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Curtis "Crawfish" Crider
Born:
October 7, 1930 - Died: December 21, 2012
Orig Home: Abbeyville, SC
Curtis Crider 1077 Roberts St. Ormond Beach, FL 32174

Curtis "Crawfish Crider was a pioneer in the early NASCAR days. Crawfish was one of the hardest working and under-financed racers of his time. The original Dave Marcus. Curtis earned the nickname "Crawfish" after he landed in a lake on one occasion.
 

  • FoMoCo Domination: Even though Petty won the championship in 1964, the year belonged to Ford. Jarrett won 15 races, Billy Wade won four consecutive in Bud Moore's Mercurys, Curtis Crider had an amazing 30 top-10s in 59 starts, and Panch and Darel Dieringer scored late-season victories.
     
  • Curtis Crider has a book 'The Road to Daytona', as told to Don O'Reilly

  • Crider won the Victory Lane Racing Association's first annual Tim Flock Drivers Award given by Francis Flock on behalf of her husband at their February 2006 banquet.

Former racer Curtis "Crawfish" Crider dies at 82

 Crawfish Crider raced seven seasons on NASCAR's biggest circuit, then dominated Florida's short-track scene before "retiring" to his backyard shop in Ormond Beach.

By Ken Willis  SPORTS COLUMNIST                    Published: Saturday, December 22, 2012

Another link to NASCAR's hardscrabble past is gone.

Curtis Crider didn't turn many heads with the results he produced during the seven seasons he raced on NASCAR's big-league circuit. But he always had a following, which is expected when you're tagged with one of the best nicknames in the sport's history: “Crawfish.”

Curtis “Crawfish” Crider, who called this area home since the late 1960s, died Friday under hospice care in Edgewater. He and his wife of 35 years, Louise, lived in Ormond Beach. Crider was 82.

Crider, originally from Abbeville, S.C., made 232 starts between 1959-65 in NASCAR's top division, then known as the Grand National Series. All but seven of those starts came from 1960-64. His best season was in 1964, when he competed in 59 of 62 races, scored seven top-fives and finished sixth in the final points standings.

The colorful Crider left the national touring series but didn't leave racing. He soothed his competitive itch on the short tracks of Florida, using the old Volusia County Speedway in Barberville as his home base. He captured the Florida State Championship three consecutive years (1972-74), winning 52 short-track features in that stretch.

Nearly 10 years ago, Crider told News-Journal Motorsports Editor Godwin Kelly, “If I had to do my life over again, I wouldn't change a thing, except for the days I'd known I was gonna wreck -- then I would stay home.”

The nickname came during Crider's NASCAR career.

 

“We were racing at a dirt track in Danville, Va.,” Crider told Kelly. “It had rained a bunch and there was water still standing on the backstretch. There was no wall or guardrail back there. I got shoved off the backstretch and went into that water and mud got all over me. Richard Petty and some of the other guys in the race said I looked like a crawfish crawling out of there. The name stuck all these years.”

In the mid-'70s Crider sold all of his race cars and kept busy restoring vintage cars in a shop behind his Ormond Beach home.

“I do everything but paint 'em,” he said.

And he kept working on them -- as well as helping neighbors and friends with mechanical issues and general upkeep -- until his health took a bad turn recently.

“I'd say the last two or three years, he wasn't really able to do a whole lot, but he could still tinker and get around,” said Louise Crider. “The garage was full of parts and other stuff, so he did most of his work outside on a slab. He was definitely a shade-tree mechanic.”

Along with Louise, survivors include sons Dean of Ormond Beach and Chip of Abbeville; daughters Jan Gibson of Winder, Ga.; Ronda Sherrill of Greensboro, N.C.; and Cricket Patrick of Pleasant Garden, N.C.

Buried at Volusia Memorial Park in Ormond Beach.


Curtis “Crawfish” Crider drove a 1963 Mercury during most of the 1963 Grand National season.
Seen here is the #62 after his 16th place finish in the 1963 Southern 500. This is a Jack Walker photo.


Curtis “Crawfish” Crider from Charleston drove the #62 Mercury to a 12th place finish in the
July21, 1962 Grand National race at Rambi. This is a Jack Walker photo.


Curtis Crider from Charleston, SC finished 15th in the 1959 Modified-Sportsman race at Daytona driving the #23. Curtis brought the same 1955 Ford back to Daytona in 1960 finishing 35th. The main sponsor on the car was Livingston Auto Parts owned by Ed Livingston. Crider and Livingston both raced on the Grand National circuit in the 60’s. I want to give proper credit for this photo, so if you know who the photographer was please pass it on.


Curtis "Crawfish" Crider drove the white and red #3 out of Charleston
several times at Rambi during the 1963 season.

Moonshinin' Memories (excerpt)

NASCAR has come a long way

By CLAY LATIMER    -    SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE

With a full load of bootleg whiskey in the trunk of his old Ford and a federal agent in his rearview mirror on a lonely road, deep in the North Carolina backwoods, Curtis Crider was surrounded by trouble on a mellow Saturday night more than a half-century ago, with the promise of more to come.

But he did not hang around to worry.

With his foot to the floor, the cocky young mechanic surged away, roaring past old tar-papered shacks and deserted filling stations, over bumpy bridges and around sweeping curves — until he skidded into his front yard, minutes ahead of his outgunned pursuer, who never saw Crider slip into his home.

"I peeked out the bedroom window," he said. "But then I settled down and got some sleep because I had a race the next day."

Twelve hours later, in the same souped-up Ford, Crider was tearing around an oval dirt track, gunning past other local bootleggers during a weekly showdown for bragging rights and spare change.

"The same driving skills you learned in bootlegging, you used in the dirt-track races," Crider said. "They were a lot alike."

They also were the driving force that led to the creation of NASCAR, which has evolved from a Southern sideshow into a multibillion-dollar sport and mainstream cultural force.

If they could hit 100 mph in second gear, drivers knew they could outrun any revenuer, so they ripped out car radios, door handles, glass and back seats; modified the suspension systems; and installed a half-inch metal plate to protect radiators from lawmen's bullets.

"There were people who did nothing but build bootleg cars," Wheeler said.

Added Crider: "It wasn't unusual for a mechanic to have a bootlegger's car in (one stall), a race car in another, and a (revenuer's) car in another."  (excerpt)


 

Crawfish Car’s A Cracker!: 02/06/2004:
Story Paul Huggett, photo Stella Huggett: Huggy having big fun in the Crider car.
Short Circuit’s Paul Huggett was among the first to try out the vintage Curtis ‘Crawfish’ Crider stock car at the THORA Track Day on May 30. Driving the 1939 Ford built by the Florida, USA, veteran, who was part of the 1955 American racing tour of the UK tracks, Huggy reports “That was so much fun, it probably ought to be illegal! This was a childhood ambition come true, to heave an old Ford V8 flathead around a dirt track. Lots of torque, big car, big thrill - Magic!"
The car was imported by THORA’s Julius Thurgood and will form part of a Stock Car segment of the Goodwood Festival at the end of June, where it will be driven by BriSCA racer Jason Holden, who joined our man at the track day in Oxfordshire, where both got to drive the Dodge ‘Red Ram Special’ #1 coupe familiar to all who have seen the THORA vintage Stox show. The car is now owned by vintage car expert Ivan Dutton, who hosted the event. “The Dodge was more of a handful to drive, being a genuine 1950’s racer with a more modern engine in it” our man continues, “But that didn’t stop Jason getting it sideways most of the way round - made me look pretty slow…”


This model was built using a Dick Tracy '36 Ford with minor body work.



Grand National Driver Statistics
Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn Miles
1959 28 4 of 44 0 0 1 0 453 0 375   16.0 14.2 226.5
1960 29 24 of 44 0 0 2 0 3985 0 3,645 28 22.8 17.5 2972.6
1961 30 41 of 52 0 1 2 0 5882 0 7,420 21 21.8 19.3 4186.4
1962 31 52 of 53 0 3 18 0 10051 0 12,016 12 19.2 14.4 6430.6
1963 32 49 of 55 0 2 15 0 8859 0 11,644 17 18.3 16.1 5401.7
1964 33 59 of 62 0 7 30 0 11443 0 22,170 6 17.0 12.4 7872.4
1965 34 3 of 55 0 1 2 0 785 0 1,200   13.0 9.7 455.3
7 years 232 0 14 70 0 41458 0 58,470   19.2 15.4 27545.5
Grand National Owner Statistics
Year Driver Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn Miles
1960 Curtis Crider 20 0 0 2 0 3413 0 3,645 28 21.8 17.0 2279.1
1960 Richard Riley 1 0 0 0 0 143 0 600 81 50.0 34.0 214.5
1961 Bob Barron 1 0 0 1 0 157 0 3,825 29 19.0 9.0 78.5
1961 Pete Boland 1 0 0 0 0 185 0 110 139 11.0 12.0 46.2
1961 Curtis Crider   40 0 1 2 0 5847 0 7,420 21 22.1 19.4 4168.9
1961 David Ezell 1 0 0 0 0 87 0 50 172 19.0 18.0 43.5
1961 Homer Galloway 1 0 0 0 0 127 0 110 140 11.0 12.0 42.3
1961 Ed Livingston 10 0 0 0 0 1477 0 1,945 62 29.7 24.5 2200.8
1961 Bob Presnell 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 520 99 18.0 19.0 .2
1961 Charles Williamson 1 0 0 0 0 107 0 30 161 6.0 19.0 26.8
1962 Frank Brantley 1 0 0 0 0 164 0 85   17.0 15.0 82.0
1962 Earl Brooks 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 745 58 23.0 23.0 1.0
1962 Curtis Crider   52 0 3 18 0 10051 0 12,016 12 19.2 14.4 6430.6
1962 John Hamby 1 0 0 0 0 435 0 315 79 40.0 23.0 217.5
1962 Runt Harris 2 0 0 0 0 130 0 100 109 20.5 21.0 50.8
1962 Glenn Killian 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 50 133 19.0 24.0 1.2
1962 Ed Livingston 2 0 0 0 0 320 0 2,940 38 24.0 14.5 160.0
1962 H.G. Rosier 1 0 0 0 0 119 0 1,505 53 15.0 17.0 59.5
1962 Jerry Smith 1 0 0 0 0 109 0 60   19.0 18.0 36.3
1963 Curtis Crider   43 0 2 13 0 7618 0 11,644 17 18.3 16.5 4653.0
1963 Chuck Huckabee 3 0 0 1 0 171 0 450 105 23.7 21.7 85.5
1963 Jerome Warren 1 0 0 0 0 25 0 435 113 30.0 32.0 12.5
1963 Buddy Baker 2 0 0 0 0 56 0 8,460 31 14.0 17.5 33.4
1963 Pete Boland 3 0 0 0 0 7 0 200 116 19.7 22.7 6.2
1963 Rodney Bottinger 2 0 0 0 0 9 0 200   20.0 22.0 4.5
1963 Darrell Bryant 4 0 0 1 0 365 0 725 95 18.0 18.8 177.0
1964 Bob Cooper 5 0 0 0 0 292 0 4,510 47 22.6 23.8 183.2
1964 Joe Cote 4 0 0 0 0 23 0 350 118 21.0 25.8 11.7
1964 Curtis Crider   58 0 7 30 0 11411 0 22,170 6 17.0 12.0 7786.0
1964 Wally Dallenbach 1 0 0 0 0 142 0 110 112 14.0 13.0 71.0
1964 Stick Elliott 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1,450 91 21.0 43.0 1.5
1964 John Hamby 5 0 0 1 0 484 0 735 87 18.2 19.0 172.9
1964 Chuck Huckabee 9 0 0 0 0 788 0 830   21.1 19.0 306.0
1964 Ed Livingston 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 1,375 93 43.0 43.0 2.8
1964 Gene Lovelace 1 0 0 0 0 125 0 130 110 6.0 11.0 50.0
1964 Roy Mayne 2 0 0 0 0 43 0 4,705 43 33.5 30.5 65.5
1964 Frank Tanner 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 300 103 16.0 16.0 1.0
1965 Curtis Crider   1 0 1 1 0 238 0 600   12.0 4.0 119.0
1965 Darel Dieringer 1 0 0 0 0 119 0 52,214 3 15.0 15.0 107.1
6 years 287 0 14 70 0 44798 0 147,664   19.9 16.9 29989.3
 



 

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