By Rhonda Beck
The weeks are winding down and those planning The Shrine 100 at Carolina Speedway are working to
make it a spectacular event. Dennis Stines, of the Gaston County Shrine Club, has been busy for months
contacting local businesses and preparing the program. In the past week, Stines has gotten more
sponsors and updated information about the event.
“Bugg Busters has come on board with a $5000 donation and also Hendrick’s Honda of Hickory has come
on board with a $2000 donation. We’re less than two weeks out from the race now and everybody’s
excited. We want it to be the biggest crowd ever. Troy Brady, who was a Shrine patient, he’s gonna to
have his car there with his little crutches propped up against the side. We’ve got a Jeff Smith/Freddy
Smith throwback car that should be there. And possibly the Buddy Smith car and a whole wrap of the
’08 car may be there. Actually, the sides and door panels off Buddy Smith car’s gonna be auctioned that
night at the race,” said Dennis Stines.
Kevin Null, who is working closely with Stines, was at Crisp Printers last Tuesday in Gastonia, N.C. and
discussed the Shrine 100.
“It’s a great event. We’re just trying to blow it up as big as we can. We’ve got John Carter from WBTV
coming and Sara Lee’s coming from 96.9 The Cat. Basically, we’re trying to blow this up as big as we can
just so we can get the awareness out there that more needs to be done,” said Kevin Null.
Crisp Printers has had a significant role to play throughout the years, especially helping to create and
print the commemorative Shrine 100 program given out to those in attendance at the race. Graphic
designer Lisa LaFollette has been instrumental in making this year’s 50 th Anniversary issue extra special.
“Crisp Printers has been around since 1961. We always strive to do our best for our customers. It’s a real
honor and a pleasure to work with all the folks involved in The Shrine 100 program and race. I went for
the first time last year to The Shrine 100 race and absolutely had a blast. I left covered with dirt, so much
dirt that I had to shower twice. Of course, we were sitting in the front row, so that’s what I get. But we
had a blast—my husband and myself and my youngest son and his fiancée. It’s just such a great race
sponsoring such a great organization. I feel so blessed to have even a little part in it,” said Lisa LaFollette,
who is originally from Maryland. “We used to watch NASCAR when the boys were little and the first time
we came down here to visit my brother who had been down here, we went to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
And of course, all my boys loved Dale Earnhardt, Sr.”
Different past winners of the Shrine 100, including Union, S.C.’s Billy Scott, the inaugural winner in 1973,
and Freddy Smith, a five-time winner from King’s Mountain, N.C., plan to attend. Fans can get
autographs and the show will feature past Shrine 100 Kings and Queens, like the 1973 King Keith Nix.
The Shrine King for 1978, T.J. Phillips of Bessemer City, N.C., will be singing the National Anthem and the
2022 royalty will be Queen Miss Mary Buchanon and King Jonathan Cousino.
Gastonia, N.C.’s Tim Daniels, the Oasis Shriners Potentate for 2022, will be spreading the word through
various media outlets in the coming weeks, including on Charlotte’s WBTV with John Carter.
“Congratulations to the Gaston County Shrine Club and to the race fans who have supported that race
for the past 50 years. That has helped the Gaston County Shrine Club raise over 2.4 billion dollars for our Shriners Hospitals for Children system. Recently I’ve announced that we’ve been able to help over 1.5
million children with different orthopedic, cleft lip and palate, burns, all kinds of issues, spina bifida, and
scoliosis. And races like the Shrine 100 race being in existence for so long has certainly contributed to
that and to the success of our hospitals,” said Tim Daniels.
Daniels will be there for this year’s special anniversary race.
“My wife and I and possibly my daughter, we typically run the Shrine gate; collect and sell tickets at the
gate. So we will definitely be there. We’ve done that for several years now. Also, David Ragan is
supposed to be attending the race on the 12 th of August,” said Daniels.
Daniels is appreciative of Ragan and also Jesse Little’s involvement in the Shriners organization.
“Jesse Little, who is currently racing in the truck series, became an Oasis Shriner about three weeks ago.
We went to a world-wide meeting in Minnesota–the Board of Directors from our Oasis Shriners in
Charlotte. While we were there we made Jesse Little Oasis Shriner. And he is now traveling wearing a fez
on his head and the wording on it is ‘NASCAR Ambassador’ so that puts him in the same ranks as David
Ragan,” said Daniels.
Daniels said that Little had been invited to come but he has conflicts with his race schedule. But Daniels
hopes many more people from the area can attend since the race is on a Friday instead of being the
traditional Tuesday or Wednesday event.
“We moved the race to a Friday night to hopefully get better participation not only from the race fans
but the racecar drivers as well,” said Daniels.
Duane Goins, who has announced 19 of the prior Shrine 100’s, has been involved with much of the
program planning over the years. He talked about the great work of the Shrine Club and shared a
memory he had while working one of those races.
“They would do the King and Queen and they’d have them walk or roll them down through the
grandstands and they’d play “Never Walk Alone.” They’d put them in the thrones and do the interviews
and everything. One night I was explaining what they do and somebody came to the tower and these
people had a child that had problems. Bob Harvell, the Shriner, I paged him, ‘cause he was kinda the
onsite guy and everything. I told him and he said, ‘Wait here.’ Bob came up out of the grandstands, and
he talked to those people, and they left. And before lunchtime the next day, that child was in a Shriners
Hospital in Greenville,” said Duane Goins.
This year’s event should be special for past attendees and those coming to the race for the first time.
Because many memories have been made over the years, some of these will be shared in upcoming
articles leading up to the race on August 12, 2022. The following two sections highlight a couple of
them. One describes Ray Cook and Tony Hammett discussing Cook’s exciting Shrine 100 win in 1999. The
second talks about David Ragan and 2008 Shrine 100 winner Tim Allen and their involvement with the
Shrine 100 and Shriners organization.
Ray Cook and Tony Hammett Reflect on Cook’s 1999 Shrine 100 Win at Carolina Speedway
Two National Dirt Late Model Hall of Famers have a race in common and some fun memories of a night
at Carolina Speedway. Brasstown, N.C.’s super late model racer Ray Cook and photographer Tony Hammett of Laurens, S.C. are known to many for their accomplishments on the track and behind the
lens in dirt late model racing. But in 1999 they wound up being at a race they hadn’t planned on running
and then found themselves in victory lane. Cook added his name to a list that began when Union, S.C.’s
Billy Scott won the inaugural Shrine 100 at the track in 1973.
Hammett, who has become a well-respected and widely known motorsports photographer throughout
the years, talked about that night.
“One favorite memory is not that old. It was actually 1999 when I was really doing that full-time. I was
traveling around with Ray Cook and Brownie Brown,” said Tony Hammett. “Ray ended up winning that
race. It was weird circumstances. Brownie had worked for ten years with the higher-ups at Shriners
hospitals to try to incorporate the logo into the wrap of the racecar. Which we finally got it done almost
right before that race, so that was pretty cool.”
Cook said that luck definitely played a part in the victory, but that they had ties to the Shriners
organization and decided to run the event at the last minute.
“My car owner, Brownie Brown, was a Shriner. And in fact, we had Shriners on the side of our car for a
while. We was on the road racing Hav-A-Tampa UDTRA series at that time and got home and was trying
to get things turned around to go to Batesville, Arkansas for the Topless 100. Brownie shows up on
Monday afternoon and says, ‘Hey, I want to go to the Shrine race.’ And I said, ‘Okay, when is that?’ And
he says, ‘Tomorrow night.’ And we’re like–we was totally spun out because it wasn’t in our plans.
Anyhow, long story short, we got the car ready and obviously we made it there. But when we got there
we didn’t realize there wasn’t any rules basically. They let ‘em run wings and sideboards and just sort of
everything goes and we was not prepared for that either. We just had our car, standard old Hav-A-
Tampa body. I remember Jeff Smith was real fast and of course Duvall and Buddy Smith and we didn’t
have nothing for none of those guys.”
Hammett watched Cook on the track and remembered a key moment in the race.
“I can remember vividly–Mike Duvall, he was leading the race early and he fell out and Ray was running
second. Mike Duvall got up on the trailer with our crew chief Gary Thompson and told him, ‘Tell Ray on
the headset, whatever you do, don’t give up the bottom groove.’ Because Buddy Smith was running
right behind him. Sure enough, Ray made a bobble and Buddy Smith roughed him up and got by him and
we figured that would be it. But it wasn’t but one lap later and Buddy, his car broke, and he fell out. And
Ray led the rest of it, and I think Jeff Smith ended up finishing second. That’s my favorite memory, but I
have a lot of old ones too,” said Hammett.
Cook also was surprised with another scenario during the race.
“Halfway through the race they just stopped us for interviews and I’ve never had that done, you know.
And I was like, ‘Okay.’ I remember Brownie telling me, ‘Don’t come off the track; they’re gonna put us in
the back.’ But everybody else was going in the pits and just doing whatever. We just didn’t know the
rules, or I don’t know if they had any. But anyhow, it was definitely a different race and we was just
sorta going by the seat of our pants. But you know, it worked out in our favor that by the end of the
night we was basically still running and they’d had some issues and we got the win. We probably had
about a fourth-place car, truthfully. But it was a fun night. You know, naturally anytime you win, it makes it a fun night. But it was definitely some different scenarios there that we had never seen
before,” said Cook.
Hammett talked about the significance of the annual race at Carolina Speedway and the Shriners
“I have always admired the fact that they put these shows on and for the most part the proceeds do go
to the hospital. I’ve followed that. I can remember going to the very first one at Gastonia. I was 12 years
old. Back then it wasn’t like now, you didn’t have to worry about aero and stuff like that. That crop of
drivers back then made it exciting,” said Hammett.
Hammett continues to enjoy the history of dirt racing and some of the special races he was a part of
over the years.
“I was at all those ones in the 70’s. Oh man, Carl Smart, Chuck Piazza, Mike Humphries, Preston
Humphries, Ben Klontz, Stick Elliott–it just went on and on. They were just fantastic. Most of them are
Hall of Fame caliber drivers. But it was survival of the fittest back then. Obviously, a lot of it is around
Ray and him winning the Shelby 100 and his first Hav-A-Tampa race. I’m real good friends with Donnie
Moran too. When he won the Million, I snuck around in back and when he first was up there he said,
‘Stick around.’ And when he got his money, I was up there, got to see him paid—they paid him
cash—and the IRS agents were right there to get their cut right then,” said Hammett.
Cook has had a stellar racing career and currently heads up the Schaeffer’s Oil Southern National Series
across the Southeast as well as running Tri-County Race Track in Brasstown, N.C. He still races at times,
now mainly in a crate late model. Cook has admired the pioneers and the greats who have raced in the
Shrine 100 over the years; he has competed against some of them but didn’t get the chance to race
against a few others.
“You know, I was fortunate to get to race with Freddy Smith a lot. Me and Freddy was good friends, still
are today. I got to race with Duvall a little bit and, of course, Billy Scott there a little bit. But probably the
one–and he wasn’t really from the Carolinas–but Buck Simmons was one that I never did get to race
against, but I always liked him growing up. He was one. Rodney Combs was another one. A lot of those
guys drove Barry Wright’s house car back then. And we always took a liking to them; they just always
looked good. Never did get to race against none of those guys, but certainly enjoyed the ones that we
did,” said Cook.
Cook also had a memorable experience with seven-time Shrine 100 winner Mike Duvall early in his
“Yeah, I never forget one of the first times I raced against Duvall. He was on the pole and I think I was
outside pole, maybe for a heat race at Friendship Speedway up there. And he come over and he’s
looking at me and he said, ‘You know I can’t see good out of my right eye, don’t you, you know.’ Sort of
a warning like, ‘I’m fixin’ to run over you, and I just told you so. You know. Be ready.’ So, just stuff like
that. That older school racer. I mean back then, most of them guys were racing for money like they are
now, but they really relied on that. That was their living. There wasn’t near as much information-sharing
back then either. The typical old-school racer was every man for himself. Now days you see chassis
manufacturers and multiple drivers working together. I think GRT chassis is the one that started that the best years ago, getting people to work together. But back then, those old schoolers, they wouldn’t tell
you nothing. And if they did, it may not be right. You know what I mean,” said Cook.
2008 Shrine 100 Winner Tim Allen and David Ragan Share Shrine 100 Memories
Tim Allen, of Kannapolis, N.C., grew up with his family watching many area races. Then in 2008 he found
himself in victory lane after winning the Shrine 100 at Carolina Speedway. The next year he worked with
NASCAR driver David Ragan, helping him make his debut on the dirt at Carolina for The Shrine 100. Both
have special memories of the time and recognize the work that the Shriners Hospitals do to help
“Of all the races I’ve won, it’s probably my favorite. I think back to 1973, because as a kid I’m watching
Billy Scott, Mike Duvall, Stick Elliott, and Freddy Smith. I got to race with Freddy Smith and, of course,
Duvall; I got to race with him a lot. Now I’m on that shirt with those guys. The money comes and goes,
but the name on this T-shirt and The Shrine 100 and Carolina is my best. The Shrine race is actually the
first race I ever ran in 2003. The first time I ever was in a late model was the Shrine race. And five years
later, I end up winning it. I’m very, very fortunate. And it’s the people that helped me win it. My dad, of
course, to all the guys, my crews, my friends. I wished all those guys could be put on the shirt,” said Tim
Allen has enjoyed racing at Carolina Speedway over the years.
“Carolina is challenging. Very challenging. I’ve won a lot of races there and it’s probably my favorite
track. I pretty much raised my older daughter there. She was with us all the time. And yeah, there’s a lot
of memories of Carolina Speedway. A lot of it was with David Ifft. He had it; became very good friends
with David and his family. And then I remember Mark Gibbons and Doug Killebrew who started work
here with me. They decided, ‘Hey, we’re going to go dirt racing.’ And they went with me a couple times
and David was going to get rid of the track and we started talking and the next thing I know Doug and
Mark were both running the track. So I’ve got a lot of good, fine memories of that track. I know that
there’s been a lot of development around it and all that, but there’s just been a lot of great racing at
that track and great memories. And the dirt school with Shawn Parker,” said Tim Allen.
The Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series has been part of the Shrine 100 for quite a few years and is a
regional series that Allen has raced with as well.
“The Carolina Clash was my first super late model series. It was a great—local, affordable. It catered to
the guys that worked a full-time job. And Larry Lee started it and made it a great deal. I’m glad to see
Marion (Limbaugh) took over and run with it. But again, it became like a family for my family and my
team. It’s been a great series,” said Allen.
Allen also enjoyed the year after his Shrine win when he worked with David Ragan, who came to
Carolina to prepare for running in the Shrine 100.
“That was a great deal and I wished that David would have survived a little longer in the race. The
testing stuff we’d done for that, just to get him comfortable, that was what was fun. Getting him and a
couple of his friends, going through that whole process. At that time David was living right near me and
Carl Edwards. They had came down to the shop one afternoon. And Carl come in and he told David,
point blank, he says, ‘These are the cars we need. This is real racing.’ I think David made a point that he was going to attempt it and give it a shot. David did really good in our test sessions. And he was doing
real good in the race, but I think that the track, it wasn’t dry, it was more towards the wet side and he
was trying to finagle between driving at the same time and going through tear-offs. I think he didn’t get
the tear-off quite quick enough and got up in the wall a little bit. But you know, that’s an art in itself,
trying to drive and keep your tear-offs clear and this and that. But it started a friendship between me
and him and he still lives here locally,” said Allen.
David Ragan recently talked about that time as well and said he enjoyed the opportunity to work with
Tim Allen and race at Carolina Speedway in The Shrine 100.
“I remember getting to know Tim; he had his shop right around the corner from where my parents lived
and we’ve turned out to be pretty good friends. I remember how challenging of a night that was. I think
David Gilliland might have been either in that race or he ran one of those years. But I just remember
how fast the cars were. That’s the first time I had drove a super late model. I had run the crate late
model class before but the horsepower, all the dirt flying around–I remember Rambo Franklin, guys like
Jonathan Davenport, who have turned out to be just great, world-class dirt car drivers. And I got to go
race with them; I thought that was really cool,” said David Ragan.
Ragan described how he initially decided to become involved with the Shriners Hospitals.
“Right off the bat when I became a NASCAR driver in 2007, I really needed to find a charity to work with,
to direct some money to. I ran across the Shriners Hospitals for Children. I didn’t know much about them
at all, but I got to visit one in Tampa, Florida right before the Daytona 500 and really was just blown
away at the care and the love and really the attitudes that were at the hospital. It was unlike any other
hospital that I’d been to, and so I thought, ‘Man, this was a great organization to try to spread some
awareness of.’ Then I visited the one in Greenville, S.C. that was close to where we live here in Charlotte
and then ultimately started on my journey to become a Shriner. Ten years ago this summer, I became a
member of the Oasis Shriners Temple here in Charlotte and really just wanted to show my commitment
to the fraternity but also their philanthropist work with the hospital. You meet the families that are
affected and you get to talk to the kids whose lives have been changed. And all of this is a result of the
millions of dollars that are donated through events like the Shrine 100. It’s been awesome to tie in my
love of NASCAR and motorsports to something that really helps communities out and children and helps
them live a more normal life. And the Shrine 100–it’s incredible what’s been done to raise money and
raise awareness to tell people what the Shriners Hospitals are all about,” said David Ragan.
Currently, Ragan is working in broadcasting and in some other motorsports venues.
“Some weeks I’m busier than others but feel like we’re in a little bit of busy stretch with FOX and some
of my T.V. studio work has been busy. And then my duties with Ford and some of the testing that I’m
doing with the Next Gen car, that’s been pretty busy,” said Ragan.
With all of the choices to view races on T.V. or pay-per view, Ragan is aware that to many, the local track
and people who support it are still an important part of the industry. Historians like Charles Craig of
Gastonia is one example of a long-time local resident who hosts a car show every year. In fact, the
Shrine Club will be partnering with Craig for this year’s show on October 8, 2022. Ragan said he
appreciates professionals like Craig and their contributions.
“Yeah, you know guys like him, they really pour their heart and soul into local short track racing and
we’re so lucky to have the Carolina Speedway here so close to NASCAR country. You can have NASCAR
guys go down there and race and oftentimes you see them just going and watching and sitting in the
stands; having some fun watching some short track racing. I’ll guarantee you’ll have crew members and
crew chiefs and mechanics that are down there. Because even though a lot of people spend lots of time
at the track on the weekends for NASCAR races, really our passion is short track racing and that’s where
we all got our start at. So I’ve been to Carolina Speedway a lot of nights just as a fan to watch and was
lucky to be able to drive some. And even to have Humpy Wheeler down there watching a few races
before and people like that who are so instrumental in the motorsports world. They don’t really forget
where they come from,” said Ragan.
The original Master of Ceremonies for the inaugural Shrine 100 at Carolina Speedway in 1973 was Ned
Jarrett and his son, Dale Jarrett, was one of the pioneers that Ragan admired when he was young. Ragan
talked about a few other drivers he’s raced against over the years and one that he didn’t get a chance to
“You know, I loved Dale Jarrett as a kid and then I did get to race with Dale a few times in 2007 before
he retired, which was really neat. I never got to race against Dale Earnhardt. I think everybody would
have loved to have gotten side-by-side with Dale at some point. But really, the good memories of racing
against Jeff Gordon, and Dale Jarrett and Ken Schrader, some of those guys that I did watch in the 1990’s
and early 2000’s–it was a little surreal thinking, ‘Man, I’m lining up right next to Jeff Gordon on pit road,
you know.’ That was kind of a moment where you’re a little star struck. I mean I was a 20-year-old kid,
getting to go to a NASCAR race. So that was cool and I’m glad to have some of those memories of racing
and meeting some of those guys over the years,” said Ragan.
Fans will have opportunities to see many who have been involved in a 50-year history of a very special
event that has helped raise funds to help many children. The 50 th Annual Shrine 100 will be held on
Friday, August 12, 2022 at Carolina Speedway.