Racing On and Off the RoadIn Caldwell County and Surrounding Areas
In this memoir, Johnny Mack Turner and Gretchen Griffith offer an action packed account of motor racing in western North Carolina’s Caldwell County and the surrounding area. From his roots in the history of the region through tales of on and off the road drag races, circle tracks and motocross events, Johnny opens his scrapbook to the world, and with the help of numerous others, gives a glimpse into a culture seldom revealed.
Motor racing has been an unavoidable element of reality for several generations in Caldwell County whether as eager participants, or as interested bystanders, or just from being engulfed by the deafening roar of the distant engines. The book takes the reader back in time to western North Carolina’s racing beginnings in the moonshine industry and the chases involving the moonshiner and the revenuer. It unearths stories of early morning, on the road, organized drag racing. It traces the development of dragstrips and circle tracks in the county. Most revealing of all, it contains the life stories of numerous men involved in racing who call Caldwell County home. The passion to control the power of the engine unfolds in a most remarkable story captured in this memoir. This book is a must read to fill in the gaps of understanding what North Carolina is all about.
Caldwell County men on the coversOn the front cover
Max Prestwood - Four time track champion at Hickory Speedway in Catawba County, North Carolina and Tri-County Speedway in Caldwell County; NASCAR Mid-Atlantic Title; Winston Racing Series National Championship 1990
On the back cover
Mac Martin - Car owner, NASCAR Busch Series; Stanley Tool sponsorship; owned winning car of 1995 Darlington 500
Johnny Price - Car owner, NASCAR Late Model Stock Division; True Blue Ford devotee
Don Carlton - Chrysler Corporation factory backed driver of Motown Missile; featured on the cover of January, 1972 Hot Rod Magazine; won six major National Hot Rod Associations races
Johnny Mack Turner - Co-author of this bookwith Curtis Turner (not from Caldwell County)
Dick Greene - Early 1950’s professional AMA Motorcycle Racer
Hubert Ennis – 1963 Lenoir Burke Speedway (North Carolina) track champion in both Hobby and Sport Division
Raymond Wilson - Longtime winning drag racer; car owner
Working on this project brought back fond memories to co-author, Gretchen Griffith. Although she avoided the garage where her father and brother spent many hours tinkering with cars, she did accompany them to races at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she wolfed down French fries sprinkled with malt vinegar while watching her favorite, the demolition derbies. The opportunity to co-author this book on racing brought her full circle to honor those childhood memories and her father, Glenn Holsopple and brother, Glenn, Jr.