One year, as a publicity stunt, Tim took a passenger with him in his racecar for eight races. (Yep, with NASCAR’s blessing; back then, they needed the publicity badly) That passenger was a small rhesus monkey, appropriately dressed up as a race driver, with the equally appropriate name of “Jocko Flocko.” Folks came from miles around, some who didn’t even care much for racing, just to see that monkey riding with Tim.
However, as things will when working with animals, one day at Raleigh Speedway, something went wrong within the racecar and Jocko got out of his custom-made little “driver’s” seat. He began playing with the string that opened a trap door on the floor, allowing the driver to check the condition of his right front tire.
A pebble flew up through the opening and struck the little guy in the head. That sent him into a panic and he clawed the driver, so Tim had to pull into the pits and have little Jocko Flocko removed from the car. A few months after that incident, Jocko died, but Tim said that he didn’t have the heart to tell that to children that inquired about Jocko.
“I just told them I had to let him go because he couldn’t sign autographs” was the answer he gave them.