Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

June 19, 2014

Walker follows dream to Indy

CROSSVILLE — Jerry Walker got bit by the racing bug in 1947 when his dad took him to the celebrated Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indy 500.

Earlier this month, Walker was able to drive his own race car on the 2.5-mile oval circuit after being invited to the inaugural Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational June 4-8.

"Driving one of my vintage race cars on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a life-long dream come true and brought tears to my eyes," said Walker, who lives in Crossville with his wife, Dee.

The Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational included a record 700 vintage cars, representing more than 100 years of motorsports history. Walker exhibited and drove his 1968 Dominique Special at the event.

After Walker was introduced to the sport of automobile racing, he was hooked. He worked at Indianapolis and other tracks in various capacities, from pit crews to security, helping where he could, and he's missed very few Indy 500 races through the years.
Walker was growing up during the heyday of auto racing during the '40s and '50s. He recalls some tracks recording 8,000 to 10,000 spectators on race nights. And though he enjoyed watching races, he didn't venture onto the course.

"I'm not a racer," Walker said. "I was never any good at it. I'm a show-off, but I'm not a racer."

But Walker was drawn to Sprint Cars, powerful cars that seat one person, snugly, in an open-top vehicle. Sprint Cars have powerful engines and are light weight. They're designed for oval dirt or paved tracks typically quarter mile to 1 mile in length.

"When you get in one, you understand why it's called a sprint car," Walker said. "You wouldn't want to spend a lot of time sitting in one of these."

The Walkers bought their first vintage race car in 1998, a replica 1940s Ford Flathead Sprint Car. It's street legal and parts for repair are easier to come by. It's called the Walker Special.
The 1968 Dominique Special was built by A.J. Watson and used in races from 1969 through 1982. Walker has collected memorabilia that includes the car's race history.

Walker is a member of the Midwest Oldtimers Vintage Race Car Club, which offers owners, drivers and fans of the vintage race cars a chance to display their cars at "on track" events, held primarily in Indiana and the Ohio area. Walker has tried to visit all the tracks he loved as a kid and run his cars.

"I've pretty well done it," he said.

But the Indianapolis Speedway event was a special treat for Walker. In addition to taking him back to where it all started, the event brought together hundreds of vintage race car enthusiasts and former Indy 500 winners, on the track and behind the wheel. The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association celebrates the "rolling art" of the those beautiful old cars doing what they were made to do — race.

1
Text Only
Lifestyles
  • Habitat-Group photo-Crisp Dedication .jpg Habitat celebrates 55th home dedication

    Anne Crisp is excited that she and her two daughters have a home to call their own. Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity (CCHFH) dedicated the 55th home to be built in partnership with low-income families. Crisp put more than 500 hours of "sweat equity" into her home and has completed 50 hours of self-improvement, where she attended classes on budgeting, home maintenance and good neighbor among others.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Gypsy Rose to visit Fair Park

    The Cumberland County Playhouse is currently performing the award-winning Broadway play “Gypsy.” A great American story set during the 1920s fading vaudeville circuit, "Gypsy" portrays the rise of famed burlesque performer and stage mother Gypsy Rose Lee as she journeys across the country with her mother and sister during a time when Vaudeville was dying and burlesque was born. The complex character of Rose could be described as bold and brassy, as she steamrolls everyone in her way to turn her daughters June and Louise into child stars.

    July 28, 2014

  • plateau gardening-springBlooms4361.jpg Match August garden tasks to plant biology

    During all seasons in temperate climates like ours the greenery around us is changing. New shoots appear and leaves pop out of swollen buds after spring rains.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pleasant Hill Ramblings.jpg Landis reunites with Japanese teacher

    There is a special lady living in Pleasant Hill who spent 42 years of her life in Sendai, Japan, teaching English at a Japanese Christian school and as a missionary with the United Church of Christ Board for World Ministries.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lion of Year.jpg Lions Club recognizes Lion of the Year

    Charles Loveday, charter member of the Crossville Lions Club, was recognized as the Lion of the Year at the annual installation of officers picnic July 8. Loveday earned this award for his service as first vice president, membership chairman, eye glass chairman and his help with fundraisers and other matters where needed. From left are Loveday and President Gary Laura.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8-8 counseling center-play with dolls.jpg Christian Counseling Center celebrating 12 years

    Help the Christian Counseling Center of Cumberland County (C5) celebrate 12 years of community service. Dine at Ruby Tuesday of Crossville Aug. 8, 9 or 10. Print the flyer from the center’s website, www.cccotp.org, and give it to the server.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • A Time 4 Paws collecting shoes to help Soles4Souls in fight against global poverty

    Attention anyone with a closet! Those shoes no longer wanted are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.

    July 24, 2014

  • Parkinson’s therapies help patients live big and loud

    Parkinson’s disease has famously affected the lives of celebrities like Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali. But whether a person with Parkinson’s is world famous or a next-door neighbor, new therapies are offering hope for a better quality of life.

    July 22, 2014

  • 8-5 CATS in Palace-Carole Jarboe Cullen - waterfall.jpg Local art event planned at CATS

    Plans are being made for an event sponsored by the CATS Gallery at the Palace Theatre, 72 South Main St., Crossville, Tuesday, Aug. 5, beginning at 6 p.m. There will be refreshments, music and an opportunity to view a performance painting by artist Chuck Jensen. A live auction of donated art pieces will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the opportunity to "Be a Cool Cat — Buy Local Art." There is free admission, but it is advisable to get a free ticket at the CATS Gallery in the middle section of the Crossville Mall, at the Palace Theatre or from any participating member of CATS. During the event, original art items including paintings, photographs, and jewelry will be offered for auction, such as this expressive waterfall painting by Carole Cullen.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses (Published July 23, 2014)

    July 22, 2014