Olin quoted in news article in 2006
Volunteers save history, keep alive stock-car racing's early days
DAYTONA BEACH SHORES -- Before NASCAR became a multimillion-dollar industry, the people who were a part of auto racing's earliest days never expected to make a mint.
There were no corporate sponsorships to fuel the sport. These pioneers usually had to scrape together what they could to put a car into the weekend races.
“The money part is no comparison," said Rex White, a leading racer of his day and the 1960 national champion. "It was a lot of hard work, trying to win a race without spending a lot of money."
But it was the love of racing that kept them going back then. And it is the love of those good old days of racing that brings them together each year.
White, David Pearson -- another champion of his era -- and dozens of former drivers, mechanics and car owners enjoyed a moment in the sun Tuesday during an afternoon beach parade on a bright but brisk afternoon, cruising the beach in their antique autos and restored racing cars.
It was a free show organized by the Living Legends of Auto Racing, a nonprofit band of volunteers who have scraped together what they can to keep the history of racing alive.
The Living Legends, along with the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse sponsor annual events at the lighthouse, which will feature several of the replicas and restored racing cars.
An annual parade is one of the biggest annual events for the Living Legends, founded in 1993 by the daughter of a race-car driver who tracked down others who had raced alongside her father. They had become forgotten pioneers from the early years of stock-car racing.
"NASCAR has gotten so big, and there are fans who don't know anything about the old timers who made the sport what it is," said Olin Hopes, a car fabricator and mechanic of race cars in the 1950s and 1960s.
Vicki Wood, whose claims to fame include being the first woman to drive at the Daytona speedway, agreed.
"It took a long time before they decided to do something to commemorate this history," she said.