Declarations of Stock Car Independents

Interviews with Twelve Racers of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s


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About the Book

Independent stock car racers rarely won, often crashed, and flirted with death constantly, all for less money and fame than the money-backed star drivers of their day. This book includes interviews with 12 independent racers, including Curtis “Crawfish” Crider, “Jackhandle Joe” Frasson, and Gene “The Racing Marine” Hobby, among others. Laying the foundation for stock car racing as we know it, most of these racers plied their trade during the sport’s early years, when racing required little more than a helmet and a great deal of courage. Readers will discover how each of these men managed to survive and stand out in their sport, despite running on second-hand or inferior equipment, receiving little to no outside support, and, in many cases, holding down another job off-track. The book is supplemented with 126 photographs, many from the personal collections of the author and the racers.

About the Author(s)

Perry Allen Wood is an investigator for Wells Fargo Bank and a noted racing historian. He has written three other McFarland books on stock car racing, appears weekly on Droppin’ the Hammer and lives in Spartanburg.

Bibliographic Details

Perry Allen Wood

Foreword by Jeff Gilder

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: 126 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4764-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5780-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix
Foreword by Jeff Gilder      1
Preface      3
Introduction      5

1. Johnny Allen—Spectacular Speedster      9
2. Tommy Irwin—Tough Tommy      30
3. Curtis Crider—Crawfish      48
4. Elmo Henderson—The Lone Pioneer      66
5. Reb Wickersham—The Flying Rebel      83
6. Paul Lewis—Gentleman Teacher      104
7. Gene Hobby—The Racing Marine      126
8. Jimmy Helms—The Dreamer      143
9. Joe Frasson—Jackhandle Joe      160
10. Raymond Williams—Captain America      182
11. D.K. Ulrich—The Wild Westerner      203
12. James Hylton—Ageless Wonder      222

Bibliography      245
Index      247

Book Reviews & Awards

“Perry Allen Wood has done American stock car racing and its fans a favor”—Larry Edsall, iZoom