Raymond Parks, First Championship Winning Car Owner, Passes Away At Age 96
June 20, 2010
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 20, 2010) -- Raymond Parks, NASCAR's first championship winning owner, passed away Sunday morning in his Atlanta, Ga. home. He was 96.
Parks, a true forefather of the sport, owned the championship winning car in both NASCAR's first Modified season of 1948 and "Strictly Stock" season of 1949. Both championship-winning cars were driven by Red Byron.
Parks' car won two of the eight races in the inaugural 1949 season of what is now known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series -- at historic Martinsville Speedway and the Daytona Beach & Road Course.
Born June 5, 1914, Parks' immense influence on the sport began well before his championship winning campaigns.
The last living member of the ground breaking 1947 meeting to form NASCAR at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Fla., Parks helped shape the future of the sport and its eventual incorporation in 1948.
"The NASCAR Community is saddened by the passing of Raymond Parks," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "Raymond was instrumental in the creation of NASCAR as a participant in the historic meeting at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach. He was also our first championship owner. Raymond is a giant in the history of NASCAR and will always be remembered for his dedication to NASCAR."
Parks' career as a car owner in NASCAR's premier series was a short, but illustrious, one. In 18 premier series races, his cars totaled two wins, 11 top fives and 12 top 10s. His roster of drivers includes some of the sport's all-time greats: Byron, Curtis Turner and Bob and Fonty Flock.
Together with legendary mechanic and fellow Atlanta-native Red Vogt, Parks produced equipment capable of dominating the sport in those early days -- and becoming NASCAR's first super team.
Parks retired from racing in the mid-1950s, but continued his involvement up until his passing. Last year, Parks donated his championship-winning trophies to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He attended the Hall's induction ceremony this past May.