Bob Walker went out as a winner.
A racing veteran and Myrtle Beach resident, Walker died Saturday night from natural causes while packing up his 1936 Ford following a win in the Vintage Modified Series at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
“He went out doing what he loved,” Myrtle Beach Speedway General Manager Steve Zacharias said.
Willie Granger, who had driven Walker’s car in the past and raced against him often in the Vintage Series, found it hard to find words to describe the emotions upon learning his friend had passed away.
“My heart dropped,” said Granger, who competed in the Super Trucks on Saturday night. “It was sudden. I don’t know how to explain it.”
Granger said he’d gotten to know Walker pretty well in recent years, calling him a clean racer and a guy people liked to be around.
“He was a great guy. He was an outgoing person,” Granger said. “He loved being around everybody. He’d help anybody he could.”
Granger shared a memory of when Walker turned what is called a “rat rod” into a vehicle that could be driven every day.
“He converted it into a highway car. He actually had it street legal,” Granger said. “He’d drive it across town and everything. It was pretty decent.”
Walker competed in the Vintage Series often in the last couple years and had won several times. Off the track, he owned a business called Walker’s Hot Rod Shop, located in Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach Speedway lost three drivers in 2017. Terry Evans died in July while in a vehicle wreck on the way home from the racetrack, Mark Hale succumbed to cancer in September and Jackie Ward died from natural causes following a crash in a race in November.
There was an outpouring of prayers and thoughts on Myrtle Beach Speedway’s Facebook post sharing the sad news Sunday.
“Anytime someone passes away at a racetrack everyone rallies around them because it’s like a big family,” Zacharias said.
While Walker, a California native, had raced at Myrtle Beach for only a couple years, Granger said he’s a guy who will be greatly missed around the track.
“He was a great guy all the way around,” he said.