Short Cuts With Billy Carden

Going Racing

The remains of Ed Samples racer are towed away after a near-fatal crash at Lakewood Speedway in 1950. Carden and Harvey Jones pulled the engine and gears from this car for a racer in the Negro Stock Car Racing Association.

“Anyway, by hanging out with Ed, plus the connections I also had, it was just natural to start racing,” Carden said.  “In 1950 Ed and I went to Glendale, California to learn more about the latest performance equipment being developed on the west coast.  We stayed about a week and returned with a new insight on speed and how to obtain it.  Ed took a very fast car to Lakewood in Atlanta.  Maybe too fast.  He demolished it in qualifying and nearly killed himself.  We went to the hospital and frankly didn’t think he was going to make it.

“On a lighter note to this story, Bones Jones (Harvey Jones) and I figured Ed wouldn’t need the engine and gears out of the wrecked car so we put them in one for a black race driver in town.  I can’t think of his name now, but he could handle a car pretty good.  The Negro Racing Circuit had some good drivers, but they would have some of the strangest equipment.  This fellow used an A-Model headlight cover for a helmet.  Looked like a conehead.

“Anyway, They had a race in Lithonia, and he asked Bones how fast to drive it.  Of course he told him to run flat out.  Well, the man had never driven anything this strong.  We watched him go down the backstretch and when he hit the third turn the poor guy just kept turning over.  Miraculously, he wasn’t hurt.  He was, however, shook up and in shock.  His seat had torn loose from the wreck with him still strapped in it.  With his helmet on sideways, he came walking up the track with the seat still attached as if he had a commode stuck to him.  Funny as hell.  Of course, he didn’t think it was funny, nor did Ed when he recovered a few weeks later.”

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