By Mike Bell
Posted in Feature Stories 7/9/09
Bobby Wayne Burcham, Sr. was born on August 22, 1935 in Booneville, Mississippi, and slowly his family settled near the Georgia/Tennessee line. And where did he get the name “Bullet” Bob Burcham?
His father Bobby Burcham and mother Opal had three children (brother Joe and sister Sue) in Depression era Booneville, located somewhere between Corinth and “that place where Elvis was born” – Tupelo. They worked hard on the farm as well as cutting lumber at a small mill they owned.
“Dad got his sawmill business going pretty good, but when the war broke out, he shut it down and both he and my mother went to work in the shipyards at Panama City, Florida,” Burcham said. “After the war, we moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where I continued my schooling. Halfway through the tenth grade I quit and went to work in a bowling alley setting up pins, which obviously didn’t pay much.
“We then moved to Knoxville and I went to work in a service station – Burlington Texaco in Burlington near Knoxville. We started going to Ashway Speedway just north of there. I went regularly because I discovered racing is what I thought I wanted to do.”