Skip to main content

T. Taylor Warren papers concerning motorsports

Identifier: MS0337

Scope and Contents

Memorabilia concerning drivers, speedways, and sponsors make up the majority of the collection, including media kits and race statistics. Media kits are often distributed by advertising agencies, contracted by either race teams or sponsors to highlight either a driver or their product. The kits usually contain paperwork detailing the career or objectives of the driver and/or team, and sometimes contain photographs or promotional cards. The majority of the media kits date from the 1990s to 2008. Race statistics sheets are distributed either by the track, or NASCAR's statistical organization during race weekends. These contain race results, qualifying results, points standings and quotes from participants throughout the event's duration. Most of the tracks in the Warren Collection are those in the southeastern United States, including Lowe's Motor Speedway, near Charlotte, North Carolina.

The collection is arranged in 7 series: Photographs includes a limited number of photographs - 98 standard format and 5 oversize photographs, as well as 23 photographic slides; ARCA is primarily comprised of driver, speedway, and track memorabilia; NASCAR is the largest series and includes media kits, promotional materials, race memorabilia and statistics; other races documents numerous organizations, but is limited in size; and non-motorsports sports advertising; Digital Media contains CDs and other digital objects for several different tracks, including Darlington and Lowe's Motor Speedway and Reel-to-Reel Tapes contains four reel-to-reel tapes.

There are a few publications included in the collection, mostly annual NASCAR Preview and Press Guides, as well as race programs from individual speedways.


  • Creation: 1959 - 2009


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical Note - T. Taylor Warren

Thomas Taylor Warren, affectionately known as "T." to his friends, began shooting photographs of automobile racing in the 1940s. His passion for the sport intensified over the years and he was made Chief Photographer of Daytona International Speedway in the 1960s. He shot pictures for several different magazines, most notably Southern MotoRacing and continued in the sport until his death in 2008 at the age of 83.

Growing up, Warren became fascinated with photography. "I'd always been interested in it. We had a box camera that I found in the house. I'd go around making pictures. In high school we had a camera club. I was in that and was president at one time," he told an Orlando Sentinal reporter in 2008.

Warren's introduction to motorsports came in 1947. After graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in photography, Warren took a job in Milwaukee, Wisconsin working for a photo lab. His brother, who had been "messing with roaring roadsters," persuaded Warren to attend a race at the Milwaukee Fairgrounds. Warren took the opportunity to photograph the drivers on the track and soon began selling the prints as a side-job. After relocating to Kansas City, Kansas to work at another photo lab Warren continued taking pictures of local tracks and drivers.

The turning point in Warren's advancement in covering the sport occurred a little later when Eastman Kodak Company decided to hire and place him in a photo lab in High Point, North Carolina. He soon befriended a representative of Bill France, Jr., who got Warren a job photographing the old Daytona Beach-Road Course in 1952. Warren spent much of his free time covering such races and Kodak decided to fire him. "They fired me at Kodak because they said I was spending too much time at racing events. Back then, racing was thought of as a redneck sport," he told a Morning News reporter in July 2008.

Warren also shot pictures at Darlington Raceway throughout the 1950s, and was at the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959. His photo of the finish, a three-wide affair in which Lee Petty edged Johnny Beauchamp by two feet, played a pivotal role in determining the race's outcome. At the time, there were no high-speed photo-finish cameras at the finish line and Beauchamp was incorrectly named the victor. Petty protested the decision and NASCAR President Bill France, Jr. took three days to choose the winner as news spread nationwide of the drama. Warren's picture was a key factor in declaring Petty the winner.

Warren held the Chief Photographer's role at Daytona until the mid-1960s. "I would say that T. Taylor is the godfather of photography in NASCAR," claimed NASCAR Vice President of Communications Jim Hunter, during an interview with the Morning News in July 2008. "If I'm not mistaken, T. Taylor was NASCAR's first photographer."

Throughout his life, Warren's love for what he did was in the challenge of freezing action on the track into one shot. "I guess it was a challenge of stopping the action and catching action that was happening. I was never a big fan of baseball or football or basketball or anything, but my brother was involved with racing. Race cars gave me a relationship with him even though he was halfway across the country," he said in an Orlando Sentinal interview.

Although Warren spent the remainder of his career as an independent contractor, he continued covering NASCAR events, primarily in the Southeast, for the rest of his life. His work gained the attention of many over the years.

"Whether they know it or not, millions of NASCAR fans since the early 1950s saw the sport through T. Taylor's eyes," said National Motorsports Press Association President Tom Jensen. "T. Taylor's images brought the sport to life long before the advent of NASCAR on network television and the Internet. More than that though T. Taylor was a true gentleman, respected by the racers and NASCAR officials, and admired by his fellow photographers and other media members. He was a class act all the way."

Warren has been honored with several prestigious awards. He was awarded the Harry T. McLemore Award by the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006, becoming the first photographer to win it. He won, posthumously, the NMPA Myers Brothers Award in 2008 in recognition of his lifetime achievements. He was also inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in January of 2009.

T. Taylor Warren was an indelible icon in his field. "I've just been at it so long they can't get rid of me," he once quipped. His yellow hat made him easy to spot, and in memory of Warren, several media personnel wore yellow hats during the spring 2009 Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway, his adopted hometown track for over 30 years.


171 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection includes extensive records/paperwork, press-kits/media-guides, speedway/racetrack information, photographs, promotional material, motorsport magazines and programs, driver data/statistics, CD-ROMs, newspapers/newsletters, and other information pertaining to the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA).


The collection is arranged into seven series, five of which (Photographic Materials, Automobile Racing Club of America, Nascar, Other Racing Series and Sports Advertising and Publications) are further divided into subseries. The seven series are: Photographic Materials, Automobile Racing Club of America, Nascar, Other Racing Series, Sports Advertising and Publications, Digital Media and Reel-to-Reel Tapes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the late T. Taylor Warren in ten different installments between 2005 and 2008.

Processing Information

Processed by A. J. Sykes, 2005-2006; Stephanie Devine, 2006; Sandy Benbow, 2007; Steven Nash, 2007-2009, under the direction of Robert A. McInnes.

T. Taylor Warren papers concerning motorsports
Robert A. McInnes
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

Special Collections and University Archives
J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
(704) 687-1170
Schedule an Appointment