His first race was at Opa-locka Speedway near Miami, Florida in a 1934 Ford in 1946. He became famous as a member of the Alabama Gang. Estimates of Farmer's career victories range from 700 to 900 victories, most occurring in the late 1950's and early 60's. He raced 36 NASCAR races from 1953 to 1975. He won numerous championships at local tracks. He was the NASCAR National Late Model Sportsman champion for three consecutive years from 1969 to 1971. Farmer's best finish in NASCAR's top division was a fourth at both the 1972 Talladega 500 , and the 1968 Middle Georgia 500 near Macon, Georgia). He had so few Cup races because he was content to run primarily in the Late Model Sportsman. He was named NASCAR's most popular driver 4 times. Red always raced in the white and gold #97 car.
Red has retained his skills as a driver in spite of his age. He competed in 2 Busch Grand National races in 1992 at age 60. On June 2005, Farmer, now over 70, turned heads in winning a heat over current NASCAR Sprint Cup stars, and finished 8th in the feature during the Sprint Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway, owned by Tony Stewart.
His accolades are numerous. He's a member of 5 halls of fame. Red was named one of the Top 50 drivers in NASCAR history in 2000. He was a member of the first Class of Inductees into the Talladega-Texaco Walk Of Fame. When the International Motorsports Hall of Fame inducted Red, they had to waive their rule of 5 years of retirement - they figured that he never would retire.
On July 12, 1993 Farmer was a passenger in the helicopter crash at Talladega Superspeedway that took the life of Davey Allison, when the two were arriving at the track to assist young driver David Bonnett (Neil Bonnett's son) around the track. He escaped with only broken bones.