In this era of NASCAR growth and expansion into new territory, one of the sanctioning body's divisions has struggled to maintain ties to its grassroots beginnings. Although NASCAR has announced it will no longer sanction the Goody's Dash Series after this year, the division leaves the sanctioning body's umbrella with a storied history--including its start at a drag strip, of all places.
Monzas, Vegas, and Pintos were commonly used during the early days ofthe Goody's Dash Seri
The Goody's Dash Series traces its roots to North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in 1973 when a group of local racers, led by Charlie Triplett, J.V. Reins, and Roger Hamby, began racing on a road course owned by former Grand National (now Winston Cup) team owner Bill Ellis. Ellis, a Wilkes County businessman who fielded a car for Marvin Panch and others in the '60s, was the proprietor of a drag strip and an adjacent road course near North Wilkesboro and is credited with promoting the first unofficial races of the series.
"Bill Ellis came up with the idea to start with," recalls Triplett, who still lives in North Wilkesboro. "He wanted to run it in conjunction with his drag strip on a road course deal, and he'd run a couple or three races and then things happened and he decided that he didn't want to do that. Then a lot of the guys around the area, including myself, J.V. Reins, Richard Mash, Dean Combs, Roger Hamby, and Rolen Johnson, along with guys from Taylorsville and Lenoir and surrounding counties, we all got together and started talking and decided to see what we could do.
An earlyrulebook touted the primary goal of the series--inexpensive racing.
"So we had a meeting at a Goodyear store (in North Wilkesboro), and we decided right then and there that we would organize this Baby Grand thing. We called them Baby Grand National cars."
The Baby Grand National Racing Association, Inc. (BGNRA) was formed June 26, 1973, and Triplett--the first president of the series--says the name stemmed from the cars' resemblance to the Grand National cars of the era, as paint schemes and numbers often matched those from Grand National cars. Although R.J. Reynolds, through its Winston brand, had already begun providing sponsorship for NASCAR's top division, now called Winston Cup, the division was referred to as the Grand National Division until the early '80s.
Initially, the Baby Grand series was organized as a small touring series for American-made, four-cylinder, compact sedans, with teams primarily competing in cars they built themselves using parts from salvage yards and backyard garages. The intent was to keep the cost of the series as manageable as possible; hence the series' slogan, "The Poor Man's Way to Race," was at the heart of all decisions.