Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fast Facts: 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Raymond Parks

(l-r) Owner Raymond Parks, crew chief Red Vogt and driver Red
Byron circa 1949
credit: ISC Archives via Getty Images
When you mention “Dawsonville, GA” to a NASCAR fan, most thoughts will first venture to “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville,” 1988 Cup Series champ Bill Elliott or his son, 2016 Cup Series Rookie of the Year Chase – but that little Georgia town had its first champion back in 1948. Learn more about 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Raymond Parks in this week’s Fast Facts, and look for the final 2017 Hall of Fame piece on Benny Parsons next week.
  • Raymond Dawson Parks was born June 5, 1914 in Dawsonville, GA. Parks was the oldest of his father’s 16 children (six born to his mother Leila and 10 to Leila’s sister, Ila).
  • Parks left home at age 14 and worked at a distillery in Atlanta; he later went into business for himself, overseeing a fleet of cars that ran liquor to dry parts of the south after Prohibition ended. He began sponsoring race cars in the late 1930s before serving his country. In World War II, Parks served in the 99th Infantry Division and fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium.
  • Park returned to his racing roots following the war, and in December 1947 was among the people assembled at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach to mark the creation of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing – NASCAR.
  • Team owner Parks, driver Red Byron and crew chief Red Vogt teamed up to win the first-ever NASCAR title in Modifieds in 1948 and won the first Strictly Stock – now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – title in 1949.
  • Parks passed away on June 20, 2010, the last surviving member of the group who created NASCAR.
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