Marshall Love Jr.

Marshall Love Jr.
Photo courtesy of Marshall Love Jr.

Marshall was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky on January 15, 1928. Marshall followed in his father’s footsteps and became a photographer. Charles Garvin also recruited him as the official photographer for Beech Bend Park.

Love began racing in Russellville because that was the only track in the area. In 1951 when Beech Bend opened Marshall raced there. In total Marshall raced for 3 ½ seasons, quitting because of an ultimatum.

Marshall Love found “true love” and became engaged to Irene Sparks of Gradyville, Kentucky. Irene’s girlfriends just couldn’t believe that she was engaged to a professional photographer, so she asked Marshall to send her a framed photograph that she could show to her friends. So Marshall Love, a man of two loves, one of which was stock car racing, proceeded to send her a wonderful photograph of himself dressed in slacks, fancy sport shirt, and two-toned shoes…standing beside his F-38, 1934 Ford racecar. This picture probably led to the ultimatum to choose his true love, stock car racing or Irene Sparks. Marshall chose Irene but admitted that he cheated on her a time or two. Racing was in his blood.

Love and his “true love,” Irene, still live in Bowling Green, but he still loves stock car racing, having kept his 1951 racing helmet all these years. His last words to me as I left his home were, “I wish they would have an old-timers race at Beech Bend.” He is still trying to cheat on Irene, his “true love.”

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