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James "Jimmy" Ingram
Born: February 23, 1928   Died: December 8, 1998
Born in Cheraw, SC   -   Jacksonville, Florida

Jimmy Ingram had only three starts in the upper tier NASCAR competition starting in 1951 and 1952, then in Winston Cup in 1980 at Dover where he started 33rd out of 34 and finished a respectable 15th, earning $1,435. In his previous two NASCAR starts, he garnered only $25.00. In his later years, he became a dirt short track owner and promoter.

Jim Ingram is a former NASCAR driver from Cheraw, SC. He competed in the Mason-Dixon 500, Race Number 12 of the Winston Cup Grand National Series in 1980.  Ingram raced for his own team at Dover. His daughter, Lynn Ingram, was his crew chief, and his only other crew member was the late Willie Cassidy of Cheraw, SC.

Starting 33rd in the thirty-four car field, Ingram completed all but sixty-three laps. That left Ingram in the 15th position, a respectable debut. Earlier in the 1980 season, he had attempted to qualify at Rockingham and Darlington; he again went to Rockingham for the fall race, running fast enough in practice to have qualified, but during a practice lap, his front tire blew, putting the car into the first section of concrete retaining wall in the second turn. The car slid and rode the inside guard rail to the third turn, ending Ingram's bid not only for a position in that race but also his resurrected racing career. Ingram was 52 when he raced in 1980; his first racing experience had come much earlier, in the late 1940s and 1950s, when he competed in NASCAR races in Columbia, SC; Upper Marlboro Speedway near Baltimore, MD; and other tracks and was a consistent winner. He also ran in the second Southern 500 in Darlington, SC, but did not complete the race, as his car wrecked due to a flat-spotted tire that put him into the wall - uncannily similar to the wreck during practice at Rockingham that ended his 1980 season.

Lynn, age 2, and Daddy Jim



Lynn giving her Dad a surprise "trophy" at the Dover race end

Ingram had previously worked as company pilot for Holman-Moody of Charlotte, the firm that built engines for all Ford racers prior to other types of sponsorships. He also owned and operated a popular quarter-mile dirt track near Cheraw and later lengthened the track to 3/8 mile and paved it.

His daughter Lynn Ingram writes: "What you are all talking about was Cheraw Speedway. It was built and owned by my father, Jimmy Ingram. It was originally a quarter-mile dirt track. Later, it was lengthened to 3/8 mile and paved."

"I still own the property. It's seven acres, off of S.C. Hwy. 9 near the Cheraw Municipal Airport. The property is for sale. Every now and then - especially when I see people get interested and start talking about the history - I think how cool it would be to try to start the track up again. My dad would be tickled to death over that. He passed away in December 1998 - but he would be smiling down from heaven if his old track became a reality again. He is ALREADY smiling down from heaven to know that people remember the track and still care about those good old days."

More from Stock Car: Racers Reunion:

Lynn Ingram writes: My father, Jimmy Ingram, built Cheraw Speedway in 1954-1955 as a quarter-mile dirt track on property he owned off of S.C. Highway 9 near the Cheraw Municipal Airport. He operated the track from 1955 through 1960. Operations ceased for a few years; my best guess is that this was because he started flying for Southern Airlines out of Charlotte.

Daddy reopened the track around 1963 and kept it in operation through about 1968. I helped him do a resume in the 1980s, and he said then that this was his "best guess" for the years of operation the second time. At some point during these years of operation, the track was lengthened to three-eighths of a mile and paved.

Prior to building Cheraw Speedway, Daddy built race cars and competed in Sportsman events up and down the East Coast, on both paved and dirt tracks, but mostly dirt. I do not have complete records of all the races in which he participated, and most of the folks who would know this information are long gone; I should have asked more questions and listened to the answers. I do know he ran in Columbia, SC; North Wilkesboro, NC; Rutherfordton County Speedway (which I assume is in NC; I have the first place trophy; it just doesn't have a state on it); Upper Marlboro Speedway outside Baltimore, MD; and Darlington, SC, in the 1952 Southern 500. He never lost the desire to race, and he returned to NASCAR for one season, in 1980, at the age of 52, finishing 15th in the Mason-Dixon 500 at Dover, Delaware. Links to records for some of these races can be found in the document "Jim Ingram's early racing career" at the Facebook page for Cheraw Speedway.

I created the Facebook group for Cheraw Speedway on August 17, 2011 as a way to connect all the people who have an interest in the old Cheraw Speedway and in Daddy's racing history. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to a number of people, who I mention here in no particular order: Roy Allison, who has always loved these stories and remembered the importance of keeping them alive; Willie Short and James Short, who jumped all over the mentions of Cheraw Speedway on the Remembering Cheraw Facebook page and got me lit up about doing something with all my pictures and memories; Chris McDougald, who asked me during the summer of 2011 to scan pictures and payout sheets, and when I told him I didn't have time right now, offered to do it for me, and who has wholeheartedly embraced this page and the revival of Cheraw Speedway memories; Bobby Williamson of Charlotte who had already known of the track and found me just last week after Willie Short posted photos here and has been as excited about all the interest in the track as one man could be. There are plenty more people I have known all my life who are helping this page become vibrant and alive, and there are newcomers, like Bobby Williamson, mentioned above, and Jerry Smith, who are helping to spread the word via internet radio. To all of you, and to all of those who I haven't named here, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Finally, the deepest and most heartfelt gratitude must go to my father, Jimmy Ingram, born on February 23, 1928, died on December 8, 1998 - much, much too soon. No little girl could have been blessed with a more wonderful father, a man who dreamed dreams and then turned them into reality, a man who never once thought that just because he hadn't done a thing before that he couldn't figure out how to do it, a man who loved life and people, a man with insatiable curiosity and a finely-honed sense of adventure, a man with a broad and deep intelligence far beyond any "book learnin' " he ever got. I know I told him how proud I was to be his daughter once or twice; I regret I didn't tell him more often, and I wish he were here to see how all of  you are loving and enjoying this history of his racing career and his racetrack. I have to believe that he actually IS looking down on all of this remembering that we're doing, and that he and all his buddies are up there in heaven explaining to St. Peter why the place needs a race track.

Click HERE for an excellent group of pictures of Jimmy Ingram and Cheraw Speedway info


NASCAR DRIVER Statistics  -  Jimmy Ingram
Year Age Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1951 23 1 of 41 0 0 0 0 0 0 25     19.0
1952 24 1 of 34 0 0 0 0 91 0 0 166 52.0 57.0
1980 52 1 of 31 0 0 0 0 437 0 1,435 86 33.0 15.0
3 years 3 0 0 0 0 528 0 1,460   42.5 30.3

Owner Statistics

Year Driver Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Earnings Rank AvSt AvFn
1980 Jimmy Ingram 1 0 0 0 0 437 0 1,435 86 33.0 15.0
1 year 1 0 0 0 0 437 0 1,435   33.0 15.0
Race Site Cars St Fin # Sponsor / Owner Car Laps Money Status Led Points Rank
12 Dover 34 33 15 32 Ingram Racing   (Jimmy Ingram) Chevrolet 437/500 1,435 running 0 118 59
1 start, 437 of 500 laps completed (87.4%), 0 laps led

 Win:     0 (  0.0%)     Average start:  33.0     Total Winnings: $1,435
 Top 5:   0 (  0.0%)     Average finish: 15.0     (excluding bonuses)
 Top 10:  0 (  0.0%)     DNF: 0




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