Joseph Elmer "Joe" Collins

Winfield Stock Car Driver, Owner, Organizer, Promoter,
and Inspiration to son, Bill.





          ABOVE, LEFT:  Joe Collins is shown pushing son, Bill Collins, off in his own race car (right) on the Winfield fairgrounds racetrack.  Jim Hopkins, left, gives his son, Bill Hopkins, a push as well.  Both drivers were four years old when this photograph was taken in the summer of 1951.  That is Willard Bodkins looking on at right.  Click your mouse on this picture to see another photo of Bill Collins in his miniature race car.

          ABOVE, RIGHT:  Joe Collins ready to do some racing himself.

          BELOW, LEFT:  Willard Bodkins with the first hot rod he and Joe Collins built and competed with at Cejay Stadium in Wichita, Kansas in 1948.

          BELOW, RIGHT:  Left to right: Willard Bodkins, Bill Collins, Joe Collins and Dudley Boots with a Ford coupe Joe had purchased from Oren Hamilton in 1951.  Click your mouse on this photo to see a different picture of Joe and Willard with this car.







          Joe Collins and his lifelong friend, Willard Bodkins, got started in the car business by repairing cars and selling them from Joe's front yard in Winfield, Kansas.  Joe loved being around cars and took a job as salesman for Jack Lane Chevrolet in Winfield, before opening his own used car lot, Western Motors, on North Main Street in Winfield.  With Willard's brother-in-law, Bud Webster, they started racing cut-down hot rods at Wichita's Cejay Stadium in 1947.  When the Cowley County Fair decided to add auto racing to its schedule in 1950, Joe was asked to help out.  There were a large number of racing fans in the Winfield area so Joe enlisted the help of the Winfield Lions club to bring stock cars back to the fairgrounds racetrack on summer holidays.  By 1955-56, the races in Winfield had become some of the biggest in the area.

          Joe was Winfield's Buick-Cadillac dealer in the 1960s before selling the business to Willard Bodkins and moving to Ft. Myers, Florida where he opened a Toyota dealership.  His interest in racing continued as son, Bill, started racing Toyota's on Florida short tracks in 1978.

          By 1981, Bill was driving at Daytona Beach, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; and Talladega, Alabama; in NASCAR's Darlington Dash Series.  Bill gave up driving to devote more time to the Toyota dealership but kept the race team and got a 19-year-old Davey Allison to do the driving.  Davey left for NASCAR's Winston Cup Series in 1985 so his uncle, Donnie Allison, became the driver of the Collins' Busch Series car in NASCAR while Donnie's son, Kenny Allison, raced a Collins' Toyota.

          The race team, Collins Engineering, was moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1988 and then sold to Kenny Allison and his brothers in 1990, becoming Allison Brothers Race Cars.  The race cars and most of the equipment were purchased by a young Joe Nemechek who was just starting his NASCAR Busch Series racing career.  Other notable NASCAR drivers to compete in Collins' race cars over the years were Bobby Allison and Hut Stricklin.


Joe and Bill Collins loaded up headed for a race in the early 1950s.







Bill Collins' NASCAR Darlington Dash Series car.  Click your mouse on the photo above to see one of Bill in his Florida short track stock car.







ABOVE:  Donnie Allison at Darlington, SC
in Collins' 1975 Buick Apollo NASCAR Busch Series car.
BELOW:  Left to right:  Bobby Allison, Bill Collins, Chris Graham, Kenny Allison, and Donnie Allison in 1999.









The Collins Engineering Racing Team - 1987
FRONT ROW, left to right:  Donald Allison, John Borwski, and Eric Gaul
BACK ROW, left to right:  Kenny Allison, Donnie Allison, and Ronald Allison
with a short track car and a speedway car at Russell Mills headquarters in Georgia.




All photographs on this web page are from the Bill Collins collection



Return to page one of the History of Auto Racing at Winfield website.