently Occoneechee Speedway
3/4's down the backstretch as shown in the photo below.
Posted by Jim Thurman