Pro Athlete Interviews
Sugar Ray Leonard Interview PDF Print E-mail
Sugar Ray Leonard Interview
This interview along with 49 additional ones will be in Barbara Terry's forthcoming book "Pro Athlete Rides"
 
Sugar Ray Leonard is a man who needs little introduction. He is a two time World Boxing Champion. Once winning the WBC World Welterweight and WBA Junior Heavyweight Championships. He is a former Olympic Gold Medalist, winning it all at the 1976 Olympics. He won two AAU Championships, The Pan AM Games in 1975 and three Amateur National Gold Gloves Titles. Forget The Contender, his recent stint on television on ESPN, in the 1980's, Sugar ray Leonard was a full fledged celebrity. He was voted the boxer of the 80's and is considered one of the greatest boxers of all time.

This left me just a bit conflicted as we traveled to his home in Los Angeles to discuss his love for cars. On the one hand I was about to meet a boxing legend which was great. On the other hand, this was the guy that beat down a great boxer, Roberto Duran, so bad, that he quit mid match in the famous 'No Mas' fight. This was a guy, after his career, who is famed for a video of an exhibition where an opponent accidentally glanced his eye and Leonard went into full smack down fight mode, almost turning into a complete other individual. He later explained that instinct took over, as he'd suffered retina damage that basically ended his career. What I expected I didn't know. Would this great boxer be short tempered or cold?

What I got was genteel, relaxed, awesome man. He was so easy to talk to, after a few minutes I forgot who he was. To his kids he's Papa. He's a devoted husband to his wife and, surprise surprise, into the green movement. All in all, he was a fascinating man. Let’s get right to this interesting interview!
 
What do you miss most about boxing?
 
It's so amazing for me and other people. You don't appreciate things until they're gone, for me, I miss my friends, I don't miss boxing, I miss the camaraderie. Being around my friends and family, when that comes to an end it's like... wow...
 
It's very unique that you say that, because a lot of athletes from other team sports, like hockey or football, some of them are retired, some of them are getting ready to retire, my question to them is always: Number 1, what are you going to do with yourself and number 2, are you going to miss it? They always tell me, the team sports guys, the first thing that comes out of their mouth is, the camaraderie and my team mates. That's what they talk about, it's interesting to hear you say the same thing because boxing is--
 
Boxing is individual, although, there's a team concept because you need a great corner, you need a great trainer you need a great prep man, you need all of these things, but it's more of a Mano a Mano, it's more you versus me. I miss that time in training camp, and Dad and Mom cooking meals. It was one big family.
 
Right, being around you, being a part of it.
 
Right, right, yeah, exactly
 
Operating as a team sport instead of a one on one?
 
Exactly. Now that I look back on it, it was team, you know, the trainers were more than just training me, they were rooting for me with their spirit and with their belief so it was awesome.
 
Well, for you to be successful you really had to have that foundation and that belief. If you look at the real successful athletes it seems that they had the strong push from their parents and it seems like your parents totally supported you and gave you that necessary foundation.
 
Yes, I started boxing when I was 14. When people look at me or meet me, even my wife, she can't believe that I was a fighter because I don't look mean.
 
You don't look mean. (I laugh because it's true but he was a World Champion boxer, he chuckles as well).
 
Right, I don't have that edge or that air, I just don't, so when they show a documentary about me, I look and I can't connect the two, I mean, I am who I am. This is truly the way I am, and I remember eight months ago they honored me at The Riviera Country Club. It was me, my wife and my kids, Daniel was 7 at the time and Camilla was 11, and they showed old highlights of my career, The Olympics, some Championship fights and I was watching my kids through my peripheral vision, and they'd look at me and they'd look up there at the screen because they couldn't believe it because to them I am Papa!
 
Right, they were having a hard time putting two and two together. (We both laughed hard at the thought of his wide eyed son puzzled at his father mauling so many hapless opponents, doubt they'll ever break curfew or get smart with dear old Dad!)
 
It was the cutest thing ever; it was so cute because they just could not believe that was their Papa! I asked my kids, do you know what Papa used to do. They said, 'you were a boxer, you won the Olympics!' And that's what they know.
 
But they don't know the visual of the sport itself.
 
No they do not, which is good.
 
Yes, maybe it is a good thing!
 
They were so cute when I saw them trying to figure this thing out.
 
What was your first car?
 
I wish I had that car. It was a dark blue 1967 Chevy Nova. I bought that car myself; I paid like $300 for the car. I worked at The Glen Arm Recreation Center, I saved my money and I saved my money and I bought the car. I remember, back then, years ago, you could change the gas pedal for a metal foot so I did that because it was the cool thing to do, and then I changed my gear shift into a little ball.
 
Like a colored ball?
 
Yeah, and I had a little crucifix on the rear view mirror. That car was mine. I was so proud of that car. I bought that car with my own money and I cherish that car, it was so cute; I wish I had it again.
 
Where do you think it is now?
 
Jesus Christ. I was looking for it.
 
You should find the VIN number and find it; it might still be in 1 piece!
 
You know what? My little car was so resilient; I bet it's still around. I might put an APB out on it.
 
(We laugh.) See, so you have a passion about that first car. You bought it with your own money.

Oh, I did. It was my car. I bought it with my own money. I saved and I kept it clean.
 
Can you drive a stick shift?

Yes, not well but I can because I had my toys. I've had the Porsche, what was it called?
 
Carrera?
 
Yes, and I had a Maserati, a Ferrari, I had all of those little toys, and what happened, I never drove it, because I'd leave it in the garage and the battery would die. I had some wonderful cars.
 
How many cars do you think you've had during your lifetime since that first pride and joy?
 
Oh...I think...I would say...50 cars, yes, 50.
 
The ones that you have now?

The one that I drive that I cherish and that I love the most is my Smart Car. I love that thing. My wife bought it for my birthday. She surprised me. Because I looked at the Mini-Cooper. One day I saw a car zooming past and I said to myself, what-the-hell-is-THAT? Because it looked like a golf cart. Like a baby's shoe. A large baby's shoe. Because I remember, we then looked for one, it was hard to find, they were tiny cars and were hard to find. We drove around looking for them and asked and the manager said these cars are hard to come by. There's a six month or a year wait sometimes. He said he'd keep an eye out and if something came up he'd call me.
After that my wife pursued it, so my birthday came around, and we went to Orange County being as my wife’s mom lives there and my wife told me that we needed to go by my wife’s mom’s house to pick up something. We went by her house and she raised the garage door and I walked in the garage, and the garage is large but I didn't notice it sitting behind the trash can, because it's so small!
It's so tiny she parked it parallel. And I thought, this is my car! And so I keep it in Laguna so when we go to Orange County I always have a car to drive. Then I decided that I am going to bring this car to L.A.
And I drove it and I got off of the exit and on the freeway I was driving like 50 miles an hour because it was so little I thought I could get blown away by a tractor trailer. So I tried it at 60, and I tried 70 then here comes a big truck flying by and the car didn’t move from the burst of wind from the big truck and that surprised me.
 
It's stable.
 
Right, it's stable, it hugs the road, it's so low, I got it to 80, I wasn't supposed to but I did it because this is my car. I love it. I drive it every day.
 
What tires do you have on it; maybe the tires helped the car hug the road?
 
The same tires that come on it, Muffin tires, they're cute tires. The tires are no bigger than on a golf cart but I love the car.

Do you get very many miles to the gallon?
 
35 easy, maybe more.
 
Okay, so you have the smart car and you have?
 
We have a hybrid, and that car is for the kids. We take the kids to school in that car because my kids, and all kids I think, they don't believe in keeping a car clean. That's their car. But I love driving my car because going a long distance with the family it is a great car. The thing about it is, you don't know the damned thing is on because you can't hear it. So sometimes I start it twice not knowing it is already started. But it's a great car. I love that car.
 
So you're all about the green movement.

No question, yeah, and I have 2 cars and 2 vehicles that I think benefit the environment.
 
Would you ever buy another gas guzzling vehicle after owning the hybrids?
 
No, that's my car. The hybrid is my car, and my smart car.
 
If you had a dream car that you never pulled the trigger on, what would that be, I know you had the Maserati, the Ferrari and you had the Porsche, was there anything that you ever saw from someone you knew and you said, 'you know, I like that car,' but you never got it?

The only car that comes to mind was an Astin Martin, that was a cool car. And did James Bond drive that car?
 
Yes, the D.B. 9.
 
Yeah, yeah I liked that. Those were the only 2 cars that come to mind. But I'm kind of past that point now; I'm a smart car and hybrid type of person now.

Okay. What's your favorite color combination when it comes to cars?
 
I like black on black. I like blue with a cream color interior. I like white. My wife doesn't like white; she thinks it's too showy but that is why I like it!
 
Very crisp.

Yes, my Smart Car is white. I like my color combination of my Smart Car, white with kind of red interior.
 
What kind of music do you listen to when you're cruising down the Freeway?
 
My kids laugh at me. I like the oldies but the Goodies. I like Luther Vandross.
 
Hey, Luther's good. He's not an oldie!
 
My kids listen to some of the rap, they like TI?

Everybody's into TI, a lot of the athletes, TI, TI!
 
I like Johnny Gill, my music is Johnny Gill.
 
Yeah, yeah, yeah, who did he start out with?
 
Johnny was a solo artist and then he joined up with New Edition.
 
Yes! Then he went on his own again
 
Johnny is a very, very close friend of mine and my family. Johnny will come over here and sing and the kids love it. The kids love his voice.
 
Yeah, he has a good voice.

Oh, a great voice.
 
Have you ever had any accidents, any car accidents?
 
Yes, 2 accidents to be exact. I was in one back in the late 60's, with my Mom. My Mom was driving me and my 2 little sisters to South Carolina. What happened, it was late at night and she had just gotten off work but wanted to get on the road and then fell asleep at the wheel and we went off the road and into the Ravine. It was frightening. It sends chills up and down my spine when I think about it. You know how big the old jacks were back then?
 
Yes.

Well the impact of the crash, when we hit the ravine, sent the jack straight through the trunk. Back through the seat into the car. Through the back seat, and I had just grabbed my little sister and brought her up front.
 
Oh wow.

 
And it was awful.
I then had a head on collision in a Laredo Jeep. What happened, I took a left turn and this guy went like, BOOM, straight into me. I had contusions and bruises but you don't feel the pain until like, 2 days later.

Right, like the inner bruising that you get from the impact?
 
Yes, it was really, really horrible.
 
 
 
How old were you when that happened?

I was probably in my mid twenties.

And the first accident?

I was in my teens, 16 or 17 or maybe 18.

Do you have any favorite road trips that you like to take; I know you said that you have relatives that live in Orange County but any driving trips that stick out in your mind?
 
Yeah, my wife and I like to go to Santa Barbara. It's a nice drive down the coastline. It's so beautiful. We also think a beautiful ride is to the Montage along the PCH. That's a nice ride, and we know the owner of the Montage in Beverly Hills, he is a friend of ours. It is fantastic. Beautiful.
 
Do you prefer cars or trucks? Do you think you lean towards one or another?
 
Well, I do like both. It depends on what the activity or trip is. If it's a long trip I like a big truck. If it's just around the corner I like the smallest car I can find or a convertible.

Like your Smart car.
How fast have you ever driven in a street car on the freeway?

The fastest I've driven, I drove 100 MPH one time because I wanted to see how it felt. I was scared of the police and it is not smart to drive that fast but I had to do it. I did it, for like 2 seconds, and it was, uhm, I don't know if it was a revelation or I got some big feel out of it but I did it. I had to do it.
 
What's your favorite car? Obviously you had a passion for your first car. Between your first car and the ones that you own now do you have one that you wish that you would have kept?

You know, I truly loved my 280Z.
 
Oh my gosh, I am a huge 300ZX person, those are great cars.
 
There was nothing like it and I remember when I first had that car. To me, from my memory, when I got in that car especially at night, the dashboard lit up like a cock pit of an airplane.
 
Yes, those orangish lights.
 
All the lights and all the whistles. I loved that car.
 
It was a great car. Have you seen the new Nissan GTR?
 
No I have not.

I was always a huge 280ZX and 300ZX fan myself, then they stopped making them in 1996, then they come out 6 years later with the 350ZX. Which was like an Audi TT or the Infinity coupe so the Nissan ZX no longer made a statement. The ZX always made a statement. Now they have the GTR and apparently it has more horsepower than a Ferrari 360. Looking back, it's a simple type of a car. Back in its day and time it was the sexiest car on the road.

No question. It threw its hair back and said look at me baby.
 
Yeah, I'm in a Z!
 
It was so cool. To be honest with you I liked driving it at night because of that orange light.

Well, you're cool at night too! It always made such a statement it was a head turner. With the T-Tops. Was yours an automatic or a stick?
 
It was an automatic. It was so cool.

What color was it?
 
I'm thinking it was a cranberry, like a reddish cranberry.

Did it have burgundy cloth?

 
It was burgundy! I also remember that car so well because when I took it to the car wash it smelled great and was clean, it smelled great, like a strawberry!
 
Thus ended my interview with one of the nicest, most personable men you'd ever want to meet. Hard to believe his punch could literally kill a man. He was so at ease and so gentle, I could see how his kids would have trouble putting 2 and 2 together when it comes to their Papa and his profession, yet this man was an Olympic Champion, Former WBC World Welterweight and WBA Junior Heavyweight Champion. He was the boxer of the 80's and was world famous, chatting with the likes of Johnny Carson and Howard Cosell! He could have been the greatest pound for pound boxer of all time. He had the fastest hands and the quickest feet.
 
Here is one of the greatest boxers of all time, wealthy and affluent, a happy family man who drives a smart car! Go figure. Sugar Ray is certainly one of a kind, very happy with his life, where he's at in the world and who he is. And he was so incredibly nice; I'll never forget this interview. Frankly, he was so easy to talk to and so relaxed and generous, I forgot all of that after a few minutes and listened to the man tell stories, when we got to the questions about the cars, it was just like I was talking shop with an old friend.
 
David Ragan Interview PDF Print E-mail

David Ragan Interview
This interview along with 49 additional ones will be in Barbara Terry's forthcoming book "Pro Athlete Rides"

 

 I met David Ragan in his Charlotte area garage and almost instantly wanted to ask to see his license because he looked sooooooo young. I mean, here is one of the fastest guys on the Nascar circuit today and he looks as if he's barely old enough to drive. In reality he is 23 years old, is very relaxed and level headed, and was very easy to talk to. It just takes you aback for a second when the 2007 Busch Series Rookie Of The Year looks so young and vibrant.

 
David has yet to win a Nascar race, but in 2 years he's finished 3rd twice and has finished in the top 20 too many times to count. His future is definitely bright and his current life ain't so bad. You'd think a guy that young, he began racing in 2004 at the Texas Motor Speedway, would be blowing his newfound fortune on Ferrari's and Porsche's and women, but no, this is one grounded kid. He does his parents proud and was obviously raised well. Instead of wasting his time and partying or playing when he's not working, he collects old fire engines and police cars and restores them. No kidding. And I mean the Barney Fife/Andy Griffith era and style vehicles. He scours the Internet for them and finds the best deals to. Instead of being compulsive, which is fitting for his age, he's very sound and smart.
 
Let's begin at the beginning. What was your first car?
 
My first car was a 1994 Ford Ranger; I guess I have been a Ford man from the get-go. I needed a truck and did not have a lot of money back when I turned 16, I guess you could say that my dad bought it for me and just let me drive it. I was working at the time and had the 94 Ford Ranger when I turned 16 in 2003 or 2004 something like that.
 
Wonder what a Nascar guy that young feels about how his vehicles look or if it matters at all.
 
What is your favorite color combination with a car?
 
Ummm, I like, that’s a real good question, color combination would be black and gold, anything that is kind of you know not extravagant and out of this world flashy but something that is a little more than just a solid color.
 
Here's the question, at his age being a race car driver you'd think he'd simply tear up the roadways.
 
How fast have you driven on the freeway in a regular street car?
 
Ummm, I do not know probably around 100 or something like that I usually don’t
take too many chances on the road. I guess all of my chances and thrill seeking are done at the race track but you will find that I am a guy that likes to cruise on the road rather than go fast so I am not a speed demon on the interstates.
 
That is very telling for a guy his age. It exposes how rational and intelligent and grounded he is. Most kids his age do stupid things every day on the roads, and he confines his desire to be reckless or enjoy the thrill of speed to where it belongs.
 
What’s in your CD player when you are cruising down the road?
 
Probably a mix of something that I have made like or a Tom Petty or ACDC a classic rock albums that I have kinda 'clamerated' together, just a few of everything on it, but I would have to say that probably the most 2 artists known artists that are on my CD player are Tom Petty and ACDC.
 
Would you own a hybrid?
 
Yeah, I would be interested in buying a total electric vehicle just something that was new and I could get the first one but I do not like the new style cars that are hybrids or electric vehicles that look so funny. If I could buy an electric vehicle that looked like a normal vehicle I think I would jump right on it.
 
I expected him to answer like that, again, very down to Eartha and practical and thought out.
 
You have had wrecks on the track but what about on the freeway?
 
I have never been in an accident on the highway that is something that I am pretty proud being as I have been in my share of wrecks on the race track and more than I would like to admit, but I think being a NASCAR driver and being familiar with my surroundings and learning how to manage distractions and things on the race track, I think that it has helped me driving on the freeways, driving on the roads leading to the racetracks and to the airports and the roads that we travel everyday, so I have been fortunate not to have gotten caught up on any wrecks on the road. My buddies and stuff, we probably used to play around a little too much back in high school, going out on some dirt roads and around the race tracks and stuff like that... something that I would not be proud to talk about now with AAA.
 
What’s the craziest thing that you have done inside a car?
 
Inside a car, like moving or stopped…
 
Interesting. Your choice.
 
Man I would rather not answer a couple of things but I am trying to think of something interesting that I have done and I am sure some of it does probably involve a female.
I have switched seats going down the road like if it were late at night and we were driving down the road and we did not have time to stop I would kinda slide out of the seat and my buddy would slide in the seat,that would be it, we would keep on trucking and not have to slow down.
 
I can never get anybody to honestly answer that question, not even David!
 
Do you own or lease?
 
I definitely own, I do not like to buy new cars I like to let the initial buyer take the hit then I like to get-- um Ummm-- a little used, I ride cheap, I like cheap stuff.
 
Not surprising that this clear thing race car driver is concerned with the practical realities of owning and leasing.
 
Tell me about the cars, firetrucks and what all you currently have.
 
I have always taken a interest in unique vehicles. A lot of guys like to go out and get the new stuff that is real fancy and fast and high tech but I guess I have an appreciation for the older vehicles that are original, I like the mid 60’s in Fords and my father had a few Chevrolet's when he was younger, so just anything that is American made that I have a good appreciation for because of the quality craftsmanship and I feel that the vehicles that I have gotten the last year or so, the 1960 Ford Fairlane police car was something that I was always a big fan of, the Andy Griffith show and growing up in the south we could relate to stuff like that and I had an opportunity to buy that car that was originally a police car in the state of Kansas... I saw it on the Internet and ended up buying it and brought it down to Atlanta and then I drove it back to North Carolina, so things like that car are fun and gives a lot of people something good to talk about and it is an older car that we can have fun with and enjoy and drive around at the same time.
 
The fire truck was kind of the same situation, I just happened to see it on the Internet and it was a good buy and not too many people have a fire truck and it was something that we certainly did not need but it is a good conversation piece.
 
Wow. That is definitely different. A Andy Griffith police car and a fire truck, not your typical dream vehicle or collectors piece.
 
Do you have any good stories surrounding the fire truck since you acquired it?
 
Just driving it around and I see a lot of people look at you, and I have driven it to lunch or to the grocery store or just to wherever I may need to go at a particular time.
 
I try to drive all of my vehicles pretty often just about every week I try an drive one and you will have people looking at you if you go to a fast food place and you park and get out, get something to eat then get back in and leave an obviously it still says Rushfield Fire Department... that is not around here, and a young kid gets out wearing street clothes and everyone probably wonders exactly what is going on and the sirens still work and the lights and everything and we have pumped some water rout of it so it is always fun to play with a little.
  
What year is the fire truck?
 
It is a 1985 Ford FMC fire truck. It was from the state of New York, the city of Rushfield, and fire trucks are great because they are usually low miles and the fire departments keep them very clean and keep the enclosed and usually stay inside a fire department somewhere, and so they are always taken care of and serviced great and really no one wants a fire truck so they are cheap so there is nothing bad about having one of those.
 
What year is your old police car?
 
The police car is a 1960 Ford Fairlane and it was a original police car for several years in Topeka Kansas and then the department sold it. Then a guy painted it like the Andy Griffith Mayberry police car that Barney drove and the siren still works on it and it is fun to get out and drive. They are not so nice that you are afraid to get them dirty or drive them... it is something that if it is raining or cold it doesn’t hurt for it to sit outside and that is what is neat is to just be able to get out and drive them and you do not have to be worried to death all the time about getting them torn up.
 
I see that you have a step side Chevy.
 
Yeah it is a 1964 Chevrolet pickup truck, that truck was sold new at the dealership in Unadilla Georgia where my family still lives and I was born, my hometown so that is pretty neat to have a vehicle that was sold brand new at a dealership that is in a very small town. It is a truck that my father bought when he moved back home to Unadilla sometime in the mid 80’s and he drove the truck as a daily driver some, and also used it as a delivery truck for a parts house that he had for a parts store that was in Unadilla, so it has a little bit of a family history and we took it and got it restored a few years ago and now it is in pretty good condition where we can drive it around and enjoy it and it is something that I can remember when I was a young kid riding in the truck and my dad can remember it when he was a young kid being around town.
 
I'm curious what a guy this down to Earth does to relax, for kicks, to throw back a little and let it all loose and have some fun.
 
When you take a night out on the town what do you drive?
 
Usually I drive the police car more than anything just because it gets the most looks and being here in North Carolina pretty much everyone knows something about Mayberry or is familiar with the TV show... That obviously gets the most looks, the heater still works great, it does not have an air conditioner so you have to roll the windows down so if we are going out or doing anything it is usually pretty tough to park the fire truck so we will take the cop car.
 
I wondered how or even if David indulged himself. He was obviously doing very well professionally.
 
What is the nicest vehicle that you own?
 
Probably the nicest vehicle that I own would be my Ford company vehicle which is a brand new truck but the 1966 Corvette that my father bought several years ago and sold is also nice. Then I found it and got it from the guy that dad had sold it to and got it back this year, and it was a complete frame and body off restoration and it is really a nice car. It is one of those cars that we keep in the garage more than it is on the road and is something that does not get driven a lot and is too nice of a car to get caught in a rainstorm or get behind a dump truck or something like that so it is a real nice vehicle.
  
So how exactly did you locate it?
 
Well I got the VIN number off of some old paperwork, dad really had things detailed out and tracing back the engine and a lot of the components trying to find the original stuff that was on the car when it was built new. We found where the VIN number was registered at and it was registered in Pennsylvania and it had changed hands 2 or 3 times from the guy that my dad had sold it to 10 years ago. I called the gentlemen up and he was an avid car collector and I told him the story and originally he did not want to sell it then it worked out that the more we talked to him and the more we made friends and talked a little bit through a couple of weeks of negotiating, finally we caught a weekend where we were racing close to where he was at in Dover, and I made a trip over and we looked at it and talked to him and ended up buying it that weekend and I shipped it back to North Carolina the next day.
 
Did you give him some tickets to the race in Dover?
 
He was not a race fan and he was going out of town but I did offer him tickets to races from now on whenever he wants to go, he is a cool guy that we got to meet and I am sure that we will stay friends.
 
You obviously drive fast on the track but do you get pulled over on the freeway when you are not racing?
 
I have been very good on the roads, I do not really know if I have been good or just lucky, but I haven’t been pulled over a lot. I had gotten a few tickets back in high school but I have not gotten a ticket in... I cannot remember how long it has been, so I have been a pretty good driver being cautious of what’s going on around me and trying to be as responsible as I can and be a safe driver.
 
If you have an all time favorite car that you have owned from the get-go including that first 1994 Ford Ranger that you owned what would that car be?
 
You never forget your first car whether it is a piece of junk or whether it is the newest car in the high school parking lot. You just never forget your first one, so probably that 1994 Ford Ranger. It was a nice truck when I got it and I drove it hard and put it through a lot of trials and tribulations and it has spent a lot of time being run extremely hard and nothing fancy about it but you never forget your first car.
 
He scans the Internet and shops across country and tracks down VIN numbers, it made me wonder if he was always looking for deals.
 
So you buy cars on eBay Motors?
 
Yes.
 
Do you have anything now that you might pull the trigger on?
 
Not really. We are in the process of moving to another shop and basically we do not have room for anything else, so we need to take care of the stuff that we have for a little while and I am sure one day down the road that there is always something that will turn up that, you know, my dad or my cousin and the rest of my family, we are all cars guys, we grew up tinkering on cars, working on and racing cars the same with my father and his brothers and sisters, so that is something that we will always have an interest in. But it comes to a point in time when you try to do too much and you have to take care of what you have so we will probably spend the next year or the next few months getting everything cleaned up and spruced up and organize what we have, then one day down the road buy more... and you never know when a deal passes by.
 
Just to sum things up… I am not a guy that is gonna' go out and buy a new BMW or a nice Mercedes or something like that. I like the older cars I like the American made cars and my daily driver is a 1999 Ford Ranger. I’ve got some other cars that I drive on occasion, but you know if I am flying home, my car at the airport is an old Ranger, I am a simple kinda guy. I am not too flashy.
 
Mr. and Mrs. Ragan, you should be very proud of yourself. You raised a fine young man there. He's smart, has common sense, is polite and successful. He has a terrific future ahead of him on the Nascar circuit, and I get the feeling that no amount of success is going to change the fine man that David Ragan has become. He's too comfortable with himself and grounded to let anything inflate his ego. Whatever life brings David, he's already on top of the world anyway.
 
Stanton Barrett…all things supercalifragilisticexpialidocious PDF Print E-mail
Stanton Barrett…all things supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
This article and 49 more will be featured in my forthcoming book "Pro Athlete Rides"

There is no better way to spend a rainy afternoon in my new hometown of Charlotte than chatting a few hours about cars with the one and only Stanton Barrett. I obviously do quite a few interviews, but will always remember this chit-chat as being among the most unique conversations. Stanton's complexity would make most men envious. It would be difficult to find someone that could come close to duplicating the many talents he has displayed in his lifetime.

Not only is he a race car driver, but he has a deep rooted passion that you can see in his eyes when he talks about the late model cars that he drives, or the collector cars that he and his dad own together.  One of these cars is a modified Volvo that was owned by Paul Newman,
Stanton ’s Godfather.

Stanton’s "in-your-face" talents run the gamut: racing, stunts, bobsledding, motocross, skiing and hunting. If that doesn't blow you away, he can even knock down interior walls to create an unbelievable living space, which he has done in his own home. I just had to ask him if there was anything in life that he does not do. His response was, “Not much”.

I hope Stanton's inner circle of family, friends and business associates take the time to thoroughly appreciate all of the resilient "umph" that is wrapped up in his amazing frame!

What was your first car?
My first car was a 1987 4 wheel drive Toyota Pickup truck white with a grey interior.
 
Was it an automatic or a stick shift?
I do not remember…chuckle.
 
How many miles did it have on it?
It was used when my dad bought it for me and being as it was almost 20 years ago and with as many concussions that I have had I do not really remember but I think it had about 10 to 12 thousand miles on it. 
My dad owned a Honda dealership at the time and being a sports advocate with skiing, motocross, hunting and all that I love to do I absolutely had to have a pickup truck.
I picked it out and one of my best friends that I had growing up who was older had a similar Toyota and I do not know if that influenced my decision to get one or not. I grew up in a small town and we were all pretty redneck and we all lifted/raised up our trucks. I beat the heck out of it, got a lot of use out of it as I drove it all over the country and I remember that it ran very well.
 
Where is that truck now?
I have no idea but it would be fun to have it back though, I should look for it being as you can now with the VIN number.
You might even find it in one piece.
Maybe.
 
If you do not currently have your dream car what would that dream car be?
A dream car to own and drive or a dream car as in just to have?
To own and drive.
On the street?
Yes, on the street.
An F1 Ferrari would be my dream car but I like so many cars I think that I am interested in old classic cars. Sentimentally, my dad owns my Godfathers car which is “Paul Newman” his Volvo that he put a hopped-up engine in and that he drove for a long long time so that sentimentally is pretty special. 
I have with my dad John Wayne’s 1967 Pontiac station wagon that he had special built for him and a raised roof with a sunroof in it that does not open up…a skylight sunroof which was not an option at the time so he could wear his cowboy hat being as he was very tall “6-4” so we are getting that restored right now and it is almost done so I am actually pretty excited about it. So sentimentally those are my favorite cars and I also really like either the 1961 or 1962 Impala convertibles or any Chevy or Ford trucks in the mid to late 1950’s are my favorite.
So you obviously know what a F1 Tranny is?
Yes, I do not know if the same F1 Trannys are in the Ferraris that are in the Maseratis but I would not think so.
 
What is your favorite color combination when it comes to cars?
Generally black on black but I also like charcoal silver on black so definitely a black interior for a vehicle.
 
Okay, you can obviously drive a stick-shift.
I could earlier today…chuckle
 
So what is the craziest thing that you have ever done inside a car?
I cant tell that terrible story, this is actually a tough question but I have actually done a lot of crazy things inside a car.
I guess the craziest thing would be jumping in and out of cars into other cars while going down a freeway with my brother.
 
What kind of music do you listen to while driving a street car?
Generally I do not listen to a lot of music while I am in my car because I am usually on my cell phone with the windows rolled up making business phone calls and do not have the music on. 
It kinda sucks because I really like having the windows down when I have had convertibles but never really got to enjoy the convertible because I am always having to take care of business so I do not generally listen to a lot of music.
Since I was a child I actually just love driving, I love road trips and going places in a car I will drive for hundreds of miles without the radio on and just think and look at the surroundings and even the roads that I have driven thousands of times across country. However my music choice is generally alternative or house but I like all kinds of music so it really depends on whatever mood that I am in.
 
What kind of cars do you have now?
I have a lot of cars because I have a place in LA, New York City and in Charlotte. 
I drive an Audi Q7 in California which I need for the mountains and to be able to tow a trailer for my motocross bikes, put my stunt gear in and go hunting while having something nice to do business meetings in LA so I really-really like that car it is unbelievably quiet and very good riding and too many features that are quite fancy so I really enjoy that car. 
I have a crew cab diesel pickup truck, I have a mini cooper which is a lot of fun, I have a Mercedes 430 which I am turning into a camera car for my commercial production company.
I have a crew cab regular pickup truck and I just bought a Maserati Grand Sport Limited Edition which has the Ferrari transmission in it and the Ferrari engine but I do not really like the transmission but I am getting used to it but I love the car. I guess that is about it other than a van that I have but my race team owns that.
 
Barbara Terry