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Old 05-11-2012, 11:40 AM
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Default Billy Gill

To one of the greatest talents to come out of the Tampa Bay Area as well as a good man - RIP
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:26 PM
Old Sunshine Fan Old Sunshine Fan is offline
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Billy Gill was THE MAN! Enjoyed his racing from the first time I saw him race to the last time I got to see him race. I remember one time at the SHOWBOAT after a win at SSS, a girl asked him if he was a house painter (White pants), he said "YEP that's what I am" and never told her who he really was. I think that's when he went to red pants lol.
Very sad, Billy made the world a better place for sure. RIP
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Old 05-11-2012, 07:38 PM
Frasson118 Frasson118 is offline
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Of all the great racers I have seen race, I don't believe I ever saw Billy race in person (didn't live in FL at the time), but I still new who he was, and I could tell he was Bad Ass. Up north, we all knew Buzzie, Wayne and Will Cagle.... and if you could outrun those guys, you had a bunch of talent.

Billy Gill was one of the names that put a whooping on these guys pretty regularly. That doesn't come about without a boatload of talent.

Never saw him race, but I respect him up there with the great ones.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:46 PM
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billy gill was the 24 car i moved to florida in 72
and watched him ray bon 12 car jim fenton 4
one of the greats race for many years at sunshine speedway
old school racer
rip
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:13 PM
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I just wanted to add a few more comments about Billy Gill, the man, in his memory.

Back during the peak of our rivalry at Sunshine Speedway, a time when he and I typically only communicated in times of anger, Billy the man stepped up to help during the worst event that occurred in me and my wife, Linda’s life.

This is a few of several articles that appeared during that time where Billy along with Dave Shook, a multitude of other drivers, crew members, fans, the Girls Racing Association, Sunshine Speedway Promoter Dan Jones and others stepped up to the well to help us as well as several of our son’s motocross competitor’s and families literally giving up their blood to do the same.






This was a life-changing event for us personally but it also opened my eyes to the human & ‘giving’ side of others. This memory, the memory of Billy Gill the man, is the memory I have carried since that time of him and will stay with me forever.

Thanks again Billy.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:26 PM
Jimmy McKinley Jimmy McKinley is offline
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Thanks for the many, many memories, Billy.

Mr. Gill drove our car at Bradenton the year they opened (1979) and at St. Pete during the '79-'80 seasons. Won quite a few features for us in the #12 (or rather, the #12D, as we were scored...LOL). Dad says that Billy went back to own #24 after we blowed a motor.

Billy was also one of the few west-coast guys that could also run good down at Palm Beach and Hialeah. I can remember seeing an article, maybe pictures, from the early '70s where Billy beat a lot of the Hialeah hot shoes - Anderson, Rogero, Balough, Brack, Barnwell, etc. - at their own track in an extra-distance late-season event (a 200-lapper, maybe?).

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Old 05-11-2012, 09:44 PM
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When we moved back to the Tampa Bay area in 1968 and i started going back to Sunshine Speedway i didn't know many of the current drivers at that time. One driver stood out, the guy driving the Orange #24 Late Model, man he was good, always passing on the outside and he never seemed to touch anyone, he was almost unbeatable. I know he was proud of his son Bobby, who was as good as anyone in his prime. We have lost another 'Great One'.
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:36 PM
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When I lived in New Jersey as a child Will Cagle was my favorite driver but when we moved to Florida and started going to Sara-Mana that changed and it was Billy Gill who stood out and became my favorite. Several Gills have graced speedways including Bobby and Steve who were blessed to have Billy. God Bless the Gill family and thanks Billy for some great memories.....
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:52 PM
Marty Little Marty Little is offline
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Default Billy Gill

Billy holds the distinction of being one of the very few non-regulars who came to Hialeah and won an extra distance race against all the local hot dogs. If memory serves me correctly he towed down from Sarasota and won the South Florida State Championship in 1969. I was gone in the Air Force at the time but I'm told he drove the flat third-mile like he owned it. That may have been his first visit to the track and I don't recall him ever coming back from 1971 until the track closed. RIP Billy.
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:55 AM
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Billy is one the main reason my dad got into racing. Billy was winning every week at the Gate.

When Billy had a bounty on him it was my dad who talked Frank Dery into doing it and dad was the guy who always put the money up.

It took almost the whole year but Ray Bontrager won the bounty. That's how good Billy was, it took untill a handfull of races to go to beat him!

R.I.P. Billy!
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:56 AM
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From Ronnie Gill on the Sunshine Speedway Alumni Facebook Page:

"My Dad’s viewing will be held at Toale Brothers 40 N Orange Ave This Wednesday 6-8 pm and celebration of life will be Thursday at 11 am First Baptist Church on 1670 Main St, seating will hold 1000 people. After services there will be a celebration of life at the potter building Sarasota fair grounds catered by Morton’s market. I know my dad touched a lot of people lets touch back everyone is welcome."

The phone number for Toale Brothers Funeral Home in case anyone needs it is; (941) 955-4171.
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:26 AM
ancrdave ancrdave is offline
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I absolutely love this 1968 photo from a Sunday afternoon race at New Smyrna... Four guys that were THE best! - Jim Alvis leading Dave McInnis, Billy Gill and Ernie Bass... If I had a dollar for every race each of these guys won, I'd be rich!
The reason for posting this picture is that this #24 that Billy drove was one of his best cars... He ran this '61 Chevy even after most all the bowtie guys started running Chevelles and beat them all the time... I think he won two track titles at The Gate with it. Marty was right about 1969.... Hialeah decided to "one-up" Golden Gate and run their own "South Florida Championship 200" and Gill showed up with his big Chevy and blew their doors off... I think Marty is right when he says Billy never ran Hialeah again although I think he did run a few big shows at West Palm...
We are simply losing too many of our old heroes right now...
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:49 PM
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Billy R. Gill

Gill, Billy R.
Jun. 17, 1933 - May 11, 2012
Billy R. Gill, 78 of Sarasota, passed away May 11, 2012. Born June 1933 to the late Joe & Audrey Gill. Billy was a loving and devoted husband, Dad, Papa and friend. Billy enjoyed growing strawberries, fishing, racing and spending time with his family. Billy is survived by his loving wife of 33 years Shirley Gill, sons Bobby Gill of Concord N.C., Tim Gill of Lakeland, Fl., Ron Gill ( Chris) of Young Harris, GA., Troy Smith of Sarasota, Jimmy Gill (Toni) of Sarasota, Steve Gill of Sarasota, Billy Joe (B.J.) Gill (Melissa) of Spring Hill, TN., six amazing grandchildren. Preceded in death by Barbara Gill. All of whom adored him dearly. His love will always be cherished and he will remain in our hearts forever. Billy retired after 40 years with Arrow Plumbing. Together Billy & Shirley began Gill's Strawberries in 1980. In addition to working, Billy was an avid stock car racer from 1954 until 1988. Billy who drove the # 24 was well known from SaraMana Speedway in Bradenton, Sunshine Speedway in St. Pete, and Golden Gate Speedway in Tampa. Billy Gill was a wonderful man, and will be missed. Visitation will be 6-8 pm, May 16, 2012 at Toale Brothers Colonial Chapel 40 N. Orange Ave. Sarasota. Funeral service will be at 11:00 am May 17,2012 at First Baptist Church, 1661 Main Street with Wallace Albritton of St. Louis, MO. as officiant. A Celebration of Billy's life will be held following the service at The Potter Building at the Sarasota Fairgrounds. Memorial donations may be made in Billy's name to your favorite charity .


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Old 05-19-2012, 09:57 PM
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It's times like this that scare me about checking in on here. There should be a law against our getting old. Billy Gill was one of those guys you dreaded in the pits because you knew it was going to be a tough night for your guy. I well remember the night JC got hurt and I remember that saturday night and the pit talk about how to help. Billy was one of the leaders putting something together along with Whitey Wescot and Kenny Faircloth. For all the tough they showed they had their priorities in the right order and hearts to match their talents. If I had known then what I know now I would have learned a lot that life taught me the hard way for in that time and place i was surrounded by greatness. RIP Mr. Gill.
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