LIVING LEGENDS OF AUTO RACING
- February 9, 2010
What is the living Legends of Auto Racing (LLOA)?
Living Legends of Auto Racing organization was founded in 1993 when a
mother, Zetta Baker, wanted to answer of her son’s questions.. Being a third
generation of auto racers, Zetta’s three sons wanted to know more about the
life and career of their grandfather, the late Bob “Cannonball” Baker. On
November 2, 1941, Cannonball’s auto racing career was cut short due to an
unfortunate crippling accident at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia.
Cannonball was driving Lloyd Seay’s racecar in a special memorial race that
was dedicated to Lloyd, a very popular driver of the time that had been
killed while racing.
During the course of her research, Zetta contacted several individuals that
had known Cannonball. After hearing often, “How did you find me? I did not
know anyone remembered that I raced on the beach-road course in Daytona”,
Zetta decided to get drivers, mechanics, car owners and reporters together.
With a news reporter who has been helping her with her research, Zetta spoke
of a BBQ for the forgotten pioneers of auto racing. The reporter suggested
to her the idea of organizing a reunion banquet with the help from family
and friends in 1993. From there the tradition of the annual parade on the
beach was founded.
Living Legends of Auto Racing Parade on the Beach
On Tuesday, February 9, 2010, the seventeenth annual Living Legend’s “Parade
on the Beach” took place at Daytona Beach. The parade of cars started at
South Daytona Beach Dunlawton Bridge and headed north on the beach for about
one mile. Classic and vintage racecars first assembled for a fan
participation session on the beach. After fan time completed, all the cars
participated in a one-mile parade. The event climaxed with a short sprint on
the beach with a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour. It was really good to
see all the cars and fans from all over the United States and Canada united
in the parade.
Video Clip by Jim DuPont
Now on to some of the Living Legends:
Truelove brought his famous 226 car to the event.
What is Truelove’s most memorable racing event?
“Probably the second race I ever drove in a half mile race car at Thompson,
CT in June of 1948. This was the first time I able to go around the track in
my own race car. Thompson Speedway was the second paved track in the United
States before the War (WWII). I think that I finished sixth my first race.”
“Mad” Marion MacDonald brought 1965 #14
numbered Ford to the parade.
What is MacDonald’s most memorable racing event in his career?
“I can’t think of any special one. One time I grabbed a hamburger out of one
of my pit crew’s hand and then still continued to drive making the turn on
the track. That is where I got my name “Mad” Marion. At that time, we had
the pit crew on the beach”
But the racing legend stories did not stop there. “There is also the story
where I had the knife taped to the car dashboard, a car with no seat belts.
I used the knife to cut the rope off because we used a rope as a seat belt.
I had to take the tape off of it (the knife) and cut myself loose. So that
is one the best things about racing I remember.”
MacDonald’s thoughts on today’s safety and harness equipment:
“The other day it showed in the paper about Danica Patrick how every now and
then she would tighten her seat belt to keep the seat belt tight. My rope
was so tight it was uncomfortable. It was not one of those that
automatically come off, like the new seat belts are.”
MacDonald’s thoughts on today’s racing speed, accidents and injuries:
“We did (drove) a hundred or so on the beach backstretch. I wanted to go on
the main track out here (Daytona Speedway) but they will not let you go
until you go to training for it. But I drove it before they had all those
rules and regulations. But I never did race on it, I just drove on it. They
showed me that anything under a hundred the back end had a tendency to slide
down. You had to keep the power to the back wheels to keep it up. You had to
go over a hundred on the turns.“
“Racing is just like flying,” said MacDonald comparing two of his life’s
passions “You never forget how to fly. Flying has helped me a lot. You feel
what the car can do when it gets ready to go out of control. So, I think
that flying has a lot to do with driving a race car.”
thoughts on the future of racing:
“It is getting bigger, better and faster all the time. But a hundred is fast
enough, you still have good control Driving two and a half is just too risky
for me to even think about.”
Was racing as competitive in the beginning of the sport?
“No racing is really very competitive now. In those days just about anybody
could drive one-hundred miles an hour on the beach. I mean I never got a
scratch on my car. No one ever even got close to the car.”
MacDonald along with other racers made do with what they had and created
things when they did not have it.
On Board Racing Camera: “I was the first car with a camera in
it. I took pictures during the race right through the windshield with my
antenna and everything in front of me. I took pictures while I was driving.
I had just a plain old box camera.”
Bumper Guards: “I started a lot of inventions if you look at
these model A’s that I had they were high. Daddy had a low car and I took a
spring from a Model A. I had plenty. And I made a bumper guard. I bolted
that to my back bumper so my daddy could push me off. In those days the
battery was always dead. Or at least it seemed like it. So I invented that
bumper guard but I just never followed through with it.”
Summarizing his racing career, “Mad” Marion smiled and looked
at all the old race cars around him. “I have been racing for a long time and
it has been fun but I have had my fun now. The fun that I have now is
showing my cars and sharing my experiences. Actually how good a car runs is
also important. In those days you could not get one to run right.
MacDonald proceeded to start his 1965 Ford which had just over 100,000 miles
and ran just over 600 RPM. He had placed a fake dashboard in the car so he
could have some instruments in the car. The other dashboard with the radio
and all the original instruments are still in it. “Cars now days with
everything that you have on them you can not get to idle down this low. That
is 600 RPM a minute and it was turning really too slow. The car is a Ford
and there really is nothing else that is good for racing.”
The living legend proceeded to tighten the rope across his lap and drove off
on to the beach for his ride on the sand where his fond memories remain.
Vicki Woods, the most Memorable race
event for legendary female racer:
“The most memorable thing was the 150 miles on the beach run, on the sand of
all places to run that fast. There was a lot of other memorabilia’s too like
racing with the men, racing with the girls, and going into the mobile gas
run from California to Minneapolis.”
Did men when Woods raced give her a hard time and make her come up to
“No they were the ones that talked me into racing with the men in
Flatrock, Michigan. I did very well. In fact they taught me a little bit
more on how to run the track, the turns and how to let up and all that kind
of stuff. Then after a while I started to beat them. Then a couple of the
boys would say: ‘How would you like to go to work and have somebody say I
thought you were a race driver? How come you let that women run rings around
you’. So he said they were going to go out on strike. It was not the top
drivers but the also rans. They are the ones that said they would quit if I
did not quit. Or go out on strike.”
Did she finally quit racing?
“Yes, I had my fun. I had ten years of it. And I was getting up there in
When did Woods start her racing career and where?
“ I was in my late thirties when I started racing. First time I drove was in
1953 on a quarter mile track in Detroit, Michigan and 1963 was the last year
I drove. It was nice it was fun. In fact I had never been in a car (race
car) before. I had never been on the track before. I was the poorest
qualifier that they ever had. Because I had never been in a car as I said. I
have never been on a track before and they put me out there. Then they put
me in a race with twenty-five girls. So I started in the back of the pack,
because my qualifying was so bad. And I finished ninth in that race in that
first race. Then we went to Clements. Michigan the next day and I won that
“Then I just kept winning. I had a total of forty-eight trophies. But I do
not have them any more because they started to turn and my grandsons and
grandchildren all asked “Can we have a trophy?” So I gave most of them away.
I made some lamps out of some of them. I took the little race car off the
top of them and drilled a hole in them and put a lampshade over it to make
some trophies usable.”
What was the fastest that your drove?
Standing next to the David Pearson #3 car, Woods eyes lit up as she stepped
back and looked at the car. “I ended up driving about 121 MPH because I was
afraid to open it (car) up. It was my first time driving it and I kept
thinking if anything happened to that car I‘d would be named mud. That was
the first time I sat in that car and the first time I drove it on a track.
That was in the David Pearson #3 Pontiac car. “
If you were to compete today and receive some of today’s purses?
“I would be in seventh heaven. The first race I ever won I got one
dollar. And I still have that dollar in a picture frame. Race teams are very
greedy now days for money. It is no fun. It use to be a lot of fun.”
Your thoughts about this year’s ARCA race sixth place finisher?
“Danica Patrick is a good driver and a nice person too. The men I think kind
of give her a hard time every once and a while. Well they do all women as
far as that goes, but you have to expect that.”
* * * * * *
We have been attending the “Parade at the Beach” since the beginning
and would recommend if you have the opportunity to come to Florida during
race week that you go to the “Race on the Beach” in South Daytona on Race
Source: Denise DuPont