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A Passion For Pictures

Bobby Day, widely known as 5X5, was born in Miami in 1944, grew up around racing, and was photographing racers from an early age. Starting out racing micro-sprinta and karts, Bobby was helping take care of Hialeah Speedway by age 12.
Racing photography, according to lots of people who knew, was a passion. As a teenager Bobby started racing photography as a business.

 

Bobby 5X5 Day

Bobby 5X5 Day passed away in December, 1998, and below are a sampling of the letters we received in the days following. I myself still can't quite get used to not seeing his golf cart buzzing around DeSoto Speedway.

Bobby, you will be sorely missed by many. I own MANY, MANY pictures taken by Mr. Day from Hialeah, Palm Beach, Golden gate, DeSoto, and several other East Coast tracks; pictures all the way back to about 1973 (I have a picture of Dick Anderson in a white '65 Chevelle taken at Palm Beach in about '73-'74). I may only be 28 years old, but Bobby's pictures put Florida short track racing into my life as a kid and filled up many a photo album. I can remember Bobby at Golden Gate and Hialeah with the golf cart; especially in the early 80's when Tampa re-opened. Bobby put into pictures what we as fans sitting in the stands could not capture and put the action into our lives. Many drivers have come and gone as well as racing divisions, and Mr. Day captured many of them over the years. He has seen the greats like Bobby and Donnie Allison at Palm Beach; Dick Trickle and "Tricky Dickie" Anderson do battle at the Governor's Cup; the All-Pro cars at Hialeah when we won a feature with Daniel Keene; pictures of our car with Billy Gill even made it into Eddie Roche's Florida Motorsports Pictorial, taken by Bobby at DeSoto.

Bobby, your action will be missed by all.

I have gone to Desoto Speedway for almost 5 years and every time I go there i see in the middle of turn 3 and 4 a gulf cart with Bobby Day taking pictures of cars going bye him. I don't have many pictures taken by him but I knew that he was a great photographer and he will be missed by many. To me when I heard this sad news I knew that Desoto wouldnt be the same anymore. And now his son and his wife will be there with no dad/husband on the track taking pictures. There still will be a gulf cart in the middle of turn 3 and 4 but it wont be driven by Bobby 5x5 Day.......It is true he would stay up till past the morning hours just to get those pictures developed....And also he would go out to the tracks as soon as they opened taking pictures of drivers, and cars. I hope that his family and everyone close to him can live through this tuff time.....RIP Bobby.

Bobby with his Ford stocker early 60's

Bobby with his Ford stocker early 60ís

courtesy Florida  Retrosprctive Pictorial

Thanks for your message recognizing Bobby 5x5 Day. Many fans got to know Bobby as you did, through filling up their scrap books and by seeing him as a fixture at so many race tracks.


I often told Bobby he was a legend much like the drivers he photographed, but not once did he take that suggestion seriously, he was far too modest. Bobby's goal as the professional he was from day one was to serve the sport and its people--fans and participants alike. He suffered financially in order to continue on doing what he loved to do.

And, you're right, how many can say they've witnessed what Bobby has: the Allisons in their first race cars (the photographing of which goes down as his most memorable), the transition of racing from shadetree coupes to supermodifieds and late models.

He not only saw some of the biggest names in motorsports through his lens, but he knew them personally and got the utmost of cooperation out of them all. Bobby was well-liked, I'd say loved, by so many. His week would come alive every Friday, getting as excited as a little kid attending the races for the first time.

Few knew the sacrafices he endured: such as staying up all night to develop pictured for the next day at big meets. He gave for free a great deal of his work to the media and racing organizations for the betterment of the sport.

Bobby would appear like clockwork when the gates opened, make it through rain or cold, and stay late into the next morning as one of the last to leave the grounds in doing his job for us all. His reward was in making people happy, in seeing to it that they got the pictures they wanted. I can tell you he yelled at me a time or two for missing a good shot!

But I learned a lot from Bobby, and I feel extremely honored and fortunate to have worked with him for the last 10 years or so of the 30 I've known him. God bless you, Bobby.

--Eddie Roche
 

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