Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Galloway sees it all at the Speedway
By GODWIN KELLY
DAYTONA BEACH — Tom Galloway grew up about a mile from Daytona International Speedway, went to school at the old Mainland High School and, after serving his country, spent more than 30 years with the Daytona Beach Police Department.
He´s enjoying the second decade of his second career as the head of Speedway security. Galloway took over the security post from Bill Hall, who retired from the job in 1991.
“There were about five guys about my age who lived in the neighborhood over there in The Highlands and Taragon Way. we´d play around together all the time.
On the weekends when they were building the Speedway in 1958, one of those guys had a Jeep, so we´d come over here and ride around on the dirt roads.
We didn´t mess up the construction site, we would just ride around. When they put the infield tunnels in place, we rode through them even before they had been set in place with concrete.
We never would tear up anything, but there was always one guy in a big old truck that worked for the Speedway that would chase us off of here. It turns out that was old Red Pugh, who was the first track superintendent.
I don´t think Red ever caught us. we´d see him coming and we´d head for the woods in that Jeep. Living so close to the Speedway, we watched the progress of it, saw it change on a daily basis.
I was still in high school at Mainland. I don´t think we were old enough to have a driver´s license yet. There was no Clyde Morris Boulevard at the time. Daytona Beach pretty much stopped at where Halifax Medical Center is today. we´d come over Red Hill and through the woods and we were there at the Speedway. that´s my first memory of the track.
I don´t know if I went to the first race in 1959 or not. I just can´t remember. It seems like some of us skipped school and came out and saw the first one, but I can´t remember.
In 1960 I graduated from high school and went into the military. I spent the next four years in the Air Force. I didn´t get out until 1964. I was immediately hired as a police officer in Daytona Beach by Charlie Carr.
On my days off from the police department I would work at the Speedway. I did that from 1964 to 1990.
I can´t believe I have (been part of) this place since 1958. After I retired from the police department, I joined the Speedway staff in 1990. We´ve seen some huge changes here.
The west end of the Speedway infield used to get pretty wild.When the track first opened, all the Speedway property was not in the city limits of Daytona Beach.
The very west end of the infield was actually in the county. One of the things I remember was that you couldn´t buy alcohol in the city but you could in the county, so there was a concession stand down there and all the rowdy people would go down there to get liquored up.
Over the years, the infield has taken on more of a family atmosphere, which is nice for everyone. But there´s been a lot of funny things happen here over the years, like the female streaker on the back of a motorcycle. Somehow they got on the track and she was bare-chested. Pretty wild stuff.” -- Tom Galloway