The Men Who Showed the Way - by Charlie Harville (reprinted with permission of the author)

There were drivers bold in the days of old,

When the tracks were dirt and clay.

And I sing in praise of those bygone days

And the men who showed the way.

So listen to my story

Of the men of yesterday,

Of drivers and the glory

That long since fades away.

I'll admit today's are among the best,

Earnhardt and Terry and Jeff and Rusty.

But maybe you've heard of some of the rest,

When drivers were rugged and tracks were dusty.

Did you ever see Ol' Leadfoot Turner

Power his way through a turn broadside

Spewing dust trails? There was a burner -

The King of the Ragtops gave 'em a ride.

Maybe you've heard of the great Fireball,

Always charging to get in the lead.

Some say Roberts was the best of all

On a high banked track at thundering speed.

There was LeeRoy Yarbrough, a charging man.

Running flat out was all he knew.

Get out in front his only plan,

And be in front when the last flag flew.

Tim, Fonty and Bob, the three Flock brothers.

Running flat out down to the line.

Crossing the country to race with the others,

Their memory lives on in racing's shrine.

Before The King came a Petty named Lee,

Grand National Champ when it all began.

Founder of a racing dynasty,

Patriarch now of all his clan.

Remember Weatherly, called Little Joe?

A carefree man with a ready smile.

Another champion of long ago,

Who won with nerve and dash and style.

Remember The Hornet, that Hudson machine?

Herb Thomas drove it when he was a star.

Charging in front at the drop of the green,

One great driver for one great car.

On tracks of the mind I see faces there,

Those great driving men of bygone years.

Paschal and Panch and Welborne and Blair

And Buck and Junior, all great pioneers.

There were drivers bold in the days of old,

When the tracks were dirt and clay.

And I sing the praise of those bygone days,

And the men who showed the way.