Friends, Fans Celebrate Raymond Parks Birthday

Raymond Parks celebrated his 96th birthday over the weekend at J.B. Day's annual party. This cake honored Mr. Parks and his history. Photo courtesy Eddie Samples

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Feature Stories 6/11/10

On June 6, as many have for the previous 11 years, some of the biggest friends and fans of Raymond Parks traveled to Easley, South Carolina to celebrate the birthday of the man we call “The Godfather Of NASCAR.”

Raymond Parks, who, as a car owner, scored multiple wins at Daytona Beach and won the first two NASCAR titles, had turned 96 the day before.

J.B. Day and his wife, Willavene, hosted the party, as they have since 1998.  Among those in attendance were David Pearson, Harold Fountain, Rex White, Cotton Owens, Bud Moore, Gene Hobby, Harold and C.L. Pritchett, Hoyt Grimes, Jimmy Summerour, Bruce Brantley, Marvin Panch and many, many others.

The most important part of the day is honoring one of our most important racing heroes.  While NASCAR’s new Hall of Fame may have overlooked him this past year, everyone in attendance made sure he understood how important he is to us, and how glad we are to have him with us.

Thank you, Mr. Parks, and thank you to the Day family for their kind hospitality and a wonderful day of remembering our rich racing history.

For those of you who couldn’t be with us that day, here’s a look at some of the sights from this year’s party:

Mr. Parks smiles as the crowd sings "Happy Birthday". Violet Parks, pictured left, and J.B. Day, pictured right, applaud with the crowd.

Mr. Parks receieves birthday greetings from another all-time great, David Pearson.

The folks from Oconeechee Speedway, led by Frank Craig, pictured center, presented Mr. Parks with a plaque honoring his achievements.

Mr. Parks was honored in song by Augie Chasey, who also said the blessing.

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