Jimmy Means

Jimmy Means

  • Year Inducted : 2009
  • Sport : Racing

About Inductee


Jimmy Means was born in Huntsville and was a 1969 graduate of Butler High School. Means became interested in building racecars as a teenager; he began as a mechanic for several local drivers. He soon graduated to driving and quickly became known as a hard-charging competitor who wouldnt back off. During Huntsville Speedways heyday in the 1970s, no racecar driver on the local or regional scene won more races or attracted more favorable attention than Jimmy Smut Means. He won the Alabama State Cadet Championship in 1972, and the Alabama State Sportsman Championship in 1974. He was the track champion at Huntsville in 1973, and Nashville in 1974, and twice finished second to Neil Bonnett, who became a NASCAR superstar, at the Birmingham Speedway in the mid-1970s. Among his closest friends and competitors in those years were Tommy Andrews, W.G. Bell, Shelly Black, Jim Williams, John Frazier, Charlie Chamblee, Bill Gray, J.D. Smith, J.P. Roberts and Jerry Hicks. Despite having to rely primarily on his own equipment, Means went on to compete at the top level in the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit for nearly 20 years. He began with the 1976 Daytona 500 and ran in 455 Cup races over the years and had a number of top 10 finishes, including seventh in the 1983 Talladega 500. His best year in NASCAR was 1982 when he finished 11th in the Winston Cup points standings, trailing only Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Terry Labonte, Harry Gant, Richard Petty, Dave Marcus, Buddy Arrington, Ron Bouchard, Ricky Rudd and Morgan Shepherd. Among the drivers who finished behind Means were Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin, Neil Bonnett and Bill Elliott. I credit my mother for showing me how to work, and for telling me that I couldnt build a race car, says Jimmy. I thank Coach Larrie Robinson at Butler for telling me I could do anything in life I wanted to do if I wanted it bad enough. Jimmy is now a resident of Forest City, North Carolina, where he owns and operates his own racing business. As a car owner, he regularly competes on the Nationwide circuit. Ive worked in racing for almost 40 years with no regrets, the 58-year-old said. The sport has given me an opportunity to race in Japan, Australia, Mexico, Canada and over half the states in the United States, and even visit the White House. Ive had a great life.

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