Memories live on at Speedway

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Race fans gathered at the Shelby County Speedway Saturday night to remember one of their own.

Marvin Booth, the friendly, white-bearded face of the track, was remembered during the second annual memorial race in his honor.

&8220;Most of the drivers out here respect him as a car owner and a driver,&8221; said Booth&8217;s daughter Barbara &8220;Barbie&8221; Johnson. &8220;(The drivers) love to come back out for this race. Some of them who usually work on the weekend and own their own business will take this time off to honor him.&8221;

They honor him through their stories of his legendary &8217;57 Chevy.

&8220;That thing weighed probably about 5,000 pounds with steel pipe all the way around it,&8221; said fellow long-term Speedway fixture Alan &8220;Rat&8221; Revis. &8220;If you got in the way, he&8217;d just lift you up and move you off the road.&8221;

If that happened, the first thing you&8217;d see was &8220;Here it comes&8221; painted on the front before you read &8220;There it goes&8221; on the back of the supped-up American classic.

However, as the stories go, if Booth moved you off the road and into the garage in a heat race, moments later he&8217;d be digging through his truck for the part you need to stay in the race.

&8220;He was always a fair racer,&8221; Johnson said. &8220;If he was in the pits and one of the other drivers, he didn&8217;t care if they were racing against him or in another class, had engine problems or needed a part, he&8217;d say &8216;Lets’ get you back on the track&8217; and go find the part.&8221;

Revis remembers that being the case with Booth numerous times.

&8220;If something would break on my car, I&8217;d go over and say &8216;I need a part. What do I owe you?&8217;&8221; Revis said. &8220;&8216;I&8217;ll need something one day,&8217; would be his response. That&8217;s the way he was.&8221;

A number of other late drivers&8217; memories were also honored Saturday during the pre-race memorial parade.

Former Booth driver Sandy Dawson, who won the hobby class competition in the inaugural Booth Memorial last year, was scheduled to ride members of his family and Booth&8217;s on the back of his &8220;Racin&8217; in Heaven, Marvin Booth&8221; No. 88 to start the parade. However, a mishap during heat races kept Dawson out of the parade and in the pits. A number of drivers jumped at the chance to take his place in the ceremony, with Chris Howell getting the opportunity.

Howell went on to win the hobby class in his No. 1H car, followed by third-year racer JR Brown.

Brown was one of the drivers paying tribute to a lost loved one, placing a decal on the back driver&8217;s side of his No. 12 car. The decal, a checkered ribbon, had a Purple Heart in the center of it to honor his late grandfather Floyd Brown, who raced at Birmingham International Raceway and was a World War II veteran.

&8220;My grandfather has always been a part of racing and this is a way I can help his legacy live on. He passed away six months before I got to hit the tracks,&8221; Brown said.

Other drivers or race team members remembered, according to the Speedway&8217;s Web site, include Shannon Lee Bright, Billy Ingram, Lummie Ingram, Donald Leach, Phyllis Martin, Austin Lyn Mills,

Bueford Osbourn, Wesley Rooks and James Woods.

Speedway Results

Crate Late: 1-Tim Bright #224, 2-Tim Peters #55, 3-Roger Davison #85. Hobby: 1-Chris Howell #1H, 2-JR Brown #12, 3-Michael Skelton #17. Pure Stock: 1-david Hatchett #7H, 2-Jimmy Hatchett #11, 3-Van Howell, Jr. #13. Pony: 1-Bobby Kendrick #7, 2-Tim Butler #42, 3-Davy Ponder #14