Curtis "Crawfish" Crider, who called this area home since the late 1960s, died Friday under Hospice Care in Edgewater. He and his wife of 35 years, Louise, lived in Ormond Beach. Crider was 82. Crider, originally from Abbeville, S.C., made 232 starts between 1959-65 in NASCAR's top division, then known as the Grand National Series. All but seven of those starts came from 1960-64. His best season was in 1964, when he competed in 59 of 62 races, scored seven top-fives and finished sixth in the final points standings. The colorful Crider left the national touring series but didn't leave racing. He soothed his competitive itch on the short tracks of Florida, using the old Volusia County Speedway in Barberville as his home base. He captured the Florida State Championship three consecutive years (1972-74), winning 52 short-track features in that stretch. Nearly 10 years ago, Crider told News-Journal Motorsports Editor Godwin Kelly, "If I had to do my life over again, I wouldn't change a thing, except for the days I'd known I was gonna wreck -- then I would stay home." The nickname came during Crider's NASCAR career. We were racing at a dirt track in Danville, Va.," Crider told Kelly. "It had rained a bunch and there was water still standing on the backstretch. There was no wall or guardrail back there. I got shoved off the backstretch and went into that water and mud got all over me. Richard Petty and some of the other guys in the race said I looked like a crawfish crawling out of there. The name stuck all these years." Along with Louise, survivors include sons Dean and wife Kris of Ormond Beach and Chip (Lisa) of Abbeville; daughters Jan Gibson (Mark) of Winder, Ga.; Ronda Sherrill of Greensboro, N.C.; and Renee "Cricket" Patrick (Kevin) of Pleasant Garden, N.C.; sister Faye Perdue Pietschman of Eden, NC; 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Curtis is preceded in death by his parents and one brother Ike Crider. A funeral service is will be held today (Friday) at 1:00pm at Volusia Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Ormond Beach. Condolences may be shared with the family online at www.volusiamemorialfunerals.com Arrangements are under the care and trust of Volusia Memorial Funeral Home, 548 N. Nova Rd., Ormond Beach, FL
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Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on Dec. 28, 2012