Jim Robinson, who won three Winston West stock car racing championships and still holds the track record at Saugus Speedway, won't be there Saturday night when Winston West racing returns to Saugus for the first time since 1977.
Robinson, 43, is a patient in the neurological care unit at Woodruff Community Hospital in Long Beach, receiving treatment for head injuries he suffered in a racing accident Feb. 7, 1988, at Phoenix International Raceway.
Track officials are sponsoring a "Remember Jim Robinson" program Saturday night to help raise money for therapy and other treatment the former driver needs in his rehabilitation.
"Jim is alert and aware of people and objects around him," said Robinson's former wife, Ouida. "The progress is slow, but he's doing so many things now that the doctors said he would probably never be able to do."
Although Robinson can recognize family and friends and has use of his right arm, he is unable to talk and is confined to a wheelchair. "Jim had three race cars, all Olds No. 78s, but one of them was his favorite," Ouida said. "One day the girls (daughters Brenna and Glenna) showed him pictures of all three and asked him which was his favorite, and he pointed right to it. Little things like that mean a lot to everyone who knows and loves Jim."
Jim Robinson Automotive, the garage in North Hollywood where Robinson built and maintained his race cars and ran the family business, is being liquidated, according to Ouida Robinson.
Robinson won Winston West championships in 1983, 1984 and 1985, and set the Saugus record of 68.698 m.p.h. on the one-third mile paved oval in 1977.