Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lake Speed Born In Jackson, Mississippi - January 17, 1948

January 17, 1948
Lake Speed
(Photo; pinterest.com)
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, USA.
Lake was named after the best friend of his father, Bob Lake. Lake's father Leland L. Speed took office as the Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi in 1948, the same year that he was born. Lake started his racing career at the age of thirteen racing karts, much to the displeasure of his family. Over the years, Speed won the International Karting Federation National Championship six times and in 1978 he won the prestigious Karting World Championship over, among others, future Formula One champion Ayrton Senna. Speed had been the only American to win the World Karting Championship until 2015 when 14 year-old Logan Sargent of Florida won the KFJ World Karting Championship on September 27th, 2015.

In 1980 after considering racing in other series such as Formula One, CART, and IMSA, and getting advice from current Lowe's Motor Speedway promoter, Humpy Wheeler, Speed chose to go NASCAR racing. According to Speed, "It was the highest mountain to climb." He competed in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, scoring one career win, and 75 top ten finishes in 402 starts. Speed's day in the sun would come March 27, 1988 at Darlington in the TranSouth 500. After starting the race eighth, Speed methodically moved his way to the front before eventually taking the lead and running away with the show. Leading 178 of the 367 laps, Speed beat Alan Kulwicki by half a straightaway to secure his first and only NASCAR Winston Cup win. Speed competed in NASCAR from 1980 until his retirement in 1998.

In 2006, the International Kart Federation established the Lake Speed Achievement of Excellence karting award in honor of the 1978 World Karting Champion. The recipient of the award could be a driver, team, kart shop or any combination thereof, and the winner is determined primarily on sportsmanship, driving achievement and professionalism during the race event.

After retirement, Speed has raced in the World Karting Association National Road Racing Series schedule, in the Spec 125 TaG 1 and 2 classes. He also has four wins in Historic Stock Car Racing Association events on Daytona's 3.56-mile road. On July 30, 2010 Speed was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
(Photo: jimculp@live.com / ProRallyPix via photopin cc)

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