A Racing History Minute - April 14, 1957

Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
04/14/13 09:17:30AM
3,110 posts

Today we will return to the Convertible Division for the second time in this series of Racing History Minutes. Part of the reason is because I always found those races "special" because of the clear view of the driver you had watching from the infield and the other part of the reason is I'm leading up to the very first Darlington Convertible event in 1957 which was my first visit to that track. This date, however, in 1957, saw the convertibles roll into Wilson, North Carolina for a 100 mile event on the half-mile dirt track. I've never been to Wilson, but I've heard the stories about the nice track and the loyal fans that supported events there.

Joe Weatherly put his DePaolo Ford on the pole for the race with Bob Welborn qualifying his Chevrolet second. It was third place starting Curtis Turner that dominated the race, leading from lap 9 through lap 146 while 'lil Joe filled the rear view mirror of team mate Turner's Ford. Although the two were team mates and very good friends, both were very competitive on the race track and second place was "no" place either of them wanted to be. The race only had two leaders; Joe laps 1-9, Curtis, laps 10 -146, Joe lap 147 to the checkers. Of the nine convertible events thus far in 1957, Joe made this his fourth win of the season. It was a broken ball joint on the Curtis Turner Ford on lap 146 that sent him "behind the wall" and out of the race.

Top five finishers were:

1. Joe Weatherly, Ford, winning $500.00

2. Gwyn Staley, Plymouth, winning $425.00

3. Glen Wood, Ford, winning $350.00

4. Al Tasnady, Plymouth, winning $300.00

5. Whitey Norman, Ford, winning $250.00

Other finishers of note were Larry Frank 7th, Neil Castles 13th, Curtis Turner 14th, Bob Welborn 15th, Possum Jones 18th, and Darel Dieringer 19th. Only 19 cars started the event and 14 were running at the finish although 16th place finisher George Bumgardner was 100 laps behind.

Honor the past, embrace the present, dream for the future.


updated by @tim-leeming: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM
Jeff Gilder
@jeff-gilder
04/14/13 09:36:49AM
1,745 posts

One of my favorite accounts of waht it was like in theConvertible series came from Paul Lewis and his first time in an "open-top" race car...I believe it was Occoneechee. He said he recalled how great if felt being out there in the open...until the race began...and being "out there" in the open subjected him to the dust and debris.




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Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
04/14/13 03:38:32PM
9,039 posts

Thanks, Tim... although I didn't see my first race at Wilson until 1970, I loved the stories my late friend, Paul Sawyer told about the days in the 50s & 60s when he and Little Joe promoted there.




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"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/14/13 05:49:06PM
3,871 posts

On the same day Weatherly won at Wilson in the ragtop series, Fireball burned 'em on the 1-mile dirt circle at Langhorne, PA with the Grand National crowd.

Source: Lexington Dispatch




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/14/13 05:53:27PM
3,871 posts

And here is a bit more on Fireball's Langhorne win.

Randy Myers - Note Billy's solid 4th place finish.

Source: Daytona Beach Morning Journal




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
04/14/13 09:45:07PM
3,110 posts

Thanks, Chase for adding those Grand National Langhorne articles. I had considered using that race for the 14th but went to the convertibles instead to mix it up and to get primed for the Darlington 1957 convertible race coming up. I do appreciate all you add to this series.

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/14/17 05:52:37PM
3,871 posts

A brief (and silent) video with highlights from the April 14, 1957 Langhorne race.




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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 04/14/17 05:53:11PM
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/15/17 05:47:14PM
3,871 posts

Qualifying and race reports from Philadelphia Inquirer for April 14, 1957 GN race at Langhorne.

1957 Langhorne Goldsmith 041457PhilInquirer.png
1957 Langhorne Fireball 041557PhilInquirer.png



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Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 04/15/17 05:48:37PM