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Hall of Famers

Class of 2021: Red Farmer

Original “Alabama Gang” racer Red Farmer has been a fixture in NASCAR since the early 1950s, winning hundreds of races and four championships.

Veteran Alabama racer Red Farmer is a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2021, and the first individual voted in on the Pioneer Ballot. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

Charles “Red” Farmer has been around almost as long as there’s been stock-car racing and at the age of 87 he’s still teaching the young guns how it’s done.

Farmer started competing in the late 1940s. He is the first racer elected via the Pioneer Ballot, which recognizes individuals who began their motorsports careers more than 60 years ago. A member of the famed “Alabama Gang,” Farmer won more than 750 races, including many on the dirt tracks of Alabama. Originally hailing from Hialeah, Florida, Farmer relocated to Alabama early in his career, where he become a respected member of the “Alabama Gang” of racers led by Hall of Famer Bobby Allison (2011) and Bobby’s brother, Donnie.

Farmer was a four-time NASCAR champion, taking titles in two different NASCAR divisions, including the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Division, where he won three consecutive championships from 1969-71, and the Modified Division, which he captured in 1956. Farmer also served as the NASCAR Busch Series (now Xfinity Series) crew chief for Hall of Famer Davey Allison (2019) and won an ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1988 driving a car owned by Davey Allison.

Farmer obtained his first NASCAR license in early 1953. He bought a car off a Miami car lot, and drove it north to Daytona to compete on the beach course in February that year. He finished 45th out of 57 cars in his No. 48 Hudson Hornet. He has had a NASCAR license every year since and at age 87 continues to race on local short tracks.

Here are six Hall of Fame moments from Farmer’s career:

Here are six Hall of Fame moments from Farmer’s career:

Red Farmer once raced an Austin-Healey on a road course on an air base near Miami. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

1959, Road Race

When you win as many races as Red Farmer did, you have to have versatility, which he certainly did. Over his lengthy career, Farmer raced in numerous NASCAR classes, including the premier series and the Modified and Sportsman divisions. He also competed in late models on dirt and pavement, ARCA and even a few sports car races. He continues to race on dirt tracks in Alabama.

In the garage at Atlanta International Raceway (now Atlanta Motor Speedway) Red Farmer and his crew work prep his No. F-97 1956 Ford for a NASCAR Modified-Sportsman race. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

1963, NASCAR Modified-Sportsman Race

In his Hall of Fame career, Red Farmer won the NASCAR Modified Division championship in 1956, and was the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Division champion from 1969-71. In recognition of his talent and achievements, Farmer was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. He has won the Most Popular Driver Awards twice in each of those two series back in the days when the honors were voted on by his fellow NASCAR competitors and license holders.

Red Farmer enjoyed racing at Daytona International Speedway. Photo courtesy of Dozier Mobley/Getty Images.

1968, Daytona 500

During his career, Red Farmer concentrated his primary efforts in NASCAR divisions other than the premier series, including the Sportsman and Modified divisions, where he won a total of four championships. But Farmer competed in the Daytona 500 eight times, including 1968, when he fielded his own car. An engine failure cut his race short.

The Permatex 300 was the biggest race in the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Division and Red Farmer’s most significant career race victory. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

1971, Permatex 300

Of the roughly 750 career victories that Red Farmer amassed in his career, his crowing moment came at Daytona International Speedway when he won the Permatex 300 NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Division race. That victory, at NASCAR’s most prestigious track, capped a career that dated back to the late 1940s.

Alabama-based Long Lewis Ford has been Red Farmer’s primary sponsor since 1962. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

1973, Daytona International Speedway

You can’t race without a sponsor and Red Farmer has had the same primary sponsor for the last 58 years of his career. Farmer and Alabama-based auto dealer Long Lewis Ford struck a handshake sponsorship deal in 1962 and that relationship has continued to this day. There has never been a written contract between the two parties, just a handshake deal.

As a charter member of the “Alabama Gang” of racers, Red Farmer was a mentor to Hall of Famer Davey Allison (2019). Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

1988, Talladega Superspeedway

The “Alabama Gang” was a tight-knit group of racers from the Birmingham area, three of whom became Hall of Famers. Red Farmer (2021) served as a mentor to young Davey Allison (2019) as his career was taking off, and Davey’s father, Bobby Allison (2011) was once one of Farmer’s crewmembers. Farmer was crew chief on Davey’s NASCAR Busch Series (now Xfinity Series) car, and won an ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway driving a car Davey owned.

Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen

Tom is the Curatorial Affairs Manager of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a veteran of more than 20 years in the NASCAR media industry.

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