Hall of Fame
of Auto Racing
Legends of Nascar
Auto Racing Weekly
FASCAR This Week
James "Buz" McKim
Born Oct 4, 1951
Graduate of Mainland High
In the days of the "long
haired hippies" of the 60's,
is there any wonder where "Buz" got his name?
The real story is he was named for his grandfather and a close
friend of his father and they didn't want to call him Al, Bert or
Jim, so his Dad came up with the idea of 'Buz' after reading the
newspaper and seeing the comic strip named . . . of course . .
. Buz Sawyer!
(from his Mom Alma)
pregnant Mother (Alma) was in the stands at Morristown, N.J.
Speedway a few days before he was born
known he would have the love of racing & NASCAR history, would
have named him "A.J." instead of Buz?
tender age of 3, his Aunt gave him his first race car- a bright
yellow #3 pedal car
Yes, Buz WAS a race
car driver! Want the facts? Well here he is in a photo at age
Thanks to Fleckey and his mom Alma......
living in Pa. at the age of 8, his Dad (Bob) bought him a 1/4
midget which he raced at Phoenixville Raceway. Race? He just
kinda chased the other cars.
moved to South Florida in 1961. His dad became track announcer
at Hollywood Speedway. Buz saw the Allison brothers competing
against each other, being at the track every Saturday night.
to know Randy Tissott and crew in South Florida.
south Daytona February 1965. Two days after moving in, Randy &
crew arrived with a stock car and stayed with us, then ran the
Daytona 500. The rest for Buz, they say, is history.
Bill Tuthill in 1966, who owned the Museum of Speed in South
Daytona and was a founding father of NASCAR. Buz and his brother
Bobby became good friends with Bill, who allowed them access to
the files at any time. They spent all their time at the museum,
where the huge Bluebird was on display, and the boys found
respect for racing history.
dad Bob, worked for the partners of the New Smyrna Speedway
doing public relations and track announcing. Bob also announced
for the Ocala, Barberville (Volusia Speedway Park) and Deland
Raceway. Buz and Bobby were at the track every weekend.
16, Dad bought Buz a stock car, which dad and the boys worked
on. At age 17, Buz raced (and we use that word loosely) at
Buz with his racecar and his
mom Alma. His sponsor on the front fender was where Buz worked. 21
Gas can.... was that the car number????
Email answer here. I believe this to be the old Deland Raceway.
Hmmm, is Buz's mom holding Buz's purse??
1969, the boys were invited to Marvin Panch's home for Richie's
birthday. On the way to the party they had an accident. His
died 11 days later at the hospital.
Raceway drivers voted to have the year-end race as a Bobby McKim
memorial. What a tribute to a 15 year-old boy! Buz drove in the
race that was won by Holly Hill's Larry Flynn.
Buz was on vacation in New Jersey, he had the honor of driving
Uncle Joe Ramm's stock car at the Flemington fair grounds. Let's
just say, it did not go too well.......
decided that racing was not for him and his dad sold the racecar
(Mom relaxes at last!)
designed the paint jobs for Benny Parsons and David Pearson's
the artwork for the Indianapolis yearbook and designed the
brochure for Talladega Speedway.
started his racing art, selling signed prints of race drivers
and cars. Mark Martin appeared on QVC promoting his own painting
done by Buz. His original artwork is on display in various
worked part time at NASCAR archives with his sister Patt. On
January 1999, he was promoted to the ISC archives department,
originally on Ballough Road before moving to Fentress. Through
Buz's love of NASCAR history and his skills, he was able to
organize the archives into a vital part of ISC and NASCAR.
September 2003, he was promoted to NASCAR as Coordinator of
2007, Buz was announced as the first Historian for the NASCAR
Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC.
Buz McKim and Godwin Kelly of the
Daytona Beach News Journal and author of two books
at a Living Legends of Auto Racing history gathering
Buz McKim leads a history of racing discussion at the Living Legends of
Auto Racing Museum
(Seated from the right in yellow shirt: Ray Fox, Vickie Woods,
Marvin Panch, ........)
Buz, Patty Teague Teeters, Pal Parker
at the Living Legends Museum
Bill France Sr., founder of NASCAR, is pictured with his
A replica of this car will be driven by Bill Baxter and
Buz McKim in the upcoming Great Race cross-country road
rally as a tribute to France.
tribute to Bill France Sr. and in celebration of the 70th
Anniversary of the France family arrival in Daytona Beach,
Bill Baxter of Deland, Fla. has entered the prestigious
Great Race with his 1935 Ford, an exact replica of Bill
France’s 1936 Daytona race entry.
The car was
sent to Jack Roush’s shop in Livonia, Mi. for a complete
overhaul in preparation for the June 19th, 2004 kickoff of
the cross-country trek. The race will end on July 3rd in
“Team Daytona USA,” the team that hopes to do “Bill” proud
is composed of navigator Baxter along with
driver and NASCAR
historian Buz McKim. The support crew is made up of
their wives Jean and
Big Bill France Story:
2004 is the 70th anniversary of Bill France Sr., his wife
Anne and infant son, Bill Jr. arriving in Daytona Beach,
Florida. What seemed to be just another family coming to
town was to become one of the most important events in
American auto racing history.
were traveling from Washington, D.C. to Miami in 1934 when
they stopped off in the Daytona Beach area to visit some
friends. France had $25 in his pocket, $75 in the bank and
an old set of tools.
to France, “I figured that was all I needed to get a new
start. If I was going to work on automobiles, I might just
as well do it someplace where I wouldn’t have to fight snow
and cold weather.”
as Mr. France was known, stated that he drove out to the
beach with his little house trailer in tow. The water was so
blue-green and the beach was so peaceful and beautiful, he
and his family took a swim and felt they needed to go no
family settled into a small bungalow off Beach St. just
north of downtown Daytona Beach and around the corner from
Sax Lloyd’s General Motors dealership. France was a skilled
mechanic and soon found work as a brake specialist in
A few years
later he opened a gas station on Main St. in Daytona Beach.
France also was involved in auto racing back in his native
D.C. and soon was among the locals competing on central
Florida’s dirt tracks in open-wheeled, home built
contraptions. He quickly made an impact on the racing scene
and his station became a mecca for local racers.
Bill France was on the beach the day Sir Malcolm Campbell
set the ultimate Daytona speed record of over 276 m.p.h.
That event brought an end to Daytona Beach’s Land Speed
Record era, dating back to 1903. A new era was on the
The City of
Daytona Beach wanted to keep its racing heritage alive and a
new form of auto racing was developed. Sig Haugdahl, a local
racer and one-time land speed record holder, came up with
the plan to hold a stock car race on Daytona Beach. In early
1936, Haugdahl, along with local attorney Millard Conklin
and consultant Bill France, laid out a course of 3.2 miles
consisting of 1.5 miles of State Road A1A and 1.5 miles of
beach with short turns on the north and south end of the
A 250 mile,
AAA-sanctioned stock car race was slated for the beach
course on March 8, 1936. The event drew and interesting
array of competitors such as Indianapolis 500 winner Wild
Bill Cummings, midget racing legend Bill Schindler, sports
car racing pioneer Miles Collier, millionaire sportsman Jack
Rutherford, English speed king Goldie Gardner and Daytona’s
own Bill France.
entered a 1935 Ford V-8 coupe owned by a fellow mechanic
named Glen Brooks. The local Gulf Oil dealer sponsored
France with fuel and tires. Along with his driving chores,
France did mechanical work on the 1936 Ford convertible of
Milt Marion, a northeastern dirt track ace. Marion went on
to win the inaugural Daytona Beach stock car race while
France came home fifth.
France would continue a successful driving career, winning
the “unofficial” 1940 national stock car championship. He
would later promote races, establish NASCAR in 1947, develop
the ultra-modern Daytona International Speedway in 1959 and
build its sister track, Talladega, in 1969. It’s been said
Bill France Sr. is the single most influential figure in
American auto racing.
Yes, lots of them. The strangest one is that no
NASCAR driver will eat peanuts at the track.
Buz McKim, coordinator of NASCAR's history
database, traces the superstition to a race in
1937 race in Nashville. One of the drivers had a
beef with the race promoter. He was so upset
that he hatched a devious scheme to get the
first five qualifiers to drop out of the race.
His ingenious plan was to sprinkle peanut shells
on their cars. Why peanut shells would cause a
driver to withdraw from a race has been lost.
Upon further review ...
Bill Elliott's No. 9 Dodge was identified
incorrectly in a diagram in the December
29-January 5 issue. to history. Or maybe there
was a pre-existing curse involving shells.
Anyhoo, those five drivers all wrecked, and one
of them, Howdy Cox, died. Thus was born sports'
strangest and most widely held superstition.
Walnuts, pecans, cashews? Fine, fine and
fine--so far at least--as is everything else in
the nut family. And please don't write to say a
peanut is a legume.
Chris Economaki on Buz:
McKim’s recap of NASCAR’s 30th season in the
club’s neat “Cannonball” newsletter. I’d
forgotten that late road racer Al Holbert made
nine starts that year and 1978 saw nary a single
Chrysler product on track. After years of hard
work and fundraising by club members, President
Ray Fox, along with museum director John
Peoples, led the celebratory ribbon cutting at
LLOAR’s new South Daytona museum in late May.
Already in place is the LLOAR “Walk of Fame” on
Daytona’s main drag, South Atlantic Ave. The
Walk currently has 202 memorial bricks, with
space for hundreds more. Big doings are slated
for Speed Weeks. Details from LLOAR, Box 290854,
Port Orange, Fla. 32129.
We all lost a
great friend in the Daytona Beach
racing community with the passing of
Chuck Warren. His long time friend
Buz McKim wrote the following moving
tribute which can be found here: