King Kenny Enjoys Crooning of “The Singing Starter”


Gary Van Voorhis photo

It was always a treat back in the day when AMA Grand National racers showed up to events in Texas. There they could look forward to being serenaded on the starting line by Phil Dyson, aka “The Singing Starter”. Here Roberts soaks in Dyson’s melodious version of Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again”.

Roberts reportedly told friends that Phil wasn’t all that great on the flags, but “with a voice like that, who cares?”

Phil explained the reason he liked to leave racers with a song before the drop of the green.

“These guys come to the line all hyped up and full of stress. A couple of bars of good old George Strait and you can see them calm right down. I think a relaxed racer is a better racer and these guys seem to really enjoy it. KR especially loves it when I sing a few Buck Owens tunes, it puts him in a great mood every time.”

The only rider who, at first, really never seemed to warm up to “The Singing Starter” was Gary Nixon. “Then I figured it out,” Phil remembers. “I sang a few notes of “Okie From Muskogee” and I saw just a crack of a smile come over ol’ Nixon’s gruff face. He set a lap record that night!”

Oh, and by the way, to all you racing and music lovers out there – happy April 1st!

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