The other day I climbed up into one of our car haulers. I was looking for something and got to rambling around. I'm telling you, it is amazing. A person could live in one of those things and just let the truck pull him all over the country.
I have lived in houses that probably were not as nice or certainly not as modern.
I found a comfortable place to relax, and let my mind wander back to the way we used to travel from racetrack to racetrack. I don't know how many of the people racing today would keep racing if all of a sudden they had to go back to those days. Pumping gas might be an easier job, but I wouldn't trade anything for the experiences and memories, although I wouldn't want to go back to those days.
We drove everywhere, sometimes four or five of us in a car or station wagon. It was usually Daddy, my brother Maurice, my cousin Dale Inman, and myself. Later on, Wade Thornburg went with us about everywhere we would go. He was one of the first people outside the family who helped us.
We'd pull the race car behind another car or station wagon. Then we got to the stage where we had a trailer to haul the race car. We figured we were pretty much up-town at this stage of the game. Finally, we hauled the race car on an open-bed truck, and then we started using these enclosed transporters.
They weren't anything so special for a pretty good while, just a place for the car and some tools. Then my father-in-law, who was one of the best carpenters I have ever known, said, "Let me work on this thing a little bit." He built these really nice cabinets and installed them in the hauler. He used up every inch of available space. That was the beginning of all these modern conveniences inside today's haulers.
Getting back to the way we lived on the road, we usually slept four to a motel room. Then we got down to two, and finally we had to put Dale in a room by himself. He snored so loud nobody else could get any sleep in the same room with him.
We didn't stay in a motel room at all if we could help it. We'd drive from home and back to a lot of the tracks. It is about 120 miles from Petty Enterprises to Darlington, for example, and we used to drive to and from the track every day.
We'd get up way before daylight. My mother would pack us lunch in a big basket. She'd fix fried chicken, sandwiches, deviled eggs, and the whole bit. There weren't many places down there to eat, and we didn't take much time for lunch, anyway. We'd drive back home after the track closed, and do the same thing the next day. We'd do the same thing at Charlotte and Rockingham, too, although they were not quite as far as Darlington.