Marty Robbins was also a Racer

Marty Robbins would drive race cars and perform at the Grand Old Opry on the same night.

(photo from

Many of us knew Marty Robbins was a great country singer from the 1950’s and 60’s.  His most popular song, “El Paso” is a classic on both the country and early rock and roll charts.  As much as Marty Robbins loved to write, sing, and play his guitar, he loved racing with an equal passion!

“The only thing my dad loved more than his family and his music, was his racing,” said his son Ronny Robbins who was on hand last Saturday night for his father’s induction into the Fairgrounds Speedway Hall of Fame.

Marty Robbins would race every Saturday night at the Nashville Fairground Speedway and then rush downtown to the Ryman Auditorium just in  time to perform for the final set of the Grand Ole Opry.  Many times still sweaty and grimy from the race he just finished!

In addition to racing at the Nashville Fairgrounds, Robbins also ran in several NASCAR Grand National (Sprint Cup) races.  Robbins liked to name his race cars, the most famous one is the car in the picture above.  He named this car “Devil Woman” after one of his hit records!

The country music legend who died in 1982 at the young age of 57 years old, was one of five new Hall of Fame inductees.  He was joined by Sterlin Marlin, Chad Chaffin, Joe Bufford, and long time announcer Joe Williams.

Robins never won a race in “The Big Show” (Sprint Cup), but he thought of himself as a serious racer.  His crew chief was Charles “Preacher” Hamilton, grandfather of future NASCAR driver, Bobby Hamilton.

Preacher Hamilton’s daughter tells the story about one night at the Fairgrouds racetrack when Robbins was leading the race that was running extremely long because of numerous crashes.  Robbins pulls his race car into the pits and Preacher Hamilton asked,”what was wrong, need tires, out of gas?”

“No”,Robbins replied, “the race is running too long and I got to hurry down to the Grand Ole Opry to perform!”

Marty Robbins retired from racing after several hard crashes that left him bruised and dazed.  He once quipped that he got tired of being NASCAR’s official wall-tester!

So the next time you hear on the radio one of Marty Robbins’ classic songs like “El Paso”, “Devil Woman”,or “My Women, My Women, My Wife” you will know that there was more to this man than just a great songwriter and singer!

Marty Robbins was also a racer!


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