Source: CRVA Communications
March 07, 2009
The very first National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) trophy ever awarded a team is among an epic collection of NASCAR awards and memorabilia that will be donated to the future NASCAR Hall of Fame by the family of Raymond Parks. Parks was a member of the elite group assembled by Bill France, Sr. at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, FL in December 1947 who was a part of the Founding Fathers of the NASCAR. Parks has many ‘firsts’ in his history – from claiming the first official NASCAR win ever as a team owner in 1948 to winning the first two NASCAR championships in 1948 and ’49 – to winning every race that took place on Daytona Beach.
Parks, now 94 years old, has been a stalwart NASCAR supporter for over six decades, supporting NASCAR Founder Bill France Sr. in innumerable ways in the early years, generally in his quiet, reserved and behind the scenes style.
"I’m proud of my involvement in NASCAR over the years and with the opportunity to partner with the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Vi and I are thrilled that my artifacts will be housed in the Hall of Fame for future generations of fans to enjoy” Raymond Parks said in announcing he and his wife Vi’s intentions.
“This is one of the most amazing and valued collections we could have envisioned,” said Winston Kelley, Executive Director with the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “Raymond Parks is truly iconic…a genuine legend of this sport. We are honored that Mr. and Mrs. Parks have expressed their interest in donating their family’s collection to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. It is both an honor and humbling to be entrusted with a collection such as Mr. Parks and be able to share it with the millions of NASCAR fans. We pledge to treat and preserve it with the respect and care that it deserves.”
Samples of the collection were presented by Mr. and Mrs. Parks on Saturday, March 7 in a ceremony at Atlanta Motor Speedway including trophies and memorabilia of Raymond Parks’ career as the first team owner to win a NASCAR race and the first ‘multi-car’ owner of NASCAR. Between March 10, 1940 and February 15, 1948, Raymond Parks’ cars won 10 of the 13 races held on the sands of Daytona Beach.
The trophies shown at Atlanta included the trophy that Red Byron and Raymond Parks was awarded for winning the first NASCAR race on Feb. 15, 1948. Also, the trophy awarded Byron and Parks for winning the first NASCAR Strictly Stock Division (now NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) championship in 1949. Lloyd Seay, named by Bill France Sr. as the greatest driver he ever saw, won a race at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway in 1938. It was the first victory for Raymond Parks as a car owner and that trophy will be there on Saturday. The trophy won by Bill France Sr. on July 7, 1940 on Daytona Beach will also be featured. “Big Bill” was wheeling Raymond Parks’ new Buick that day.
Other trophies from the Parks’ collection include:
1941 Daytona Beach race – Roy Hall, driver
1946 Thomaston Speedway- Bob Flock, driver
1947 Stock Car championship –Fonty Flock, driver
1948 NASCAR championship – Red Byron, driver
1950 Mexican road Race – Red Byron, driver
Mike Helton, NASCAR President who attended the ceremony, added, “Our sport is very fortunate and quite unique in having living members of our Founding Fathers. Obtaining and displaying collections such as Mr. Parks is among the objectives NASCAR and the France family had when we decided to build a NASCAR Hall of Fame. This further validates the importance and credibility of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and its respect as the largest spectator sport in America.”
Buz McKim, Historian of the Hall and a longtime friend and admirer of Raymond Parks observes, “Clearly, we believe this generous gift is priceless. Obtaining the first championship trophy is akin to having the trophy from Major League Baseball’s first World Series championship in 1903. We are honored and thrilled.”
Raymond Parks was the owner of Red Byron’s car which won NASCAR’s first Strictly Stock (now Sprint Cup) championship in 1949. He was one of eight drivers inducted in the first class of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in 2002, along with his cousin Lloyd Seay, Byron, Tim Flock and Bill Elliott.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame broke ground in Charlotte on January 25, 2007 and is expected to open in May of 2010. The facility will honor the history and heritage of NASCAR and the many who have contributed to NASCAR’s success. The Hall of Fame will comprise 150,000 square feet, including exhibit space, state-of-the-art theater, a Hall of Honor which will house the commemorations of Hall of Fame inductees, numerous interactive entertainment experiences, a themed restaurant, retail outlet, and a modern media center for the industry. The Hall will be owned by the City of Charlotte and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.
Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority
Office (704) 331-2737