Hueytown racing legend and original member of the famed “Alabama Gang,” Charles “Red” Farmer, will be inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association’s (NMPA) Hall of Fame Class of 2019 this Sunday, Jan. 27 in Charlotte, NC.
Farmer, 86, who amazingly still competes regularly as a driver at Talladega Short Track (dirt track), will be enshrined into the NMPA’s elite group along with six-time Talladega Superspeedway winner and four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon. Farmer, already a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, is also a nominee for NASCAR’s Hall of Fame.
“What a tremendous honor it is to have the media vote me into their Hall of Fame,” said the likeable Farmer, who was at Talladega Superspeedway this week to get a look at the new 2-lane Oversized Vehicle Tunnel being constructed as part of the Transformation Infield Project. “I have been able to accomplish a lot over my career and am extremely proud of it. I just love racing and will do it as long as I am capable. What has made it so rewarding is the thousands of incredible people I have been able to meet along the way – the incredible fans, my fellow competitors and so many supporters. It’s humbling, to say the least.”
In motorsports for 70 years, Farmer has driven just about any kind of vehicle one can imagine – on both asphalt and dirt. He was a NASCAR competitor from 1953 to 1975 and again in select events in 1991 and 1992. He won NASCAR’s Modified championship in 1956 and is a three-time NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Champion (1969, ’70, ’71). Farmer was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers and has won nearly 800 short track races in his career.
He, along with brothers Bobby and Donnie Allison (who will both induct Farmer on Sunday), hailed from Florida and began their racing career in the Sunshine State before Bobby saw opportunities in Alabama. That prompted all three to move to nearby Hueytown, AL, and they arrived on the racing scene in the late 1950s. The trio gained notoriety through successes on short tracks in cities like Huntsville, Birmingham and Montgomery, and helped put racing on the map in the Yellowhammer State.
Naturally, when the biggest and baddest superspeedway was built in Talladega, the hometown boys were determined to make it their own. And, in many ways, they did. The three became known as the “Alabama Gang,” and all would go on to have success at the historic venue (four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins for Bobby and two for Donnie) with Farmer capturing two ARCA Series wins in 1984 and 1988. Farmer competed at Talladega in ARCA, the NASCAR Xfinity Series as well as Cup, finishing a career best fourth in 1972. Talladega Superspeedway pays tribute today to the three icons with the “Alabama Gang Superstretch.”
Farmer has many accomplishments he can hang his hat on when all is said and done, but he’s not finished yet. He plans to be on dirt tracks again in 2019.