South Carolina MotorSports Racing News www.SCMSRN.com
November 26, 2009
Frank Sessoms, Darlington, SC
One SC Driver that is gone but not forgotten is Mr. Frank Sessoms. I’ve been doing some research on the Internet to include on the page dedicated to him. This is what I’ve been able to assemble at this time. I have more text and photos to add and hope to add them as time permits.
Frank Sessoms was a racer and winner for Six Decades. The first track Frank ever raced at was carved out in an old pasture just outside of Sumter, South Carolina. Bye Laws of that time prohibited commercial sporting events on Sunday’s so the racing was free, but you had to pay to park (which was legal). The first car he raced was a 1937 Ford with a flat head engine. As of last year he was still competing in short track oval racing and still scoring top 5 finishes!
Welcome to 12Cars Racing. Home of the No. 12 Charger and Street Stock Class Race Cars. We are a Darlington, SC based race team that competes at the Florence Motor Speedway and Dillon Motor Speedway. Hope you will come by and watch us run. firstname.lastname@example.org
Florence Motor Speedway, The New
Friday, September 3, 2004
Way, Matthews, Sessoms, Lynch win at FMR
By Race Author
S.C. -- I’m not a statistician but I did have to wonder, how often is it, that
the youngest and oldest driver at FMS both win their respective
features? That was a significant bit of what happened Friday night as Florence
Motor Speedway hosted the Florence County 4H members. The group got excited
about getting to see and participate in racing. From opening
ceremonies, to standing on the flag stand, to start a race, to
getting up close with the cars and drivers, I could tell they had a great time.
They were a part of seeing the youngest driver in competition, Scooter Way winning
his first Pro4 feature and Frank Sessoms, “the Vet” add another feature win to
his racing resume.
Sessoms driving the Palmetto Auto Auction, Camaro, won the Late Model feature by taking the lead from Bubba Truesdale on lap thirty-one. Truesdale led from the drop of the green flag and looked like he was on his way to a win. Sessoms got off to a slow start, starting inside row three. He ran what looked like a strategic race, picking off the competition and taking the checkers ahead of Truesdale, Rudy Branham, Mike Anderson, and Jamie Griffin.
Scooter Way accomplished one of his goals by winning his first Pro4 Modified feature, within his first season at the wheel. Way started from the pole, his closest competitor Craig Foster started behind him, inside row two. Scooter built up a lead by as much as 3.5 seconds, but when it came to the last three laps, Foster was knocking on the rear quarter panel letting Way know that if he slipped, it would be all over. They crossed the line in a great photo finish, to the roar and applause of old and new race fans. Brian Jordan, Kevin Jackson, and Clint Coker were also a big part of the excitement while they were racing after Way and Foster. They finished third through fifth respectively.
Stacy Matthews out raced the competition in the Charger feature, leading flag-to-flag. Woody Newman drove the Sam’s Service Center Nova as hard as he could after Matthews, but just wasn’t able to get enough power on the straights. Banjo Duke finished third, driving like he was on a dirt track. Cody Young, in a rare appearance this season, finished fourth even though he’d made contact with the wall during the race. Paul Dove finished fifth.
It was another win for the Stump Hole Racing team member, Matt Lynch driving the familiarly fast “Speedy Performance” Monte Carlo. Lynch blistered the competition in another harrowing Crazy Cruzer Bruzer feature. Steven Stuckey and Brad Easterling got together coming out of turn four and the result was Stuckey getting stuck up on the pit road retaining wall. Both continued to finish fourth and fifth. Neal Anderson ran hot and cold, in his bid for the win and hard racing with Chris Pack. These two finished second and third consecutively.
The annual “Fall Classic” is scheduled for November 6th & 7th, 2004. Late Models will be running 100 laps, Super Trucks 100 laps, Chargers 50 laps, Pro4’s 40 laps, T&L 40 laps, and those Crazy Cruzer Bruzers will be let loose for 30 exciting laps.
Next weeks race schedule includes all five local divisions in more intense racing competition. Familiar faces and car numbers continue to appear at the track each week. We’ve got a seat for you in the grandstand, some great Big Norm’s Chili-cheese Fries and a great selection of other tasty treats! Admission gates open at 6:00 pm with races beginning at 8:00 pm.
Pro 4 Modified
1. Scooter Way, 1st Feature win at FMS!
2. Craig Foster
3. Brian Jordan
4. Kevin Jackson
5. Clint Coker
1. Stacy Matthews
2. Woody Newman
3. Banjo Duke
4. Cody Young
5. Paul Dove
Late Model Stock Car
1. Frank Sessoms, a real Marlboro Man wins another feature!
2. Ronnie “Bubba” Truesdale
3. Rudy Branham
4. Mike Anderson
5. Jamie Griffin
Crazy Cruizer Bruizer
1. Matt Lynch
2. Neal Anderson
3. Chris Pack
4. Steven Stuckey
5. Brad Easterling
Seventy-year-old Frank Sessoms sits in the back of the hauler at Florence Motor Speedway, his driver's suit unzipped part way against the heat. In one hand is a diet soft drink; in the other is a cigar. Both are so ever-present that they are almost extensions of his hands. He's doing what he does best: telling a story. "I was at a race one night, and they black-flagged me," Sessoms said. "He came running over and said,...
>> Purchase complete article, of 1168 words
Photographer: Paul Miller
Date of Race: 2004-05-21
Sessoms and Branham winners at Florence
Franks Sessoms (left) congratulates Rudy Branham (right)! Frank won the weekly late model feature while Branham became the mid-season point's winner.
Photographer: Paul Miller
Date of Race: 2003-08-09
Frank Sessoms. 1970 Chevrolet Camaro. 250. 13. Richard Childress. 96. 1969 ... Starting order determined by sign-in time at the track. Home | 1972 ...
A.J. Foyt * Arley Scranton * Arnold Denley * Banjo Matthews * Bill Amick * Bill Elliott * Bill Seifert * Bob Welborn * Bob Wood * Bobby Greene * Bobby Rahal * Boris Said * Bosco Lowe * Bud Rackley * Buddy Baker * Cale Yarborough * Curtis Turner * Dale Jarrett * Dave James * Dave MacDonald * David Pearson * Dick Rathmann * Dick Rathmann * Donnie Allison * Doug Duvall * Earl Balmer * Elliott Sadler * Frank Boylan * Frank Sessoms * Fred Harb * Fred Johnson * Fred Lorenzen * Gene Bergin * George Cork * George Green * George Parrish * Glen Wood * Hank Thomas * Harold Kite * Jerry Plotts * Jim Delaney * Jimmy Massey * Joe Weatherly * Johnny Beauchamp * Johnny Gouveia * Jon Wood * Junior Johnson * Ken Schrader * Kyle Petty * Laird Bruner * Larry Frank * Larry Pearson * Lloyd Moore * Lou Figaro * Marcos Ambrose * Marvin Panch * Michael Waltrip * Morgan Shepherd * Neil Bonnett * Neil Roberts * Nelson Stacy * Parnelli Jones * Paul Dean Holt * Pete Diviney * Rick Wilson * Ricky Rudd * Ronny Myers * Ruel Smith * Scotty Cain * Speedy Thompson * T.A. Toomes * Tim Flock * Tiny Lund * Tommy Andrews * Tommy Ellis * Tommy Irwin * Tommy Melvin
By Dargan B. Watts
SUMTER, S. C. Jun 11, 2007 - Back in 1956, Gene Stokes had a vision of building a race track in Sumter County where drivers with nerves of steel could get into souped up coupes and "coaches" and could cover a 1/4-mile dirt track in about 22 seconds.
Stokes found a cow pasture on Bethel Road and was
able to scrape up $400 to pay an individual to plow up an area and lay out a
1/4-mile track, complete with a little banking in the turns. Stokes had spent
three years in the hospital recovering from a road accident and was still on
crutches when he started putting the pieces to the puzzle together. He was
still on crutches that year.
Another major obstacle that he faced was back then, the South Carolina Blue Laws stated that there would be no admission charges for any sporting event held on Sunday, which was the only logical day that racing could be run. Most everyone worked on Saturdays, so there was no way that the drivers or fans would turn out for a Saturday race. You see, there was no money to put up lights, so the race had to be run during daylight hours. Stokes found a loophole in the law and it was found that it was not illegal to charge for parking, so the parking fee depended on how many people were in a vehicle.
There were no stands, so the
people drove in, parked their cars and stood behind a wooden fence and watched
the cars zoom past. People stood almost entirely around the track and watched
such drivers as Cale
H. C. Pritchard, Junior
Frank Sessoms, Earnest Nicks, Pete Rabon and
many others who were giving it their "all" in this new sport.
Later on during the season, Stokes added a string of lights and switched to Saturday night racing.
These were the "good old days", as we have heard from many people many times.
Drivers drove their cars to the track, while others had their cars towed with a
chain. There were no trailers and none of these modern haulers as we have today that come complete with electrical generators for lights and compressors for air tools.
The next year, Wade Shugart opened an ultra-modern 1/4-mile dirt track on the
Wedgefield Road, and named it Gamecock Raceway. The new facility had wooden stands, a wire fence along the front stretch and a guardrail made of huge 4 X 12 boards......And Lights!
Cars were plentiful, but there was much discussion about the rules for the various cars, but one thing that Shugart didn't have to contend with was multiple divisions. There was only one division and the program consisted of two heat races, a consolation race and a main event. But, to string out the program somewhat, he added daredevil acts, beauty contests, raffles and anything else that may interest the fans.
Through the past 50 years, the track promotion has changed hands 18 times and every one of the promoters gave up the lease for one reason. They were not making enough money to make the constant work and bickering worthwhile. Two years ago, Charles Hodge became the first owner/promoter of the 48-year-old facility, but Hodge, even though he loved the sport, did not have the time to devote to the track and after last season he announced that the track would be leased to anyone who could come up with the money and would abide by some rules he had set up. After talking with three individuals, it appeared that the now 3/8-mile track would be closed after 50 years of continuous operation.
This is when Priscilla Baker and her sister, Wanda Duke started some long
conversations with their families and others and decided to tackle another obstacle that everyone knowing anything about Sumter Speedway said couldn't be done. The task was promoting a racetrack.
Baker had worked at the ticket gate for her uncle Charles for 10 years and Duke has been involved in racing with her husband, David, their son, Banjo and daughter, Sissy for 15 years. The sisters made a lot of phone calls to friends, and most of them said both of them were crazy.
"I knew the money end of the business from handling the pit gate for the past 10 years and Wanda and David understood the rules and racing procedures, so we decided that we would take a chance and go for it," Baker said. "Several people have come forward and helped, and without these people, we could not run a race each week." "Mr. Skinner (Jim) has been unbelievable in everything he does and Gary Liuzzo (Skinner's son-in-law) not only does the scoring, but also keeps up the track website. Joey and Virginia Ayers have been lifesavers. I can't name everyone who has helped, but there are dozens of people out there who help in putting on the program," Baker added.
Fifty years after the first race was run, some things at Sumter Speedway are back the way it used to be, and the fans are loving it. "We have a different crowd now than we did last year and the years before," said Wanda Duke. "The fans are leaving hoarse from yelling and that's something I haven't seen at Sumter in years. The fans and drivers are happy when they come in and I think most of them are happy when they leave. I know one thing, we have tried our best to give them an entertaining night for their money."
To show you how close today's racing is to what it was 50 years ago, one of the
classes is for brand new drivers, with no experience driving strictly stock cars. There was one participant for the first night and four the next week. There were 11 cars and drivers for the third week and that number has risen to 18. The overall car count for the first race was 23 and there are more than 50 competitors on hand at the present time and the number continues to grow. One night, one of the drivers drove his car on the highway from Pinewood and competed in it at the track. Another driver found that his car was too light and was told by David Duke that he would have to add 100 pounds of weight, but the driver had no lead to mount inside, so Duke told him that the track had a shovel and plenty of dirt, so the driver filled the trunk with 120 pounds of red clay and went racing.
The two sisters and their families are trying their best to be fair with everyone and most of the drivers and car owners are doing their racing for the fun of it and not so much for the money.
The track will open its gates Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and will offer racing in the Bomber, Street Stock, Stock 4, Ridge Runner and Limited Late Model divisions. Adult admission is $10 while active military personnel with proper identification will be admitted free.
The thrill of racing for Frank is the competition and always being competitive. Frank has raced against 3 generations of Earnhardt's and beat them all.
When asked his greatest racing thrill, he said he did not know if it was the inaugural Talladega race or the Richmond win. But when ask what his greatest racing moment was, he did not hesitate. "Winning the feature last week!"
Richard Petty is his racing hero.
By Mark Aumann,
April 23, 2009
02:15 PM EDT
For Auld Lang Syne.
By: Chris Romano
With the motors silent for a while it's time to reflect on those in the sport we lost this past year.
Frank Sessoms died at age 75, at his home in Darlington, SC. The long time racer and car builder won his last championship at Florence Motor Speedway in 2002.
With NASCAR and USAC gone, things did not look rosy for Lakewood ... Hunt piloted his 1968 Camaro to victory in the Lakewood GT 100, holding off Frank Sessoms and Wayne Andrews. ...georgiaracinghistory.com/2009/06/26/.../13 - Cached
· Statsheet.com http://statsheet.com/nascar/drivers/frank-sessoms
· Historicracing.com http://www.historicracing.com/index.cfm
· WhoWon.com http://www.whowon.com/Results.asp?TrackID=648&StoryID=133160
· 12cars.net http://www.12cars.net/index.html
· UltimateRacingHistory.com http://www.ultimateracinghistory.com/racelist2.php?uniqid=4276
· Racing-Reference.com http://www.racing-reference.info/owner?id=sessofr01
· ChasinRacin.com http://chasinracin.com/photos/photo.php?photo=12FS-234-3426PR.jpg
· GrandNationalEast.com http://grandnationaleast.com/1972/sandlapper200.htm
· News-JournalOnLine.com http://www.news-journalonline.com/speed/special/numbers/21.htm
· Speednetdirect.com http://www.speednetdirect.com/news.php?id=7613
· georgiaracinghistory.com Georgia Racing History.com – Telling the stories of Georgia's ...
· Motorsport.com http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=277193&FS
Ó SCMSRN.com/Paul J Miller 3rd, 2000-2009