The tragedy surrounding
Fireball Roberts' 1964 death is made worse when
considering he was just two races away from
Following the ill-fated World 600 at Charlotte in
May, Fireball had just two more races on his
schedule: The Firecracker 400 in Daytona on July 4,
and Darlington's Southern 500 on Labor Day in early
September. As defending champion of those two races,
he felt obligated to compete in both.
Fireball, whose divorce from Doris Roberts
had recently been finalized, was planning to marry
Daytona Beach native Judy Judge in June.
Judge remembers how everything seemed to be falling
in place for a successful post-racing career for
Daytona Beach's hometown hero.
Fireball wasn't planning on leaving the racing
scene. He had two, maybe three, potential deals
lined up -- all of them would keep him a familiar
face in NASCAR's big-league Grand National circuit.
For starters, Fireball had signed an endorsement
deal with Falstaff Beer.
"I think he was the first professional athlete to
sign a deal like that with Falstaff," says Judge.
"He would be doing PR work for them."
There was also talk of Fireball becoming part of
ABC's racing broadcast team. At the time, ABC was
taping some NASCAR races and showing them as part of
its Wide World of Sports programming. He might've
joined an ABC broadcasting team that included Jim
McKay and Chris Economaki.
Fireball had also discussed with Bill France Sr.
the possibility of working for NASCAR within the
competition department -- perhaps in the job
currently known as competition director.
"Everything was opening up at that time," says
Judge. "We were both excited, because he could still
be at all the races, and he wouldn't have to race."
2004 News-Journal Corporation |
news-journalonline.com (SM) |
Copyright © 1999 FireballRoberts.com
by Roland Via. All rights reserved. Revised:
05/07/12 20:55:48 -0400.
All materials posted herein are protected by
copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This web page may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been
specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This page is operated under the
assumption that this use on the Web constitutes a 'fair use' of the
copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Any
text or images that you feel need to be removed please
FireballRoberts.com is not associated or affiliated
with any racing club or organizations including that
Opinions and other content are not necessarily those of editors, sponsors.