October 7, 1930 - Died: December 21, 2012
Orig Home: Abbeyville, SC
Curtis Crider 1077 Roberts St. Ormond
Beach, FL 32174
"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
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.
Published: Saturday, December 22, 2012
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
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.
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.
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
“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.
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
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."
Crawfish Car’s A
Story Paul Huggett,
photo Stella Huggett: Huggy having big fun in the
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
This model was built
using a Dick Tracy '36 Ford with minor body work.
Copyright © 2003
by Roland Via. All rights reserved. Revised:
01/15/16 11:58:31 -0500.
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