The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Jan 18, 2021.
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Just learned something, thank you.
Really good. It's grate that the automobile can brake boundary's. I've found that from all walks of life the car of choice can make perfect strangers start up a conversation. And people with the same interests in cars can become life long friends.
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I think automobiles and other forms of "like thinking" can go a long way to breaking down boundaries for white guys like you and me... So much so, that I think it's easy to forget that it isn't so easy for our black buddies.
Here's an example:
I don't remember the year, but Willy T. Ribbs was the first black guy to test an F1 car. Another F1 driver who's a friend of mine was reminded of this and his response was "I'll be damned... I kind of forgot Willy was black. He's just Willy to me."
And that's awesome. We need more of that. BUT, I promise you that Willy has never been afforded the opportunity to forget that he was black. No matter the tools he has to break down those barriers, he's always had to work them.
I'm trying not to preach here, but I'm pretty passionate about this stuff. The black people in my life have always instilled this in me... and it sort of gets amplified by the natural maverick/mamba mentality that my old man passed to me.
Great write up and video. Thanks for the learning!
Great story, so appropriate for today.
Kinda on the opposite end of the racing spectrum my dad knew a lot of drivers in NASCAR he was good friends with David Pearson and I grew up around people involved with stock car racing.
I met Wendell Scout in 65/66 and my day told me the man really loved racing because the cards were stacked against him, being black in the South he received more than his share of boo's and hisses but he fought the odds and raced what he had and was able to compete.
As the story goes he was denied entry to many races until Bill France approached him and welcomed him into the nascar family. HRP
i met and talked to Willie T Ribbs several times when he was involved with the Trans-AM series... he was a character
Ryan - this is a great story! Never knew that history of racing at the Indiana Fairgrounds, despite living in Indy for a couple of years, very cool. I just finished Don Pruhdomme's book and it is very eye opening as well as to what he went through with race during the 1960s and 1970s. A little bit outside of the HAMB, but Big Willie Robinson and the Terminal Island drag way is another great example of racing and cars bringing people of all walks of like together.
There was also greats like Rajo Jack.
I just love this era of open wheel racers...
Rajo was a pure driver. A lot of people think he was the most talented wheel on the west coast in the late 1930's and through the 40's... Never raced at Indy, because he could never "pass" his physical. He won just about everywhere else though...
I read that book also and recommend it.
The BS they put up with back then, was way more than I imagined
Very fitting for Martin Luther King Day. Thank you for sharing this @Ryan !
Yes I agree with you
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Thank you for great post, something to think about today.
I was around Willy T. Ribbs both in the paddock areas of Road America Elkhart Lake Wisconsin during several races and in the pit area at Indianapolis during practice. Always seemed pretty intense and on the job at hand. Especially Trans Am was a great series during the time frame that Willy and many other legends were very aggressively competing .
Several months ago I stumbled into the "Uppity" documentary on NetFlix and would highly recommend it.
I see that Willy is scheduled to compete in the new SRX Series in 2021 . SRX was conceived by Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham to put a wide range of drivers into copycat cars like the old IROC series. They will be racing on everything from small ovals to road courses. Could be VERY interesting.
Charlie Wigens, Rojo Jacks and Will T. Ribbs did a lot but are far from the only black race drivers who should be honored.
Benny Myers who raced in the North Country of N.Y.-
Booker T. Jones from Springfield, MA who raced modifieds. One of the nicest guy in the world and would often give up his car to someone who needed a ride in a points race who's car was wrecked
Stone Woods and Cook.
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Great post for this day boss...
It's a real shame that many of these guys have had to wait for the recognition they deserve but better late than never I guess. The one that brought it home for me was discovering fairly recently that the SWC team featured Doug 'Cookie' Cook for one reason (besides his driving skills) because being white, he didn't get any flack when entering or representing the team.
Excellence doesn't recognize race (or gender).
I street raced in Detroit, for decades, 1, 2, 3 am. In Detroit. Joy road, Martin Luther King and 16th, Jefferson south of the bridge (in front of Yellow Freight for the locals), 7 mile, French Rd by Det City Airport. Now I'll admit French Rd made me nervous but not for the brotherhood among the racers. The crowd stood way too close to the cars and felony assault or vehicular manslaughter was the result of injury or fatality. No thanks. Color? Ethnicity? WTF was that? We were there to race regardless of race and unless you were there, in the thick of it, bustin balls or shuckin and jivin it's hard to put that bortherhood into words. The aroma of Turbo Blue, the burnt metal smell of a blue bottle tune up, burning rubber, the sounds, the catcalls, the thrill of victory, and yes the "muthafucka!" of defeat too. Money flyin around without a care in the world. And the whole world could pick just 1 lesson of all that. We know what it is, we know why today is a good spot to bring it up, and I will forever long for the day when we embrace our differences as kindly we embrace our commonalities. Nobody gave a shit, and the old timers we bump in to in the pits now and again, we still don't. Peace and harmony amongst the mechanical mayhem of street racing. Dichotomy? Oxymoron? I like to think humanity. Car people always seem to have just wee bit more, yes?
Charlie Wiggins sounds like one of those guys you just wish you could sit around a dinner table or a garage or a pit with and listen to stories. Huge respect.
There's a Willy T. Ribbs documentary. I haven't seen it but it looks good.
It's shameful that even today black drivers still have to put up with the BS that they do.
Damn. Now that’s cool. Great tribute and all, but that’s pretty fucking cool.
I can recommend "Uppity - The Willy T Ribbs Story", produced by Adam Carolla. It's well done.
By the way, we featured Wendell Scott as Piston Cup racing legend 'River Scott' in Cars 3...
I totally agree with this statement.
It seems lately we're constantly reminded of our differences, whether they be cultural, political, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status.... whatever. It creates an "us vs. them" mentality and divides us. But when you have common ground with someone, it's much more difficult to see someone as as outsider.
Being into cars, and especially this small niche of ours in the traditional genre, has it's own vernacular. It's immediately recognizable. And if someone speaks it and lives it, then that person is one of us. It's really that simple. It transcends race or some other status within a group.
Great post for today. And every day.
Great post. A lot of people believe that the Country's opinion of segregation in the 1950's (which led to the Civil Rights Era) started to turn in churches. I believe that it was Rhythm and Blues and Rock and Roll that changed the heart of America.
Ray Charles, James Brown, Little Richard (to name a few) blaring through the AM radio went a long way to make great steps in the right direction. Those tunes changed the right hearts at the right time.
Today, we celebrate a great man with a great vision. Dr. King will always be very Rock and Roll to me, man. May you rest in peace, sir. I live my life to be like you.
A great story and an even better message. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Thanks for sharing part of the big picture...guts, glory and hell, for many it was a bigger struggle that's still being overcome...today.
I appreciate that they stood up and took many a Checkered Flag...and that some saw through the injustice from so many directions...
I have shared Rajo a number of times...this hobby has proven itself diverse despite hurdles...My thoughts go out to those who paved the rocky road...
Thanks for shining a light on this story, Ryan.
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