Fly High Lexington tenant, and local racing legend, Ralph Brinkley was inducted into the Davidson Co. Hall of Fame!
Winning at Bowman-Gray Stadium requires a steady presence, and drivers can’t let their emotions get the best of them.
Ralph Brinkley was overcome with emotion Saturday night.
Brinkley, one of the famed NASCAR track’s most accomplished drivers, fought back tears from start to finish Saturday as he was inducted into the Davidson County Sports Hall of Fame. He headlined a class that included North Davidson softball coach Mike Lambros, former Thomasville football standout Bruce Mills, former Pilot High School basketball phenom Peggy Sink Black, former West Davidson basketball star Mandy Causey McKinney, and the posthumous induction of Lexington basketball great Carlos Terry.
For more than three decades, Brinkley was a fixture on the track in the featured modified division at Bowman-Gray. He picked up 64 career wins, a record that held until Tim Brown broke it this season. He still holds numerous records, and was voted the stadium’s most popular driver 11 times.
Saturday night, Brinkley accepted the award, but made one thing very clear. “I didn’t win those races, we won all those races,” he said, pointing at members of his pit crew and family in attendance. “Our wives put up with us working late at night.”
He actually overcame long odds just to get behind the wheel of a race car. “I lost an eye when I was nine,” he said. “Who would believe you could get in a sports Hall of Fame with one eye?” Brinkley used his skills around an engine to escape working in hay and tobacco fields, and it turned into a passion. He said he began racing bicycles as a young child, and relished the opportunity to race at the track.