North Turn Legends Parade

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North Turn Legends Parade

North Turn Legends Parade

North Turn Legends Parade

Historic North Turn Legends Beach/Road Course Parade
February 9, 2018

When vintage race enthusiasts want to know anything about a car they may be looking at, many of them will likely call one person for information before making a purchase. Many call Bud Layton, of Cartersville, Ga. the “Master” and rightly so. Layton has 40 cars in storage and has a project of building 19 cars and is nearing completion of nine of them. Among the 19 are two cars that were driven by extraordinary drivers, namely former Grand National race drivers Donnie Allison and Jody Ridley.

When Layton hears about a car he might be interested in, he will research it and find out all the particulars. He will contact the original owner and will trace the car from there, and if he is interested in it, he makes a trip to where the car is located. He will look over the car using his check sheet to see if this is really the original car that was driven in competition by a certain driver or drivers. If the car checks out, he estimates how much time and money it will take to bring it back to its original race-ready condition and makes an offer. If the two parties agree on a price, he loads it up and brings it back to his shop in Cartersville.

“I don’t build replicas of race cars”, the former race driver contends. “I only deal with cars that have been in competition on race tracks. All of my cars are certified race cars and I do not build or re-build cars for others. Every car in my shop is mine and I can do what I want with it when I finish. If I want to loan it to an auto museum, as I am doing at the present time with a car I restored, and was driven by National Modified Champion Ernie Gahan, I’ll do it. His car is in a museum in New Hampshire If I want to put it in a car show, I’ll do that, but when I own it, I can do what I want with it, which includes selling it.” Another car he is proud to have in his possession was driven by NASCAR Hall of Famer, Curtis Turner.

The 82-year-old says he has been involved with cars since he was old enough to know what speed was. At an early age, he raced bicycles and moved up to motorcycles and then to drag cars. He was involved with a couple of teams who traveled the NASCAR circuit, but decided to settle down close to home. He even raced cars on the circle tracks but found out fairly quickly that you don’t get to the front of the pack with under-funded cars. He thought he could move everyone out of his way, but it just didn’t work out, so he hung up his helmet.

He became involved in the salvage business as well as operating a garage and auto glass business. He decided to “retire” and turned the businesses over to his sons Norman and Ronald. Another son, Terry is in a different line of work.

Layton will be bringing three cars to Daytona on Friday, February 9 and will be participating in the seventh annual Historic North Turn Legends Beach/Road Course Parade the next day, which is held on the same course in Ponce Inlet that was used for all types of racing prior to the opening of the Daytona International Speedway in 1959. Layton will have his cars at 316 Main Street Station in Daytona Sunday afternoon for a bench racing affair and will return to the same venue Monday afternoon for the annual Back To The Roots Celebration.

One of the cars he is bringing actually won on the beach in 1949, 1950 and 1951 by accident. The Ford coupe was used for hauling sugar for moonshine operations and still has the partially filled bullet holes in the trunk lid. The car was used to tow the race car that was to be driven by Gober Solesbee in the modified/sportsman event. During a practice session, Solesbee wrecked the race car, which could not be repaired in time for the race the next day, so his mechanics were able to find a local garage and took parts off the race car and installed them on the tow car. They found some white shoe polish from a local shoe store and painted numbers on the black car. Solesbee went out and won the race the next day, came back and won the following year and the next year.

Another unique car Layton is bringing is a Plymouth powered 1953 Studebaker that raced on the big track in 1963 and again in 1965. Jerry Lawley and Red Farmer were the drivers. Layton found the car in a barn in Missouri, purchased it, brought it to Georgia and put a coat of wax on the red paint, did some minor adjustments inside and tuned the engine. Now, it’s ready to hit the tracks again.

The 40 or so cars will assemble at 7 a.m. in the parking lot across the street from the North Turn Restaurant, located at 4511 S. Atlantic Ave. in Ponce Inlet and the parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. Following the parade, an autograph session will be inside the restaurant and interviews will be done with the drivers by Caron and Chocolate Myers.

The parade is sponsored by Volusia County, the Town of Ponce Inlet and Racing’s North Turn Restaurant.

Info: Dargan Watts

Photo: Bud Layton driving this souped up “Moonshine” car, turned race car in the Parade in 2017

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