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8.25.18

Racing Legends Turner, Hensley, Dyer Inducted Into Virginia Motorsports Hall Of Fame

SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (August 25, 2018) – Three legends, each who impacted motorsports in the Commonwealth in a different but significant way, were inducted into the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame Saturday night.

In a trackside ceremony before Saturday night’s races at South Boston Speedway Curtis Turner, Hubert Hensley and Bill Dyer were honored as the latest inductees into the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Turner took the NASCAR world by storm in 1949, winning in only his fourth start to kick off one of the most colorful careers in the history of NASCAR Cup racing. ­

The Floyd native was a larger-than-life figure, who was considered NASCAR’s first “rock star.” He was the first driver to fly his own plane to races, he was a lumber baron who is said to have made and lost several fortunes and he was the first NASCAR driver to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1968. The Sports Illustrated article referred to Turner as “the Babe Ruth of NASCAR.”

Turner was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2016.

He had 17 wins in NASCAR’s premier divisions, but that doesn’t tell a true tale of his career. He won 38 races in NASCAR’s Convertible Division and competed in NASCAR’S first “Strictly Stock” (now Cup) race in 1949. He remains the only driver to win two consecutive Cup races from the pole leading every lap.

Turner was killed October 4, 1970 near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in the crash of a plane he owned and was piloting.

Hensley, a car owner and mechanic who won a NASCAR Busch Series national championship in 1990, remained a grassroots racer­­ until he died in 2010 at the age of 78. He lived in Horsepasture, near Martinsville, his entire life.

In a career that spanned almost 50 years, some of the most recognizable names in short-track racing piloted his cars including nephews Jimmy Hensley and Billy Hensley, Perk Brown, Carl Burris, Hank Thomas, Bill Dennis, Paul Radford, Joe Henry Thurman, Gerald Compton, Morgan Shepherd, Chuck Bown and Rich Bickle.

Hensley Racing captured the NASCAR Busch Series championship in 1990 with Bown behind the wheel, piling up six wins and 13 top-five finishes.

His cars combined for over 250 wins in the old Late Model Sportsman Series, the Modified series, and the Busch Grand National Series and won track championships at South Boston Speedway, Southside Speedway, Lonesome Pine Speedway and Franklin County Speedway, Bowman Gray Stadium, Caraway Speedway and Kingsport Speedway.

Hensley’s son Jeff carries on the family tradition as a crew chief in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Dyer was inducted into the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame as a journalist after chronicling short-track racing around the Commonwealth in a weekly syndicated column that ran for 40 years. But his involvement in the sport runs much deeper.

Dyer, from Danville, was working at the Danville Register & Bee in the circulation department when he got permission to start writing a column about racing. It was one of the first columns in a daily paper to chronicle mostly short-track and weekly racing and it quickly grew in popularity and was picked up by several other newspapers in syndication.

His column, “The Pit Stop” was the go-to source for fans of short-track racing in Virginia for many years until he retired in 1992. He was honored several years ago by South Boston Speedway when the press box was named the “Bill Dyer Press Box.”

Dyer’s career went well beyond pen, paper and typewriter. For more than 23 years he worked at either South Boston Speedway or Orange County Speedway, starting at South Boston in 1966. He served both tracks as general manager, promoter and public relations director.

He also was Tommy Ellis’ public relations representative on the Busch Grand National circuit for two seasons.

All the time he was employed in the sport, he continued to pen the weekly column.

In addition to Saturday night’s induction ceremony, the three latest members’ names will be added to a monument at the entrance to South Boston Speedway.

Previous inductees into the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame include Paul Radford, David Blankenship, Joe Henry Thurman, Earl Brooks, Wendell Scott, Ray Hendrick, H. Clay Earles, Paul Sawyer, Junie Dunlavey, Leonard Wood, Glen Wood, Eddie Crouse, E.B. “Buck” Wilkins, Dave Blount, Sonny Hutchins, Wayne Patterson, Tommy Ellis, Runt Harris, Jimmy Hensley and Rick Hendrick.

Media Contacts:
Mike Smith
Relevant Public Relations
423.914.3009
msmith@southbostonspeedway
msmith@prrelevant.com

 

 


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