Bell & Bell Vintage Modified Racing Series History

Written By: Bobby Williamson

Here is a very important message that we need to convey to the World in general:

Our Series was not "Started on some poor back-woods dirt track, because that was the only place we could start". And we never, had the mindset of "We'll start here", in hopes of working our way up to the big (Asphalt) leagues.

NOPE, we started on dirt by choice, and by choice we will remain dirt. In NO way are we mirroring the NASCAR Story.

What's now known as the Bell & Bell Vintage Modified Series, began in June of 2009 at tiny Hammerdown Speedway, Red Springs, NC with Jim Wilmore and Bobby Williamson. Jim had asked track owner Mike Weeks if he could bring his vintage '37 chevy race car over and simply help to roll-in the track. Jim invited me to come along, and at least we'd get to driver our cars on an actual race track. Later that evening, race director, Gary Ford, offered us a 5-lap "race" as a reward for our track rolling service. Although we had not planned on racing, Jim and I quickly agreed, and five laps later, as we crossed the finish line, Jim had won by a nose. MAN, it was fun, and exciting! We quickly asked if we could return the next month for another race, and we quickly began recruiting anyone and everyone we could think of to join the excitement. Doug Meyer, Rick Lovett, George Pavlisko, Tommy Cresswell, Bill Tripp, and Dave Blankenship all joined the group. We adopted the name: Cape Fear Classic Auto Racing Show, the series had begun. We raced monthly from June through November of that first year, but at season's end, the Hammerdown Speedway was bulldozed. Of necessity, the group received permission from the Carolina Speedway in 2010, and all activity shifted to Lake View, SC. Bell & Bell Buick/GMC became title sponsor in June of 2010.

In the beginning, we were all inexperienced race 'drivers', and for our series to grow, we needed cars. Rules were pretty lax in an effort to attract interest and participants. For the most part, it all worked out pretty well. In 2013, we could have had 20 cars on hand, had all members showed on the same night, but we averaged about 15 cars per event. But with the passage of time, the disparity of abilities both mechanical and physical became increasingly evident. Also, with the passage of time, others, both veteran and fledgling racers, have been attracted to our series, and that's VERY GOOD. My job, as president, is to make all these dynamics fit together. To have strong competition, to attract the veterans, to allow entry level drivers a venue, to keep costs as low as possible and to make it all FUN. A new plan is necessary, and I'm very proud and very excited to unveil a totally new concept to auto racing, first implemented by our group. From the beginning, organized auto racing has attempted to classify and segregate by the mechanical signature of the vehicle cubic inch, weight, tires, suspension, body, component materials, etc. etc. this concept has been in effect for over 60 years, that's how we all have learned to 'think' and to view the subject. Mechanically equalize all vehicles, and the playing field should be level, or as level as possible. For the most part, it kind of works, and for the most part, this basic concept has never had an alternative.

However, realities and 'ideal situations' are rarely one and the same with a classic, and modern example being NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson. If everything is the same, how does he win 6 championships? And, an equally important question, is domination healthy for the sport? Does it attract interest, or foster boredom and indifference? Over the past 60 years, we've seen examples of both. Fans adored Richard Petty, and Dale Earnhardt, if they'd won EVERY race and championship, the fans would have cheered all the more. But, the reverse has been experienced with Jimmie Johnson's success. Right, there's a ton of 'holes' in our basic bible.

I've said this many times, but I'll repeat it here, again. VINTAGE RACING IS NOT EXACTLY THE SAME SUBJECT AS 'REAL' RACING, AND CAN NOT BE VIEWED, AND GOVERNED AS SUCH. Whatever 'works' for the normal racing is not necessarily an answer for vintage racing. Sure, there's lot's of carry-overs, but not everything. Problem is, we don't know how to think in any other capacity. While similar, the two subjects are different:

1. Vintage racers, do not race for monetary compensation and heaven forbid that ever happening. OK, If not for money, then what is the attraction, or the reward?

2. I've said this many times too vintage racing is EXACTLY like going fishing or going hunting. The love of the subject, the ability to participate, the fellowship and companionship resulting from the experience and the pursuit. The love of the game. HAVING FUN. The main question becomes: What contributes to a fun experience in vintage racing?

3. High on the list: Safety, feeling secure and protected as possible, in an actual on-track racing environment. Also, on our personal list: Success every vintage racer, hopes for some degree of on-track success. We want to feel 'good' about ourselves, that we have performed well, and the potential our future holds is exciting.

Bell & Bell Vintage Modified Racing Series

Bobby Williamson - President
Sherman Garris - Vice President
Patsy Thompkins Keisler - Administrative Assistant / PR

To view the Bell & Bell Vintage Modified Racing Series rules please refer to the Dublin Motor Speedway Rulebook.