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.
Cannonball’s auto racing career was cut short on November 2, 1941 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.
2011 Living Legends of Auto Racing Parade on the Beach
On Tuesday, February 15, 2011, the eighteenth annual Living Legend’s “Parade
on the Beach” took place on Daytona Beach sands. The parade of cars started
at South Daytona Beach Dunlawton Bridge and headed north on the beach for
about one mile. This is known to be one of the original racing miles on the
beach. Classic and vintage racecars first assembled for a fan greeting
session on the beach. After fan time completed, the cars participated in a
one-mile parade. The legend 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
sad part we noticed at the parade this year is that the number of actual
Living Legends in the parade has dwindled dramatically over the years. “Mad”
Marion MacDonald, female driver Vicky Woods and Russ Truelove were among the
hand full of race history makers that were able to attend. So as the years
go by it is becoming more apparent that our racing roots are being lost in
the sands of time.
One of the Legends, Russ Truelove once again brought his famous #226 car to
the event. Under the hood of Truelove’s 1956 Mercury, one will find a
312 cubic-inch V8 motor, along with a 260 engine kit which included a set of
heads, two 4-barrel carburetors, pushrods, and a cam. How many of us would
love to see that under our car’s hood?
In February 1956, Russ Truelove took his same 1956 Mercury to the sands of
Daytona Beach to race around with his friends for an early Spring Break at
the 1956 NASCAR Grand National for stock cars on the four-mile beach course.
Racers, like Truelove, Tim Flock, Fireball Roberts, and Lee Petty raced
around in stock production cars with the only NASCAR safety requirement
being a roll over bar. Other than fixing the doors so they would not fly
open during the race, which was done with two I-bolts and a chain strung
between the doors, Truelove raced this red rocket with everything intact
from the factory including turn signals.
When Truelove raced on the beach his major sponsor was Mattutuck Motors. But
the car now has a different sponsor on the rear quarter panels. What is the
history of the car’s sponsorship change?
I was down in 1956 I was a service manager at Mattutuck Motors, a Lincoln
Mercury Dealership. After the race I had this thing (car) and I needed work
done on it. I moved back to Waterbury, CT and went to Murray Brother’s
Garage. Andrew Murray is married to my niece so he said I will take care of
the car for you if you place the name of the garage on there. So what did I
care, Mattutuck Motors is gone, so I put another name on it (the car).”
Russ Truelove will be the next recipient of The Tim Sullivan Memorial of
Excellence award from the Motor Racing Heritage Association. Truelove
expressed the interest to speak about the man behind the award versus the
“Tim Sullivan spent his whole life around racing and a part of racing where
he was involved with Richmond Speedway as a very young man. (He and I were
about the same age.)”
“He worked his way up from teleprompting broadcasting, when that was an
issue in the media. Then he became president of Motor Racing Network, which
introduced NASCAR to big advertising and big money. Yes and that was all
through the media. And that took over the sport of racing to make it a
business rather than a sport.”
“Right now it is big business and money. The beginning of the sport does not
count any more. It does not mean anything. It is amazing that it does not
count it does not mean anything. There are a few every now and then when you
are doing a commercial or advertisement that thank you for what you started
but it does not mean all that much in the sport.”
they chose me I do not know but I am very appreciative of it. I joined Motor
Racing Heritage in 1995, and that was when Tim Sullivan took over as
president. of Motor Racing Heritage., which by the way is a non-profit
“We (Motor Racing Heritage) are trying to raise money now so we can build a
little replica of the Ormond Garage, which has burnt down. It has housed the
two replica Pace cars from 1903. The town of Ormond paid for the two replica
cars. We originally had them mounted up there in Ormond but after a couple
of years they started to deteriorate. So we took them down and stored them
in the Ormond Garage. Now we want to put them back out where people can see
them. We are starting with an engineering concept of a garage that can go in
the same place. It (garage plan) has been approved by the town of Ormond
Beach. They said we can do this if we raise the money.”
If you had to do it all over again is there anything that you would change
with your racing career?