Racing History Minute - April 20, 1952

Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
04/20/13 11:08:13AM
3,109 posts

I am really enjoying going through my Greg Fielden books picking out daily events to post here in a Racing History Minute. Even more, I am enjoying reading the comments to each posted by such knowledgeable folks and the personal memories of those same folks to many of the "Minutes". When going through possible contributions for today's date, this race just slapped me right in the face because;

1. It was run at Lakewood in Atlanta, one of our Cody Dinsmore's favorite Georgia Racing History subjects;

and

2. It was won by the father of someone, Bill Blair, Jr., who has become a good friend of mine and someone for whom I have a deep respect.

So, race fans, lets go to Lakewood Speedway on April 20, 1952.

Tim Flock put his Oldsmobile on the pole for the 100 lap/100 mile race on the one mile dirt track with Herb Thomas in the FABULOUS Hudson Hornet taking the outside pole position. When the green flag was waved before a crowd in excess of 29,000 folks, Tim Flock put his foot down hard and his Olds rocketed into the lead he would hold for the first 60 laps. Flock had broken an axle in the Olds.

Roscoe Thompson, driving another Oldsmobile took over on lap 61 and would lead until lap 71, when Gober Sosebee would fight his way by Roscoe to take the point. Roscoe was driving an Oldsmobile as well.

Sosebee was turning some hot laps, with Bill Blair, Sr., dogging him in each turn. Gober was hoping to give Cadillac its first win in NASCAR competition and it did appear his "luxury" mount had the upper hand over Blair's Oldsmobile. The flagman was counting down the laps on his fingers; 10, 9, 8, 7....... It was with seven laps to go that the Cadillac broke a spindle and it was over for Gober. Bill Blair went into the lead and would hold on to win the event.

A side note to the race was that Fonty Flock, who was injured, had decided to sit out the race so car owner for Flock, Frank Christain, obtained the services of Roscoe Thompson to drive the Flock car. At the very last minute, Flock decided to run, or attempt to, and took over the second (back up) Christain car to help him in the points. Fonty held out for several laps before giving up the wheel to Jack Smith whose Studebaker had fallen out of the event on lap 20.

Top Five finishers were:

1. Bill Blair, Oldsmobile, winning $1,000.00

2. Ed Samples, Oldsmobile, winning $700.00

3. Lee Petty, Plymouth, winning $450.00

4. Buck Baker, Hudson Hornet, winning $350.00

5. Ed Samples, Hudson Hornet, winning $200.00

Filling out the top ten were Charles Cattalia 6th, Fonty Flock (with relief from Jack Smith) 7th, Herb Thomas 8th, Gober Sosebee 9th, and Jimmy Florian 10th. Other finishers of note were Curtis Turner 13th, Tim Flock 15th, Dick Rathman 16th, Jim Paschal 17th, Jack Smith 19th (after parking his Studebaker) and Perk Brown in 21st.

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


updated by @tim-leeming: 12/05/16 04:00:58PM
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/20/13 11:36:37AM
3,775 posts

As was often the case in that era, the race didn't get much coverage in the papers.Spartanburg's Herald-Journal gave the race just a few words about the winner and the next few finishers.

But the headline racing story for April 20, 1952, was a sensationalistic one. A horrific crash in Dayton, OH claimed the lives of 4 people and injured 50 others. Source: Herald-Journal




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 04/19/17 11:18:29PM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
04/20/13 12:33:00PM
8,969 posts

Thanks, Tim.

Side note: None of the three car makes represented by the top-5 finishers are any longer in production.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
04/20/13 12:35:57PM
8,969 posts

That was a bad crash. The AP writer perhaps needed to brush up a bit on his racing terminology. I suspect he meant to say Sprint Car race in the last graph, unless he had closed his eyes when he typed "squint car."




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/20/13 02:16:29PM
3,775 posts

Dayton had a star crossed season. The track experienced another spectacular and deadly crash Labor Day weekend of 1952.

http://www.taurtoisemotorsports.com/fifties/Slim.html




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.

updated by @tmc-chase: 04/19/17 11:18:44PM
Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
04/20/13 03:40:07PM
3,109 posts

Chase, thanks for the addition to the History Minute. It was then, as it is now, the BAD news gets the big headlines.

Dave, I hadn't even thought about the top three finishers by make no longer around. I miss my Plymouths. I always thank my Uncle Bobby that he got me in the sport early enough to see those Hudson Hornets race. You know, I can still close my eyes and watch those Hornets just "float" around those dirt tracks. Oh, how I loved those days.

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/19/16 09:46:04PM
3,775 posts

Would be nice if Bill Blair Jr or someone else had a better version of this T. Taylor Warren picture I found in the High Point Enterprise.




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/20/16 09:18:19AM
3,775 posts




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
04/19/17 11:18:57PM
3,775 posts

Bump




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.