Friends of NASCAR legend Curtis Turner joined family of the late racing star at the Floyd EcoVilllage Saturday to watch a documentary on the life of the Floyd native view memorabilia and swap stories in a celebration sponsored by the Floyd Historical Society.
Margaret Sue Turner Wright, daughter of one-time moonshine runner turned NASCAR star and lumberman, told stories about the man who won more than 350 races and was called “the Babe Ruth of stock car racing” by Sports Illustrated. She also swapped stories with locals who knew and worked with Turner, who died in a plane crash while scouting timber locations in Pennsylvania in 1970.
Turner, who dropped out of school at 14, was not only a NASCAR star in the early days of stock car racing, he was a driving force for building Charlotte Motor Speedway and was suspended from racing for four years by “Big Bill” France for trying to organize drivers into a union.
He ran lumber operations and other companies over his career and was an entrepreneur long before the term was born.
Motor medic Barry Sweeney was a longtime friend of Turner and had a table of photos and memorabilia that provided a close look at the legend.
His daughter founded the Curtis Turner Museum in the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke and NACAR this year chose Turner for inclusion in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.