James Trout (December 10, 1966 - ) is a former NASCAR driver born in Tallahassee, Florida. While Trout raced at a number of Southern Georgia and Northern Florida dirt tracks for most of his career, his largest stage came with a set of six Goody's Dash Series starts ranging between 1997 and 2002.
Below is a (self) biography submitted by Trout. However, until we can double check it is indeed Trout, this page is locked from editing. Please see Driver Policy page to learn how the Stock Car Racing Wiki tries to work with drivers differently than the typical end user.
I was born in Tallahassee, Florida on December 10, 1966 my racing nickname, “Mighty Mouse”, was given to me in the early 1980s by a fellow go-kart competitor named, Leslie Jones. Jones, Son of the pre-ultimate dirt track competitor, Harvey Jones.
Me and Leslie ran dirt ovals throughout North Florida and South Georgia. I started when I was 12 years old and finished racing Karts in 1989 and then moved on to racing Late Models.
Leslie was the son of Harvey Jones who was and still is my all-time racing idol. Harvey ruled the dirt tracks like Henry XIII ruled Britain. He was the undisputed kind of the dirt speedways of South Georgia and North Florida. Whenever he went to the tack whether it was in the start of his career or towards the end when he was well into his 70s, ans still racing strong, he was always the man to beat.
I’m sure anyone reading this and saw Harvey’s familiar blue #6 tear up the competition on those ill-lit high speed dust bowls, a pure natural who could and would take all comers and leave them in the dust, I'm sure they would agree with me. Harvey Jones like Dale Earnhardt was a relic of another age and someone who will never be replaced. A True Man's Man!
I remember Leslie Jones telling me a story about his dad, Harvey who rarely spoke about his accomplishments because he was such a modest man.
Leslie told me was that Lee Roy Yarborough came down to Valdosta Speedway around 1969 when he was at the peak of his racing career and I think he won Daytona twice that year as well as Charlotte, Darlington and others. He showed up at the track with a spotless supped up machine, full pit crew in uniforms and racing equipment that few competitors could only dream of owning.
Most drivers at Valdosta that night were ready to give him the win before they even began to qualify but Harvey calm and stoic as always kept quiet and let his talking be done on the track. Once the dust had settled and it was all over Harvey had lapped the field including Yarbrough.
Sports Illustrated did an article on Harvey in the mid-80’s and if you would like a copy I would be glad to email you one. He was without a doubt the best race car driver I ever saw, and that includes Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Mario Andretti, Junior Johnson, or any of the top 50 drivers NASCAR picked in 1998. He had this intensity, that some may sometimes have seen in others, not agressive or mean spirited but someone who has a charishma that subconciously Also, he was an honest unassuming man who commanded respect just by his awesome presence and by the personal example he set.
I remember visiting Harvey’s house one day when I was going over with Leslie to his room for some reason. I can remeber it still although it was well over 20 yearsone day; it was a modest house about a mile south of the Florida State Capital. I can still remember this even though it was well 20 years ago, his house was like a racing shrine. Inside was a lifetime of trophies and newspaper cutouts everywhere. I’ve been living in England for over 15 years but one day when I get back I’m going to get in touch with Leslie and hope he kept all the photo’s and stuff so I can build a web page dedicated to his father. My next racing idol is my Father, Ronnie Trout; I have been truly blessed to have a wonderful Mother and Father. My Dad loved racing and supported my racing dreams in any way he could. He competed on the NASCAR circuit in what was known at that time as the Grand American Series. He was involved with NASCAR at the start of what is now referred to as the new era – he raced NASCAR from 1969 – 1973, after that he ran Late Models on the local dirt tracks until finances dried up which forced him to give up his dream.. Through my dad I met many great people, drivers who many may not know but have had an integral part of the creation of NASCAR to what it is today. One of these wonderful human beings is Ernie Shaw who is my third Nascar Driving Hero. In 1995, I lived with Ernie in Winston-Salem, NC when I began racing in the Nascar Goody’s Dash Series in 1995, he always offered me such great advice which I still do as he told me whenever I got to the track to compete. Here is a story about Ernie Shaw which many people including journalists, NASCAR enthusiasts and other NASCAR drivers may not know. The setting: Talladega Superspeedway and the date was September 1969 and this was the inaugural race at the new Superspeedway.. The actors: involved included: Richard Petty as head of the Racer’s Drivers Union, Bill France, many of the drivers and most importantly Ernie Shaw. Without Shaw in fact that first race at Talladega may never had been run and 62,000 fans in attendance would have travelled to Alabama for nothing. The Issue: When the drivers showed up at the new superspeedway immediately the Good Year tires became an issue. A few people had tires explode on the bumpy track which was built in a hurry because of the debt which Big Bill incurred by building the fastest enclosed race course in the world. He was under immense pressure to get the race run on time due to the debt incurred in building it. This didn’t matter to many of the drivers and they began to complain that the speedway was too fast for the tires available and that it would be suicide to race. Big Bill, once again under immense financial pressure to get the race run, told them that all they had to do was slow down. Needless to say, asking a driver to drive slower than the car could go just didn’t register in their mentality. No, they thought the race had to be postponed until a safer tire was created.
The Result: To appease the drivers Big Bill went out in a modified race car and ran a lap at over 150mph, (I think). Still the drivers were not impressed. They began to conspire against France and enventually voted Richard Petty as head of the Racer’s Drivers’ Union. (In photo’s of the early 70’s you can see this patch on Pettys Uniform, Ithe initials of the organization was PDA. They Told Mr. France that they wrere not going to run and started loading up their trucks. France determined to have a race approached the second series which many times competed with the Cup cars. When Petty heard this he approached Ernie, (Who France approached about running the race and the leader of this second group of drivers). According to what Shaw told me; “Petty approached me and asked me to get the other drivers and join him and the PDA strike of the inaugural Tallageda 500. Ernie Shaw replied, “Petty, you’ve never done a damn thing for us back-runners and now you want our help. Big Bill has always helped us and you never have so therefore I’m sticking by France and will run the race on Sunday.
It was because of Ernie’s support of Big Bill that the race was run. At 1:00 pm 68, 000 fans saw a great race with Number 99, Richard Brickhouse in a 1969 Nichels Engineering Dodge winning the race by 7 seconds of second place finisher Jim Vandiver in the No.3 Ray Fox 1969 Dodge. Tiny Lund in the No. 53 Pepsi 1969 1969 Ford sponsored by Bill France finished 9th. Ernie Shaw finished 12th in a 1968 Ford. Richard Childress finished 23rd in the Richard Childress 1968 Chevrolet. The time of the race was 3:15:07 Average Speed: 153.778 mph Pole Speed: 196.386 mphCautions: 7 for 38 laps
36 cars competed in the race most all the Cup regulars packed up and went home. Now, you may ask why Ernie was so important in all this besides what I explained about how Bill France coming to him personally and then Petty coming and trying to discourage his decision. Ernie was the generally accepted leader of the journey-men drivers of the second tier division. Most importantly however is a letter that I saw with my own eyes and which I hope to one day photo-copy from Ernie’s cousin who was left all of Ernie’s trophies and memoriablia when Ernie passed on just recently. The letter which was a full page long and written in Bill France’s hand is incredibly special.
From what I can remember it said:, “Dear Ernie, thank you for what you did last September at Talladega, without you I think the race may have been postponed. I personally thank you for your support and if there is anything at all that I may be able to do for you in the future all you have to do is ask. (I hope to have a copy of this letter so that others may see it also) POST SCRIPT: Ernie also helped Richard Childress get his start although Richard would not even acknowledge him later in his life. One day while visiting RCR shop we ran in to Choclate Myers who recognized Ernie immediately said, “how’s it going short shit”? Never like Choclate after that, I mean would you say something like that to David Pearson? Ernie was small but so is Mark Martin. Small drivers like Horse Jokeys make great drivers. Tim Brewer got his start working in the garage behind ernies house just as I did and I’ve never read anything from Tim acknowlegind the help Ernie gave him. Ernie one day took me to Richard Petty’s show, we were in the museum and someone told Dale Inman that Ernie Shaw was outside. Instead of telling the secretary to send them in he came out personally gave Ernie a hug and invited me and my dad in the back where we talked for about an hour. Inman asked me many questions and treated us all with respect all because of the respect he had for Ernie. Towards the end of his life, Ernie wasn’t even allowed to enter Daytona International Speedway although he had been issued yearly NaSCAR credentials for ever. Later that same evening when he was denied entrance I saw him talking to someone at the Wisconsion yearly party at a hotel. I remember Dick Trickle gave a brief speech which I thought was quite funny. He came up to the mike and said”, Hi I’ve got a new sponsor this year Purina dog chow, so go out and get you some and then left the stage. I thought that was really funny. Ernie then invited me over to the person he was talking to he said, “James this is Lennie Pond.” We’ll I was a little tipsy but I remembered his old number and told him how I always pulled for him and then just shut up and listened. What they were talking about was how NASCAR didn’t give a crap about all the old drivers and that Lennie wasn’t allowed in the Garage area either. Ernie Shaw, Friend, Mentor, Innovator, Always dedicated to a friend and one of my all-time Nascar Driving Heroe’s. That couple of years I lived with you Ernie was some of the best in my life. R.I.P. ‘ol buddy and hopefully someone will read this and appreciate what you have done for the sport we all love. -One other thing, SCR magazine did a feature story of the fiasco in Talladega during the inagualr running in 1969 which they described whithout once even mentioning Ernie’s name. there is a photo though of Ernie speaking with Big Bill France and Bill France, Jr but the caption is incorrect it says cale Yarborough speakes with Bill France. I myself would learn how NASCAR can ruin a drivers career personally by cancelling the Dash series after I had spent every penny I had trying to compete and all I ended up having from it was some broken bones and a broke home. I guess it’s a little compensation having your name in the record books but NaSCAR has come to far away when they cared about the drivers and supported up and coming series. The Dash series was the last series where you could build you own car, although at considerable expense and go out to compet. Although I agree with ernies actions because Bill France took care of my drivers and his door was open to anyone. Now a days I don’t even know who is in charge, its impossible to do it yourself and NASCAR has forgotten about all the many fans, back-mark drivers, mechanics, promoters, etc… who would travel thousands of miles sleep in the most uncomfortable places just to be a part of the experience. I’m so happy that I had the Dad that I did and friends like Ernie Shaw who gave me a glimpse of the true NASCAR, a NaSCAR that is but a memory now. It also makes me wonder about the Jeremy Mayfield deal, what if Nascar is lying, they just ruined this mans career and he can’t do anything about it. At the very least if he does has a drug problem certainly there are places where he can get help. This is still America isn’t it. Aren’t we supposed to help each other. My friend Shane Hmiel from the dash series was kicking ass, he was such a cool kid, positive, friendly and a force to be recokoned with on the track.