"I do a lap or two and then Bruner spots me and black-flags the car off the track. I think it was the bright red shirt I was wearing. Anyway, when I pull in he really burns my behind.
"I put Bobby back in the car, and he goes out and does a few laps. Then I go down to the end of the pit area and signal him to come in for a pit stop. When he gets in we do the same thing: me in one window, him out the other. There was so much confusion with all those cars stopping and stalling and all that Bruner never saw the switch. Now I'm back on the track and I get by with another two or three laps, and then I get spotted again. This time Bruner puts me in his car and drives me clean outside the track. He lets me out on the other side of the fence, but he gets caught in a little traffic while he's getting back into the track.
"I get over the fence and I'm back in my car before he can drive back from the gate, so I get some more laps in. I get scrunched way down in the car so that he can't tell it's me back at the wheel. I go by a time or two with him standing there, and then I'm coming out of the No. 4 turn and he walks right out into the middle of the front straightaway with all these cars flying by and puts his hands up like a traffic cop and stops me. He wouldn't even let me drive around and come in the pits. He stands there and makes me back up against all them cars back to the pit entrance!"
During the next six years, Cale got rides wherever he could, mostly on the dirt tracks that abound in the Carolinas, in jalopies, modifieds and sportsman racers. He met Betty Jo in that drugstore and got married in April 1961 at Moncks Corner and lost $30,000 in two years on a turkey farm. "Everybody was making money on turkeys," Cale said. "But when I got in, the turkey market had the worst two years it's ever had."
During the winter of 1963-64 Yarborough and Herman (the Turtle) Beam, for whom Cale had been driving some, went to Detroit and cornered Jacque Passino, the "Grey Fox," who is director of racing for the Ford Motor Company. Passino, like most racing executives, has something of a split personality to outsiders. To some, Passino is the swinger who taught Henry Ford II how to dress; to others he is a cold manipulator of money and machines who treats drivers like robots, gives them 30-day driving contracts and if they don't produce, bounces them.
Cale's request was simple. He wanted factory support. Passino, who had given some help to Yarborough previously, gave an equally simple reply. "I'll help you," Passino said, "but the first time you mess up, you're history."
In Cale's second race under this arrangement he was challenging Ned Jarrett for the lead in a 125-mile race at Richmond, Va. when Jarrett blew his engine right in front of him. Cale slid in the oil and bounced end over end three times.
The next day Cale called Passino. "Jacque," he said, "about that car...."
No problem. Passino gave him another one, which he ran with indifferent success until the 1964 Rebel 300 in May at Darlington. Again Cale challenged for the lead, until a wheel bearing burned out. Cale pitted and got out of the car while Beam and his crew worked to fix it. Suddenly Passino came up. "What happened?" he asked.
"The bearing was all right last week," Beam and Yarborough said.