Red Farmer's Biggest Win
Racer Red Farmer began his career in the 1940s and is still going strong at age 75.
Red Farmer deserved to be in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, but normally a driver must be retired – or passed on – at least five years before becoming eligible. Since Farmer – now 75 and who used to list his age as “past halfway” – has no intentions of slowing down, the IMHoF committee decided to let him in sooner instead of later.
“I’m glad they decided I could go ahead and qualify while I could still enjoy it,” says Farmer, who joins four other motorsports greats set for induction in April. “I’ve been fortunate to be in a lot of halls of fame, but this has to be the biggest because there’s nothing left after this.”
The announcement was made in October during a press conference in Birmingham, with Farmer on hand for the festivities. He’ll join Bill France Jr., Shirley Muldowney, Bill Muncey and Bobby Rahal in this year’s class, which will be honored during an induction ceremony at the Speed Channel Dome at Talladega’s spring race.
Based on Farmer’s resume – one that began in the late 1940s – granting him eligibility without meeting the standard criteria seems like a small concession.
While racing in seven different decades, Farmer has taken more than 740 feature victories on asphalt, dirt and superspeedways. He won the NASCAR Modified Championship in 1956, then claimed three Late Model Sportsman crowns in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That series was the forerunner of what is now known as the NASCAR Busch Series.
Aside from Thursday’s honor, Farmer is also a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Dirt Track Hall of Fame and Talladega/Texaco Walk of Fame.
In 2000, he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.
“All of those were special,” Farmer says. “Especially being named one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest. But this is the ultimate for me.”
Needless to say, a career that has spanned more than 50 years has featured plenty of highlights, but Farmer says one stands out in particular.
“In 1971 I ran in the Daytona 300 Permatex race,” says Farmer, referring to an event sanctioned by the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) circuit.
“The last eight races they had held there had been won by the NASCAR (Winston Cup) guys, but I won it, and it was my first superspeedway win.
“But what made it even better is that my mother was there, and it was the first time she’d ever seen me race. Plus, it was her birthday (Feb. 13), so things couldn’t have worked out better.”
France Jr., the son of NASCAR founder “Big” Bill France, got the nod due to helping the sport outgrow its regional bounds and become an international phenomenon. France Jr. served as a rule maker, promoter, ambassador and salesman for NASCAR, and he engineered the series’ record-setting $2.4 billion television contract.