Rex White : Small stature, giant legend
Looking back at the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee's career MORE: NASCAR Hall of Fame profile of Rex White " NASCAR Hall of Fame by class (Note: This release is part of a series in advance of the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Jan. 30, broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network, Motor Racing Network Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly and Rex White are the five 2015 inductees.) DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.– Over the years, NASCAR premier series champions have come in all shapes and sizes – tall, short, muscular and lean. The single constant? It’s impossible to judge a book by its cover. Based upon first impressions, Rex White – at 5 feet 4 inches, weighing just 135 pounds and with his right leg withered by childhood polio – might have seemed the unlikeliest championship contender of all. White , however, was tough as nails fearing neither competitor nor track conditions. He won the 1960 premier series title and posted 28 victories over five seasons, finishing among the top five in nearly half of his 233 starts. "He looked more like a jockey than a race car driver," fellow competitor Buddy Baker told the Gaston Gazette, "but he lived large once they started the race. On short tracks, he was very aggressive. He didn't mind going in the turn with (NASCAR Hall of Famer and three-time premier series champion) Lee Petty and saying, 'I'm inside and if you come down we’re not going to agree on stuff.' "He raced hard." NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, the 1983 premier series champion, said, "I admired Rex as a race driver because he was a little guy. I started out small. Seeing him winning encouraged me to chase my dream." What might have been a handicap to many only served as motivation to White , born Aug. 17, 1929 in Taylorsville, N.C. "Most of the lessons I have learned (from childhood illness) have stayed with me all my life," said White in his autobiography "Gold Thunder," written with Dr. Anne B. Jones. "The biggest one was how to conquer fear." White learned to drive at age six, driving a neighbor's truck in surrounding fields. Two years later he was working on his family's Ford Model T. “I was unaware the car on which I labored represented hope to people around me (and) frustration to those trying to stop illegal moonshine," said White . "I saw automobiles as transportation, not the symbol of an upcoming billion-dollar sport." White dropped out of school, moving to the Washington D.C., area where he found employment as a cook and, after marriage, a service station job. A poster advertising stock car races took White to Lanham (Maryland) Speedway where he caught on as an unpaid crew member for 1952 NASCAR Modified champion Frankie Schneider. A year later, White returned to the track with a 1937 Ford purchased for $600 lettered "X." He won his heat race, the semi-main and the feature. "I'd never won a trophy at anything," said White . White made his premier series debut in 1956 on Daytona's beach/road course. In 1958, he teamed with crew chief Louis Clements in an "off the books" program by GM's Chevrolet Division. They won twice in 1958 and five times the following year. The 1959 season also saw the debut of White's iconic No. 4 gold and white Chevrolet. The 1960 season was the first in which White ran a full schedule, going to the post only after he and Clement built a car for a competitor, the sale of which netted $2,000 for their own Chevrolet. White won six times finishing 35 of 40 races among the top 10. White's ninth-place finish at Birmingham, Alabama on Aug. 3 was his worst performance in the year's final 15 races. The championship was a runaway, White beating NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty by nearly 4,000 points. "The thing about Rex is he thinks," said Clements in a 1960 interview with Sports Illustrated. "When he's out on the track, he's planning and figuring out which cars he has to race to stay ahead." Car owner and engine builder Smokey Yunick, quoted in the same article, said, " Rex is not a cautious driver but he know when to use caution." White didn't disagree. "I couldn't run quite as fast as some of those other guys," he said. "So long as I was smart and kept running; if any of those other guys had trouble, I had a chance." White nearly defended his title in 1961 winning seven times but finished second to NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett. He added two more top-10 championship finishes before retiring at the conclusion of the 1964 season. Between 1959 and the 1963 seasons, White won more races than any other driver. He won 36 premier series poles – at least one in eight consecutive seasons – and finished second in NASCAR's Short Track late model championship in 1959. In retirement, White has owned an automobile dealership and for 25 years a trucking company, both in the Atlanta area where at age 85 he continues to reside. Named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998, White holds membership in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
NASCAR Hall of Fame: Rex White
NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Rex White reflects on his career and winning a NASCAR championship.
Hall of Famer White short in stature, tall in talent
Oldest living premier series champion gives his thoughts on induction, Abreu Rex White , still keeping busy at age 85, reigns supreme as NASCAR's oldest living champion. He might also rank as its shortest. But White , who stands just a few inches above five feet, never saw his height as any sort of disadvantage, even in the rough-and-tumble days of stock-car racing's infancy. "I really wasn't built or the size for fighting, so I kind of avoided any physical contact with any drivers," White said. "In the race car, though, I was probably about the same height as all of them." White's stature will take another step up come Friday night, when he'll be enshrined as part of the sixth class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He'll be inducted with three drivers he competed against -- Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott and Joe Weatherly -- and latter-day star Bill Elliott. It's an honor that left the 1960 champion of NASCAR's premier series at a loss for words. "It's just unbelievable because I didn't really think I was going in that early," White said of his emotions upon hearing the news. "Just unbelievable -- I don't even know the correct word to use for it, but I was really flabbergasted." White won 28 races in NASCAR's top division, all but two of which came in a four-year heyday from 1959-62. He never regarded his diminutive size as a hurdle, a point that was underscored just last weekend with a modern-day corollary. A popular victory by Rico Abreu, who stands 4-foot-4, in the Chili Bowl Nationals sprint car showcase has opened the doors for a driving opportunity in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. White said if Abreu's talent speaks for itself, all other factors should remain equal. "If they build the race cars and get him adjusted and sitting in there where he can operate everything," White said, "I would say he's just as capable of winning races as any other driver." White's ascension to the top of the NASCAR ladder came during a time when the sport was expanding its reach, growing beyond the dirt bullrings and entering a major speedway boom. Atlanta Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway opened in the year White was crowned, and Daytona International Speedway 's 2.5-mile high banks debuted for business the previous year. Though he could see the sport transforming, White said he couldn't have envisioned what NASCAR would look like in 2015. "No earthly idea that it was going to grow to where it is today and be as popular as it is, and draw the money and pay the purses that they're paying," said White , who picked up a $13,000 check for winning the 1960 title. "I'm not even sure that Bill France had enough foresight to see that. I don't know. He may have, but I sure didn't." If White happens to cross paths with current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick during the Hall of Fame ceremonies, a link between the two will come full circle. White -- who drove a "Gold Thunder" car noted for its pristine gold and white paint scheme -- was the last champion to carry the No. 4 before Harvick accomplished the feat last season. White , like Harvick, was particularly loyal to driving for Chevrolet. The story goes, White needed to change his number from No. 44 once he stopped driving Chevrolet factory cars. Noting that Billy Myers -- an early star driver from Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina -- was a hero of his, it made White's choice all the easier. "Naturally, I grabbed it," White said. "It was a great number. Still is today." Though White hung up his helmet after a part-time schedule in 1964 and retired from his job at a car dealership in 2003, he said he's yet to slow down. His active schedule has picked up recently with appearances and interviews ahead of his Hall of Fame induction. Come Friday night in Charlotte, his stature as one of the sport's all-time greats will be secured, complete with a personalized blue blazer and the presentation of his NASCAR Hall of Fame ring. White says he's looking forward to the festivities, even if there might be the potential for stage fright. "Probably as ready as I'll ever be," White joked. "I'm sure there's something that I'll screw up on, so anyway, I'm going to do the best I can. It's a great honor, and it's a pleasure to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame."
White happy to be mentioned with big names
Rex White talks with Bob Dillner about what it means to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
White : 'Words can't express how honored I am'
Rex White acknowledges the team effort that helped earn him a spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Suárez visits White House for Hispanic Heritage Month
Joe Gibbs Racing 's Daniel Suarez has exciting things happening for him on and off the track with his XFINITY Series championship hopes still alive and a month-long Hispanic Heritage Month celebration underway. Tuesday, the Mexican-born wheelman visited the White House, representing NASCAR for Hispanic Heritage Month. Take a peak inside his busy day in Washington, D.C. We have landed in Washington D.C! Stay tuned for some pretty cool updates throughout the day! — Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) October 11, 2016 We have made it to the White House and about to head in for an event to celebrate National Hispanic Month! pic.twitter.com/2TWtEJvzyl — Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) October 11, 2016 Daniel is about to take the stage to participate in the My Brother's Keeper Town Hall here at the White House. #MyBrothersKeeper #HHM pic.twitter.com/0sPiBGNVIs — Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) October 11, 2016 . @Daniel_SuarezG is at the @WhiteHouse celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Maybe he’ll be back celebrating a championship in the future! pic.twitter.com/YLe2XuwNGn — NASCAR XFINITY (@NASCAR_ XFINITY ) October 11, 2016 It was an honor to speak to the 250 youth in attendance at The White House Town Hall this afternoon in DC. pic.twitter.com/KAWprS460W — Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) October 12, 2016
Rex White | Class of 2015
Inductee for 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame class
Heads up: Talladega weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Talladega Superspeedway . WEATHER Can you say "Chamber of Commerce weather?" That's what you'll get at Talladega. It'll be sunny all weekend, with a high of 70 on Friday and a high of 68 on Saturday, with the temperature nosing up to 77 degrees on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Beautiful outlook for a pair of elimination races. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: The biggest change this weekend is Coors Light Qualifying. Rather than qualifying on Friday, the Sprint Cup Series will do so on Saturday afternoon after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. The single-car spectacle is set for 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The race is Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, also on NBCSN. Camping World Truck Series: The Camping World Truck Series has a pair of Friday practices (beginning at 1 p.m. ET and 3 p.m. ET, both on FS1). The race is Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX with Keystone Light Pole Qualifying just before at 10:30 a.m. ET (FS1). CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We'll stream every driver press conference in the Talladega media center at NASCAR.com/presspass . Among the notables Friday: Chase Elliott (12:30 p.m. ET), Joey Logano (12:45 p.m. ET) and Martin Truex Jr . (3:30 p.m. ET). Click here for a full schedule. LAST TIME Joey Logano swept the Round of 12 last year, beating Alabama's favorite son Dale Earnhardt Jr . -- and eliminating him from the Chase -- in the process. The Team Penske driver led 20 laps to Earnhardt Jr.'s 61, and he held off Junior on an abbreviated green- white -checkered finish. Logano was first and Earnhardt Jr. second as the field's only attempt at a GWC conclusion went green. A wreck just past the start/finish line brought out the caution, ending the race just as Logano and Earnhardt Jr. were racing for the lead. Logano was in the lead at the time and declared the winner. Eventually, NASCAR tweaked its green- white -checkered rule in the offseason, leading to the addition of the overtime line. YOU SHOULD KNOW • With Dale Jr. sidelined for the rest of the season, Brad Keselowski may hold the mantle as the best restrictor-plate racer in NASCAR. The driver of the No. 2 Ford has three top-five finishes in the past four Talladega races, including two wins -- to bring his total 'Dega wins to four. He also won at Daytona in July. And following a wreck at Kansas last week, Keselowski likely has to win to advance in the postseason. • It's not just Keselowski who is in win-or-else mode. Chase Elliott essentially is facing a "must-win" scenario to advance into the next round. The rookie is 25 points behind the cutoff line. • Keep an eye on Joey Logano and Austin Dillon . They are tied for the final transfer spot, with Logano currently owning the tiebreaker thanks to his third-place finish at Kansas. Their stories are quite different. Logano won all three Round of 12 races last year, but his performances and speed slipped this year; Dillon is in his first postseason and one race away from making the Round of 8 after being seeded 15th out of 16 drivers at the start of the Chase. • This is the first elimination race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, with two drivers getting knocked out of the postseason. Daniel Hemric and John Hunter Nemechek are both 15 points below the cutoff line and will need to make up some serious ground.
Katelyn Sweet tops Paige White for Better Half Dash win
CONCORD, N.C. -- Last year's Better Half Dash runner-up Katelyn Sweet said last year she didn't want to nab a win before her boyfriend Kyle Larson nabbed his first Sprint Cup victory. Larson's first win at Michigan in August presented an opportunity for Sweet to dominate and win Thursday's sixth annual Better Half Dash race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The event, which featured 10 competitors, raised more than $70,000 for the Motor Racing Outreach, Speedway Children's Charities and the other charities selected by each competitor. "It's pretty awesome. I'm glad that we let him get the win before I did," Sweet said with a smile on Larson in Victory Lane. "… Now I can kind of trash talk him and tell him to how to drive the car." Driving the No. 42 Nature Made Chevrolet, Sweet led the majority of the event after starting from the pole position. She passed Paige White , Brad Keselowski 's girlfriend, in the final laps for the lead. White held on to finish second, while Ty Dillon ’s wife, Haley Dillon, came up third. Anna McAllister, fiancée of Roush Fenway Racing tire changer Cory Baldwin, and Kinsley Parsons, fiancée of NASCAR official Patrick Marrill, rounded out the top five finishers. Larson, who spotted for Sweet, was on site in Victory Lane with the couple's young son Owen, who rocked a coordinating Nature Made fire suit to his mom's pink one. "Lots of fun, MRO does a good job with it," Larson said on the event. "I know Katelyn has looked forward to it for the last few years. She did good, she was really good." Third-place finisher Dillon was impressive in her No. 3, as she aggressively weaved from the back to the front twice in the event after getting caught up in minor spins. She couldn't quite make it all the way up front, but said she'll be back next year. "Absolutely," Dillon said. "They can't keep me from doing this. It's been so much fun and I will gladly accept the invitation. It was a blast." And it appears Sweet, whose brother Brad Sweet drives sprint cars and previously competed in the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series, may have caught the racing fever. "Yeah I do," Sweet said when asked if she wanted to race on a more regular basis. "Maybe not every weekend, that sounds a little bit much." "Both Charlotte races," White offered. "Yeah, both Charlotte races. Because I am not going to run in high heels," Sweet said, referencing the High Heel Dash in May. You heard it: Wheels over heels. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;<span _rtetemp="spchk" style="background-color: #ffffaa;" _rtespchksugg="Lt"alt"ult"flt"let"lit"lat"lot"ltd"t">am</span>p;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Jeremy Clements' 'Black Widow' Darlington paint scheme honors family
RELATED: Full Darlington coverage " Throwback paint schemes Jeremy Clements Racing is excited to announce they will be fielding a Throwback paint scheme this coming Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway . The No. 51 Camaro SS will be sponsored by long time partners www.repairablevehicles.com and will feature the "Black Widow" paint scheme that was driven by a number of racing greats in the late '50s in the likes of Hall of Famers Buck Baker and Rex White and powered by the renowed engine buliders of the time, Jeremy's grandfather and great uncle, Crawford and Louis Clements. Crawford and Louis both also crew chiefed as well for some all time greats. Crawford crew chiefed Hall of Famers Junior Johnson, Buck Baker and AJ Foyt all to wins the early '60s, and Louis crew chiefed Rex White to the 1960 Cup Championship. "I'm really proud to honor my grandfather (who started me in racing) and my great uncle with this cool Black Widow Paint Scheme from the '50s," Jeremy said. "Even more excited to represent them and Clements Racing Engines in our home state at Darlington Raceway ." Buck Baker in his Black Widow.