Today we have 2 short stories about Harlow and Joe regarding a trip to Charlotte and Martinsville. The first includes their buddy Gene. As fans, I'm sure we've probably seen at least one person like Gene in the grandstands. Perhaps today it would be somebody yelling "Junior". The second story is about fan adoration. I have been at Martinsville when a politician showed up with his entourage shaking hands and trying to be seen with every driver in the garage area. For a 1/2 mile track in a small town, it sure holds a lot of political importance.
Time for my last stories about our race trips and I'll start off with two short ones about a trip to Charlotte and Martinsville. We took some trips to Charlotte on a bus with about 30 other people which at the time was the best way to travel because the bus ride and seat ticket only cost $35 and you had no worry's dealing with traffic and we all could drink which leads to this story. On a trip to Charlotte which was in June at this time and hot as a boiler room all of us were having a good time on the way back home and this one person named Gene (who looked so much like Santa) was getting pretty gassed because his favorite Richard Petty had won that day and every time he took a drink he would yell “King Richard did it again”. Gene was really sensitive in his neck and if touched he would jump like a bee had stung him and every time he yelled “King Richard”, the guy behind him touched his neck and Gene jumped.
As luck had it that day the toilet on the bus stopped working so the driver stopped and all of us relieved ourselves wherever we could find a place far off the road and this one place was overlooking a 50 foot drop from the top of a bank. Well there were at least 10 of us, including Gene, standing at the top of this hill taking a whiz and Gene has a grip on his beer with one hand and whizzing with the other when he cut loose with his King Richard yell again lost his balance (which is easy to do when you're drunk) and fell down this 50 foot drop still holding on to his beer and tool. When we could stop laughing we went down the hill after Gene and all he said was “Don't worry I'm alright” so we got him up, helped him up the bank, and on the bus and that was the end of the King Richard yelling. Every time we saw Gene in the lounge we all hollered King Richard and Gene would let loose with a “Hell yeah I'll drink to that”.
Harlow and I decided one Saturday to drive over to Martinsville to watch a modified race and when we got our seats and were watching the parade lap of visitors one couple was a well known movie star named Liz and her hubby at the time named John (former Senator John Warner of Virginia-MM) and they were campaigning for John's run for the senate. I was talking to a guy next to me when I noticed everyone was laughing and looked around and Harlow was gone. The guy next to me pointed out Harlow hanging off of the fence waving at Liz and yelling "Oh Liz can I be next" and she was waving back laughing and grinning like a mule chewing briars. That was another one of those “never a dull moment” time's. Joe