Monday, August 13, 2012

Racing legend Buck Simmons dies

BALDWIN – Hall of Fame racer Buck Simmons, 66, of Baldwin died Sunday.

Born Charles Leroy Simmons on July 31, 1946, he was known to both friends and competitors as Buck.

Buck Simmons smiles in Victory Lane after winning the
final race at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta in 1979.
Simmons died Sunday at age 66.
(Photo/Robert Turner/Courtesy of

Simmons, who won 1,012 feature events during his career, was an inaugural member of the National Dirt Racing Hall of Fame (class of 2001) and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame (class of 2009).

He began hanging out at Tommie Irvin’s Banks County Speedway as a child, driving the water truck at the dirt track several years before he was old enough to drive on the highway.

And drive he did. He began racing go-karts at age 12, and at age 14 got behind the wheel of a race car at Banks County Speedway. His first No. 41 car carried the name of Ariail Tire & Recap of Cornelia on the door. 

Through the years, he drove jalopies, skeeters and stock cars, going on to earn the title of National Dirt Racing Association Champ in 1981.

According to, “Over his career, Simmons beat some of the best stock car drivers on dirt or on asphalt. He beat out Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough in an asphalt late model event at Baton Rouge, La. He defeated the legendary Dale Earnhardt Sr., on a dirt track at Hartsville-Darlington, S.C.”

“Simmons competed on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit in several events in 1979 and 1980, including events at Atlanta, Ontario, Rockingham, Bristol, Darlington, Martinsville, and Talladega,” said Raceweek Illustrated’s Brandon Reed.

McGahee-Griffin and Stewart Funeral Home, Cornelia, is in charge of arrangements.

Buck Simmons is shown at age 16 with his race car.

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