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Barbara Terry interview with Amanda Beard

Amanda Beard is an all-American girl – a gifted Olympic swimmer and a gorgeous model. She participated in four consecutive Olympic games – 1996 to 2008 – winning seven medals: two gold, four silver and one bronze. She’s graced the cover of dozens of magazines, but, at heart, is a simple, down-to-earth, wholesome and happy woman.

Why did you choose a truck?

I usually prefer SUVs and stuff like that, usually because it fits my lifestyle more. Whether it’s because I have to load up dogs in the car or surfboards or snowboards or whatever crap I have to put in, I need something just a little bit bigger.

Can you drive a stick shift?

Yes.

Pretty good?

Yeah. I raced cars, so I know how to drive manual because that’s what you have to drive in order to race. I first learned how to drive on a stick shift, and my dad taught me when I was about 14 or something like that. I learned how to drive and then kind of forgot. It’s just like learning howto ride a bike, so when I got back into driving, it just came naturally to me.

What all do you drive now?

I still have a Lincoln Navigator. It’s older, I’ve had it for about eight years. It’s all kind of trashed, with dog hair and stuff, so we’re actually looking to get a new car. But we can’t figure out what as of yet.

I hear you have an amazing motorcycle. What can you tell me about it?

A Ducati Monster.

Where do you crusie that monster of a machine?

Actually, I haven’t been riding it. What happened was, right before the Olympics this summer (2008), I wanted to stay off of my bike because I didn’t want to injure myself. I was on my fiancee’s bike for the whole year. I usually end up riding with him, but he ended up crashing his at the track. He totaled his bike, so now he doesn’t have a bike and I don’t have a riding part­ner. Now we’re waiting for him to get a new bike, and figure that stuff out, so I can ride with him. Usually, when we ride – because I used to live in Venice – we would ride up PCH and through the canyons to Malibu and stuff like that. We try to go to places in L.A. where there aren’t too many people.

Wow, that is a nice ride on a bike.

Yeah, it’s pretty. You can go at your own pace, because I’m not super fast on a motorcycle. I’m a little slower. That way, I’m not caught up in traffic.

So, your first car was a truck. What have you had since then?

I haven’t had too many. I had my pick-up truck, a Chevy Tahoe…l put a seven-inch lift on that, so it was humongous. Then I got my Navigator right after that. Not too many.

Did you ever have a dream car when you were growing up? Like a Porsche or a Ferrari?

I’ve always wanted an El Camino.

Really? That is very unique and nice. I love your choice!

My friends make fun of me. They say that if I ever get one, they’ll never ride with me in it. But I just love it. It’s like a great little muscle car. I don’t know. I’ve just always want­ed one. For a while, I was looking them up, looking at some of the ones that won some car shows and stuff, and decid­ing if I wanted to get one or not. I just never splurged on myself to do it.

Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction is a great place to find one of those. I bet there’s one running through at the Phoenix sale. Have you ever looked at, let’s say, somebody else in your sport one of their cars that they’ve had, and just thought, ‘I’ve gotta have one of those?’

I don’t know if there’s anyone specific, but I always watch Cribs and stuff, and I’m always wondering, especially ath­letes, if all those cars actually belong to them. They pull out, like, 20 cars and they’re all in perfect shape.

Sometimes they do. I mean, there are some athletes with, literally, 20 or 30 cars.

Some of them do, but I think some of them don’t. They try and keep up with everybody else.

They’re very competitive, some of the athletes are. We were interviewing Michael Strahan a couple days ago and Keyshawn Johnson pulled up because he lives down the street. They were talking smack to one another. I love to hear how competitive athletes can be against one another. Such energy!

I think that’s definitely a boy thing. I’m very competi­tive, but I also get really attached to my cars. I have a hard time letting them go.

Obviously…you have had your Navigator for years.

I know. I got it and I put a stereo system in it and I put TVs in it. I made it really nice on the inside, but I didn’t do much on the outside of it. I don’t know why, but I just never did. Then I just became too attached to it. It has tons of miles on it and I just can’t let go. I think that’s a girl thing. Although I want tons of other cars, I just can’t seem to let go.

You’re attached to it I have a really good saying. It’s, There’s a butt for every seat.’ You found yours and you’re attached to it Why change? Why get some­thing else when it’s right?

It’s perfect.

What do you think about hybrids and would you ever own one?

Oh, definitely. We drive out to L.A. a lot. You know that drive that you and your photographer just did from LA. to Phoenix, it’s a boring drive. It just seems longer than it really is. It would be perfect to have a car like that to drive in. You just put miles on it, save some money with some gas and go.

Hybrids do get pretty good gas mileage.

Exactly. My SUVs are real expensive. But gas has gone down, so it’s nice.

How do you like living in the Tuscon area?

Yeah, it’s fine, it’s nice. I’ve had this house for a couple years and it’s home to me. I grew up in Orange County, California, and have spent quite a bit of time living in Venice, CA, so this is a huge change.

Yeah, from Venice CA, it is.

Yeah, definitely. I went to school at the University of Arizona, so I was living out there for a while. I like it. We still have an apartment in Santa Monica. I go back there to work, so I’m not here that often. I just got back home last night. I’m here for, like, a couple days because I have to do laundry and kind of hang out with the dogs. And then I leave again.

What all do you have going on right now?

Well, I just got engaged, so that’s kind of been a big life change.

Congratulations. How did you meet each other?

He’s a photographer. We met on a photo shoot, actu­ally. He was assisting at the time-assisting a photog­rapher that was shooting me for Speedo, for catalogs and stuff. That’s how we met. Kind of cliche and lame, but it’s just how it happened. Now, actually, we’re try­ing to start our first photography business together. That’s kind of been consuming a lot of our time – put­ting our Web site together and trying to send out busi­ness cards. I don’t know that world very well. He does, and I’m just kind of going along with him. I’ve been try­ing to help and learn.

That sounds fun, though. You obviously found something that is passionate to you.

I love taking photos. We travel a lot, so we like to take pho­tos. We figure, if we can do photography together, then we get to travel together, work together and obviously spend a lot of time together.

Do you have plans to compete again?

I don’t know. I haven’t officially retired. I haven’t signed my paperwork saying that I’m done swimming, so I’m not done. I wouldn’t completely rule it out. Like, the year before the Olympics, I may jump back in the pool and try to go for it again. But I’m definitely taking this year off.

I would suppose that you really need that.

I get really sick of swimming. It’s just kind of a boring lifestyle and life because that’s all you do. You go to the pool in the morning for a couple of hours. Then you’re exhausted so you come home and eat breakfast, you take a nap, then go back to the pool, work out for a couple of hours and go to the gym.

What kind of music do you listen to when you drive?

It’s usually, like, kinda classic rock. I listen to a lot of Grateful Dead and things like that. Probably a lot different than a lot of the other athletes.

Well, yes and no. A lot of the athletes like to listen to T.I., some of them love country music while they’re driving. The El Camino was your dream car when you were a kid. Is it still your dream car?

It’s still the El Camino. I got to shoot a cover for Auto Week and they had an El Camino in the shot with me. I was, like, ‘Can I take this home with me?’ It was such a nice car.

Do you get a lot of traffic tickets?

Not too many. Actually, I used to get a lot more, but now I like to go out on the track more and be fast and aggressive out there rather than on the street. In Tucson, people are awful drivers.

It’s a different demographic out here. We stopped at the Starbucks in Albertsons and found it very interesting.

Yeah, it’s different, I know. It’s very different.

What’s your favorite color combination on cars? What color is your Navigator?

My Navigator is white with a gray interior. I seem to like white cars with black rims. I like black cars, but they get so freaking dirty too fast and I’m too lazy to clean my car that often. That’s something that I can be lazy with.

What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve done in a car?

I don’t know. I guess just doing stuff on tracks – like on skid pads – like forward and reverse.

Tell me about your time on the track. Have you ever entered into a race of any sort?

Yeah. I used to watch NASCAR a bunch. Then I did the Long Beach Grand Prix Celebrity Race, which was so much fun because we got to be out on the track. I think we had four track days where we were just learning how to do everything. Then we had a couple days on the actual course and then we had our race day. My whole thing was Karl Malone, the basketball player. I just had to beat him. He kept being so cocky, and the whole time he was in my rearview mirror. I was just driving and I was, like, darn it. He was on my butt the whole time.

Did you cut him off?

I beat him. Then I got my motorcycle and started going out on the track with motorcycles instead of cars. It was completely different, and a little scarier.

How fast have you driven your motorcycle?

Not too fast. Probably 70 or 75. Unlike my fiancee-he goes really fast on his. He borrows his friend’s and goes, like, 160 on them. I think he hit a bird or some­thing onetime.

Oh no. Really?

And that’s the thing that’s so different than being in a car. You’re so exposed. You lane split in California, and you hit people’s mirrors and stuff like that. It’s a whole different ball game, and you have to be so aware. You can’t just sit on a bike and cruise.

Especially on the 405! Have you ever had any car accidents, to speak of?

No, actually. I mean, I’ve wrecked cars on the track. It’s kinda fun that way. I’ve never wrecked my own cars, so that’s been good.

That’s good. How old were you when you got your driver’s license?

I was 16. My birthday’s on October 29 and I got it on Halloween.

All right. How’d you learn how to drive?

From my dad. He had a little Jeep that was a stick, and we would go out in the community when I was about

  • used to drive around there. And then, I remember,

I used to steal his car all the time when he wasn’t home. Driving stick when you’re, like, 14,1 stalled a lot.

What has been your favorite car that you have had from the get-go?

I really love my Tahoe, just because it’s so huge. When I was starting off in college out here, we’d have flash floods. The car’s so big. It has huge tires on it, and I could drive through anything and it would be fine.

And how big of a lift kit did you have on it?

A seven-inch lift.

Wow, that’s a pretty big lift kit. Where is the Tahoe now?

I actually gave it to my sister, just because I wanted the Navigator. She had it for a while, but she was liv­ing up in San Fransisco. It is not very practical trying to park that, and there’s nowhere to park. Everywhere is, like, parking garages and it doesn’t fit into parking garages. So, we ended up selling it and she got a new car. I almost bought it back from her, but, being in Venice, CA with two huge SUVs just doesn’t work.

Everything is compact car parking.

Exactly. We had a driveway on our house and stuff, but it was too tiny – like it was meant for little cars. I was already pushing it with that car.

What does your family think about your Ducati?

I don’t think that they actually think that I ride it.

Do they know that you have it?

Yeah. I had to show them. When I said I got a motorcy­cle, everyone thought that I got a cruiser or something – like a Harley. I’m, like, no, it’s a crotch rocket. Nobody believes me, so I have to get pictures for proof. They’ve seen it, they just haven’t seen me riding it.

Have you ever leased a car, or do you prefer to own it?

I prefer to own. We’ve thought about leasing, but I just have weird issues with that.

I was moved to see how interested Amanda and her fiancee are in each other’s lives. Now they’re business partners. They even shoot underwater photography together, and you could see Amanda’s passion for his business. It’s a fitting relationship for the all-American girl.

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Barbara Terry interview with Josh Barnett

Josh Barnett is literally a mountain of a man, and an incredibly nice guy, though you wouldn’t know it by his job. Josh is a Heavyweight MMA fighter as well as a pro wrestler. He was UFC Champion in mixed Martial Arts, has fought and performed what is known as catch wrestling around the world, has been in video games, traveled the world and is an absolute perfect physical specimen of health.



What was your first car?

My first car was a hand-me-down ’78 Ford Courier, which was actually made by Mazda. The odometer flipped on it at least twice. It was orange with one black fender. At one point, it had a bunch of primer spots on it because I sanded it, primered it and never finished it off. It was a stick shift, had a Weber carbu­retor, had lower gears in the back and a header, and a 2300cc German single-head cam motor, which is pretty wazoo if you know how to work them. I remem­ber this one small town in Raymond, Washington, we went to the junkyard, found another Courier and found a perfect dash pad for it. In all the Couriers, the speaker grill always rots out. Found one in pristine condition. We got it out easy. There was no wind­shield in the car and it came right out. Then when we went to put it in, it became very apparent that they installed them before they put the windshield on. I sat there for hours with this tiny little screwdriver, taking them out and putting them back in. And when we finally got it back in, it was a little shorter anyway. It was the same make, same year, same truck, but when we got it back in, it was, like, an inch shorter.

(LAUGHTER)

So, basically, you gave it more character than it already had.

It was really something else. It was not quite Frankenstein’s monster, but it was close. All in all, I had a wiper motor go out on it in the middle of a Washington winter, so I used to RainX on the wind­shield just so I could see out of the windshield. I had to put a clutch in it one winter. That was freezing.

Sounds like I can’t show you anything when it comes to car maintenance. You have it all down.

I do okay when it comes to maintenance – when I have to, especially. So that was good to go. I couldn’t fix the brakes, they were in horrible shape. The rotors were warped – the previous owner, my brother in­law, never changed the brakes on the car. So I got the whole deal done on it – new rotors, new calipers, got them off the junkyard car. Couldn’t get the brakes bled properly so I kept getting air in the lines. I ended up getting my dad to run up to Midas and get it power- bled. I just wanted to be done with it. Going from sec­ond to third, I blew a rod through the block and it basi­cally landed up on top of my battery. It died a very glorious death.

Sounds like it. How old were you?

Eighteen or 19.

How long did you have it? Sounds like you had it for 50 years, with all of that work.

About two years. Then I got a Nissan Sentra, an ’81.

Pretty slick.

Not really. It was slower than my truck.

But when the little foreign cars penetrated the States, it was like nothing we’d ever driven. It’s not like driving your dad’s Cadillac Seville boat.

I would have preferred that, I think. That little Nissan – I think it was a 1600 or 1800 – once I got it up to speed, it was okay, but getting it into traffic was dangerous some­times.

They were four-speeds before they were five-speeds. They just kind of hummmmmmed along.

Yeah. It really struggled. I put a little tape deck in it and some six-by-nine speakers in the back. I got it for $70 at a downrigger.

Really?

Yeah. After my truck nuked, I would drive that to my old gym in Kirkland, Washington. The water pump blew out and the water capacity in a car like that is nothing. I was at 70 miles an hour. I blew up two cars in a week. I had to rely on my girlfriend at the time to get to work. I ran into a guy at work who knew a German guy from Microsoft get­ting rid of a 1991 Dodge Shadow-a crappy car. But it only had 112,000 miles on it and the guy just wanted to get rid of it, so he sold it to me for $1.1 ended up selling it for $80.

ANOTHER athlete that could have been a car salesman. What is it with these people?

You should have been in the used car business.

By that time, I’d been clipped once in traffic by some dummy not paying attention and pulling over one too many lanes. Scuffed it. Wasn’t bad, but I was mad. I could hear the rods chatter. I took care of it. I changed the oil in it, but those K cars are a mess. Somebody tried to steal it once. I was disappointed that they failed. The insur­ance money would have been more than it was worth. I actually had to go get another lock mecha­nism in a junkyard. We had to drill a pilot hole in there. We did it, got a new lock in there and sold it to some kids.

How long did you have that one?

At least a year or two. Then I got a ’92 Mustang LX that my parents picked up and did nothing with. It was in good shape. It was a convertible. It was a highway car. It handled well. I never messed with it at all. It was in great shape, except for the ashtray. It broke, but the ashtray drawers in those cars always break, every single time. We fixed it and it broke again. It was a design flaw by Ford. Then I gave it to my sister.

How old were you and was that your first Mustang?

It was, and I was 22, maybe, about 23.

So, you’ve been bitten by the Mustang bug since then?

Yes. Well, growing up, my dad liked classic cars and I always liked them myself. I must have been five or six and they got a ’66 GT Fastback from an old friend of my mom’s. Over 11 years we put it together and made a beautiful show car out of it. It’s a single-flare red GT. It’s immaculate. It was all original, but my dad smoothed the motor over. It’s still a 289, but a different cam. He has an original ’65 or ’66 289 Cobra intake sit­ting on it- bigger Holley, and we added a nitrous kick to it.

It has lower gears – three 89s in the back, a Detroit rocker. We put a five-speed transmission in it. It looks stock, but it’s not. You know you are a car lover if, after you had to wet sand that thing for days on end, for free, and you still like cars. Then you must be a car nut.

How fast have you gotten that car up to?

My dad has gotten that thing fast, not with me in the car. We’ve gone fast in it, not that I look at the speedometer. I’m too busy smiling. I’ve gotten my own cars fast. I have an ’09 SRT-8 Challenger, Hemi Orange, and I got that to 140. I always back down because those roads from Orange County to Washington aren’t safe and I don’t want a ticket or have a blow-out. I bought that Challenger to replace a black-on-black ’07 GT California special Mustang, and with the help of my sponsors – Lethal Performance and Red Bull -1 put a super-charger kit on it and an exhaust, a drive shaft, suspension, shifter, you name it. It was 500 horsepower and had about

  • miles on it. It had just about every option you could get with it. I bought it as a birthday present to myself.

That sounds like an interesting story.

You know what? I was just killing time, saw it and decided to buy it. Just one of those impulse things. I love the car. My mom was driving this crap ’93 Thunderbird and I just got so sick of seeing that thing.

Why was she driving that?

I don’t know. I told my dad I was giving her this car, but the rule was the Thunderbird had to go. Set it on fire. Blow it up. Whatever. I don’t want to see that car ever again. My dad ended up keeping that stupid Thunderbird. I can’t get him to get rid of it, but my mom is now the proud owner of my black-on-black 500 horsepower Mustang, and she loves it.

Black on black, that is sweet. What kind of rims do you have on it?

Just the standard rims that Ford uses on their Mustangs. They’re 18s – it has all-season 235/50-18s on it. I wanted her to have all-season radials because of Washington weather, but I intend to have her get some Toyos for it.

You obviously like speed. The Shelby is great for you. Would you ever own a Hybrid?

No, but I prefer going to cleaner gas, at least. I like to tell people at the track, ‘I grew up drag racing’ from that classic Mustang that we have. We also picked up a Ford Falcon that ran 12s and we’d race that every weekend. We also had a super gas car that ran in the nines. It was a tube chassis, 70 Mach 1 with a small block in it. I’ve been at the track most my life, changing plugs and tires. When I take people to the track, the big stuff like NHRA and stock, especially the top fuel, which is like a force of nature, I ask people if they smell it. It doesn’t smell like gas. They always say no and I tell them that’s purer gas, that’s the difference between what you put in at the pump and what they use. If I run 100-octane unleaded in my car versus premium unleaded, the difference in smell is unreal.

Speaking of top fuel, Tony Schumacher is in the book. Does he stand out to you?

I know who he is. I respect them. Eyes sucked in the back of their head, 330 miles an hour. I have great appre­ciation for them. I like being right behind it. Used to go into Seattle to the track, about 50 feet behind them, behind a fence, we would watch it. And when they take off, they kind of take you with them. Tony’s one hell of a guy.

Is there a dream car that you don’t have, as of yet?

A ’67 GT 500, night mist blue with white stripes.

Do you have one in your sights?

No way, not at this point. I was waiting and waiting and I kept my eye on them. They were around $45,000. As the years progressed and it started to get to the point that I could buy a car like that, and I get the money, then Barrett-Jackson happened. I recognize cars are an investment, but I don’t want to invest in cars. I want to use them, improve them. I don’t want them collecting dust. I don’t want the original crappy smogged-out heads from some ’71 Mustang. I don’t want the cast-iron mani­folds from a ’63 Galaxy. I want to take 2000’s technology and make them faster and better. That car, I don’t think I could find a ’67 for less that $150,000 anymore. I have, however, always wanted to restore one, maybe find a shell, maybe even a Dynacorn and just build from there. Get some Shelby stuff. Make it the way I want it.

What kind of music do you like to listen to when you are driving?

I’m a big fan of everything but country. Mainly heavy metal. When I pulled up today, I was listening to Killswitch Engage. I listen to lots of bands – Atreyu, Slayer. It runs the gamut. I have heavier stuff than Slayer, too.

Slayer is heavy. What could you possibly have heavier than Slayer?

Black Dahlia Murder or Goat Whore. They’re good friends of mine from Louisiana and it’s just really cool to say you’re going to a Goat Whore concert. The funny thing is, when I want to listen to music like that, I listen to it in the car.

It’s driving music, motivation. It makes you want to speed.

When I was going 140,1 was listening to heavy metal.

What about road trips. Do you have any favorites?

That’s a good question. I like to cruise around in Washington. I like driving to Palm Springs and San Diego, but the traffic isn’t great. Driving through central California is a horrible drive, but that’s one of the closest ones you can make. Northern California and Oregon, that’s awesome.

How long does it take you to drive to your family’s place in Seattle from here in LA.?

It took me 17 hours and some change when I drove an old ’96 Mustang GT I’d done some work on. Dual head­ers, MagnaFlows. It was pretty loud. My Chrysler SRT 300 had gotten hit. First car accident I ever had. I was sit­ting at a standstill on the freeway and she whacked me right in the back. I didn’t have my Shelby yet, so I had to fly up to Washington and drive my black ’96 down. It took about 17 hours. I stopped once, overnight. Got gas a cou­ple times. That engine pulled more gas than if it was stock.

What do you have now, besides the Shelby?

I have a ’66 Mercury Cyclone GT, mostly original, plus some interior the guy I bought it from had. It’s a restora­tion project. I have a ’68 GT 500, which I want to do a motor, tranny and some rear end stuff on, red with white stripes. I have an ’04 Mystichrome Edition SVT Cobra Mustang. That was the first car I went to a dealership and bought. That is my baby. I’ll never sell that car. The scheme on that-the Mystichrome Edition-they did it on

  • convertibles and 610 coupes, so my coupe is one of 610. It’s five-something out of 610. I love that baby to death. Every time I go up there, I get behind the wheel and take it for a spin. It screams. It’s fast. Next would be my ’06 Chrysler 300C-SRT-8.1 put an exhaust on the back and a Mopar cold air intake. I bought my Shelby and my ’09 Challenger.

What about bikes, do you have any?

I love bikes, but with my profession, I can’t ride them. It’s not worth it.

So, you probably give a pretty mean body slam.

Uhm, yeah. I can break an arm or two. In a lot of these competitions, you can’t crank somebody on the neck or head or you can’t put your knee on their jaw. In catch wrestling, it’s okay. You can do what you want. Crank away, see if they quit. Grab a leg and twist it off. I do work in the auto industry every now and then, and have great sponsors like Toyo Tires. I was supposed to be out at SEMA, but got sick. I love the introduction into the auto industry I’ve gotten from fighting because I would be spending my money on these things anyway.n

Bill Goldberg suggested that I put this Babyfaced Assassin in my book, and I am very happy that he did. Josh is a high- energy, very intelligent and polite guy, very confident and self-assured in a good way. I was very curious to find out what type of vehicles a man of his size would enjoy or even find comfortable to ride in. As I already knew, he was a Mustang freak, Shelby’s being his favorite. I found him to be quite knowledgeable about cars and even found out he’s quite the grease monkey.


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Barbara Terry interview with NASCAR driver Bobby Allison

Simply put, Bobby Allison is racing legend. And I’m a race car driver, and a car and speed nut, so I was hon­ored to meet him. Allison represents everything that is great about NASCAR and racing, and is ranked as one of the 50 greatest drivers to ever race in the NASCAR circuit. During his career, he won an astounding 86 NASCAR races. He won the big race – the Daytona 500 – on three separate occasions: in 1978, 1982 and again in 1983. He has also owned a few NASCAR cars over the years.



Might as well start at the beginning. What was your first car?

My first car was a ’38 Chevy. Well, that actually wasn’t my first car, but that was my school car, which became my first race car. I was 16 and I had a Florida driver’s license-you could drive atthe age of 14 back then. I had my restricted license and I was driving around – I had just turned 17 and I was a race fan. They had just built a track at Hialeah Speedway and I had gone out to watch the races. They decided to have an amateur division. I got a ’38 Chevy Coop because it fit the rules for the amateur racing division. I had to use it for school, but it had a seat belt in it and a crash helmet. I would drive it to the race track and put the number on the door with shoe polish – I was number 41.1 went out for the first outing of the ama­teur division at Hialeah Speedway in 1955. About 30 cars were in the race and I finished seventh.

The next week, I had the second race and there were about 40 cars in the race. I finished seventh again. Then, the third week, there were about 50 cars in the race. It had gotten real popular real quick, and I won. I was this little kid in high school. I was little. I never grew tall until I was 19. When I graduated from high school, I was five-foot, four inches tall and I weighed 110 pounds. I didn’t shave, but I had already won a race, which was ultimately important to me.

What did you win as the prize?

I think they paid $8, which was a good bit of money back then. In 1955, $8 would buy a pretty substantial meal at a restaurant-a steak dinner type ofthing-so it was pretty significant by my standpoint at the time. But it was a far ways away from anything today’s world would think about.

What engine was in that Chevy?

It had a stock Chevy six-cylinder – an inline six. It was probably rated at around 80 horsepower and the car itself ran pretty good. It was called what was a stan­dard model, which had the old-style straight axle front suspension, which was the best for racing. The rules said you couldn’t do any modification to the chassis – other than a little bit of reinforcing the spring – and I did have a trick reinforcement for the right front spring. It had a little coil spring that I could jack the car up and the coil spring would fit in between the frame and the axle. It was right at a place where there were some U-bolts that would keep the thing located so I could just jack it up, put my spring in, and let the jack back down and go race.

I won twice between February and the end of May, and then about the middle of June, I got an opportuni­ty. I was graduated from high school and I got the opportunity to go to Wisconsin – from Miami to Wisconsin. I had never seen snow, but this was sum­mertime. I went to live with my aunt and uncle and three girl cousins in Wisconsin. My uncle was a national salesman who worked for Mercury Outboard Motors and he got me a job in the proving grounds. So, here I was, a 17-year-old kid, drove a boat on the lakes and rivers of Wisconsin all day, every day, and got a paycheck on Friday. I didn’t race any in Wisconsin, but I discovered when I got there that almost every little town in Wisconsin had a race track, and during the summer months, they raced sometimes seven nights a week. So I went to a lot of races and watched, and I became a fan of a fellow by the name of Miles Melius. His nickname was The Mouse – Miles “The Mouse” Melius. He always had a really nice- looking car and he won frequently. He didn’t dominate, but he was a frequent winner. I became a fan of his really early on, and I got to induct him in the Wisconsin Auto Racing Hall of Fame last November, which was a real honor for me here all these years later.

That is very cool. Sounds like, to me, that the tables were kind of turned.

Yeah. I watched races there and then went south when it froze over in Wisconsin. They shipped four of us young­sters and a couple of the older men – season veterans or whatever you would refer to them as – to the old winter proving grounds for Mercury Outboard Motors that were at Siesta Key, Florida, which is a little key off the south side of Sarasota.

From there, I went to Charlotte, went to work in a race shop. The turnover help was incredibly high there because the owner himself was personally involved and he was really, really tough to work for. He’d fly off the han­dle about somebody and go into a rage, cuss people out and fire them, all over something that somebody else did a couple stations down at work. I lasted two months there and went to 18 races. Back in those days, they ran sever­al weeknights every week, as well as a lot of Sundays at the little tracks around the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia and all. I went to 18 races in a two-month period of time and never saw a car that wasn’t one of our cars out of our

shop win a race. One of our cars won every race they went to during that period of time. Then I went back to south Florida and got back into the low ranks of the racing thing, went from amateur into limited sports­man, then into sportsman and then from sportsman into modified.

Were you driving at this time?

Yes. As soon as I got back to Florida from Charlotte, I was driving again. I didn’t drive any during the year that I was in Wisconsin, my first time in Florida or Charlotte.

What year did you retire from racing?

In 1988.1 was 50 years old and I got injured severely at Pocono – a head injury and broken bones and stuff, and that ended my career.

I have a number of cars now. The last of my career was in Buicks, and I became fond of the cars and the organization. I was friends with quite a few of them, so I became attached to Buicks. My personal car is a 2007 Lucerne with a Northstar engine, which is a mod­ern-day marvel.

Yes, that’s a nice engine.

I had Buicks along the way, but out there in the garage is an ’88 Riata, which has been my pet. Another car I have is an ’85 Buick Regal Coupe that is decorated like my ’83 Nascar Championship car. That’s a favorite. I take it around for races and special occasions. It’s not a hot-rod, but it’s attractive to look at. I ride it to places where people can enjoy looking at it.

What kind of music do you listen to when you drive?

I like country music.

Do you like classic country?

Yes. Classic country is what got me into it. Real early on, I became a fan of Eddie Arnold, Jim Reeves and Marty Robbins. Then I met Marty Robbins and became friends with him. He was a frustrated race car driver. He loved racing, so after I had a friendship with him for three or four years, I prepared a car for him – a Dodge Charger I had. I painted it up for him and took it to the race track. Had a couple people prepare it mechani­cally.

What year was that?

That was ’71. Yeah, ’70 or ’71.

Do you have a favorite color combination when it comes to cars?

Well, my race cars always had some red, a combina­tion of red and gold from real early on. My first NASCAR car was red and white, but it became red and gold. I had several different colors and drove for several different people. I won in nine different makes of car and raced for 14 different race teams in my career. I guess I had a hard time keeping a job, but I had some success anyway.

Did you get a lot of speeding tickets?

I did not, except for one period early in my career. I went through a period-’58 to’60,1 guess-where I did get several speeding tickets. Most of them were stu­pid. I was speeding a bit too much late at night, when I was easy to spot. Early on, I realized that it wasn’t smart to go fast on the highway because it was so dif­ferent from racing on the track. Anyway, one really didn’t relate to the other and I could go fast on the race track. On the highway, I finally got it in my thick skull that going fast resulted in paying big tickets.

So you took your winnings from the track and spent them on your fines. How fast do you think you went on the high­way?

On the highway? Probably 110. Not for a great length of time, just stepping on the gas. Back in that period of time -’59 and ’60-the speed limit was all overthe place. If you went 90 and were way, way over the speed limit, 90 isn’t much to someone who goes 150 on the track. Ninety did­n’t seem that fast. I did a lot of driving because we lived in south Florida and raced in Alabama, but after a few years of making mistakes and having to pay those tickets, I decide it wasn’t smart and it would be better to get there 30 minutes later and be safe, and $100 richer.

Yes, safe and no fines. Have you ever had a dream car?

My first race car was a ’54 Chevy Coupe. At that period of time, you could find and buy cars from people’s backyards that were pretty nice, that you could drive around in. But

my first modified race car was a’ 54 Chevy Coupe that was strictly a race car. I liked it and had success with it. During that time, it was the late ’50s and early ’60s, so we had gone through the ’55-’56 Chevy thing. When I was 18, I bought a ’56 Chevy brand new – a BelAir Sports Coupe.

What color was it?

Black and chartreuse. It was a neat car. I really liked it, but after I did the thing with the Key Caper Swing, I got back into south Florida and wanted to go race. I had no need for ( a car and a big need for a pick-up, so I sold the car and got j a truck. I had a few pick-ups that were pretty neat, a ’58 Chevy pick-up that performed pretty good. It was a blue – not dark – but deeper than medium blue. I had a friend who was an artist – not a pro – but he drew a little draw­ing on each door of my truck of a little bitty race car with a guy sitting on top of it, which represented me on top of racing. It was a little bitty cartoon thing, and I thought that was neat. Then that truck ran its course and the trucks became a working tool, so they stayed very stock. Later trucks were just something to do the job, but in the early ’60s, I had a number of ’55 Chevys – never another ’56 – but ’55s and ’57s.

Trucks or cars?

Cars. Of course, those are like little two-door sedans that had a hot-rod engine. Then I had Chevelles. I had a ’66 Chevelle and a ’67 Chevelle that had been an

  • got it in a dealership because the engine went bad and I put a 350 in it. Other than that, it was stock. I drove it a lot. Then I began to collect old cars. My very favorite was a ’50 Studebaker pick-up truck that was really, really special. I had a 16-inch Metropolitan. Then I had a chance to buy a 1933 Buick Sedan that became my all-time favorite. I have a pretty nice pic­ture of it. I had a number of cars that I began to buy –

Jr. His dad and I were friends. Dale Sr. didn’t have a lot of close friends, except for Neil Bonnet. He was close to Neil. But I was friendly with Dale Sr. I did favors for him in the early days, then later on he flew me around when he got into the Lear jets and really fancy stuff. I sit here and there’s a dozen or more I really admire, and respect their talent, and so consequently, when I get asked to pick a favorite, I can’t.

David Ragan is another interesting driver. He is a young guy with such an old soul.

Yeah, and David’s father was a personal friend of mine 20 years ago.

I am so honored to have Bobby Allison in my book. Bobby and his wife were very gracious to have us in their home and I thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon interview. Such a wonderful man, such a story, such an amazing legend.

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