Ernest C. Gooding

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Ernest C. Gooding

Post  Admin on Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:10 pm

Ernest C. Gooding
Ernest was a veteran starter at the Old Jacksonville Speedway Park, at the intersection of Lenox and Plymouth Street. He held the position of Starter Flagman from 1952 until April 1961. On the evening of April 1, 1961, Ernest was involved in an accident. During the second lap of the feature race for the late model racers, a car crashed into the retaining wall beneath the flagman’s perch, sending a fender flying upward and striking Ernest in the head. He was taken to St. Vincent Hospital were he remained for approximately one month. When released from the hospital, he was unable to return to his position as starter flagman for the speedway. Even after the accident he maintained his love of the sport. He was awarded a NASCAR lifetime membership of which he made great use. You could find him at NASCAR events throughout the Southeast, but Jacksonville Speedway remained his favorite.

Ernest was born in Fairfax, Georgia on January 26, 1914. At the age of 16 he moved to Jacksonville, Florida with his mother, three brothers and four sisters. He served four years in the U.S. Navy. After his discharge he was employed with Foley Lumber Company and later with the City of Jacksonville, where he was still employed at the time of the accident. He had two sons, Frank and Ernest Jr. and one daughter, Cathy. Ernest died on January 4, 1988. His passing left a great void in the lives of his family and friends. He is and will always be greatly missed.

Ernest was inducted into the Jacksonville Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame in 1993.

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