From watching clips on the Wide World of Sports, listening on the radio, making laps at local karting tracks and writing for the Hometown News, racing has always been my favorite sport.
Yes, I love the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Alabama Crimson Tide, but give me a good race any day.
Growing up in Inman, James Hylton was one of my favorites, but David Pearson was on top of my list. I always wanted to see the teams from Spartanburg County run well.
The first trip that I can remember taking to a race was a Sunday afternoon spent at Shadyside Dragway in Boiling Springs, NC. My Uncle, Danny McAbee had the baddest 1969 Ford Gran Torino in the country, at least the baddest with a 351 Windsor. Uncle Danny wore them out that Sunday.
Not long after that my daddy, the late Willie Merle Wilkerson, took me to Martinsville for my first NASCAR race. I could not believe how loud it was, how good the cars looked, and how fast the cars were. Remember, I was just in grade school, so Martinsville looked fast.
I didn’t get back to a NASCAR race until 1987, when my brother Britt, Billy Hipp, Jeff Large, and I went to Darlington. It was awesome except for Davey Allison getting spun out by Buddy Baker, resulting in his fuel cell exploding, and Awesome Bill running out of gas on the last lap, it was a great day.
Britt and I have made many races since that day to the following tracks: Atlanta, Bristol, Charlotte, Darlington, Daytona, Martinsville, Michigan, North Wilkesboro, Pocono, Rockingham, and Talladega. Throw in trying my hand a kart racing, from 1986 until 1994. I raced at several tracks including; Speedway Park, Buck Creek, Cross Anchor, Westminster, Gray Court, Dacusville, Toccoa, and the Red Rock Raceway in Mebane, NC. I won a few, tore a few up, broke motors, and had a lot of fun.
I was able to mix in trips to Cherokee Speedway along the way as well. Other area tracks that I have been able to attend races at are Piedmont Interstate Fairgrounds, Anderson, Greenville-Pickens, Buffalo, Greer Dragway, Harris, Riverside, Toccoa, Mileback, Buck Creek, and Travelers Rest among others. Also got to catch the World of Outlaws at the St. Augustine Speedway with Britt and Chris Jenkins back in 1995.
Getting the chance to host a racing show was a dream come true. Then when Greg Moore joined the show, he has allowed me the chance to talk to some of my on track hero’s. That first show that Bud Moore was on, I just keep saying to myself, “Dale you are talking to Bud Moore, don’t mess this up!”
The show has been a lot of fun. I have met a lot of great people on the show that has only added to my love of automobile racing.
My Saturday night’s, since the spring of 2009, you can catch me in the Winner’s Circle at Cherokee, yes every race winner wants to see me after the race, because if they are talking to me after the race, they have just scored a win at the toughest dirt track around.
Jed Blackwell runs my articles in the Hometown News each week, and without Jed I might not be on the radio. Jed passed my name on to the folks looking to get Chapman Football on the internet a few years ago. When Jed got my foot in the radio door, Tommy Sims noticed my knowledge of racing, ESPN-1400 wanted a racing show, and Tommy told them to ask me. Tommy was with me for the first few shows, before he passed away. Ronnie Black stepped into the producer role and has kept the show heading the right way.
As for my articles, my darling wife Cathy proof reads the better ones. If you read one with a miss-spelled word, Cathy didn’t see that one before it went to print.
Until the next show, let’s keep ‘em of the walls and out of the ditches!!