Five Things to Know About Red Farmer
by Tom Jensen January 05, 2022
First winner of NASCAR Hall of Fame Pioneer Ballot traces his amazing racing career back to the late 1940s.
If longevity alone got you into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Red Farmer would have been inducted a long time ago.
Farmer, the winner of the first Pioneer Ballot for racers whose careers began before 1961, traces his racing career back to the late 1940s, around the same time NASCAR was founded. And at the ripe old age of 89, Farmer is still racing on the short tracks of Alabama on Saturday nights.
As we salute his Hall of Fame career, here are five things you need to know about Farmer.
One of Farmer’s most prized accomplishments is that he holds the record for the longest-running NASCAR competition license. He got his first NASCAR license in 1953, when he traveled from South Florida to race a borrowed Hudson sedan on the old Daytona Beach & Road Course. That means 2022 will be Farmer’s 70th consecutive year with a NASCAR license. Records are made to be broken, for sure, but this one likely will stand for quite some time.
Having four NASCAR championships puts Farmer in elite company. He won his first title in 1956, when he captured the Modified Division (now Whelen Modified Tour) crown. From 1969-71, he won three consecutive NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Division titles, another accomplishment that puts him in rarified company. There’s no telling exactly how many races and track championships Farmer won on local short tracks, but his career victory total is believed to exceed 700 races.
Four-Time Most Popular Driver
In both the Modified Division and the Late Model Sportsman Division, Farmer was twice voted Most Popular Driver. He is especially proud of that record, because in the years he won each of his four titles, voting was performed only by fellow NASCAR license holders, not race fans. Earning the respect of people he competed against was something very important to Farmer throughout his career.
Here’s a mind-boggling stat: Farmer has had the same sponsor every year since 1962. That sponsor is Long-Lewis Ford, an Alabama automotive dealership founded in 1915. What’s even more impressive, is that all 60 years of that sponsorship deal were done – and continue to be done – on strictly a handshake basis. There’s never been a written contract between Farmer and his sponsor.
If you add up all the NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees from the first 11 classes – 55 people in all – Farmer has raced against or with at least 46 of them – fellow drivers, crew chiefs, team owners, engine builders, track operators. If someone is in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, it’s almost certain they were on the track or at the track with Farmer at some point. That, as much as anything, speaks volumes about Farmer’s career.