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Heritage Festival Pays Tribute To Stock Car Racing

Jim Croce’s song “Rapid Roy” describes to a tee the early days of dirt track stock car racing at the South Boston Speedway.

Back in the early days when the track was dirt, stock car drivers ran moonshine all week and raced on the weekends. 

Moonshine-running not only put cash in their pockets, but it also honed their driving skills so they could burn up the track at the South Boston Speedway. 

As a tribute to local stock car racing and the bygone era, a special exhibit, Stock Car Heritage 1957-1975, will be featured at the Halifax County Heritage and Antique Machinery Festival.  

Bill Mangum, son of 1950’s stock car driver Gordon Mangum, as well as Garland Ricketts and Butch Blanks, plan an interesting exhibit including old stock cars and local memorabilia. 

Several veteran stock car drivers including Mack Tatum, Roy Hendrick and Bill Blair Jr, also will be on hand.  And, you can bet they will be telling some tales that just might put Jim Croce’s “Rapid Roy” to shame. 

Exhibit organizers are also launching a contest in an effort to help preserve the names of Halifax County stock car drivers and owners from 1957 to 1975.  The challenge is to name as many local stock car drivers and owners who raced at South Boston Speedway from 1957 to 1975. 

The entry with the most correct names will win two tickets to a race at the South Boston Speedway.  A random drawing from all entries also will award an additional winner two free tickets to a race at the South Boston Speedway.  

All entries must be received by April 26.  Winners will be announced at the Halifax County Heritage Festival Saturday, May 1 at 2 p.m. 
See entry form in today’s paper on page B3 for more details.

The Halifax County Heritage and Antique Machinery Festival is a three day event set for Friday, April 30, through Sunday, May 2, held at the Halifax County Fairgrounds.  Times are Friday noon until 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 1 until 5 p.m.