One Of The Great Georgia Drivers: Rance Phillips


Off To Florida

Rance Phillips (90) and Harvey Jones (6) got together in this crash at Lake City in 1980.  Rance said Harvey had spun him in the heat race so he wrecked him in the feature.

Rance Phillips (90) and Harvey Jones (6) got together in this crash at Lake City in 1980. Rance said Harvey had spun him in the heat race so he wrecked him in the feature.

“When I sold out all my racing stuff, I moved to Florida. My brother owned a car with Jimmy Petty,” said Rance.  “It was what you call a super late model – a Camaro. We ran at Bronson and Columbia County – asphalt. I think the car came from Dickie Anderson. Eddie Gainey originally owned the car and wound up with the car when we got through with it. I ran the car probably 2 seasons. After we sold it back to Eddie, I went back to dirt. The ole’ Lake City track had opened back up and all my preference was with dirt.”

“I ran Jacksonville when it was asphalt (Gater Raceway),” he said.  “I went down there because of Mr. Klien. You could always trust him. I had had some trouble in Albany. I always got paid. It might not have been what they advertised. They had just reopened Albany Speedway. It had been closed for several years. Bill Connell called, ‘Come on up. We are having some great races up here. We are paying X amount of dollars to win.’ Everyone knew Bill and he was a super guy but he was not a promoter. He was promising something he could not pay. I went up there and won and got paid the amount. The next Sunday afternoon I got cut $100. The next Sunday afternoon I got cut $200 because I won all three races. I said bye Bill and never went back and needless to say it wasn’t long before he folded. He went back to the drag strip. He had been the promoter at US 19 Drag Strip. When I was drag racing, I went there many, many times. There wasn’t a lot of money involved anyway, although I built some eight to 10 drag cars for others. I built a ’55 Chevrolet – all tube frame – all fiberglass body that had a 488 cubic inch engine from a 409. It had a long leg in it and a bigger bore. It got the show on. Won a lot of races.

“Remember Mickey? He worked the gate for Mr. Klien. I hadn’t been to Jacksonville for three or four years. They had a 100-lapper. Paying some good money – then it was $3500.  Mickey asked me, ‘What are you doing here?’ ‘I came to win this race.’ ‘You can’t! Dennis Bennett, three or four more are really showing out there – Cecil Eunice.’ I sat on the pole and led every lap of the race. After the races at the payout window, I saw Mickey and showed him the money. He just walked away shaking his head (in disbelief).”

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