LETTER: Drivers made racing what it is

To the editor:

I enjoyed watching the Southern 500. I enjoyed all the nostalgia and all the paint schemes, all the retired drivers.

One particular Southern 500 comes to mind. In 1950, Johnny Mantz came to Darlington from California in his 1950 Plymouth, pulled off his hubaps and kicked off his muffler and won the race, (and) went back home to California. No one has heard from him since, not as I know of. He averaged 76 mph winning that race. He never changed tires in that race. Seventy-five cars started that race.

A few more names I’d like to mention that you never hear of is Herb Thomas. He won 49 races, (and) lived in Sanford, N.C. Another driver, Bobby Issac (from Catawba, N.C.), won 37 races.

I think, kind of like Richard Petty said one time, my heroes are J.D. McDuffie and Wendell Scott. You slap them down every Sunday and they come back for more next Sunday.

There’s a lot more names I would like to mention, but really there is no need — for you know who you are and so does every other race fan — and if you helped make this sport what it is today, you know it.

You did it, not any France family.

Tommy Henry,


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