Joe’s been a race fan since the 1960’s and has been going to a number of races with Harlow Reynolds, a man who’s a legend among some fans and drivers from the good old days and is friends with some of the greats like David Pearson, Rex White, and the Wood Brothers. Joe’s agreed to write a few stories about some of the road trips that he’s taken with Harlow and some of his friends to give us old fans some fond memories of the good old days and to give the newer fans some idea of what it use to be like going to the races and some idea of what they missed.
Here's the first story of our race trip's and this one start's in the 70's headed to Rockingham. Harlow myself and Charles left Lynchburg on a Saturday about midday headed for Rockingham to see the race and be in the parade lap's before it started, We all had a change of clothes, booze and a room waiting at a motel about a half hours drive from the track, on the way Harlow asked us if we were hungry and of course we both said yes and thought we were going to stop at a burger joint but Harlow spotted a mom and pop store and pulled over goes in and comes out with a 10 pack of hotdogs and a 16oz block of cheese which we passed among us. Back on the road drinking vodka eating chunks of cheese and raw hotdogs (you know the saying anything taste's good when you're starving) Harlow asked for another hotdog which Charles handed him and I decided I wanted another piece of cheese but Charles tells me there's none left because he had finished 3 quarter's of the block off along with 5 raw hotdogs and washed it down with almost half a fifth of vodka. We finally arrived at the motel around nine that night and go in to register Charles was feeling no pain or anything else while sitting in a chair in the lobby and asked me where his checkbook was because he had decided this place is nice so he was going to buy it. We got charles out of the chair and found our room on the upper level of the motel and decided to take a shower before we go down to the dance club in the motel. Harlow finished his shower and i took mine and charles wouldn't take one because he felt he didn't need to sober up before wobbling down to the club. We spent some time in the club ordered drinks and by this time Charles was getting numb so after Harlow looked over the women in the club and decided he couldn't find his "next victim" to be the love of his life we decided to head back to our room but on the way we spotted the swimming pool with a nice coat of algae floating on top of it so over the fence Harlow and I go and jumped into this mess which was pretty cold since it was march. Harlow hollered for Charles to join us but Charles tells us hell no I’m not getting wet so we climbed out of the pool and headed for the room with Charles staggering along in front of us. Charles never noticed the 6 foot mud hole in the parking lot and stepped into it and fell flat on his back, he looked at both of us laughing and says “Damn I must be drunk“. We got him out of the hole with both of us on each side and up the steps and into the room and Charles decides he needs to sleep it off but we wanted to get him in the shower to wash the mud off and get his wet dirty clothes off but Charles falls backward onto the bed rolling all of the mud all over the bed and harlow tells me guess where you're sleeping tonight. I pulled Charles off the bed along with the top mattress for him to sleep on and I'm on the box springs which felt great the next morning. Got up early took a shower shaved got dressed and woke harlow up to do the same and finally got Charles awake to clean up which he did then Harlow and I waited and waited for Charles to come out because we had the beer on ice and paid the room bill and loaded the car. Harlow went to the bathroom banging on the door for charles to hurry up we need to leave now well half hour later Charles finally joins us in the car with Harlow cussing about being late. Sure enough we got caught in traffic backed up from the race track which we creeped along for another hour before we got to the track. When we drove through the gates and down to the track we find out the parade lap's are long over and we missed seeing one of Harlow’s idols Mickey Mantle so Harlow cuts loose on Charles and tells him, “I hope you have a good radio because you sure as hell aren't going to another race with me, we came all this way and missed being in the parade and meeting Mickey Mantle because you took all morning taking a dump“. Charles tells him “I couldn't help it that cheese locked me up” and Harlow keeps fussing while driving through the pits so I told him “If you would quit fussing and stop the car you just passed Mickey Mantle“. He says where is he with his head turning every direction trying to spot Mantle I said “Back up he's in the garage lane between the pits”. So he throws it in reverse and thankfully there wasn't another car behind him and rolls up to where Mantle is standing starts talking to Mantle like they are old time buddy's then hands him a baseball to autograph. Well this makes his day and we head to the stands to watch the race which Donnie Allison won driving for Hoss Ellington. Charles is deceased but nothing take away my fond memories of him. I hope all who read this enjoy it and there's some more I'll send Mike, think I’ll write about the Darlington trip with Rolaids Ray and Boyd next. For all of you that are new to nascar racing I'm really sorry you never got to see racing back in the early years because this crap today is next to nothing. See you next time on the Laidback Lounge so drive carefully that might be me in the next lane. Joe