Irving — Race car drivers, collectors, restoration experts, and enthusiasts celebrated their passion during the Racers Reunion Banquet hosted by PCS Productions in Irving, Nov. 8-9. The annual banquet included informational talks, awards, a model car contest, and car exhibits.
“This is a good time for people to come together and visit,” Jim Perry, racecar historian, said. “I have made a lot of connections here and get to see old friends. My dad started racing in 1953, so I have known some of these folks for a long time.
“You will hear all sorts of things about races in this place. Many of us have been interested in races all our lives. I go to a lot of these banquets, and I look forward to this one the most. It is so well done.”
“We are here because we are old, and we love racing,” former driver Jerry Stone said. “I drove for 38 years. I ran modifies, and then it changed to sprint cars. I come to these events to visit people I have known for years. Each year they have a different topic; today’s the history of sprint cars.”
“I started building cars in 1956,” Joe Dooling said. “I built my first complete car in 1963. I was pretty successful at it. I lived in Illinois, and there were about 25 racetracks in 100 mile radius, so it was easy to find a race whenever you wanted to.
“When I got married my wife got into it, she was the driving force. We had some pretty good cars and some not as good cars.”
“I think the best drivers are humble,” Steve Foster said. “One thing that always impressed me, and I always tried to do this, is to spend as much time with kids as I could when they approached me. If they wanted an autograph, that is what we would do. If they wanted to get in the car, that was also fine. It is just the way it should be.
“The best drivers were just regular people. Some of the slowest guys were real jerks. I did not win as many races as some of the other folks did, but I tried to behave the way that Jerry Stone and the others behaved. We would be at the races and hang out and talk with each other. I had a lot of good drivers help me and tell me what worked for them.”
Carol Marrow was one of the first women to drive a race car.
“I had been going to the races all my life,” Marrow said. “When I was going to be 30, I realized that if I was going to race, I had better do it now.
“There was one guy who would race with me. Every time he would pass me, he would blow me a kiss. I had a lot of fun, got to go a lot of places, and met a lot of people. I had to do pushups to be able to have the strength to turn the car, it was tough work. But it was so much fun. It was unusual for a woman to race, but I enjoyed it.”
“I am a fourth generation race car driver,” fifteen-year-old Trey Burke said. “I started when I was nine. We got in touch with Joe Dooling and were able to get into one of his cars. With that we were able to get into a smaller race first; then this year we got into a big race. We won National Rookie of the Year.
“It is a team effort. Yes there is one driver. There are so many people working together to make these races happen. Everyone is excited about racing. I think people should bring their kids to the dirt races around here. You may learn something new. It is fun and a good family experience.”
Written by Aubrey Turner