Interview with Brice Stultz - by Harold Reeves

Monday February 10, 2003

In front of the Living Legends Museum in Holly Hill Florida, located 3 miles from Daytona International Speedway and 12 miles from the worlds most famous Speedway (The Old Road Course) and the Worlds most famous beach, Daytona Beach, FL. It all began one day in 1955 for this gentleman on the north turn of the old road course that was 4.35 miles. They had a lot of fun down there and these are forgotten memories. This gentleman has taken his time to sit with use and talk awhile. His Name is Brice Stultz (nickname, Spider) from Collinsville Virginia.

Brice: I started racing when I was 19 years old, bought a 39 Ford standard coupe and it took us about 2 years to get enough money to get to where we could run it. Going on from there matter of fact we were racing maybe a couple of races before Glen Wood came on the scene. Glen was an exceptionally good competitor and boy he jumped from beginning to go racing in a hurry. He was good at what he did, and then it proved that through the years that he was an exceptionally good driver, and did well in racing.

Looking back I have pictures of the first race Glen ran in. I talked to him, we had a lot of thinking back time, good days you know of time gone by.

Incidentally, when we brought the car down from Martinsville VA we towed it with a 46 Dodge, 6-cylinder pickup. That's how we brought our tools and equipment and we towed the vehicle. It took all night long to get here. The next morning we stopped at the Steak & Shake for breakfast around 8:30am, then we went down to the beach, we were late for time trials so we had to start in the rear. From by best recollection we started 83rd in the total back, we were so far back it was unreal. As the race went on we managed to pass a lot of cars, we got on up in the pack pretty good. Then on the last lap I got in the soft sand and sloped over on the edge of the south turn and had to jump out and run to get to safety. The race was over and we finished 49th, passed quite a few cars but I had to be 20 or 30 cars ahead of when I finished, but that's another old story.

Harold: Now coming to the black top on the beach, (today it is know as A1A) about what kind of speed were you guys running?

Brice: The average speed I believe I'm right on that, we had to be running 100 to 110 mph. I don't think we ran 125 or 130 mph because that was unheard of in those days. The car ran real well but we got so much momentum coming down the black top it was hard to slow down coming into the south turn, turn 1.

Harold: What was it like when you hit that sand going into turn 1 and you would be running, what about 55 or 60 mph?

Brice: Yes I think that was about right. You would have about a handful trying to keep traction and not do what I did and get into the soft sand. When you got into the soft sand you just could not steer it, like running in deep snow you just couldn't control it.

Harold:But how about the sand and the wind when you got on the beach and going north? Bet that held you back a little bit didn't it?

Brice: Well the wind would hold you back, but if you got out in the water is was as hard as asphalt and that was no problem. The biggest problem you had was somebody throwing sand up on windshield and sand getting in your car and creating a little whirl wind in there. It would get in your ears, up your nose and in your eyes. But we could not fault someone for that because we had plastic shields over all our windows to keep the sand out of our way. We pick up on that because we had been there quite a few years as spectators you know and that was really not a problem, the biggest problem I had was sand would get on the windshield and pack so hard that you could not scrap it off to see where you were going, it was just terrible.

Harold: What was it like getting ready to go into the north turn?

Brice: That was also hard slowing down because a lot of cars would do a 360 there because they were running so fast that if your brakes were not just right they would lock them and just do a 360 on the sand before you would go on to the north turn, you would have to stop and back up to get back to racing. I didn't have any problem with that, the biggest problem I had was coming off the sand onto the asphalt we were afraid we were going to snap and axle. We only had one axle and we would hit that pavement and if you didn't hit it straight on you would snap an axle. But we didn't have any problem with that, so that worked out very well.

Harold: Now what month was this race held and what was it like a nice sun shining day?

Brice: Well it was in February, Friday the 25th. The sun was good, it was not a hot day, and it was a little overcast. , A good day for racing.

Harold: You started 83rd?

Brice: That's right.

Harold:
What was it like trying to pass some of those cars; it had to be worse than any interstate driving we do today?

Brice: Well really the car ran well and I was able to pass who ever I came up on and would pass them right and left. We started in the back, slow cars started in the back and my car ran well and I did not have any trouble passing.

Harold: Now what month was this race held and what was it like a nice sun shining day?

Brice: Well it was in February, Friday the 25th. The sun was good, it was not a hot day, and it was a little overcast. , A good day for racing.

Harold: You started 83rd?

Brice:
That's right.

Harold: What was it like trying to pass some of those cars; it had to be worse than any interstate driving we do today?

Harold, Fireball, Curtis Turner, Lee Petty,

Brice: yes Buck Baker The Thompson boys,

Harold: Speedy and Al,

Brice, yaw they were really a threat mater-a-fact, they did win they won. Banjo Mathews. I wish I could bring them all to mind.

Harold: Now who were some of the officiators that day, I know Bill France Sr. was there?

Brice: Johnny Brunner, Sr., Joe Epton, I worked with Joe quite a few years after that Daytona race.

Harold: You were how old?

Brice: I ranged from 20 to 23 years old, had a job that didn't pay much money and had my head set on having a race car and I put everything I could put my hands on into it.

Harold: At the time you were service manager at The Ford place in Martinsville?

Brice: No I got that job when I went home from Daytona in the first of March in 1955. I got a job there as service manager, when I went there they had about 17 mechanics. Not counting the body shop, not counting the parts people and the used car people. We had a good line, when I left there 22 years later we had 46 people in the service department, we had a good operation.

Brice: Well really the car ran well and I was able to pass who ever I came up on and would pass them right and left. We started in the back, slow cars started in the back and my car ran well and I did not have any trouble passing.

Harold: Now some of the historical names of that year understand were the Flock boys,
Bob, Fonty and Tim, yes
Harold: Now you were driving what year model Ford on the beach:

Brice: A 1937 Ford that I have today.

Harold: Is it a coupe?

Brice: It is a 2 door flat back.

Harold: How many horsepower would you say you had that day?

Brice: You know I don't know how to rate it, nobody had an engine larger in cubic inches than we had, I don't think. The 55 Chevrolet, the 52/53 Oldsmobile were coming out at that time and they had fast engines but really we were lucky enough to run with them and sometimes we would out run them.

Harold: That was a good size Ford agency for its day.

Brice: It really was, we rated the Richland Motor Company, and Magic City Ford in Roanoke, and we always were 2nd and 3rd in service operation.

Harold: This was in Martinsville so did you ever see anything of Clay Earls?

Brice: Know him well, knew him very well before he went into the racing game, before the war, World War II. Knew him after the war, and serviced his cars quite frequently. He had some fast cars in those days; we serviced them and knew the people who drove for him. When they weren't driving for him they were racing on the racetrack, people like Gordon Mangrem and some of those guys. Clay kept good fast running cars, he really had fast cars.

Brice: A 1950 Ford Station Wagon, my brother took his mattress off his double bed and put it in the back and we slept on it at night. We were down on A1A where the Sheraton Hilton Motel is today. We pulled into the campgrounds there and next to us came Wendell Scott a colored drive from Danville, VA. We knew him and race with him 2 or 3 time a week and he was a good guy, I really enjoyed Wendell.

Harold: What was your car number?

Brice:
24X

Brice: Ya, I came down the black top went into the first turn, the south turn, went into fast and just couldn't control it and got into the soft sand and had to jump out and run to keep from someone running into me maybe hurt me. I had no problem; someone could have run into me, but it didn't happen. Those pictures on the wall there are exactly what happened. It was exciting there for a few minutes. The race was over and it was the last lap that I got hung up. In that particular race I finished 49th started 83rd, I had to be quite a few places up ahead of 49th to finish were I finished that day. That was the sportsman race on Friday February the 25th.

Harold: Down here at the Living Legends Museum, this race is pictured on the wall we have snap shots and this car went off the second turn, do you want to describe that?

Harold: So tomorrow when we go to the beach will it be like old home week and bring back a lot of memories because the car you are bring to the beach is the same car that you ran in 1955?

Brice: That's right, I hung on to it all these years and had it 10 years before I decided to refurbish it and get it going again and it turned out very well we think. It's a good-looking car in our opinion. Looks good, runs good and we are very proud of it.

Harold: We want to thank you for taking the time today to stop by the museum and give us this bit of history. We are going to try and get this in our Canonball. The Interviewer here is Harold Reeves and again thank you very much and hope you have a good time in the Daytona Beach Area, and a safe trip back to Virginia.