I’m enjoying doing this little series about my dad’s love for dirt track racing. It’s brought back a lot of good memories for me and I am surprised by some who have picked up the story and carried it on their blogs. Even though their not all genealogy blogs, it’s neat to have others link to your story!
So, today I will venture into a time where dad drifted away from building cars and started focusing on enjoying his son’s venture into racing. No, not me! I’m talking about my brother Charles Spangler. Growing up with a dad interested in racing, my older brother developed a love for it also. My middle brother enjoyed painting the cars and lettering them and I eventually took a shot at driving a while but it just wasn’t for me!
So, lets look at some of my brother’s cars and some of his history. The earliest car I can remember is the one pictured here. I didn’t really get to see a lot of these races as I was still not that in to racing. However, my brother was pretty good and it wasn’t long before the folks at Thunderbird Speedway were talking about him. He had a pretty nice fan base! This car was built at our house and my brother, Robert, is the one pictured here. He is the one who painted and lettered the car. It was a pretty nice little job!
Eventually, my brother changed from #14 to a number most folks would recognize but not for the reason they would think. Long before the Dukes of Hazzard came along, my brother chose the number 01 for his car. He is the one that made racing fun for me. I enjoyed going out to the track and letting folks know “That’s my brother!” The one thing about my brother that a lot of folks liked was that he was a “clean” driver. He didn’t believe in running folks off the track or into the wall. Yes, that does go on in dirt track racing.
Dad enjoyed going to the track and watching his son race. There are a lot of funny stories I could tell about my dad during this phase. One thing is for sure, if someone did something to try to run my brother off the track or whatever, my dad was out there in a heartbeat. I can still remember seeing the pit crews run onto the track during a red flag and my dad running out there and pulling a young driver out of the car and defending his son. Half the time my brother didn’t even realize what was going on. All the drivers at the track eventually learned to watch out for the “Old Man”!
I’ll continue on with more later. I’m enjoying this little series. I hope you are also!
As an aside, I must mention that years after my time stumbling around Thunderbird Speedway I met a wonderful girl and soon made her my wife. I had no idea until I went to meet her dad’s side of the family that she was related to a bunch of folks I hung around with at the race track. They all remembered me and my brother very well! It’s a small world, isn’t it?