‘If you are out there by yourself, there’s no one passing you’
There are few people that would be more excited to race at South Boston Speedway this season than Jimmy Wade.
Wade, a Halifax resident, is the elder statesman among South Boston Speedway’s Budweiser Pure Stock Division competitors. Now 74-years-old, Wade has been competing in the Budweiser Pure Stock Division for 14 years. He started racing at the age of 61 and carries that number on his Nissan 240 race car.
Racing is all about fun for Wade, and it is an is outlet that keeps him active. His desire to race is as strong, maybe stronger now than it was when he started.
“I tried to give it up two years ago,” Wade said. “If everybody remembers, I made an announcement I was through. My son told my wife ‘if he quits racing, he is going to lay around on the couch and die, he needs something to do.’ He told his momma ‘tell him to race again, even if he doesn’t race all of the races.’ That’s all I needed to hear.”
Wade is a true competitor. Each time he straps himself into his car he gives it every bit of the effort he can.
“I don’t drive as hard as I used to, but I drive it as hard as I want to,” Wade said with a smile.
“I’m not running as good as I used to. It might be my reflexes, or the fact that I have to do all of my own work. Before, I had the guys at Riverview – the late Clark Daniels and all of them helping me. If I tore something up, I had three, four, or five guys helping during the week to fix it. Now if I tear something up, it was just me until Richard Montgomery came on board.”
Wade finished fifth in the Pure Stock Division point standings at South Boston Speedway last season, not a bad result in the highly competitive division.
“I don’t run well during any given race,” Wade explained, “but I’m consistent and I get a lot of points that way. I want to get up on the podium, and I want to win one.”
Wade came to South Boston Speedway’s late-July open practice with a new car in tow, a car he feels is a better car than the car he raced at South Boston Speedway last season.
“I bought this car already built,” Wade pointed out.
“I gave up on my building skills. I bought the car just before Christmas and Richard Montgomery and I have been fooling with it every few days. I had to do a lot to it because it was set up a lot differently from how I wanted it.
“I have a nicer motor in this car than I do in the other car,” he added.
Wade is serious about his racing effort and has a second car in the works.
“I had already made a deal to sell the other car,” Wade noted.
“I didn’t back out of that deal. I’ve got another car at the shop we’re working on. If I tear this one up during the year, I have a back-up. If I don’t tear this one up, I might sell the other one.”
Wade enjoys working on the cars almost as much as racing them.
“I go over there to the shop pretty often, even if I don’t stay but 30 minutes,” Wade said.
“If I have something major to do, I go get Richard. If it’s something simple like sanding down a spot or there is something I can do in an hour, I go and do it myself.”
Restrictions mandated by the Commonwealth of Virginia in its effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 have prevented South Boston Speedway from holding any racing events thus far this season. While he has missed racing on the 0.4-mile oval that is his home track, Wade has an optional avenue to having some fun.
“If nothing else, I’ll just rent the track and run by myself. If you’re out there by yourself there’s nobody passing you,” he said with a laugh.