Robertson gets Myers Brothers Award By Dave Rodman
The late T. Wayne Robertson, former vice president of Sports Marketing Enterprises, the sports marketing and promotions division of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, was honored at a Friday morning breakfast by the National Motorsports Press Association with the 39th annual TOSCO 76/NMPA Myers Brothers Award.
The prestigious award was bestowed at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on the morning of the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Banquet, which will be held in the Waldorf's Grand Ballroom.
Robertson, who was killed in a boating accident in Louisiana last Jan. 14, was one of the most popular figures at any level in the sport of NASCAR Winston Cup racing. While the award is presented annually by the NMPA to the "individual or group voted by the NMPA membership to have made the greatest contribution during the year to the sport of stock car racing," in Robertson's case, NMPA President Steve Waid said, the recognition was given in recognition of "a lifetime of service to racing. T. Wayne's impact on our sport can't easily be measured, nor can the depth of his loss."
The presentation of the award was extremely emotional for Waid; Toby Robertson, T. Wayne's son who accepted on behalf of his family; and many in the large gallery.
"I think I wrote about 14 speeches," Robertson said, speaking extraneously, "but none really said what I wanted to say."
"When I started racing I would always say to him I looked forward to seeing him in New York," said Robertson, who races NASCAR Late Model Stock Cars and attempted to make his NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division debut this season. He looked to the sky as he said, through quiet sobs, "Now, I just want to tell you how proud I am to be your son, and that I love you, I'm proud of you, and I miss you."
T. Wayne Robertson began his career at R.J. Reynolds in 1971 as a trainee and show car driver. He advanced from there to publicity manager, team manager and group team manager in 1981, essentially working as the late Ralph Seagraves right hand man.
In 1984, he was promoted to director, special events operations and, in 1987 when Seagraves retired, Robertson became vice president of sports marketing enterprises.
Robertson was instrumental in implementing virtually all of the marketing programs and promotions that characterize the current NASCAR Winston Cup program, including "The Winston" all star race, the "Winston Million" bonus program and the current Winston "No Bull 5" program.
Despite that impact, it's not for these promotions and programs that people remember him, and for which they cherish those memories. It was his personality, good humor, easy-going manner and his enthusiasm for the sport and all of the people who made it up, regardless of their stature, that will forever endear him to the motorsports community.
Robertson truly never forgot his roots, and always had time for anyone he ran into, in a NASCAR Winston Cup garage or most anywhere else.
"T. Wayne Robertson dedicated his life to the promotion of auto racing, a sport he loved," Waid said. "His contributions cannot easily be measured nor can the positive impact they made on the growth and popularity of the sport."
The Myers Brothers Award is named after two of NASCAR stock car racing's pioneers, the late brothers Billy and Bobby Myers. The family was represented at the breakfast by Randy and Kathy Myers, who said they were touched by the presentation of the award to a close, hometown friend.
"We were good friends with T. Wayne, so we were very happy we could be here," Kathy Myers said. "He was from Winston-Salem, so this is pretty special to see Toby get up and accept on Wayne's behalf."
Source: NASCAR Online