One Of The Great Georgia Drivers: Rance Phillips


The Competition

Rance Phillips will be inducted into the Jacksonville Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame on December 5.

Rance Phillips will be inducted into the Jacksonville Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame on December 5.

“I never had a running feud with anyone I raced against,” Rance said.  “Some of them I dreaded. They were stiff competition but I enjoyed running with them. Eddie Mac helped me out a lot during my career. Tiny Lund, I might have feared him the first few races I ran with him simply because of his name and reputation but later on we became real good friends. We had some heck of a races between me and him.”

“I was at the Chevrolet dealership for 28 to 30 years,” said Rance.  “I quit a couple of times, but I would always go right back. I was service manager for the 15 or 16 years I worked there. I retired in 1989, sold all my racing stuff and moved to Florida. My brother had gotten in bad health. He wanted me to drive his old car so I got right back into it again. I drove for him and Jimmy Petty a few years and another owner for another five years.

“Then I went to work for John King at Twister Chassis in Lake Park. Lonnie (Roberts) came down and asked me to build him a car. And we built another one for me. He furnished everything and I built me a car and I still have it. And I probably won 40 or 50 races with him (Lonnie). Now in my older years, I realize I don’t have to be there every time. I won some races I shouldn’t have won. I won over 700 features. In the ‘70’s and’80’s, I ran some three or four times a week.”

“I married a local girl from Orlando and that lasted until 1979,” said Rance.  “She went back to Orlando. We had 3 children. A few years later I married again to Jenny. Her son, Gene Tatum, races in the modified division. We parted ways in 1989. I had sold all my racing stuff and gave away over 200 trophies and moved to Florida. I got right back into it there. I’m still in it. Sometimes we work seven days a week.

“Lonnie doesn’t have time to run his business and work on these cars. He may work on them at the track but he is too busy during the week. He drove for the first time this year at Lake City.”

When asked about being married now, Rance said, “Never, no more!” But you can always find him around a racecar. In fact they are building a new car to race with NVRA (National Vintage Racing Association) or anywhere else they can find time to run.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the December 2008 issue of the Pioneer Pages magazine.  It was recently announced that Rance Phillips will be inducted into the Jacksonville Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame on December 5.  Congratulations from all of us at GRH.com

Mike Bell is the CEO and historian for the Georgia Auto Racing Hall of Fame Association, Inc. (GARHOFA)


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