19/10/1924 - 12/4/1958
In Billy Myers' 6 year NASCAR Grand National Division career, Myers recorded 84 starts, 1 pole, 2 wins, 18 top-5s, and 34 top-10s. Billy Myers suffered a heart attack and died while racing in a Modified event at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1958. Billy Myers died 64 years ago, he was 34 , He would have been 98.
William Wade 'Billy' Myers was born in Clarksburg, Harrison County, West Virginia, to John R. Myers and Flonnie Wade Myers. Married to Arlene Boles Myers, Billy was the older of the Myers Brothers who were two of the early NASCAR drivers.
They mainly raced at Bowman Gray Stadium and other local tracks. His younger brother, Bobby, was killed in a crash in the Southern 500 at Darlington, South Carolina on September 2, 1957.
Billy Myers began competing in the NASCAR Grand National Division in 1951. In his first event, he finished 8th at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway. He then drove at Detroit and Darlington for Hubert Westmoreland recording an 18th place finish in the Southern 500. Myers then began driving R. G. Shelton’s #22 Hudson. At the ½-mile dirt Martinsville Speedway, Myers qualified 4th and finished 3rd. An 18th place finish at the .625-mile dirt North Wilkesboro and a 17th place finish at the ½-mile dirt Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida capped Myers rookie season.
In 1952, Myers only entered one Grand National event, the Motor City 250 at Detroit where he drove Joe Hawkin’s #98 Plymouth to a 14th place finish after starting 33rd.
In 1955, Myers returned to NASCAR’s premier division after a two-year absence. A crash at Columbia, South Carolina resulted in a 19th place finish. Myers then drove Westmoreland’s Chevrolet to a 9th place finish at the Forsyth County Fairgrounds’ ½-mile dirt track at Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In the Southern 500, Myers finished 23rd, 24 laps down. On October 3, 1955, Myers entered the 100-lap NASCAR Sportsman event at Martinsville on the newly paved track and won the first race on the smooth pavement.
In 1956, Myers started 42 of the 56 NASCAR Grand National Division events.
He finished 3rd at West Palm Beach, 2nd on the Daytona Beach course. When the series returned to West Palm Beach, Myers qualified 3rd and won his first NASCAR Grand National Division race. He finished 2nd at North Wilkesboro, 4th at Richmond Fairgrounds, and 2nd at Hickory. He qualified on the pole at Soldier’s Field in Chicago but finished 17th after losing his brakes. He bounced back recording a 3rd place finish at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds at Shelby, North Carolina, 2nd at Road America at Elkhart Lakes, Wisconsin, 3rd at Old Bridge Stadium at Old Bridge, New Jersey, and then won again at Norfolk Speedway at Norfolk, Virginia. He recorded a 2nd place finish at Coastal Speedway at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 2nd at Southern States Fairgrounds at Charlotte, North Carolina, and a 5th place finish at Columbia Speedway at Columbia, South Carolina.
For the year, he had 1 pole, 2 wins, 13 top-5s, and 22 top-10s to finish 6th in the championship title chase.
In 1957, Myers started in 28 of the NASCAR Grand National Division’s 53 scheduled events. He recorded 4 top-5s and 9 top-10s.
In 1958, Myers campaigned his own #14 Mercury in the division. He lost an engine at the Daytona Beach course, failing to finish, and finished 25th at Concord Speedway at Concord, North Carolina.
About thirteen months after his brother died, Billy was racing in a Modified event at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, driving for Richard Petty's father Lee Petty, when he ran into the fence. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, apparently from a heart attack.
In his 6 year NASCAR Grand National Division career, Myers recorded 84 starts, 1 pole, 2 wins, 18 top-5s, and 34 top-10s.
In his memory and the memory if his brother, Bobby, The Myers Brothers award was established. It is awarded annually to a person, or persons, who have made outstanding contributions to stock car racing. The recepeint is elected each year by members of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA).
Allen Madding and historicracing.com