NASCAR founder William Henry Getty France, a/k/a “Big Bill” was the visionary behind the creation of NASCAR in December 1947.
But in those early years, Georgia businessman Raymond Parks played a key role in getting the sport off the ground, providing some needed financial support to the fledgling NASCAR organization.
Parks was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Friday night, along with Mark Martin, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and the late Benny Parsons.
Among his myriad accomplishments, Park was the winning car owner in NASCAR’s first two championships, taking the Modified title in 1948 and the Strictly Stock championship a year later.
And here’s something pretty remarkable: Parks was one of 15 children and he left home to go out on his own at the age of 14.
“Throughout their lifetime, he always wanted to make sure his family was taken care of and that he was there for them,” said Patricia DePottey,” Parks’ granddaughter.
And that is why Parks only spent four seasons as a NASCAR team owner.
“He always carried NASCAR with him,” said DePottey. “He did tell me one time, we were in a car and we were talking about racing, and I asked him why he left, and his exact words were, ‘Well, it was expensive,’ and he said, ‘I had a family to take care of.’”
But NASCAR was never far from his heart.
“He physically left, but if you went into his office in the store, he had everything he loved right there,” said DePottey. “He had his trophies. He had his pictures. He had his family surrounding him in the stores. And he had his business.”