Late Model Stock Car Racing Star Wayne Patterson Killed
By Bob Barney
Virginia short-track standout Jimmie “Wayne” Patterson died Tuesday as a result of an automobile accident near Richmond, Va. He was thrown from the pickup truck he was driving and pronounced dead at the scene, according to Virginia State Police. He was traveling westbound on U.S. 360 when he lost control of the car at the intersection with state Route 615. Mr. Patterson, 60, resided in Jetersville and operated a business in Amelia. Patterson raced in the Late Model ranks at Virginia and North Carolina speedways like Southside, South Boston, Langley. ODS, OCS, Caraway, Martinsville, and Langley. He was the first Late Model Champion at Southside Speedway in 1982 in Richmond, as well as a two-time Late Model champion at South Boston – winning titles in 1987 and 1992 – and he is fourth all-time in victories at the track. He still holds the fastest lap at Southsise Speedway at 84.722 mph. The 26 year-old record still stands. He also raced at Daytona, Richmond, North Wilkesboro, and Rockingham.
Patterson was one of the first drivers to compete in NASCAR’s Busch Series (now Nationwide). He won more than 100 races and several titles at local tracks during his career.
“There were two ways to race for Wayne,“ said Joe Kelly, a local radio host. “He was always go, go, go. But he was conservative in a long race.
“He had a chance to go big-time, but he always missed the big one because something always happened to his cars. He decided to commit to his family instead of racing.“
Russell Hackett of Caraway said he was one of the "best natural racer's I ever saw race." He added, " he would watch another racer, see the line he was running, and if the guy was faster, Wayne would go out, run the same line even smoother and faster."
Billy Sawyer, owner of the Virginia Motor Speedway and former owner of Richmond International Raceway, fondly remembered him and some of the races in which Mr. Patterson ran. Mr. Sawyer described Mr. Patterson as “a fierce competitor,” who, “took pride in himself, who always showed up looking good and raced as good as he looked.” He also stated that Mr. Patterson, “was always a front runner,” adding he was terribly saddened to hear about Mr. Patterson’s passing.
Rand Cournow, the director of marketing for Southside Speedway, called Mr. Patterson, “a very influential driver,” and that all those who knew Mr. Patterson at the Speedway were, “all very heart-broken about the tragic incident.”
Patterson, from Chesterfield, Va., was born April 6, 1949. He raced against the likes of David Blankenship, Phil Warren, Elton Sawyer, David Blankenship, Donnie Apple and Barry Beggardly.
“He was a fierce competitor and a great race car driver,” said Sawyer, a former NASCAR Nationwide Series driver who now serves as the President of Competition for Red Bull Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Just hearing the news is a little shocking.”
Joe Chandler/Gazette-Virginian ... “Wayne was also a great teacher and drivers learned a great deal from him. There were so many drivers that were very intimidated by him. You had to earn your respect when racing with Wayne Patterson."
Patterson raced in the 2008 "Denny Hamlin Charity Race" at Southside Speedway. Mr. Patterson is survived by his wife, Brenda Patterson, and two children.
Everyone at RaceRap and The Plain Truth sends our condolences. On RaceRap, there are many posts of condolences in his memory at WWW.RACERAP.COM