Lake Norman & Mooresville

Racing family honored

The Flock family was a force to be reckoned with on the racetrack during the 1950s and '60s.

Brothers Bob, Tim and Fonty - as well as their sister, Ethel - set numerous records and received several awards during their racing careers.

On Feb. 4, the family will be honored at the sixth annual Legends Helping Legends event.

During the event at the Memory Lane Museum in Mooresville, several NASCAR drivers will sign autographs and speak with fans, including Rex White, Tom Pistone, Bobby Allison and Paul Lewis.

Part of the proceeds will go toward the Old Timers' Racing Club medical fund, which helps early racing veterans in need.

Alex Beam, the event's founder, said it started six years ago to help raise money for Bill Connell, a former racing announcer who became ill.

Connell has since died, but the event has helped several other racing personalities since then, said Beam.

Mike Sykes of Archdale oversees the Old Timers' Racing Club medical fund, which currently has about $5,000.

Sykes said a lot of the early racers are facing medical issues and need treatments they can't afford. For some veteran racers, it's so bad that they must decide between buying food or buying their medication.

"Back when these men were racing, there wasn't no money in it," said Sykes. "They weren't wealthy individuals running these race teams back in the '50s, '60s and '70s."

He said most health insurance companies would not cover drivers in the early days of racing until they had been out of the business for at least five years.

By that time, the cost of their health insurance had increased so much that it was no longer within their reach, said Sykes.

But with the Old Timers' medical fund, veteran drivers no longer have to worry about how to pay medical bills.

"A lot of these people get down and out on their luck. But then they'll get over their illness and be the first ones down here to sign autographs and be there to talk to racing fans," he said.

That fellowship during the Legends Helping Legends event is what keeps many fans coming back year after year, said Beam.