Rapid Roy, The Stock Car Boy
In 1940, the Georgia Gang came to Daytona Beach ready to win.
Roy Hall, of Dawsonville, Georgia, was a moonshine runner with a reputation for being both wild and talented behind the wheel.
Hall had gotten his first taste of racing on the track at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway, driving for his cousin, Atlanta businessman Raymond Parks.
Hall was entered in the March, 1940 Beach event in a car owned by Parks, and wrenched by Atlanta mechanic Red Vogt, who was considered to be one of the best mechanics in southern automobile racing. He had even worked on the engine that powered Floyd Roberts to a win in the 1938 Indianapolis 500.
The combination would prove to be a potent one. On the start, Hall made a bold move on the outside of pole sitter Joe Littlejohn in the north turn, slinging sand onto Daytona Mayor Ucal Cunningham and other local dignitaries in the process. Hall didn’t make the pass, but he certainly set the tone for the day.
Several times, Hall’s car would swing up on two wheels as he passed through the turns as the crowds cheered.
As the race approached halfway, Hall was trailing Littlejohn by just a few car lengths. Littlejohn pitted on lap 29, handing the lead to Hall. When Hall made his stop seven laps later, Vogt led the charge for a lightning fast pit stop that put the Georgia racer back out still in the lead. He would go on to beat Littlejohn by half a lap.
Hall had set a new race record with the victory at 73.53 mph. Hall would go on to say that the win was the toughest to that point in his career.
On a side note, at the time Hall won the event, he was out on a $500 federal bond for hauling illegal whiskey, as well as a $300 bond by DeKalb County, Georgia for speeding and reckless driving and three $500 bonds from Fulton County, Georgia for running liquor, speeding and violating a state motor vehicle law.
According to an Atlanta area paper, his license was also suspended.
This would set the tone for Hall’s life and career. Twice his racing career was halted by stays in the Georgia State Penitentiary. One of those came not long after his March victory, keeping him and the Parks team off the beach for much of the rest of the year. Had Hall been able to stay out of trouble, there’s no telling where his career might have gone.
Regardless, Hall fired the first shot in the Georgia-Daytona wars. He made it clear that the racers from the Peach State were determined to make the beach their own.