Charles D "Red" Wilson

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Charles D "Red" Wilson

Post  Admin on Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:55 pm

Charles D. “Red” Wilson

Charles D. Wilson was born February 24, 1912. He moved to Jacksonville from Atlanta, Georgia and started watching the stock car races and decided to build one. When the North Florida Racing Association was formed, Red was elected president and served for several years. He was a strong voice for the racing community and negotiated for larger purses and fairer rules.

Red built a ’39 Ford and hired Ace McGartlin to drive it. It seemed as though he wrecked every week-end until an old friend, Jack Smith, came down from Atlanta to race his ’34 Ford. Jack was winning most of the races he entered. He showed Red how to make it handle better. Then Red decided to start over with a ’34 Ford and hire Tommy Moon to drive it. They painted one side red and one side white and called it ½ & ½. The first race they entered they broke the track record in the time trials, ran the fastest in the heat race and led the feature until the last lap when the battery cable fell off. Sam Nunis, from Atlanta, approached Red and asked if the North Florida Racing Association would put on a race at the grand opening of the Oglethorpe Speedway in Savannah, Georgia. Red agreed to furnish 20 cars for a $2,250.oo purse, which was pretty good for those days. ½ & ½, driven by Tommy Moon, had the fastest time trial. Won the heat and the feature.

Later on, Red sent to Detroit for a Hudson Hornet for Tommy to drive in NASCAR. Marshall Teague’s Hudson’s were winning most of the races. The engineering department of Hudson even relied on his suggestions. Teague had given Red a list of things to do, but the car didn’t arrive until Thursday afternoon and the race was Sunday. One thing they didn’t do was reinforce the flange that held the driveshaft in the transmission. Well, it broke in the first lap and Tommy had to stay in high gear. It was hard in the turns, but he gave them a fit in the straight-aways and still managed to finish seventh.

Red owned and operated Jacksonville Adjustment Service from 1948 until 1972, when he retired. Red passed away in 1995 leaving his wife Verna and daughter. He had a son that passed away before him.

Red was inducted into the Jacksonville Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame in 1991.


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