Charlie Mincey #16
19, 1931 –
Driving regularly by age 10, he was too young for the war, but between the ages
of 14 and 19 he was making nightly trips to Dawsonville, 7 nights a week. He
paid the stillers $2.50 a gallon at the site, added a buck a gallon, times 120
gallons a load. Times were good, and he never lost a load in five years.
1950 – Began
his racing career in 1950. On his first night out, he out drove veteran hall of
famer Jack Smith, who was amazed at the kid’s ability behind the wheel of a
car. (Jack didn’t know Charlie had been hauling whiskey out of the mountains
of Dawsonville for 5 years.)
won the track championships at Toccoa,
1955 – Won
Retired in 1980. In over four decades of racing, never owned his own car. Which
right there tells of his abilities, reputation, and character. Charlie was also
hired to stunt drive for several movies made in the
Charlie has raced against every name in Georgia you can think
of. If they came to North Georgia, they raced him. He considers Jack
Smith and Bud Lunsford as two of the best. Smith because of his style and
aggressive nature, and Lunsford because he was so smart.
“Bud loved those little mud holes, but he proved he could
win on asphalt at the Peach Bowl,” Charlie said. “He always came to
the track ready to race and never really worked on his car at the track.”
During this time, Charlie ran second to Lunsford quite a bit
at the Peach Bowl. Generally, Charlie ran Boyd’s Speedway in Chattanooga
on Friday nights, Cleveland Speedway in Cleveland, Tennessee or Athens Speedway
in Athens Georgia on Saturday nights, and then at the Peach Bowl on Sunday
nights, all while driving for C. P. (Curt) Shaw out of Athens, Georgia.
In 1964, Charlie took a pause in his racing career due to a
slight case of burn out. In early 1965, Curt Shaw called to see if he
would come down to the Athens Speedway for a race. Athens was running a
hybrid class of super modifieds with all steel-bodied cars with a two-barrel
When Charlie arrived, there in the pits was a sleek new 1932 Ford two-door sedan that Shaw, "Shorty" Vincent and Charlie Odum had put together. The car was painted black, which was Charlie’s choice for racecars at the time, and was numbered 16, the same number the team had run it 1960, 61 and 62. Plus, the car had Charlie’s name on it.
“It is yours to drive but if you don’t want to, we’ll
understand,” Shaw told him.
Charlie not only drove it that night, but in just a few weeks
they had a win. Then they won six races in a row, including a 100-lap
feature on July 4 and then a couple more events a few weeks later on double
feature night. In all, they won seven races in Athens that year after
starting about a month late.
The team ran the car not only at Athens but also at the Peach Bowl in 1965 and 1966. They won many features at Athens and the Peach Bowl during this time, but the picture of racing was taking a big change in North Georgia. The car was parked after the 1966 season and Charlie started driving late models, which had become the class to run. Open wheel modifieds had all but died in North Georgia, and across the south.
Years after both men had quit racing, Mincey (right) and C. P. Shaw met again at the Red Cross Benefit Car Show in Walhalla, South Carolina. The car that Mincey drove for Shaw has been restored by Jerry Vaughn and the late Giles Grant.
The C. P. Shaw team in Athens held on to the sleek 1932 Ford sedan that Charlie raced in 1965 and 1967 until several years ago. The car wandered to a body shop in Hartwell, Georgia, where it was always going to be restored. They even blasted and primered the entire car before proceeding to the next step, which was extensive mechanical reconstruction.
But they lost interest. Restoring old racecars is a long and costly process. Few people will undertake the chore. But Jerry Vaughn of Walhalla, South Carolina, bought the primed hulk and a dream was realized.
Jerry was working on another project that needed a 1934 Ford truck grille shell. While riding around North Georgia hunting for parts, he found the “skeeter” he had always wanted.
Jerry had already finished a Model A Ford coupe with a Flathead Ford engine, but had wanted a skeeter since his teenage years.
Jerry only got what was left, but you could clearly see that the car was a mechanical work of art. The body was unscratched but needed a lot of TLC. He completed his project with a late model quick change and a small block Chevrolet.
He and Giles Grant, his partner in the project, had planned on running the car throughout the south in vintage car races. But Giles died of a heart attack before that dream could be realized. Jerry and Giles only ran the car one time in 1999.
In the summer of 2000, Jerry got a reunion of sorts with Charlie, his wife Carolyn, and C. P. Shaw, the original owner of the car, along with his daughter at a car show in Walhalla, South Carolina. It was a wonderful day for the three men; Charlie with his memories, Curt with his fabrication notes and Jerry with his smile. A little piece of history from the sixties had been saved.