EDITORIAL: Herb Thomas
The induction of Olivia's Herb Thomas into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte on Friday was a well-deserved honor, one of which should bring great pride to his family and to the Central Carolina area that he called home.
The late Thomas, who passed away in 2000, was a NASCAR pioneer — and one of racing's early superstars. He took part in the first-ever NASCAR Grand National series race in Charlotte in 1949.
During his amazing career, Thomas recorded 48 NASCAR victories in 228 races over 10 seasons. Thomas also won two Grand National season championships, the early equivalent to today's Sprint Cup title.
Who knows what further success Thomas might have garnered had it not been for a horrible wreck at Shelby in October 1956? He raced just three more NASCAR races after that.
Thomas' son, Joel, told The Herald: "I know Richard Petty once said daddy was one of the fiercest competitors ever. When the King says something like that, it means everything."
There are those from the Central Carolina area who didn't know Herb Thomas as the race car driver, but rather as the service station owner, the operator of a sawmill, as a trucker and as a farmer. But long-time racing fans and those with an interest in the history of the sport of stock car racing have long known about Thomas' greatness on the track and how he helped pioneer NASCAR.
Our community celebrates Herb Thomas, a champion on the NASCAR racing circuit and a champion in life.
Thomas will forever be remembered by all of those who visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, as his No. 92 Fabulous Hudson Hornet will be on display.
Read more about Friday's induction ceremony in Sunday's Herald.