- Awarded: 2015
Higgins’ professional newspaper career started in 1957 at the weekly Canton (N.C.) Enterprise. While at the Asheville (N.C.) Times, he covered racing for the first time. Higgins joined the sports staff at The Charlotte Observer in 1964 as an outdoors writer and soon began covering stock racing as well.
Higgins was the first beat writer to cover every race on the NASCAR schedule, a role he held from 1980 until his retirement in 1997. Higgins, affectionately known as “Pappy,” won the International Motorsports Hall of Fame Henry T. McLemore Award for lifetime achievement in motorsports journalism in 1980, the NMPA George Cunningham Award as writer of the year in 1987 and was named the NASCAR Bill France Award of Excellence winner in 1996. He was inducted into the NMPA Hall of Fame in 2011. He is also a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel.