South Carolina Hall of Fame President Brad Dean described both men inducted Monday into the state Hall of Fame at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center as American heroes, one of whom flew in an airplane while the other flew in a stock car.
World War II veteran William Farrow and NASCAR Hall of Famer William Caleb “Cale” Yarborough were the 84th and 85th inductees into the SC Hall of Fame.
Farrow was posthumously inducted for his role in the famed Doolittle Raid in April 1942. His crew bombed Nagoya, Japan’s fourth largest city, in response to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. They destroyed an oil storage tank and damaged the Mitsubishi aircraft factory.
“We wanted to desperately strike back soon, somehow,” said Harry Mashburn, chairman of Mashburn Construction Company, who inducted Farrow.
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The Darlington native and his crew’s B-52 bomber later ran out of fuel and crashed into Japanese held territory in China. They were captured, and Farrow and two other airmen were executed on Oct. 14, 1942. Their bodies were cremated and the ashes hid in a Japanese mortuary until American investigators found them in 1945.
Farrow Parkway in Myrtle Beach is named for the SC veteran.
Yarborough was in Myrtle Beach on Monday for the induction ceremony. Before the formal festivities began, he talked to students from Myrtle Beach Middle School and cadets of the Junior ROTC from Horry County Schools.
“Life’s victories don’t always go to the fastest or strongest man,” Yarborough told the more than 100 students who had some of their own questions for the racing legend.
Yarborough admitted to getting a little nervous before races because of the tough job ahead. However, it all went out the window when that light turned green at the starting line.
The Timmonsville native recalled racing for the first time at 15 and saying a prayer on the initial lap. That prayer wasn’t asking for a victory, but just for help in doing his best.
“I still ask Him that today,” Yarborough said.
In Yarborough’s opinion, Darlington Raceway remains the toughest track to drive on. He said he believes there’s lots of talented drivers today, but doesn’t think any could have handled racing back in his day.
“They wouldn’t have stood a chance,” Yarborough said. He added that, of today’s racers, Kyle Busch reminds him a lot of himself.
Yarborough’s racing career began in 1957. Over 31 years, he won 83 victories, which ranks fifth all-time.
Yarborough won three consecutive Sprint Cup championships from 1976 to 1978, an achievement unmatched until 2008. In that three-year span, he was the victor in 28 races.
He was the second NASCAR driver to appear on the cover of “Sports Illustrated,” and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012.
“I just feel like you can’t be successful if you don’t dream big,” Yarborough said.